Far out on the outskirts of the ever-expanding universe snoozes a kitten happily with his belly facing up. He lies on an old discarded carpet that somehow manages to operate with the earthly physics of sufficient gravity and adequate oxygen supply, following the creature around underfoot like an encompassing bubble or shadow that does not know what to do with itself.
How the kitten resides here in this void of space and feels comfortable enough to do so, let alone sleep vulnerably with his underside exposed at that, is a mystery only known to the kitten himself and the Time Technicalities Team. They may have some complaints about this chapter, but this part is not about them.
Tiny fireworks crackle in the kitten’s dreams, fizzing and popping with a melodious tinkling effect, exploding into beautiful bursts of blue and yellow. Looking closely, a fish or two pops out of the lights.
The kitten is safe, happy, and cozy.
He has the luxury of a good night’s sleep and a lack of worries about the world.
Never mind that the universe is falling apart around him, unravelling at the seams.
It all started with a crack, a disruption in the ultimate “should have’s” in one of the galaxies. What “should have” happened most certainly did not, and a “should not have” got thrown into the mix instead.
Elizabeth is the one to blame, though she does not yet realize the role she plays in all of this.
Right above the kitten’s perfectly naïve little head, one of the threads of the fabric of reality starts to come undone. It wriggles and writhes out of its perfectly interwoven place in all of existence and plops out limply to hang like a string dangling invitingly close above the kitten.
The kitten senses this movement, his ears perking up and his whiskers tingling. Slowly opening an eye, he catches sight of the string. Excitement courses through him and he jumps out of his slumber.
The carpet is startled, but clings steadfast to the kitten’s paws.
Meowling with an urgent curiosity, the kitten delicately swipes at the thread as he precariously stands on his hind legs. The carpet strains to protect him in this process.
With each successful bat at the string, it draws closer to the kitten, loosening from its hold up in the ultimate fabric. One particular swipe gets the his claws on one paw stuck in the string. In a wide-eyed panic, the kitten wildly attacks at and pulls back from the evil thread that caught him. This renewed force results in a ripping sound, the unfortunate formation of a tear. Cold air blows out of this newly formed yet still tiny hole, but beyond the fabric there is seemingly nothing save for the distant sounds of television static, or perhaps the whooshing of a snowboarder. Perhaps it is just tinnitus, the aftereffect of having literally damaged the structural integrity of time and space.
The kitten frees his paw and hisses at the string. He stomps off to find a new place for a nap with the carpet beneath him dipping and diving frantically to accommodate his every step, leaving the tear there to ominously ponder what its next move shall be and what the ramifications ought to be for everyone else.
The tear is the beginning of the bout of weeping from the universe that will come to rain down on everything everyone knows.