Centipede

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I woke up and opened my eyes. There was a giant centipede right in front of my face. I wasn’t even scared, because there was something wrong about this whole image. That centipede simply didn’t belong in the picture. That centipede didn’t belong anywhere.

It looked at me with its tangle of gnarling limbs, and told me that I was actually the one who didn’t belong. What a cocky bastard, but I understood those gnarling limbs more than anything. I tried to obey, casually dreamy and hypnotized. I shut my eyes tight so I could fade away. I tried so hard I even shook my arms, for comedic effect. But the centipede had gotten bored of my fading away, and it crawled over my desk and over my glasses, respectful of my being here.

I got up. My brain was still fuzzy. I turned on the lights, and looked for the centipede. It sat there, motionless, between the Holy Bible and a glass of water. I took the first book I found, my Grade 10 yearbook, to bring the intruder to a swift and timely death. But the centipede scurried smartly away, out of my line of sight. I began to suspect that the centipede was not really a centipede, but a space saucer.

By some fluke, I was now carrying the only portal to the past I possessed. I opened the yearbook. Flipping through the pages, I observed how tiny scrawny kids had become big and strong, and how little girls had become attractive women, and how I, an athlete with stars in his eyes, had ungrown all this time.

I looked at the adult version of myself; the 15-year old, invincible, rim-grabbing, 80% from outside the arc dream machine (this may or may not be an exagerration). I became the 15-year old version of myself.

“Feed me the rock,” I’d say. And somebody fed me the rock.

And I felt the composite leather ooze into my fingers, and it was like feeling the touch of a long lost lover. Wanton sparks. Like liquid ice surging through my fingers. My body was crouched like a cheetah. Agile. Invincible. Free.

It was like being in space.

Then I blinked, and the feeling was gone. I was staring at a picture of my championship winning team, with my old athletic body crouched over one knee, a complete stranger to my rotting, disabled self, suffering from debilitating chronic pain and nerve damage. However, the pain of nostalgia was not as stark as it used to be.

I looked around for the centipede. It was gone. Stupid vermin...





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