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He had been streaking through the flotsam and jetsam for as long as he could remember, hurtling past his inextricably bound peers. The overall effect was hard to imagine and generally didn’t require a rational explanation, since no one he knew was immune from the affliction- but that didn’t stop him from thinking at times that he was nothing more than a glamorized ping pong ball in a Lotto machine. That, or when he was feeling particularly woozy, he pictured a billion comets trapped inside a spinning clothes dryer.

He had seen a giant elephant once- with glowing red eyes and hate in his heart- whiz past him on occasion. To be truthful, he was hard to miss. Once, while he was sleeping, the elephant had roared past with a trumpet that faded as intensely as it had arrived. He saw all manner of people fly by as he flew past them- a sharecropper with stretched skin; a Nepalese Sherpa hell-bent on climbing the nothingness that was their prison; even a ballerina with one leg.

On this day, his flight path sent him smack into the arms of a fellow traveler, a young girl. Collisions were mercifully rare- though had became more frequent as of late- with the usual result being that the two individuals harmlessly bounced off each other, never to see each other again.

This time, however, they stuck.

They stared at each other mindlessly- their collision causing them to spin violently as they streaked across the contained universe as soldiers and motorboats and turtles passed perilously close to their heads.

Hello, he said, not even realizing he could speak.

Before she could even attempt to answer, they passed through an innumerable bunch of blackberries. The tiny missiles disgorged themselves with full force, and soon they were both drenched in the sticky black juice. She ran her fingers through her hair and wiped the pulpy detritus from her stained lips. The liquid ran in rivulets down her arms and neck. He had never seen anything or anyone so beautiful- and keep in mind, he had seen almost everything at one point in his existence, if only for a second.

She caught his gaze and smiled.

I love you, too, James, she needlessly replied.

Immediately, they were ripped apart and sent their separate ways. Something within him broke like crushed quartz.

Then, James began to slow, eventually coming to a complete stop. He was woefully alone. Suddenly, the emptiness was surrounded by a lush and tropical jungle. In his hands he held a spear. His feet- he had never walked until this moment- sank into the humid earth and the mud stained his hiking boots. He thought this odd; he was quite sure he hadn’t been wearing hiking boots or holding a spear a few moments earlier. However, the experience was much too new and overbearing for logic to hold much sway. James did not question much why he was there or why he had left or what lay in store. He thought of the girl, and only knew that he must try to find her.

Then he heard a trumpet, and turned just in time to see crashing through the foliage a giant elephant with glowing red eyes and hate in his heart.

James began to run.

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