“Dad, who lives in that treehouse?”
“No one. That place is in shambles,” replied Mr Elliot to his ten-year-old son, Rory. “Alright, off you go to bed now. Goodnight!”
Rory wasn’t much convinced. Should I tell dad about the flickering lights? He might believe if he sees it. As the tick-tock of the wall clock grew louder, his mind raced towards the treehouse overlooking his bedroom window.
“Wow! A glass walkway, hanging in midair. Is this for real? Let’s check it out.” As he stepped on it, a stream of downward flowing green characters emerged on both sides. “Whoa! Wall danglers decked with emerald characters. Or are they animated matrix wallpapers? What kind of place is this! A new version of Hogwarts?”
Rory kept moving until he reached a cul-de-sac. He took a step back. “What do I do now? Go back, or…” Before he could decide, a cylindrical halo entrapped him and poof; both vanished into thin air.
What’s going on? Where am I? Rory rubbed his eyes and took a shufti around. “Looks like I reached the ‘empty space.’ Guess I can’t see most of the stuff because of less air. But how did I get here?” He tried to recap. “I went inside that treehouse. It was vacant. I was fixing a photo frame, then… I pulled a lever. A secret passage opened up. I stepped in… then that flash… Gosh, this borborygmus is so distracting. Should’ve grabbed some nuts when I left. Well, I better look for a way out; need to reach home before daybreak.”
“Hello, Rory! Welcome to Futuro!”
The poor chap’s heart skipped a beat. He tried to spot the speaker but in vain. Suddenly a minuscule cube, fitted on a prong tweezers popped out of nowhere. It resembled an ice cube but in its tiniest form. Before he could grasp the situation, the voice echoed. “This cube will satiate your hunger. Consume it.”
He took the cube but didn’t dare to eat it. Driven by curiosity, he decided to seek answers. “Who are you, and how do you know my name? How do you know I’m hungry? What place is this? Are you a magician… an alien?”
Ignoring, his queries the voice reverberated, “Eat that cube. It’s my treat. Time to go home, so hurry up.”
A chill down his spine. What if he’s trying to drug me? Maybe he’s planning to punish me for trespassing. Rory mustered his guts and spoke, “Fine, just tell me the way out. I’ve been here for a long time. If dad finds me missing, he will surely call the cops. You’ll be in trouble… for kidnapping me.” He mumbled the last three words; so as not to upset the stranger.
Laughter echoed off the invisible walls of the retro-futuristic sci-fi treehouse. “Don’t you think your dad should punish you for being sneaky? For leaving the house at midnight?”
Before he could reply, a cylindrical halo flashed right in front of him.
Rory shrieked. “Dad!”
‘Empty Space’- Ref: An article by Dr. Christopher S. Baird, based on the book-“Nothingness: The Science of Empty Space” by Dr. Henning Genz.
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