Read: “It’s an eternity in there…”
Technology is both wonderful and terrifying.
T he year is 2307, and humans have figured out how to portal instantaneously across the planet, and even between planets and across space. In Stephen King’s short story The Jaunt, each trip through a portal takes a fraction of a second, and the only catch is that travelers have to be put under general anesthesia before that. The history of the jaunt is fraught with cautionary tales of portaling while conscious – lab mice that become quivering, inert bodies, and a death-row prisoner that comes through drooling, twitching, and with a shock of snow-white hair (only to drop dead from a heart attack moments later). Mark Oates’ son, Ricky, curious after hearing about the fate of those who took the jaunt while awake from his father, decides to hold his breath while GA is administered. Mark awakes on Mars to a thing that used to be his son, with stark white hair, yellowed corneas, and an obscene, manic glee. “It’s longer than you think, Dad! I saw! I saw!” the Ricky-thing squeals before clawing its own eyes out. Some say that the jaunt is an eternity to the consciousness, even if the body only experiences it as a split second. It is a billion years in an endless field of white, alone with your own thoughts, Mark thinks, but the real horror is what King leaves to your imagination.