The smoke that flooded his mouth and spilled down his throat tasted the way a high school chemistry lab smells. Next to him, he felt Glory’s warmth and the nearness of her hand outstretched to catch the long glass pipe when it dropped out of his hand. Misha was suddenly afraid: You’re one of the first dozen people to take XDMT, what if …?
He opened his eyes. The bedroom wiggled around him as if badly rendered, the edges of every object shivering with colors that did not belong. He glanced at her. Waves of blue energy rippled from her skin as if trying to escape. She smiled and he lit the torch again, inhaled, and closed his eyes.
Misha fell through a dozen layers of color. He didn’t think his heart was beating anymore. He was sure he wasn’t breathing. But he fell calmly, stunned by the rippling tessellation of oranges and reds. He fell through the last layer and into a dim tunnel. Underground? He had no sense of his body at all, just motion, traveling through passageways that were more the suggestion of a place–slick metal, dank stone, something like a subway tunnel–than the actual experience of it.
He realized he could hear chattering, like hundreds of high-pitched voices speaking too quickly to understand. Misha traveled. He came to rest in a large open chamber. Other entities were around him, speaking in their alien squeals. He felt as if they all turned as one being to look upon him and then the wall opened up and he was sucked into space.
Misha floated. How long? He wondered. Minutes? Hours? How long since I left? That wasn’t exactly right, he knew. He hadn’t left at all, somehow. Then: I’m not alone.