You can probably imagine I was starting to freak. What else are you supposed to do when the universe turns you into a laser light show? The worst part was there being nobody I could talk to, except for Tanya.
Well, maybe one other person.
Putting the name “Randall Drew” into a search engine pulled up over ten million results, but only one of them lived on my side of Milestone City. Learning that my science teacher was a founding member of the Milestone Astronomical Society wasn’t a surprise, but finding out that he’d played Polonius in three community productions of Hamlet was something I had to see to believe.
The next thing I knew I was walking the street leading to his house. It seemed weird to think that he lived like other people; you know, in the suburbs and not in a broom closet where they’d lock him up until second period. Not that it was anything special; Mr. Drew’s place had a single level, a small yard, and panels with white flakes peeling off from exposure. Two cars sat in the driveway; one probably belonged to a girlfriend, or maybe a boyfriend. Who knows?
I knocked on the door, swallowed the lump in my throat and prayed to the gods it wouldn’t be weird. Last he’d seen me I was lifting my skirt and running for my life; my choice of t-shirt and slacks was purely in the hopes that he’d forget about it and talk about the other stuff.
A woman answered; girlfriend? Assuming I had the right house. She smiled and asked “can I help you?”
“Hi, uh… is this Mr. Drew’s house?”
She stopped a moment. Her smile faded. “You’re his student; the one from the park,” she said more than she asked. “Please, come in.”
I shuffled inside and lingered as she disappeared into the hall. The shades of brown and analogue TV in the corner painted details of my teacher’s life that I’d never bothered to think about. Somehow it seemed like forbidden knowledge.
Mr. Drew appeared moments later, unshaven and (my gods) wearing shorts. His smile fumbled as he looked up to me. “You know I’ve been expecting this visit for a while,” he admitted. “How are you feeling, Justin? Would you like a cup of coffee? You do drink coffee, don’t you? Not that you need it at your age.”
So many questions; what else could I say? I said “yes.”
He strolled to the kitchen and I followed. Scratching the back of his head he forced a smile, brought his gaze up to mine and said, “I’m glad to see you’re looking well.”
“Yeah, about that,” I started. “When you saw me the other night–”
Mr. Drew waved it off. “You don’t have to explain. It’s really none of my business, so long as it doesn’t lead to the harm of any of my students; that includes you, Justin.”
I supposed that was a good thing.
He loaded a filter into the coffee maker and took a deep breath. “What I was doing out in the park that night; well, that’s fast become your business. It landed you in hospital, and I think you have the right to know; but what you came into defies explanation. Even if I were to break it down, I’m not sure you’d believe me.”
“Aliens?” I guessed. Anything seemed possible.
The teacher pursed his lips and lowered his glasses. “Bigger.”
My jaw tightened. “Godzilla?”
“The universe,” he began, “is infinite. Its range transcends physical measurement, and its age transcends time as a concept. We can observe it, but only up to a point; and most things that exist beyond that are documented predominantly in the hypothetical. Do you understand what I’m trying to say?”
“That the universe is really big,” I said.
“Bigger than we can see,” he continued, “and on planes that supersede the human scope. A good deal of what exists in the macroverse, or even possible multiverses, can only be observed through their effect and not the phenomenon itself. We see shadows of how the macroverse touches us, but not the macroverse itself.”
I shook my head and ran my fingers through my hair. “This is all too much. I don’t even know what a macroverse is, and what does this have to do with what you were doing in the park?”
Mr. Drew collected himself and sighed. “Imagine… bear with me a moment. Imagine that something from outside of our universe, something primordial, made contact with our reality. These encounters happen quite frequently, though often in the far reaches of space. However, on this occasion the point in space-time touched by that something was in Centenary Park on the night you came running through. It’s the first time the phenomena has been observed so close.”
“You can’t be serious,” I told him, but really, who was I to say? It wasn’t like I could tell anyone about the flying and the laser beams with a straight face.
He shrugged and turned back to the coffee pot. “You’re under no obligation to believe me, and I have no obligation to lie. I also told you that it was too extraordinary to believe.”
I looked him over and processed the casual way he talked about it. On any other day I might have thought I was being trolled, but too much had happened to leave me with doubt.
“It’s not that I don’t believe you,” I argued. “I saw something out there that was very, very not normal; what I guess I don’t understand is why a high school science teacher and his friend were looking for it and not, I don’t know, a team of government spooks or something.”
The teacher smiled and shook his head. “Well, the reason for that is purely political. I told you that the phenomenon was for the most part hypothetical, and we can only see its shadows.”
“A number of scientific bodies have deemed the evidence in favor of this theory as too vague, and as a result my partner and I have had difficulty acquiring funds for our research. Essentially what we’re talking about is considered a ‘junk’ science. The existence of the phenomenon was not readily falsifiable until our encounter the other night.”
“When it blew up in my face,” I remarked.
“After you ran head first into it, yes.”
It was a lot to take in, and I still wasn’t sure I understood. The pieces slotted together as Mr. Drew served my coffee. Did I really get superpowers from running into some kind of made up space field? It made no sense; things like this didn’t happen in the real world.
“I don’t know if I’m representing the point very well,” he muttered. “If you’d like we can take an excursion, and you can meet my colleague, Dr. Fellows.”
So many questions, so few answers; all I could say was “sure.”
To be continued…