The Journey Begins
Brian opened his eyes and found himself in bed. This was not his bed and this was not his room. He searched his surroundings trying to figure out where he is. He pulled back the sheets and sat on the edge of the bed.
“What happened?” he thought, “was that all a dream?”
Brian called out “Hello”, to see if anyone was home that could fill him in on how he got there. He walked out of the room and found the bathroom across the hall. Brian splashed some cold water on his face to try and wake himself up. As he looked up into the bathroom mirror he shrieked in horror, it was not his face staring back at him.
“This has to still be a dream”, he thought, but as he stubbed his toe running back into the bedroom, he realized that he is definitely awake. Brian frantically looked around the room for anything to explain why and how he was here. On the nightstand he found a photo, as he looked closely, in the picture was the man he just saw in the mirror. There was also a cell phone which he picked up and used to call his best friend Isaac.
“Hello” Isaac answered hesitantly.
“Isaac, this is Brian, I think something is wrong”
“Brian? Who is Brian and why are you calling me Isaac?” Isaac asked.
“Don’t play games Isaac, this is serious. I was performing another test when I think something went wrong, I woke up and I don’t know where I am, and I don’t think I know who I am” Brian explained.
“Well I guess we are in the same boat, I have no idea what’s going on. I woke up in this strange house and I am definitely not Isaac.” Isaac replied.
“I have no idea what’s going on, but I need you to meet me at my lab ASAP” Brian pleaded.
“Lab, what lab, I don’t know you, and I have no idea where your lab is.” Isaac responded
“I don’t have time for this Isaac, I need to figure out what’s going on and fix this” said Brian as he hung up the phone.
His next call was to 911. He needed to report what happened, but all he got was a busy signal. Brian grabbed the TV remote and turned it on, he was greeted with searching for signal. Changing channels didn’t help, everyone was the same. He sat there on the bed pondering his situation. Why was he in someone else’s body? Why didn’t Isaac remember him. Maybe I am dead and this is purgatory or worse, hell. I must be being punished for playing god. Sitting here wasn’t getting him anywhere, Brian needed to get to his lab. Looking around the room he tried to find what he could wear out. He shuffled through the dresser to find some clothes. He pulled out an outfit and proceeded to get dressed. As he was changing his underwear he glanced down.
“Wow”, he exclaimed, “I could get used to that” as he admired the new appendage that was dangling between his legs. “That is one improvement to this situation” he thought chuckling to himself, “maybe I will have time to take this for a test run.” Brian finished getting dressed and rushed out of the house. As he walked out the house he realized he still didn’t really know where he was.
As he punched his lab’s GPS into the cell phone, he heard someone say “You have to help me”.
Brian looked around to see a middle aged lady walking her dog towards him.
“Are you talking to me?” Brian asked.
“Please, I am begging you, I don’t know where I am, or who’s dog this is.” The lady pleaded.
“I am trying to figure out what is going on as well. I wish I could help, but I need to get to my lab.” Brian replied.
The lady burst out crying, grabbing at Brian’s shirt.
“Please Ma’am, I need to get home, go back to your house and wait for help, I am sure it is coming.” Brian told her.
There was no one else around, and help was not coming, but Brian had bigger things to worry about. As he looked down at the GPS he noticed his arrival time was 6 hours by car. “There was no way this was possible” Brian thought as he tried to figure out exactly where he was. He used the phones location services in google maps to find out that he is now in New York, not Washington DC, where his lab is. Defeated, Brian went back to the house and tried calling every number that he had memorized. Anyone that picked up seemed just as confused as him, none of them knew who he was, and no one knew what was going on. Brian was in this by himself, and he had caused this by himself.
“I have to get to my lab” Brian told himself.
He began searching for money, supplies, clothing, anything he would need to make the journey back to his lab. He found a set of car keys on the kitchen table, as well as a wallet. He looked inside to find a license with a picture of the gentlemen who Brian was apparently borrowing his body. Besides the wallet he found $21 in cash, a credit card and a gift card to Best Buy. Brian made his way back onto the street with the keys and wallet in hand. He used the key-less entry feature to try and locate which car the keys belonged to. As he walked down the street, he could hear the beep of the car unlocking. He kept getting closer and could hear it, but couldn’t see it. Then there it was, a Smart Car. Those small, two seat, claustrophobia chambers, that barely qualifies as a real car.
“A lawn mower might have been a better option than this” Brian thought.
He hopped in and started it up, his knees jammed right into the steering wheel. His head brushed against the ceiling inside the car.
“I hope I don’t hit too many bumps in this thing” He said to himself, “or my head is going to come right through the roof”.
The radio station it was on was playing nothing but static. Brian scanned through the channels and there was nothing on. Every station was down. Brian had bigger things to worry about.
As Brian started driving down the street he noticed more and more people walking around looking lost. Some people were gathered in groups, some were standing there on their phones appearing frantic. Brian kept driving, the only thing on his mind was getting back to DC and his lab. As Brian tried to focus and theorize what might be happening, the low gas signal chimed.
“Great, now I need to see if I can find a working gas station” Brian said.
He was in a residential neighborhood and had no idea where the nearest gas station was. He decided to just follow the GPS on the phone and at least start going in the right direction of his 6 hour journey. It wasn’t long before Brian saw a big sign in the distance of a Shell gas station. He pulled in and didn’t see a car or person anywhere. There were no lights on inside the store, but at least the pumps were still up and running. He limped the tin can up to the pump and prayed that the credit card in the wallet would work. He slid the card in the reader, and low and behold, it took the card. He sighed as he topped off the gas tank and got back in.
He started back in the direction the GPS was telling him. He continued to pass bewildered bystanders that he was sure were in the same predicament as him. He had seen hardly any other cars on the road, which he thought to himself was a good think. Up ahead he could see the signs of the interstate, the GPS told him to take the next right to the on ramp.
“I should make it to my lab in no time without any traffic” he thought.
On the interstate he had the pedal to the metal, and couldn’t get this go cart to do more than 55MPH. “So much for rushing back to DC.” Brian said to himself.
As he puttered along, he saw the occasional abandoned car on the side of the highway. They seemed more frequent than he is used to seeing, but he also has not spent much time driving in New York.
Thoughts crept into his mind about what went wrong. He had been told this experiment could open up black holes that would consume the earth, or a nuclear explosion could be set off.
“Could this be another dimension?” Brian asked himself.
He had brushed off all the doubters as being jealous, any warning a colleague had gave him went in one ear and out the other.
“Was I so blinded by fame and fortune that I overlooked how catastrophic this could be?” he pondered. This all was theoretical after all, and no one had proven nuclear fusion on the scale that Brian had attempted.
The smart car barely made it up to the crest of the hill and that’s when he saw it. A mess of cars ahead of him. This was not just a traffic jam, this was mayhem. Abandoned cars for as far as he could see. He slowly made his way to road block and started to meander his way through the mess of cars. “This is probably the only benefit to this match box I am trying to drive, at least I can weave my way through this mess.” Brian exclaimed.
Soon enough this slight chance of hope was put a halt. The road was completely blocked. He had no idea where he was, he was no longer in a residential area, but was driving through the country. He attempted to turn the car around, bumping into the other cars, Brian still had only one thing on his mind. As he finally maneuvered this disgrace for vehicle to start driving back the way he came, another car approached him blocking him in. He honked and they didn’t budge. He flashed his high beams, they did not even acknowledge him. He could barely see into the windshield because of the glare, but he could make out there was at least 2 people in the car. He decided to get out and talk to them.
“The situation couldn’t get much worse, and they are just as confused as I am” Brian thought.
Brian approached the passenger side window and was greeted by what appeared to be a nice young couple.
The girl in the passenger seat just stared straight ahead as the man in the driver seat told him, “Move that little shit box out of the way and let me by.”
“The roads blocked ahead” Said Brian.
Brian could see tears starting to form in the girls eyes as she tried to not make eye contact. That’s when Brian noticed the gun that the man was holding down in his lap.
“I don’t want any trouble” said Brian, “I am just trying to make it home”
“I don’t care where or what you are doing” The driver said as he slowly lifted the gun up to rest it on the dash.
“How about you give me your wallet, cell phone and supplies” Demanded the driver.
Reluctantly Brian obliged. As he was handing the cell phone and wallet over, he now saw the girl looking at him and mouthing “Help me”. Brian could not do anything to help, the man had a gun, and Brian might be the only person in the world who can fix what has happened. The passenger window slowly went up as the car backed slowly away. Brian stared in disbelief as the car vanished into the highway junkyard.
Shaken, Brian had backtracked his way through the highway junkyard and decided that back roads were going to be his best option. He had been driving aimlessly for hours, now without the GPS of the cellphone to guide him. Thankfully this tuna can he has been driving around gets great gas mileage, because he now was without a wallet, a credit card, and without any way of attempting to contact anyone. Occasionally he would see a bewildered person or two trying to flag him down, but Brian was on a mission. After his last encounter, Brian was leery of attempting to help anyone. He had no one he could trust, no one he could call for help. He had to get back to his lab in DC no matter what the cost. Now without any directions to point the way, he decided the only thing he could do was drive south.
The sun began to dip behind the horizon, casting shadows in the orange glow. Brian knew he needed to find a safe place to pull over and rest. He was exhausted and had been driving for 10 hours at this point. He was now deep in backwoods country, he rarely saw lights on in the houses he passed, and did not trust finding a random house to occupy. Brian decided the safest thing to do was sleep in the smart car. This would not be an easy task as his knees were cramped from being pressed into the steering wheel all day. His neck was sore from tilting it so his head didn’t rub on the ceiling, and there literally was no back seat. Brian scoured for a safe road to pull onto, or a clearing he could attempt to hide in. As Brian looked, he spotted the sign for a boat landing up ahead. He figured it would doubtful to find anyone out boating with the current state of reality. He crept the slightly advanced go cart down the bumpy dirt road to the boat launch. Not a sign of life anywhere. Brian tucked the car away in the corner of the lot and tried to get comfortable. He tried sitting across both seats horizontally, but the emergency brake poked into his side. He tried reclining the seat as much as possible and putting his feet on the dash, but he had to bend his knees up towards his face to make that work. Brian was exhausted and finally gave up, he got as comfortable as he could and slowly drifted off to sleep.