Author : Julian Miles, Staff Writer

George stood on the fused glass at the edge of the crater. It had taken him a while to climb out of the hole, but at least it allowed the forces arrayed against him to reassemble. He watched them advance, flicking his eyes between reality and nihil, fascinated that living organisms produced a shadow in that non-place.

A thought came to him. With thought came actuality and he flickered to all perceptions except his own, a curious moment when he just ceased to be before standing there again. In the command and control centre thirty miles away, consternation erupted as Major-General McChase keeled over, dead before his body started to fall.

George felt elation. Another thing learned. He could nullify the nihil shadow of an organism and the organism itself died instantly. With a rush of curiousity, he flickered a thousand times, nullifying the nihil shadows of things ranging from plankton to trees to whales. On his return to his standing place, he could sense the absences he had created. So he had proven shadows and echoes in nonexistence. But could it be nonexistence if he was there to see things?

His fascinated theoretical conjuring was interrupted by a massively amplified voice.

“Professor George Andrakoplis. This is acting commander Lamont. Surrender yourself for detention!”

Plainly as incapable of understanding as his predecessor. Maybe the next one? He flickered.


The amplified noise of fatal surprise echoed. So his absences were infinitesimal in time consumption? Probably zero in real terms. He chuckled. ‘Real terms’. Now there was a phrase he couldn’t use anymore.

He paused his mental dissertation to gauge the approaching forces. He extended his newly acquired sense of hadronic potential over them and laughed to himself as he did so. Of course none of them had a large hadron collider with a gap just big enough for him to fit into, to separate him from the nihil with racing neutrons, to turn him into a four dimensional entity again before the proton stream inflicted another unpredictability upon him. Most likely it would actually end him, instead of inflicting a further freakish transformation.

He raised a hand to his forehead as an epiphany struck him. His sudden movement caused the entire advancing army to grind to a halt and dive for cover.

Could it be dark matter? He hadn’t been gifted with the ability to cease to be, he had been given access to the cloth upon which the tapestry of existence hung. Like any embroidery, he should be able to discover how to unpick bits of it.

He looked up as contrails laced the sky. How apt. Lacework. He cocked his head as cries of consternation echoed from the ranks arrayed before him. The missiles were not of their sending. It looked like an opportunist nation was using the situation to try to deal with him and their opposition in one holocaust.

Well, he had a theory. What better time to practice than with something that should allow him to shift the perceptions of those before him? He flickered, disappeared, flickered and generally reinforced the fear of the unknown amongst those watching him. Minutes later he reappeared and stayed. The nuclear armageddon rained down in a series of solid impacts and detonator sized blasts, but not a mushroom cloud rose nor did a Geiger counter twitch.

He smiled, spread his arms and shouted: “Now can you get past your terror so we can talk like rational beings?”


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