It was a nondescript fall day. Walking down the street, I glance over my shoulder to the right. A flash of movement reveals itself as a squirrel darting up a nearby tree. Suddenly both the squirrel and tree break up into a series of black and white lines that are then replaced with an error message, something about too many requests, whatever that means.
Wait, what? The message also flickers in and out of being, as if the content is still trying to update. I stop and stare at the squirrel-tree-error glitch. As I focus all of my attention on it, my reality buzzes back into full consciousness. The squirrel continues its ascent and poises itself in the crook of a branch, chirp-barking at me in a shrill throaty rhythm from above.
Confused and not knowing what else to do, I continue walking. A house to my left glitches in and out, but only while at the periphery of my awareness, and then a parked car to my right, a little closer in this time. Next, a car stopped at a stop sign. The world all around me begins to flicker as if it just doesn’t have the bandwidth or some unseen computer program driving this reality is recalculating somewhere in space and time.
What in Hell is happening? I stop walking and try to get my bearings. I shut my eyes. I rub my temples. I try to wish it all away. Am I dreaming? Is this some sort of nightmarish conjuring wrought by eating tacos too close to bedtime or something? I can feel the sun streaking across my face. Behind the fleshy warmth of my closed eyelids, everything seems still. All seems… normal.
Refreshed and slightly hopeful, I open my eyes again to the world but it continues to break up. My surroundings are rife with error messages now. Nearly everything is affected. The world around me flickers into and out of being. Houses, cars, trees, grass, sidewalk… nothing remains static as all come and go from my awareness. Even the sky dissipates to an empty hole. Not the vacuum of space but a cloudless, colorless void awaiting some kind of a refresh.
My heart races in my chest as I gasp for air. I glance at my hand as it itself begins to fade in and out of being. Terrified, I consider running. But with the world bouncing to errors all around me, I cannot get my bearings or maintain my balance. I feel nauseous and drained. Everything begins spiraling all around me. I fall to the ground in slow motion and am engulfed by