The sun’s touch warmly coats the ancient fencepost, bare wood and flaking brown paint treated equal. Thick grass gives shelter to the last of the raindrops, and the tangle of barbed wire spreads wide the range of a single spider’s web. Halfway up the post, a mark of character bears its place upon the wood in letters of childhood memory. A knife edge had etched the initials with innocent intentions, and now their presence hold the fencepost as a landmark, here in the meadow on the hilltop beneath the naked maple.
Sitting cross-legged, relaxed and alive, I allow my eyes to wander free from my head. They flit through the lofty summer sky, my world being tossed upon a feather as the birds inspire me with their playful grace. The world gives a sigh and the grass rustles with excitement.
But as I breathe deeply, it is as if the air is suddenly poisonous; an anxiety enters as my lungs fill, and I falter as something feels fundamentally wrong. I let the air out without indulging, and I am disturbed from my state enough to tense. The birds: their flight has changed. The air: it is static and feverish. The light: it is betrayed.
I look up to meet the disturbance with intellect rather than with intuition and spirit alone. The chirruping birds are shrill and bemused as they arc through the air. Their flight is peculiar, and my curiosity melds into suspicion as a presence slips around me like a moth eaten blanket. Am I gazing straight into the disturbance without realizing its nature?
And then, like a riddle, the negative space shifts and the answer blinks to life. The disturbance shows not as an addition, but as a subtraction. Something is missing. A volume of air the size of a large boulder sits some meters above my head, and not a single bird will pierce its surface. Their paths divert, their calls cry into the abyss, and their wingtips brush the presence with an upset fervor.
Feeling suddenly naked, I climb to my feet, and with craned neck, I back out from beneath the empty air. Another would not have noticed such a subtlety, but I feel it like an omen. And though I feel a fear clawing at my tranquility, I bring composure to my inner discomfort.
Directly above the fencepost, the void continues to draw in my senses until I fall to my knees. I am seeing what is not there, and not with imagination or in the entrapment of hallucination. Laying eyes upon it is like going blind and yet seeing the blue sky beyond in the same instant. And as this sensation continues to build, I sense a heat upon my skin like from a second sun.
A vibration shivers through the air as the space expands once like the final beat of a monstrous heart, and then it shrinks like a pool of water spiraling down a drain. And yet the drain is in the center of the volume and the pipe in another world.
And from this other world, in the flash of the void’s disappearance, a book emerges, sitting in the air of summer like any other clump of mass. And holding true to this appearance, the book then joins the union of gravity, dropping swiftly. It hits the head of the fencepost with a dull thud and lands in the grass, as solid and real as any other collection of atoms in the universe.
But knowing in detail of its abrupt creation, do I regard it as any different? Well first, I reason, I must inspect it.