first glimpse of the shimmering sphere
When Alec first
glimpsed the shimmering sphere from the corner of his eye, he thought it was
probably time for another salt tablet. Or, maybe it was just one of those
glowing points of light that he had seen just last Saturday after eating a
Big Angel at Pizza Heaven.
Against the backdrop
of the sky darkening to a strange yellowish gloaming, Alec’s imagination
drifted. He envisioned his escapades there last weekend with Lenore and
Jake. Perhaps it was the oppressive heat of the late summer afternoon, but
Alec Booner merely shuffled a push broom across the back patio of the
Centroid Café as he drifted off into Pizza Heaven musings.
Alec saw himself,
together with Lenore and Jake, all huddled around the Inner Edge, currently the most
popular hi-res arcade game in Hawkins Falls. Next, it was his turn. He and Jake
climbed into the Distracto Field to duel with the cruel Sarnk from the Inner Edge.
The Sarnk was animated by some
very sophisticated neural network programming that successfully extracted
money from Pizza Heaven denizens. Alec and Jake had
already spent most of their pocket money to get to Ring 13, the place where
most players throw up their hands in frustration and spicy language. But
today, with Lenore’s hearty encouragement, they spent their last twenty
credits to confront the
crazy Ring 13 world spinning in Sarnk’s Distracto Field.
was actually a clever, gyroscopic mount for a tumbling, two-seat
capsule. Strapped into hard plastic lounges that
vibrated at varying intensities, and wearing the latest in real-time holo
goggles, Alec and Jake were assaulted by a continuous stream of riddles and
puzzles and dynamically
generated 3-D images. Disorienting and gaudy visual illusions floated around
them wherever they looked. And hanging over all was the malevolent, drooling, hissing sneer of the Sarnk itself.