Existential by Mike Ball

Mike Ball

Evil casts its dark shadow everywhere.
Don’t look behind you, you might bump into it.
And so I did.


It wasn’t a good time to be out: Two-forty in the morning. But here we get to meet Dr. Wittmer who is on his way to check on an experiment. Not a necessity, but when you can’t sleep, what the hey.

Oh yeah, it wasn’t a good time to be out: A hard driving rain whipping icy sheets of cold across his car. Umbrella, no umbrella, it made no difference; by the time he reached the building entrance he was soaked. Brrrrrrrr!

He walked into the laboratory dripping wet and careless in a way there should have been laws against. He reached across the matter assembler to toss his umbrella into the corner as water steadily dripped from his wet arm: Oh yeah, down into the delicate electronics, tracing a fateful path that cannot and will never be repeated.

Yeah, he turned his back just at that moment and failed to notice the dim pulse of radiation that flowed across the sorter tubes. Circuits combined to create a new energy field that no one could have conceived of: Combined to open door ways to hidden worlds: To tear your mind to pieces while you screamed your lungs to bloody shreds.


It would not have mattered if he had turned around, but he did. There it was, just catching a glimpse as it emerged from the finalizing chamber. It was like when you catch that glimpse of something out the corner of your eye that turns out to be nothing when you actually look.

That is, until you’re not looking again.

Fleetingly he watched it flick around the room, wondering what was wrong with his eyes; in that one instant when it was gone, he died. Well, no, it wasn’t quite that simple. In an indefinable moment, his mind went insane: It was an effort to escape the torment.

In that instant the essence that he was, was broken down into portions of existential existence so small that no being of this Universe could grasp. He tottered but did not fall, becoming frozen in space, time, and Hell. Oh, but Hell would have been a much nicer place to be.

A flicker of movement could be observed behind him… if you looked out the corner of your eye. Had you been there within the hour of this event, you would also have observed something else: A swiftly fleeing wisp of your imagination slip out of the lab and into the night.

Colleagues found his rigid body as the morning arrived. Medical experts, scientists of every description, mystics… A procession of self-proclaimed experts in many fields examined his frozen remains to no avail.

The puzzling curiosity of this quickly became a trauma spiraling outward as frozen bodies assailed the senses. The public sheltered behind barred doors. Gun stores sold out as the dead piled up.

Night. Darkness. Something moving in the shadows. Creepy crawlies under your skin.

A barely perceptible scrape as you look around. Nothing there, just your imagination. Relax. Take a load off. Hey, ‘twas no more than a speck of nothing in your eye.

Of course, that is, until you’re not actually looking again.


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