Thursday, October 7, 2021

Microstory 1729: Crater

I have not been able to get very much sleep for the last few weeks. Really, when I think about it, it’s been a lifelong problem. I have too much stress. At first it was because of my parents’ hostile divorce, then my schoolwork was too hard, then I was trying to get into a good college, then I was looking for a job, then I had to deal with a terrible job. It just never ends with me. I keep thinking that things will get better if I can just solve this one major problem. Then I do, and I find that the grass actually isn’t greener on the other side. It’s mostly more dirt and I have to cross yet another void to get to something better. My therapist says that things actually have gotten better, and that just because some people at my high school reunion are CEOs and city council members, doesn’t mean I’m a failure. She suggests I stay positive. But I was born optimism-blind, and I don’t think there’s a cure. I finally get to sleep when the ground shakes, and the loudest sound that has ever pounded on my eardrums attacks me from all sides. It’s a crash, but there’s also this sizzling electrical sound. I order my smartspeaker to turn on my lights, and watch as my glass figurine collection threatens to topple over, but never does. I swear to God, some of them actually do tip before straightening back up, like some kind of ghost is there to protect them for me. The ground continues to tremble, and a deeper darkness overwhelms my windows. I switch the lights back off as I get out of bed, and move over to look outside. All I see is the black. I stand there for hours, watching it ever so slowly dissipate. It’s dust and debris, and it takes a long time to settle. No one answers the phone, not even the police. The sun comes out, and I can see a crater.

I check every window in my little house. The crater wraps all around me. It doesn’t look like a bunch of different craters, but a single one, of which I rest in the middle. A massive doughnut must have fallen from the sky, and left me unscathed. If there really was a big space doughnut, though, it still shouldn’t have spared me. I mean, the tremors alone should have sent me to hell with everyone else in my neighborhood. The hole is so large than I can’t even make out the houses that weren’t crushed by it. I see the edge in the distance, but everything left above is too far away to discern. I cautiously step outside, and crawl to the edge of my little protected patch of land. I realize, though, that if I were capable of dying, it probably would have happened already. The thing that protected my figures wasn’t likely a ghost, but a guardian angel. I don’t think I have to be careful anymore. I peek over the edge of my patch, and look for the bottom of the crater, but I can’t tell if I see it, for the light does not reach as far down. I check the GPS on my phone. No, I’m not in La Brea, so I doubt there’s a portal below me that will send me to prehistoric times where CGI monsters still roam the lands. I check all around my—I don’t know whether to call this a butte, or a mesa, or a plateau, because it’s as tall as all hell, but narrower than my now-dead neighbor’s political beliefs—patch. I see nothing that would explain what saved me, or whether the theoretical angel is still here. Just then, two helicopters fly over from different directions. One appears to be military, and the other from a news station. As they’re inspecting me, trying to figure out what the hell is going on, their rotors just stop, and they fall out of the sky, into the crater. Others come, hoping to understand, including an AirEvac, but they all suffer the same fate. I was wrong. An angel has not saved me. A demon has doomed me.

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