Saturday, July 11, 2009

Daily Story 87: A Case of the Blues

The storm was the only feature visible from space, a swirling white mass like down feathers. It was a thing of light, reflecting rays from the sun during the day and flickering from within at night as lighting raced through it like synapses firing in the universe's largest brain. Satellites jockeyed for prime positions as they orbited, recording and storing information mindlessly. Without guidance or repair, they drifted over the storm that was the world in smaller numbers each year.

It was forty years after the storm's birth that the last satellite floated too close to the world and dropped into the churning atmosphere. Solar collectors and antennae tore loose as it tumbled, plunging into the wet darkness of racing clouds where no sunlight could reach. crackling tendrils of energy arced around the satellite until they, too, had been left behind and it entered the howling space below the great storm. Water came in larger drops here, coming down so heavily that they endlessly collided and split apart in every available inch.

The impact was violent, throwing up a mountain of mud and concrete. The debris fell wetly back to Earth, one large piece sliding down a small hill until it came to rest against the exposed edge of a long-buried structure. It weighed less than a hundred pounds, and yet it had wedged itself into just the right spot to slowly lift the object that had stopped its decent. If there was any kind of creaking or groaning noise it was lost in the eternal sounds of the storm, and so it would have appeared to rise silently like a magician's assistant being levitated had there been anyone left to observe it. After a moment the movement stopped with the object still largely prone, until a massive gust of wind caught it and wrenched the entire thing out of the marshy ground.

It was large, and rectangular, and flew through the air erratically - ricocheting off of half-eroded buildings and knocking over one of the few standing street lamps. It came to rest at an angle against a statue that had been worn down to anonymity, and the rain swept against it and began to wear away at the accumulated mud and grime that had survived its flight. The harsh glare of lightning illuminated something more than the grays and browns of the storm-ravaged world, something being exposed piece by piece on the object.

Bright colors began to show, slowly revealing a scene of happiness and prosperity. Little cartoon people gathered under the smiling face of a yellow sun, as a farmer waved at an anthropomorphic cloud who cheerfully watered his crops. Sunbathers sat on a perfect beach. There was a puppy. Above this idyllic scene was a bright green banner that proclaimed "Never Have Bad Weather Again! Microsoft WeatherMan - Coming in June!"

The storm continued to beat at the billboard, and the picture started to bubble and peel. In another five minutes, it was gone completely.