Tag Archives: void

Entering the Void. Short Story.

Brenda scowled as the cameramen moved around the room setting everything up. To her right a reporter was chatting with Johnny. The last time Brenda had seen Johnny he’d been full of excitement and ceaseless chattering, now he was pale, his eyes seemed slightly too wide and his shoulders were hunched. She smiled to herself as she passed them by, going out her way to do so, as she past him she leaned into Johnny and muttered “if you’re going to throw up get it in the bin, thanks.” and continued on before Johnny could reply. She felt immense satisfaction at the look on his face, the reporter either hadn’t noticed or chose to ignore her remark. Brenda may have had some of her power wrestled away from her but she could still kick out anyone she pleased. Anyone that was, except Johnny. She looked at the computer screens in front of her, her team were working steadily, checking and double checking everything. She wasn’t concerned with a malfunction or a mistake, the team knew this procedure by heart and could do it blindfolded if needed but still she felt a faint thread of unease winding its way through everything else. This Johnny character was a wild card, he hadn’t been chosen specifically, hadn’t been vetted as the best candidate for the job, no he was here because of a god damned internet contest. She shook her head in disgust feeling the old anger rising again. It should be her god damn it. She pressed a few buttons, fingers slamming into them. She turned from the computer and stepped over a few wires to check the two metal doorways, they were arched, looking almost like empty Gothic window frames. The metal on them was thin, only a an inch thick, but it was more than enough.

Across the room a reporter nudged a cameraman beside her and nodded towards Brenda, “What’s her problem?” The cameraman shook his head, “How the hell do you not know who that is?”
The reporter shrugged, “I don’t need to know, I just need to say the line and that’s it.”
“That’s Brenda O’Connell. The one who invented this machine? The reason why we’re all here.”
“Huh. I thought she’d be older.”
The cameraman shook his head, letting Karen’s inane ramblings wash over him. She was right, she didn’t need to know anything, she just needed to look pretty and say the lines. It didn’t stop her from being any less infuriating, at first Victor believed the whole stupid cute reporter thing had been a shtick, something to get her more fluff pieces but after working with her for two years he’d found that she was exactly who she presented herself as. A pretty woman with nothing between her ears and no desire to be anything else. He knew why they’d sent her here today, they expected failure and wanted a pretty face to soften the blow, to tell the audience they can’t get it right every time. No one here really expected it to work, he’d chatted to most of the other cameramen and reporters, standing around the large table filled with stale pastries and lukewarm coffee. He wasn’t so sure though, someone was backing this with an awful lot of money and a good deal of publicity, why would they bother if they didn’t think it’d be a successful test? He suspected that this wasn’t the real first test, they’d have to have done it before to iron out any kinks and make sure it wasn’t fatal. Johnny broke away from the reporter he’d been talking to and seeing her moment Karen went over, expecting Victor to just follow. He sighed and went after her.
“So, are you nervous?”
“Well, yeah I guess. I mean who wouldn’t be? The first person to be teleported anywhere! I just hope all the pieces come out right!”
Karen chuckled softly, “So, Johnny what made you enter the contest? Did you ever think you’d win?”
“That was the goal, after all it was a competition, but no never in a million years did I think it would be me. I thought they’d choose someone with a background in science, maybe someone in better shape than I am. When my name came up I could barely believe it.”
“You’re married right? How did you wife feel when you won?”
“She was thrilled but a little worried, Anna is always so supportive of everything I do…”
Victor tuned out again.

Brenda pressed a button and felt herself relax a little as a gentle rumble started beneath her feet, the machines in the depth of the building were running smoothly, she scanned the screen quickly, looking for anything out of the ordinary, but all systems were fully operational. She smiled again, this time it looked almost predatory. She went to Johnny and pulled him away from some blonde reporter, interrupting them babbling at each other. “I’ve just started the machines, it will be time soon, are you ready?” He nodded, “Good. Please stand in the staging area for now, it won’t be too much longer.”
Johnny went over to where she had pointed, a small area marked off with strips of tape. “We’re about to see the first attempt at teleporting a human being, if this is successful it will revolutionise the modern world.” Brenda ignored them, of course it would work, what kind of idiot would she be if it hadn’t been tested all ready. As far as anyone outside of the project was concerned Johnny would be the first human through the teleportation gates. They’d never hear of the men and women who had been paraded through it, one after another as they worked out kinks. All in all twelve men and three women had gone through, none of whom had been Brenda, much to her annoyance. She should be the first officially recorded person through the gate, all those cameras should be pointing at her, after all it was her invention, her discovery’s that allowed them to get this far. She knew she’d be remembered but that wasn’t enough, it burned that Johnny would be the first person through, his idiotic smiling face immortalised in textbooks and film for the rest of time.

Brenda looked over the screens again and seeing that everything was optimal pressed the final button. A hush fell over the room as the doorways either side filled with blackness, spreading from the top down, one of the cameramen gasped. The darkness didn’t shimmer or shine, it just was, Brenda looked away, it still made her eyes water a little, her brain trying to make sense of that impossibly black doorway. “Johnny, we’re ready when you are.”
He nodded to himself, then took a deep breath and approached the door.
“The teleportation should be practically instantaneous, it will take the same time no matter how far apart or how close together the gates are.”

Brenda felt a faint thrill of anticipation in her stomach, everyone else who’d gone through it had described it as a little disorientating but it truly was instant. Johnny paused in front of the gate, “Here goes nothing.” Brenda winced a little, that was what he wanted to say? Nothing about what a leap forward it was for mankind or the start of a new chapter? She shook her head slightly and looked down at the computer screens, trying to hide her disgust.

Johnny stepped forward, he expected to feel something as the darkness hit his skin, some kind of resistance, maybe even a wetness, but there was nothing. He strode forward and through the doorway. Johnny found himself surrounded by the darkness, a ripple seemed to spread through it, like water hitting a puddle. The darkness came alive, millions, no billions of things writhed over one another, glistening in the darkness as they reached upward with grasping hands, their heads turned up towards him. Their mouths opened wide as they moaned and screamed, one looked at him, two empty eyeholes staring up at him and then he started falling towards them. He hit the writhing pile of things without feeling anything at all and then he was through. Light, sudden and cleansing, the darkness around him began to break apart, it shattered instantly and he saw the wall of the lab. Around him people were shouting and cheering, Johnny raised his fists in the air and jumped, already the memory of the journey through was gone, leaving nothing behind but a sense of exhilaration, it had worked, it had really worked.

The Void. Short Story.

It was perfectly circular, three feet in diameter and completely black. It was almost like a hole from a cartoon, a solid, black thing with seemingly no bottom and no end. It had appeared three days before, or at least, Patrick noticed it for the first time three days before. He had never realised that he avoided that area of the room, that it was sparsely decorated and that the lamp was placed too far to the right, rather than being centred, which would place it squarely where the hole was. The only reason he even noticed the hole now was because he had stumbled and dropped a glass. The glass had been flung outwards, and he watched it arc through the air, water tumbling out, before it landed in the centre of the hole and vanished. He had a theory that many of the things he had lost in the house had actually fallen and rolled into the hole and he just happened to miss it. It would explain what had happened to the three remotes he had to replace, his watch which he knew had been on the arm of the couch, and a ring that had fallen off a finger during the only party he had ever hosted in the house.

Since his discovery he had been fascinated with the hole and had taken to dropping objects in. Nothing very large or expensive, just little bits, pens, pieces of paper, even half a sandwich. So far everything had fallen through with ease, but nothing had come back. That didn’t surprise him in and of itself, but he did wonder what was happening on the other side of it. Where did it come out? Was it on earth, in space? Was someone sitting in their living room wondering where the hell half a sandwich had come from?

As he idly dropped a battery through an idea struck, he could tie a rope around what ever he dropped next and see if he could pull it back through. It might even give him some clues as to where the hole lead. First thing to go through would be an old glass thermometer, he had no real use for it and it would tell him something about the other side of the hole, even if it was something small. With the string tied tightly around it he gently dropped it through, after it had gone through the hole he unspooled the string carefully, if there was any kind of hard surface on the other side he didn’t want the thermometer to smash. Once he had unspooled a few feet he stopped and held it as steadily as he could, then started the timer on his phone. As he waited he tried to make sense of what he was seeing. The string just stopped once it touched the hole, there was no sign of anything on the other side, no indication that it was attached to anything else.

Five minutes later his alarm went off and he started to pull the thermometer back. The entire time he held the string it didn’t move or shake, he wasn’t sure, but he thought that it suggested that there was little to no wind on the other side, and that there was nothing tugging at the thermometer. He wasn’t entirely sure it would come back until he started pulling the string, which moved through the hole with ease. Proving that it wasn’t just one way. When the thermometer came back through he noted down the temperature, there was only one degree of difference between his room and what ever was on the other side. So either it was inside, or outside in a very temperate and balmy climate.

After testing a few other items, he decided to use a lantern, all he needed was a candle and he’d know if there was oxygen on the other side. It didn’t take him long to find a suitable lantern in the local home ware shop and within half an hour he was back at the hole, tying the string around the handle of the lantern. He lit the candle and lowered it through the hole. He waited for five minutes then he pulled it back through. The candle was still lit. It had worked! Next he needed to get an idea of what was on the other side and for that he needed a camera and a long stick. This one would be simple, he knew that electronics still worked after going in and coming out after testing the remote control.

With the camera tied to a stick he lowered it into the hole and started to rotate the stick slowly, he counted ten slow turns then pulled it back through. With shaking hands he stopped the recording and played it back. The screen was black. He smacked his forehead, why didn’t he think that it could be dark on the other side? He ran to the drawers in the hall and dug out a torch, after testing it he tied to the stick and put the camera back through.

This time the light showed piles of things all around the hole, he spotted the sandwich that he had put through, there were piles of junk, a sword or two and even a full set of armour, though he wasn’t sure if it was empty or not. How long had this hole been around? He knew now that it must move around, there had never been anything close to a knight in the area. Unless there were more holes and they all came out in the one place.

As the days went on he tested bigger things, until there was nothing left. Well, he knew exactly what was next, but he wasn’t sure if he could bring himself to do it. Next thing he needed to test was something living. On television they always used mice, rats or rabbits for that kind of testing. There was no guarantee that what ever went through would come back alive. After all, most of his tests consisted of grabbing something close to hand and putting it through to see what would happen. The answer to which seemed to be not much at all. He knew that there was oxygen on the other side, but what if there wasn’t enough for a living thing to breathe? What if there were creatures, just watching and waiting that would pounce when they saw something living?

The mouse. It was time for the final test. There was food and water in the cage and it would only be a short trip for it. He tied the camera to the top of the cage so he could see what the mouse was doing on its trip. He lowered the cage into the hole and set the timer.

After thirty seconds he pulled it back through. The mouse seemed fine, it wasn’t scared or choking. He unstrapped the camera from the cage and played back the video. The mouse was fine, it didn’t choke or gasp, nothing tried to attack it. It was able to breathe and move around feely inside the cage. He repeated the test, leaving the mouse in for longer and longer periods. The longest being an hour and each time the mouse was fine.

Patrick took a deep breath, he was potentially the first person to ever go through this thing, the only person to see what was on the other side. He would make it a short trip, just a quick in and out to have a look around, maybe take a souvenir. Once he had made the trip once or twice he’d start to let other people know. He double checked that the harness was secure, along with the climbing ropes, which were tied to his banisters, he took one more breath to calm himself, then he stepped forward and into the hole.

Jessica let herself into the house, she hadn’t heard from Patrick in a few days and she and their parents were starting to get a little worried. She stepped into the hall, calling out a “hello!” and stopped, there was a rope tied around the banisters. Weird. She followed the rope into the sitting room where it just ended. She picked it up and looked at the end of the rope, what had possessed him to do something like that? Sitting beside it was a mouse in a cage. Shrugging, Jessica dropped the rope and quickly checked to see that it had enough food and water. Once done she turned and left the sitting room, still calling out, to check the rest of the house.