Author's Note: Yes, it's yet another pointless Myst humor fic! Please forgive the rather awkward ending, and if you have an extremely weak stomach, please do not read. Nothing too bad, though. As always, somewhat AU in terms of time-line (set in 2000 or thereabouts), and the beginning of Myst: Revelations. No, I don't own the franchise. Yes, this is what would have really happened if a normal human being were to ever venture to Tomahna.
There is a reason I rarely visit Tomahna.
It has nothing to do with the fact that Atrus can never remember my name (Cassandra), though I suppose that can be chalked up to the difference in traditional names between our cultures. Nor does it have anything to do with the fact that each visit is punctuated by one traumatic event or another (a man with a very large hammer immediately springs up to mind), or even that the entire family seems to have gone 'round the bend a long time ago and seems content to stay there.
No, it has to do with the "flying car" that Atrus installed. In his letters, he enthused about his new toy as though it were a new baby, even going so far as to send me sketches of the thing. (Guess how many pictures he ever sent of his devoted wife and loving, if rather overexcited, daughter?) But in my mind, it's a personal death-trap. Resembling nothing more than an open-air helicopter suspended on a metal track (an unnecessarily thin metal track, in my opinion), it has quickly become my personal enemy.
And it's the only entrance into Tomahna.
Yeesha watches me warily as I grip the side safety rail of the blasted death trap and lean over it with eyes clenched shut, sure that I'll puke at any moment. This is a mistake. I do not puke as expected, but when I open my eyes the sight of the bottom of the canyon (and the river that is flowing through it some several hundred feet below) makes my vision swim. Ahead lies the family home, neatly tucked beyond a waterfall that seems to be hurtling ever closer at the speed we're going.
It is here that I would like to extend my thanks to Atrus for sending his ten-year-old daughter along to pick me up in his god-forsaken invention.
"Don't look down!" Yeesha warns quickly, and in her enthusiasm to warn me she lets go of the lever that propels the craft forward. The entire contraption lurches abruptly to a stop and swings alarmingly with the extra momentum, right above a large space of open canyon. I appreciate her warning and sympathy, I really do, but the sudden stop is enough to make my stomach churn again.
That is when I do puke, adding my lunch to the water below. I hope the fish appreciate it.
Yeesha continues to eye me, most likely wondering if I will begin heaving my breakfast into the space between us, but as there is only a solid safety rail on her other side she has no place to move to. Nevertheless, the kid makes a good effort, leaning as close to the rail as she can without falling overboard herself.
"Are you…?" She begins, quite possibly considering the possibility of shoving me out now. I shoot her a look, in the process of searching for something to scour the vile taste of vomit from my mouth, and Yeesha's mouth snaps shut. We hang there in thin air for a good few minutes as I allow my stomach to settle and Yeesha chatters along – "Your new image recorder is so cool! Dad will love it!" (She seems to adore the slang that I have inadvertently brought into the household, though I know Katran is most likely less than pleased with her daughter's new vocabulary.)
Finally, I nod towards the lever, mutely pleading that she will start the bleeding thing and end my misery. Rather than keep my eyes tightly shut and risk more disorientation, I stare at the sky as we rocket upwards over a broad stone arch, noting even in my misery that today the clouds seem particularly mobile in the sky. Odd.
The moment we reach the dock for Atrus's metal pet, Yeesha throws off the metal bar that kept her in place and leaps from her seat, obviously terrified that I would choose to take out my revenge on her for the ride. I can only sit there, breathing hard through my nose.
"I-I'll tell Dad you're here." She stammers, edging backwards along the platform. Obviously, she overestimates how far I can projectile vomit. It takes a long time for me to feel capable of moving, as my stomach feels wrung out, but then I slowly climb out of the death trap and move along the wooden deck. Just in case, I hold onto what little rail there is. (Why does Atrus have such a fondness for open space and few rails? I wonder.)
Atrus, oblivious as usual, greets me as always with a hearty thump on the back (causing me to nearly relapse and lose yesterday's supper) and inquires as to how my trip was. As always, he never seems to expect much speech from me as he keeps prattling on about his inventions, and this thankfully spares me the pain of speaking. Only Katran, emerging from the elevator with a welcome smile, seems to note my green face and the state of my wind-tussled hair. (It is at this point that I am vowing mentally to get Atrus a radio with an automatic tuner from Wal-Mart, as he is asking my help for a similar project.)
"I'll make tea." Katran offers.
And this is why Katran, incidentally enough, is my favorite person in Tomahna.