(from the Untitled new novel)
With unwavering tenacity and determination, the seeds continued to push with whatever strength they had against the infinite, pitch-black darkness of the heavy, moisture-laden soil up above. While their persistence and courage were admirable, the truth was that none of them had even the faintest idea of where exactly they were, WHAT they were, what it was they were doing, or where they were heading to. Moreover, they had nothing, or no one for that matter, to show them the way. Nothing except for a bizarre, inner instinct that incarnated itself in the form of a soft, whispering Voice:
“Keep going … Don’t give up … You’re almost there”
Despite its soft-spoken and relaxing tone, The Voice was powerful. Its mesmerizing, almost hypnotizing monologue was impossible for any seed to ignore or resist. They all obeyed the Voice, every single one of them. And while most of the time the Voice’s whispering commands conveyed encouragement, prodding the seeds onwards like a motivational coach does, other times it took on a strict, authoritarian tone, stressing the urgency of the situation:
“You MUST continue. There is no other choice. You will face CERTAIN DEATH if you don’t”
The seeds had no choice but to continue indeed, and deep down they all knew this. They knew that they had entered a treacherous journey and that going back was hardly an option – but equally, neither was there any concrete certainty about what lied ahead: nothing to reassure them, other than this mysterious, hypnotizing voice that convinced them against all logic and physical laws to spend every bit of their precious energy continuing to push against the darkness. This was just pure madness.
In fact, none of the seeds knew what was in the unknown layers up above. These upper layers represented the outer flanks of their Universe, which they commonly referred to as the Other Side. The Other Side of course was only a euphemism, reflecting a folklore that the upper layers represented some type of “other dimension”. There was of course no real evidence for this.
This didn’t stop them from speculating, in the event that any of them ever managed to reach the Other Side: they all murmured to each other from time to time, hearing each other’s muffled voices through the thick soil, but none of this gossip was the least bit helpful: everyone knew the same information, the same exact rumors, fables, and stories, no more, no less. Putting all of it aside, one couldn’t help but consider that perhaps the Other Side had all been made up: there was in fact, a distinct possibility that there was never an “Other Side”. It had never existed. Instead, there may as well be more dark layer upon dark layer above them, perhaps stretching into infinity. What if they were THE ONLY living creatures, the only pieces of “consciousness” for meters or miles of pitch-black, waterlogged soggy soil? What if they were the only speck of life for galaxies of mud for that matter, or for however far this world of theirs extended out to?
With nothing to show them the way but this precarious, dangerous inner Voice, all they had to go by was faith: a blind, soggy faith. They just had to believe that there was something beyond the darkness.
George is an author, researcher, podcast host, chemist, molecular biologist and food scientist. You can follow him on Twitter @99blackbaloons , listen to his Spotify podcast George reads George, sign up for blog alerts below, or enjoy his books