I decided to write a short story for some friends’ birthdays, which turned out to be a rather long story. I have attached the PDF with the story and just pasted a short snippet in this blog post.
In the midst of an impressionable moment, many question that which is being experienced. Few, however, question the reality of everyday life and the absurdities that might replace everything that we are comfortable thinking that we know.
“How long is this flight meant to be?” asked Victor, signalling quotation marks when saying the word flight.
“I think it is an eight hour flight,” responded David, extracting a pair of headphones from his backpack. “Chomsky on noise cancelling earphones, sleep mask and hoodie should be enough sensory deprivation for the night.”
“Eight hour flight! How long does it really take to rearrange the surroundings to look like a new city?” Victor cried out.
“Perhaps they need to make some new molds to recreate the ruins,” teased Kate, while opening a book.
“We are going to Florence though, not Moldova,” said Julio with an expectant smile.
“Julio prego!” cried out the other three.
“When are Scarlet and Brendon joining us?” asked Victor
Kate searched her phone for an answer, “they are at a festival right now, so they will be joining us in three days.”
“Is this the one Scarlet is playing at?”
“Yes, the one in England. I’ve forgotten the name already.”
“Ah that’s great,” said Victor before turning to the flight attendant and asking for an aperol spritz.
“I’m sorry sir,” responded the flight attendant, “but we do not serve aperol spritz on the flight. We do however have white wine. Would you like a glass of that instead?”
“Abastanza bono” he responded, confusing the flight attendant. “Yes, that will do. Also a coke please.”
The flight was an uneventful one, with little turbulence or dramatic events. Upon their arrival, the four friends ensured that all passports were still on them. Unlike their last trip, everyone’s passport had made it through customs this time. Reassured, they stepped out of the airport and began searching for a bus.
“At least they could have put a bus station at the airport,” said Victor in disappointment. ” They had eight hours for this. Look at that fountain, that is definitely copy pasted from Belgrade. I remember it clearly.”
“Actually,” responded David, “that fountain does seem awfully familiar. I, however, have had eight hours of brainwashing with talks on anarchism, so perhaps I just want to overthrow the fountain.”
Kate laughed, “That building over there,” she pointed to their left, “also looks a lot like the houses in Sofia, don’t you think?”
“According to the map the correct bus station is on the other side of this compound,” Julio pointed towards a private building. “There is, however a bus fifty meters from us, I reckon we ask that bus driver if he can get us to the centre.”
The others agreed and headed towards the bus. After some confusion, a map was shown to the driver enquiring whether this was the correct bus for the displayed destination, leading to the driver finally nodding in confirmation. The friends rode on the bus for 20 minutes, until the driver indicated the correct stop at which to get out.
Once the group arrived at their accommodation, they showered, went out for dinner around the neighbourhood and went to bed early in preparation for touring the city the next day.
The next morning they drank tea and coffee on the balcony overlooking the city as they waited for each other to get ready for breakfast. It was a peaceful day. The lively city was not awake yet, allowing for the chirping of the birds to accompany the incredible view.
The peace was soon interrupted by Kate’s sudden surprise, “Huh!”
“What’s wrong?” asked David.
“That was really weird,” she responded. “My eyes just did a weird trick on me. It felt like my brain glitched.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, I thought I saw dry trees in the place of buildings. Like the Dead Vlei, but over there,” she pointed in the distance. ”Not sure what is causing that illusion”
“Weird, maybe some sort of shadow playing with your mind.”
“Or…” Started Victor, “the rearrangers moved components of this stage prematurely.”
“Yes Victor, everything is-” started Julio, interrupted by a sudden frown.
“Everything is what?” asked David.
“Strange, I just had the same experience as Kate.”
“What? Also the Dead Vlei?” asked Kate
“Yeah. Behind the cathedral, right?” he pointed at the location that he was referencing.
“Yes same place as me,” responded Kate.
“I don’t see anything,” said David. “Victor, do you?”
“No, I don-” he began, “Wait, I do! Right there, more towards the left of the cathedral’s dome.”
“Oh wow, that is very weird. It doesn’t even fit in this setting. A theme park of some sort?” reasoned David.
“Yeah, let’s go investigate,” said Victor