Thursday, October 10, 2019

10/10/19

Shiny Spheres
By Rollin T. Gentry


You smack the alarm clock and roll out of bed like any other day.

In the bathroom, you notice a golf-ball-sized, chrome sphere hovering inches above your head. You brush your teeth, standing beside your spouse, and realize that both of you have the same shiny sphere overhead. Neither of you says a word about them.

At breakfast, you notice that your children have spheres, and they also seem unaware. You turn on the news, and the anchorwoman has a sphere floating above her head. The co-anchor and the weatherman have them, too. The kids grab their lunches and backpacks. You grab your laptop, and the family heads out for the day after saying, “I love you,” all around. While dropping the kids off at school, you notice that the crossing guard has one, and a sphere accompanies all the other children, as well. You wonder if you are going mad. While this would be an odd thing to hallucinate, seeing odd things is a part of madness, isn’t it?

Alone in the car at a traffic light, you look around. All the other motorists have the same spheres pressed between the roof of their vehicle and their heads. You check yourself in the rearview mirror. You still have yours. Should you try to touch it? Definitely not while driving, but perhaps when you get to work.

Every person you pass on the way to your office has a sphere overhead, gleaming beneath the fluorescent lights. Everyone acts normal, though. Everyone is ignoring the spheres.

In your office, you close the door and reach above your head -- nothing. But not having a mirror, you wonder if the thing is simply moving out of the way when you reach for it. Down the hall, a family restroom complete with a diaper-changing table is the only place you can go that has both a mirror and privacy. You quickly dash inside and confirm your suspicions. The sphere is very adept at avoiding your grasp. After several attempts, you give up and stroll to the break room.

In the break room, you find one of your colleagues, with a sphere, toasting a bagel. You wonder how you should approach the subject?

"Good morning," you say, trying to maintain eye contact. You wonder, if you tackled this person, could you grab their sphere. Terrible idea. A sure trip to the loony bin. So you end up saying nothing, just filling a Styrofoam cup with coffee. Finally, your co-worker speaks.

"Care for a bagel?"

You've already eaten breakfast and don't even like bagels, but you say, "Yes, thank you." Your answer feels very natural. A bit of your anxiety fades. You wonder if the spheres have something to do with it. Are they from outer space or another dimension, perhaps? A collective consciousness, maybe? As you fill your mouth with bagel and cream cheese, you dismiss those strange notions and nod appreciatively to your colleague.

Your schedule for the day is filled with meetings. In every meeting, everyone has a chrome sphere positioned overhead. Remarkably, in every meeting, there is complete agreement among the attendees, not a single detractor all day.

At home that evening, the family sits around the dinner table and carries on pleasant conversation. Later, the family agrees to watch the same show on television in the living room, which is strange because the kids have TVs in their bedrooms, and their tastes vary greatly from you and your spouse.

In bed, the sphere repositions itself so that it floats above your forehead. You feel more peace and tranquility than you have in a long time. Slowly the sphere descends, until it rests on your forehead. You hear a humming. Listening closer, you make out the thoughts of what could be the entire human race. The sphere sinks even lower, slipping into your brain as if your skull were made of gelatin. The voices become clearer now. You make out the thoughts of a college professor halfway around the globe. You listen to his last independent thought:

"So, this is the way the world ends. Not with a bang, but a..."


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Rollin T. Gentry lives in Birmingham, Alabama where he works as a software engineer for a Fortune 500 company. He can be found reading and writing lots of speculative fiction during his spare time. He’s had stories appear in Everyday Fiction, Liquid Imagination, 365 Tomorrows, and others.


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