07 Jun 72%
The quadcopter, angrily buzzing, took off, flying on its own volition, like the first Crashinator did before its untimely demise. It menacingly streaked toward the road. My desperate attempts to correct its course resulted only in slightly slowing it down. The pitch and the roll refused my commands. Yaw control still seemed to be working though, so I slowly rotated the drone around its vertical axis. It was now flying right toward me, like a bull with a matador fixed in its eyesight. Uh-oh. The lawnmower strikes back… I hastily added a few more degrees. Now it would at least clear me and head to the forest. I ripped off my AR glasses, trying not to miss the collision. Sweat started trickling down into my eyes, but I dared not blink. Crashing into trees was better than allowing the drone to smash into someone’s car on the road, or just letting it wander off into the unknown. With luck, it would hit a few branches on the way down, fall onto soft ground, and hopefully not end up in too many pieces. Or so I thought…
I will never forget what happened next. The drone entered the forest a few meters from me, flying at about four meters above the ground. Miraculously, it managed to miss the trees, but a stone’s throw from the forest edge stopped mid-air and disintegrated with a crunching sound, raining a flurry of parts onto the mossy duff. It looked as if it hit a wall – but there was nothing there. Was something wrong with my eyes? I literally couldn’t believe them, because I just saw something that was impossible. I kept standing there, confused, stupefied, very still except for an occasional blinking.
Blink… Blink… Blink…
I must have looked just as stupid as I felt, but thankfully there was nobody around to see that. Eventually, I came to my senses, exhaled a complex verbal construct of several carefully chosen Russian expletives, and went forward to investigate, hoping for my sanity’s sake that it was an optical illusion of some kind, which would vanish when looked at from a different angle.
Nope, there was nothing near the place where the drone’s remains had fallen. I came closer, my throat suddenly dry and palms sweaty. Something was deeply wrong here. I approached the crash site and gazed at the debris. There was nothing out of the ordinary. I pulled out my phone and took two or three pictures, stepping sideways to go around the debris zone, and… “Aw! Chort!” I exclaimed, tripping my foot on something, losing balance and bumping my head on what seemed to be an empty space. I stood and stared blankly, not believing my senses and the pain echoing around my skull. There were trees all around me, birds were singing, critters buzzing and a mosquito just got the first taste of my blood. The air smelled that special oxygen-rich forest mix of decaying organics and fresh growth that makes a city dweller feel slightly intoxicated.
Everything was so very natural. Except for the invisible wall right ahead of me. A surreal feeling overwhelmed me, that the world around me gave me a glimpse that it was not what I thought it was. Like in the original Matrix movie (not the remake, I hate it) when the world as we know it turned out to be an illusion and the Matrix was revealing itself to Neo. Only much less CGI-ey and very low-key.
I think that only made it even weirder.