By Snow McNaughton

He was late picking her up. Traffic in downtown Oakland was a mess, more than usual. As he approached the building she worked in, he could see the source of the traffic jam. The police had roped off part of 9th street. He spotted her outside on the sidewalk. Honking his horn and waving his arm out the window, she finally saw him and walked over to the car.

She hopped in. “What happened?”, he asks “An accident?”.

“No, some guy was shot cold dead, right in front of our office”, she replied.

“Oh”, he said as he turned into a driveway then backed out from it to turn the car around. “Client of the firm?”, he asked.

“No, I don’t think so. Probably just a robbery that went bad. Man, I had a shitty day.”

He drove through town as she went off about work and her boss. He just sat there nodding his head and occasionally saying “yup” when the moment seemed right. They had met at City College some years ago. He had gone on to USF to get his bachelors in marketing. She didn’t finish her studies, but her plan was to go back and finish. Until then, she worked at a law office as an administrative assistant. He couldn’t tell if she loved or hated working there.

After listening to her go on for a bit, he asked in a kind of joking yet not joking tone, “When did I become your fucking therapist?”

She just looked at him matter of factly, “When we started fucking”.

They started laughing. He turned on the radio and they got on the 880 heading towards Hayward. They just listened to radio without saying to much else. After a bit, he noticed her looking at a box. It was a dark metallic green colored box and looked to be solid metal. The edges were smooth and rounded over. Its surface had a matte finish.

“What’s that?”, he asked.

“Don’t know. Found it while waiting on your sorry ass. It was under a car near where all the police were.”

“You just found it? Near a crime scene”

“Yup. Why?”

“You’re the one who works as the fucking law firm and you’re asking me? Woman, what if the dead guy dropped it?”

“Well I don’t know. Tho, it doesn’t seem like much. Not heavy at all. And no way to open it.” She rotates it in her hands. She held it close to her ear as she shook it, but it made no sound. “Seems like a shitty paper weight to die over”, she said with a half a laugh.

He’s annoyed and reached to grab it from her hand. Their hands were on it for a brief second before energy exploded from the box. It engulfed them. The energy spread out to absorb them and the car that they were traveling in. It happened so fast, no one on the highway noticed an old sedan disappear in a bright light.

He woke up and before him was darkness. His arms and legs were spread out like a starfish. He had the sensation that he was floating. He couldn’t see her and wondered where she was. Time past, he may have fallen a sleep but wasn’t sure. He heard someone crying and realized that it was her. He called to her.

“Where are you?” he asked.

She responded and her voice came from behind him. He turned his to see if he could see her, but no.

She said with fear in her voice, “Something just turned my head?”.

He turned his head again. She told him it happened again.

“Turn your head”, he told her.

She did and his head turned, too. “We are connected it appears”, he told her.

After awhile, they discovered that they were fused together like opposite sides of a coin with their arms and legs spread apart. They floated like this for who knows how long. They wondered why and how this happened. They recall being in a car talking about a box. It was the last memory they have of that world.

They floated for eons it seemed. They would grow tired of each other and shared silence in the dark void. They didn’t know where they were, but they had been here for so long, it didn’t matter. No one visited them to explain anything. They talked again. Rehashed old tales. It gave them a sense of time in a timeless existence. They would grow tired of each other again and silence was welcomed.

At some point, they realized that they were moving away from each other. A space had developed between them. They were still connected by their hands, feet, and the tops of their heads, but the rest of them was moving apart. In time, they had stretched to form a sphere with each one of them on either side. They could still hear each other. They felt no pain as their bodies stretched forming the outer surface of the sphere.

In time, the sphere stretched to become even bigger. They noticed their bodies had flattened and they could see into the sphere. With in the sphere, little lights had appeared. The lights spun slowly on a axis. When there was an opening in the lights for them to see the other side, they could see each other, but only part of the time. Their other side seemed familiar, but also not. They felt they knew the other side, but couldn’t remember why or how that would be possible since the sphere was so large. They were so far from each other.

In time, the sphere had grown and now was more an elliptical. They seemed to sleep for a long time. They would wake up to see more lights and realize that the shape they formed had grown some more. Eons past, but they didn’t notice. Time was irrelevant to them now. They weren’t even sure who they were. At some point, they noticed the lights were stars. Suns with planets orbiting around them. They could focus very closely on events on those planets. Some of the creatures they would watch seemed familiar to them. As if, they should know what it was like to be a creature on a planet. They were saddened by this familiarity, yet, didn’t know why.

More time passed as they watched one planet evolve complex societies. This planet in time was their main focus when they were awake. Events would unfold on the planet which made it interesting to watch. During an awake period, an event caught their attention. A small child was playing with a green box. They felt a heaviness in their souls and excitement at a beginning about to happen.