The fall was simple. What it created was anything but.
Stepping just the wrong way on a slick tile floor while getting out of the shower could happen to anyone. Most people would right themselves or grab something before they fell, and that would be the end of it. Ryuhei wasn’t as successful as most people.
The fall was perfect. Just the right angle so that the back of his skull struck the edge of the tub. The noise brought his wife into the room, and when he tried to stop her screaming, he noticed two things: he could not feel anything, whether pain or his fingers following his orders to caress her cheek; and he could perceive all that was happening around him even with his eyes closed and his ears nonfunctional. With his body closed to him, everything else was open.
At the hospital Ryuhei’s parts were subjected to any number of tests and scans and analyses, but whenever the doctors would explain to his family what the results were, past their reports of his steady pulse he would find himself distracted by the interplay of dust particles in the intensive care unit’s fluorescent light.
He began to follow the beautiful light along its path, swimming up the electrical streams of the wires that washed energy into the hospital, till he had gone all the way to their sources in power plants and solar collectors. There he would grow bored, so he would ride gamma rays out of the atmosphere till he was far enough out to watch the heartbeat of the sun’s radiation pumping life into the veins of the solar system.
Of course then he wanted to go farther, and he began skipping along radio waves past the planets and satellites he had learned to name in a school that seemed so distant.
Till he felt a tug, then a jerk backwards. Ryuhei fell, helpless, back millions of miles till he landed in a pile of flesh that he no longer recognized. Ryuhei wanted to cry when the discordant note of an ugly machine kept him from hearing the songs of the stars. And then he could hear nothing at all.