Goodbye, Michael Goddard

They found a pair of shoes floating in space yesterday. A pair of worn, red, size ten and a half Adidas with little doodles of pokémon all over the sides. I know this because the men working at whatever space station they were seen outside of decided it would be a great idea to go out and retrieve them. They were all endangered doing a task this stupid but nobody was lost and no equipment was damaged so whatever, I guess. There was this whole thing on every news station about it. They belonged to a student of mine named Michael Goddard.

He’d been acting strange for the past few months. For the first week he would disappear for a few hours during classes and limp out from the woods behind the school with disheveled hair, no breath in his lungs, and a wicked grin on his face. We all thought he was on drugs or something; he denied this claim but the burst blood vessels in his eyes told a different story.

The next week he was out of school for a day and came back with a twisted ankle. He was reluctant to say what happened but eventually stated that he “fell out of a tree,” which was impossible because, according to his mother, it happened late in the day when he was at home and the only trees around his house were evergreens, which are practically unclimbable. His mother was too worried about his health to care how it happened and his father just gave a shrug with his whole, ‘boys will be boys,’ sit-on-the-sidelines, do-nothing, worthless bullshit attitude. But I guess my issues with Mr. Goddard aren’t really appropriate right now. I apologize.

Anyway, over the next few weeks, small craters appeared in various places around our town and the surrounding counties, always well within the borders of woods or out in fields. Like little explosions. Some suspected it was vandalization by teenagers but the locations were too remote and there was no evidence of bombs or anything. Nobody could explain it.

For the final month Michael was still here he got more and more confident, sometimes aggressively so. He joined the track team and broke the school’s record time for the 500 meter his second day. And when he stood up to one of the football team’s linebackers for harassing one of his friends in the drama club, like seriously got in his face, nose to nose, the jocks stopped giving him shit. Apparently he even asked out that girl he’d been staring at in one of my classes all year. She turned him down but at least he gave it a shot. That’s more than anyone could have said about him before.

It didn’t really matter though because the next day he disappeared.

A state-wide search for him turned up with nothing for the first day. One of those craters was in his backyard the morning he was discovered missing and some people thought he ‘blew up’ or something but there was still no evidence of explosives, let alone body or clothing. Some said kidnapping. Some said aliens. His father said runaway and I suppose I agreed with him at the time. It was the only thing we could agree on. Nobody really wanted to live in this town.

Another crater appeared in the backyard the night before a team of investigators came to the house to search his room for some evidence of kidnapping or a reason why he might have run off. Nothing was taken except a winter jacket and his father’s old snowboarding goggles. There was also a handwritten letter on his bed, recently made, that hadn’t been there the prior day.

Friends, family, or who(m)ever finds this,

I have discovered how to fly. It is like everything you could have imagined, but even better. I couldn’t do it for very long at first but now I’m pretty good at it. I can fly for days and I don’t even mind if I get hungry anymore.
You’re probably wondering how I did it and I could maybe tell you but I’ve chosen to withhold that information. But I will tell you that you have to run a lot. And then you jump. You keep feeling that jump in your legs the whole time. Then the jump moves up to your butt and abs. After awhile you can feel the jump in your arms and shoulders before it moves up to your neck and finally that jump gets behind your eyes and scrambles your vision and you have to land because, God, that’s just way too much.
Imagine you are a giant sentient star, the largest star in the universe, and you have never seen a shadow. Everything in sight is illuminated, reflecting your auroral blaze back at you. The occasional passing celestial body describes the appearance of shadows but the whole idea still entirely eludes you. Then a massive star twenty times your size slides through space in your vicinity, lighting up a planet in orbit between the two of you and his overpowering brilliance lights it up on his side and you, with your inferior light, are finally exposed to the shadows. You see them dancing and flickering across every mountain and valley and sea and city and plain. This is what flying is like.

And this is why I have to go.

Michael Goddard

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