Saturday, May 23, 2015

Seeing is Becoming: Garage Door (Part I)

Vearden Haywood was getting ready to leave his house in Oklahoma. Four thousand miles away, Saga Einarsson was trekking through the rainforests of the Amazon. They had not seen each other since college. Saga didn’t even have a social media presence, so Vearden had no idea that she was a traveling photographer. While he was brushing his teeth and making sure that his cell phone was charged all the way, Saga felt a tremor. She looked around for shelter, but found nothing. It ended quickly, and she looked ahead again. Things had changed. Her environment looked remarkably different. She was still in the rainforest, but the arrangement of trees and flowers had been altered. Did she lose time? There was a roar behind her, and she began to run.
Vearden looked at himself in the mirror with the feeling of apathy and a bit of nausea. He didn’t want to go. He stood there, staring into space, for a few moments before sitting down on the couch and flipping on his TV. He had recently cleared out his recordings so there was nothing to watch but the late morning trash. He eventually just fell asleep from the depression.
His phone woke him up hours later. He grabbed it and answered, “yeah?—Yeah, I know.—I could lie and say that I thought it was tomorrow, but I just wasn’t in the mood.—Probably won’t be in the mood tomorrow, no.—You would not do that.—Okay, fine. I’ll be there, I two days.—All right, tomorrow morning. First thing.” He growled and let his phone fall back to the nightstand. It was only then that he realized he was in his bed instead of the couch. How did he get there?

The next day, Vearden completed his routine and made it out to the garage. He breathed in deeply but held most of it in; letting air out little by little. He haphazardly slapped the door opener several times before finally getting lucky. As he began to walk around the back to the driver’s side door, he saw the outside. It was not his driveway. It was some kind of wooded area. He looked behind him through the glass on the door to the backyard. That all looked normal, but in front of him was a different place entirely.
He cautiously dipped his feet across the border. It didn’t feel any different; as if that was just how it was supposed to be. He slowly made progress until he was fully past the line. He looked back. His house was nowhere to be seen, except for the frame of the garage. He dropped his bag to the ground and began to explore the immediate area. He was able to touch the leaves and feel the breeze on his face. So, it wasn’t just a visual hallucination. It was most likely a dream. He didn’t technically remember waking up, but that was old news. His brain made a point of erasing the memories of monotony.
While he was watching a flying insect that resembled a bee, he started to hear screaming. He looked up and saw a woman racing towards him. She stopped for a half second when she saw him up ahead. “Don’t let the door close!”
“Make sure the door stays open!” she called up to him.
Then he saw what she was running from. A large creature was chasing her. It was nearly three meters tall, muscular, and angry. Just as Vearden was looking for a sturdy stick to use as a weapon, the creature caught up with the woman.  It was only then that he realized she was his old college roommate. Maybe this was all real. Maybe they had fallen into another dimension. Maybe this was happening all over the world. Saga fought back hard, managing to keep the creature at bay. Vearden ran up and joined in. Together, they were able to knock the creature to its back. “Get to my house. Go all the way into the kitchen.”
“If your door closes, we’ll be trapped here forever.”
There was a howl in the distance. The creature on the ground howled back to it. They were clearly intelligent enough to communicate with each other. “Then you better get going,” Vearden told her.
While Saga was running for the door, they could hear it begin to close on its own. Whatever had brought them there wanted them to stay. Vearden collided with the creature. It fought using strategy and patience. Even though it didn’t seem to say anything, it was thinking through its actions. Creature wasn’t a very good name for it, but that was all he had. It even carried a sheathed sword. He continued to punch and kick at it. He had never received any formal combat training, so it was just his instinct to keep as much distance as possible between them.
He got a few opportunities to look over to his house. He could see Saga straining to hold the garage door open. There was a sensor that kept it from hitting you in the head, but that was being overridden. “Just get inside!” he yelled to her.
“I can’t do that!”
“Either we both die, or just me! Please!”
As he continued to lose his fight with the creature, she continued to lose her fight with the door. He could only see her legs, and then just her feet. And then the door was all the way down. He could still see her through the little windows, pounding and screaming, trying to get the door back open. But it was slowly fading away. It would soon be gone, and he would be trapped. But at least she was safe.
The creature’s friend appeared through the trees, causing him to take his eyes off of the first one for a moment. It took its chance to stab him in the stomach.
“No!” Saga cried from inside the garage, her voice growing fainter as she held the word.
Knowing that his wound was fatal anyway, he decided to cause as much damage as he could muster. He shoved the sword deeper in so that it came out of his back. He twisted around and slit the creature’s stomach open. Then he jumped backwards and crashed into the second creature, stabbing it so they were both on a skewer. He fell to the ground on top of it. The first one was approaching him, his wound closing up quickly. Apparently they had a healing factor. That’s perfect. Vearden struggled to the pull the sword out of the other creature’s stomach, and out of his own. He released it just in time to trip the first creature and let it fall on the sword. He was in a creature sandwich, their blood mixing together throughout their three wounds.
He gathered all the strength he had left and rolled it off of his body. They were already starting to heal again. He swung the sword behind him like a baseball bat, and cut off their heads, hoping that they would not be able to survive that level of trauma.
Saga ran up just in time to watch Vearden’s wound close up, leaving not so much as a scar. “You heal like they do,” she said
“You were supposed to be inside.”
“I was inside. When it disappeared, it left me behind. Someone wants us here.”
“Where are we?”
“Another planet.”

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