‘Through the Telescope Lens’ by Cavin Bryce

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Dear explorer of the far reaches,

If you’re finding this then something bizarre must have happened to you too. The truth is that I never did much on Earth. I don’t really do much here, either, but I don’t mind. You’re probably wondering where I am but I can’t tell you because I don’t know. I do, however, remember how I got here. Please, allow me to recount my plight.

I was eating a breakfast of buttered biscuits on my back porch when I noticed that the neighbor kid had left his telescope on the border between our lawns. Curious, I decided to take a peek through the magnifying lens. In that moment, as my eyes peered into the expansive nothingness of a dawning blue sky, my body evaporated.

It started with the rods in my eyes but quickly spread to my pupils, nostrils, and skeletal system. Every atom in my body had spontaneously refracted through the lens of the telescope and was then catapulted, by the force of inverted gravity, into the surrounding atmosphere.

Once I was up there I figured there was no way to get back down- on account that a strangeness like this only occurs once a day. Only one fellow can be the unluckiest man alive at a given time. That day, it seems, was my turn. Fields of cumulonimbus clouds sprawled in every direction and sunlight reflected off of the millions of microscopic water droplets, which generated colorful prisms. I saw, in those reflections, a rainbow of epiphany in natural form. In my idle state, while drifting through the eternity of our atmosphere, I came to the conclusion that I wanted to pursue a life of observing contingent absurdities (those similar to my own peculiar circumstance).

As I was contemplating how to locate these absurdities, and how to plot them in a logistical manner, a cavalcade of planes lulled into my line of sight. I imagined that those planes were entirely full of strange people, that they were going absolutely nowhere, and that these facts meant that they must be having an abnormal day too. In the back of my mind I plotted those passengers on my developing map of abnormalities. As the machines coasted lazily out of view, I wondered if anybody had yet noticed my absence.

I felt fairly uncomfortable in the sky– realizing then that I now belonged there.. Gravity leered and migrating waterfowl screeched as I intruded. Time oozed forward, losing its shape with every observation I made.

When my body finally entered the thermosphere it immediately bounced off an ancient carcass of a space shuttle into an obscure block of sleek, black machinery. Upon contact various probing mechanisms, such as thin metal rods and rusting clamps, erupted from the side of the cube and spiraled about. Tiny cameras also emerged from its innards to peer in my direction.

“Hey,” the thing said, its calm voice rumbling from deep inside its metallic body.

“Ah,” I responded. “A sentient cube!”

“Oh man, it’s been so long since I’ve talked to someone. How are you, man? What’s good with Earth?”

I pushed off its body in order to launch myself deeper into the void because I knew better than to trust artificial intelligence, I have seen the movies. The cube’s cameras never left me as I floated away. “Hey!” it screamed at me. “Let’s play cards or something!”

The view of Earth from space wasn’t as awe-inspiring as astronauts claim it to be. It looks just like the photographs you’ve seen; a simple blue and green ball coated in a thick mist of clouds. A more impressive sight is the sculpture of decommissioned technology that sticks to the outer layers of our planet’s gravitational pull. Great serpents composed of copper wire ensnared passing debris which have, over time, formed a sort of giant dream-catcher that encased the entire planet. As I tracked the sleek wires with my eyes I saw prayers, among other Earthly aspirations, getting tangled in the mess.

Further out, I floated by fusing galaxies, pirouetting comets, and decomposing planets. Celestial bodies challenged my perception of distance and size. Everything was minuscule. Everything was gigantic. Clouds of metallic, shining, gases seeped through space as droplets of ink might sink through a glass of water, with twisting tentacles of carbon and iron dancing around stars, getting slurped into neighboring dimensions. There was nothing to do but observe the obscurity of my isolation.

It could have been minutes, or days, but I eventually found myself spiraling into the center of the Milky Way. Gravity existed there as a chaotic rippling of great waves that crashed and receded with enough force to effectively puncture the fabric of space-time. My body flailed about and circled, ever closer, to the center of the black hole until I was finally dragged beneath its surface. I existed there, for the second time in my life, as unconscious particles- a type of human dust.

On the other side of the black hole I found that my body was reconstructed on solid ground, grass even, if you could believe it. Shortly after regaining consciousness I found a  telescope precariously placed next to a foldable lawn chair. When I peered through the lens I could see my house in perfect detail, down to the cracks in the front door. A car I didn’t recognize sat in my driveway. A small boy I had never seen before was playing in my yard. Life had continued in my absence.

I’ve been here tracking the strange things that happen across our galaxy for an unknown amount of time, if time even exists here. I can’t recall what I look like. Or my name. If you ever find yourself near the center of the Milky Way, drop in. Perhaps we can play cards.

Sincerely, your friend

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