Richard Bradshaw, age 36, walked down the freshly paved sidewalk of 7th Avenue West. He was in a good mood because today, after nine and a half months of unemployment, he was getting a new job. He was finally getting his life back on track. Because of this, Richard felt that nothing could bring him down. Humming a tune to himself, Richard took a step off the curb of the sidewalk, to cross the street. As soon as his foot made contact with the graying asphalt, he disappeared into thin air.
After feeling an intense pulling sensation in his lower gut, Richard closed his eyes instinctively. As soon as he became aware that the city's ambience had died out completely, Richard opened his eyes again. He saw nothing, but he wasn't blind. Richard could see his body, but his entire surroundings, or rather lack of surroundings, were pure black, and an unsettling silence filled his ears. Richard couldn't feel the ground. It didn't feel like he was floating, he just didn't feel anything at all. No gravity, no ground, nothing. Richard couldn't even breathe. It was as if everything had completely gone away, or like time had stopped. But time itself hadn't stopped. Richard tried to call out, but it seemed as if he hadn't even said anything. No sound escaped his throat, no echo reverberated. Richard didn't even feel his mouth move.
'Hello, Mr. Bradshaw. We finally meet face-to-face.' A cool-as-steel voice drifted through the empty space into Richard's ears. Before he even had a chance to question where the voice had came from, a figure faded into few, not even five meters away. A light that seemed to come from nowhere, but everywhere at the same time, illuminated the human. It was quite obviously a man, in his mid-to-late fifties, with a gaunt, clean-shaven face, and dark, gray eyes. The eyes caught Richard's attention the most. They seemed disinterested, even dead. Although the man was, without a doubt, looking at Richard, the eyes seemed to be inattentive and not paying attention to any physical object. Richard shuddered.
'Mr. Bradshaw, do you know who I am?' Through the cold voice, the emotionless face, and those dead, staring eyes, Richard could detect a faint bemusement. Instead of attempting to use his voice again, he only shook his head. Richard had never seen this man in his life. He was sure of that; he would have remembered those eyes. Even so, out of habit, Richard found himself searching his memory for a name. Of course, nothing came to mind.
The man seemed to be expecting this answer, because he let out a knowing smirk. 'No, Mr. Bradshaw, you wouldn't know me. You wouldn't know me at all. Oh, but I know you, Mr. Bradshaw. I know all about you.' The smirk returned to his face. 'You can speak again.'
'Why am I here? What do you want from me?' Richard's bewilderment was clearly evident in his voice. For the first time, the man's eyes showed emotion. The gray eyes flashed alive, full of anger, for a split second. The man took a sharp, quick breath. A moment later, and the eyes were dead again; the breath had been let out. The man had recomposed himself.
'Mr. Bradshaw, you are here because, after all of these years, I have returned. I cannot take back what you took from me, but I can take something in return. I can get revenge.' The unnamed man hissed the last word, and his brows furrowed. All the while, however, he retained a disturbing air of sanity. It was Richard who was beginning to doubt his own sanity.
'What do you mean? What did I take from you?' Nothing the man had said to Richard had made any sense.
The man gave Richard a tight-lipped smile. 'You took from me the one thing I had to keep me going; you took from me the proudest part of my life. You made me suffer, after all those years of working so hard. Could I let that go, Mr. Bradshaw? No, no I couldn't. What kind of man would I be, if I were to just walk away? I wouldn't be a very strong man. Weak people give up; weak people surrender. Only the strong retaliate. I am a strong man, Mr. Bradshaw.
'I'm sure you're still wondering who I am. Well, Mr. Bradshaw, Richard, you will find out my name in due time. But why don't I at least clue you in on who I am, as a person? Yes, I believe that's a fair trade. Anyways, it's not like you'll be going anywhere.' The man softly chuckled, and narrowed his eyes at Richard.
'You see, Mr. Bradshaw, I have brought you here because I have recently come into contact with some certain…abilities. I have received some powers, Mr. Bradshaw. One of these powers, these abilities, allows me to come here. It allowed me to bring you here.'
'Where is here?'
'Yes, Mr. Bradshaw. Of course you would ask that. Of course you would have noticed that I have not yet gotten into where here is. Of course you would have noticed that I had avoided that topic. But since you ask, Mr. Bradshaw, of course I will tell you.
'Mr. Bradshaw, where we are is beyond your comprehension of a place. I have brought you to an undeveloped dimension, a dimension lacking the full properties of a dimension. The closest that I can compare it to would be our universe, our dimension, before the Big Bang.'
'So this is a universe that hasn't expanded?'
'No, Mr. Bradshaw,' the man allowed a small, patronizing chuckle before continuing. 'This is a completely void universe, in a completely empty dimension. Every subatomic atom, every piece of potential matter, is reading your mind faster than you can think. You see, every particle in this universe needs a job. But, Mr. Bradshaw, they don't have a job, do they? So, as soon as a particle has an opportunity at a job, as soon as a particle has a chance at a purpose, it takes it. Almost like you, isn't it, Mr. Bradshaw? Already, in the mere five minutes that you've been here, that we've been talking, trillions of particles have combined to form billions of combinations of objects, only to be destroyed a mere fraction of a millisecond later. Why, Mr. Bradshaw? This is because you do not hold the images in your mind completely. You do not hold them in your mind long enough. The objects created are fragmented; they are incomplete. They are simultaneously destroyed as they are created.'
The man looked to his left, where a planet the size of a softball appeared.
'You see what I mean, Mr. Bradshaw? I have just created an entire civilization, complete with a food chain, and a dominant species with knowledge of space travel. This species has a religion, Mr. Bradshaw. They worship me.'
He waved his hand, and the planet imploded.
'Now, as soon as they were about to launch their first manned ship to embark on a three-thousand year long quest, in hopes to discover other intelligent life, they are dead. I killed them, Mr. Bradshaw, but it wasn't important, was it? I created them; so therefore, I hold the rights to kill them if I so desire. For that species, on that planet, however, their civilization had lasted several million years. Time creates interesting paradoxes in an undeveloped universe, doesn't it, Mr. Bradshaw? They had whole libraries on documents of their evolution, beginning with the lowly arthropods that breathed through their own skin.'
Richard glanced nervously around. 'I still don't understand why you've brought me here, or who you are.'
The man slowly smiled, which turned into a grotesque grin. 'Oh, Mr. Bradshaw, I appear to have left out some pertinent information, haven't I? Well, I will just have to correct that error. You understand, of course, where we are. You don't know why, though. You see, Mr. Bradshaw, after receiving my abilities, I discovered a war-like, alien race. I advanced this race millions of years ahead of their intended path, and brought them into the space-age. I have complete control over them, Mr. Bradshaw, and I intend to use that control to my greatest advantage. I intend to destroy the Earth.'
'That is not for you to worry about, Mr. Bradshaw. You only have one thing to worry about, and that's staying alive. Surely you will do anything you can to stay alive. So I have a favor to ask of you, Mr. Bradshaw. Will you pass on a little message for me? Will you tell the people of Earth of their imminent doom? Will you make them aware of the impending apocalypse? Will you cooperate, Mr. Bradshaw?'
Horrified, Richard attempted to close his eyes. After taking several deep breathes, he was able to reply. It was just a whisper, but the man understood it. 'No.'
The nameless man smiled, and chuckled again. "Well, Mr. Bradshaw, if you are unwilling to follow orders, it seems that I will have to pass on this message to the people myself, won't I?' The chuckle turned into a laugh.
Richard opened his eyes again, to look at the man, and found himself staring into the face of his own body. The body he was watching, his body, melted away, leaving Richard in what he could only assume was also his body.
'Mr. Bradshaw, I've created a new you. I have created a you over which I have control. I have the power to manipulate you now, Mr. Bradshaw. I have merged my spirit with yours, and now we share the same body.'
'You can't do thi-' Richard was silenced by the man's voice, interrupting him.
'Yes I can, Mr. Bradshaw. I can, and I did. If you continue to refuse to cooperate, I can just take complete control, and leave you sitting in the back of your mind. I can just leave you watching through your eyes, unable to do anything.'
Richard could tell that the man wasn't lying. He knew that his only choice was to do as the man told him to, or else he would be trapped in some dark corner of his mind.
'Yes, Mr. Bradshaw. That's the spirit. Now, let's go, Mr. Bradshaw. Let's spread the word to the people of their coming doom.
Seamlessly, the blackness surrounding Richard turned into the New York streets, and he was left standing in the exact same position that he had been in before the man had taken him. He was midway on the road, and midway on the sidewalk. Richard briefly wondered if time had stopped.
No, Mr. Bradshaw, time didn't stop. As I said before, an undeveloped universe creates interesting warps in time. You really should listen, Mr. Bradshaw.
Straining, Richard attempted to reply. Who are you? What's your name?
The man was silent for several seconds, and then replied, with one word. A last name. Reinholts.
Richard crossed the street in silence.