manuscript-day one of 100

The Penthouse

Are you really sure that a floor can’t also be a ceiling?
—M. C. Escher

The skies outside the floor to ceiling glass panes resemble all but white noise on television. Nothing of a dead channel here, they are as brilliant as two high-end TFT flatscreens can render. Screens which are quite alive—so much so that they can switch from absolute black hole darkness to blazing supernova white, and the other way round, in less than two milliseconds. Hence the nocturnal nonsky appears as a star-speckled perfect black. The crisp vista of the metropolis skyline below might represent Seattle, we are not sure.
    Finally I made it through the high-rise, up to the penthouse—it took me six full years since accessing the entrance hall. When approaching the panorama windows, the sound effect of impacting raindrops becomes louder, clearly stemming from the crystalline slabs in front of me. Only if you know it and concentrate, you will discover that it is looped.
    The polished wooden parquet flooring faintly mirrors everything in the room, including the three man-high tarot cards on the wall. Every thing’s Wiedergänger stares up from below, but my mirror image lacks. What a matching metaphor for the condition of an avatar inside a virtual world. Neither deceased nor alive, undead like a vampire.
    Just like at the set of a horror movie, a lot in here is smoke and mirrors. The floor does not reflect the room, never could, as this function is not built into the ‘Second Life’ engine. The floor’s surface consists of a semi-transparent texture, partly showing the structure of wooden planks, partly showing what is beneath. And below is an upside down version of the room I am in.

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