Books: An Abridged Existence (excerpt)

Chapter 5

All is dark. There is no light, just the inky blackness of the black void. The man on the bed lights a match, illuminating the cramped room. The walls are lined with bookshelves, and he sits upon a bed in the center of the room. No doors or windows or signs of a way out are apparent. The match burns the man, who promptly jerks the hand, dropping the match. The mattress and bed burst into flames. The man sits there on the flaming bed. He seems pleased that the room is now very well illuminated. He doesn’t seem to realize that half of the room is on fire.

The flames dance around the bed, licking the sheets, turning them from white to black. And from black they crumble away into nothing. The flames jump to the carpet, flickering. Changing colors, from red, to orange, to yellow, and blue, to green, they crawl across the carpet and onto the bookshelves. The books begin turning into flames and dance around the ceiling. The ceiling cracks; the paint peels and drops away, exposing the dark, black void above the man. The remaining books that are burning jump from the shelves and roll around on the ground, desperately attempting to extinguish the fire. The smoldering books are torn asunder by the flames, and the pages fly up through the black hole in the ceiling. Large beams fall through the burning ceiling. The fallen timbers sublimate into a gray mist, and begin floating about the room occupied by the man and random flames. The flames jump upon the gray haze, igniting it. The room turns into a singular giant fireball.

The man’s hair finally starts to smolder and catch fire. The burning haze forcefully propels the man out of the hole in the ceiling, extinguishing his burning hair. As the man flies through the air, he sees a burning television far below him. And then the man stops. No gravity pulls him down to back where he came from. He is floating in space. A meteor drifts nearby, he grabs a hold of it. The meteor starts spinning quickly, throwing the man from it and towards a rather large couch floating in space. The man lands on the couch and sits there. He looks around at the surroundings. A TV floats in front of the couch nearby. A small table is directly between the couch and TV. A remove hovers above the small table between the couch and TV.

The man reaches out his hand for the remote, and picks it up. He turns on the TV. Nothing good is on, so he switches to the news. Bright flashy colors fill the screen. He is lost to a trance. He falls off the couch and begins convulsing. He floats away aimlessly into space, away from everything. A large fish had seen him, and is swimming through space towards his general direction. As the fish approaches, it gets smaller and smaller. When it is directly in front of the man, the man reached out to grab it, but the fish was no longer there. It had shrunk to a microscopic size. He pulls out an unusually large musical instrument from his back pocket, and begins to play a tune. The instrument vanishes. The man does not seem to notice it is gone until a very long time. The man looks around, and sees a large blue ball approaching him rapidly. As the ball approaches, it greatly increases in size. It keeps approaching and getting bigger, and bigger, and bigger. Until the man lands on a large building on the surface of the ball. He falls through the ceiling, and onto a bed. He bounces off the bed and onto the floor. He feels a sharp smack to his face as he lands headfirst on the floor. He lies there on his stomach and does not move.