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  • Writer's pictureEva Nel Brettrager

Before bed, I put my clock ahead for daylight savings. When I woke up I was definitely... ahead.

I really wished we gained an hour instead of losing an hour. I was just exhausted. To be honest, I don’t even know how I made it to the bed that night. If only I had forgotten. Just didn’t change the time at all. I never would have wound up here… Okay. Let me start from the beginning. Obviously, it was daylight saving time. I honestly did almost forget. The only thing that reminded me was the phone call I had with Jessica. I had just gotten off of work. I worked six sixteen hour shifts in a row. It was my first and only day off that week. Ever since the virus had begun to spread, the hospital’s were just packed. People were in a pure panic over being symptomatic, and let me tell you. A pandemic sure brings the hypochondriacs out. I had her on speakerphone while I sloshed my way out of my scrubs. She was bright that night. Couldn’t wait to see me the next day, to celebrate the Easter holiday with me and my parents. I had no idea I’d never see that day. Or maybe I did. I’m not really sure. Before we hung up the phone, Jessica said, “Don’t forget to move your clock forward. Now I get to see you an hour sooner.” I laughed, reminding her that my cell phone would automatically switch the time for me. “Don’t argue, Eric. Just make sure you change the time, and set an alarm. I know how you are in the mornings. A cell phone alarm is too risky for you.” We both laughed and exchanged our loving goodbyes. I faithfully did as I was told and flipped the clock from 1:33AM to 2:33AM before I crawled into bed. The dream I had was just… weird. I remember feeling the coldest I had ever felt in my life. Shaking so hard that I couldn’t gain full control over my limbs, and sweating so profusely that small crystals were forming across my skin. My body was mine, but… it wasn’t. I could see myself, and I didn’t look like me. I was… falling. As my body tumbled through the deep dark, blackest of black void, I could see my body just… flopping… and flailing... It was almost fetal, like a falling sparrow, just weak and fumbling through the nothingness. I remember wisps of white coming from nowhere and licking at my skin. The cold got colder, the sweat got wetter, and the shakes went deeper. On and on it went, until… I awoke, with a gasp - bolting upright in my bed. The first thing I noticed was how grey everything looked. I rubbed my eyes, many times. Finally a very dim room came into view. It was my bedroom. The bedroom I had went to sleep in, just last night. Only it wasn’t. The floor was grey, the curtains and windows were grey. Even the bedding was grey. At least I thought it was until I pulled the blanket back. Dust flew through the air. I immediately began coughing. I reached to pull my shirt up to cover my nose and mouth, and that’s when I realized I was naked. I looked down. No clothes. I went to sleep with clothes on. But I was naked. And sweaty. And the sweat was crystallized on my skin. I bolted out of the bed. Dust be damned, I had thought to myself. As I rushed towards my bathroom, I became acutely aware of how muffled everything sounded. There was no ambiance in the room. No echo. Reaching the bathroom, I slammed the door open. There was no mirror above the sink. Just an empty frame. Just like the bedroom, everything was grey. I ran my finger across the counter of the sink, praying I was wrong. But I wasn’t. Just dust - everywhere. I could no longer fight the fear that had been growing in the pit of my stomach. I dizzied with nausea, and heaved forward to vomit into the toilet. I did notice that there was no water - just an empty, dust filled toilet. When I was able to breathe again, I exited the bathroom, returning to the bedroom. I needed to figure out what the fuck was going on. I opened the dresser, thinking I’d find clothes. I did, sort of. It was mostly just tattered cloth, moth eaten and covered in - you guessed it - dust. I didn’t waste much time, as I had a sneaking suspicion what I was going to find. A whole lot of nothing. I abandoned efforts to find clothing. Tentatively, I stepped slowly towards the main door to the bedroom. I was seriously freaking out about what was going on in this room, and I didn’t know what the hell I was going to find. Opening the door and peering out, there was light, but it wasn’t from any type of lamp I thought I’d left on. It was a faint glow, the natural light from the living room spilling down into the hallway. Where my office and guest bathroom door should be stood nothing. They were just empty frames in the wall. There was a dust coat here, but it was darker than in the bedroom. As if the dust had been collecting here longer. I stepped out. I became painfully aware that everywhere I stepped was leaving footprints in the dust. I didn’t like how vulnerable that made me feel. What exactly did I have to be afraid of? With as much confidence as I could muster, I walked down the hall, towards the light. When I arrived at the living room there was nothing but dilapidated, dust covered furniture. I stepped towards the front window that faced the street. I lived on a main road. To my dismay, the light was not coming from this room, nor did it appear to be coming from beyond the windows. It seems black outside. I pulled back the curtain. 

What I saw I couldn’t seem to explain. It was like… white noise, but visual. There was a glitch effect to the sky that emitted wierd waves of-- not light, but anti-light, every so often. It was like the blackest black I’d ever seen. And I could see it against the black because it was blacker than that. I know, my brain doesn't understand it either.

I’d grown frustrated at this point. I walked out into the street, clothes be damned. You couldn’t see a single fucking thing, and there wasn’t a single fucking person in sight. I walked. 

And I walked.

And I walked.

And I walked. For what could have been minutes, hours, days, years. I don’t know how long I really walked for but finally, finally I saw the light again. It was a small little ball of light, deep in the distance. I burst into a sprint. The ball of light that started out the size of lightening bug had grown to the size of a baseball. As I grew closer, the size of a cantaloupe. And closer still, a globe. And closer still until I halter underneath, the size of the moon. It was the first time I looked down since I started running.

There was a woman, standing there, naked like me. She wasn’t dirty, per say, but she was covered in some dust, like I’d seen in the house before. She was facing me and her head was cocked to the side, curious. I took a step forward, and so did she. I raised my hand, and so did she. I went to ask her a question, but before I could speak, she did.

“Are you real?” She asked.

“Yes, I am. Are you?” I replied.

“Yes. My name is Jessica. I don’t know how long I’ve been here, but I’m trapped, and I think you are too.” She said with a sad kind of hopefulness in her voice.

I was shocked, and instinctively jolted forward. “Jessica?!” I grabbed her face in my hands. I brushed the dust from her face. I craddled her face lovingly. It was her. I kissed her slowly, and deeply. In my logical mind, I know I had only just seen her a few days ago. But in my heart it felt like it had been a millenia. 

She withdrew, slowly. “Eric?” She asked, bewildered.

“What is this place?” I asked, not having to answer something she already knew the answer to.

“I’m not totally sure. I don’t think our kind of life exists anymore. I’ve only made it by thinking that I’ve been floating through, with the sands of time.”

“But all this dust…”

She interrupted, saying, “Not dust. Sand.”

So I send you this message across the sands of time, hoping it may reach you from beyond. Don’t change the clocks. Don’t alter time. Let nature take it’s course, You’ll lose it too quickly.

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