The Experiment by C.N. Kunzli (Lucent Dreaming Issue 5)

When you arrive in the boat, the first thing you see is a gigantic grey rock in the vicious, deep-blue waters. It takes a second before you notice the grey rock merges into a towering, squared block. Armed soldiers lead you up a steep path that winds through sharp corners. “Don’t look down,” they tell you; and you listen. At the end of the path, the ground is smooth as though someone has cleanly shaved off the top of a mountain. You notice how dark it is in the middle of the day, so you look up. “Don’t look down,” the soldiers told you; but no one cared to warn you about looking up. The grey block shields your vision no matter where you look and you feel trapped and dizzy.

The guards leave you at the front door, where you are greeted by a little round man in a very tall hat. “Welcome,” he says with his arms outstretched, “to the Experiment”. Behind him, a larger army of soldiers awaits. You’re lead in through the front door and, when your eyes have adjusted to the light, they see life. It’s a city, with houses, plants, people and a sun. You ask the little round man about the sun and he boasts about it being “incredibly life-like, right?”

You look behind you where the door used to be to find it has been replaced with an illusion of fresh air and plain fields for as far as the eye can see. Walking through the city, you see that every house is painted in a light pink colour with a black roof. They all have two large windows and a black front door that leads to a garden people decorate as they please. You walk for half an hour on a straight road past families with children that wave at you with a big smile. At the other end of the city, the illusion is broken by a large pink wall that says ‘FLOOR 6’ in block letters. At the bottom of the wall, there’s a glass elevator. It is massive. “It can fit up to two hundred and fifty people,” the little round man boasts. A soldier presses the button for floor 15, the third highest, and you become acutely aware there are no buttons for floors 1-5. You ask the little round man, “What’s down there?” He answers, “No one”.

Then the elevator starts moving and takes you from floor to floor. One floor is blue, one is red. Each floor holds its own city and you notice that, the higher you go, the larger, cleaner and more valuable the houses become. You arrive at floor 15 and are met with eighteen large screens that take up all of the walls. Each screen shows a live view of the different floors, where life seems to be going on as normal. Screens 1-5 are turned off.

Browse issue 5 in full.
Lucent Dreaming is an independent creative writing magazine publishing beautiful, imaginative and surreal short stories, poetry and artwork from emerging authors and artists worldwide. Our aim is to encourage creativity and to help writers reach publication! Subscribe to Lucent Dreaming now, support us on Patreon and follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram

Related posts

Issue 9 arrives!

Lucent Dreaming issue 9 has arrived at Lucent HQ and we think it’s our best one yet. Subscribe today from only £20 to purchase your

Read More »