Synaesthesia Magazine Science & Numbers - Page 50

Suddenly he felt two inches tall, and welcomed the intense heat wave spreading across the bridge of his nose and cheeks.

'Awww diddums!'

That did it.

Later that night he lay awake in bed, his eyes round like saucers smouldering with intent. His head was filled with an assortment of ideas. Practical jokes really.

He decided to enlist the help of Jacobsen in setting up the necessary equipment. Everything had to appear realistic. If she had the slightest doubt that something was amiss they would both be toast.

It would take them the best part of a week, but if they could pull it off, it would all be worth it in the end.

Thursday morning. Nine o' clock sharp. Lab 1214A. Jacobsen had given the go ahead.

She would soon be in.

'What on earth was that?' she demanded.

Her face was a mixture of horror and surprise.

He studied her sporadic movements: how she paced up and down unable to focus on anything, how she tucked her hair behind her ears, and wrung her hands the way you would a towel.

'It's happening,' he said. 'But no...wait a minute...that's impossible, isn't it?'

'What's impossible?'

'The end of the world.'

She snorted disgust into the air.

He grit his teeth, concealing his fists behind his back.

'It's not impossible,' she said. 'The world will end eventually, but come on; you think it'll happen today?'

'And why not? Today is as good as any other.'

He hoped Jacobsen was listening. Everything had to run like clockwork. Or else...

A moment passed and for a second he thought he heard her heart beat, actually beat like a snare drum. If only he could harness that energy, feel the rhythm upon his skin.

Now, he thought. Jacobsen NOW.

And then the lights went out, a huge sweep of darkness swallowing them whole.

'Oh God, oh God, oh God,' she screamed. 'It's really happening.'

The tremendous roar they had heard earlier, announced itself again.

He cleared his throat, grateful for the absence of light. His grin would have ruined the moment.

'I can't believe you didn't know it was so soon,' he said.

Instead of receiving some sarcastic reply, he listened to the pathetic snivelling and whimpering coming from the corner.

'Can't you smell it?' he asked, inhaling deeply.

'S-smell w-what?'

'Ozone.'

Of course the air was perfectly normal, but he kept on inhaling.

'Stop it,' she cried. 'You'll suck all the oxygen out of this room.'

'Don't be ridiculous,' he said. 'In fact there will be too much oxygen in the lab once the sky has collapsed. The stars will fall to earth like sharp raindrops. Who knows, they may halve us in two calculating their speed of

'Well the atmosphere will surge into every building, smashing windows, breaking down doors - '

He heard her footsteps like matchsticks on a table.

Then, right on cue, Jacobsen administered the blow.

Window panes smashed all around them, the splintered fragments acting like silver fireworks.

'Oh,' she screamed, and from the distance in her voice, he knew that she was crouched down on the floor.

Again, a tremendous roar broke into the room, followed by a succession of crashes, some near, some distant.

Don't overdo it, he thought.

'I can smell it now. Yes. Yes! That terrible odour. My God, I think I'm drowning.'

He listened to her pathetic gurgles. He had to give it to her, she was convincing.

'Too much ozone. It'll kill us. We'll be the size of a house,' she said.

'Until we explode.'

And then he felt a grip, tight, meaningful as though she were clinging to a lone piece of rock. He was her saviour.

'Hold me,' she said.

He reached down stroking the top of her head. She had been reduced to an infant.

'Shhh,' he said. 'It'll all be over soon.'