Felix was incredulous. Eight years whizzing around the planet, he thought, and not one accident.
And yet here he was, free-falling over the blue of the Atlantic Ocean.
The first tube-transport devices were scoffed at, but they were the safest mode of transportation ever designed. That alone made the difference.
Within five years, a network of great, glass tubes criss-crossed the planet. New homes were built with custom tube-nodes. One could walk from their
living room to a comfortable chair in their own personal pneumatic tube-car and go anywhere in the world.
The invention of the Inertial Dampener was what made the technology feasible at all. It worked by neutralizing the effects of any sudden
acceleration or deceleration, and because of that, a million tube cars crashing and smashing into each other as they were funneled along to their
destinations became a soft boat ride.
And never a single accident.
Felix still couldn't wrap his head around it. What had happened?
He remembered hearing a soft boom. The tube car ahead of him was whisked away before his eyes, and then everything was silent. He looked out
and watched the main-line tube above him as his car fell. Two more tube-cars careened out of the gaping hole in the side of the tube, but none
Perhaps they had sealed it off, Felix thought; the hole, however it had gotten there.
An explosion? That would explain the boom.
He wondered how high up he was.
The tube-transport systems around the cities were generally only a few thousand feet up, but Felix had been on his way to Paris, and the
intercontinental tubes were several miles high.
He looked out. He was still well above the clouds. He didn’t feel weightless as he thought he should, and wondered why.
That's when he noticed the eerie calm that he felt.
You are falling to your death, he thought.
Still, the calm persisted.
Where had this sensation been his whole life? This sense of zen? How in the face of death did all of his fears and doubts dissipate into thin air.
Those concepts aren't applicable in this moment, he thought.
There were a scant few moments of time left at all for Felix.
What is it to be anxious? he wondered. To fret over moments.
He thought of Clara, away at college just last month, her mother worrying over her constantly and badgering Felix into too many evening visits. The
Thompson's had a tube, and visiting the college three-hundred miles away was a quick twenty-minute shoot.
Clara didn't mind, she and her mother got along well, but Felix was always so bored. He envied that boredom now. Such a silly thing to remember
He thought about Gina. Would she miss him? He thought she would, in her own way.
Things had been so distant between them, for as long as he could remember. He tried to remember a time when they were closer… and there it was
Clara’s third grade recital. She had played the Moonlight Sonata. It was beautiful. Gina had cried. Felix hadn’t. He fought the tears
every time they came, and wondered now why. How did Gina see that? As a man being a man, because men don’t cry; or did she see it as a human being
stubborn - fighting his own emotions.
Isn’t that what we do though, thought Felix to himself in the present. We have to suppress emotion to a degree to function at all; the
animal part of the brain cannot rule the mind.
And what would the animal mind think of this situation now? Falling to their death, He wondered. They wouldn’t, he thought back, that’s what
separates us from them; we are aware of our mortality.
Abruptly the clouds broke and he was free of them, the vast Atlantic lay beneath him as far as he could see.
There was no fretting for Felix as he fell from the sky.
The Moonlight Sonata played in his mind.
Time slowed to a crawl, the somber piano striking in his mind, punctuating the nothingness he felt. For that was the only way to explain how he felt
in those moments.
A profound “nothingness”, accompanied by the impressions of everything in the universe around him at the same time, as if it were a part of him,
part and parcel, the whole she-bang.
How much time had passed? A few minutes?
It felt like an eternity.
Felix wondered if he had fallen asleep, it was the strangest sensation. Shock, he said to himself, probably passed out.
And with that thought, Felix vowed to stay awake. See the end with his eyes open, head on.
This liberation, at the end, opened Felix’s mind, a lotus blooming.
He watched serenely as the blue ocean slammed into him at last, jarring him to nothingness.
The nothingness that’s also everything.
edit on 3-3-2017 by JayDub113 because: (no reason given)