Calibration 74: Chapter Forty-Seven

William F. Aicher
4 min readDec 1, 2020

Calibration 74 is a serial novel experiment, posted raw and unedited as it is written. It is recommended you start at the beginning.

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Chapter Forty-Seven

A latticework of raised stone. An infinite tic-tac-toe board, lines stretching out to infinity, into the inky void. Pits and chasms plummet like razors into the depths below. Tread carefully and move ahead. Be careful not to slip.

With each step forward, the walkway left behind crumbles. Snap and crackle. Dust and powder. Pop-pop-pop-pop-pop.

To step backward is to enter the abyss.

Criss-cross, applesauce. Choose your difficulty. Left, left, right, right. Up but never down. Press start to begin.

My hand forms a pistol, my pointy finger the barrel. With a flick and a pew, I fire a flare off into the sky. The world blooms in crimson, and the threads of this patchwork quilt flow onward into the nothing.

Spread my wings and close my eyes. An angel in shadow, taking flight above all that is below. Stopped short by Icarus as he swoops down from the heavens, garden shears in hand. A glimmer of his crown, a glimmer in his eye, and my wings are clipped. From feather tip to my spine, a transition to ash, blown away by the breeze of an ascending god.

“Come play with us, come play with us,” the voices of mermaids echo below. Their teeth gnash between words, voracious to feed on the flesh that is me. Carnival music plays and a monkey dances in the distance, just out of sight, encouraging me to sing along.

Step one. Step two. Step three and step four. Every step down the never-ending hash, following the lines, taken gingerly so as to not slip and slide below. At the crossing points, decisions beckon to be made. Forward, left, right. Never backwards. Because what is behind no longer remains. Just a plummet into the depths. The empty squares expand, become rectangles and Tetris pieces, all connected as a historical record of my journey.

“Come play with us, come play with us.” A mermaid splashes in the inky depths beyond my perception, and I consider joining her.

Step five, step six. Step seven-hundred-and-fourteen.

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William F. Aicher

Author of “philosophical” thrillers, sci-fi, horror, and sometimes the plain old bizarre. Buy my books on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2FyLbCT