The Glimpse of Falcon Heavy

Submitted into Contest #156 in response to: Write a story where a character is experiencing parallel realities.... view prompt


Fiction Speculative Thriller

This story contains themes or mentions of mental health issues.

On February 6th, 2018 Falcon Heavy launched into the galaxy. I’ve waited weeks to tell my story; to try and understand what exactly happened that day.

I wasn’t 3 miles from the launch, I wasn’t even 50 miles away. I was over 100 miles down the coast when Falcon Heavy launched. It was by pure coincidence that I even saw it, my wife wanted to go to the beach and get some sun.

We parked our car in the unusually full parking lot. Making our way up to the beach over the sandy hill, we noticed something peculiar. There were a bunch of, fully clothed, sixty plus year old’s staring at the clear blue sky. Odd, but in Florida, there’s a reason you always see news articles starting with “FLORIDA MAN…”.

As we came over the hill and onto the main beach area, there were about a hundred more people, staring at the sky to the north of us. I looked at my wife, both of us shared a confused look but like I said, “Florida man”.

We settled onto the warm sand out of people's sight the best we could. She adjusted around on the sloping sand trying her best to get maximum sun exposure for that great burnt look she gets every time we come. I sat on my phone, trying to understand what it was everyone around was blindly staring at.

I gazed around at the mass of people on the beach and saw cameras, binoculars, and many people whose skin was white enough to have never seen the Florida sun.

"Hey honey, wasn’t your grandma telling us about some rocket launch today?"

"Yeah, I think so? Didn’t that already happen?" She said as she squirmed around trying to readjust her sunlight distribution.

I did a quick google search and it just so has it that the mighty Elon Musk was launching his new spaceship. I did a quick read-up on the whole event and saw it was launching from Kennedy Space Center, over 100 miles north of us.

How on Earth were all these people expecting to see anything from this far away? I guess it’s better than driving two hours away for a 30-second event.

"No, actually it should be happening any minute now. I guess we should stare off into the sky like everyone else."

We waited, eyes becoming tired from looking into an endless blue sky. Not sure what I was looking for, I hoped that a cheer from the crowd would signal a successful launch.

A plume of smoke shot up into the sky, atop the smoke was a bright flame going up and up. People clapped and cheered. I stared, stunned in pure disbelief that something so far away was visible this far out. I couldn’t make the outline of it, only the smoke trail it was leaving, and the direction it was headed.

A bright flash followed by black smoke came, shortly after it launched. Bits of flame fell off in all directions landing in the ocean below. It failed, it exploded right in front of my eyes, yet everyone was still cheering. I looked around, holding in my gasps. Everyone seemed to be looking farther up in the sky.

"Honey! Did you see that?" I said in a loud whisper.

"Yeah, and it’s still going! Just a little speck in the sky but it is there." She replied without taking her eyes off the sky, her gaze slowly moving farther up into the sky.

What does she mean it’s still going? Did she not see it explode? How could she not, it happened maybe 10 seconds after it launched. I know what I saw, but no one else around me, including my wife, saw the same thing I did.

I pulled my phone out of my sandy pocket and took the best photo I could. I looked at the photo, but all that was there was a clear blue sky with a spread-out trail of white smoke in the distance. When I looked up, black smoke remained, hanging in the sky as a reminder of what happened.

I watched as all the people who came only for the launch, all seemed pleased with what they witnessed, and their photos went back to their cars and left to go wherever it was they needed to be. I couldn’t wrap my head around what was happening, maybe I just needed a good night’s sleep.

I woke up in the middle of the night in a pool of sweat. My dreams replayed the event on an endless loop, I couldn’t shake the image from my mind.

After multiple failed attempts of trying to fall back asleep, I decided this had to mean something. A quick Google search didn’t yield many answers. All the reports praised Elon for his great success and how this would change the space industry forever.

I widened my search outside of the day’s events.

After two hours of visiting many dead ends, I think I found an answer. 'A Glimpse into an Alternative Reality' is what they called it.

Apparently, during great historic events, the power it has to change history is enough to break a hole through into another reality. This leak is just small and just narrow enough for one single person to witness. The person sees the event taking place as it would have unfolded in an alternative reality.

So, this historical event in space travel that I only happened to see because my lovely wife wanted to work on her tan, lead to an event from another reality being shown only to me.

I went on for a few days as normal. Work was the same, traffic was still insanely horrible, and my life for the most part hadn’t changed. It wasn’t until the weekend after the launch that I started to get concerned.

We went out on the town for dinner at some fancy restaurant that gave us much too little food for how much we paid. It was our anniversary and we thought it would be fun to dress up and go out somewhere we could normally never afford. The entire block walk back to the car, we laughed about how ridiculous it is that people enjoy that restaurant when I heard a scream.

As I peered around the corner into the dimly light alley, blood was pooling beneath the feet of the woman whose scream had now faded. A man (I assume) was standing in front of her, his fist clenched into her stomach. As her body became limp against the wall, the force of the knife he plunged into her kept her mostly upright. He seemed satisfied with his actions and pulled the blade from her torso watching every millimeter tear back out of the wound created.

I could feel my heart pounding out of my rib cage. I fell back onto the main road, and vomit raced up my throat and onto the street.

"What the hell? Are you okay? The food wasn’t that bad." My wife said as she rubbed my back.

I couldn’t fathom responding with anything more than a slight head nod towards the alley. She turned to talk and to my surprise did not follow suit in the reaction I had.

"I’m not sure what I am supposed to be looking at honey. It’s not something I would do, but hey some people get their rocks off being watched." she cackled.

I managed to turn my head around, seeing only the woman’s body lying in her own blood. What was happening, why could she not see this. I composed myself and we made our way home.

I was willing to accept that my glimpse into an alternate reality with Falcon Heavy, that was special, but this woman getting stabbed in a dark alley on a Friday night is another thing. How is this a major historical event, and what were the chances of me being the witness to two glimpses in one week.

I returned to my research on the glimpse and what I found was not what I was hoping for.

According to other people 'blessed' with the gift of a glimpse, it doesn’t end at the first glimpse.

It continues to open the alternative reality. Becoming increasingly frequent as time goes on. Seeing what could happen in another dimension until the person affected sees nothing but the alternative reality from their first glimpse.

It’s been three weeks since Falcon Heavy, and it isn’t getting any better. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do now, or if it will ever go away. I have no one to talk to about what is going on, so I am sharing my story here, hoping for help.

July 22, 2022 15:26

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Chris Morris
12:51 Jul 30, 2022

I like the premise of this story a lot; it reminds me of The Twilight Zone. A story like this would have made a great episode of that show. However, I think your character could have been a bit more mystified about it all. He doesn’t appear to be too shaken, and he finds out about the phenomenon of alternative realities through an article he finds on Google. It might have been more suspenseful if he was questioning things more, maybe thinking he’d started going insane. I think I would have liked this story to slow down just a touch too, as...


Arthur Ni
14:21 Jul 30, 2022

Thank you for the helpful feedback and kind words! Glad you enjoyed it overall.


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Michał Przywara
21:49 Aug 01, 2022

This is a cool and spooky premise for a story, especially how the original historic event is only the beginning of a process that keeps getting worse. I'm left with many questions! When he reaches the final state and can only see the alternate reality, has he actually gone there, or is he merely blind to his own reality? (And presumably the people around him, like his wife, lose the ability to communicate with him.) Who's writing these articles about the phenomenon? I'm picturing a group of cross-reality "survivors" banding together on the...


Arthur Ni
01:53 Aug 03, 2022

Hi Michal, Thank you for the kind words. Obviously, there is a lot let up to speculation by the reader and I like to think that is part of the fun of this story. In my mind, he is seeing into an alternate reality, but not physically there, so those around him wonder what is going on with him. In a larger view of things, I too think there is a support group of sorts for others experiencing what he is and that definitely could lead to a larger story! -Arthur


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