The Machine shone irritatingly from the garden. The morning rays glinted off its copper and glass surface like a second sun, sending beams of light to swirl and dance across the far wall of the library.
“Draw the curtains, will you, darling?” the elderly woman said as she dramatically draped her arm across her eyes, sinking further into her plush chair. “I cannot abide that monstrosity out there.”
From the corner, her husband gave a sympathetic smile and set his beaker down.
“Come now, my dear, come now,” he said as he shuffled across the room. He had the air of one always on the verge of laughter, even when speaking of the most serious of matters. He took his wife’s hand and patted it gently. “The Machine is just doing its job. No need for such distress.”
“Oh, Maltricus,” she bemoaned, “why must we bear it?”
“Drink your tea,” he encouraged, picking up the cup and saucer from the side table. “You’ll feel better once you’ve had your tea.”
She waved the offering away and turned her eyes to the far wall, her voice taking on a far-off quality. “I do not want tea; I want to be free of this place.”
He set the cup down again. “In time, my dear. In time. Do you want to know what I am working on? Would you like to see it?” His eyes glinted excitement, the little wrinkles at their edges growing deeper. Though his wife gave him no reply, he shuffled back to his desk again.
“This,” he said, bending over to gaze at the liquid inside his beaker which caught the light and set it to sparkle, “this will do the trick, I think. Yes, I think it will.”
His wife gave a greatly exaggerated sigh.
“I have bridged the gap, you see? Between the physical reality we live in and the quantum reality that hides beneath.” He used his hands to illustrate, holding one over the other, about an inch apart.
“There are all these realities, all around and under and over and beside us. We cannot perceive them, generally. But this…” he gave a giggle as he swirled the liquid around inside the glass. “this is the bridge. Quite clever, don’t you think, Pari?”
She slowly rolled her head back the other direction and reached for her tea, having never understood anything her husband said. He fussed and fiddled with his machines and his formulas, rambling on and on whether she answered him or not.
“Come, come,” he said, waving her over. “Come and watch. You’ll see, you’ll see!”
Despite his supplications, he did not seem to even notice that she did not relent. Instead she sipped her previously unwanted tea and made sure to give occasional tragic sighs. He turned to open the window which overhung the Machine.
“Now, what I’ll do is- yes, what I’ll do, is pour this solution into the Machine-“
His wife began to hum to drown out his voice. She was still humming as the Machine blew up, sending bits of her husband to swirl and dance across the walls. She set down the teacup and rang the bell until her husband’s assistant arrived.
“Be a darling, mon cher, and fetch Maltricus’ next incarnation. The Machine has blown him up again.”
Inspired by and partly following the guidelines of Candice I-came-for-the-soup’s latest writing prompt. It was write random words or phrases from 4 categories and draw one from each category to produce a sentence to begin a story, then a second sentence to add in later (the rules were to do this after 20 minutes but… I didn’t. I just drew it randomly about half way through and then added it when I felt it fit the story.
The two sentences I drew from my cups were:
“The Machine shone irritating(ly) in the garden.” and “The woman was humming as it blew up.”
I modified them slightly to fit the context, but I greatly appreciated the completely random story this created! Even if I didn’t entirely follow the rules. 😀