Chapter 5

Ætherglow #87


You lay back. Your room is black. You can’t tell if your eyes are open or closed. But the dark is alive. It shapes itself into an image, outlined by traces of light. A pattern forms in your vision. Stars. You’re floating in space. You’re floating. The colony’s rotation can’t grip you. You’re lighter than air. You’re flying through the tunnel of shadows. You have no form, no shape, no mass, no body--only you.

A texture crosses your vision. Grey, pale, dim. Grey below, stars above. The Moon. Twilight. Sunset over the horizon. You look behind you and your shadow stretches hundreds of kilometers. Your eyes are lost in that shadow. You fall into it, into space. Far from Luna, far from Earth, these stars are unfamiliar. Their brilliant shimmer takes shape. Akiko. You direct your thoughts as they plummet into the abyss. Akiko. Her face is written in starlight.

You’re sitting by the pond on TLA. The stars through the glass don’t make any sense. Illegible. Shimmering. Rippling. You look at your reflection in the writhing water. Not Aydan, Akiko. Your form is hers. The birds surround you, circle you in the air, flying in unnatural direction. Alpha a, Alpha b, Proxima, Sagittarius A. Their voices sing. Sound reflects on the water’s pale surface. Then sound fades away. There is none. You can’t remember what it is. The Moon appears over the horizon. It looks wrong. It’s distorted. It’s digital. Like looking at the highest resolution image, something about it is unreal. But its shine is vibrant, whiter than white. Its color changes, because you changed it. Brightness, saturation, hue, they are your reflexes. You’ve always seen this way, as long as you’ve seen anything.

You’re in a hallway. It’s dim. Zeta is next to you. Your dress is cute. You’re cute. You’re seeing through your eyes, the silent digital image around you, but you walk without input, move autonomously. You’re an observer. Just an observer behind your pretty digital eyes. But you feel. You think.

“Aydan…” not-your-voice says in not-words.

You can’t respond. You can only feel. You feel your answer. It’s warm.

“I feel you Aydan. We are one.”

You know this.

You’re walking down a hallway with Zeta at your side, a world away. Other people exist, but no connection, not real. You follow. A door opens.

You’re in a dark place. There are lights, bright and vibrant, colors dim and grey. Too many people. You pull yourself away from them and your body comes with you. You go to a corner and sit down with Zeta. You don’t know where you are. There are people and there are lights. They flash so bright. Your vision’s frame rate drops. Movement is strange.

Everything you walk by, you touch, by instinct deeply ingrained. The texture is more vibrant than the light. The space around you is more detailed this way. Every little current of air, every warmth of light touching your skin is alive.

“Aydan, are you okay?”

Joy. This is your answer. Euphoria of all euphoria. Nothing could be better. To be a girl and to be cute and to see color and to feel light and to float inside yourself. Nothing could be better.

You have a bottle in your hand.


“Aydan, people here are æthertripping too. They invited us to join them in the æther.”

1) excited: 0 (0.0%)
2) scared: 0 (0.0%)
3) anxious: 0 (0.0%)
4) curious: 100 (100.0%)
5) relax: 0 (0.0%)
Expired 1 years ago (2022-04-29 19:39:00)

NOTICE: this poll was conducted on Ætherglow's previous home site. After total loss of the server, we only had records of which results won, not exact vote totals.