“Nobody took a dump here.” A scrawl in black sharpie stretched over the upper right corner of the booth door. “SEXXX! Call 314-159-26.” The lower margin of the door warned about the pervy limbo dancers.
Andy cracked a smile and checked for the naked chocolate bar and the newspaper in the inner pockets of his long leather jacket. Someone flushed a toilet two cubicles to the right. He heard the someone leave the public restroom, without washing hands. The door slammed shut. Andy sighed. He squeezed his notebook into one of the butt pocket of his denim. His naked toes felt wet and cold on the tile floor. He took a deep breath. The air was stale, the aroma of urine was overwhelming. He consoled himself with the fact, that in a blink, he was going to disappear from the questionable puddle, he had to stand in.
A whispering sizzling noise echoed from the walls of the stall, and Andy concentrated upon an imaginary spot, half a step away, in front of his navel. A little sphere of pale blue brightness formed instantly. He cupped his hands hovering two inches away from it. The heat it radiated, didn’t disturb him much. Its density grew fast, till the light emitted hurt his eyes. With every breath, it got bigger and brighter. The muscles in his arms vibrated with effort. His fingers tugged at it, his mental fingers dragged, pulled and stretched the ball of energy over his shoulders. The sphere spun counterclockwise.
Andy stepped into the pale blue vortex in front of him.
The bathroom, and the rest of the world at his back folded, and faded to nonexistence. Everything went black. The muscles on his chest and back rippled with tension and fibrillation. His spine tingled and burned, as if his skin had been shock frosted.
At the edge of his visual perimeter, the pale blue light twitched and sparked.
He felt lightning licking and stinging at the back of his head and around his shoulder blades. His fingertips and bare feet stung with electric pins and needles.
He stood in an Andy-shaped hole in the fabric between realities.
Entropy swept over him like a tidal wave, knocking his breath out, leaning on him, pushing downwards. He bowed his head. Submerged in the currents of energy flow, he slid through spacetime layers into lower energy state realities. The torrent caught him in a tight grip around his waist and yanked him down.
He hated this part. The sinking feeling in his stomach froze his mind.
He always did. What if, he got a hypo here and had no strength to get out again? Would he die, or would he be arrested in the terrified state of just realizing, that he was about to die?
His instincts took over. Grab! They ordered his hands. Hold on. His fingers found his daughter’s little praying bead bracelet.
In his imagination a happy family breakfast flared up. Ava buttered a bun for Emily. He was drinking coffee. The pressure that made him bow, lifted instantly.
The breakfast table faded, as he stopped focusing upon it. There was nothing to see, nothing to hear. He closed his eyes. For once, no static filled his head. Calm. Silence. He imagined this was peace. Surely this was, what it felt like. He wanted to stay. Inertia crept closer to the thinking part of his brain. Transition was a bitch.
Peace was not human nature, guilt was. Sickness, decay, futility, death, war and famine were too. Always suffering…
The burning sensation chewed up his limbs, his arms and legs stung. His face hardened into a heavy ice mask. He couldn’t breathe. His eyelids weighed tons, lips sagged. He couldn’t stop shivering. The clench of solid inertia overpowered his bones, his organs, his muscles.
The breakfast table flickered again. It hung in front of him, some steps away, taunting. He shuffled a foot forward. Keep going. Something cheered on.
A strange murkiness pushed into his pores, dissolved into his veins. He felt sick and broken. Entropy knew he was, and caught in his edges, in the fissures of his brokenness. It cooed to the darkness, that sprouted in his body and soul. His heart seemed to transform to a homing beacon to catastrophes and bad intentions. He had no time to brace himself. The rotten blackness in him sprawled. It found all his hiding places and poisoned them. Dizziness tipped him out of position. He spun, but his heart slowed.
He had to keep moving. The gaps between the beats grew.
Sick yellow light shone somewhere in front of him. It flickered like a candle a mile away in a dark stormy night. He tore at the slowness of his body. He tore at the spinning of his senses. His heart locked.
He fell to his knees in a moving cargo elevator, between Floor 17 and 18. The air around him crackled and fizzed. The elevator stopped with a sigh and a jolt. The lights flickered.
He shivered violently. Rime coated the walls of the elevator, his clothes, skin, hair, brows and eyelashes.
For a moment, Andy’s arms remembered the shape of his dying daughter. The scent of strawberry shampoo and blood hit him. Memories sank deeper and vanished from his consciousness, as his heart returned to the race. He knew he had the right timeline.
His mouth was a desert. Andy propped his arms on his knees. His lungs tried to breathe, but air refused to get in. The familiar pain burrowed deeper into his spine. No hunger, no cold, no nothing. His heart crawled up his throat.
Normality willed itself back into Andy.
Author: Ramona Darabant
R. C. Darabant was born Romania and lives now near Vienna, where she works as a family physician. When she isn’t working, she writes poetry, flash fiction and short stories. She recharges her batteries during storms and night strolls. In her stories, there is a distinct lack of happy endings. It’s not pathological, rest assured, she had that checked.