When Newton Quit

When Newton Quit

A Story by R J Fuller
"

How disrupted would our life have to be for us to truly not be able to adjust in some manner or fashion?

"
   

Martequis opened his eyes, but only one eye had any visibility. The other eye seemed to be pressed into a flat surface of some sorts. Martequis blinked. It really didn't matter. The eye that could see was viewing nothing more than fabric. He recognized the material from the blanket on his bed. What was this hard, flat surface he was on? He decided to try to move his hands. His left hand seemed to be pinned, under what, he couldn't say. It seemed to be holding him by his shoulders as well. He couldn't move his torso at all. Something was pressing against the side of his head as well. He must have fallen out of bed. He tried moving his right hand. It seemed to be clear of any obstructions. He slid his right hand across the surface he was confined on. Felt familiar. He brought his hand up to his face, to remove the blanket covering his vision. Upon doing so, he was able to see disarray. He recognized objects in his room, but they were in shambles. Okay, he's still in his room, but he has to remove whatever this is that is on top of him and sort of what's happening. 

Martequis pushed with all his might and, surprisingly, the debris on top of him moved quite easily. As he pressed more in the guise of doing a push-up, he began to tell what it was that was on top of him. It was his mattress. He must have definitely fallen out of bed, he decided. He shoved more, sending mattress and bedframe falling all about him. Now he could see where he was. 

His room was sideways. He was standing on the wall. He made his way across everything as it had all toppled in the new direction and looked for some hint as to what had happened. 

Did the building fall over?

Martequis looked at the window, now situated a bit too far out of his reach. He grabbed a chair and placed it beneath the window so he could climb up and view outside. As he stood on his tiptoes to see events occuring beyond, he was at first a bit confused to see the same view as the day before; same buildings all the way about, but now he was having to view them sideways. But he continued to observe and now he saw disarray through one window, then another. A strained observation saw people climbing on the fire escape, but in the same predicament he was in. Then he heard the glass shatter and saw a pair of legs tumble through, swing wildly, then the entire person dropped, striking the building below. Or was it beside? The fellow hit pretty hard, so Martequis decided he'd seen all he cared to see. He climbed down off the chair and looked to the bedroom door. 

Fortunately, the bedroom door was now a gap opening toward the bottom of where Martequis stood, so he shoved everything out of the way and peered through, as his fears became a reality. There was now a drop from the door to the far wall now serving as the floor, with the door leading out of the apartment situated as some sort of trap door. Martequis looked at his options of what to strike if he jumped. If the couch had landed upright, he could have aimed for that. How much more of this jumping was he going to have to do? Maybe he could leap to the bookshelf and then tumble to the upside-down couch. He gave it a shot. 

That was painful. Martequis writhed on the wall-floor, having unsuccessfully come down upon the furniture in ways he had not anticipated. As he crawled over to the door to open it, he now realized there would be a drop in the hallway, plus it was now apparent electricity was out in the building. He opened the door. 

The hallway was like a black pit, and if he hoped to get out of the building, he would have to go this route. Screams from other rooms could be heard. Based on the arrangement of the building, Martequis comprehended there would be an even longer drop when he reached the corner in the hallway. He listened to even more cries, then looked back up to his bedroom door, high above his head. Maybe he should have tried climbing up to that window and getting out, but once outside, the window would be on the side and he'd have to climb up, or he'd plunge like that other fellow did. 

He made his way to the closet, which was near the door and began hauling out coats, shirts, belts, everything he could tie together to fasten into a rope. He was obviously going to do some mountain-climbing. The items in the closet were tipped all about, which fortunately for him, made the flashlight visible. He grabbed the light so he'd be sure to have it and began securing clothing into that rope. He ventured to the door once more and flashed the light into the dark. 

There was the old lady's door across the hall, now situated as the floor. He wondered how she would get out, deciding she better have stocked up on food, because she just couldn't be his priority right now. He managed to climb down to the hallway, then instinctively began making his way toward the elevator. Once he reached the corner, he now comprehended how he wasn't thinking clearly about the situation, as the elevator was now in the upper part of the hall, not the lower part. Fortunately, someone else had already been there and there was an actual rope going up the upright floor carpeting. Looking up, he could now see the rope was going out the window on the far wall, now situated on top. Martequis began climbing up the rope. 

"Help me!" a voice cried out. "Please, help me!" 

Martequis kept going. Anyone who needed assistance in this predicament was in no condition to help themselves and would only hinder him, as he was in no situation to carry people up and down this corridor. 

There was the elevator and someone had pried the door open. Martequis looked at the opening and thought it would now be a long tunnel going down to the lobby, but the front door is now aiming toward the, uh . . . ?

Martequis decided he'd had enough of trying to sort out that direction and continued on up toward the window. It seemed to be like climbing up a manhole, so at least he'd be on a level surface. At last, he reached the opening and struggled out. He collapsed on the side of the building and gasped from exhaustion. He looked up to see the building across the street, with other variations of ropes and even a chair in a harness that was lowering people down from the upper building. 

People were moving all about the long, brick facet of the building. some were climbing up or down to the surrounding buildings. The rope Martequis had climbed he saw was actually tied to a flag pole. Well, he thought, that was convenient. 

A building or two had actually broken and collapsed into the structure beneath it, in some instances, doing a bit of a domino effect. People were crawling about in the rubble, almost to the point of being rescued, then the last structure gives way and continues the cycle. 

Martequis continued walking down the building's exterior, essentially making his way to the road. He looked up at the building above and deduced that one could go any moment. If he honestly saw somebody he knew, he didn't stop. Whatever had happened, he was only concerned with himself. 

Once at the pavement, he found a crowd of people, all clamboring to enter what was perceived to be the safest environment around; the sewer. Men, women, children, all clmbing up into the opened manhole. He looked across the way to see other people doing the same thing. A woman got to close to the edge of the building and slipped. She tumbled off the corner and screamed. All Martequis could do was step to the edge of his own building and watch as she plummeted. She finally stopped on a dwelling about six blocks away, so that didn't do her any good. 

A gas line must have exploded on another complex. The place almost went out like a missile, then came down upon the neighbor below and anyone who was unfortunate enough to be in the open at that time. Once again, the domino effect was in play. 

Martequis stood somewhat precariously in line, waiting to enter the sewer and get out of this openness. He turned to the woman beside him.

"Does anybody know what happened?" he asked her. 

She looked at him like he was going to attack her. 

"No," she replied, then looked around. "That's why I don't know where Katie is."

He didn't know what she was talking about, but he didn't see how he could talk to her. It seemed to take forever to reach the rope ladder. He started making his way up and as he reached halfway, he once again just envisioned the familiarity of the road before him. The paved surface he drove over on occassion. He stopped for a split second and looked toward the parking lot. No automobiles were present. In fact, he didn't see any vehicles of any kind. 

It was at that moment his apartment building started giving way. He listened to the brick and foundation begin to creek and crumble, throwing out dust. People were screaming as they tried to reach the rope ladder. Martequis realized too many people could break the ladder, so he began trying to hurry those above him into the sewer. As the building quaked, the road likewise seemed to shake and tremble. Martequis didn't know if it was possible for any of the road to give way with the building, but it seemed likely. 

A man was yelling for Martequis to hurry, as were others on the ladder beneath him. Martequis tried saying he could only move as fast as the others above him. The tenement all but seemed to twist as it was getting ready to take the plunge. It seemed to twist to one side and upon doing so, anybody who was still standing on that brick walkway was tossed over the edge, unless they were secured in some manner, but soon, not even that would matter. As the apartment complex seemed to twist and groan, ripping sidewalk and street apart along with it, bricks breaking apart and unfortunates being hurled to whatever waited for them below, it gradually crumbled all the way through the first floor, collapsing to the next address, which was another apartment complex. Martequis climbed into the man hole and managed to look out best he could as the next building below likeway gave way. Water lines broke and the water spewed out and seemed to shower anything that might be below it. 

Martequis stood in the sewer and was once again surrounded by the walking wounded or just plain weary. He began making his way through the tunnels and fortunately, he had a flashlight, as well as he still had his clothes rope. He clicked on the flashlight to see around him. 

"Hey!" a voice called out. "Shine that light over here."

Martequis did as instructed to see a group of about eight people huddled in a makeshift conference. 

"How's it going, man? I'm Tim, this is Alex, that's . . . "

"Nice to meet you all," Martequis interrupted. "So does anybody know what happened out there?"

Tim looked at Martequis and stood from where he had been reclining. 

"End of the world, man," Tim said. "Doomsday. The gravity is all gone. We're like Christopher Columbus now, falling off the side of the earth."

"What caused it?" Martequis asked. 

"Don't know," Tim answered. "All we got is a radio giving out a bit of half-speculated information. No help at all. Just everybody's in the same boat, man." 

Martequis looked around in the hot, stifling cavern. 

"Look," he said, "I need some air. Is there an . . . opening or something?"

"Tell ya for your flashlight," Tim said. 

Martequis tossed it to him.  

"Follow down that way a bit. You'll see the light above you, but there's an opening below you as well. People been falling down there enough already. We got a rope fastened up for anyone wanting to climb out. Just be careful."

Martequis departed from Tim and his group. He didn't want to be around them. Sure enough, there was the spotlight of the open pipeline, now shining from above. No longer having his flashlight, he was cautious of the opening. He comprehended how people managed to fall down it. It was difficult to see if you weren't careful. 

He seized the rope and began hauling himself up. He was certain he heard someone who had fallen down the opposite end calling for help. He continued climbing the rope to reach whatever it was that was creating the daylight, if the world was no longer restricted by gravity. 

He was growing weary of this whole excursion and had nothing to eat. Finally he climbed out the large pipe opening and sprawled on the grassy hillside. People were there and looked at him as tho they envied him being so happy, but he didn't care. he made his way further inward on the hill for protection of what may fall and to prevent any accidental stumbles taking him down as well.

Martequis rested in the cradle of grass, unaffected by everything taking place. He saw where others were making their ways, one way or another, into trees. this seemed about the best option for who they would become, until something more tangible was presented. For now, he was content on this grassy plateau. This would be his new home, he decided. He still had his makeshift rope, and that tree growing above his reclining head would serve him nicely. His apartment and all documents of his existence had tumbled with the building, along with everything he possessed. He wondered about water, but he'd just have to sort that out later. He didn't know how anything was functioning now. 

What on earth were the oceans doing? 

A small bird fluttered near and landed on the ground near him. Martequis watched the animal and rested in the grass. The bird did a few hops, twitched its head, then flew off. 

Some things will always manage to stay the same, no matter what. 

© 2021 R J Fuller


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Added on February 12, 2021
Last Updated on February 12, 2021
Tags: destruction, chaos, doomsday, gravity, existence, endurance