November Challenge: Day 10

Man I’m tired. Today’s post is gonna be short. I’ve worked almost 18 hours in seasonal retail. In a toy store. It’s been pretty exhausting.

I don’t think I’m going to continue this story. It started as a good idea: a group of travelers from a distant dimension are jumping from one dimension to another trying to find a suitable world to settle down. Each world they visit is experiencing a different appocalypse. One world is breaking apart from within, another is taken over by robots, another zombies, another aliens, another saw the polar ice caps melt and drown the world, etc… And all the while they are being chased by the thing that killed their own world, an eldritch thing from outside of space that they let in when they dabbled with technology that let them bridge the gap between dimensions. Eventually they must reconcile the fact that any world they travel too will experience the same death as their own, since they have to break the barriers of reality to travel dimensions.

I just…don’t like it. I either need to start over completely or just abandon it. I can’t decide. This is the second time I’ve tried to start it, so we’ll see. Try to enjoy it never-the-less.

 

Writing Challenge: Day 10 (Untitled)
By E. W. Morrow
Word Count: 2005

The planet was dying. On its last day it had seen many strange, even unique, things. Many of these things had been sudden, spectacular, and, for those unfortunates who experienced them first hand, fatal. It was small comfort that most of these events were as close to instantaneous as reliably possible in an uncaring universe.

The planet’s death was almost self inflicted. It gave great, heaving movements deep below its surface, literally tearing itself apart in its own death throes. The weakest sections were the first to fail. Between colossal tectonic plates under the planets crust some fault lines ground against one another while others exploded outwards. As the seams began to unravel the resulting seismic force shattered the tectonic plates themselves. Some buckled, others burst, as though the almighty hand of God had gripped it around the equator and squeezed. Half of the globe was plunged into a fiery abyss and the other half was shot into space. Billions died in a matter of hours, and billions more in the hours that followed. Some burned, and others suffocated on the fumes of the burning. At the very end the planet’s core lost all semblance of stability. As the magnetic field fluctuated and died a beautiful aurora danced across the whole of the planet’s skies for several minutes before the last of the atmosphere was burned away. It was unlikely that anyone was still alive to see it.

But the strangest and most unique thing the planet saw in on it’s last day, or indeed any of its days, happened an hour after the first tremors rocked its foundations. It lasted less than a few minutes.

It happened on a clear stretch of desert a few hundred miles from the nearest coast. The space around the unremarkable stretch of land bent and twisted. A casual observer may have thought that a heat illusion had distorted the air in front of them, but soon the air took on a bluish tint and it kept on bending and bending until it broke. A hole was torn open in the middle of nothing and a group of people tumbled through. Energy crackled along the hole’s edges as it hung in mid air, wavering slightly until the last person fell through. Then it pulsed once and shut in an orderly, almost mechanical, fashion. It would take some quite expensive equipment and quite a bit of knowledge of theoretical physics to tell that it hadn’t closed all the way. The space the hole had occupied was only partially returned to its original state. It was thinner now, weaker, and not entirely sealed. No one who had fallen through the hole spared this any thought, even those experienced enough to do so.

“Get up,” grumbled one of the group, a tall, skinny man with graying temples and a pair of thick, square rimmed glasses with one cracked lens. His clothes were dirty and ripped, but had once been a fine pair of slacks and a dress shirt. His necktie had been sheared off halfway down.

“Just give us a second,” called another one. It was another man, slightly paunchy but nearly a decade younger than the first. He was helping the others to their feet, spending a measurably longer time with one of the group.

“Does this look like a place you want to rest?” asked the first man angrily. He had not moved to help the others, but instead had scrambled to a silver box slightly larger than a suitcase that had tumbled through the hole first. He checked a the box’s status on a small led display and then punched a long string of buttons seemingly without thinking.

“Just one second!” screamed the second man. “We can’t keep on like this.”

“No. You can’t. I can. Anyone who doesn’t want to be left behind should keep up.”

“For fuck’s sake man, Alejandro is bleeding.”

“Leave him. He’s only slowing us down.”

With that the first man heaved the box off of the ground and began dragging it off in a random direction. The second man urged the others to their feet, not demanding that they move like the first, but imploring. Whenever someone began to sink back to the ground he was there, pulling them back up and whispering encouragement in their ears. Inch by inch the rag tag group managed to claw their way after the first man. He’d only managed to go around one hundred feet but even so the small silver box was whirring and beeping rapidly by the time the rest of the group had caught up.

“We can’t keep doing this,” said the portly man as he deposited one of the more exhausted of the group nearby. “And not just us.”

“I know,” said the first man shortly.

“A few more jumps and we won’t have enough power to initiate another. We need…”

“You think I don’t know that!?” screamed the first man. “You’re not the only one who knows what he’s doing, Jacob!”

“I’m the only one who’s acting like it!”

“I am doing what needs to be done!”
“Stop…” gasped a third member of the group. It was the small, brunette woman that had been the object of so much attention by the second of the arguing men, Jacob. “Just….stop….This isn’t….getting….us anywhere.”

The two men glanced at each other briefly before looking away. The skinny man in glasses went back to huddling over the silver box and muttering to himself while the second man slumped down where he stood. The rest of the group did much the same as the second man, though they attempted to angle their slump so that they fell closer to the box. The ground beneath their feet shuddered. A sound like the roll of thunder rumbled from the west. The newcomers were in no position to know that the sound was terrestrial, not heavenly, in nature. Ash fell from the sky like flakes of snow. The group coughed and sputtered more than they would have normally, even under the circumstances.

“Okay,” said the skinny man. “It’s ready. We should leave as soon as possible.”

“Why?” asked Alejandro, the bleeding man lying furthest from the silver box. He was dressed all in deep navy blue. He had a security badge clipped to the left breast pocket of his short sleeve collard shirt. His deep tan skin had gone pale.

“You feel like waiting?” asked the skinny man. “Feel like waiting for the ground to give way under your feet? Feel like taking that risk?”

“You can’t know that that will happen,” called one of group, a large woman, bordering on obese, with long tawny hair and blotched skin.

“Do you see what’s going on around you? This world is dying, just like the others. The tremors. The blackened skies. The elevated temperature. This world is experiencing a catastrophic seismic event. We don’t want to be here any longer than we have to.”

“That’s what you said about the last world,” said another member of the group. “And the one before that.”

“Yes, because it was completely possible to stop and catch our breath on the last world. We were lucky to make it far enough to make another jump.”

“Not everyone did,” said Jacob. Everyone took a moment to come to terms with what they hadn’t be able to earlier. Fred had materialized in the last world in the middle of a dilapidated wall. Beverly and Scott had been the first to appear, and so had not known that the atmosphere was toxic. The group had left them writhing on the ground, blood pouring from their mouths. In all fairness to the skinny man, he hadn’t actually said that they had no time to rest, but the wild, determined look in his eyes had conveyed the message that he would leave them behind if they didn’t follow him immediately. The box gave a final beep and fell silent, save for the whirring noise that was it’s constant companion.

“It’s ready. Come on, get over here, I don’t want to stay here.”

The group did as they were instructed, slowly limping towards the box and the spectacled man. The mechanical whir intensified both in volume and pitch and the group closed their eyes and gritted their teeth in anticipation. The box began to shake as the sound from within reached it’s apex and the air around it began to bend. Jacob reached out and grabbed the hand of the petite woman he seemed so fond of and gave it a firm squeeze which she returned. Space bent even more, and the air took on the same bluish quality it had before. Then a tiny hole in space appeared just above the box, drawing in everything around it. The box slipped past the event horizon first, followed by the skinny man, and then the rest of the group. The hole shrank much as the previous one had, and just like the last time the hole disappeared but the space it had occupied came back incomplete.

The planet continued to burn and crack. Billions of people lost their lives, unaware of the strange events that had taken place on that lonely stretch of desert.

The space where the first hole had appeared on the planet warped again in a much more localized fashion than before. Something forced itself through the boundaries between this world and the one on the other side of the hole. It ripped open a tiny hole and began to wriggle it’s way through, forcing the hole wider as more and more of it streamed through. Slowly, carefully, part of it began to inch its way toward the hole that had been opened second on the planet while the rest of it expanded to fill all of the space available in the current world. The seeking portion swayed back and forth as it closed in on the second hole as if it were smelling it’s way toward the space that had been disturbed. The world died around it died, but the thing took no notice.

 

On the new world a hole opened ad dumped it’s payload on the dark brown soil. The box came first, followed by the same group of people that had been grouped around it on the previous world. The hole closed, leaving only the tell tale sign of weakened reality behind. The ground was much lower than the last world’s had been and the fall was that much greater than the previous falls. Everyone heard the crack of bone but only a few were concerned that the sound was not immediately followed by screams.

“Is everyone okay?” asked Jacob in his best approximation of confidence. “Did we lose anyone?” Both of his questions were answered by the skinny man.

“Well, no. Not all of anyone, at least.”

“What the hell are you talking about, Derek?”

“I mean,” said Derek, pulling himself to his feet, “at least part of everyone made it. Alejandro is….was…only part of him made it through.”

“Is it bad?”

“Yes.”

“How bad?”

“I think even security guards need a head.” said Derek.

“Jesus,” said Jacob. “Anyone else?”

One by one the group of prostrate individuals sounded out. Bridgette, the petite brunette, was the first to answer. Next came Paula, the large woman with the blotched complexion, and then the Aaron and Peter and finally Simon. Simon didn’t answer so much as moan. When Jacob found him lying on the ground he was missing his left ear and two fingers on his left hand. The moan became a whimper as he clutched his missing digits.

Bridgette made her way over to the prostrate man and began ripping straps of cloth from her blouse to make bandages. Jacob took a moment to realize how little he knew about her as she began to administer very adept first aid to the injured man. It wasn’t as though she had had much experience with severed fingers or ears, but she rose to the occasion admirably.

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