THE THRESHOLD OF REALITY
Two Souls, One Door: The Threshold of Reality
By Christopher Goodrum
Copyright 2017 Christopher Goodrum
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THE THRESHOLD OF REALITY
“This is new,” Alex Porter stated, mildly surprised.
Prior to this moment, Alex Porter had been here a long time. A very long time. Hard to say how long, but it was safe to say he exhausted all 99 bottles of beer on the wall, all 12 days of Christmas, and to every song on Bon Jovi’s “Slippery When Wet” album…three times. He was amazed he remembered every word of every song considering he had a hard time remembering his own name.
No stranger to strange things, Alex took to his current situation with curiosity and a great deal of patience. He was intrigued by the unusual and pleasantly perplexed by the paranormal. Aside from his exposure to fictitious works such as “The X-Files”, “The Twilight Zone”, and anything by Stephen King, he loved the reality shows involving ghosts, mythical creature hunting, and UFO encounters. He sometimes wondered what it was like to investigate such occurrences. Wondered what the qualifications of something like that was. Wondered if valuing sleep was a problem as he often couldn’t make it passed midnight without dozing off.
It seemed, however, he was in the middle of his own paranormal experience. He found himself in an endless void comprised of nothing. No ceiling. No walls. No visible floor. The air was neither fresh or stale, but it was clean. The kind of air pumped throughout a casino floor to keep gamblers awake and alert. There was no air flow to speak of, however. It air was deathly still. There was no sound, either. Not so much of the hum one hears when things are absolutely quiet. Alex imagined a sound proof box would sound similar to this. Although, he heard such an experience would drive people insane.
He had no knowledge of how he got there. How he arrived in the void. In fact, he first believed he was dreaming. The last thing he remembered was falling asleep in his hotel room. He ruled out alien abduction right away. The concept was too absurd. Just because he enjoyed watched such shows, it didn’t mean he believed in aliens. Tall lanky creatures from the far ends of the cosmos travelling billions of billions just to cut up cows and experiment on humans. Advanced beings looking for “galactic frogs” to dissect. He found that absurd.
Ghosts, however…he certainly believed in ghosts. But ghosts didn’t make sense in this scenario. He never heard of falling asleep and then seeing ghosts unless one was in a nightmare. Which goes back to concluding, at least in the early part of his arrival, it was a dream.
But that theory didn’t last long once he found…
It felt too real to have been a dream, he tried to rationalize. But not absurdly too real to have been reality. His experience exhibited the properties of the “pinch me” variety. That sort of thing rare worked on oneself.
He would have loved to explore whatever this was, if there was anything to explore. But there was nothing. Nothing but empty space and darkness.
He didn’t know what to make of it, at first. The absence of everything was a bit overwhelming, like being asked to keep your eyes closed and walk through the house, trusting you wouldn’t bump into anything. Except his eyes were wide open. He stumbled for a while, unsure where to step. Unsure where the ground was. Each time, it took his equilibrium to adjust and his mind to realize the ground would remain level. No sudden dips, bumps, or gaps. Depth perception was a fantasy.
Perhaps he was lucky to fall asleep in the middle of the day, electing to take a brief nap before heading out to dinner. Dream or not, he was fortunate to have been wearing the exact same clothes he fell asleep in: dark wash blue jeans, V-neck short sleeve sea-foam green shirt, and a light black jacket. The sea-foam green was, perhaps, not the best color for him. He had always thought it mismatched with his dark brown complexion, but it was his favorite, and with the black jacket completing the ensemble, he thought it worked. There weren’t many African Americans who could pull off sea-foam, and it was a lot better than wearing his pajamas or next to nothing. Most importantly, he had on his Nike’s when he crashed on the bed and an electronic wristwatch. It saved him from wandering around barefoot or just with socks on, and allowed him to keep tabs on the time.
After what already felt like an eternity in the void, he activated the stopwatch function of his watch, curious to know how long he might be in this dream. A small part of him told himself that such high functioning thinking was improbable, and maybe even impossible, in dreams. He ignored it. What other rational explanation could there have been? Unless the hotel was haunted and he slipped into some other dimension, he was dreaming. Wasn’t he?
Hours have passed. His watch passed seven hours and thirty-seven minutes before he began to rethink the dream theory. Nothing happened. Nothing extraordinary. Nothing unusual like the ability to fly.
He could run. He could read. No other character made an appearance talking about things he had no previous knowledge of, but knew exactly what the person was talking about anyway like dreams had the habit of doing. His irrational fears didn’t pop up. Women he was secretly infatuated with didn’t show up, either. He clearly wasn’t walking around in nothing but his underwear about to do a presentation in front of hundreds of people.
In short, nothing happened in those seven hours and thirty-seven…thirty-eight minutes.
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How do you leave a room when the only door disappears and reappears at random, and moves away from you when you approach? How do you leave an endless void of darkness and silence? And when the only rule that governs the room is only one person may pass through the door? Alex Porter always enjoyed a mystery. Especially a paranormal one. But if it’s not on a television screen or a in a book, it might be more than he can handle. The void offered up no answers to where he was or how he got there. He only recalls the beginning of nap. A respite before attending his high school reunion. After many hours in the void, he is joined by someone new. A waiting companion who just complicated his current situation.