Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Inverse World

The assignment this time was to begin with the sentence “On the other side of the mirror is an inverse world.” Students at the Zephyr English Institute (ZEI) had about twenty minutes to write out a description of this “inverse” world. Claire, as usual, wrote brilliantly (this time I had to edit her more, as some of her sentences weren’t clear) and Ryan was up to his usual ryanism. The other students couldn’t finish in time, so took the essay home. I’ll add more as I get them.

Oh, and I wrote my own too, at the bottom.

Oh, and though I wrote it while the students were writing, I cheated a bit, working it into a final draft at home.

Oh, and I’m kind of a ryanist too, aren’t I?


Claire Fan-Chiang

The Mirror

On the other side of the mirror is an inverse world. In that world, people do not exist until you kill them. Living, continuing to survive, is what they most fear. Once they have been killed and enter that world, work is no longer necessary; they are dead. Finally they exist.

You are dead from the second you enter that world. It is upside down in relation to the world on this side. Once there, you float up towards the ground.

Killing and maiming are virtues there, but saving and healing are vices. Whenever one heals or saves, and the operation is a success, the saved one regains life and enters the world on this side of the mirror, where we stand now, the world of the earth.

Those who are unlucky enough to enter our world from that one are disgusted by the human race. They can’t accept that killing others is illegal, while saving people is seen as good. To live is seen as shameful on the other side of the mirror.

But if too many die and enter that inverse world, the number of corpses grows too large. Slowly, some of them begin to come loose from the ground and fall down into the sky, which has the special power to give them life. This falling causes a certain panic in the inverse world. The most decayed are the noblest, while the newly dead are of the lowest rank. Fighting to hold onto death, the newly dead work to heal or restore the more decayed bodies, or push them down toward the sky. They work day and night to resuscitate them, healing as many as they can until the inverse world gains balance again, and they can feel secure in their death.

The fight starts again every time a plague or disaster reaps lives on the earth. The dead crowd into the inverse world, they understand that death is to be cherished, and they fight for their death.

--Claire Fan-Chiang

Monsieur Ryan

The Mirror

On the other side of the mirror is an inverse world. In that world, everything is backwards.

Clerks give customers money to take their products away.

People use fire extinguishers to start fires in malls and public buildings.

At schools the students stand during the class and watch the seated teacher.

When lunch comes, everyone throws up their lunch boxes.

At dinner time, cows use steak knives to cut people into “peoples”.

People eat food with their navels.

People use parachutes to jump up into planes when they want to travel.

They use elevators as subways.

People are punched to death by punching bags.


The Mirror

On the other side of the mirror is an inverse world, where disasters bring joy and celebrations end with leaders promising “Never again.”

In that world the nations compete to see who can ruin their economy faster.

The superstitious wear amulets to attract bad luck, and the beautiful are shunned.

Population shrinks yearly, abandoned land filling in with forests and fields, polluted lakes clearing one by one, new species appearing out of nowhere.

Even the lives there are backward: everyone starting out crippled and old and regressing to childhood.

Youth is thought of as a sad inevitability.

Which is why women spend untold sums keeping their skin wrinkly, adding sags under their eyes; and self-conscious men, once they see their hair start to fill in, take to wearing wigs with artificial bald spots.

But in general the people do what they can to avoid being noticed.

They have their own version of Facebook. When you sign up, you start out with hundreds of friends, most of whom you hardly know; the number slowly whittles itself down to your real friends, who then disappear one by one, leaving you finally with only your profile picture, which you delete.

Their Facebook won’t last long, however, because every year exciting new technologies are forgotten. Dumps and vacant lots are stacked with equipment the people have forgotten how to use, devices they no longer comprehend.

Idealists can dream of the day writing will be uninvented, then agriculture.

At the edge of the park the bushes mark their territory on every passing dog.

Tombstone inscriptions are tattooed on your mother’s belly after you’ve entered the womb. Her pregnancy recedes, until you are forgotten; until there’s only lovemaking, then dates, then glances across a room.

I know this because for a time I was in that world myself. I even won the lottery. They came and took everything.

--Eric Mader

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