Full disclosure: there is no actual airplane collision anywhere in this story.
The faint light of dawn fell upon the sleeping figure in the small, cluttered bedroom. Moderate snoring could be heard as the figure began to stir. The comforter and pillow moved in tandem with the unseen sleeper.
This was no ordinary woman, and yet she was just as ordinary as anyone other woman. She came to be though what could only be called a cosmic glitch, beginning her existence as an invisible story character in the imagination of a fiction writer. Through means not known to either the writer or the woman, she was brought into reality, just as invisible as she had been in the writer’s stories. Aside from her invisibility, though, she was just like any other woman, with likes and dislikes, needs and desires, goals and dreams. Unfortunately, one of the goals and dreams of the writer who conceived her would turn this day upside down.
An empty-looking satin sleeve shot out from under the covers to slap at the clock when the alarm went off at 8am, unintentionally sweeping the clock off the bedside table. *Time for a new one, anyway,* she thought as she rose from the bed. She normally didn’t bother with an alarm clock, since her friend, writer, and “creator” was the one whose daily routine was governed by it. His movements usually woke her up without the noisy help of an alarm. When he went
away on vacation, however, she opted to stay behind, using his clock so that she would be able to get up at a reasonable hour. It had seen years of use, though, so it was no big loss when it clattered to the floor in pieces.
The covers threw themselves from the bed as the “empty” satin pajamas righted themselves, the ends of the sleeves waving themselves in front of the empty collar as the unseen wearer rubbed her eyes. She got up, slipped her feet into her slippers, and stumbled across the floor.
When the walking pajamas reached the bathroom door, the nearer sleeve reached for the doorknob but, before she touched it, the door swung open of its own accord. She sighed. This was gonna be one of those days.
Once she got into the bathroom, her pajamas lost their shape as she slipped them off and allowed them to drop to the floor. As soon as she did, though, an unseen finger tapped her on the shoulder. She sighed again and turned around, to see her pajamas lift themselves from the floor, fold themselves, and lay themselves across the cast-iron radiator. “Why weren’t you all around last winter?” she asked. “I could have had nice warm pajamas waiting for me every night.”
She stepped into the shower, which immediately turned itself on, outlining her formerly-invisible form. As the shower door slid closed behind her, she reached for her washcloth, only to see the bar of soap float into the shower stream. She knew what that meant, though she wasn’t up to it this time.
“I’d really rather do this myself, if you all don’t mind,” she said out loud, to no avail. Unseen but plainly feminine hands began spreading soap all over her water-outlined form. She stepped away from the water and sighed again. Why, oh why, did Bryan have to write about invisible hands when he knew she had been visiting Subreality? Why didn’t it occur to him that they might follow her back into his world?
She braced herself, expecting the hands to linger over her more sensitive areas, but this time they were all business. That was a relief, since more often than not she wound up having to let them play with her for awhile.
Once the shower was finished, she reached to turn off the water, only to see the knobs turn by themselves. The shower door slid open, and a towel floated in space, waiting to dry her off.
In resignation she stepped out, as the towel floated over to her and began drying her off, returning her to total invisibility as it did so. While she was being dried, she couldn’t help musing about her intermittent visitors. For some reason they didn’t bother much with Bryan lately, at least not that she knew about. She made a mental note to ask him about it when he returned home. They only seemed to make themselves known to her when he wasn’t around, so that when she complained about how he created the “situation” he thought she was only complaining about his choice of subjects to write about.
Their apparent mutability also intrigued her. When they washed her in the shower, they were apparently solid but invisible hands, though water outlined only her invisible body. Yet the drying didn’t offer evidence of any hands at all; it felt like the towel was drying her off of its own accord.
Once dry, she picked up her warm, folded pajamas from the radiator and headed back to her bedroom, where the task of deciding what to wear awaited her. If this had been summertime, it wouldn’t even be an issue; she could just slip on a pair of sneakers or comfortable shoes and be set. She especially liked walking around in public in just pants and shoes, leaving her breasts free to be caressed by the wind. Sometimes she would walk around outside in just her underwear. In winter, though, dressing was a whole different issue.
If she were merely invisible, clothing would automatically give her away. But thanks to Bryan and his vivid imagination, she was blessed with the ability to cloak anything she was in direct contact with, so she could wear clothing and remain undetectable if she so chose. Winter clothing, though, especially outerwear, tended to be noisy, what with all the extra layers rubbing against one another as she moved. The challenge for her was to find something that was comfortable and warm enough to lessen the need for a jacket or coat.
She stood at the closet, no closer to knowing what she would wear than when she was sleeping, when she hit upon an idea. Addressing her unseen visitors, she said, “You all could make yourselves useful and help me figure out what to wear. Show me what some of this stuff would look like on me.” *Not that anyone would necessarily see it,* she mentally added.
She didn’t really need the help, she just wanted to put the visitors to work in exchange for what she knew would come later. She didn’t need help seeing what clothes would look like on her because she was also gifted with the ability to see herself as others would see her if she were visible to them. So she always knew if her hair needed to be fixed, or if her collar was turned up, or whatever. She figured this made up for the fact that she was invisible to almost everyone else and she didn’t register in mirrors, though she could see herself just fine.