Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Timed writing: 2/1/2012


Time: 10 minutes
Prompt: The star chamber had been remodelled [sic]
Source: Thomas Babington Macaulay, The History of England, Vol.I


The star chamber had been remodeled since the last time that Babington had used it. The plywood boards that had been so hastily erected to obscure its core from the curious eyes of passers by were now gone. They had been replaced by reinforced concrete walls, buttressed all about with slopes of packed soil, from which grasses and wildflowers grew. Upon passing through a modern steel gate, Babington found that the core itself had been thoroughly cleaned and repaired. Elements deemed inessential had all been catalogued, carefully packed, and stored away in a secure outbuilding. Babington had approved all of these changes as they were proposed by various members of the society, but now that he saw them in person, he found himself missing the rusticity and spontaneity of the chamber's former state.

The stone column stood in its old place, in the center of the core. Just over three feet in height and hardly a hand's breadth across opposing vertices, the hexagonal basalt pillar had at first appeared remarkable only for its solitude. It was the only column of basalt for hundreds of miles. At first they assumed it to have been transported to the site from elsewhere. Then Henderson, the geologist performed his analysis. He found that the column extended straight down through the soil and underlying limestone of the area to the granite foundation of the continental plate -- several thousand meters, at least.

Babington's gaze wandered to the parabolic focusing surfaces positioned around the periphery of the core. They had been cleaned and polished to perfect reflectivity, and their orientations had been corrected, so that they were all directed toward a point in the air just a few inches above the top of the column. An iris had been built into the new metal roof. The prisms and lenses had been carefully removed from their old leather and wood mountings and fitted into a new metal framework that could be retracted when the iris closed against foul weather.

(about my timed writing exercises)


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2 comments:

Seth J. Moore said...

But what does it do?

ilorien said...

I wish I knew. I can only guess.