Sci-fi / Fantasy · Young Adult

Birth: The Exquisite Sound of One Hand Falling Off a Turnip Truck by S.T. Gulik

The onslaught of nine dimensional colors faded back into the identifiable spectrum as tiny pinpricks of the great illusion reclaimed Max’s mind, one molecule at a time. The pressure that had been propelling him through the cosmos was letting up, and the subsequent decrease in velocity destroyed his footing in the multiverse. Soon he was collapsing back into himself. The metallic white noise of everything decreased to a rumbling growl, gently vibrating his waking framework. With sensation came his individual will, which adamantly disagreed with the stream in which it was caught. He knew what had to be done, but he wasn’t happy about it.
He cracked an eyelid and immediately regretted it. The goddamned night noodles were at it again. The sudden jolt of recognition and fear was a bullet to the head for his altered state of consciousness. Suddenly sober and hovering three feet in the air above Scarlet’s befuddled Bio-Bed, Max was once again in the grip of those strange prodding shapes.
Damn it, I thought that was a nightmare. Maybe I’m still asleep?
He tried to wish them into beautiful nymphets.
It didn’t work.
Had he landed in some other part of the multiverse? He tried to speak. He wanted to scream, to shoo them away like the pests they were, but his voice box was as paralyzed as the rest of him.
At least they weren’t poking at him as much as last time. When he was fully awake, the black, squiggly creatures formed a circle around him. Hovering a few feet away, they struck strange poses, which made them look even more like pictograms. They were back-lit with a pulsing purple light from an unidentifiable source. He got the impression he was supposed to read them, but he couldn’t read Japanese let alone alien. They were definitely trying to tell him something, but whether it was imperative or declarative he couldn’t tell. They rotated him slowly, as if to show him the proper order of words, but all he learned was that Cheeky was still sound asleep. At least he would be spared the indignity of being someone’s toy.
They floated him horizontally out the bedroom to the living room window and pressed his face against the glass. Outside, a couple of vagrants were going car to car, trying door handles in the half-empty parking lot. The tower of the Jengists swayed slightly in the distance, scraping the night sky with irregular fingernails. The dull glow of a bonfire illuminated robed figures moving slowly among the beams.
He was floated backwards and rotated vertically then turned towards the kitchen. One of the things hurled a bag of coffee at him. It exploded upon impact with his face, but rather than falling to the floor, the beans hovered around his head as if caught in a gravitational field. The things resumed their previous positions around him as he spun.
This went on for a good twenty minutes or so until Max was almost lulled to sleep. Suddenly, the beans themselves exploded into ground coffee, which infiltrated his clothes and scraped across his flesh, violating every orifice. Not even his belly button was safe. Meanwhile, the things had taken to bouncing around the room like bored children.
I’m really starting to hate these things.
A few minutes later, the coffee fell away as ineffectually as it should have to begin with. The largest one, possibly their leader, grew larger as it floated toward him. It stopped by a lamp about four feet away and began to change. Twisting itself into a ridiculously complex three dimensional shape, it rotated slowly in the lamplight, projecting a series of figures on the wall.
You can do that, but you can’t write in English.
As if in response to Max’s unspoken hostility, the wriggling mass burst into flame. Seconds later, all that was left was a black spot on the ceiling. The others all faded into the shadows and Max was dropped on his ass.
“Goddammit, stop doing that! What the fuck are you assholes? If there’s something you want to tell me, tell me in fucking English.”
He pushed himself to his feet and glanced around to make sure he was really alone. They seemed to be gone, but how could he be sure when the things were only partly there to begin with? It didn’t matter since he couldn’t defend himself, so he shifted his focus to something more productive.

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