I walked past an Invisible Man during my test this morning. And then everything else was gone. The clouds, the birds, even the blue in the sky. I looked down to my hands, but were no hands to speak of. I tried to swallow, but lost all feeling in my throat. My fingernails scratched at my neck. It’s the only time since eating that atrocious omelet at the cafe that I felt anything. And then I went blank.
When I woke up, I only knew that I was awake from the smell of bananas, and then I lost my sense of smell. My eyes were open, because I couldn’t blink. I tried to breathe, but there was nothing in the air, and nothing in my lungs. Breathing was no longer a necessity, it was a luxury, a rare occurrence that I would probably never experience again.
There was wind, suddenly, a harsh gust that almost lifted me off my feet. I felt the sensation, at least, of winding through the air, and spinning. I landed with a harsh thud, blood spewed out the side of my head and splattered on the sidewalk in front of my eyes, and thus I was awake again, fully.
I looked up and there were animals licking my wounds, lapping up my blood as if they hadn’t eaten for days. They were unlike any animals I had ever seen. Their fur was ragged, the strands you’ll usually see curling up from old carpets that your mother used to have in her living room. Lint, dust, even tiny insects crawled and nested in the hair of these creatures.
One of them looked at me with sad eyes, and I suddenly became fearful that it would bite my face, start chewing and not stop until my skull was licked clean. So I hit it.
The animal bounced off the ground, and skittered away. The rest of the pack did not notice, only kept licking my blood, my wounds. Their tongues scraped along the edges of my skin, still tender. All feeling was returning, and the sensation was horrible, a nightmare of intrusion; smothering.
The sky was overcast, I noticed, but there was no rain. The soft drizzle of moisture that should have come from the clouds was instead spouting out of the mouths of the animals, the Lappers.
I wiped my dirty arm across my face and kicked away the remaining few Lappers. They moved away with a brisk pace, licking their lips. They would come back for me, to continue to lick my wounds, unless I moved on. So I did.
My steps were careful, meticulous. I had to avoid rubble and muddy gutters, street signs jutting from the sidewalk, and collapsed buildings overridden with shrubs and dying plants. I had the sudden realization that the sky would never be blue again, that the overcast sight up above would be as good as it gets.
I stopped to urinate, and instead fell forward onto a bench. Half a bench. Looking around, the barren mounds of dirt, the lone feathers, bones poking forth from underneath, one would nevertheless recognize the rusted orange trolley overturned, even with the tree growing out of the windows.
Angel’s Flight. Just as she was this morning, before everything went dark. When I saw the Invisible Man.
The Invisible Man. What other warning sign could there have been? All this time, I’d been wading and wandering through Los Angeles with my gear, wondering if anything was working, and the one moment when it finally did work, when time bent in on itself and everything became one, in that single second, I’d gotten a glimpse of the future, and fell into that glimpse. I fell into the trap of looking, of seeing, and the result was that I became one with that glimpsed moment.
It’s not an ideal way to travel, through time, as I can now attest. And hopefully you will learn this before it is too late, before you try to start your experiments again. I do hope you will listen to me. It would be a paradox that I am to remain here, forever, but the glimpse I fell into has collapsed into a tiny tunnel, a wormhole. I can see into it now, and I see the streets as I once knew them. I see the cafe where you and I shared our drink and our hypotheses. I can see you at your outdoor table, as your wheelchair will not fit through he doors. Isn’t it funny, always ironic, that technology can push a man into the future, into the destruction of our kind, and yet you will never walk again?
I’m about to fold this paper into a small enough bundle to fit into the hole, and hopefully it will unfold on its own accord. After that, I will seek out the Invisible Man, who would be whole in this time, in the hopes that I did not just glimpse my shadow. Ironic, too, it would be, for me to have fallen into a definite destiny simply because I saw my own shadow?
If you should ever find this note, you can call me “groundhog.” I’m sure we can share a laugh over a drink and a funny name. Though, to be true now, I must confess that even the idea of laughter makes me shutter, that I may not laugh again.
My Best Regards, with the hope that we shall never meet in this so wretched future,