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 like cattail seeds on a breeze, and where there should’ve been grass and trees, 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 I had in this strange new world, and it became imperative that I save those assorted office supplies, despite the futility of my pursuit. As I leapt after them—an idea that doesn’t seem all that bright in retrospect—I was gripped tight 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. After clearing my mouth of debris, spitting rock and dust in white, powdery globs, 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, then 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 the blink of an eye was, and I’m understating here, fucking jarring.

Had I asked myself where I was, which I didn’t, I would’ve been able to answer that question easily; all I’d have had to do is look up. Inevitably I did eventually look up to find my former home hanging a quarter of a million miles above my head. It had a magnificent, radiant beauty to it that stole my breath away. I swear to you, whoever you may be, that I never did an injustice in my life so great as not fully appreciating, not simply bathing in that glorious sight and realizing all its worth the first time I saw it. Had I the ability, I’d travel back in time and bask in the reflected light of that moment for a second longer. Alas, in that single instant I couldn’t be asked, and I now live with the terrible truth that I felt only abject horror as I stared back at Earth.

After that, there was only one mode of recourse: I lay 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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