Do you remember it? Do you remember what the weather was like that day? What smells were floating in the air that hour? What your heart-rate was the minute before? What the last thought entering your mind the second prior was? The moment when you realised there’s something more than all of what we can observe?
I remember it well, the first time I realised that all we can see is not all there is. I had just turned 10 years old. It was the first tornado of the season and we were racing home from a baseball match out in Sandpark Hill. The storm had eluded all early-detection systems and had appeared as quickly as it would vanish later. The moment the meteorologists issued the warning on the broadcasting system and the speakers sounded the ominous alarm, it was already too late. Dad drove our truck like a madman, only narrowly avoiding collisions with other drivers who were trying to do the exact same thing, and we managed to make it as far as Lancaster bridge. Dad and Mom in front, my sister and I in the backseat and Carrot the dog in the trunk. When it became clear that we couldn’t go on, Dad stopped the truck with screeching tires under the passageway and told us to bury our heads in our laps and to shield our heads with our hands. The first truck that crashed into ours ejected me in one sweeping motion through the open passenger window, my body miraculously avoiding any collision with the steel frame of the car, like a basketball falling cleanly into a net. I landed near a pillar under the arches supporting the bridge. It took me a while to regain consciousness but when I did, the view I had was that of our truck laying on it’s roof and being sucked away slowly from underneath the bridge with everyone screaming and crying inside.
The tornado was pulling it out slowly, gently, like I slowly spun a sling of spaghetti onto a spoon with my fork during Sunday dinners. As if the Gods themselves wanted to make sure that I witnessed every slow second of what was about to happen. In an absurdly overzealous miscalculation of my childish abilities I let go of the pillar I was holding onto and started running with my little legs towards the truck. I would somehow manage to pull it back to safety. I saw my mother’s contorted face turn from panic to sadness, as she realised that my doomed attempt at saving them would inevitably also result in my own demise. I will never forget that look of selfless agony on her face, of being more worried about another’s fate than her own. As soon as I reached the truck and placed my hand on the scratched metal of the front bumper, the Gods decided that my misery had gone on for long enough and put an end to it by quickly pulling up the car into the stormy skies. Unwilling to let go I was dragged along until my hand gave way, and I fell to the floor in the eye of the storm.
I had traversed the skin-scratching sandpaper-winds outside and was now suddenly in a vacuum of pure calmness, an oasis of soundless peace. I could see the storm of sand and steel playing out in front of me, just outside of this invisible tube I was trapped in, but inside there was nothing. I looked up to but there was nothing but blurred mayhem. I was caught in total chaos, swallowed whole by the white maelstrom of whirlwinds. And then, on the foggy perimeter just outside my field of vision, it is in that clashing of light and darkness, silence and screams, that I saw for the first time the sights of another dimension. The force of the vortex was tearing the fabric of our reality apart and I caught a glimpse of something that mortals were never supposed to witness. Flashes of light and colours filled my eyes, liquid visions of a millions hues of other worlds and other lives being lived poured straight into my consciousness. A thousand lives and a thousand galaxies we had never been told about. I saw faces of people who could only live on other planets. Of places where gravity worked in different ways than here. I would have dismissed it as a hallucination, were it not for the near-tangibility of it all. I reached out my arm to touch the perimeter of the whirlpool where the visions of liquid light and translucent shadows were flowing through one another at the speed of light like molten steel in a mill. If you ask me now how long I was in there I would reply that it lasted an entire lifetime, a limitless eternity, but witnesses of the scene said it lasted no longer than a couple of second. A thousand generations live inside me now. When my fingers finally reached the barriers of the vortex I was trapped in, the whirlwinds died down as quickly as they had come and I found myself on my scraped knees in the middle of the highway with my arm reaching out into the ethereal nothingness of what I had seen.
People who witnessed my fall rushed to my aid, unable to believe I barely had a scratch on me. They never found my parent’s car, something the city’s police chief assured not to be unusual with storms of this strength. I hesitated to tell them what I had seen, because I was sure they’d never believe me. They’d tell me I had hallucinated everything because of the chaos, but I was sure of what I had witnessed. A secret transition. The old world is dying, and the new world struggles to be born. And when the planets and fates are unaligned, two worlds collide and breaches appear along the surface. And I was the only one who had witnessed it. I had been where no-one else had been before, trapped in between both. Between two times, between two dimensions.
Now is the time of Madness. Now is the time of Monsters.
Flash fiction is a fictional work of extreme brevity that still offers character and plot development. It is a favored genre among the English-speaking world’s most celebrated writers for its ability to convey deep truths and universal human emotions in just a few short paragraphs. When done well, flash fiction can convey deep truths and resonate with readers from all walks of life. Flash fiction compresses an entire story into the space of a few paragraphs. There is no defined word count for flash fiction, but some commonly used word limits in flash fiction range from just six words on the short end to around 1,000 words on the longer end.