One – Begin
The memories of my transit are unclear, to say the least. Before, I was a network administrator for a large company that specialized in some generic product bought by millions of generic people from generic store shelves in generic towns. I was another cog in the wheel before… this.
My last night on earth began like so many other nights. I arrived home, dropped my keys, and ate the takeout food from the corner deli while flipping back and forth between some old rerun of the X-Files and a good new episode of the Screen Savers when the world went black. I didn’t just pass out, mind you - when I say that the world went black, it went black. I was still conscious enough to feel myself being thrown through my living room, still conscious enough to hear my arm breaking on the door jamb, still conscious enough to feel the cool night air flowing over my face. That’s about when I really passed out.
I regained consciousness in stages. First, I was aware of being aware. Does that make any sense? Imagine that you’re just falling asleep, and the thoughts in your head are going randomly around and you’re THAT close to being asleep and slipping into a dream when you suddenly realize that you are in that particularly wonderful, relaxed state of nothingness.
”I’m alive?” I latched onto that question and held it in my mind as hard as I could, panicked but calm. It was strange, that dichotomy, but it made sense at the time. I pulled myself, thought by thought, up the stairs of consciousness, one level at a time. I’m not quite sure at which point I realized I wasn’t breathing. That didn’t particularly worry me; I figured that it must not be so important for me to breathe. Hell, I was alive, wasn’t I?
The next step up was a big one, the proverbial “doozie”. My arm screamed at me from behind the fog, and I listened. The pain of a compound fracture smacked me in the face and woke me up to almost full consciousness. The memory of my blackout and flight through my house blasted into my head and yet still, no panic. I began to worry.
”Panic, you fool, you fool! Panic, I say, panic!”
But no, there was no panic. I just suddenly had a whole hell of a lot of pain throbbing into my head. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t open my eyes. I couldn’t breathe. I just laid there for what seemed like hours, stuck in my own head with nothing but my own fright and agony to keep me company. That’s not the kind of company one should ever have as dinner guests, believe me.
Eventually, the pain in my arm snapped off just as suddenly as it had begun. My lungs began to function on their own accord – mechanically expanding and contracting. Strange, though… there was no air. It felt like water, but it also felt good and right. Perhaps this is what a baby feels, stuck floating in the amniotic sac for weeks at a time? Well, perhaps that baby would have been a bit less panicked than I felt at the time. Alright, that kid would have been a whole hell of a lot less panicked than I was.
A voice filtered in from the void… “Mr. Jansen, please don’t panic,” (right, that’s a good one, mister faceless) “you are breathing a fluid rich in oxygen and some mild sedatives and pain meds. You are safe. You will be brought to full capability soon.”
A cold realization grabbed my heart; I had been abducted by aliens. Holy crap, the X-Files were absolutely right. Geeks everywhere were suddenly vindicated in every way. I would have giggled at that, but it just wasn’t happening at the moment. Instead, I just passed out again.