“One hundred eight-six!” I announced gleefully.
“That’s incredible!” My wife responded. “How does it feel to be so svelte?”
“Well, I don’t know about svelte, but I feel great.” I replied. “I haven’t weighed 186 since I think my sophomore year of high school.”
I have been on a personal weight loss journey over the past eight months, using good old diet and exercise. A slow path, maybe, but well worth it. I have a dietician, named Kara, who has really kept me on the right path when it came to eating right, and been on my case the whole way. On top of that, I try to go for at least one walk around my neighborhood a day, and to hit the gym when I can. I’ve even considered joining a recreational soccer league with a couple of my buddies. Even though my playing days were long since over, I figured it would be fun to get back out there, and kick the ball around a little.
“So, are we going out to celebrate tonight?” My wife asked. “I think you’ve earned yourself a nice big juicy burger from Willy’s.”
“Sure, that does sound nice, and hey, I think I may have earned myself a cheat day.”
“Great, so when do we leave?”
“Probably around 7:00, I’ve got a meeting with Kara, first. In fact, I should be getting going that way, pretty soon here.” I said, and on that note, I gave my wife a kiss, thanked her for her continued support on my journey, and headed out the door.
I arrived at Kara’s office around 5:00, and she welcomed me in with a smile. Kara was a young beautiful professional woman, in her mid-20’s. Fresh out of grad school, and an absolute wealth of knowledge. If I was 20 years younger, I would have likely found myself smitten with her, and her long, gorgeous brown hair.
“You’re doing very well, Mr. Boyer.” Kara said. “I’m glad to see that you’re monitoring your carb intake a lot better, now.”
“Thank you,” I said with a grin.
Keeping better track of my caloric intake had been the key to my success. Lord knows I love my carbs, but they’re no good for me, and I know it. Because as much as I love my breads, I know they aren’t all that good for me. You see, when I started this journey, I weighed a whoppingly cumbersome 274 pounds. Far too heavy for a guy who only stood about 5’8” on a good day.
“How many meals a day are you eating?” She asked.
“Two,” I answered.
“And are you making sure to eat twice as many servings of fruits and vegetables, as you do meats?”
“Trying my best,” I said through a wry smile.
She looked up from her desk, where she had been writing stuff down.
“Let me guess, it’s your cheat day today, and you’re going out to eat.” She said with a cheeky grin on her face.
Not sure how she had deduced that, but she was right. Like I said, she was sharp.
“Yep!” I exclaimed.
“Where ya goin’?” She asked, before she went back to writing.
“Willy’s Burger Shack,” I excitedly responded.
“Your old favorite, huh?” She replied.
It’s true. Willy’s was one of my favorite places to go, and definitely something of a guilty pleasure. Especially during the years when my weight was out of control. I used the old excuse of it being right by my work, and being hungry and not wanting to cook, to justify my multiple-times-per-week habit of getting their food. Most notably their one-pound Big Willy burger.
“Well, don’t go overboard.” She said. “You’ve been doing so well these past eight months, I’m very pleased by your progress, and really don’t want to see you fall back into your old habits.”
I thanked her and let her know that that wouldn’t happen. That I was reveling in the newfound energy that I had, and that I was never going back to where I was before. I told her I wanted to drop about ten more pounds, before regaling her with my plans to join a men’s soccer league. She complimented me on my choice, before adding a reminder to stretch before playing. Sound advice, I thought, seeing as how the only thing I was used to stretching in recent years was the elastic in my sweatpants. She quickly wrapped up our session, saying that she had to go pick up her son from daycare. She complimented my success one last time, before urging me not to gorge myself at Willy’s that night, and to keep up the good work. We then parted ways, but not before she reminded me that I had another appointment with her in four weeks.
Kara’s office was on the northeast side of Chicago. Meaning that I had a bit of a drive to my place, in Hoffman Estates, but I figured what’s the rush, I’ve got plenty of time, and Willy’s Burger Shack wasn’t going anywhere. So, I backed out of my parking spot, and began to drive home.
It was on my drive home that I first took note of the phenomenon that would go on to turn the world upside down in the ensuing months. It was about 15 minutes into my drive when I saw something that defied explanation. As I was driving, rocking out to some FireHouse, from behind a row of houses, I saw a man floating up into the sky. He seemed to be in an utter state of peril. He was flailing his arms and legs around violently, and even though I couldn’t hear him over the sound of my music, it looked as though he was screaming. Up, and up he went, until I couldn’t see him anymore. What had I just witnessed? Was this some kind of magic trick, or special effect? Were they filming a movie in this area, and just didn’t warn people? That seems a little irresponsible, if so. You’d think they’d alert people to something of that nature, as not to alarm the public of something they might see.
The second I got home I told mt wife what I had seen. At that, she appeared very skeptical. She then gave her rationalization. Assuming, as I had, that it may have been a promotional stunt, or something for a movie. After mulling it over for a bit, I guessed she was right. Besides, there wasn’t much of a hullabaloo about it anyway. Surely, if someone had actually floated away, off the face of the earth, there would be news coverage, and reports coming out about it, all over the place, right? I shrugged it off, and we got in the car, and headed off to Willy’s.
When we got to Willy’s the hostess asked us how many were in our party. We said, “two,” and then requested to be waited on by Robbie, a waiter we had become friends with, during our time as regular customers. She said that even though he was scheduled to work that night, he had not come in, that no one had been able to get ahold of him, and that he hadn’t been heard from in a few days. So, we were sat at our table, and waited on by Sarah, a plucky young waitress, who I had never seen there before. She was nice, the food was good, and she got a good tip for her service. More importantly, I exercised some of the best portion control I had in years. I ordered a regular Willy’s burger, which I didn’t finish, and instead of French fries, I had a cup of vegetable soup. On the way out I asked a favor of the hostess. I asked her to have John, the owner of Willy’s, and also a friend of ours, call me if they heard anything about Robbie. She assured me she would pass along the note, and that someone would call me if they heard anything, and with that, we left, and drove home.
The rest of the evening was rather uneventful. My wife and I just headed straight to bed after we got home. We didn’t even bother turning on the TV, and watching the news, or any late-night talk shows, the way we usually would end our nights. Instead, I just fed some lettuce to our two pet guinea pigs, Teddy, and Roosevelt. I then gave them some pets on their snouts, told them they were good piggies, and headed off to bed.
The next morning was a different story, however. I walked into the kitchen to see my wife’s eyes wide, and glued to the television, with her hand over her mouth.
“Mornin’”, I said. As I poured myself a cup of coffee.
“Is that what you were talking about?” She asked.
I turned around to look at the TV to see that she had the news on. There, a field reporter was stood in a park, reporting on an incident that had happened the prior day, where a local man was reported to have floated away, and not come back.
I was in awe. A man had legitimately floated away, out of control, and I witnessed it. The broadcast ended, and I turned off the TV.
“Maybe it was a one-time thing.” My wife said, in a hopeful, yet uneasy tone.
“I hope so.” I responded.
I went on about my day as usual. I went to work, came home, made dinner, watched some TV, fed the guinea pigs, and went to bed, but the whole day all I could think about was that man, and how awful his experience must have been. As well as feeling sorry for his friends and family.
Three days later the world would be thrown into chaos. As news reports began popping up all over the world of that very same thing happening. People were beginning to float away for seemingly no reason at all. Cue the whack jobs that started saying we were being abducted by aliens. I doubted that was the case. Surely, with all the news cameras pointed to the skies, if there was a giant alien spaceship hovering above us, abducting people, we would have caught footage of it by now. However, given these sudden, and odd occurrences I did the most responsible thing I could do. I went out to the hardware store, amidst a crowd of panicked people, many of whom looked to be preparing to batten down the hatches, seemingly fearing an alien invasion. I got what I needed and went home. As soon as I got home, I got the chicken wire that I had just purchased, and fastened it over the top of the guinea pigs’ cage. Wouldn’t want those little guys to float away.
It being a Saturday, I didn’t have work, so I spent the entire day watching the news, following everything that was going on. It appeared as though cases of people floating away were being reported from just about every country. A grand total of 17 people all over the world had floated away up until that point. However, that day, 196 people floated away, including a scientist stationed in Antarctica. It’s looking as though we have a new, and worsening problem on our hands.
Life went on, however, and over the course of the next so many days I kept busy with work, and chores, and just tried to keep all that was going on, out of my head.
Just as we sat down for dinner on Tuesday evening, my phone rang. It was John, from Willy’s Burger Shack. I answered the phone, hoping to hear good news about Robbie. Instead, I got the opposite. I was told that a member of Robbie’s family had gotten in touch with them, and told them that Robbie had been hospitalized, and was in critical condition. I was shocked by his development. I figured at worst he may have moved away on short notice, and not told anybody, or something, but not this. When I asked what happened John said that Robbie claimed to have fallen, but that he couldn’t quite remember all the details. I thanked him for the update, asked him to continue to update me as he gained new information. He said he would, and we hung up. I told my wife what John had just relayed to me. She was taken aback, and we said a prayer for our friend.
Over the next couple of weeks, the news cycle remained the same. Every day, people from all over were mysteriously floating away. It appeared as though no one was safe from whatever was going on. Every day, anywhere between 500 to 1000 people were floating away, and in some cases, very violently so, but again, I stayed focus on my tasks, and just hoped that whatever was going on would end soon.
On one particularly informative news broadcast, several scientists were interviewed, claiming that they may have some inkling as to what’s going on. The scientists postulated, that while they didn’t know why it was happening, what was happening was that in certain areas of the world, and at random intervals, the gravitational pull was disappearing, causing anything in the area to float away into space. That’s a terrifying thought. To just be walking along, and then all of a sudden, there goes the gravity, leaving you completely helpless. The scientists traveled to an area of Vancouver that had had a high number of reported people floating away, and threw small rocks into the areas where people floated away from, to see what would happen. The rocks would stop midair, and then slowly begin to ascend. After a while, however, the phenomenon would cease, and the rocks would just fall to the ground. Almost as if in certain places, gravity was deciding whether or not to work.
Upon the release of this information, the United States government declared a state of emergency, and the National Guard was deployed, all over the country. Not sure what good that was going to do. I mean, what are they gonna do? Shoot gravity into staying put?
I was outside watering the garden just a few days later, when I heard the most ungodly thud come from next door. It sounded severe, and like nothing I could readily describe. That’s when I realized, neither of us had seen our next-door neighbor Ralph in weeks. Ralph was in his 80’s, and in the early stages of dementia, so he was definitely not someone who should go unsupervised. Unfortunately, most of his family lived in Tennessee, and he rarely had visitors, otherwise. So, being the good neighbors we always tried to be, we would check in on him every here and there, but I guess with all the recent commotion, it had slipped our minds. I went over and knocked on the door, calling out his name, but received no answer. I tried to look in through the windows, but couldn’t see much of anything. It just looked really dirty in there, like Ralph had recently had a multitude of kitchen mishaps all at once.
So, I called the police and asked them to do a welfare check on Ralph. About 15 minutes later, I got a call from a number I didn’t recognize. I answered the phone anyway, and gave a polite greeting.
“Hello,” I said.
On the other end was a police officer, specifically the one that had done the welfare check on Ralph. He told me he had some grim news. He said that Ralph was dead. When I asked what had happened, he said he couldn’t be sure, but that it was the most unusual thing he had seen in his time on the force. He said that Ralph had appeared to have nailed his feet to the floor, and that the rest of him was splattered on the ceiling directly above, leaving two legs, cut off at the knee, nailed to the floor. I just about threw up. That was what I saw all over the inside of his house. It was Ralph’s remains. That must have been what that sound I heard, was. The officer then went on to explain that his guess was that Ralph had been forcefully ascended into his ceiling, à la the recent happenings that were all over the news. I think he was right. I think Ralph reacted to the news by nailing his feet to the floor, and then, when the gravity stopped where he was, he was violently torn at the knees, and pulverized into his ceiling, poor Ralph.
I didn’t tell my wife about the specifics of what happened to Ralph. I just told her that he had been found dead, likely having passed in his sleep, a reasonably believable story.
That evening I got another call from John. He said that Robbie was now in stable condition and was allowed to have visitors. I asked him what hospital, and what room number he was in. He said that he was in room number 213, at Kindred Central. On that note, I got in my car, and headed for the hospital.
I arrived at 7:57 PM, just barely making it for visiting hours, meaning that I wouldn’t have much time to talk to Robbie. I found room 213, and made my way inside. There, sat upright in his bed, watching baseball, was Robbie. He was very happy to see me. I asked him how he was feeling. He said he was doing a lot better than he was three weeks ago, and that the doctors and nurses there were basically miracle workers, since he was likely going home the next day. That was great news, I thought. I then asked him what had happened. To which he said he wasn’t quite sure, but that he was just walking up the stairs in his townhouse, when he suddenly just kinda started slowly levitating off the ground. He said he panicked, and started trying to grab on to something, but couldn’t find anything to hold on to. He said he had been in the air for no more than ten seconds or so, when he suddenly came crashing back down to earth, and down his stairs, and that from there, everything went black, and the next thing he remembers was waking up in an intubated state, at the hospital. I asked him when this happened. He said it happened on June 10th. That was three days prior to when I saw that guy floating away on the way back from Kara’s office. Before I could ask any more questions, a nurse came in, to inform me that visiting hours were over, and that I needed to start making my way towards the exit. I thanked Robbie, and wished him well, before I left.
I drove home in complete silence, to give myself the optimum environment to process what I had just heard. If the scientists are correct, and gravity is just ceasing to exist in certain areas, then is it too far outside the realm of possibility to posit that maybe it started off weak, as in slightly lifting people off the ground, for a short amount of time, and then dropping them, and over time got stronger and stronger, like what we’ve seen with people floating away forever, and in the case of Ralph, being thrust into the air with an apparently extreme degree of lethal force?
Sleep was not easily achieved that night. I had gone to bed with a lot weighing heavily on my mind before, but never anything like this.
It would be just a few days later, on a Monday, that I went to Willy’s, to see Robbie, on his first day back to work. While he waited on me, I asked him more about his experience, and if he thinks it was part of this whole thing that was going on with these drops in gravitational activity. He said that it sounded about right. All I could see was the situation becoming more and more dire. It seemed like it was only a matter of time before it would get us all. I mean, how could you avoid it, if you can’t see it. I still held out hope that it would just up and stop, and things would go back to normal. I ordered a Big Willy burger, figuring it could prove to be my last meal. A morose thought, yes, but a sadly realistic one. I finished up my burger, thanked Robbie for his service, let him know how happy I was that he was back, and left him a nice tip. After that, I headed out to see Kara. It had been almost a month, and it was time for my next appointment with her.
On a more positive note, my weight loss had been going well. I was sticking to my plan of eating less, and adding regular exercise to my weekly routine. Practice for my recreational soccer league had been going well, with our first game being in a week. Best of all, I was down six pounds since the last time I saw Kara, although that burger probably didn’t help my cause. It was on the way to her office that I heard a chilling news report on the radio. The newsman said that now, an excess of 10000 people were floating away each day. He said that scientists believed that the zero gravity phenomena, or “ZGP,” areas were becoming more and more common, and significantly more powerful. I turned off the radio, not wanting to hear anything more about it.
I arrived at 6:30, to see Kara waiting for me outside her office. She was looking good as always, wearing a harbor blue dress, and dark teal high heels. We went inside, where Kara had me take a seat, and we went through the usual stuff. I told her about my recent successes, and how I was down six pounds. She once again congratulated me, before making mention of how close I was to my target weight. I felt incredible in that moment. Unfortunately, however, just like last time she had to cut the meeting short. She told me to keep up the good work, and that soon I wouldn’t have to see her anymore. I thanked her for all that she had done for me over the preceding eight months. She assured me that she was just doing her job, that it was her pleasure, and that she enjoyed working with clients like me, who really take the dietary advice she gives, and plans she makes, seriously. After that, we walked out of her office, together, she locked up, and we left the building. We walked out to the parking lot.
“I look forward to seeing you in four weeks,” she said.
I smiled and told her that I looked forward to it, too. Seeing as how it would likely be my last appointment with her. While I would miss seeing her, I was elated with all the progress I had made in getting my weight down, and there was no going back, now.
At that, we parted ways and walked to our cars. Not long after, I would witness the most heartrending event I would ever encounter. It all started with a scream, that still haunts me. When I turned around, I saw Kara starting to float away. I thought to run over to her, and try to save her, before remembering that if I were to do that, I would likely be swept up, too. So, there I stood, helplessly watching her float away, higher, and higher, kicking and screaming all the way. There was nothing either of us could do. It didn’t take long for her to float away to a point where she was so high up, that I could no longer see her. After she had been out of sight for a couple of seconds, and I was just standing there on the pavement, looking up at the sky with a mixture of sadness, and disbelief, her high heels came crashing down, beside me. After that, I just walked away, got in my car, and drove home.
When I got home, I sat in my driveway for a couple of hours, crying over the loss of Kara. It hurt thinking that such a good person like her, who likely added years onto my life, as well as the lives of many others, lost her life in the process of helping me.
I went for a walk that night, looking up at the stars, and marveling at how beautiful the night sky was. By the time I got home, it was almost 11:00. My wife had gone to bed, and I just sat on the couch. I turned on the TV to watch the nightly news. In addition to the day’s goings on, came the nightly recap of all those that had floated away. That day’s total was 12,886. It had just kinda become part of life that people were going to float away like balloons, at random, and with no control. The new term that had been coined for these people was “the ascended.” If there was a more haunting term for them, then I surely could not come up with it.
That night’s broadcast offered something new, however. Something I wish I had not seen. Something that made me wish I had just gone to bed. For the first time since this whole thing started, we got a view from above, as we got a live feed from the International Space Station, and oh my God.
The video showed bodies hanging motionless in orbit above the earth. The heavens were littered with the bodies of men, women, and even children. Animals had ascended as well; no doubt some people’s beloved pets were up there, too. I looked over at Teddy, and Roosevelt, and smiled, knowing that my little fur potatoes were safe. The most shocking thing I saw on the live feed, however, was that there was an entire city bus full of people, up there, in what was now dubbed the “astral graveyard,” and it was by far and away the most morbid thing I had ever seen. Even if this were to all stop tonight, there will always be tens of thousands of human corpses, hanging lifelessly over earth, for all eternity, looking down on us, with their final, terrified expressions, frozen on their faces. True nightmare fuel if there ever was any.
That was last night. I am writing this now because I feel as though my time may be short. It could be today, tomorrow, next week, or even years down the road, for all I know. I just think that it’s only a matter of time before I too, ascend. Because, you see, I was out watering the garden again, today, trying to take my mind off things, and I noticed that not all of the water that came out of the hose made it to the ground.
Credit : Steven Allen
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5 thoughts on “Weightless”
Bruh easy just shoot a giant laser at the earth and revert the gravity, its not that hard! Right…?
Wow, finally something original. I loved it!
Loved it. It felt a bit wordy at times, but quite immersing in the reality of the world it creates.
Honestly it was a great one it really made me anxious that i keep biting my nails but overall Just Wow i loved it <3