Author : Rollin T. Gentry

Dr. Morris turned away and tapped a few times on the holopad projected from the bracelet on his left wrist.

“Well, Ensign Peters, one thing’s for sure. You are not turning invisible, or into a ghost, or whatever it was you called it.”

Jared Peters had told the doctor that when walking the corridors alone, he could feel his feet slipping through the floor, sometimes more than a centimeter deep. And in his bunk, looking up, he could see the seams in the bulkhead through his fading hand. Jared almost didn’t tell the doctor about the invisible thing swimming out there in the void alongside the ship; but he figured why not, after all the other crazy stuff he’d already said.

Dr. Morris continued, “And if some creature or ship were out there, we’d be hearing klaxons going off and a call to high alert.” Morris was one of two doctors aboard. Neither was a psychiatrist, but Dr. Morris was covering all the items on his checklist. “Are you having any suicidal or homicidal thoughts?”

“No, sir. I’m just terrified. When I saw the outline of that thing from the observation deck, it looked like a big invisible whale. The thing noticed me looking at it, because it turned and started swimming straight for me. I ran as fast I could in the opposite direction, got on the lift, and hid in my quarters. But ever since then, I feel like the thing is pulling on me no matter where I go, like it’s trying to turn me invisible and pull me straight through the hull of the ship.”

“I can give you something for your nerves, son,” Dr. Morris said, tapping in his notes and recommendations. “And you should probably stay in one of the rooms down here until you’re feeling better. I’ll let your commanding officer know where you are. I’ll check back in on you tomorrow to see how you’re feeling.”

A nurse led Jared to a room and handed him white sweatpants, a t-shirt, and some non-slip socks. After he had changed out of his uniform, he sat up in bed and flipped through random channels on the tri-vid. After stopping on an old comedy, the remote control began to slip through his fingers. For a moment, he could see the small, black, remote control overlapping his translucent wrist. Then it fell and bounced off the mattress, crashing on the floor. His first thought was to call for Dr. Morris or a nurse, but his legs were sinking through the bed like quicksand. He tried to grab hold with his arms, but he fell through to the level below.

He landed on his feet. The floor felt solid enough. Jared turned around and knew where he was: the observation deck. He could see the vastness of space beyond the thick windows not ten meters away. He walked up to a window, placing a palm on the surface. His hand sank into the window a good two centimeters before he jerked away. Looking out into the void, he saw the outline of the invisible thing, warping the light of the stars behind it, coming closer, until no stars could be seen.

In an instant, Jared found himself on the wrong side of the observatory windows, in the vacuum of space; but before he could gasp, he was swallowed up by a damp, acid-burning, oblivion.

Discuss the Future: The 365 Tomorrows Forums
The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow
This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows