“My fingers pinched the end of a plastic bag shut. Inside the bag was a nondescript powder—could’ve been anything, really. This could’ve been any night, really. When the powder breached the water, it created another universe. When I swallowed the universe, it filled me up, and I felt as insignificant as finite Earth drifting through infinite space; I drifted through my own space inside the belly of an even bigger beast. Like the tiny universe inside that glass, my mind had shattered, expanded and frozen—suspended in animation, but broken beyond repair; my thoughts were held together only in the fourth dimension. Time. Frozen on a single tick.”
“‘I’m just glad you came. I knew if anyone would, it’d be you,’ he looked up at the ceiling, ‘Though no one else did.’
The people that were standing around him disappeared like ghosts fading in the light as he spoke, leaving the room barren aside from the life (beep • beep • beep) support.
‘It’s no big deal, at least you came.’
‘But… I didn’t.’
That was the truth. See, this was the part that I remembered (I… remember?) clearly. I never came. This never happened.”
“… A desert photo drew me in. Vast and empty, I pried open the edges of the photograph with my mind’s eye and wandered in. I removed my shoes and dug my toes into the sand, massaging them with the warm grains. The sunlight glaring high up in the sky, I cupped my hand above my eyes and scanned the horizon. I invented shapes on the blue backdrop, my spider-mind using its many arms to paint characters and scenery where nothing was before. Camels exchanged humans in a bustling bazaar, whilst boars bartered soda tops for colored tapestries and more. There were rodents running errands for their crocodile masters, who sat atop crates and traded stories for gin. The scene was living, breathing and it morphed with every second, and the more my eyes wandered, the stranger it became until-
“Henry!” My time was up.”
“I set my pen down and looked at the paper. My psychologist said to fill out two pages, front and back. She said, “feel free, Mark, to go over that if you want. Use as much space as you feel like you need—I don’t want to limit you in your expression of yourself.”
But my story is real simple. I wrote double spaced, all capitals, and it still only took up one and a half pages, front and back. Yeah, this story’s pretty damn easy. I studied chemistry. I couldn’t take it. I went crazy. I stabbed my friend with a knife.
A Crack in the Caste to Break the Mold
A Portrait of the Immortal Love