Friday, September 19, 2003

Today’s Word: Farce

The cave wavered, orange and blue vision overlays smearing into a torrent of color. Both men staggered this time. Horner caught a tenuous hold on the cave wall just as the nausea returned ten fold. He bent and vomited on the floor, the hot liquid splattering on his shoes. In the corner of his eye he saw Linus fall flat, his back arching with every heave of his stomach. He too vomited into the dirt.

Vision returned as the Sphere-enhanced overlay righted itself, seeming to congeal into a clear picture.

"We're fast approaching the crux," said Linus, as he rose to his feet.

Horner was not so quick to recover. He leaned on the cold, moist stone, panting for breath. His knees were throbbing; threatening to seize up. Damn the Empyrean Ministry and their healthcare rules. They could cure his arthritis as easily as a child changing the battery in his favorite toy. But a lowly consulate linguist did not warrant that kind of expense. He could bear a bit of pain for the "good of the people", according to his doctor.

"You're making a huge mistake. Don't go this time. Don't repeat it," said Horner, once his breath had returned to him.

"Don't leave the Ministry this time. Then you won't find yourself an old man in a cold, dank cave, facing an insurmountable task."

Horner stood and drew six pence from his pants pocket. Neither man could see it through the Sphere's overlay, but they were shiny as if new. He had polished them every night for more than thirty-five years.

"You kept them," said Linus.

"As proof -- and as a reminder."

"I don't need proof. I believe you are me. You've just made a mistake; a mistake I don't intend to repeat."

"I'm sure I said the same thing when I was on your end of this farce."

"But you were wrong, which means you were weak. I am not weak."

Linus pulled the scream gun from his coat pocket and squeezed the trigger.

To be continued

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