The human race values freedom over all.
The unfortunate thing is that the other thing they live by is the motto 'if you don't understand it, eliminate it'.
But this is not about human values. Although, in a way, it is.
The day started just like every other day, with the sun rising, and me trying to avoid getting out of bed.
Finally, several hours later, I gave in to the demands of the cat who had been trying desperately to get my attention towards the fact that it was hungry, I got up. Half asleep, I turned the kettle on before feeding the cat, then helping myself to a cup of coffee.
Being the weekend, I had planned on spending the day discovering nature. In other words, I was going to take a leisurely walk through the green hills that surrounded the valley we lived in. Surprisingly, the thing commonly known as a car, decided to start on the first go today.
The place I had planned to visit was a place in the rainforest a short drive away, then about an hours walk. It was about as far away from civilization as I wanted to be.
Peace at last, I though looking at the rainforest scenery in front of me, the ferns here were taller than a man, and defiantly taller than myself. Nearby a trickle of water could be heard, adding to the tranquility of the place. As I watched the sun's rays fall through the trees for a while.
I looked closer, I would have sworn the tree in front of me shimmered the way things shimmer in the heat, and yet, it wasn't that hot. On closer inspection, I found that the tree itself and it's surroundings were not real, more like a holograph. I stuck my hand through, and seeing no harm come to it, decided to take the plunge and walked through the tree.
Less than 5 steps on the other side, and I found myself facing an oncoming car. It had appeared out of nowhere, it's driver slamming on the breaks, only just stopping in front of me. I just stood there, surprised and shocked, discovering that I was standing in the middle of a road, with a black sports car standing less than a foot away from me.
"Bloody hell, watch where the hell you're going next time, would you?"
It's driver complained loudly, getting out of the car and approaching me. He was taller than me, and, something didn't feel right about him.
"You gonna say something?"
He asked, approaching me, eventually waving his hand in front of my face. He was probably wondering why I was still standing there, seemingly frozen. The fact was that I was frozen, my mind having difficulty dealing with the fact that I just left a tranquil rainforest setting and was now being verbally abused by a guy who would have run me over if not for some incredible fast reaction in hitting the breaks on his behalf.
Eventually, realizing that I couldn't find any words, I just pointed towards the hologram of the tree I had walked through. After some more swearing and looking even more frustrated, he approached what I was later to find out was a rift in reality, and studied it for a while.
He mumbled, just as it disappeared. He then turned around and headed back to his car, almost as if nothing had happened.
I just looked at him, and continued standing there, feeling a sense of confusion that I hadn’t felt before.
"You got a hearing problem? Get in already"
He started to sound even more frustrated than he looked, but I saw no earthly reason to get into a car which belonged to a strange guy. I shook my head, my eyes clearly showing mistrust as words still hadn't re-appeared in my mind, leaving me to try and communicate using body language.
He sighed, now very frustrated.
"Bloody hell.... you try to do a good thing, and this is what happens... suit yourself, stay here in the middle of nowhere if you want, or, if you want to see whatever reality you're from again, you could just get in"
Obviously, he had understood what I was trying to say. I had to give him credit, he somehow got it right both times. But that didn’t mean that I trusted him. Looking around, I realized that we were indeed in the middle of nowhere. As a matter of fact, we were on a winding road leading downhill towards what looked like a city of sorts.
I nodded, showing I understood the situation, even if I only vaguely did, and got into his car. The inside was fascinating. It looked more like a cockpit than the inside of a car. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many buttons and little lights and things inside a car.
"Don't touch anything"
He warned, not that I would have anyway, but it was nice to know he trusted me about as much as I trusted him. I considered pouting for a second, then change my mind about it, instead decided to look out of the window, noting that the scenery was passing a little too fast if you considered the road we were on, but otherwise, things looked the same as they did back home. Great, of all the people to give me a lift, I had to have a guy who liked speeding.
As we pulled up at what I assumed was his house, a young woman came running out the door, straight into his arms.
She greeted him, with a big smile on her face. He hugged her back.
"Hi Kimi. Is Sonia in?"
She nodded excitedly.
"Yup, we've been making cookies all day. Joe, you gotta try one, they’re really good."
Then she noticed me, and came over, holding her hand out.
"Hello new person, I'm Kimi, who are you?"
I must admit, I hadn’t expected anyone like Kimi. Joe just didn’t seem to be the type to have a girlfriend who looked younger than him and was that energetic. I smiled.
“I ..uhh.. I’m Linda”
I finally introduced myself.
“Oh, so she can talk after all”
Joe’s sarcastic voice came from behind me. I turned around, ready to reply, but before I had the chance, Kimi had shoved a plate of cookies into my face.
I took a cookie, smiling a thanks to her. Taking a bite, I realised that cooking was not one of her fortes.
"Thank you, Kimi, they're nice"
I told her, it was the polite thing to do. She smiled, obviously over the moon by the comment, before offering Joe, who by now had a coffee cup in his hand, one. How he got the cup I don't know, it almost seemed to have magically appeared there.
"Thanks Kimi, now where's Sonia?"
"Looking through your files?"
She answered innocently, and I swear it got darker when she said that, not that it could be though, it was after all, still daylight and the lights were on inside.
He asked, and not getting an answer, moved towards the downward leading stairs and called her name again, this time, his voice was deeper and had a quality about it which demanded an answer. If he was attempting to creep me out, he was doing a good job, I promised myself right then not to get onto his bad side, ever.
After what felt like an eternity, a red-haired woman came up the steps, with some sleep, she would have looked beautiful, but right now, she looked weary. She glanced at him, obviously not impressed by his demanding voice.
She asked, he looked over at her, completely unaware of how she must be feeling.
"One of your boxes went again?"
He asked her.
"Yeah, how'd you guess?"
She asked in return, frowning a little. He shrugged, and while having a sip of his coffee, pointed towards me. She nodded, as though she knew exactly what he had just said, and went over to where I was standing, passing a energetic Kimi who handed her a cup of coffee. These people must live on that stuff, I thought before she spoke.
"Hi, I'm Sonia."
I replied, having found my voice faster this time, much to Joe's annoyance. I hoped that I had read him wrong this time and that my reaction time wasn't what annoyed him.
"Sounds like you came through the last rift I created"
Sonia's voice sounded even more worn out than she looked.
I looked at her confused, even though, somehow, I understood what she had just said. She turned her attention towards Joe.
"Where did the rift form?"
"Side of the road"
He replied, putting his now empty cup down on the kitchen counter. She gave a snort.
"Since when do you notice what's on the side of the road, Joe?"
This time, I was sure things got darker, for about a second.
"Since she walked out infront of the car"
He looked at Sonia, shaking his head slighly.
"Don't worry, the car didn't get a scratch"
"Considering Linda seems to be well other than the shock of changing realities, I'd say the car's fine"
She walked up to him, smiling.
"I know what that car means to you, alright?"
He seemed to accept that because he headed wordlessly down the stairs. Something I was glad about as this gave me the chance to pull Kimi aside and ask her some of the many questions which were bugging me.
"Kimi, what exactly is going on here?"
She seemed suprised by the question, it was obvious that nothing unusual had happend as far as she was concerned. Lucky for me, Sonia stepped in.
"Which part are you refering to, Linda?"
"What's his problem?"
I ended up asking, not my first question, nor was it really important, it just happened to be the first thing out of my mouth, his attitude had bugged me since I had first met him, to the point of scaring me.
"Nothing, he just didn't expect you to appear, that's all"
Sonia casually told me, making it obvious that his behaviour was often the way it was now, which, needless to say, suprised me, however, I put it down to this being a different place, for all I knew, all guys here were like him.
"Alright... so.. what did he mean when he said that one of your boxes went again?"
She looked at me for a while, thinking, without saying anything, and I started getting worried that I asked the wrong thing. Eventually, she spoke again.
"I created what we refer to as 'box' some time ago, in order to enable us to travel into different dimentions... "
She must have noticed my confusion because she spared me the technical explanation of how exactly that could be possible.
"Anyway, it works, but still has a few bugs to be fixed. At the moment, the field is only stable for a few seconds. You must have walked through it at the right time."
"Actually, I looked at it for quite some time before walking through it"
I admited to her. Her face-expression changed at that revelation, now curious.
"How long would you say you were looking at it?"
"About.. uhh.. 10 minutes or so?"
I told her, not really sure how much time had passed back home before I had walked up to the holographic tree, but knowing it was a lot longer than just a few seconds.
"That would mean.... "
She trailed off, starting to head towards the downward leading stairs.
"JOE... TIME SEEMS TO ALTER DEPENDING ON WHAT DIMENTION YOU'RE IN..."
She shouted down the stairs, just to get the reply from him
(and... I'm now stuck)