It began innocuously enough. When Ray Thompson put his hand down, it touched the desk, not the paper that was in between. Ray didn’t notice the difference.
Over the next several days, the problem grew worse. Ray remained unaware until he tried to pick up a pencil and it went right through his fingers.
He turned his attention from his computer screen and looked down. Still thinking that he’d missed on the first try, Ray attempted to grasp the pencil again. He watched in horror as it phased through his flesh. He grabbed the arms of his chair to steady himself and found that his hand half-disappeared into the cushioned support.
Ray sat very still for a long time, his mind racing through ways to clarify the issue. He chose to act on the best idea he could come up with. He ran up the stairs, painfully aware that his feet sunk ankle-deep into every step.
He reached the bathroom, and clumsily retrieved the scale from the cupboard underneath the sink. He placed it in the middle of the floor, and rested his whole weight on it. It displayed a number that was twenty-five percent less than it should have been.
He returned to his computer and, with great effort, searched for other people who might have experienced similar conditions. There was only one result.
Exactly six months earlier, a nineteen-year-old girl named Laney Yarrow had been in her local paper with an incredible story about how she was “disintegrating”. The page from her diary was published on page six and had only been printed after Laney had gone missing.
Ray found the paper’s phone number and called the writer.
“Ruth Carver, Midland Daily Centennial,” a woman answered.
“My name is Ray Thompson,” said Ray immediately. “I know what happened to Laney.”