The clutter from my desk had disappeared. The room itself had disappeared as well—replaced entirely by darkness. An abyss. When my vision returned, I saw my pens and paper drifting away into the void.

They floated on and on, across an unfamiliar black sky.

It had taken the smallest increment of time—immeasurable by any one of my senses. When the books, papers, and pencils had left the table, the whole room had dissipated instantaneously. It had shifted from solid to gas—the walls carried off on a breeze and where there should’ve been trees and grass, there was now rock and dust.

Before, a neighborhood had sprawled out in all directions.

Now, craters populated the surrounding view. In place of the usual comforting weight of gravity on my shoulders, I felt next to nothing. So it followed that when the books left the table—a table, mind you, that no longer existed—they soared ever onward.

I did try to retrieve them. It was the first thought that I had in this strange new world, and it became imperative that I save those assorted office supplies, even though the effort was futile. As I leapt after them—an idea that doesn’t seem all that bright in retrospect—I was halted by the ankle, stopped cold in my flight like I was the ill-begotten child of Icarus and Achilles. I achieved minimal lift off, making it maybe three or four feet off the ground, before I was accosted by a sharp pain and yanked to the moon’s surface. Further investigation revealed the source of the pain to be an iron ball chained to my left ankle.

I was at a loss for emotions. Imagine pulling the tablecloth out from under a stack of plates. The plates themselves are virtually unaffected both physically and geographically, but you can bet those plates are damn confused. It was all floral patterns and soft cloth one moment, cold, hard wood the next. I was that stack of plates. It wasn’t so much that I wondered where I was, but rather I felt the loss of that knowledge in a way that, up until now, I’d no way of experiencing. To go from the comfort of your home to an alien landscape in less than a second was, to say the least, jarring.

Had I asked myself where I was, I would’ve have been able to answer that question quite easily; all I’d have had to do is look up. I did eventually look up to find my former home hanging above my head; it had a magnificent, radiant beauty to it that took my breath away. I swear to you, whoever you may be, that I never did an injustice in my life so great as not appreciating that sight for all its worth the first time I saw it. Had I the ability, I’d travel back and relive that moment to bask in its glory for a second longer. Alas, at the time I couldn’t be asked, and so I’ll live with the terrible truth that in that moment I felt only abject horror as I stared back at Earth.

After that, there was only one mode of recourse: I laid down in the glowing white dust, tucked myself up in fetal position, and breathed. I became aware of a singular truth: I was alone. Very, very alone.

I was a single proton unburdened by the comfort of another particle, positive or negative.

I was Hydrogen +.

Next Chapter

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