M Drive – The Sludge, Part I

Formless wasn’t quite the right word to describe it.

The entity had shape, of a sort.  If shape was the right word to describe a writhing, roiling mass that seemed to defy any attempt to corral it into a set form.  It spasmed and twisted, trying to seek out some sort of definition for itself.

Blind, sightless, tasteless, earless.  The entity was trapped in a hell of sensory deprivation.  Every second was a million years of confinement, of lack of any awareness except for itself.  It threw out filaments, twisting tentacles of blackness, but it encountered nothing that brought it relief.

That was almost the end.  Perhaps, in another story, the entity would have simply gone completely past the realm of madness and into the peaceful valley of catatonic slumber.  In many stories, that did happen, and nothing was left behind except for a small puddle of ever-shrinking sludge, just one more meaningless deposit in the middle of nowhere.

But that didn’t happen…

Instead, nearly dead from exhaustion after countless failed attempts to define itself, the entity felt something else.  Something outside itself, a bit of reality onto which it could latch.

It was a boot, pressed down into the center of the darkness.

“Cor, what the hell is this?”  The entity had no ears to hear, but it could sense that vibration, a ripple in the air.  “Disgusting, I’ll tell you that.  Someone spill some sort of muck around here?  Blighter couldn’t even bother to pick it up.”

These vibrations meant nothing to the entity.  Speech?  Conversation?  Until this point, there had been no one with whom to converse.  But this boot was connected to more, to a realm beyond itself.  The entity craved that reality, strained with every fibre of its twisted and insane being to get out into it.  To take it.  To absorb it and make it part of itself.

“Ugh, stuff is sticky,” the vibrations continued.  “Thing’s got my boot.  Oy, Johnny, mind coming over here to give me a hand here?”

The entity felt that connection with reality pulling away.  No!  It couldn’t go back to the formless darkness!  With the speed of desperate thought, it lunged upwards, trying to cross the bridge before it was broken.

The vibrations were getting much sharper and louder.  The entity couldn’t understand these, so it dismissed them.  It kept on climbing.

Now, here was something.  There was a structure to this reality, the entity realized.  Flesh and sinews over a structure of brittle bone, interlaced with electric and bio-organic connections carrying waves of binary information up and down in modulated bursts.  This was organization, a form that could be adopted.

Why innovate, when such melodious design was available for the taking?  The entity didn’t hesitate.  It infused the structure, the reality on which it climbed, to which it clung.  It was easy enough to pour itself in, to take on the shape of this most delicate structure.  The other bits were replaced, absorbed, supplanted.   There was no need for them any longer.

The vibrations had abruptly stopped.  How odd.

The entity stretched its limbs, exulting in the sensation.  There were so many other inputs!  Dense clusters of receptors tucked behind focusing lenses to provide a way to interpret the flowing spectrum of photonic energy.  Other receptors, just below the surface of its containment, offered immediate feedback to resistance.  Funnels collected and distilled vibrations in the air, converting them into a traceable signal.

For the first time in its existence, the entity blinked.

To be continued!

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