A little boy is taken out of his life, and made to confront a strange machine. Maybe he resists, maybe he even screams. But he looks in it, he cannot resist, first once and then many times. He sees a glowing mass of material, pure white. Above it there is a comet, and the comet is moving. I recall the tail, which was very different from that of an ordinary comet. You could see its movement, you could see it luffing like a winded sail. The comet enters the huge whiteness, which seems to be a gas cloud, and as it does there is a sudden increase in its brightness. Then, quite rapidly, the interior of the cloud begins to change. Its shape alters into an egg, then an ellipse. There is a sense of titanic work being done, and I am told, or the thought comes to me, that this is the way it looked when our world was beginning. Very clearly, now, I remember that my response was to cry out, and my child?s voice, I sense, was joined by the cries of other children. The cries change nothing, though: I am compelled to look. The ellipse now has a ball at each end, one much larger than the other. They are both encased in a chalky, fierce whiteness. The smaller one is orbiting the larger at what seems a short distance. But I have no sense of scale. This could be something the size of a toy, or the balls could be thousands of miles across. Then the person who is with me puts their hand on my shoulder. I hear a girl?s voice of sing sweet and soft: ?I see the moon, the moon sees me, high up in the old oak tree.? At that moment, I understand what I am seeing. This is a view of ancient, ancient times. The earth has been hit by a huge meteor, and the moon is breaking off?and then the vision ends. I found myself sitting on one of the benches. My temples hurt, my mouth is sand-dry, I feel as if I?d been twirling round and round to make myself dizzy. I recall that I was given a drink of water, and somebody who looked to me like the Sister of Mercy held her hand against my forehead. ?Where am I,? I asked. ?School,? she said. Her tone was so matter of fact that I thought I was on the grounds of my grade school. I tried to look around me, but before I could see any details, I found myself being lifted to my feet, being brought toward the machine again. For the first time, I understood clearly that I was no longer at Mrs. Carter?s, that this machine was in the woods somewhere. I struggled, I twisted back and forth. In my ear there came a voice. It was making strange, high-pitched sounds that communicated distress. Holding my arms, the owner of this voice pressed my face once again into the black orifice. Around me, other children were singing, ?I see the moon, the moon sees me?? I remembered being told at some point that we were supposed to sing to calm each other down. This time there was a sensation of physically shooting right out through the machine. I dropped a few feet, stumbled into soft, mushy ground. This felt like the ordinary earth. I stood there, too scared to move.
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