Illusion by David Macfie
I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It just had to be an illusion. Nothing in the world looked like this. It was, first of all, unbelievably huge, so big that I couldn’t look at it all at once. Secondly, it was covered in a greenish-yellow, rough-like-bark outer skin that looked sickly. It didn’t seem to have limbs or a head. Not that I could see at any rate. And it wasn’t moving. It just sort of sat there. Its shape was lumpy spheroid – that’s the best description I can come up with. I looked away from this thing and checked out my surroundings.
Then I had my second moment of disbelief. The thing wasn’t alone. There were lots of them, some nearer to me and looking even bigger and some further away. I could get an idea of how far away by the relative reduction in size and the spread of these things was large. I decided to walk around the nearest, to see if I could get any clues on what exactly these monsters were, and also to try and find some other objects that might shed some light on my predicament. I have to admit that the whole thing was freaking me out. Nothing looked the way it should. I couldn’t recognize anything familiar. And, I was getting scared.
Where was I? How did I get here? And, what was I seeing? With these questions churning in my head, I walked on. I reached a forest of thin green trees that I hadn’t ever seen before. They were shaped like flat blades, wide at the bottom and pointed at the top and light green. I weaved my way through and was suddenly blocked off by a huge, smooth-sided ovoid rock. At least I had seen things like this before and that made me feel a bit better. With a little more confidence I continued on my way, through the forest. Then I realized something else. It was light, but I couldn’t see the source of the light – no light fittings, no sun. Nothing. My fear returned in chunks. I continued, hesitatingly, jumping at imagined shadows and darting my eyes from side to side. All I could see was the strange trees. I looked down to my feet. They, at least, looked normal. But I was standing on a dark brown material, with the consistency of pebbles of irregular shapes and each about the size of a large apple. I sighed in frustration, at yet another mystery; another thing I just didn’t recognize. I screwed up my courage and moved on again. The trees were closer together now, and my progress was getting difficult. I began to feel claustrophobic and felt the scream rising up my throat as my panic started to get the better of me. I forced myself between the trees and hit a wall. It also was huge, grey-brown and ridged like a well-fissured lava flow. I looked up and could see no end to the height.
Now I was really scared. I could only turn back. This way was completely blocked. Once again my mind churned with the same questions that it had before. But one became dominant. Where am I? My scream tried to escape but I pushed it back down. My panic was building but I resolutely fettered it and pushed through the trees again. My neck was getting sore from all the swiveling and craning it was doing and I was feeling dizzy from the mixture of panic and fatigue that had invaded my body. I must get out of here, soon, or I will lose control completely.
The trees started to thin again. Through the widening spaces between them I saw something moving in the distance. I couldn’t make out what it was but it must also be extremely big, because it was moving through the trees as if they were made of tissue paper. Now the panic that had been so long controlled broke free. My scream finally escaped and I turned and ran as fast as I could through the trees away from the unknown monster. My mind repeated the same question like a litany. ‘What if it’s a carnivore?” I kept looking over my shoulder to see if it was following and, not looking where I was going, I tripped and fell. My head slammed into a rigid surface, I felt excruciating pain then the world went dark.
How much later, I don’t know, but I came to and gradually opened my eyes, fearing what I would see next. It was light and bright and dazzled me to start with, so I could see nothing. Then slowly my vision cleared. I looked around. I was sitting in an easy chair, with a blanket over my legs. Now, I remembered. I’ve been very sick and have been on some pretty strong medication. The chair was underneath the shade of the large spreading Horse Chestnut tree in my back garden. I looked down at the ground and saw many fallen seedpods and some glossy chestnuts, amid the thick grass. Here and there ants were busily gathering material in preparation for the winter. Then it all became clear.
My mind had been playing tricks, perhaps as a result of the strong meds. I had been hallucinating a journey through the landscape under the tree as if I was smaller than an ant. Now I recognized the huge spheroids, the thin blade trees, the ridged wall and the monster. Now, they were back to normal size, I could smile at the illusion I had gone through.