With a tired sigh, William pushed his back into the chair he was sat upon. Resting his head on the comfortable piece of furniture, he looked up at the ceiling like he was expecting a shooting star to crash through it and liberate him from the walls of normality.
-You should be working on your history paper instead of lazing around.
The upstairs neighbor again.
-I already asked you to come down and visit me if you want to talk. Having conversations through my ceiling is just plain weird! William retorted, annoyed.
-You know I can’t do that.
William knew. He decided to ignore the intruding voice for the time being. The room stayed silent for a while. In time, the student went back to his duty, and, in time, he became terribly bored once more.
As if his mind was an open book for all to read, his phone vibrated in its place next to the full-sized QWERTY keyboard on which William had been slaving away for most of the night. The young man picked it up. On it was displayed a single text message notification from a number that didn’t ring any bells. Then again, remembering series of numbers was probably the student’s greatest weakness. With his thumb, he tapped the notification before quickly drawing an approximated backwards “L”, which was apparently legible enough for the device to recognize.
Something caught the boy’s attention, however. Something odd enough to make him put his phone down and get up from his office chair without reading the contents of the message displayed on it.
On the front lawn of the house, an unmoving figure stood. Its impeccably white shape contrasted against the infinite ocean of darkness that laid beyond the fragile barrier William was staring into.
-What do you think it wants, Will? Asked the neighbor as if they could see what was happening downstairs.
-Shut up! Hissed William.
A creak, the floorboards.
Eyes widening, the student froze up. Slowly, he turned to face his room. However, the sight of his dirty, unsightly bedroom was replaced with pristine, perfect whiteness. Panicked, he quickly looked around, trying to find any detail he’d recognize in the vast, claustrophobic world of pure light that his surroundings had become, but nothing.
He tried to reach for his phone, but where his desk once stood was now an empty space. He chuckled and thought back to what he did the last time this happened. Blade in hand, blood trickling to the floor. He closed his eyes calmly and took a few deep breaths, slowly inhaling and exhaling as everything stood still.
One — Two — Three.
Cold air filled his lungs, cold air caressed his skin. His eyes were closed but somehow he could see. In front of him, a forest of towers and office buildings formed a tall landscape of contrasting colors. Colors he had seen before, but colors he could not describe. With every second that passed, their bizarre compositions were lost to time, left behind when he first saw them as they moved on to become something they had yet to be, and never again would be.
Amongst the crowd of uneven structures, a shadow was cast. Its legs partially hidden behind buildings, its form too impossibly tall to be fully observed from any distance. The silhouette stood, floating between the invisible ground and the unknown ceiling of this domain. Emaciated and elongated, the beast’s four limbs looked more like frail old tree trunks, reducing the surrounding constructions to blades of grass, crushed underfoot and murdered for fun by the first irresponsible child.
From its crooked and misshapen body, a tall neck reached out to the shadow’s pointed head. Like roots spreading wide around the base of a millennium tree, a maze of bones and fingers emerged from two distinct points on its cranium, dead branches decorating the impossible silhouette.
On the shadow’s head, two lights shone brightly where eyes would usually rest. They illuminated the student’s soul, staring directly at him, headlights forcing whomever dared to step in their path to become entranced by their all revealing aura.
Drool forming at the corners of his lips, William fell over, opening his eyes to the void of an empty sky. Foaming at the mouth, he croaks out an inaudible final word before becoming one with the scene surrounding his still body, a smile on his lips.
Past, present, future, he witnesses them all simultaneously. He knows all, he sees all. There is no longer history or future as he is time, and time, him.
Written by Tom Sully