-  Fiction - The Instrumental Conniption









In Memory
Sean Pettibone



The Instrumental Conniption

I nervously set several steps towards the imposing array of sublimated fixtures and impermeable characters, uncertain of their purpose and the connotations elicited by their adjoining location. Attempting to decipher the intricate would require a level of intelligence and knowledge that wouldn't be simple. I Looked aside towards her and found some reassurance that she believed in me, though the Navigator's doubts and Gemine's detachment measured my confidence. Looking towards the flat surface didn't reveal much beyond shallow appearance. The strange fixtures didn't seem manageable and I resisted the urge to push and pull the extensions. I decided to take a few careful steps towards the room's perimeter, glancing back toward the inner lamp and its static mirrors for any signs of movements. Nothing had changed despite our prolonged efforts, but there were definitely intriguing occurrences. The most prominent phenomenon was still evident after several minutes. My eyes couldn't avoid a residual glow derived from her actions permeated the buttons, making them clearly visible in the darkened room.

Moving closer to the exterior portions elicited intriguing and tangible insights. Undertaking a close study, I determined the intricate designs were styled in a consistent manner yet remained distinct from one another. They weren't visible when shrouded by the thick air, but had been brought to life by the brilliantly illuminative force borne from the convergent light machine's powerful illumination. Maintaining a steady luminance as the surrounding areas lights dimmed, they stood out from the surroundings., Acting quickly we moved towards them and realized they were the leading extensions of complex instrumentation. Each protruded outward from the flat panel in varied directions, pointing in contradictory directions. Walking closer, I noticed another unexpected aspect of their design. Beneath each convergence, there were a series of small symbols. Initially, they appeared illegible, but they kept my attention as I walked closer to them. As I neared the unceremoniously printed characters, their incoherent forms converged and gradually became strangely familiar in a sense, but I didn't recognize or decipher them immediately. It took me several minutes of sustained effort before I realized what they represented, at least to a point. Focusing my eyes on a single character. I remembered some of their basic shapes and underlying form, except that it had changed disposition. These conversions' untempered approach required me to make instantaneous connections while switching position completely.

Quietly observing them for several minutes, I awaited a tangible response from the fixtures; but they held position without accompanying physical elaborations. They retained a static resolve without engaging in strange connotative movements, much less swirling around in choreographed temporal dances. She noticed my confusion and unrealistic expectation. Walked closer to the instrument panel, she waved her dark cloak across the surface to gain my attention. She recognized that they held residual power but explained quickly that I shouldn't expect a similar reaction. While they might have looked familiar on the surface, these particular illustrations weren't drawn from the same pencil, and lacked their emotive capabilities.

Her simple explanation brought a sense of release, freeing me from false hope. Clarifying the reasons behind their lack of tangible response cleared my eyes, I told her I was grateful for her insight but remained determined to decipher at least some of the mysteries they held. She nodded her head, then warned me not to get distracted since we'd undertaken a different objective. I took the hint and quickly studied the instrument panel and its accompanying symbols carefully and tried to make connections between the various objects. Repeating this process systematically, I was unable to comprehend what specifically the symbols represented with such a brief interval. I decided to focus on a single character that seemed the easiest to reconcile. My eyes shitted perspective, one particular character stood out. I recognized that it was actually a common symbol, that repeated frequently. It had been inverted, facing directly opposite direction. Its lines mirroring the shape of the recurring character's I'd reconstructed and sketched earlier. Appearing to indicate a simple consideration, pointing east instead of west, its purpose, when viewed from that alternate vantage, seemed understandable.

I hoped this diminutive revelation represented significant progress. I looked with a preliminary confidence towards the Navigator, hoping for at least partial confirmation. He seemed somewhat distracted and didn't look directly at me but advised me not get lost within the individual markings. Somewhat disappointed, I returned my focus to an adjacent symbol and saw that it had also been inverted but retained its basic shape and design. Recognizing its elaborate shape within this unlikely context was revelatory. Taking a few steps closer, the luminous figures on the walls maintained an unlikely consistency with her initial sketches and my reflective drawings. However, they'd been marked indifferently, were smaller and felt strangely lifeless. After contemplating their structured aesthetic, I came to an unfortunate realization. These diminutive characters weren't inspired creations or ebullient designs, merely indistinct labels written without emotion.
Taking on a demonstratively simplified, moderate approach that didn't enunciate anything tangible beyond the foundational information. Each character conveyed a simple,description, its intractable characters indicated the function of the adjoining instrumentation without elaboration or excessive flourish. Despite engaging on prolonged study of the dense compositions, their purpose remained elusive. My exhausted eyes couldn't easily read another puzzling arrangement. Glancing over their intricate forms, I wasn't able to intimate precisely what they were indicating, From my superficial, somewhat shallow perspectivr it didn't appear they weren't attempting to elicit profound revelations.The detached consistency with their uninspired compositions allowed a tangible connection that lacked the forebears' inherent energy. Taking a step back, I looked over the panel's arranged instruments and found them almost incomprehensible. Despite my efforts, wasn't able to articulate or translate their exact meanings.

I became unavoidably frustrated but felt somewhat reassured by their unexpected confluence. These lent them a degree of consistency and, from that perspective, I could take a measure of comfort when I realized that we'd arrived in the correct price. However, I also realized the venture was too complex for me to decipher in such a short period. Sensing my continued convection, She effortlessly arrived at me side. I hurriedly attempted to elucidate their unlikely reappearance to her, but she didn't seem convinced by my efforts. She knew I was perplexed while attempting to internalize their functionality in hurried fashion. Her voice thickened as she instructed me in a firm tone, not to get lost in the details again. I looked away from the instrumental panels somewhat ashamed that I'd lost focus.

Hearing her admonition seemed to puzzle the Navigator who held back his observations. He'd also loosely contemplated the designs' inverse construction, attempting to decipher the clandestine methods behind their alteration, Waving his hand, he contradicted her advice, encouraging me not to give up. He said he was impressed with my efforts. He told me we'd have to stop for now, but we should work together when we returned to this location since he only achieved transient knowledge regarding their functionality. Gemine pushed through our guarded conversation, walking directly into our line of sight. I felt my eyes tiring from the work involved with assembling these elaborate sections into a coherent, yet still unfinished design. Attempting to read the symbols only functioned sporadically, their scattered arrangements offered shallow directions or superficial positions on vague maps. Loosely formed, they weren't useful beyond marking nonspecific areas. This created uncertainty between the points, they stood at a remove for the most part. She finally concluded, its convoluted appearance was likely made indecipherable by design, an attempt to hide them from external visitors. A purposeful distraction, made to delay unwelcome incursions.

Gemine wasn't discouraged by ts pervasive silence, shifting her methods unreservedly. Instinctively adjusting her attention from the static forms, she shifted her piercingg gaze with determination until it breachesd the light house's defenses before penetrating its circular layout. Looking from a broader perspective, I observed the instruments from an altered resolve. This was only partially indicated, but lacked distinct points within the mysterious lighthouse, offering only a brushing glance at the secrets it meticulously contained. Gemine wasn't intimidated by the layers of tangential defenses and finally worked up the strength o break through its invisible barrier. Gliding across the floor until she stood directly in front of the assembled pieces, her hands commenced moving the dials, adjusting their location, intuitively pushing their solid indicators at a rapid pace, without need for anyone else's advice. Her dynamically-imbued hands moved over the instrumentation unflinchingly, commanding its elaborate form effortlessly without assistance.

The Navigator followed an uncertain path, determined to persevere, allowing himself the opportunity to take a closer vantage, HIs technique wasn't straightforward but his motive was plainly admiration, not interference. Working with profound efficiency, she clipped the last few switches with her fingers and took a step back, satisfied with her work. Placing her hands on her sides triumphantly, it wasn't immediately clear what she was up to. She walked towards our location, saying nothing but offering a modest smile which conferred a sense of pleasant erudition on her preceding task. The Navigator finally complimented her, praising the fact that she'd effortlessly exceeded his work and mine with only a few minutes' effort. Her grin broadened but she didn't elaborate at first. She held her hands in place, then turned back towards the panel without divulging further specifics. We looked at it carefully for an unpleasantly protracted interval, surprised and disappointed that there wasn't an immediate reaction.

Averse to unproductive conjecture, the Navigator maintained a steady remove, unwilling to overcharge his emotion from the evident disappointment. Following an unarticulated method, he stoically took the measure of the situation and told us not succumb to the stultifying quiet. Despite their dormant status, he observed the mysterious symbols embedded beside the instruments and connectives still brought an unmistakable energy, when they were viewed in the proper order. Gemine appeared somewhat perplexed by his disconcerting theory but found herself unable to disagree. She commented that, she indeed saw a subtle pattern emerge as she surveyed their intricate arrangements and elaborate compositions. Summoning further response, she managed a cordial agreement and stepped in front of the complex panel. Taking close experimentations a step further, she began looking across the surface with her machine once more. I saw her retrace her motions, training her machine's dials deliberately while tracking the response it received. There was surprisingly little commotion on her second maneuver. She'd purposely let its power diminish, leaving a small beam of light in her path.

The intrinsically contemplative motions emanating from her mechanized creation allowed her to track the various elements and contortions, movements and, reactions without causing a massive conflagration. Its truculent glow held a deliberately modest level, compartmentalizing each shape in determined order. Sensing that she was still moving too quickly, Gemine suggested that she not move too quickly and risk looking beyond an important element, overlooking something obvious placed directly in their sight. The Navigator seemed to reach the opposite conclusion and told her that she was moving a bit too slowly. To illustrate his contradictory conclusion, he fearlessly pointed across the room, swinging his slender arms towards the outer windows. She watched patiently as the eastern sun was slowly descending while its western companion wasn't far behind. The shrinking amount of ambient light left little time for excessive contemplation. This didn't allow her to engage additional examinations with the machine. Realizing her disappointment, the Navigator reiterated his admiration for her designs,

She quietly implied that she didn't expect to encounter pronounced deficiencies. Looking over the embedded instruments, he noted their continued lack of movement and worried what could elicit some measure of release. He carefully thought about her techniques, switching his balance while striking his arms over his neck-tie, forming an invisible rectangular barrier around his pockets. It wasn't clear what he was attempting to convey with this strange maneuver, its symbolism eluded my eyes. He finally ended his indistinct movements and attempted to resolve her anticipation. Swiftly turning his incisive gaze in her direction, somewhat sheepishly, he respectfully suggested a change in approach. Explaining that he'd come to a realization, that her complicated measures would benefit from an infusion of pronounced determination.

He said that her motions were far too tentative to elicit any response. She came to her own defense quickly, answering firmly that she was maintaining a consistent pace that was both expedient and thorough. Spinning the machine's dials, she refocused her efforts but avoided touching or moving any of the instruments, not wanting to interfere with their operation or disrupt their function. Her voice steadied into a firmly enunciated tone. She forcefully elaborated that she wasn't expecting another elaborate dance or choreographed motions to recur. She undermined his assumptions in a few words, It was obvious they'd originated from a profoundly different sphere. Realizing his mistake, and he slipped away quietly away from the arrayed instruments. His shoulders slumped, causing his suit to wrinkle slightly as his confidence bowed. Holding his words, he was silent for an indeterminate period, the quiet extending awkwardly, before apologizing meekly for misreading her motivation, We watched her move the machine systematically across the indicators and the surface controls, unsure of what precisely she might discover hiding beneath their intangible form.

After several minutes' of increasingly impatient observance, the Navigator's deference evaporated, and he unexpectedly decided to take forceful measures. He almost leapt upward and quickly sprinted across the room. His feet shifting with immediate velocity, propelling him towards the arrayed instruments and plaintive mechanical connections, with abandon. As her neared close range, his urgency diffused and stopped immediately. Looking towards the instrument panel, he couldn't' t resist moving ever closer, until he's broken into her perimeter. She turned her machine's vantage slightly to avoid his initial convergence but the Navigator responded by quietly sliding between locations, hoping to gain proficient insights from a close vantage. She hastily reoriented the machine quickly in order to regain its open view alongside her unquestioned prominence. Shaking her head in exasperation, she strongly implied that didn't appreciate his interference and told him forcefully to stay out of her machine's carefully narrowed line of sight. Growing somewhat indignant, she reminded him that it had taken her a great deal of effort to attain a confluent proximity. She'd spent an inordinate time determining a proficient length and proper intensity for its complex measurements.

Annoyed by his forceful behavior, she appeared to become exasperated, hurriedly explaining that a seemingly minor, unintentional blockage of her machine's clear vantage wouldn't be productive. It would immediately show any indications she discovered into question, disturbing her work. He thought about the potential detriments he might have caused, but half-heartedly apologized, explaining further how the machine blocked him from taking an unobstructed view.

She decided not to dwell on this particular miscommunication, quickly reminding him that she wasn't looking to force him away from the encompassing placement alongside the lighthouse, only that her machine's positional sight-lines needed be kept open, free from external blockage. He nodded and said that he understood that he hadn't understood the machine's constraints and limitations. He effusively complimented its elaborate construction and intricate design, expounding without hesitation that its capabilities exceeded any thing he'd encountered during his innumerable travels. She took his words in silently then accepted his admiration unreservedly, before humbly revealing its construction wasn't completely realized. She told him that she hadn't found all the parts she intended to use in her still incomplete design; it wasn't remotely finished, by any measure. Her defensive explanation seemed to satisfy his curiosity and he didn't need further elaboration. The Navigator retreated from her immediate area, stood back a pace then watched her resume work with replenished inspiration thanks to his generous praise. Moving her machine, sliding the switched and turning its dials, she quickly became preoccupied with its machinations once more. He observed her actions carefully, before respectfully moving back even further, giving her machine the unhindered line of sight it required for complete functionality.

Commencing her work with renewed determination, she turned her attention back to rectifying the machine's shortcomings. It didn't rake long before its intricacies held her rapt attention. It kept itself slightly misaligned despite her continued efforts, defying her careful adjustments. Since she was the sole creator who alone knew its internal workings, none of could offer tangible assistance. She didn't seem to mind the solitary challenge she'd constructed. Without external distraction, she carefully managed its extensions and levers. She worked quickly, systematically recalibrated her machine's dials intuitively until they reached a promising resolution. I looked at closely and felt with some trepidation. I'd never seen her implement that specific, incomprehensible placement in previous arrangements. The machine's bearing seemed tilted, bending outward in an unexpected manner. Its stratified appeared to blur, taking an unbalanced weight. The majority of its dials were positioned insistently, uniformly pointing directly towards the upper portion of its design. There wasn't an immediate response, but she wasn't giving up. Making further refinements, she moved the machine's controls slightly and pointed it towards the opposing wall.

She placed its leading-surface carefully and held it steadily, keeping its perpendicular to her eyes. After holding it at a steady point for several seconds, it set forth an unmistakable beep, indicating it had reached a proficient altitude. Her feet danced a little and she glazed over the floor with contained optimism. Her constrained motions appeared to signal a partial celebrating while she moved across the room towards the exterior portions. Nearing the perimeter, her resilience grew and her body began impulsively swerving. She kept her emotions sedated and quickly subsumed them, She quickly stopped shifting her feet, tapping on the floor gently until they followed an almost imperceptible, nearly silent rhythm only she could hear. The machine followed the distant beat grudgingly, its outer options acquiesced with visible reluctance, accompanying her surreptitious dance involuntarily. She confined her steps inside a generous radius. Her dexterous fingers began lightly swinging the evenly-mannered construction in narrow circles. She implemented a sequence of shallow rotations until its exterior casing faced directly ahead, parallel to her location, until it pointed nearly perpendicular to the rows of instruments on the periphery.

The machine began shaking in that moment. Not waiting for a protracted beep to occur, she spun what appeared to be the main dial until the lender mark on its surface upward. This brought no adjacent response but she moved it around another half-cycle. Carefully spinning its ridged surface around, for a moment until it finally gave off a loud clicking sound followed by another determined, familiar bleeping alarm. Indicating that she'd achieved a partial objective, the machine gave off a subsequent beep at an even higher pitch, responding that no further adjustments were needed at that point. I'd seen her implement this somewhat familiar technique several times but the pulsating beep was never as loud or prolonged, Its forceful, confirmative signal was unmistakable. The machine's audible message clearly indicated she'd finished her preliminary adjustments and the device was set to finish automatically without further instruction. Correctly assuming this maneuver, the machine's beam resurfaced in resplendent form. Skipping across the room's perimeter, her machine traced and illuminated the various instruments ensconced with the panel, moving across the surface quickly. Performing at a steady pace, its light appeared to mark specific areas as it had previously. However, she didn't linger on specific points for too long, brushing across the uncoordinated surfaces quickly. She continued turning her machine until its narrow beams unexpectedly split into divergent paths until their light covered different sections of the panel simultaneously.

Diffusing focus until its beams carried across different objects, the machine's luminance wasn't nearly as pronounced but remained consistent. She held its power in place with a steady, unflinching hand. It wasn't immediately clear precisely what she was anticipating, but the separate beams created a convergent force that connected each of the elements together. Combining the disconnected inquiries into an over-arching field that covered the panel's entirety allowed unseen connections to emerge. She effortlessly managed to hold the machine's strength and power without need for any help on our part. After elucidating a temporal denouement with its mechanical beams, she pensively withdrew its form, sliding the dials inward and pointing it away from the instrument panel. Stating that her convergent-light machine's bifurcated emanations needed a respite before their focus became incurably stratified. She hastily elaborated that they'd achieved adequate visualization to that point, that there was little else we could do at that point.

Any residual light from her machine dissolved almost instantaneously, submerging us in a rapidly darkening space that didn't provide alternate options. We stood silently, once more awaiting a manifestation of some sort, unsure what this latent incursion would reveal. Retaining a formidable remoteness, the Navigator provided little reassurance, keeping to himself, silently withstanding the quiet. He didn't twitch or tap nervously, reiterating his stoic disposition while keeping strident distance outside the machine's circumference. Sensing a permeable dislocation, Gemine utilized the muted interval to observe silently, grateful for the unexpected rest. She passively watched the processes with detached interest, keeping an inarticulate watch as the enigmatic machine's remaining convections subsided. Awaiting the subsequent explosion, she wasn't exactly sure precisely which premonitions would unfold. Gemine prepared herself for whatever might occur. The silence grew louder with each passing moment, challenging us to keep a firm hold on our expectations without becoming overly attached to any specific objective.

Varied instruments strung across the panel made it extremely tempting for me to intervene, but I realized that randomly playing around with them wouldn't be the best decision. Instructing any onlookers as to their function, the familiar yet uncorroborated characters imprinted alongside the mechanical extensions gave no indication as to their function. I realized that experimenting with them without knowing their function could lead to potentially disastrous effect. I waited for something to happen, but the increasingly desolate silence continued, none of us had gained enough courage or confidence to venture further towards the panel. Unwilling to forgo potential, we stood in the room silently, unwilling to retreat or surrender to the machine's dormant undercurrents.

Gazing across the intervening space mutely dividing the control panel from the mirrored enclosure at its center, the silent mirrors inhabited the inner structure inconspicuously, allowing no visible sign of articulation, without offering even marginally measureable insinuations, they kept an unsettling watch over us, reflecting our every movement without comment. Their omnipresent placement forced us to maintain up a constant guard, ensuring that we wouldn't take a step out of line. Their shiny surfaces remained visible despite the dimming surroundings, using their glass surfaces to irrigate the remaining light through the room, splitting its strength between each shimmering angle to keep the surrounding atmosphere constantly visible. Watching the instrumentation panels revert to hibernation, she couldn't hide her disappointment that her machine hadn't succeeded in bringing the static fixtures to life. Dispirited with her misguided energies, she enunciate her undiminished belief that remained insistent despite the contradictory silence. Explaining her technique to us incrementally, she revealed that her eyes intuitively determined a clandestine perspective, Admitting that she sensed a residing temporal form, potentially dwelling within the reclusive instrumentation. She admitted that her rational theory realized there wasn't any tangible indication of her supposition, but her instincts told her to maintain careful observation for a while longer. Swerving in her direction, he wondered if there were unanswered questions she hadn't asked Gemine about the mysterious structure.
Mentioning earlier that she'd been there before, and he said that wondered of it had been abandoned during her previous visits. He walked in her direction, repeating his inquiry loudly. He stood in her direct perimeter, but she didn't respond to him immediately, apparently distracted with another thought. Impatiently, he asked again if she'd ever encountered anyone else there previously. This breached her defenses and she opened her eyes, and looked at him directly. Relenting to his insistence, she responded negatively, explaining that she hadn't ever seen anyone, it had always been a refuge that provided her solitude. Glancing around the room, she elaborated that the appealingly clandestine light house she remembered hadn't changed or been disturbed for an extended period. Gemine explained that she hadn't been there for an extended period but its peacefulness, and tranquility represented precisely what had initially drawn her to that isolated location.
She continued explaining that it had been there long before she'd arrived and she wasn't certain as to the structure's origins or construction. In the middle of a sentence, the groaning sounds of old metal began screeching as old gears beneath our feet began turning without warning. The floors shook from the sudden movement, waves of pressure mounted as the mirrors clashed. Aged alignments slightly ajar it took several rotations before they arrived at a steady flow without clipping each other's edges. Their concentric motions increased in velocity rapidly until the were spinning around each other in smooth rapid motions. The accompanying sounds grew louder as the movements intensified. Gemine was taken by complete surprise by the conspicuously mirrored slates' sudden animation. She hadn't experienced or anticipated anything like this during previous journeys. Her voice began to rise until she was almost shouting to be heard, registering unsettling concern.

A sudden burst of energy overwhelmed the surroundings, the floor shook causing us to lose equilibrium. Accompanying this unexpected occurrence, a large ball of light thrust from within the mirrored lamp, radiating an exceptionally bright tone that overwhelmed our eyes. Brightening rapidly, it took on an discolored yellow hue that spread unevenly. Its contrasting energy unfolded forcefully until its illumination saturated the room. Forcefully insinuating itself between us, the oncoming light overwhelmed the surroundings. It lit the atmosphere with redolent energy, coalescing from the structure with unapologetic ferocity, The convergent ball of energy grew stronger until its sphere almost fully illuminated my companions, their figures barely legible within its connotative form. This sudden phenomenon spiraled and converged without allowing a chance to respond. Squinting involuntarily to avoid the unrelenting glare, I focused my eyes on their figures and they stood silently, unsure how to counter its pulsating force. Looking past them, towards the instruments, they appeared nearly invisible as its rapidly shifting currents of luminance strengthened, their narrow forms diminished into outlines before they discordantly vanished, sinking beneath the circling waves of energy.

The low rumble originating beneath our feet subsided into a relatively quiet yet noticeably destabilized interval of subtle reverberating echoes that diminished in strength until the noisy clasping noises became increasingly sporadic and sounded tentative. The illuminative surge of light was largely unaffected, its relentless approach continued an uncontested march through our position, surging past the nonexistent barriers we'd subconsciously set by standing at close proximity. It continued, ignoring us, spreading heedlessly until its impervious energy seeped beyond the clouded windows. Emanating an unnatural strength, the connotative field of light didn't falter or dissolve. The intangible light appeared more resilient, its power didn't visibly fade or dissolve, unlike her earlier attempts. It held an internal energy that successfully maintained a consistent energy. Its encircling measures kept fast, their energy undeterred, quickly forming a seemingly impervious barrier. Watching closely, I turned around and observed, its unalterable direction and inherent force had fully suffused the inner structure, without resulting conflict.

It's temporal evocation occurred almost instantaneously, taking irreversibly rapid shape in a fluttering blink; its narrow surface providing a vanishingly diminutive corridor in which to respond. Looking past the immediate area required me to avoid looking directly at its core surface, with had grown so bright to be intolerable. Rubbing my eyes briefly allowed a quick glance to occur that offered a surprising revelation. The reticent mirrors within the thick metal enclosure had come to life after the infusion. Unexpectedly, they'd instantaneously begun twirling and spinning, circling around and swirling seamlessly between each other's paths, quickly reaching an unimaginable rate. They didn't show any signs of wear or detriment, and they worked flawlessly, without enduring rusted connections or unexpected collisions. I looked at their timeless construction and realized nobody could have possible anticipated this reaction after such an extended period. The neglected mirrors appeared immovable upon our cursory inspection. Strangely, they hadn't suffered any visible effects and or fermenting diminishment from their age. Their reserved appearance was deceptive, causing us to unintentionally overlook their dormant capabilities until they'd been thoroughly reinvigorated.

Activated by the illuminative fomentation, they'd fired up in an unpredictable manner. Responding vigorously, the lighthouse's inner lamp's conspicuously-arranged mirrors shined brightly again after what appeared to be an endless furlough, seemingly abandoned and nearly forgotten. Brought into vivid illumination, the commenced ebulliently reflecting the light's convergent form. Their shining glass surfaces reinvigorated with intrinsic energy. Finally releasing a clandestine force they'd silently held within their shimmering lines for an extended period. I was impressed by their sudden resurgence and walked several steps closer to gain even marginal insight about their redemption. Walking with speed, I drew close to the spinning paths, but stopped just short of getting in their way. Their movements seemed a bit uncoordinated and difficult to anticipate. I watched carefully until I was spotted. My close approximation caused some concern. The Navigator pushed his hand up into the air, its narrow shadow fell across my position. Looking back, he loudly and persuasively insisted that I take a defensive step back from the swirling machinations. He moved counter to my expectations standing firm against the obvious temptation of excess curiosity. He kept his bearings and decided against his immediate instincts. He avoided forcefully entering the convergent, irrational waves of light without good reason before fully understanding their rhythmic pace, potential ramifications or impending structural deficiencies.

He exemplified a careful forbearance; a visibly reluctant incursion into the unknown forces spiraling around us Realizing the limitations of our comprehension was better than ignoring them. Looking across from location, I saw the others standing firm, not allowing themselves to be intimidated by the wordless assault, not provoked into revealing their vulnerabilities or taking wreck less actions. She dismissed its relentless demands for her unspecified motivations, repelling its intrusive attention. Achieving this with intangible speed and efficiency, she intuitively shielded herself beneath her impermeable dark cloak, pulling its thick cloth visor over her eyes quickly before looking down, avoiding potentially detrimental contact with the mysterious figure's invasive sights.
Gemine took a similarly protective approach, turning away from the unwavering sight, staring directly away from the converging luminous foundation.

The Navigator looked straight into the mirrored lamp's resplendently infused onslaught, stoically disobeying its aesthetic commands, unwilling to let its temporal, hypnotizing force take control of his consciousness. He walked incrementally closer to the mirrors, taking a on solitary mission attempting to discover any secrets held within the rotating structure. I shifted perspective slightly, turning slightly to avoid direct eye-contact with the glaring lamp's invectives. Infiltrating the space between our position with a mixture of confidence, concern, and curiosity, she carefully maneuvered toward the room's center. It wasn't immediately obvious whether she was attempting to protect or assist him but she wasn't fearful of the surging light, moving towards his preverbal location without suffering undue procrastination.

She sprinted across the dulcent floor of the light house with measured anticipation and tempered expectations, following his visible with a somewhat truculent indication. She neared his location but stopped immediately, moving ahead nearly a half-pace behind, when a disembodied voice unexpectedly flooded the surroundings. Its pronounced tenor forcefully reverberated through the languid, unyielding atmosphere. Its tenuous enunciation echoed loudly through the room, superseding the colliding ambient sound beneath our feet. Arriving with voracious ferocity, originating from an unknown point behind us, the determined enunciations piercingly asked who we were and what we were doing inside the tranquil light-house. Disconcerting to our unprepared ears, the voice repeated its somewhat irrational inquiry, taking a disorienting threatening tone and grew louder, revealing it saw us forcing a suspicious invasion.

Gemine wasn't bothered or noticeably affected by the voice. Standing silently, she dismissed any transitory fear, waving its continual accusations away. She appeared more annoyed than worried dismissively asking if its was even worth responding. Shaking her head, she defensively signaled that we shouldn't provoke further anxiety. Between the echoing statements, Gemine agreed and stated that she hadn't ever heard that voice. She couldn't understand why its surface questions had become so aggressive, impugning our motives without reasonable context.

Shifting her gaze backward and facing almost directly towards the voice without revealing her intentions, Gemine held an almost defiantly silent determination. Realizing the imposing enunciations were drawing inexorably closer, she kept steady disposition, holding her location resolutely against the intensifying assault. Standing across from her, I noted the Navigator listening but not enunciating an audible response, while standing directly between the voice and his companion.

Looking back with nervous trepidation, I shifted attention to more precisely locate the reverberating voice's source. My eyes focused on a pertinent shape. Its outline begin to form in an unexpected manner, emerging from the bright light in silhouette, the figure's details blurred within the mirrored-lamp's overwhelming luminance. Its light shielding the figure from clarity, it concealed any indications of its personage. Surprising in its relentless velocity, the featureless frame grew more pronounced as it moved closer. Speaking with intensifying aggression, its sonorous level kept rising. Loud footsteps drew near, spanning across the rooms until they reached walls. We didn't push back, and watched closely while she unflinchingly held position, not surrendering her motivations to the intangible personification as it drew near.

Quickly reverting to a conditional resilience, I made a reciprocal decision to maintain my enduring loyalty, making a point of following her reticent demeanor. I was determined not to abandon her resonant advice, standing defiantly while the loudly reverberating voice grew unavoidably imposing. The trio of unquestionably loyal acquaintances who accompanied me, intuitively reached a remarkably similar, unspoken determination. Given no response from us, the insistent figure spoke with increasing urgency, and veracity. Its words grew increasingly insolent, while the undefined figure impatiently began stomping its feet loudly as it aggressively breached the perimeter surrounding our intangible fortress. The untethered voice demanded we reveal our identities. Her voice became accusatory, taking an angrier tone. Nearly growling, the voice insinuated that she suspected our silence proved that we had malignant purposes in mind. She wasn't concerned or swayed by the unfounded accusations, and directed us to maintain a passive disposition in the face of the voice's increasingly corrosive invective.

The intrusive footsteps grew louder as the figure came closer to our position, shaking the immediate surroundings with increased fury. She remained tranquil and but became noticeably agitated as the figure descended on us. Circling our location, its voice deepened as it repeated its inquisitive demands. Staring directly into the burgeoning assault, the Navigator took on an unanticipated permutation. He appeared somewhat shocked after taking an extended look at the formative figure. It wasn't immediately clear what he'd seen, but something caught him off-balance, he appeared to grow disoriented and stumbled around the room, momentarily directionless. His steady resolve seemed to waver as he stumbled around the floor, struggling to maintain his balance, almost tripping over his feet. It took him about a minute to steady himself but he still looked shaken up. It wasn't immediately clear what had occurred during their brief encounter, but it appeared profoundly unsettling. Gemine sprinted across the floor and stood at his side.

Extending her hand quickly with immense concern, she grasped his fingers in an attempt to reinforce his shaky posture. This seemed to calm his nerves. Gemine asked him what he saw but he was still badly shaken and only responded with incomprehensible fractures. Hoping to elicit a tangible explanation, she took him by the arm with both hands and clenched his extensions. Yoking him towards her, Gemine asked him again what exactly brought him to that uneasy point.

He stammered around, speaking in audible circles which spun around aimlessly, unable to piece together a precise explanation. The enigmatic figure's persistent steps drew closer and louder, echoing past the mirrors and accompanying lamps, until taking a firm position between them. No longer shielded from the immediate light, the unformed figure emerged, placing an unexpectedly diminutive height. Gemine looked at the figure closely. Finding herself almost instantaneously overcome with profound surprise, she appeared stunned into silence, unable to respond. Grabbing onto the Navigator, her balance noticeably weakened; she nervously held on to his shoulders, momentarily weakened something she hadn't anticipated, either. Looking across the room's exterior, I noticed that she held a defensive posture, not moving beyond her unfurled, protective cloak. She held firm to an uncompromising posture, unwilling to succumb to even a minor, tangible risk. Her unwavering disposition wouldn't allow even a transient dispersal of her reclusive manners and fortified defenses.

Waiting just beyond their combative encounter, I felt an unresolved tension escalate between them. They'd reached an impasse, they appeared to be staring with a combination of curiosity and anxiety, inspecting each other without exchanging a word. It still wasn't clear what the figure might have said or done to unsettle them, but I kept myself at a safe distance, joining her in observing their encounter with wary detachment that allowed me to hold a clandestine location quietly, standing mutely a secure remove; evading confrontation with the intimidating voice.

Taking a rough measure of the proportions, I hurriedly estimated the figure's size wasn't important. Her strength came from within. This was evident observing her deliberately constructed paces. She moved expeditiously and gracefully, refraining from sudden or threatening movements while convectively projecting intrinsic, unassailable power across the room. Relentlessly following a determined inquisition, she reiterated her questions with intensifying urgency, it's directive targeted each of us, not just him. It appeared that she'd only noticed our presence after she ventured outside the mirrored lamp's distracting light. Retreating several pronounced steps back towards the exterior instruments, they refrained from giving her any explanation. The short extrusion had opened up enough space.

Implementing that pronounced remove provided him renewed courage to counter with an inquiry of his own. He tapped his jacket lapels quickly, breaching his suit's impeccably-pressed exterior without concern, loudly rumpling the folded page beneath. He didn't pull the page out of his pocket, but shifted position so even its rough outline wasn't visible, Quickly adjusting his facing position so only his jacket's profile was visible, he stepped sideways away from her, before inquiring about her name. Waiting expectantly until the other figure formulated a response. She wasn't intimidated by his reclusive action and walked towards their position, imperiously sweeping past without answering him. Before I could comprehend what her putative motivations or underlying intentions might have entailed, the figure stood directly in front of me, allowing me no space to avoid the path of her piercing direct glare.

At that close vantage, her verdant anger was unavoidable. Implying that she required a pronounced answer, she angrily asked me for, what she insinuated was the last time, whir my name was. Stating with some reluctance, I reluctantly answered, unable to withstand her forays. I knew I'd disappointed them allowing her to pull it out from me. I thought about their reactions and decided not to turn away from her piercing incursions. Despite the discomfort it caused, her anxiously foreboding demeanor wasn't anything compared to my self-conscious fear. Stepping even closer to me, her voice became less threatening once she extracted my name. Emerging from the light, I felt a strange recognition as the details of her face emerged, but I couldn't quite place her visage.
I wasn't immediately convinced by my vague memories, but my instinctive feeling came to the unavoidable realization I'd seen that face before.

Her expression held a strangely mesmerizing form, but I couldn't pinpoint exactly where she could have crossed paths with me in the past. Vividly remembering the style of her resplendent white hair, languidly intertwined with darker strands. This created a substantial standing in her coordination but I wasn't able recall its previous occurrence. I found myself encountering a prolonged subliminal reaction that didn't immediately solidify in memory. Despite my efforts, I wasn't precisely sure why she'd appeared, seemingly out of the atmosphere or what precisely the reasons that explained how precisely her visitation was happening. I examined her face for clues, but its detached expression revealed little. Her slender face crossed with wisdom lines softened as she stepped closer, her extensions flowed over her shoulders, their ends tied neatly together. Staring at me intrinsically, time blurred into a floating ember. Its faded yellowed color evoked a style that forged an ethereal canvas that surrounding her. I changed my vantage that invoked shadows, vibrantly lighting and imbuing emotive energies within her truculent expression.

The reflected light from the mirrored lamps continued burning but diminished until its embers dimmed in a serene manner. Their uncontrollable conflagrations settled calmly, independently diminishing into a contained form; with diminutive flames lightly singing the permeating environs while carefully avoiding excessive transfiguration. Simultaneously and coincidentally, the glassy lamp's shimmering mirrors settled in place directly behind her visage. Their rotating motion and ferocious velocity began unavoidably diminishing, reaching a complete halt before moving further inward. Retracting into dispossession, they retreated quickly back to mechanical slumber, their metal joints slipping into submission. Its rows of thin glass mirrors held still in steady form while undertaking a respite. This certitude from the surrounding atmosphere brought unexpected depth and emotion to the uncemented shadows within her timeless, resplendent features. Disconnected thoughts congregated in a sudden gush of subliminal inspiration. The clarifying face had changed substantially but her features transcended time. As she drew closer, it seemed she was walking right from the portrait. Her unmistakable visage realized itself as she entered the convergent light. Its radiant, glowing hue surrounded and elicited a strangely familiar visage from the convergent barrier.

The indistinct figure quickly converged and mutely rationalized as it neared, its impervious, cathartic eyes illuminating an unexpected revelation. Its altered form emerged from the shadows, my eyes effected an unlikely yet strangely rational realization. The glowing face staring back at me appeared largely undiminished by time's withering effects and punitive uncertainties, I still recognized the shape and form of the emotive, resplendent face, immaterially transferred from the mysterious yet evocative portrait. However, it appeared the calm, unvarnished demeanor I'd seen in the resplendent illustration had cracked, causing the warm expression lovingly sketched on his faded paper to become unwelcoming. Replaced with unrelenting suspicion, the angry figure I observed changed. it's generous stance fastened in place, its restrained features solidified into an angry, temperamental posture closely held beneath clenched teeth and steely eyes.

This change in appearance and demeanor took a few moments to fully comprehend, I hadn't anticipated this possibility, though I realized the ancient portraits were probably composed in the distant past. I didn't feel the level of attachment I'd anticipated. It felt like any lingering connections had faded long ago. felt like a remote, impossibly distant possibility. I assumed that he held onto the portrait as something to explore in the distant future, It didn't seem like an encounter would happen during our ongoing excursion. I caught a quick glance when I turned in his direction. I wondered if he had any ideas about her metamorphosis, he seemed nearly as surprised as I was. It didn't seem like a good idea to ask out loud in her presence and I was relieved that he didn't pull the worn page from his jacket. There was telling what the clear agitated figure's response would entail. He kept a calm demeanor despite her unforeseen arrival, and wisely shielded the evocative portrait in his pocket, hidden from view. I looked back across the mirrored lamp's lengthening shadow, gazing in her direction. Her recalcitrant expression changed significantly as the enigmatic character walked around the bending corridor. She no longer appeared alarmed with my presence but still hadn't quite convinced herself of the others' motives. Instead, her eyes seemed curious as she stared at them for an extended period, her approach seemed to intimidate them and they crouched downward slightly, retaining a protective distance.

Maintaining a carefully implemented, implicitly coordinated distance they didn't walk any closer to assist in the simmering conflagration. I was somewhat dismayed that they didn't immediately come to help me. I understood their reluctance to intervene directly, but even marginal support from a safe distance would have helped. It appeared her loud, undiminished pronouncements intimidated them into silence. Fortunately, I didn't feel imminently threatened by her insistent forays. The imposing, unapologetic face looked me over thoroughly for several minutes, waiting carefully until she finally spoke in a noticeably calmer tone. Extending her arms, she held out her hands turned outward, and asked me to show her mine. It wasn't entirely clear what she was doing. It took me awhile before I decided how I could cooperate without endangering myself. I decided to give her one of my hands while keeping the other safely at my side, just in case.

She didn't seem to mind my defensive, partial gesture, and grabbed my extended hand firmly unhesitatingly. holding it up until it was level with hers, and began examining it carefully. Sliding her fingers across mine, she watched carefully as the gliding over and between my hands, without enunciating her motives. I wasn't completely sure what she intended and kept my other hand at the ready, just in case something untoward occurred. She perused and studied my fingers for an extended period in complete silence, not indicating what was behind the purpose of her examination.

Sliding over each of my fingers thoroughly and expediently, it wasn't clear what she was looking for. She moved across my extended hand quickly, but I kept its companion safely shielded from view at my side, purposely avoiding her scrutiny. Despite my reluctance, she eventually arrived at a usefully determination. As she withdrew, I looked into her wordlessly conversant face and was struck by how little had changed in the indeterminate breach from when the mysterious portrait of her was composed. She contemplated her apparently condusive endeavor for several minutes, not elucidating a single word. Looking towards the others, they appeared just as perplexed as I felt; their silent observation didn't offer much reassurance. I resisted the urge to pull away at that point, reaming uncertain as to how far I should allow her to venture. Fortunately, I didn't need to be that aggressive; she realized her physical methods had reached the extent of their per formative limitations. Given her forceful entrance her next moves caught me almost completely off-balance, and I wasn't sure how to respond. Kneeling and bowing with endearing humility and apologetic gratitude, she retracted her fingers from mine within a short frame, detangling their crossed digits effortlessly. I felt strangely moved by her motions and didn't know precisely how to respond. I decided to reciprocate by bowing slightly in return, showing that I appreciated the kind gesture,

She stepped away from me, allowing herself a brief interval of contemplation. Closing her eyes allowed her to maintain a stringent reserve for several minutes but that changed when she finally released herself from its temporal hold. Her tranquil emotional disposition underwent a profound shift, indicated by her expression, which softened and diminished when she stepped further away from me. Appearing surprisingly dejected and almost sorrowful from our encounter. Her eyes grew moist for an unknown reason, but she was able to hold back her tears. The seemingly superficial inspection appeared to have produced an unexpectedly emotional effect. Her expression became sorrowful, I sensed a profound regret un her eyes as she struggled to contain an unspoken sorrow. Her fearsome anger dissolved before my eyes, leaving her unexpectedly vulnerable. The reasons behind her unanticipated distress weren't immediately clear but she took on a pounced burden when her shoulders slumped.

Kneeling downward, her equilibrium seemed to collapse as she stumbled from our encounter. I looked around for some support, but the others maintained a safe distance. Their nervous disposition seemed conditional. They appeared more concerned with my reaction than her response. Gemine looked on while my erstwhile acquaintance unsheathed her cloak and extended it outward, inviting me to take shelter. The others weren't as helpful, they began to step forward, moving in my direction but stopped short of intervening with her distressed situation. They seemed reluctant to get involved, which was understandable given the mysterious woman's emotive fluctuations and surreptitious circumstances. With-holding overtly sympathetic counsel, they observed her unpredictable reactions dispassionately without offering disproportionate advice. It appeared she'd been overcome by a wave of unexpected memories that weren't particularly pleasant. Our brief connection hadn't brought forth anything resembling what she intended to discover.

The irrefutable divergence we'd unexpectedly encountered appeared to leave her manifestly shaken and largely unprepared, responding erratically to its inconsistencies. The determinedly sub-conscious effect on her emotional was profound and quickly turned physical, her aged bones couldn't repel its incursions, and her diminished strength wasn't able to respond quickly. The unforeseen force she'd accidentally unleashed quickly overwhelming her lapsed, inadequate defense. Slouching into defensive mode, her body folded inward as she involuntarily crouched down towards the floor while her somewhat fragile body began shaking from the unsettling emotions and formative stresses. It seemed for a moment that she might drown, but she shook her head, pushed herself upward and regained balance, I wondered what I'd exactly done wrong; asking myself whether I'd given her the wrong hand to hold or if I should have been more generous and extended both. She took a moment to regain a measure of composure, then walked towards me and apologized for the excessive reaction. I couldn't understand what she was intending to extract, but decided to listen respectfully while she kept her relentless incursion.

She reiterate red her questions to the others but they didn't relent, keeping their muted fortification intact. I realized she'd grown frustrated from persistent discouragement and attempted to distract her attention. Motioning quickly. Pointing towards the unfolding wall at the perimeter, I tried to redirect attention towards the innately-guarded instruments and reflective characters' compromised durability. I hoped creating an appropriate divergence would provide at least partial understanding. She looked across the darkening space and hastily interrogated the embedded instruments. Her inspection didn't appear to leave a significant mark, she dismissively shrugged her shoulders and turned her attention directly towards me in an unsettlingly decisive manner. Ignoring the others nearby, her unflinching visage converged within specific areas of my body. I was unable to figure out precisely where she was looking but her objective seemed to narrow with each step closer.

I waited nervously for an explanation, but she held her voice for an increasingly unsettling interval, collecting her thoughts until they formed a coherent manner. Initially, she approached me cautiously. She apologized unexpectedly explaining that she'd been far too aggressive defending her structure. Her eyes appeared modest and she looked genuinely saddened. Her gaze turned in their direction, hanging her head at a slight angle with a sense of remorse. She turned back in my direction and commenced an uneasy fixation on me, glaring in my direction relentlessly.. Her unwavering eyes didn't blink and her steady visage quickly became unsettling once again. The figure's intense focus intensified and magnified on my specific person. She veered uncomfortably close, as her vision stratified. I felt a surge of nervous, unresolved energy coursing through her as she looked me up and down thoroughly. I didn't know what she'd discover and what I'd done to provoke such a intense glare on her part. The others seemed just as puzzled but she drew closer, kneeling downward. Her eyes zeroed in on a specific portion of my body. It wasn't precisely clear where her attention was focused and I took a nervous step back from her to elude further contact

My reflexive defense unnerved her intricate studies, appearing to disrupt her line of attack. She jumped several inches and pushed towards me. Before I could escape, she reached out, grabbed my hands and placed them in a convergent grasp between both arms. Her deceptively powerful hands firmly squeezing my fingers with sparingly strong force that I struggled to escape. Her eyes looked them over carefully, stroking their surface in a strangely deferential manner. I still wasn't sure what she was doing and instinctively pulled myself away from her control. As I slipped away back towards the outer perimeter, she didn't follow with the same aggression. I watched carefully as her expression loosened, then faltered. In that moment, her unrelenting eyes began to moisten again.

Her weathered face appeared to take on an unexpectedly mournful demeanor. The mysterious figure held her head tilting downward and tried to regain a fractional equilibrium. She proceeded with great effort, but managed to acquire at least a partial measure of stability. She took a step towards me but stopped before coming too close. She appeared remorseful and appeared discordantly unsettled. It took her a minute to work up enough courage to enunciate the diversionary visage she'd encountered. She motioned towards my fingers, explaining their innate placement and subconscious separation were unmistakable. Comprising the intractable contradictions set beneath an undiminished dilemma, every one of her reliable tactics appeared legible The narrow path meant that she had limited space in which to maneuver, despite his timeless expertise. The was no room to escape any emergent worries. Taking a humble tone, she confessed wistfully that she hadn't seen artistic hands like mine in centuries.

- Michael Palisano