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505 points · 7 months ago · edited 7 months ago

In 2021 I am walking down the street, minding my own business, when an underground experiment goes haywire and I am consumed, midstep, by a high powered quantum phase array.

I don't know what that means. But based on some religious artifacts and ancient documents I've found, that's what happened apparently.

However, from my perspective, nothing happened. That's the craziest part. From my perspective, I took one step, began it in the 21st century, and ended it 4,000 years into the future. It was just like anesthesia, just like death. 2 hours of nothing and 4,000 years of nothing are both the same exact nothing as it turns out.

Things were more interesting from the perspective of an outside observer. The quantum phase array captured me in its anti-entropic grip and held me there, for 4,000 years. Anyone looking at me during that time would see a man impervious to all outside harm. A figure, clad simply, carrying a ham sandwich, frozen beyond the touch of space and time. Depending on the observer, I would be either transparent or opaque, solid or gaseous. My characteristics were in constant flux, apparently, and each person, eventually each believer, saw a different me.

Now, what do I mean by that word "believer"?

It turns out, there's something inherently moving about a man trapped forever outside of reality, yet visible within it. He - me, I guess - becomes a mirror of sorts. People see themselves in him. They see their hopes for long life, as well as their fears of the unknown and the unknowable. My perpetually frozen, shifting, indestructible self was ripe with symbology, and people latched on.

A lot of people.

I woke up last week. Like I said, from my perspective nothing had happened. But boy, had something happened.

Where before, there was only another plain city street, now there was a grand plaza, larger than St. Peter's Square in the Vatican, over four square miles of open, flat space, packed to overflowing with a constant stream of zealots and believers.

I came out of stasis into this square, face to face with tens of thousands of worshipers, on their knees, on their feet, arrayed in a vast array of colors.

My foot hit the ground and I blinked, staring out at them all. In a matter of seconds, a hush came over the crowd that was louder than any sound I'd ever heard. Then, all at once, utter chaos. They race forward as single mass towards me, this sea of strange humanity, adorned in odd clothes, speaking in a language I don't recognize at all.

One man makes it to me first. His eyes shimmer strangely in the sunlight, like one of those holograms you used to see on collectible baseball cards. He drops to his knees in front of me, muttering in his peculiar, guttural language, and reaches out a hand to touch me. I'm dumbfounded, I'd even dropped my sandwich, and so I just stand there.

He makes contact with my hand, squeezes my fingers, and then drops down, prostrate before me. Then he sneezes. Others arrive behind and beside him, each trying to briefly touch my hand before dropping down to their knees, and themselves sneezing.

Right then, someone took me from behind and ushered me away under a shawl or something. As we walked away, the air seemed to fill with sneezes, a crescendo of sneezes.

We walked for some time, through a pandemonium of sneezing, until at last, we entered into some kind of structure where it was almost completely silent. Only then was the cowl removed.

A rotund, hairless, cream-skinned man stood in front of me wearing thick, baby blue, head to toe robes. The robes looked hot and I noticed that they were exactly the same color as my shirt.

The two of us stared at each other for what felt like a long time. Then the man spoke.

"Chosen. You have been awokened." His english was odd and accented strangely. "We are you keeper. We are maintain the language ancient. For this day."

He was all smiles this guy. I blinked again. "Huh?"

The man began to say something, but instead he sneezed, spraying me with spittle. I wiped it off my face, and he sneezed again.

"You alright man?" I asked.

But he was most certainly not alright. In fact, he was too busy sneezing ferociously to answer. I watched as he sneezed and sneezed, over and over, each sneeze more terrible and racking than the last, until, finally, he sneezed so hard that blood gushed from his nose, his eyes popped out of his head and dangled on two tendrils, bouncing up against his plump cheeks as he fell to the ground.

"Holy fuck!"

Frantic, I looked around for an exit. He had brought me into some kind of chapel. I ran around the perimeter of the interior until I found a heavy door. I pushed it open and stepped outside.

What I witnessed will stick with me until the day I actually die. The entire square was awash in gore. What had happened to the robed man had apparently also happened to every single person in that square.

I stood there in the middle of my accidental massacre, puked, wiped my mouth, and sashayed on out of there.

I've been roaming ever since, slowly figuring out what happened to me, making a way for myself. It's lonely going though. So far I haven't met anyone. Either they sneeze themselves to death, or they avoid me like the plague.

Can't say I blame them. Apparently that's exactly what I am.


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Holt shit! Yes! Finally something realistic for this idea

u/Imeldaanne
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