The world reverberated; instant black. A dreamscape of memory obscuring his field of vision.
“Where am I?”
Time ceased to exist. A thousand experiences and an all encompassing emotion punching softly in the dark.
He saw his body slumped softly on the floor, blood pooling around his torso. A crowd of people scattering frantically in slow motion. Tables and desks overturned as his vision recedes into the past.
The professor stood in front of the class, chalk waving ferociously. Math equations plastered like puzzle pieces across the chalkboard. Children sat in desks, eyes glazed forward.
Some scribbled, others yawned.
The back row slept, hands placed strategically on their foreheads; blocking their eyes from the professors line of sight.
Jeremy leaned over to his backpack, shuffling through his binders.
A noise on his left, Jeremy pulled his arm quickly from the bag.
“Did you bring it?”
Jeremy nodded slowly as his eyes darted from his friend, back to the bag.
“Are you really gonna do it?”
Jeremy tipped his head forward, retreated into the bag, and pulled a 9mm quickly into his lap.
“Get the fuck up”
Ken slammed his fist into his brothers ribs.
The boy recoiled; awoken suddenly from his slumber.
A bedroom dimmed into view. A desk filled with papers. Journal entries, essays, and notebooks scattered the surface of the table.
“Why do you waste your time with this shit? Nobody gives a fuck what you’re thinking about.”
Ken flexed aggressively.
“This is the last time I wake your little ass up. I’m not gonna be late because you’re clownin’ around writing poems to yourself.”
The door slammed shut, leaving the boy to whimper softly in the dark.
“Duuuude…you were serious?!?”
Jeremy gave his friend a look and moved the pistol from his lap, tucking the gun between his belt and his jeans.
He covered the pistol with his shirt and stood up.
The desk creaked as he walked towards the front of the room.
“…and the Pythagorean theorem can apply to all equilateral…”
The professors voice skipped a beat as he acknowledged Jeremy moving towards the front of the class.
A bathroom break.
Jeremy opened the door to the hallway, gave a glance towards the back of the room, and winked at his friend.
His eyes focused intently on the monitor as the pastor continued to speak…
“Everything we experience is an illusion. A test. A journey created specifically for you.
The vessels we inhabit are bound to the laws of physics on this plane. But we, we are spiritual beings. A sentient space faring species.
We must release ourselves from these containers; we must dislocate ourselves from earthly pleasure in order to reach the highest plane…”
Jeremy looked back towards his window, a breeze blowing softly through the room.
“This month we celebrate the coming of a comet. A cosmic coat tail carrying our space craft; a chance to leave this planet for good; forever returning to the ocean of space we have birthed from…”
The pastor looked up towards the sky and down again, settling his gaze on Jeremy.
“I must ask that we stay vigilant. That we remember our place, we hold on to our mission, and we stay focused on the task at hand. It is our duty, our birthright, to live as an example in these troubled times.
We must free ourselves from these vessels and catch our ride to the stars.”
Jeremy powered down the monitor and began to pray.
“So all we have to do is die?”
Jeremy nodded solemnly.
“And we’ll be released into…what did you say? A spaceship?”
“So, we have to do it while the comet is in the sky, or else our, what is it, our soul? No…our consciousness? Wait…your saying we’re aliens living in a human body?”
Jeremy nodded again.
“How do you know it’ll even work? How do you know any of this is even for real?”
He reached for the power button and turned on his computer.
The monitor came alive, and the pastor began to speak…
Jeremy moved quickly down the hallway, hand resting gently on his hip; covering the gun beneath his shirt.
Jeremy stopped to look up. The sun shone brightly through the glass windows above him.
He began to move…
Jeremy stopped in front of Pod B.
Was this where Ken was?
He looked at his watch 12:38.
He pulled out a crumpled schedule in his pocket.
Home Room 8:05
Algebra II 10:05–10:55
Social Studies 12:30–1:15
Pod B Social Studies.
This was it.
Jeremy looked through the window and into the classroom.
Ken sat in the front of the class; skimming through the day’s lesson.
Jeremy pulled the pistol from his hip and opened the door.
“It’s your fault we have to stay here…if you wouldn’t have killed mom and dad, we wouldn’t be living with these strangers.”
Ken pointed at the computer monitor sitting on the desk.
“Looking at pictures won’t do shit. They’re dead because of you.”
Jeremy attempted to make sense of what his brother was saying.
Nothing made sense anymore.
He wanted to understand, he wanted to know why, but, more than anything, he wanted something to believe in…
“You’re such a baby. Crying all the time…man the fuck up.”
The door slammed shut, leaving Jeremy alone in the room.
He pulled up the computer monitor, went to a video streaming service, and searched for God.
The classroom froze. No movement and hardly a breath.
Ken looked up from his textbook.
Jeremy stood motionless near the window, staring off into the sky.
It would be worth it.
He would find answers. He would discover what he was supposed to do.
Jeremy turned to face his brother, a proud smile glazed upon his face…
“I’ll figure out what went wrong, and I’ll fix it.”
A sensation of weightlessness became him.
He could see everything. Not just the classroom, but the entire planet. He could see the comet, pushing valiantly through space.
He could see his father, attempting to steer him away from a mailbox, crashing into the neighbor’s yard as his bike spilled into the street.
He could see himself; cross legged in the living room, Gameboy in hand, an early ray of sunlight creeping through window blinds as mom cooked breakfast in the kitchen.
He saw his first kiss.
And all at once, he saw nothing.
For the first time forever, Jeremy felt infinity.
And it felt like everything there ever was, and everything there ever will be.