The traveller gazed up at the midday sky. Overhead two blazing suns burned down to earth. This was the first time he had ever seen such an event in his lengthy lifetime. For the traveller to acknowledge that fact was a scary thing. He had thought he’d seen it all. Now here he was stranded in a reality of time that quite honestly looked to be the end for his career and the rest of creation.
The only intelligent voice in his head was uttering the word fuck, fuck, fuck. At the moment all the other voices seemed in agreement.
After an eternity of quietly contemplating the situation one of the voices pointed out that as the earth rotated only the larger of the two orbs seemed to move in the arc. The other seemed to become more of an oddly formed orb which reflected more than it seemed to be burning. A few other voices began to chime in with agreement, and after a lengthy discussion it was agreed that fact was true.
“So we’re good then?”asked the traveller.
“No.”said the leading authoritative voice. “It’s probably a massive meteoroid. Even the fact that there still isn’t a visible smoke trail may mean it’s further above the stratosphere than it looks. We are screwed.”
The sound of sneakers running away on smooth concrete and then the loud slamming of a metal door was what Pat heard first.
It was a familiar but funny sound to hear over the speaker system. It reminded him of his high school days and the loud racket one could hear over the public announcement system will the principal was going over the days events. Those were the glory years for sure.
On this occasion though, Pat was a good twenty years older, and working in a tower miles away from the originator of the sound. As a joke Pat was buzzed up on the speaker. A familiar voice on the other end began a rant that unless privy to the joke itself would sound very offensive to the receiving party. The joke would have been hilarious to Pat, but as fate often intervenes it was not Pat that first answered the call… It was Pat’s boss
After a three sentence rant of blasphemy and expletives Pat’s boss began shouting expletives back and yelling “Who is this!” back over the speaker.
The only reply was “If you don’t know mother-fucker”, and the sounds of tennis shoes running on concrete right before the slamming of a door.
Pat tried not to laugh. He knew that the anger would soon enough be turned towards him.
“Do you know who that asshole was?” the boss asked.
With the straightest face Pat could muster, “No sir. I’ve never heard that voice before.”
Alice slowly slide through the small sized opening. At first what she thought to be only a thin gap she had discovered to be a hinged door. With a little coaxing the portal could easily be made to open out wider.
Alice thought how odd to have a door hidden inside a tree. Even odder was the fact she knew it couldn’t have been there before. The door opened into an immense room with vaulted ceilings that the tree she had sheltered in could not have held.
Cautiously Alice looked out into the room. Fully aware of the funny old man that even at this moment was busy wolfing down strawberry treats and having some sort of discussion with the thin air about him. Perhaps if she kept in the shadows and used the massive stacks of books between the two of them as cover the old man wouldn’t realize she was in the room. By the way the food was being consumed Alice knew speed was going to be of the utter most importance.
The doorman was partially surprised. It wasn’t a frequent thing to see the sage away from his writing. It was even less frequent that the sage would share a tasty strawberry glazed donut. Later the gatekeeper would blame those events and the sudden sugar rush as the reason he was surprised for a third time.
Even as Alice stretched out into the room she realized something wasn’t right. Where shelves of books and piles of scrolls should have been there was suddenly nothing.
Nothing was actually not quite right. There was a brilliant white, a worn mat, and a strangely uniformed man eating a pink colored pastry that at the moment was shedding rainbow colored sprinkles about the area.
Both Alice and the doorman stared blankly at each other. Neither seemed to know exactly what to do at that moment.
Alice was the first to take action. In a dead run Alice leaped past the uniformed man and on into the doorway behind him.
As quickly as she had come the trespasser disappeared into the next. In all his lifetime the gatekeeper never had this happen to him. He was pretty positive the Author would already know. What that meant wouldn’t become clear for a great while.
“Oh well”, he thought.
The gatekeeper scarffed down the last of his donut. There was going to be a long wait until the next one…