The Pulse: Paris
At First Sight
Place Jean-Paul II
Madame Dupont walked along the silent street toward Notre-Dame, wondering what those giant bell towers might mean to whoever it was who had evaporated so many of her fellow citizens. She turned right at Rue d’Acole and still she didn’t see a soul. Across the treed space between her and the Cathedral she noticed a shadow against the main doors. She couldn’t quite see the familiar scene above the entrance: the angel and the devil weighing the souls of lesser beings:
As she got closer she saw that the two main doors had been removed. Someone had also cut halfway up the Last Judgment in order to enlarge the entrance further. The angel and devil were weighing something, but she couldn’t see what.
She was wondering what purpose might require such a drastic structural alteration when the shadow cast from within the cathedral disappeared. Then she saw it: an enormous form, large, pink, cubic. It had at least a dozen octopus arms, and floated several feet off the ground and into Place Jean-Paul II. Madame Dupont froze.
The creature was about eight feet high, eight feet tall, and eight feet wide. Its arms projected from its central body, following the logic of cubic extension points.
The lower limbs were thicker than the upper ones. In a subconscious attempt to forget the implications of the creature’s presence, she speculated on the relation of structure to function. She reasoned that the lower limbs were larger because they needed to support the upper ones. In which case I really ought to call them legs, she thought, feeling more and more like Alice on the wrong side of a distorted glass. She imagined cards talking and queens with vendettas. These giant dice were equally unpredictable but a million times more real. Was she dealing with the Red Queen or the Queen of Hearts?
She imagined what evolutionary path the creature may have taken. How could cubes evolve? Did they come from shapeless amoebas or — more likely — from crystals? From what source — in air, in liquid, or in solid — were they conceived? Were they conceived as in born or conceived as in designed in the mind of some other entity? Or Entity? She had always been a structuralist, but, alas, structuralism deconstructs. One thought leads to the next, and the next thing you’re wondering if their survival means your extinction.
As she was thinking this, the creature smoothly turned on its invisible track and headed directly toward her.
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