Rift

Well it’s been rejected from enough places, so now you get to read it! Here ya go. Enjoy!

 

 

Terrence’s hands shook as he shoved his camera and mini camcorder into his bag. He swallowed again, his heart pounding.

He leaned over his cluttered desk, reaching over piles of notes and photographs and newspaper clippings to grab a handful of plastic baggies. He shoved them into his backpack in case he needed to collect samples.

A blinking light on his desktop screen caught his eye: a new post on his blog, Evidence. His heart leapt, and the irrational fear that someone had made the discovery before he did drove him to click the link. Relief came quickly, though, as he watched.

“Clearly faked,” he typed in the comment box. “The craft casts no shadow and doesn’t even disturb the cloud you see it fly through. Thanks for wasting my time.”

He hit “Submit” and stood, chuckling at himself for even being worried. It would be him that proved they were real, because he was the only one looking in the right place.

It had simply been a matter of disregarding preconceptions. Terrence and everyone else had always expected that other life would come from our own universe. But what Terrence had detected was not of this space or time, or dimension. While others looked to the sky and stars, Terrence had focused here on Earth, where the fabric of space-time was stretched thin by the planet’s deep gravity-well.

Terrence zipped up the bag and hefted it onto his shoulder, then leaned back over the keyboard for one more update.

“The world is in for a big surprise when I get back,” he typed. “The proof will be undeniable.” 

The Nevada air dried Terrence’s skin as he sped down Highway 95 toward the rocky desert bordering Area 51. When he got close, he would be able to detect the area where the dimensions meshed.

That hundred square miles or so, including Area 51 and the surrounding desert, was a weak point in the structure of space–a soft spot worn thin by the dimensions rubbing together for billions of years. Only Terrence had detected those fissures. He smiled and rested a hand on his backpack in the passenger seat. Inside was a transistor radio he’d made a few additions and alterations to. It had been simple, once he got the concept.

About ten miles past Lee Canyon Road–fifty miles outside of Vegas–Terrence pulled off the highway and onto an unnamed dirt road. Red dust kicked up around him, and rocks crunched beneath his tires as the sun set to his left.

He unzipped his pack as he steered and took out the transistor radio. He clicked it on and listened as the static squealed louder—the pitch growing deeper as he drove.

Three miles later the radio was emitting a low, steady hum. He slowed the car, turning the wheel left and right, finding the direction that lowered the pitch. Finally he stopped and got out, walking to the exact spot he’d found before. The sound was even louder than it the first time, and he thought he could see a shimmer in the air. He set the radio down to mark the location where his camera would point, and hurried back to his car.

The sun set in a silence broken only by the ticking of his Honda’s cooling engine as he adjusted the camera lens atop the tripod. He turned the headlights onto the craggy ground where his radio sat.

The humming of the radio started to wobble–wub wub wub–and Terrence’s heart followed suit.

The camera was in place, and he hit “Record.” The air above the radio was starting to waver, as if the ground beneath it were boiling hot. Terrence stepped into the frame.

“Ladies and gentlemen of the world, my name is Terrence Gregor, and you are about to see the first ever documented evidence of a dimensional rift.

“For the past month I have been using a special device that I have created to detect the proximity of certain fluctuations in the Earth’s magnetic field. These distorted zones mark where the skin separating the dimensions has worn thinnest, and where something is most likely to break through. This spot right here behind me, is the one that has most strongly reacted to my tests.

“If my calculations are right, soon, right here behind me, an opening to another world will appear as the rubbing of our dimension and this foreign one becomes too much, and a hole is worn through.” He raised an eyebrow at the camera. “And maybe–hopefully–some life from that other world will choose to speak with us, and we’ll also be seeing the first ever documented evidence of an alien species.”

He stepped to the side and turned his back on the camera. The air shimmered violently, the effected section becoming more and more defined until a border was clear around the circle of air. The edges shifted with color, like oil on a puddle. Terrence squinted as the shape solidified. Something about the perspective felt wrong; he couldn’t quite tell whether the portal was forming above the radio, or a few feet in front of it, or behind it.

With an electric tearing, the shimmering air cleared, exposing an expanse of rolling hills covered in waving, blue grass. Twisting trees of various colors dotted the hills, and the sky was a mottled grey and white.

Terrence heard himself shouting with laughter.

“There it is, ladies and gentlemen!” he said, his eyes locked on the portal. “Another world, completely alien from our own, and we can see life, the grass… the… trees.”

The patches of grass all waved perfectly in time with each other; all looked identical, repeated every few feet. The trees appeared flat, their surfaces blurry and their edges sharp.

“It’s like nothing ever seen on Earth, you can see how odd it looks,” said Terrence, trying to keep confidence in his voice.

A shadow stretched out across the hill, and then a figure moved in front of the opening.

“My God! It’s… it…”

A caterpillar-shaped creature with thin limbs and big, white eyes that wobbled on long stalks peered out at Terrence. It lifted up the front half of its body and waved back and forth, the motion halting and unnatural. Its skin was a flat grey, and its shape was without any defining characteristics. It was smooth and homogeneous and moved with an aura of weightlessness, as if it were hollow.

“I can’t believe what I’m seeing. This–this is impossible. What is this?”

The creature opened its mouth and made a buzzing, whistling sound, and the air shimmered again.

“No, wait–”

Terrence rushed forward, but the portal snapped closed, disappearing with a fizz and a crack. The wobbling hum of his radio cut to a soft hiss, the rift having healed itself.

He hurried back to the camcorder, his hands shaking. He half-hoped the video would show him ranting to a patch of dirt and rocks, or that the camera hadn’t even been on. He pressed “Play.”

Terrence watched as the portal opened, revealing the impossible landscape beyond. He watched the creature appear and rear up at him, and the opening shut again. He stared motionless at the final frame of the recording, gusts of wind buffeting him, the sun now fully set.

Without looking back, he climbed into his Honda and pulled away, spitting out a cloud of dirt behind him.

The dust settled on his abandoned radio. It crackled once, then fell silent.

                                                                      ~

Terrence’s finger hovered over the Delete key for several minutes as he stared at the highlighted video file on his desktop.

There was a reason, Terrence thought, that the dimensions rubbed so roughly against each other. They were too different to mesh, too conflicting to overlap.

He should have known.

His monitor blinked again: a comment on his departing post.

“What happened? Looking forward to an update!”

He glanced one last time at the Delete key, then logged into his YouTube account and pressed the Upload button. He pasted the link into a new blog post. “Proof of extra-dimensional life!” he typed.

As the comments flooded in, Terrence sat up straight and read them all. It was his job, and he’d done it, even if they would never know.

“Lol wtf this graphics is shit!”

”haha this is hilarious!” 

“omg that alien lol”

“first year animation student? C-”

He shouldn’t have expected a world like his own.

He shouldn’t have expected something believable.

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