Cubed

May 31, 2015: The Prompt Your story starts with a character standing on a windswept, desolate plain. How did they get there? What do they want? And what is that on the horizon, and why is it getting closer?

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There was nothing but a forever horizon in every direction. The tunnel was gone, and now it was difficult to know from which direction he had come. The wind was incessant, a singular wave of invisible force washing over him.

Reining in his thoughts, he had to concentrate on what had transpired before he arrived. There was the echo of a question asking if he had ever been cubed. It was like a dream, and that frustrating inability to grasp the images as they faded into the eternal dream bank. Who had asked that of him? Where had he been?

He drifted slowly down, until he was sitting cross-legged upon the sandy ground. A brief memory whipped by, being seated in similar fashion upon a grassy plain, a small fire before him, smoke billowing up and… it was gone. The familiarity of other places sat with him here, yet, his eyes had never seen this actual place, nor had his face felt the hot wind, or his ears been flooded with roar of sky spirit’s howl.

Cubed. The word settled upon his mind. What did that mean? He spoke the word into this world, closing his eyes, seeking the thread of that previous moment.

“Have you ever been cubed?” A woman’s voice. He knew little of math, and less of being cubed. Opening his mind to the thought, the question replayed, and he sought to capture more of the voice; it’s tenor, hoping it might lead to the moment of its birth.

A flash of a place, like the frame on a movie real, frozen briefly, played before his mind’s eye. It was a food truck. Gone. Again, he repeated, as if a new mantra, cubed.

Drawing upon the question. “Have you ever been cubed?” Her voice, then, “No, does it hurt?” His voice.

Before he had a chance to pull more into his mind, a new sound reached him; a distant thud, reminiscent of how the massive foot of a T-rex reverberated across the land, and was almost felt, sitting in the dark theater during a viewing of the movie, “Jurassic Park.”

This brought him back to the moment. He sought what might have made that noise. There, at the once endless horizon something shimmered, mirage like, but so distant that it was impossible to make it out. He kept an eye on it, watching, waiting, expecting. The wind seemed to have calmed, the wail of it diminished to a moaning that rose and lessened like the picture of a heart’s sinus rhythm upon an EKG paper.

Returning to the question, and eeking more clues as he meticulously sought to stretch out the moments before the question. Able to find the point where he stood with a woman he only knew for a few a brief time, waiting to go order from a food van.

“Have you ever been cubed?”

“No, does it hurt?”

“It’s an ancient centuries old Sufi game.”

“Nope, never met an ancient, what you said.”

There was that charming smile again. “Imagine a desert.”

“Here? now?”

“Yes.”

“Okay, desert, lots of sand. Got it.”

Okay, so here he was in that desert. Was THIS being cubed? He shook his head. Never mind the questions. Just go with the scene as it played out. What did she say next?

“In the desert imagine a cube.” She gave him further information.

“What does it look like?”

“You have to tell me.” She said turning, to move closer, as the line began to push forward. “How big is the cube?”

“Pretty big. About the size of a mid-sized moving truck.”

“Okay, and what’s it made of?”

“Uhmmm Metal.”

He opened his eyes and looked out to the horizon where he’d seen something appear, but now, closer, much closer, was a… metal cube! In a flash he was on his feet. THIS was what he’d imagined! But, that was just supposed to be in his mind! No way! Okay, okay.

Think. What happened next? Taking a deep breath, he went back to the beginning, saw her facing him, her back turned away from the van. The line of people waiting to order moved forward.

She continued. “What position is it in? Is it standing up, lying flat in the sand? in another position?”

“Flat. Like almost buried in the sand.”

“Now in the same desert, imagine a ladder.”

“Okay got it.”

“What’s it made of? Say the first thing that pops into your head.”

“Wood, a wooden ladder.”

“Where is the ladder in relation to the cube?”

“Leaning, right up against the cube.”

“Okay, now imagine a horse in the same desert.” He nods. “The horse, what’s it look like?”

Shrugging, he says that it is a pony. She laughs.

“What are you laughing at?”

“Nothing… nothing.” Still giggling. “I’m sorry I laughed. I shouldn’t have. I’m supposed to indifferent.” She paused momentarily, then finally said,  “Last  question. Where is the pony in relation to the cube?”

“It’s in the background, almost disappearing off the horizon.”

“Well, that’s it. You’ve just been cubed.”

“Huh? That’s it? What’s it all mean?”

“I’m not telling you. That’s the fun of cubing someone, it’s that I know and they don’t.”

“That’s a very bad game.”

They finally arrived at the van, and briefly looked at the poster with selections on the side of the truck.

“Tacos?” he asked her.

“Tacos.” She agrees.

He tells the guy at the counter and then turns back to her, as they wait for their food.

“Now alright, what’s the cubing mean?”

She gestures at the food. “Why don’t we wait till we’re away from here?” He agrees, and turns back to the truck. Their food comes quickly and after paying they take their items and move over to a picnic table in a few yards away.

“So. The cube?”

“Alright. The cube is you.”

“The cube is me.”

“Or rather it’s your own subconscious evaluation of your psyche.”

Listening, he nods.

“So you claimed your cube is big.”

“Very very big.”

“Which means that you have an inflated ego…. and the fact that it’s made of metal,
just reinforces your delusional belief that you’re invincible.”

“Delusional? No, no, no. That’s not me. Wrong guy,”

“That’s the beauty of the cube. It can’t be wrong because they’re all your answers.”

“Hmmm. we’re off to a bad start.”

“Fortunately, it’s not all that bad. You described the position of your cube as flat on the ground, which means that despite your narcicism, you’re actually quite down to earth.”

“Alright. What about the ladder?”

“The ladder represents your friends. You said yours was made of wood. That indicates an attraction to people made of a different material than yourself.”

“That’s actually true.”

“Also, the fact that the ladder is leaning against the cube…”

“Means my friends lean on me.”

“Now you’re getting it.”

“Alright, let’s get down to the horse’s role. What does the horse mean?”

“The horse is your current lover.”

“Oh.”

“And you chose a pony.”

“So?”

“A pony isn’t something that’s magical, thrilling. Really. A pony’s cute and unthreatening.”

“Childish?” he asks.

“I could be wrong. Maybe I’m interpreting wrong.”

“I don’t think so. You said a cube is never wrong. Besides, didn’t I say that she was way off in the background?”

“Yeah. I think that your exact words were, it’s pratically disappearing off the horizon. ”

“What did you say your name was?”

“I’ve got to go.” She gets up and starts to walk out off the beach, toward the street, him following on her heels. “You’ve got to be kidding!”

“What do you need to know my name for?”

“It’s an ancient custom in the united states, when people meet.”

“But you already have a pony.”

“Obviously there’s something going on here, between us, I’m not wrong, am I?”

“Yeah, I know. I know.”

“Then what’s with the no name stuff?”

She sighs. “Do you believe in fate?”

“I never thought about it.”

“Well, I do, all the time. And I just feel like, if we were meant to be together right now, then we would have met when we were both free of entanglements.”

“You have a boyfriend.”

“Yeah, I do.”

“And where’s your wonderful stallion this evening?”

“He’s probably doing the same thing yours is doing. Waiting.”

“Uh huh”

“I just get the feeling our timing’s off.”

“Maybe we met on British time and we’re five hours too late.”

“You’re very tenacious.”

“Some people like that.”

“Do you see what I mean? If I was to give you my name, it would be like we were cheating.”

“No, no. Not cheating, cause my pony’s history anyway. She’s off the horizon, remember?”

“I don’t mean cheating on your girl friend. I mean cheating fate.”

“Cheating fate?” He looks perplexed.

“I think everything happens for a reason.”

“Do you wanna know why I’m standing here with you, right now, right this second?”

“Alright. Give me your theory.”

“I missed my movie. I came down to the beach. I walk on the boardwalk. I met you. I got lucky. I got very lucky!”

“It’s so uninspiring that way.”

“Come on. You’re not going to leave me. I don’t get this?”

She turns around and puts her arms around his neck and leans in and whispers, “That’s because you have no faith.”

She gets into a cab which pulls away leaving him staring after her. “Faith in what?”

He opens his eyes, finds that he’s standing near to the cube, a wooden ladder resting against the side of it. As he runs his hand over the surface of the cube. This still doesn’t makes sense. How does he go from meeting a girl, having a conversation about some strange ancient game, learn he’s still down to earth, even with an ego that blots out the sky? How does he find her and lose her all in a matter of an hour or two?

Out of the corner of his eye, he sees movement; a pony is running away toward that forever horizon.

There is a long moment, silence now, instead of the earlier unrelenting din of the gale. The stillness feels unnerving. There is nothing to disturb it. There are no distractions. He sits back down, learning now against the cube.

It’s all well and good that he remembered that conversation. And in some strange way, he almost understands how that has thrown him into a landscape which is… He tries to think of what, in fact, it is. Did she create it?

But no. She said, it was of his own making. He was inside his own psyche. It sounded absurd, but it was true. He had faced some unhappy truths about himself. One being that he had ‘an inflated ego,’ she’d remarked. One which reinforced the delusion of being invincible. Great. I’m stuck here, in this hard headed belief of invincibility, that I’ll probably never find my way back. But despite all of that, I’m down to earth. Out here it seems more like I’m at the center of the earth, at the core…

I must be dreaming. Wake up. What else did she say? I have no faith. No faith in what? She never answered that. What do I need faith in? She said it was about destiny? No, it was fate!

Standing up, he walked around the cube, running his hand upon the surface. It was smooth, and strangely cool, even in the sun of this desert. It was solid, with no seams. His steps took him to each corner, in turn, until he came upon the ladder. His friends who leaned on him. But who did he lean on? So inflated an ego that I don’t believe I need anyone?

Except, from the moment I met her, I felt a need for her. I felt a connection that almost seemed alien.

Was it possible to change my so called sense of self? There in changing how I conceive of the cube? Sure, after 500 years of meditation.

Something in that thought struck him. Sitting down, leaning against the cube, he closed his eyes. He took a couple deep, slow breaths, and began envisioning how to recreate the cube. How could he reinvent himself? Be back there, in that conversation. Answer the question differently. What would she have said, if I’d told her I had been cubed? In this moment I have been. So if I can be back in that conversation, then I would answer yes.

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20 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. calensariel
    Jun 01, 2015 @ 00:46:36

    This is so YOU! Sounds like our conversation the other night about surprising your subconscious. This was great. Reminded me a lot of book two of The Maze Runner series by James Dashber, The Scorch Trial. You MADE IT!!! We ought to celebrate!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  2. StaceAlive
    Jun 01, 2015 @ 01:17:39

    I loved it, had me intrigued the whole way, beautiful writing. One thing though, I felt that there was a paragraph or line missing at the end, it just didn’t wrap it up. Or maybe I just wanted more.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • Fimnora Westcaw
      Jun 01, 2015 @ 01:24:49

      Thank you very much for your kind words! There was, you’re right. This was a Story A Day challenge, and we are supposed to have it in by the literal end of the day. I was writing up until that point, so I just dumped it in the blog and hoped for the best. But the challenge is now over, so I can finish a lot of the stories that never had closure!

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

  3. loricarlson66
    Jun 01, 2015 @ 03:41:31

    This was so captivating, Fimnora! I actually liked the ending as it is… Him saying that he would have said yes… it allows my imagination to figure out how he would have reinvented his cube… fascinating!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • Fimnora Westcaw
      Jun 01, 2015 @ 12:55:26

      Thank you, Lori!!! I was sitting with the where to go to get him out of there, when time ran out LOL BUT, you’re right. It does allow the reader to ponder how that might change everything.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

      • loricarlson66
        Jun 01, 2015 @ 14:37:35

        You’re welcome! I love those kinds of endings. I know for some it is frustrating.. but hey, I have an extensive imagination and like to create my own scenarios.. lol

        Liked by 1 person

        Reply

  4. Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature
    Jun 01, 2015 @ 09:44:02

    Wow, I wonder what it is like to be inside your head! What an amazing imagination! Congratulations on completing the class!! I hope you do add to these stories. So, do you start your novel soon? You have the ability to draw people in within the first couple of lines. A true gift.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • Fimnora Westcaw
      Jun 01, 2015 @ 13:04:26

      Thank you, Mary! It was quite a month. Though well worth it because it pushed me to really find places I’d not considered before. I have all my stories to look back on, and know which were finished, and which would serve as a beginning to something bigger, and I hope that I will get organized enough to follow up. I actually have been working on a novel; I have 250 pages of it. That’s 1/3 of the way through it. But it’s been a long time since I’ve written anything for it, and it’s actually on hard copy only – before the computer age came by and changed everything. I have yet to begin transcription of it onto computer.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

  5. platosgroove
    Jun 01, 2015 @ 09:51:23

    I recently learned the significance of the cube for some people in relation to saturn worship. The symbols associated with it run throughout many religions and are a part of many corporate logos. Its been around forever but I’m just now learning about it. The story is wonderful. I was wondering where the cube idea came up in you.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  6. avsweb
    Jun 01, 2015 @ 18:48:30

    Great story! I was really involved with the story. Trying to imagine what you were describing. Very nice… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  7. badfish
    Jun 02, 2015 @ 00:53:59

    Jeesh, woman. It’s a good thing our minds are inside our heads and out of view of other people to see, because if we see your mind walking down the street, we gonna be one scared puppy! I admire your ability—to come up with all this original stuff day after day, to write it so clearly and interestingly that it keeps us right there with you all the way till the end, and to write grammatically correct in such a short time. I would never be able to do this.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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