Clumsy

By Robert Lynch

I always thought I was regular clumsy. Just as clumsy as everybody else. Now, I’ve begun to think I am cursed.

 

I’ve knocked over mugs, dropped cutlery, even knocked over a bicycle; but I never thought clumsiness could get me in so much trouble. I mean I never thought I was more clumsy than average, although the evidence says otherwise.

 

I walked into Professor Reg’s lab, he was tinkering with some machine, and I gave him the reports that Prof Kelly had sent me over with.

 

“Anywhere on that table,” Reg said vaguely indicating the general direction of a pile of papers in the corner that had obtained the gravity to start pulling dust bunnies to it. As I made for paper mountain, I accidentally brushed the table and knocked a vial to the floor.

 

Reg reflexively tried to grab the vial. “Oh shit!” he said as the vial smashed on the ground. They might be the last words I’ll ever hear another person say.

 

Everything stopped.

I don’t mean like in that deer-in-the-headlights way where the world appears to stop because something scary is happening, I mean actually stopped.

 

A fly, mid buzz now hung in mid-air motionless. Pieces of glass from the vial and droplets of whatever goo lived inside came to a halt mid-splash. Reg stayed awkwardly leaning out to catch the falling vial. And the silence. We think that a room is quiet when no one is making noise, but when everything stops? I’ve never heard such a complete silence before; I don’t think anyone has.

 

I tried to push Reg back into place, but I could not move him. I could not open the door for help. I couldn’t move anything. I sat in the corner and cried for a while. After a time, I began to try to understand the rules of what had happened. I couldn’t move anything, but the screen of Reg’s computer was still bright with what Reg had been working on. How was that possible? Projecting an image is the act of emitting photons, the fact that I could see at all meant that light could still move. Sight is the act of light hitting chemical sensors in the eyes and exciting them, I couldn’t interact with physical objects, but I could interact with light. I still have no idea how to use that information, but it’s good to know.

 

I’m not sure how long I’ve been here. There is no passing of days. I have slept many times, but that’s hardly a good measure. Thirst and hunger are constant companions, but there is no way of turning on a tap. I have poked and prodded every part of the room, but I can’t do anything. The closest I have come is this ‘journal.’ I can’t write traditionally, but I can use my own blood as ink.

 

END

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