The Tale of Two Scopes
By Michaela Danielle
I found myself standing alone on a beach, which stretched out on either side like an infinite scroll. The waves rolled in without a sound, and the landscape had no color, but dressed itself in every variation of grey.
A viewings scope stood to my left, staring out over the ocean like an old, lonely seaman, beckoning to tell you a story of past times. A time through the lens only required a nickel, which I had, and as I pressed my forehead against the top of the machine and cupped my hands around the sides, a scene came into focus. Birds, beasts, plants, and people, all perfectly adorned and in full season, paraded before me. The colors were so stunning and awesome that I had to squint my eyes, lest I drink it in too quickly. But hungry they were, for when the show soon ended, I found myself dropping another coin into the slot and turning the crank handle to see it again. The episodes I watched until my mind was spinning and my pockets empty of change. The sheer delight of it all reached its fingers into my very being. But the more sensuality I saw, the more it ran in circles - the same actors, dressed in different costumes; the same backdrops, painted layer after layer. Oh, how disheartening when I realized how little that planet had to offer. The colors were brilliant, but showed chipping paint or peeling tape when turned. The illusion was masterful, but each prop was designed to create depth that did not exist.
Left with memories of cheap reality, I nearly walked off along the water’s edge. It was then that I saw another viewing scope, small and nearly undetectable; hand-held with no post.
“What is the use,” thought I, “as I have nothing left to feed it.” But still I went to it, and saw the looking fee was well over the amount I had had in the first place. A despair entered into me, much like withdrawal exits, and I lay upon the sand, cold and dead around me, and wept heaving, soundless moans.
But a box appeared beside me, and curiosity bade me to open it. Inside laid the exact amount with a note reading “paid in full.” One by one, I fed the bills into the machine, and held the scope to my eye. For a moment, all I saw was red, but what followed took the breath from me; a scene so beautiful it enveloped me. I am sure it would be impossible to imagine any flower open wider, any sound so visible, or any smile more genuine. Though not as bright and flashy, the colors seemed to emanate their own light, stretching across a prism full-circle, revealing worlds of colors and hues not yet discovered in our universe. Rivers upon hills upon valleys upon mountains reached out in every direction, and even the rocks breathed in the air.
It felt like an eternity I spent gazing into this place until a Voice rumbled from all around me. The wind drove me to my knees, doubled up underneath myself. The ground trembled as if in rage and the sand sifted into cracks beneath the surface, bubbling like the sea. The sky blacked out like a curtain dropped in front of a prison window and the void ate up any sense of direction. I covered my face with my hands and my hair! But the voice was not in any of these phenomenons. It whispered into my ear.
“My child,” said He. “You are blessed, for not many are granted the chance to see the true nature of life. Go now and choose wisely, knowing that I am only found in one of them.”