Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Beyond - A Short Story

This post is a companion piece to my previous post. It's a short story that @Christy (booksflutterby.blogspot.com) wrote after I showed her two pieces of science-fiction art that I did. I think it's a wonderful story (in my unbiased opinion) and I hope you'll give it a read.


The Beyond
The Beyond
For years we lived in the peace of our world, content with the knowledge that had been handed down from father and mother to son and daughter. In the darkness of night, we gathered with families, heard tales of the Ancients, and learned that when one ceased to exist on this plane, the other world awaited. In the day, we went about our business, living our lives. When the skies were clear, one could look up and see the red stillness that was and had always been. It was simply, The Beyond.

The Beyond was a place the Ancients believed the essence of our being went once we ceased to exist physically on our planet. Another was The Traverse. The Beyond was preferable. It could be seen. We knew when we looked at it that perhaps our loved ones were there. The Traverse was frightening. What did it look like? Why could we not see it? As the ancients explained it, it was what was just past The Beyond, and only a select few were chosen to go.

We became curious and began to wonder what was inside, or even on the other side, of The Beyond. Did one truly go there when one ceased to exist? If we could somehow build a craft that could take us there, would we see our loved ones? And if we could go farther, would we find out who went to The Traverse and why?

And so began the journey to build crafts that would take us into The Beyond and perhaps to the Traverse. It took years of failed experiments. We worked as one, those on the long side of the world and those on mine. It became a universal goal. What was already a functioning global community became more so. Then the day came when one of the test launches of a craft lifted off, hovered and moved higher toward The Beyond. We were ready.

The world rejoiced! Soon we would have answers. More tests were done, crafts were built, and teams were chosen to go on the first journey. Training was intense, but all knew it was worth it. Those who were chosen would find answers, bring them back to our world, and perhaps become the new Ancients with new answers.

When the day arrived for the four crafts to depart, everyone was there to witness it in person, those from our side and the long side of the world. The crowds were large and the mood was high.We who were chosen boarded with pride and an intense emotion we had never before felt. Finally, we would see The Beyond. Finally we might see loved ones long passed.

All went well with lift off. We made it through several layers of atmosphere and neared our first destination: The Beyond. The red glow that had been so comforting was now slightly frightening. We were worried. As we entered the brightness of The Beyond, our crafts tilted and alarms sounded. We did our best to keep control, and watched as our three sister craft did the same. Finally we broke through.

The Traverse
Surrounded by the warm red glow, we marveled at the wisps of vapor that seemed to dance. Desperately we searched for signs of what the ancients had told us. Where were our loved ones? We continue to explore The Beyond, but there was no sign of life. There was no sign of a planet where we could land. There was no sign of familiar faces. With deep sorrow, we sent images back to our world with the message that we were continuing on to The Traverse.

Again, we struggled to maintain control as we moved from the red atmosphere of The Beyond to the mysterious unknown of The Traverse. It took such concentration, that none of us noticed what it looked like until we were through and steady.

Finally, we were on the other side of The Beyond and instead of the brilliant red we had known all our lives, we saw a peaceful blue that hypnotized us. This was The Traverse. The vastness was almost overwhelming. Our small imaginations had never envisioned this. We no longer believed we would find our loved ones, but we did believe we would find others, and we wanted to experience their beauty.

V I S U A L S v.2

I was sitting here trying to think of something new to talk/rant about, and – apparently – the world is now perfect, because I can't think of anything to bitch about right now. But I did realize I'd done a bit of artwork since the last time I posted some of my stuff.

So until something pisses me off or otherwise strikes my fancy, here's some new-ish artwork to keep you busy for a little while. Click on the images to see an enlarged view.


Mouthful of Mic [Illustrator and Photoshop] I guess I don't really need an explanation for this one. Except that was misleadingly difficult to do. It kept looking like a bean, which was frustrating. It didn't start looking like a microphone until I shaded it and chromed it up.

The Beyond [Photoshop] I was in a sci-fi/geeky mood for a while and did this along with The Traverse. I didn't come up with these titles either; Christy did. And she wrote a really cool short story to go with them.

Guardian [Illustrator and Photoshop] Yay! An actual paying piece! This is...I'm not actually sure what this thing is. I call it the warp drive.

Hitachi [Illustrator and Photoshop] When I was first starting to get into using the computer to do illustration instead of the airbrush, I used to collect photos I found of cool looking stuff. I found this in a magazine and thought it would be a good exercise to keep honing my Photoshop skills.

CK-650 [Illustrator and Photoshop] This was a blast to do. Sometimes I'll just go on Google and look for images of cars or motorcycles – anything that seems like it'd be fun to draw. This piqued my curiosity so – voila!

Sentinels [Illustrator and Photoshop] Sci-fi/geek mode again. I drew one of these...things and then decided to dupe them and put them in orbit around an earth-like planet. I think of them as guardians of the world below, impersonal but also unthreatening.

The Traverse [Illustrator and Photoshop] This is the companion piece to The Beyond (the second piece in this collection). This started as a doodle in Illustrator and sort of got out of hand. lol I don't really know what these things are though. Stargates maybe? Portals to regions unknown?

U.S.S. Venture [Illustrator] I was a major Star Trek: The Next Generation fan and I loved the graphics that visual artist Mike Okuda did for the show. I first drew this in pen and ink when I was just a wee one and wanted to re-do it in the style of ST:TNG's graphics.

Enday [Photoshop] This was kind've a joke for Christy's mom. I think she saw another planet thingy I'd done and thought the lights of the city were explosions. So now we have our end-of-days world.

The Chrysler Building [Illustrator and Photoshop] This is a work-in-progress (you may have noticed that the Chrysler building isn't actually there yet), but I thought I'd show it here and then post the finished piece eventually.