As I Lay Dreaming

Peak – Lucy Leaf
Ethan Erickson

Mannnnn, I’ve gotta escape this stupor. Exstupefy? Disstupefy? Destupefy? Yeah, probably destupefy. Prefixes are weird. 

Clock? Can you hear me? Get me out of here. I can’t stand ‘ol Marad’s history class. That first lecture he gaveeeee…as soon as he said “philosophy of history” I conked out like a narcoleptic. Not that narcoleptics are defined by that one labbbb- Darl. Do not self censor. This is your mind. Let it flowwwwvvvv 

And with that, Darl’s forehead smacked his desk, knocking him unconscious. No one in the classroom noticed, per usual. The aforementioned Marad continued his lecture “Great Dates” without pause. 

Darl walks through a triangular hallway. He does not notice its shape. At the end of the hall appears a yellow door. However, when Darl reaches it, it changes color. He does not notice this either. 

The door opens, and there stands ‘ol Marad, facing Darl with a disappointed frown. “Not an excellent first impression, Mr. Young. You lack sight. See the clock?” 

There is no clock. Darl shrugs and heads to the back of the classroom. The other students are nonexistent. But as is usual, Darl does not notice. 

He and the teacher sit down simultaneously– at the exact same time, to the Planck length. Darl looks to his right, sees a blank, white wall, and begins speaking. 

“Cosine squared x plus sine squared x equals 1. The French Revolution began in 1789. So uh, i squared equals the opposite of the left hand side of that equation. Jefferson finalized the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. And since i to the i equals e to the negative pi over 2, Christ is reputed to have died between 30 and 36 AD, then, the square root of cosine squared x plus sine squared x-” 

“Mr. Young” 

Marad stands up. 

“Stop puking mathematics. Control yourself. Control your mind.” 

He sits back down. 

Without even having stood up, Darl sits down– at the exact same time as Marad, to the Planck length. 

Sitting, his gag reflex activates. Darl vomits with so much force, that circles become cylinders, blowing outwards into a third dimension. Diverging series spew all over the floor and up the wall, to seemingly no end. Line graphs turn into stair-like integer functions, slithering towards Marad’s mahogany, aging desk. 

Marad stands up, and begins power walking towards Darl, crushing the approaching functions with his bare feet. He picks Darl up, and throws him into a wall.

Darl wakes up in a classroom filled with conniving students placating the teacher. They ask for the dates of historical events, hoping to appear inquisitive, as if they are taking notes. He stares past them, looking at Darl. 

“Would you like to answer them, Mr. Young?” 

Darl stands up to answer. 

“Sarah, 1789. Margaret, 1803. And Johnny, between 30 and 36 AD.” 

Darl sits down. And Marad turns away. 

Can a man get any peace these days? Uh huh. I need to…Jesus Christ, I need to… Wawhoa— Sarah looks cute today. Four words, performing the function of six– excellent. English should be rid of ‘to be’ anyway. Looks like ‘look’ the verb is leading the revol—Darl, don’t gloss over that objectifi— You’re right, I’m in control. No you are not. Yjah! Relax so I don’t go NUTSssss…….. 

Darl’s head hits the desk with so much force that the wood, as if karate chopped, splits in half. Without a desk, Darl falls forward onto the gray classroom carpet, and passes out. Everyone witnesses this, and those sitting nearby lean down and shake his shoulders, attempting to rouse him from his slumber. 

Darl returns to the empty classroom, sitting near the back. Marad is there, sitting at his desk, near the door. He looks up. 

“Mr. Young. You are blind. Would you like to see?” 

Darl stares at the wall. 

“Mr. Young. Answer.” 

The instant Darl thinks it, it exits his mouth: 


A pack of geriatric female dog-walkers observe EMTs leaving New Hope High School, pushing a stretcher. The pack continues their inexorable stroll without a word. 

Meanwhile, Darl dives out of an airplane. Falling through the sky, Marad follows him. Marad grabs onto Darl’s limp body and whispers into his ear: 

“You know our destination.” 

Darl, yawning, nods. 

He yawns again, and the two hit the dirt. Their impact rips the Earth in half, and they continue to fall, at a constantly increasing acceleration. After a few minutes of falling between the two hemispheric chunks, they reach the core of the Earth. There is nothing there. So they keep falling, but slower, as there is more Earth pulling them than pushing them forward. Eventually they reach the other side of the Earth, immediately after which they fall back down to the other side. For days, they oscillate between their entry and exit points, up and down, up and down, and after what feels like forever— due to the average speed of their motion, the two jump backwards in time.

Darl lies in a hospital bed, hooked up to a heart monitor. His pulse accelerates. Ba-bump, ba-bump, ba-bump. Up and down, up and down, up and down. 

The date is 50,000 BCE. The Earth is resealed. Darl and Marad are in the cradle of humankind, southeast Africa, and they witness a man carving up another man with his tools. “Mr. Young. Do you know what separates you from this man? It isn’t scientific or mathematical. It’s historic. It’s socioeconomic, political, and cultural. Without this understanding, you two are the same, are you not?” 

Darl hyperventilates, and, suddenly remembering the existence of air, realizes that the physics behind his time travel does not compute, as he did not account for air resistance, and since he did not account for air resistance, instead of oscillating between his entry point and his exit point forever, maintaining such an average speed that would cause him to travel back in time, he would have actually stopped oscillating after a few hours, stabilizing his position at the core of the Earth, and POOF— he’s there, at the center of the Earth, breathing the air. 

Surrounded by his family and friends, Darl flatlines. The doctor writes on the death certificate: “asphyxiation by intoxication” and answers a text “Not today.”