The Anomaly

Chapter 1

A glimmering light shone through my blinds and awoke me early from my slumber. I groaned in annoyance and shrugged the comforter back over my eyes, but my peace was already ruined. With the alarm clock blaring in cadence with the noise of the television, I reluctantly slinked out of bed and stumbled over to the bathroom in my room to wash my face and try to wake up.

Last night had been crazy, but the morning and afternoon preceding it, even worse. I went to bed late after making sure my dad didn't drown in his own vomit. Drinking yourself into a dangerous stupor can cause your son to worry about you, after all. I thought about how bad the day had been yesterday, and why my eyes were still puffy, and a crimson shade with jagged, red lines jutting out from the iris and pupil. I had been sobbing, nearly uncontrollably.

I grunted in pain, then awkwardly turned around and looked at the red, jagged scratches that ran down my legs all the way nearly to my ankles. I both of my ankles sprained as well, and the deep cuts I had in my legs and ankles would most likely scar up, as they were pretty terrible.

It was so stupid how it happened, too...

It's almost funny, because when I was getting ready for school it felt like a start to an awesome day. Except, there's nothing humorous about your girlfriend going to the hospital and your mother dying in the same day. Yeah, awesome, right? I had jumped out of bed at four fifty eight EXACTLY, and I will always remember, that, yes, at four fifty eight in the morning was the time I awoke to the most tragic day of my life. It will probably always be the saddest time of day for me, very early morning.

Beating my alarm clock was always something of a massive achievement for me, as I'm usually a huge slacker and like to sleep in. I hadn't even gone to sleep early, either, just filled with a strange, substantial amount of energy that I couldn't shake. It was a Friday, and my father's birthday as well, August twenty-eighth. I put my school uniform on- well, the only thing that was really required that was that girls didn't wear basically nothing, but I'd always stuck to a pair of jeans and some kind of t-shirt with solid colors. I didn't enjoy changing from routine too much, it was the only thing that kept me rooted to this world, I swear.

I pulled a red t-shirt over my head and enjoyed the feeling of the fresh fabric sliding over my skin and then hastily fixed my hair and adjusted it to how it was before. My hair was at a "seemingly perfect point" as my girlfriend Mary had always said. It wasn't completely untamable, but when actually fixed I looked pretty good. But I was usually too lazy to do that, on most days, so I looked average for most of time.

Returning from the closet, I looked around the dimly lit room. Not much light besides the T.V. on, on mute, in the back of the room. I used it as kind of a night light, in a way. I wasn't scared of the dark exactly, but it always made me slightly uncomfortable for some reason. I slept much better with it on, so I always just left it like that.

I looked over at my bookcase, crammed to the brim with many novels, both fictional and historical or real accounts- some Stephen King there, some Tim Willocks over there... and then I walked over to the mirror to inspect myself.

I know, you'd think that with what I said previously, I would be the type of guy to not care about his appearance, but I wasn't going to look horrible on purpose, either. I energetically walked to the bathroom and back to get a comb, and then began straightening my thick, black hair. It was a pain sometimes, but my Mom liked me to look nice, also, so I did it just to make her happy. I hated seeing my Mom sad.

I had a pretty pale complexion, with fairly white skin, staying inside most of the time, playing videogames or reading books. Besides my girlfriend, best friends, and family, not much in the real world interested me. Fantasy stories of other worlds always intrigued me, with stories of heroes and monsters. They had always been more interesting than politics, and math, and science.

Y'know, the stuff that doesn't matter. At least not to me. Anyway, I had a fairly heavy build, not even fat, but actually muscular. I took the hint from Mary after she had always said she loved buff guys. I did anything to make my girl happy, usually. You can tell who wears the pants in the relationship.

You would think that a guy that stays inside a lot wouldn't be fit, or heavens forbid, built. But when I wasn't reading, sleeping, or playing videogames, I was working out. This was the reason I was never good at hiding myself, if you knew me at all, it was only really two places to check... either my bedroom or my weight room.

The shirt didn't cling to me, but wasn't overly loose, either. The blue jeans, roughened up by previous hard days, were a little tight on me. Old pairs, but I loved 'em, and I definitely didn't want to get new pairs. I hated breaking in new jeans. Doesn't everybody?

I looked again around the dimly lit room, looking at the bright blue paint. I fondly remembered the time I had helped my parents paint my room. It had been when I was ten- I was seventeen, now. So much had changed. I smirked almost arrogantly- like I'd improved so much over the years. I had gotten paint all over myself and had just gotten in the way, but my parents, as nice as they were, didn't even care. They had laughed and carried along with me.

It's good memories that make the horrible times bearable.

I walked out of my bedroom into the dark hallway, and then hurried down to the bright light from the living room. Even though I wasn't tired at all, my eyes were still getting used to such bright light, and I nearly threw my arms up completely as I half blocked my eyes with my right hand and guarded my eyes from burning out.

My cat, Castus, swirled around my leg and rubbed affectionately at my ankle. My dad was a Latin professor at a college near our home. He said it meant something in Latin, but I never asked what. Her shaggy hair was getting all over my socks I had threw on at the last minute before going to bed the night before, and was quickly turning white socks to black.

I sighed and picked her up, giving in. After petting her for a few moments, she seemed satiated, and looked almost impatient, wanting to be put down. After letting her down, I began making my bowl of cereal, a happy Irish leprechaun with a huge smile on his face gliding on rainbows hailing to me. I poured out a huge bowl, and poured milk hurriedly; I was starving.

Afterwards, before sitting down, I walked over and knocked hard, thrice, on the door that led to my parent's room. The white, mundane paint was clear and uniform. My dad had a thing about finishing a job, and making sure it was well done. He never disappointed.

After a few minutes, he walked out of the room with a groan. He was tired, surely; after grading papers late into the night. He always seemed to care more about his students than other college teachers, at least about his students. He considered college an extension of high school, and always cared for his students. He wasn't like other college teachers- he had trouble during in his own schooling days, and understood how hard it could be to succeed in such advanced courses.

He often graded tests late into the night, actually. Probably, more often than he should. I was concerned about my father's health constantly; he was older than my mother by a pretty large margin, eleven years. He being fifty seven tomorrow didn't help. He coughed a lot, more than was healthy, and had pretty terrible joints. It doesn't sound that bad, I know. But it always seemed something was wrong with him; I felt that any day he could just drop dead.

"Hey dad, happy birthday!"

He greeted me with a tired smile, wrinkles stretching around his eyes. "Thanks, kiddo. Sleep well?" he spoke hoarsely, and then coughed violently. I just shook my head, with a sad expression on my face. He didn't catch it, because he was too busy coughing his lungs through his throat, but I really did feel like he was sick. It was really mysterious too, because he had been to doctors before, but all had said they could do nothing for him. They had said they found nothing wrong, and I couldn't understand why my father had to be this way.

His gray hair emphasized his age, with a five o'clock shadow across his face, and his skin looking ancient with liver spots on his neck. He was light skinned like me, with a skinny frame and arms and legs betraying lost strength from the years of his youth. I know, for fifty seven it sounds bad, but that's why I was so worried about him. One look and he seemed like he had cancer or something. His bad eating habits didn't help either; due to his busy days he was often eating fast food, and we all know how great that is for you.

At times, I'll bet he felt hopeless.

"You don't look like you did." I told my father.

"You'd be right son." He walked slowly over to the counter and the coffee pot, and then winced and I heard a crack from his back.

"Ah, I've had a crick for days!" He nearly crowed triumphantly, and just like that, became as busy as a bee and started getting ready for the day. He rushed around, making himself coffee and eggs, the red cap he had on reminding me of the flash as he blinked around the kitchen and living room, and I watched him while I ate. He almost seemed to be teleporting; it was hilarious how my father could do that. Even with a bad night's sleep, he never let anything keep him down for long.

I finished the last of my delectable treat; I enjoyed eating my cereal in the morning, it was very quiet in the mornings of my house, even with the birds chirping outside, as we lived near a forest, it was quite atmospheric, all of it. It only helped me enjoy my meal more, if anything.

I quickly threw my bowl in the sink of the kitchen, the bowl splashing inside and nearly spilling water, but the basin in the sink barely containing it. My mother had been sick as well, but only recently. I got my laziness from my father, and we hadn't done dishes in two days. But my father was going to do the dishes for her, and I heard him begin by breaking a plate right away.

"Damn it!"He shouted in frustration as I heard him begin grumbling and start brushing away the pieces with a broom and pan.

I went back in my room and thought about what to do now. I figured I might as well text my girlfriend, and ask her what she was doing this weekend. Probably camping. She was really into nature and all that stuff, she absolutely adored camping. Screw that, it's inside for me. I didn't want to waste money sleeping on the hard ground and call it fun, because it wasn't. But I still went sometimes and had picked up some stuff from her, like what plants were dangerous and how to start a fire safely, stuff like that. Skills that most likely won't be useful in my life.

I started up my I-Phone, after grabbing it from my bedside once I was back in the room. I was never really crazy about phones but I had gotten one because my girlfriend had wanted me to get it so I could keep in contact with her better, and it was good as a toy when I was bored. I mean, that was all it was. It's really just a convenience, nothing more. The craze about phones was mostly idiotic, but you know: people.

People.

I surfed through the apps for a second, and then looked through my messages to make sure I hadn't missed anything. After this, I went to text her.

I found her in my contacts list, right next to my Dad's cell and our home phone, the phone I called when I needed to contact my mom. Mary Kinsley. I slowly typed out the message

R u there?

Into the phone and then sent the text. A few minutes passed and as I was waiting on her to respond, I turned onto the news and observed what the other members of the race I was nearly embarrassed to be a part of had done wrong today. Murders, rapes, robberies...

Didn't people have any decent morals these days? Then the anchor on the television reported something else," Also, as of late, people have been reporting odd disturbances around their homes. Some have been reporting mysterious sounds, crashes as well as strange lights in the sky. If you have any information please contact the Morning News Channel. Thank you."

Weird. I pondered for a moment. The crashes sounded like a wild animal, like a bear rampaging through the woods or something, but the lights were curious… I had no idea what was going on. I liked paying attention to the news, keeping myself updated on current events had always seemed important to me.

After a few mundane minutes of listening to the anchor talk about the current political race and who had good ratings in our state, I was excited when I was replied with

Yea, I'm here. What's up matt?

Nothin, just thinking 'bout you.

I set down the phone while going through my school papers, reading my name to make sure I put it on all of the assignments I had ready to turn in today, and making sure that I had everything ready.

Aw, sweet. Well, I'm leaving now. See you at school.

Read my phone as I put down my book bag, a black and blue bag that had a normal two straps and was a little larger so I could carry extra things around with me like my books that I liked to read at school when I was bored and there was nothing to do.

Bye.

After dozing around for a while, I heard my father's hoarse voice calling for me through the hallway from the kitchen. I quickly sprang up on my feet, still having lots of energy and with my book bag and my appearance ready, and my breakfast eaten, I was almost ready to go to school.

"Hey, Matthew, just let me finish this cup of coffee and we'll go, alright?"

"Alright, I still need to brush my teeth anyway."

He nodded in confirmation as I strode back to the bathroom, his mouth too full of hot, energy inducing coffee.

I didn't drink coffee myself; I didn't believe it was good for me. Same reason that I didn't drink or smoke either, people use it as stress relievers but it seems to cause more problems than it fixes, and so I avoided these things completely. It seemed completely counterproductive and idiotic to consume them.

I went into the bathroom, looking at the darker paint in here. We had plain toiletries and a nice sink, but it was pretty normal, besides the fact that it was a bit bigger than most family bathrooms. I wet the brush, got my name brand toothpaste-I don't even remember what it was called, actually, who remembers the names of their toothpaste containers, even on unforgettable days- and squirted out a large amount on the brush.

After a few moments of quick, and nearly violent, teeth brushing, I spat out and rinsed my mouth and then walked back out of the bathroom into the living room.

My father had just finished his cup of coffee, and leaned over to turn off the T.V. I was always surprised by how much taller than him I was. He was only five nine, and I was six three, easily, closer to six four. My mother wasn't taller, either, and both of my parents had stated multiple times that their parents weren't even that tall, either.

Probably a great grandfather or something that was tall, and the genes just skipped generations.

The anchor on the news eagerly reporting more about the political race was interrupted by darkness and an abrupt silence. I heard the jingle of metal hitting plastic as my father grabbed the car keys out of a bowl.

"Let's go." "Alright." We then got into his car, some model of Lexus, deep ebony, he had bought it for himself a few weeks back, and it was still a really new car.

We were a fairly wealthy family, my father was paid very well at the university, and my mother did some work from home that also helped out a lot. She nearly paid the bills all on her own, and then my father just used his money for rainy days and luxuries for the family.

My father started up the car, and sat there for a minute as he put a CD into the player. He liked a lot of types of music, and the mix tape he made of bands like The Band, The Offspring and The Allman Brothers reflected this.

Our yard surrounding the house was pretty large; the home itself was pretty nice, though. The dwelling had a nice coat of yellow paint, fresh as well; we had done that in July this summer, now past. It had finally set in after a little while, and was really looking good, now. The home was three stories in all, but we only really used the first two. The first floor was where everyone slept, and where most of our things were, and then we had extra rooms above that, that was just mostly empty space with some stuff we needed but didn't have space on the first floor for. Then we had an attic that had all kinds of old things that my packrats of parents didn't want to give up.

All around the home grass grew, very nicely; my father and I always kept it in line. The yard was always in a neat trim, and never had any brown or yellow spots, no. My father was a stickler about things of his looking well as well as finishing a job, and so he kept the place around here spotless. I helped him sometimes, but he insisted he do a lot of it on his own. Most likely the reason that he was always so tired and seemed, at least, so broken.

We had a nice oak tree, huge; actually, it had been growing there for a very long time. My father had bought the house maybe fifteen to twenty years ago, but the oak had already been planted before even that. My dad thought it was over thirty years old, and loved the look it gave the house. It constantly stood level with the house, and always looked really awesome, especially from the outside. Its huge branches filled with green leaves and acorns really gave the yard some life, as we had no other trees around.

We did have a small garden that my mother had started recently, but it was still so underdeveloped it was almost unnoticeable. We had left the door open, though, and just as I remembered not to let the cat get out, Castus ran out, and she bolted out of the yard.

My father just sighed and shook his head, and I sheepishly got out and closed the door to the house. Not like it mattered now.

"Well, she'll come back. Let's get going, or you'll be late for school."

Great guitar work from You're Gonna Go Far, Kid filled the Lexus as my dad started driving and quickly pulled out of the driveway, leaving our beautiful home behind.

My dad didn't say much when driving in the morning, probably because he was tired. He was usually just humming along with the songs he would put on, and paying all of his attention to the road. His eyes, determined and observant, assured me a safe drive to school. Although boring, it was routine, and I loved routine.

We passed by the other houses as we drove on, and having nothing else to look at, I observed other people in their yards as we drove by, getting the morning paper, or starting their car or taking out the garbage. Life could be so boring sometimes, like it was the same thing.

Every. Single. Day.

I wasn't necessarily unhappy with my life, but the monotony of it all was smothering. I wanted a change, I wanted something new. I loved Mary, and my parents, but I still felt like something was missing.

All too soon, we arrived at the school, and I slowly got out of the vehicle as my father then shut the door.

As I was walking away toward the large doors that were the entrance to the school, I heard my father nonchalantly yell back "See ya, Matthew!"

Then he sped off in his Lexus, and I started striding forward towards the large steel gate doors.

I slipped inside and I stopped for a bit as I sat down on a bench inside the school, used during lunchtime mostly, but during the mornings, too. I always got to school pretty early, and so did my girlfriend, at least considering for her commute. She wouldn't be here for another fifteen minutes at least. I glanced up at the night sky.

Its infinite, unending darkness both haunted and intrigued me in ways I hadn't imagined before. The only relieving points were the large moon and the small amount of stars scattered across the sky. The moon was fat and incredibly white and full. It was still only around six thirty in the morning, and school didn't start till seven twenty. I had plenty of time to observe it.

It slowly, painfully faded out from existence as the sun came into view, and the stars winked out also, at the same time, almost unwilling to go, no, they wanted to stay, and grace the Earth with their beauty for as long as possible.

I've already stated this before; I'm not a morning person, I liked the night much more, and one of the biggest reasons was the beauty of the natural night sky. I regretted living in a city, and this was the largest influencing factor of what kind of home I wanted to live in when I grew up and got a job. I wanted a job out in the country, or at least a job close to the country, where there wasn't as much light pollution.

I knew when there wasn't much light pollution; the view of the night sky was spectacular. I'd seen pictures of it on the internet; and I know it sounds strange, a night sky with no stars, but most nights there weren't many where I lived. I lived in Florida, born and raised, and so were parents. But we lived in a big city and the light from it often ruined the night sky. It was another work of nature, and so easily ruined by humans.

It made me a little angry sometimes, but I know at the same time that I would rather have electricity than a night sky. I didn't complain about it openly, it was more of a pet peeve of mine that I didn't voice.

Eventually, after watching the night for ten to maybe fifteen minutes, and watching it turn to the sun slowly, I heard a voice behind me.

"Hey cutie. How's my little Mattie doing today?"

I turned from the slow sunrise, it wouldn't even be finished fully until probably seven ten, anyway, and was greeted by the beautiful face of my girlfriend, her smiling visage bringing warmth to my heart, and easing my troubles immediately.

She had soft, chestnut, luxurious hair that fell down her shoulders and back, in waves, and the tanned skin tone of a girl who'd spent many days on the beach and in the wilderness. She was the opposite of me in a lot of ways, she didn't mind getting dirty and she was into football, a lot. I didn't like sports much at all, and especially not football, but it was funny how she liked so many guy things. I think if I was a more normal guy that I would like her even more for that, but I already loved her so much that I didn't see how I could like her more, anyway.

The best thing about her, were her eyes. She had the most innocent pair of eyes I had ever seen, they never harbored any hate or malice, and were always filled with joy and kindness and love. They say the eyes are the gateway to the soul, and it's true. If you look closely, you can tell anything with your eyes about a person, at least their personality and how kind or cruel they were. Their intentions, etcetera. Many things are discernable when looking into someone's eyes.

Hers were like two miniature oceans, always moving and full of life. Her eyes blinked and moved with merriment, and I realized she was laughing at me.

"Heloooooo? Earth to Matthew? Are you there?"

She was startled when I abruptly broke out of my trance, induced by her eyes, and smiled sheepishly, and moved over and motioned for her to sit with me.

She sat down, wearing school uniform as well, with jeans and a nice blue blouse on as well. It complimented her figures nicely, from her toned legs to her flat stomach. She was very fit and in shape from her athletic hobbies that she took part in constantly, but she wasn't muscular either, she stayed at a perfect level of lean muscle.

We didn't talk much, except about how she wanted to go camping for the weekend. I didn't really want to go, but I promised her I would for the sake of her being kept happy.

"Oh, you'll go? Yay!" She seemed really happy about it, and I was glad that I had been the catalyst for such joy. She really enjoyed nature, but the thing she enjoyed most was enjoying nature with someone else.

We didn't say anything else for a while, and simply stared as the dark sky opened up into a blissful morning, the sun arriving with proud rays of light spreading across the entire courtyard of the school. It was one of the best sunrises of my life, and I will never forget it, mostly because it happened on that day.

Eventually, and unfortunately, the bell rang. We got up and collected our things, and I swung my back pack around my shoulder. I then said jubilantly, "Well, I'll see you after school. I'll call my dad before he gets off work, and have him and my mom carpool before they pick us up. They've needed to go shopping for something for the past week now, and the Publix they like to go to is near here, so they can come pick us after school, and then drive us to our house and we can leave on foot for the forest."

She smiled radiantly, and agreed, "Sounds great! See ya around."

We went our separate ways and our classes started; School was relatively uneventful, as it usually was. I unfortunately was separated from Mary throughout the day except during lunch, and she wasn't very talkative today. I suspected that she wasn't doing well in her classes; school had never been easy for Mary, but that's why I had promised her to help her study and get her grades up.

It had worked fairly well, so far. She still had to struggle just to maintain C's and low B's in her classes, though, and I know it ate at her in a certain way that she couldn't stand. She was usually great at everything, she was a very talented girl actually- she could sing, and was good at public speaking and was never a shy or nervous girl. She had been born beautiful, and was intelligent and kind as well; but she just never seemed to connect with her studies correctly. It always had bothered her.

Eventually, the school day finally ended, and the heat of the afternoon bore down upon me as I walked out of the school, hand in hand with Mary. She was still very quiet, but whenever I looked over to her, she smiled cutely and looked away. I thought something was wrong with her, so I brought it up.

"Mary, is there, uh, something wrong…? You're acting strange today…."

"Oh no, it's nothing, it's just…. I don't know, I'm having bad feelings about this trip to the wilderness we're taking soon."

"What, what about it? You're usually thrilled to go into the forest and camp in the damn dirt. You're the usually one dragging me off, not the other way around! What's gotten into you?"

"I don't know, I don't want to go anymore… Could we just hang out at your house? And watch TV or something? I'm not really feeling well."

This was sudden, and quite strange from Mary, of all people! I don't think I'd ever seen her sick in the twenty months we had been together, and that only made it weirder.

I quickly consoled her, "Uh, sure… You can still come over."

I had already called my father and gotten his approval to go camping- he'd already known it anyway, but I ran it by him one more time. Now, this changed things.

But before I could call him, Mary started speaking again," It's just that I've been hearing some stories, about how there have been crashing sounds in the forests around where we were going camping, and I don't want to get mauled by a bear or something while we were out there having fun. I hadn't heard about it until during school today from a few different people."

I quickly spoke up, "No, I understand. I wasn't really thinking about that when I said yes to go camping with you, but now that you mention it, I was watching the news this morning and I heard about that, too. It's probably safer if we just wait for another time."

She smiled then, it seemed her fears were eased, "Oh, good. I thought you would be mad at me."

I answered fast again, confused, "Why would I be mad at you for that?"

She spoke with a humorous tone, "We haven't been spending much time together lately, and I thought you might be angry with me if I canceled what is basically our Friday night date!" She laughed loudly at this. "I was being so stupid."

"Well, I'm not mad at you." I smiled down at her and she grinned back up at me.

She suddenly pointed out into the sea of cars, one that was slowly making it to the curb. My father's black Lexus. It was about three thirty now, right on time. I hadn't called my father yet about us not camping, but I'll just explain it to him in the car.

We greeted my parents, getting inside.

My mother, who I hadn't yet seen today because she had been asleep in the morning before I went to school, but she was here now. Mary and I tumbled into the back seat, and quickly untangled our limbs and put our seat belts on. The tumbling together was mostly my fault, because I was so tall and my limbs were so long and gangly. They got annoying sometimes.

When we were situated, my father started to weave his way into the sea of metal once more, and started talking to us because we were stuck in traffic and there was nothing else to do.

"So, did you kids have a good day at school?"

"Yeah, Dad, it was great." I lied straight through my teeth. I didn't particularly enjoy school; I knew most of the things the teachers were trying to explain. Our high school didn't really have the best teachers, also… so I was looking more towards college.

My father had helped me get a scholarship to a good university, and Mary was planning to get an apartment and a job nearby, so we could stay together. She didn't want to bother with college; she said it would be too much work and that it would stress her out. If we did get married, I would be the breadwinner.

Mary agreed, "Yeah, it was fine. I didn't actually have much trouble with my class work today."

"That's good! I'm glad to hear you're doing well." Said my father as he pulled away from another car, then sped up slowly to thirty miles an hour over the course of a minute or two once he was out of the school zone.

The metal sea thinned out, a lot, and then my face was nearly planted on the back of my dad's seat as the car jerked to a dead stop.

"What the hell is wrong with you?!" Shouted my father out of the window as a car had nearly run right into us.

Had my father not stopped, he would've likely ruined the entire front of his Lexus. He had sped up some more, the speed limit was fifty, but that guy was clearly breaking it.

"I swear, people these days. No common courtesy."

And then, it happened. Everything happened too fast. We were stopped in the middle of an intersection, and the reason the car in front of us had gone out so fast was because the huge Hummer doing probably seventy in a fifty.

As the guy in front of him pulled away and we moved forward slightly, the man behind him down the road a little had not stopped, at all. As my father began to try to move the car back, it slammed into the right side of the Lexus.

Everything happened too fast and too slow at the same time. I and my father were on the left side of the car, but we weren't completely unharmed. Broken glass and metal wrenched into the car as the Hummer completely smashed into us; like a colossal giant slamming into a normal man and breaking all his bones.

The horrible crash echoed into my eardrums, and then the screams of my father and my girlfriend.

But not of my mother. She had been killed instantly by the impact, being in the worst area in the car in this kind of crash. She had instantly taken the full brunt of the impact.

Mary was covered in blood, and her right side was mangled. My mother's mouth was wide open as saliva and blood leaked out of it. Her right side was nearly… not there, and she was already clearly dead.

Her face still haunts me to this day. Sometimes, I cannot sleep, when I think of it. Her dead eyes staring back at me, lifeless, and dull. The blood that drips from her open mouth, her neck turned unnaturally sideways. The sickening crunch of her ribs, and her arms as they feebly tried to block the car from utterly destroying her body. All of this, I take in an in instant.

Then all was deadly silent, save for the confused and terrified screams of my father and Mary. I didn't make a noise; I didn't realize until later that I had been in shock for basically the entire incident. I half-heartedly lie there for who knows how long, until the ambulance arrived and took my father and Mary to the hospital, and my mother to the morgue.

The paramedics didn't bother checking me because I had stumbled out of my shock by the end of it, and stumbled out the car as well, and went and sat on the cracked, grey pavement. I told them I was alright for a long, long time until they accepted it.

I arrived later to the hospital because there wasn't enough room in the ambulance, and they sent someone to come take me there maybe ten or fifteen minutes after they had left.

Mary was in pretty bad shape and had been sent into the ICU.

I got a ride home from medical staff at the hospital, later. A friend of Dad's actually, who offered his condolences.

I rushed for the bathroom, a strange pain in my legs. I looked down at my jeans once I was there.

I didn't notice it until now, but I had acquired some fun gifts from the Hummer. There were deep gashes and cuts from the glass of our Lexus, which was totaled and entirely and utterly ruined.

I spent a few minutes with the hydrogen peroxide in the bathroom cleaning out the gashes, and limped into the shower.

I thought about the accident while I was in the shower. I was definitely still confused about it.

Why did it have to be her? Why did a crazy driver speed at seventy in a fifty and slam into the side of our Lexus, and snap my mother's neck instantly?

Why did it have to be us? The fates aren't fair, life isn't fair...

God isn't fair. And if he's real, then he's real cruel. This is a pretty horrible; it's probably just a joke to him.

But I've never believed in God. And I don't think he's real. Maybe this is my punishment. But that would be ridiculous; I've always been a good kid. This is just random chance. The universe simply hates me, that's it.

I hadn't been this cynical in a while, and my horrible mood didn't lessen at all as the night went on.

I walked out of the shower and threw some clothes on, some shorts and a shirt, I didn't care which.

I walked into the living room, and what I saw surprised me.

My father had busted out the hard liquor.

Both our eyes were still red and puffy from so much crying, but through the terrible depression and sadness I discerned another emotion.

Self-loathing.

He blamed himself for Mom's death. Said something like, maybe if "my reactions were faster", the hit wouldn't have been as bad and she would've lived. I of course tried to tell him otherwise, but my father hit the bottle hard that night. He had a lot of hard liquor, a lot of shots. He was going to feel it in the morning.

It was really surprising though, because he never drank. I could see why he did though; he just lost the love his life. He had to find his peace somewhere; I just wished that his comfort drink didn't have to be Absinthe.

He stopped quickly enough though, and I then shuffled off to bed hoping he wouldn't be stupid enough to drink more. I didn't want him to die of alcohol poisoning; that would just make my day worse than it already was.

I rolled into bed and drifted off into a painful, sobbing sleep…

I grimaced as I remembered the previous day.

The heartbreak, the grief. It was nearly overwhelming. I looked up hesitantly at the mirror, afraid of what I would see.

An exhausted face with crying red eyes stared back. I looked terrible.

I sighed, and then wandered my way back to my bedroom, intending to go back to bed, when I heard a strange noise. An eldritch noise, a crashing… and then a sucking?

I listened again for a few minutes, nothing else in the house making any noise besides the dull roar of the air conditioner in my room.

Complete and utter silence. I began to think that I had just imagined what I heard.

And then it repeated itself; again, a crashing, then sucking noise reached my ears.

I knew I wasn't imagining it this time… I slowly walked to the door, and then opened it.

I spied around the corner… and what I saw, I'll never forget.

A… hole in reality was in the middle of the living room, sucking in everything around it. The crashes I heard were apparently the refrigerator and half of the coffee table. My father was still passed out, drunk, and probably wouldn't stay asleep for long considering how loud the noise was.

Now that I was outside of my bedroom, and near the living room, I could hear it much better, and it was SO loud.

I couldn't hear anything else over it. The crashing was never ending, now, as it began to absorb the room around it.

It was completely unstable, a force of nature out of control. It spun and contracted rapidly, then slowly, never seeming to make up its mind. It had its own force of gravity or something; materials would be sucked into the center violently, and then sucked down. I didn't see them being damaged, but I didn't want to know what was on the other side of that hole.

It had a multitude of colors inside it, and not just from the tiles it was ripping from the floor. An amalgamation of reds, blues, and yellows, and purples, and teals and every sort of color I had ever seen all swirled into an ugly dusty brown, obsidian color that was at the center.

I briefly considered my options. I certainly couldn't let my father be sucked into that, he would most likely be killed. But I couldn't get too close either, or the same fate would befall me.

Well. This sucked. I lose my mother one day, and the next, I'm confronted by a scientific calamity that probably most physicists, or anyone in the field of science, would kill to even witness, much less study.

I slowly, agonizingly put my back to the wall, adjacently to the side that was closest to the hole when walking from the hallway into the living room.

I spent minutes shuffling my way across. It was at most, twenty to thirty feet, but I went slowly incase anything happened or I started feeling myself get sucked in.

I was starting to get into what I figured yelling range would be, to wake up my father. The loud roar of the hole in reality was nearly unbearable, but over the noise, I managed to scream,

"Dad! Wake up, look! This is crazy!"

He didn't hear me. Damn it, this was dangerous. I couldn't get much closer, but the thing was slowly growing more unstable and consuming more of the environment around it.

I shuffled a few inches closer, again, and then felt a sudden pullingon my entire being. It was trying to drag me in.

But, at this range, at least, it seemed it wasn't strong enough to suck me in yet. I was much closer to it than my dad was, so if I could just wake him, he could run out the front door, and I would run back to my bedroom and jump through the window.

I got slightly closer, and then the pulling got way stronger. I was fighting, with all that I had, against the force, but it was too great. I was slowly being dragged against my will, to most likely my death, and my father's death as well, if he didn't soon wake up.

I was nearing the center now, and the gravity was no long fightable. The pull was too great, and even if I was stronger, I think that it wouldn't have made a difference. It pulled a refrigerator in; it wouldn't have any trouble with me.

It was lashing out at things around it too. Plumes of fire struck out at objects near it, including me. I got a nice burn across my entire forearm, and my knees suffered the same fate. I grunted in pain, but I had if I was being pulled in, the only one that could try to pull me out was my father.

I yelled again. Repeatedly, I asked my father to wake up, to look, to listen, but he didn't. He had drunk way too much last night and was still seemingly out cold.

But right as I was being pulled into the center, he groaned and rolled over, then angrily and tiredly screamed, "What the hell is making all this noise!?"

He opened his eyes, and then instantly closed them due to the light. He probably had a really bad hangover, and he slowly opened them again.

He gasped at what he saw," What the hell is that thing!? What did it do to our living room? Son, grab my hand!"

He reached out, an arm of safety and also the arm that was my last chance. I grabbed on, but it started to pull harder. It felt like it was almost alive.

He stood his ground, but it was too much.

My last sight was my father's terrified face, trying to pull me from the collapsing abyss, his eyes filled with fear, and sadness. The tears streaming down his face as he screamed for me to try to come back, but I didn't hear anything else as I was pulled into a strange blackness.

My only regret is I don't think Mary understood how much I loved her.

Go through.

When I awoke, it was surrounded by debris in a snowy area. I saw parts of my refrigerator, and my destroyed coffee table surrounded by papers and pencils, all ripped in half or destroyed in some way.

So why wasn't I? Even my clothes were fairly tattered. What I had left were rags at best, and in a cold like this, I would freeze to death. I tried getting up.

Oh, that's why. I was destroyed. On the inside. I felt my bruised ribs, one or two probably broken, and all around my midsection and my chest the muscles were extremely sore.

I screamed out in agony as the pain didn't let up, and it only stopped when I stopped moving.

I breathed, quietly, and slowly tried to get up again, a few minutes later. The reaction wasn't as horrible this time; the pain was kept to a dull torturing ripping sensation in my chest. It was just me stretching my sore muscles, but the pain was hard to ignore. I slowly got up, taking my time to stand and observe my surroundings.

I was on near the top of a huge, mountain of ice and snow. I leaned over, ignoring the pain in my side and chest as I scraped away at the snow.

All that was beneath it was ice. There was no rock, and now I had another problem, hypothermia.

I knew that if I stayed out here for much longer, I would freeze to death. Already, my vision was slowly becoming worse, my limbs numbing from the cold. Even the pain in my chest was going away, but as horrible as it is to have to say it, that wasn't a good thing.

I looked around, off the mountain. All I saw were mountains of even bigger proportions, off in the distance, looming over me evilly. The cold wind smacked me in the face and rushed all around me as the morbid silence angered me. I almost expected to hear a bell tolling, but there was no skeletal face in a black hood to greet me as I turned around.

Instead, all there was was the pure white cap of the tip of the mountain. The clear ice and snow surrounding it, except...

At the very top, it was... melting? I looked harder, squinting, forcing my vision to perceive a little farther.

At the peak of the mountain was the portal. Again, it was striking out with flames and contracting and swirling around, extremely violent in its existence.

So, I could either freeze to death out here, or see where else it takes me.

It only took a second to decide as I saw one of my fingers turning blue. I began to climb the mountain.

But when you have no experience and resistance against the elements, climbing a mountain in below zero without any clothes on was incredibly difficult. The peak was not steep, but it was a far distance, and I didn't know if I was going to be able to last that long.

I climbed higher, and harder, the ice digging into my hands painfully, and more often than not, I was leaving behind red snow as I trekked higher up into the mountain.

This was completely about endurance. Did I have the willpower to survive? I wasn't going to be the plaything of whatever had summoned me here, or simply die to the elements due to random chance of

But I had to keep going, or I would die for sure. I was nearing the top, my perseverance had been rewarded. I finally climbed to the top and leapt at the portal.

The process was not as slow as last time, when I was fighting to get away from the portal. It almost seemed eager now, to take me somewhere else.

Yes, anywhere else, I thought as the darkness slipped over me once more.

When I awoke again, a horrible heat was bearing down upon me.

I was in the middle of two volcanoes, and I had flaming rocks landing all around me. I was on some kind of volcanic world, with ash and heat all around me. It was horrible.

The sky was a sickly yellow, as poisonous gases filled the air. I quickly covered my mouth and nose and breathed only oxygen carefully; I didn't know how toxic the air truly was. I had to be careful, I was already near death.

The volcanoes began spurting lava out of their tops even harder, almost angered by the fact that there was an intruder on their land. I didn't know what to do, and my agony was quickly returning as the senses of my body came back to me. My legs were burned, and the hairs on my arms were singed.

Even my back was burned, as I was laying on rock that was extremely hot. I quickly got up and looked again, the hope in my heart restored. I could feel something… there was something at the end of all this, if I could just get to it.

I turned, and again, in the middle of all the chaos, I found what I was seeking.

The portal was there, and this time, it was… clear. Like looking into a pool of water undisturbed by time, the elements, and its surroundings, the portal was completely in harmony with its surroundings. It wasn't harming anything around it, and it beckoned to me more than ever before.

I knew there was something there. I rushed at the portal, and quickly leapt through it.

For the third time, I was incased in darkness.

Then, when I awoke, I heard a violent grunting in the darkness. My eyes were still shut, but I didn't want to open them. I felt calm and peaceful, and there was no harsh temperature around me. The grunting grew louder as my hearing returned, more clearly; it was a guttural language, someone was speaking.

I opened my eyes… and I saw myself in a tent, lying down on some sort of animal skin. There was something in a robe standing… and it was staring at me.

It lowered the hood of the robe, and then I screamed.

I was staring at the face of a pig man.