Friday, 29 February 2008

Footsteps on the wind

I walk three inches above the ground, and have done since I was four. I don't know why, and the doctors my parents took me to had no idea either. They finally pointed out that it didn't seem to be hurting me, and told my parents that I'd probably grow out of it. I never have.

When I was eight I started leaving footprints in the air behind me. They would glow softly and fade after a few seconds. That got me more attention and more doctors, and this time a particle physicist, but still no understanding of what was wrong with me. Or, as I was beginning to think, what was right with me.

After all, when I fell over, I never hit a hard surface; the air cushioned me three inches above it. And at night my glowing footprints made me easy to spot, and they gave out enough light for me to make out my surroundings. That's very useful when you're 8 and need the toilet in the middle of the night. There were a couple of downsides, mostly that I couldn't learn how to swim because I stood three inches above the surface of the water. But they didn't seem very important to me.

Two days before I turned sixteen, the particle physicist turned up on the doorstep. He said he suspected that something else was going to happen when I turned sixteen, and he wanted to see what. I sulked. I was 15 after all. It turned out he was right though, at half past eight in the morning on my 16th birthday a flock of green and blue birds flew through the wall of the kitchen, circled my head, and flew off through another wall, passing unharmed through the house as though it weren't there. The physicist muttered something about sentient neutrinos, but I ignored him. Then he shook my hand, told me that he thought I wasn't born to live in this world, and left. I've not seen him since.

I turn 32 in 7 hours time. I checked what time I was born with the hospital. Something's going to happen; odd things are happening already. Yesterday I absently mindedly took the square root of the furniture in the living room, and it hurts my head to go in there now because it all seems perfectly normal and when I leave the rest of the world seems fundamentally wrong. An hour ago my footprints started glowing more brightly, and ten minutes they burst into flame. Luckily the flames don't seem to burn anything in the real world; at least not yet. I've just started hearing a low, sonorous voice talking somewhere behind me. The birds are circling my head, and don't seem inclined to leave.

I may not be long for this world now.

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