Author: Steve Smith, Staff Writer

Jan could taste metal, and feel the pressure and heat outside the cockpit pressing in, the latter slowly baking him inside his flight suit while the former threatened to reduce him to a single dimensionless point in space-time.

He’d done what he’d never imagined possible, pushed the limits of flesh and technology as he skated along the edge of the very fabric of the universe itself, but as Icarus before him, he’d gotten too close to things he didn’t understand, and he was about to be erased from existence.

Entanglement had gotten him to this place, and as everything outside blurred to incomprehensible, he closed his eyes and imagined Vera, her body next to his in her bed, in an alternate reality that had to still exist somewhere, sometime, that if he could just trick the gods one last time perhaps he could will himself into that space instead of this one.

“Hey, handsome.”

He could hear her, smell her.

“Where are you? You seem a million miles away.”

She couldn’t know, couldn’t imagine this reality as he swam in the deep blue of her eyes, entire worlds swirling in the galaxy of possibility that was her face.

“What’s wrong?”

He could feel her now, her hand in his hand, if he could just hold on, he could pull himself into her timeline, escape the inevitability screaming at him from outside of that cockpit.

“Jan, what’s happening?”

There was terror in her voice, he opened his eyes to find her cramped in the cockpit with him, her hand clamped tightly in his gloved fist, eyes wide as the finality of his existence peeled his craft apart at the seams and claimed them both.

In some other time, and some other space, a bed lay empty save for the scent of a woman, and the impression of a man who had no right to have been there at all.