Read: “It’s an eter­nity in there…”

Tech­nol­ogy is both won­der­ful and ter­ri­fy­ing.

HWM (Singapore) - - Contents - by Koh Wanzi

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.

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