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……….He spun in the fog of a daze, his muscles stiff from atrophy, and he felt uncoordinated, but much more. Body ill in some vague, distant way, he had become something inhuman. Hearing things beyond the audible spectrum, radio waves, cell-phone data, these spectra squeaked past low in the distance. Another frequency range churned inside his guts, a darker spectrum. His mind encapsulated in the black liquid, he found himself engulfed by the dark-matter catalyst. Crossing over between the two universes, the other side beckoned him with siren calls.
……….“What does he mean? Transmogrify?”
……….His mind overwhelmed to the point of madness, his senses flared. As he scrutinized his hands, he recalled that his name was Steve something. His gaze fell upon what remained of that scientist, a stiff, charred lump in the corner of the floor.
……….The house’s structure had been damaged by some cataclysmic event. Medical machines had crashed across the floor. One wire was still tethered into his arm. The line snaked back toward a soft blue glow on the floor.
……….In his mad delirium, Steve tore out the catheter and stepped on to inspect the smoky hallway. Tiptoeing down a wooden staircase and toward the source of the fire, he squinted to peer across the concrete cellar. A final stair below him had been mangled from some blast event, and it cracked in half.
……….He fell face forward toward the dirty cement floor. Pressing his hands out to catch himself, his body hovered a foot above the ground. When he reclaimed his bearings, he looked over at the devastation through the dark, caustic smoke.
……….The force of his will propelled him up and away from the floor. He righted himself. Feet crunched down onto some debris beneath.
……….His fingers pinched himself, but his nerves had all numbed. Steve felt nothing, no temperature. He inhaled, but it seemed unnecessary. A darkened veil had settled before his eyes contorting the light and the colors. A darker reality tingled inside of his body. It coursed and throbbed throughout him with energy to spare. Dark matter forces coiled onto his fibers with each cell ensnared. That second engine within him roared of its own accord. If it expanded he might explode in a gory mist.
……….The basement laboratory had cratered down at the point of some explosion. The cluttered expanse was littered with melted glass and contorted steel racks. Steve saw a pulsing yellow glow beneath the wreckage. Minuscule particles crackled randomly like sparklers unleashed, but it was like nothing he’d seen before. His eyes registered colors beyond the normal human range.
……….It dawned on him that he could only see these things with his newfound dark vision.
……….“Is that radiation?”
……….Steve gawked at the sparklers, and then he quickly turned and got the hell out of there. Upstairs, the large multi-story house stood intact. The air still smoky, but the building structure seemed salvageable.
……….Steve attempted a search through his memories to recall who he was and where he’d come from. Inside his smothered mind remained a towering, impenetrable black wall.
……….“Why am I here?”
……….His feet stepped up to the home’s front door. When he yanked it open, the blinding cyan glare frightened him at first. His eyes rapidly adjusted. His attention locked onto a pile of old newspapers left laying on the front porch. He scurried out and pulled them into his chest. Escaping the oddly colored sun pulsing above, streaked in browns and turquoise, Steve hid from the light back inside the hazy living room.
……….As he pieced together his location, he forced his eyes shut again, diving down in a quest to understand his former life. Try as he might to break out of the surrounding blackness, his brain had been sucked into a kind of black hole.
……….Steve lay that night upstairs in the scientist’s bed.
……….Imagining a plan of action, he considered to simply take over the residence and clean it up, bury the body. He had a positive feeling about working with tools and repairing things, and he wanted to be useful.
……….At long last he fell asleep.
……….That face, the beautiful girl, he knew her. He loved her purely. But she strolled away with a little boy, a kid. It was Cathy and Michael. They turned back and waved him on to invite him along.
……….Steve wanted to follow and to stay with them, but his legs went uselessly limp. Crawling hand over hand, he pulled himself along the mushy ground to catch up. They refused to slow down, the woman and the boy, despite his calling.
……….Soon he was alone and abandoned shivering in the dark. Up in the swirling black sky the dropping rain became shards of ice and hail. The barrage sliced into his arms as he shielded his eyes in a snow-blind assault.
……….Jolting out of the scientist’s bed, Steve flew up. His head crashed through the ceiling tiles. His skull splintered the two-by-four beam above the bedroom and lodged in between the cracked wooden pieces.
……….“What the hell!”
……….As he extricated his head from the building with care, he peered down onto the bedroom below through the dim dust. His body floated effortlessly on the air. Gentle unseen currents bobbed like he could swim through the atmosphere.
……….He was a man, but he floated on the air.
……….“What the hell am I?”