The Idea Pit
Tuesday, 11:58 pm. Right on schedule a large hot chocolate was thrust in Gail’s direction.
“You showed again,” she commented, wrapping her cold fingers around the paper cup, enjoying the sweet smelling liquid as it warmed her digits.
“Until it’s found,” Blythe replied. The middle-aged woman slipped a climbing harness over her hips and attached the security rope.
The lanterns on the ledge did not permeate the darkness of the pit. The hole appeared to go straight down forever, unless human flesh fell inside.
The watch strapped to Blythe’s wrist vibrated.
“Thirty, twenty-nine, twenty-eight.” She checked her rigging once more as she counted down. “Fifteen, fourteen, thirteen.”
“Same time?” Gail always confirmed before an illegal dive. Not that she allowed illegal dives, besides this one.
Blythe nodded. “Pull me at three minutes, thirty-three seconds. No longer.”
The magically safe number; too long in the pit and the mind didn’t come back the same. Even government Ideaticians didn’t stay longer.
“Four, three, two,” and she dove. Her hands broke an invisible surface and the pit lit up, millions of white lights flared into existence, flitting away like a frightened school of fish before attraction got the better of them. In a second the woman was obscured from view.
Gail settled to wait. She had never been inside the Idea Pit, a cemetery for valuable thoughts siphoned from every mind in the world. Too many ideas and the populace might realize they were still peasants to kings who had relinquished their crowns but kept the power.
The lights grew more colourful the deeper Blythe fell. Gail wondered what had been stolen from her, replaced with conventions, must-do’s, rights and wrongs designed to keep her clawing at existence, never truly satisfied.
Blythe dove once a week. For such a short time she could dive once a day, but Gail couldn’t stand the ideas staring up, accusing her of perpetuating the lies. So it was once a week only, payment in chocolate, in advance.
She glared at the surface, toying with the rescue rope, waiting for the colour shift indicating time was done. Gail pulled back fast as Blythe’s head and shoulders shot upward.
“Grab me,” the woman gasped before disappearing once again. She resurfaced quickly, hand-first so Gail could pull her out of the clawing swarm, trying their best to grasp freedom.
Blythe collapsed on the stone ledge, a single thought clasped in her hand. Gail dipped a wooden bowl into the pit and Blythe dropped the slithering notion into inside. It swam mesmerizing circles. They stared at the non-thing while catching their breath.
“How do you know it’s yours?”
“It allowed me to capture it…”
Before Gail could caution her, Blythe plunged her face into the bowl, breathing in the idea. It swirled beneath her skin, illuminating her face then disappearing into her mind. She drew a haggard breath and tears filled her eyes.