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To make it easier for late-comers to jump into the story , I have consolidated the beginning here.-

Part 1

I have considered this for awhile. The idea is simple. I shall begin typing and you, the reader, shall read what I write. It shall continue until the story is done or one of us fails to do their part. As for my part, I promise to keep writing as long as there are people reading.

The end result will be either an entire tale written here for the world to read or an incomplete story. The end result is yours to decide, my friends. So let us begin…

 Tiny, delicate white hands, reaching forward. The hands have splotches of brown upon them. They are being propelled forward, toward an object just out of sight. Short white legs propel the hands. A round object comes into view. It is a ball that’s green with pink polka dots. The little white hands reach down and fetch up the ball. A giggle explodes into air as the child spins around, looking the man who tossed the ball.

 Finally, her bright blue eyes land upon the man. He stands about 40 foot away. The wind dances in his jet black hair as a small rare smirk slides across his face. His right hand does a subtle beckoning motion. The child springs forward while grasping the ball tightly. When she reaches a distance from the man that she is comfortable with, she stops abruptly and throws the ball with all her might.

 The man springs forth with cat-like reflexes and fluidity. He snaps up the ball just before it touches the ground. This draws forth another small giggle of delight from the child. She claps her hands together and yells “Toss me, toss it to me!”

 The man takes a few tentative steps towards the little one, carefully watching her face. Watching intently for any signs of wariness in her face or posture. At a distance of about 10 foot he stops, sensing any closer might bring concern to the child. He slowly raises the ball up to waist height, signaling he is about to throw it to her. She puts the palms of her dirty white hands together and says once more, “Toss me!” The man carefully tosses the ball to her in under-handed fashion. The ball lands directly between her hands and bounces but the child quickly clasps her arms to chest, trapping the ball.

 This time the laughter that explodes from her is so loud and full of glee, that the park in which they play, cannot contain it. The laughter drifts up and out, in all directions. Part of it finds an open window and rushes in. On the other side of the open window, it finds a man lying upon a bed. The laughter quickly seeks out an ear and dives in.

Part 2

The sleeping man’s eyes fluttered. Opening and closing, opening, then closing again. The bright morning light that streaked in from the window, was making it hard for him to keep his eyes open. It was intense, bright, and painful. After many failed attempts, he finally managed to keep them open long enough to look around his bedroom. At first glance, he noted that his furniture all seemed to be in the proper places. He also noted that it was not his furniture.

The thoughts of his mind began to build up quickly. If this furniture was not his, how did this other furniture get here? Furniture gnomes invaded his house last night! No, of course, that was not it. He did not know any gnomes, not even garden ones. Maybe someone picked him up, moved him out to their car. Then drove him to another house, picked him up again and placed him a similar bedroom. But why would anyone want to do that?  This was not a funny joke!   Maybe an over-zealous interior decorator could not wait until daytime to redecorate his room. Obviously, he was not awake enough to be contemplating this matter. He sat up in bed, A stab of pain pierced his mind. He felt hung over. He did not recall drinking anything last night.

Once more he forced his eyes open. His was intent on taking in a few details of this room. Pain once more shot through his mind but he forced it back, as much as anyone could, first thing in the morning. The furniture all had the same look to it. All of it appeared to be made of brushed aluminum and brass. All very new and extremely shiny. When ever the sunlight landed upon the furniture, it was reflected off into multiple directions, thus giving the room a brightness and glow, not normally found in any typical bedroom. For a split second, a memory of an office he’d visited once, flashed through his mind. This room seemed as sterile and as bright as that office.

The man arose from the bed. His legs seemed weak, he wobbled for a second and nearly fell down. He quickly reached for the bedpost and was able to gain purchase, just in time. The coldness of the metal bedpost was not lost upon him. It meant that he was not hallucinating, and that the bed, was indeed made of some form of metal. He steadied himself for a few seconds before risking another step. He had in mind that the kitchen and it’s coffee maker would make for a good direction to travel. If only his body would work even half as well as his mind was, he might be there already. Upon taking his next step, he realized that the floor was extremely cold under his feet. He looked down and was surprised to find that his carpet had been replaced with tile. Now he stopped. A question, no, in fact many questions came to mind. But the loudest one asked, was the kitchen really the best direction to go now? This new information of the flooring being tile changed things and made him wonder where exactly he was. It now seemed more important to know where he was at. The coffee would have to wait. He carefully turned to his left. Sunlight flooded back into his eyes once more. He knew he must face it. He did not like it but still he took a step toward the bedroom window. He had to see what lay beyond the window.

Part 3

The man raised his left hand in a feeble attempt to block out the sunlight. It was the morning sun, displaying its full glory as it slowly arose from the east, the same direction the window faced. A simple yet profound thought passed slowly through his mind. “This must be what it was like to stare into the face of God.”

As he slowly made his way to the window. It seemed to him like he was wading through a sea of mini stars, as every dust particle was set afire, with morning sunlight. A few sounds made their way inside as he worked his way to the window. He could hear the occasional passing of a vehicle on the street below.  Some small voices drifted in and back out. A  half laugh, someone yelling something unintelligible from his distance. Electronic beeps of a truck backing up in the distance.

Reaching the window, he was once more overwhelmed by the light and forced to close his eyes, against the light. Through an eternity, and by inches, he finally managed to open his eyes enough to take in what was outside. It brought back a few memories but yet, it was not the same view he remembered seeing before he’d went to sleep.

Directly outside and below his window, was the street he lived on. Broward street. It was there but then again, maybe it was not. This was not a street he could remember ever seeing, anywhere. This street had metal rods placed into the ground on both lanes. The metal rods reminded him of railroad tracks. They were metal and of similar shape. Only these rods were sleeker in design and had what appeared to be a chrome coating on their exterior. As he was examining the road, a vehicle approached from his right.

The vehicle did not look like anything he could recall ever seeing, even in those car shows where they always show off future prototype vehicles. This one was a bright green in color. The kind of green you often see on glow-in-the-dark things. The front of the vehicle was flat, kind of wedge shaped and slowly sloped upwards toward the back end. It reminded him of a small wedge of moldy cheese. As the vehicle got closer he discovered that the sound it emitted was more electronic than automotive. Like the crackling of electricity between two poles. He was completely sure his jaw dropped to his knees, when he saw that there was no driver, in the front seat.

With the vehicle having passed, he once more turned his attention, to what else was outside his window.

Part 4

Before a I begin, just a quick reminder, how long I type depends completely upon you, the reader. Thus, I have made sure there are plenty of sharing buttons, at the bottom of each post. You may share, if you so desire. The more people who read, the more likely the writing shall continue.  That being said, let us continue…

 Some small voices drew his attention away from the passing vehicle and he looked in their direction. The voices came from the direction of the park across the road. He was relived to see something familiar but upon closer inspection, he realized this park was not the same, as the one he remembered visiting, just yesterday. All the wood was gone. No more wood was to be found anywhere he looked. Everything was now made of metal and plastic. Even the chains that once swung the kids so high up into the air, had been replaced. The swings now hung from ropes. Yet the small section of woods, that lie directly beyond the park, still remained. He almost found relief in the knowledge, that people still managed to find time to argue here. Wherever here was…

 Looking beyond the woods to several blocks away, he could make out the buildings that lie beyond. On first appearances they seemed the same but like with everything else, closer inspection revealed more. In this case, the buildings were of the same structure and shape, but the exteriors all appeared to have been replaced by some type of metal siding. But that was not the only difference he noticed. All of the windows were either gone or completely covered over with what looked to be roll-up flexible metal sheeting. Furthermore, the doors were also gone. Every front door looked identical. Solid metal, no door knob, only a small keypad next to it.

 The more he looked around, the more he began to realize, that not only was his room some foreign place, but that the entire world had transmorphed into a completely different place. His mind began to reel from the implications of all he was seeing. He swayed, nearly lost his balance, reached for the window sill to stable himself. A sudden movement caught his attention. It was of a man in a black dress suit holding the hand of a little blond girl. They were walking toward the woods that lay beyond the park. The little girl looked to be maybe 4 or 5 years old. The man in the black suit had clean-cut short black hair, was thin, and looked tall compared to the little girl.. The girl looked briefly behind her and in a instant he realized exactly who she was. Her blue eyes shone brightly in the morning sunlight. Terror ripped through the man at the window. He saw his daughter disappear into the woods with a man he did not know.

 Frozen with shock and horror, he was slow to react. Then suddenly, he turned toward the direction of the front door. After two quick steps and while he was falling to the floor, he realized he was not in good enough condition to run.

Part 5

Before I begin once more, I have a special announcement. I’ll be having a guest artist render a drawing for this story. No date has been written in stone yet. Just keep reading, liking, and sharing. At some point, more will be revealed. And now back to our tale…

The man’s body shook with his tears and frustration, as he tried to reclaim his composure and feet. His mind screamed out at his daughter, Joleana, “Run, run, run away!” He knew that she could not hear his thoughts anymore than she could hear his voice. Yet, he felt compelled to yell it over and over again, in his mind. There was nothing else he could do. His heart was broken and the last resort of a broken man is insanity. In this moment, it was all he could do… wade in the deep waters of chaos.

He was unaware of how much time had passed before he was able to clamor to his feet and stop his mind from screaming, but at the moment, it seemed rather irrelevant to him. Of more greater import, was finding out exactly where he was at, and then he could device a way to change the current circumstances. He slowly, carefully made his way to the bedroom door and flung it open. Peering down the hallway, he tried to make out details as his eyes attempted to adjust to the lack of light. He took another step forward, hoping to see more and the hallway light came on.

He stood still. For a moment caught in the clutches of shock. Sure, at one point in his life, he remembered considering a security system for his home. But he also remembered. he never HAD one installed and furthermore, the system he’d been considering did not have motion detectors. Obviously, he had some now. The hallway had been given the same treatment as the bedroom. The small table and shelves were still in the their respective places, yet they were not the same. These also were made of the same brushed aluminum and brass. One thing that stood out here, was the lack of pictures. The hallway was a place he always placed a lot of pictures. There were none hung along this hallway. He glanced back into the bedroom and now noticed it also had no pictures on the walls. ‘How had he missed that before?” he thought.

Finally, deciding he had no answers, to the many questions swirling around his mind, he turned back to the hall. Shortly, he found himself in the bathroom. Yes, he wanted to investigate the house more vigorously but when you had to go, you went.  After finishing his business, he moved to the sink to wash his hands. As he reached for the cold water, it came on while at the same time, the toilet flushed itself. Both startled him and he nearly lost his footing. Regaining his composure, he glanced up into the mirror. One more he found that shock had taken ahold of him.

Part 6

What looked back at him from the mirror, he did not recognize. At least not, at first. It was like looking at a baby picture of yourself. If no one told you, you would never know it was you in the picture.

 The man in the mirror did not resemble the man he’d last seen in the mirror. This man had scraggly white hair, with tiny streaks of black, here and there. The hair was quite literally beyond the put away wet and left to dry stage. It looked as if some misinformed hair stylist had gotten stoned, then made an extremely bad attempt at creating, a new hair style. If there was a part in his hair, he could not find it. Perhaps this illusionary hair stylist was not trying to make one. His hair somehow seemed to have managed, to seek escape from his head, in  every direction. Why it was nearly all white, instead of the black he’d went to sleep with, was another matter in itself. He could not fathom the change in color. It did not look bleached. It looked like it naturally turned white. The bags under his eyes could probably carry all the luggage he would need for a very long trip. The white hair, on his face and neck, looked as if he had been making a very bad attempt, at growing a beard and mustache. It was almost as if he were back in collage, trying to impress the ladies with his feeble attempt, at looking like a badass.

 This thought nearly sent him into a fit of laughter but he was far too afraid to laugh. Far too afraid. For he knew, if he began to laugh, he might never stop. Indeed, when you look into the mirror you expect to see, someone you know. The only thing in this mirror that looked the least bit familiar to him, was his steel-blue eyes, looking back at him. Even they seemed colder than usual. Yes, he knew, if he began to laugh now, he would find himself in a well-padded room, in short order.

 He quickly turned and left the bathroom. If he would of looked behind him, he would have noticed the light turn itself off. But he did not look behind. He had only thing on his mind at this point and nothing was going to stop him from this new goal. It was a simple goal really. He needed a cup of coffee and to sit down. Just for a few minutes. He needed to sip the beautiful taste of hot coffee and to have some time to think about all that changed overnight. He charged down the hallway, heading straight for the kitchen. Hoping with every molecule of his body that it was still there. When he reached the corner, he turned right and entered the kitchen. He was thankful to find it where he’d left it, yet, none to happy to discover that every counter had absolutely nothing sitting on it.

 His first thought upon entering the room was “Where the fuck did my coffee maker go?” His next thought was not much nicer. ” Could this day possibly get any MORE fucked up?” He took a few defeated steps into the completely empty kitchen, and placed his hands upon the island counter, for support. The island counter instantly lit up.

Part 7

As the island counter lit up, it took the man only a second to realize this was some sort of computer interface. The interface did not have words or pictures but consisted simply of lighted icons. He examined it for a few moments. He supposed, he probably resembled an archeologist, trying to contemplate the meaning behind some ancient artifact or rune.

  He took a gamble and pressed the icon that looked the most like a coffee machine. He was rewarded with a small beep when he pressed the icon, followed by some mechanical sounds, which sounded like they came from within the counters; from under them perhaps. A square slot opened in the counter, near the kitchen sink, and from that slot arose a coffee machine. The smell of coffee brewing began to fill the room, and he nearly fainted, from the relief he was overcome with.

 He walked around the island counter and began searching the upper cupboards until he found the one containing cups. They were exactly where he had left them but at this point he leaving nothing to chance. This house might resemble his old house but he knew this was not HIS house. His house certainly did not possess futuristic technology hidden any where.

 Snagging a cup of fresh brewed coffee, he pondered exactly what this place could be.  Being a police detective, he knew he should have a better grasp on things. The grogginess and lack of certain basic functioning skills he’d experienced, on first awaking, reminded him of being hung over. Yet, it was different in a way. He suspected he’d been drugged and then brought here. That made the most sense given the circumstances. “But where exactly was here?” he thought.

  He took a large sip of coffee and spewed it back out, as the burning heat of it, left him no other choice. Now he knew he would have to figure out, what the icon for paper towels looked like. As he examined the counter interface, he thought some more on his last question and considered the idea that maybe, it was not even the right question. He knew that half of life’s questions, could be answered if we merely changed the way, we asked them.

  He tapped another icon on the display and found the mixer. Too bad he was no quite ready for a mixed drink. He tapped the icon and the mixer sunk back down under the counter. While doing so, he shouted out loud ” Dammit! I just want the frickin’ paper towels!” An icon light up on the screen and few mechanical sounds later, a roll of paper towels arose up from one of the counters. A light bulb lit within his mind, as he realized the interface could be controlled, with his voice.

 He set down the cup of coffee and ripped off a few paper towels, then proceeded to clean up the mess he’d made. While he was doing this menial chore, the question in his mind began to morph and finally became clear. “Maybe I should not be wondering WHERE I am at. Maybe I should be wondering WHEN I am at?”

To be continued(hopefully)…

JB Thomas