There is a world that trades in stories as the dominant currency. Spoken, written, acted out. New stories are highly valuable. But old stories told in the old ways are worth even more.
Here is a world where the people harvest time from the bedrock. Digging deeper into layered lodes creates time-warping vibrations in the air. With special machines, the people capture this energy and process it into precious-stone seconds, occasionally finding a minute gem, or a diamondesque hour. Once, the whole mining crew took the year off after finding an enormous, glittering century in the depths of the Fifty-Third Time Mine.
Once I thought of a reality where really, really, really big giants come to our world and move us around like little dolls in a doll house. It’s like the hand of god, but really it’s just the hand of Jeremy, who thinks you would look better a little bit to the left.
Here’s one world I thought about recently: Grey rock extends around me, with me low in its belly. My feet are caught in clear, adhesive gel that leaks in veins from pustules here and there along the slopes. The green skin of these pustules swells and leaks, forming a strange not-heart beat to the land. I don’t resort to consuming it right away. Days into my utter isolation, unable to move my feet, then legs, then hips, I bend at the waist and try to ingest the velvet moss skin. The blood rushes to my head as I claw at the green bulbs around me. This world eats people like me. But I’m not willing to be the only one being consumed.
A world that’s actually a video game. A card game. That simulation you run behind your eyes when thinking about doing something, but not actually doing it.
In a world, I hop asteroids. Compare me to a skipper living in an archipelago. And each island is all wacky. There are carnivorous sheep creatures. Blue foods. Glowing rainclouds. A shell that screams at midnight. People who are not even one-percent cruel. Back in my ship, I wonder if all other travelers are this lonely.
One sci-fi world I make is completely flooded, and people survive on the backs of giant birds. Did humans cause the flood? I think it’s likely.
There’s a place that is affected by my dreams, but only on February 29th. Every four years, all that’s happening in my subconscious infects the people, the land, and the sky. The animals appear to be immune.
A world where there are small people in all the refrigerators. They’re cold.
Imagine a world where objects inevitably evolve into beings. Some forks turn into brothers and sisters. Some diapers become small rodents. Some skateboards are later seen as gods, hovering, six-armed, and many-winged.
If we whisper, I can tell you about the words-world. Over the pitted, barren planet, sounds given meaning – also known as words – have physical, tangible force. Saying something, anything, could literally smack someone in the face. Words obey new laws of physics, momentum and power. I say, I am here. The ground rips open and gains a new rift.
Think about who you’d be if you lived in this world: when the sun is up, you are one person – you have one body, one life and one soul. When the sun is not visible, you inhabit a different body, possess a different soul – you’re someone else. The two people you are are unrelated to one another. I don’t know where the other goes when you are the one.
In a world like my own, humans spawn feelings. The feelings appear soft like Jell-O. Each feeling is a different color – an embarrassment recalled at 3:47 am (which woke me up) forms as an orange-and-green. The feelings follow the person who spawned them around for the rest of that person’s life. The world is so full and crowded.
A world where I imagine other worlds, other beings, other problems. A world that contains every thought I’ve ever had, contains as in “jails.” A world where my thoughts don’t work right, or don’t work how I imagine they could. Where thinking of the refrigerator people doesn’t make them visitable. I always dream that it should. If I imagine time as a stone, words as a gut-punch, why can’t we try that for a while?
Taylor Card holds an MFA in fiction writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts and haunts her home in Michigan, making trending coffee beverages and wearing blue. Her fiction has been published in Button Eye Review and Digging Through the Fat. Besides writing, she enjoys making ceramic animal sculptures – you can see a few at taylorvcard.com.