Sunday, October 30, 2005

Pete had to be the only sane creature in the house at the time. Dr.V's iguana just roamed pleasantly around the manor, feeling free to explore warm spots and sample some of the native food of the area. I kept trying to organize the house, but I couldn't even manage to change light bulbs, let alone change my clothes. These files were vast and far too complex for me to understand. There were sections on light, energy, time, matter, and so forth. There was too much theory and "V" speak. I could not absorb it all at once. All of my attention was focused on this one thing, yet I felt so foggy and displaced. I gave up drinking to snap out of my inebriated madness. I'm saving my ticket stub, however, just in case I want back in that toxic carnival.

Drinking draped a fuzzy blanket over my mind, making me nowt but a lazy sod, as my english "nanna" would say. But, quitting made me feel so irratible. They say that the first step is the hardest. They would tell me to get out of the house and get some fresh air. They were watching me and trying to analyze me. I wish "they" would just shut up, I remember thinking. Being alone has made one thing clear to me: everyone that you try to shut out of your mind finds a way to get back into your head, one way or another. But, this was more than just internalized cliches from parents and other nagging heavies. Someone was watching me. I could hear them, but my eyes were just to slow to keep up with their pace to see them entirely. I thought that I was plagued with ghosts before, but it was not so. Something that I read in the files started to make sense to me then.

Out of the walls of the study came voices, faint, yet piercing, "Help me...HELP ME!"

"What...who's there?" I didn't get an answer back. Who needs help? Do I know that voice? The cry for help was familiar, but distant still. Clear as a bell, but still too far fetched to sort out. My mind was making things up, weren't they? Something in the files had my mind rushing at the time. As clear as a goose fart on a muggy day to me a minute ago, but now, crystal baby--freakin' crystal! Waves of light, images, bouncing around, coming in and out of focus. What about all this light, time and matter stuff? I'm still not 100% sure, but here's what I knew at that point: whatever Dr. V worked on had something to do with slipping in and out of time and dimensions. I wondered, if unaware, could you mistake the energy of another dimension bleeding through for ghosts and goblins? I felt that all of the flashes of light and sounds in the manor weren't random, as if there was intelligence directing it all. Not ghosts, but something or someone was trapped in-between planes and trying to get my attention.

I really don't know where I was getting this information that provoked my thoughts. It was like Muzak, being piped into my head. Gently fluid--when there was overflow, I didn't feel fatigued--it just rolled warmly over my head. I was seeing a gem from the inside out. It was beautiful, but I could not define its shape or make any connections yet. I was in there, right in my own noggin; however, stewing around with something, someone else. "Dr. V? Where are you? Are you in here? Talk to me! I'm a little teapot short and stout. Here is my handle. Here is my spout. I'm tossin' my nuts around in here, dammit!" I threw myself back into my studies before I had a total crack-up.

The study was a better place for reading and thinking than my room (I went with the "brown" one after all; it has a large closet and bathroom). I was pulled up to a large mahogany desk swinging back and forth in a button-tufted leather chair. The high back and arms of the chair were slick from my perspiration. The green lens from the desk lamp was all the artificial illumination the room needed. The fireplace was stoked and giving off plenty of natural ambiance and heat. This is my quiet and contemplative room where all the important discoveries are made. I'm no Dr. V, but I'm getting by for now. Back then, however, things were coming along haphazardly.

Complexities aside, Dr. V's files made for an interesting read. Not only do they discuss slipping in and out of dimensions, but of time itself. I'm naive. I reason that's why I can accept such preposterous ideas. It's making more sense why Dr. V chose me: I'm ignorant enough to believe in his work. I don't think that any of his peers would've thought him right in the mind, though. Dr. V's whole theory was that the phase and position of time, matter, energy, and light could be manipulated through the device. But, it requires that one has the will--faith to do so first. I thought that it was about time to take the device out and observe it.

The device is rather curious, in that, it does not have dials, displays, or knobs. It has a gelatinous consistency, yet is firm enough to hold it's shape, that of a watermelon-sized kidney bean. You can hear it's inner workings gurgling away like a digestive tract. It has places, cavities, where one thrusts their hand inside in order to join with it. Organic is the term I''m thinking of; very strange this thing. The files explained little about the device. I think that this information was purposely kept to a minimum. But, the device is amazingly intuitive. However, I didn't know at the time how dangerous this thing was until I removed the device's protective sheath. What I know now is that the sheath is made of a non-conductive, semi-transparent plastic. There is a reason for this--a very important reason. My observations before removing the sheath were that of "What's this cool thing in the wrapper?" When I took my present out of the wrapper, I got juiced to the point where my blood, sweat, and tears boiled.

I can't describe just how intense the sensation really was. The best explanation that I can offer is that I felt an immense hot static sifting through my body. Maybe not pain, but an oversaturation of energy flowing into me, like an atomic powered climax, thrown in with a thousand dead legs.

The "Magic Bean", as I like to call it, assimilated my hands into it's body. It felt like I was being eaten by some strange sea creature. The device's membrane sealed itself seamlessly into my skin. My arms were now connected by a blob of glowing, pulsing machine--if you could call it that--biomechanical device. If you've ever seen a cuttlefish before, then you have a good idea of what the device felt like and what color it was when it came alive.

Upon receiving the jolt of a lifetime, I immediately saw the very fabric of reality torn right through. It made a sound similar to a pulse rocket engine, or some interstellar zipper. I can't describe what it was that I saw exactly. I don't think even Salvador Dali himself could have painted this scene. The edges of my world turned in and melted, eventually turning into a white-hot plasma. This trailed off into the other-world like tendrils of cream blending into coffee. But, the most confusing part was that there seemed to be nothing through this hole, just a rip. It was then that I saw a familiar face.

"Dr. V, is that you?" I could see him faintly within this black sea, mouthing words, then me hearing them at a great delay of time.

"Don't come in," he shouted, "I'm trapped...can't move." He strained to stay conscious while uttering some advice, "The device should not leave the sphere, Vill. It's too dangerous--it is not focused!" I was more than flabbergasted at seeing and hearing Dr. V. He was a goner, too.

Panic gripped me all over. I shouted back, "Dr. V, I...I can't turn this damn thing off...what do I do?"

"Think 'OFF', Vill--think hard! It's tapped into your mind. That's how it's controlled.", DAMMIT, OFF!!!

A great release of energy exited out of my body as the Magic Bean let go of me. The tear sealed in an instant; a bead of fire was left after the cauterization was complete. The remaining flame finally disappeared into wherever it came from, leaving part of the study deformed. A vase was fused to the shelf that it sat on, along with pictures merging part way into the wall. This seemed eerily like the infamous Philadelphia Experiment. Clocks throughout the manor were reading different times. I was overcome with hunger, yet completely drained of any energy to get up and do something about it. My flesh lost some of its pigment as well. Dr. V was right about not using the device outside of the sphere. It acts like a cosmic blender.

I left everything in its place...fell to the floor...then slept for three days straight. When I woke up, everything was different. My existence was now meaningful. I am the world's most dangerous man.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Solace is overrated when it's the only thing that you have. While my friends were getting through grad school, there I was sitting on a 19th century sofa drinking brandy 'till I passed out. No amount of the manor's walnut paneling and marble flooring would make me forget the comfort of my cork board and poster clad walls back home. Nevermind that I'm pretty much banned for life from going back there: I got caught holding some "borrowed" goods for a friend that was going through a rough patch. My dad laid down the law on that one and kicked me out. After that, I entered into community college for a brief stint. History might be my thing, but I can't get enough of film school. However, you'd think that I could sustain some kind of forward motion, but I keep falling into this gap I call my mind.

I was so lost after receiving the letter from Dr. V. Sure, It was nice that I was suddenly lord of the manor, but I felt surrounded by ghosts. Upon telling my roommate Jess that I would be leaving, he blew up. Not that he was going to miss me or anything, but he was worried about having to find someone else to split the rent with. I'd asked Jess to come and stay with me, but I didn't want to break my trust with Dr. V, even if he was off to see the wizard.

It was still the middle of winter in Brighton Hill. The feeling of vague doom penetrated through the doors and window sills. Grays, browns, interrupted by patches of frost and snow burnt my eyes more than the sun. I didn't leave the Manor much. I kept expecting the Doctor to show up and take this dreadful place off of my hands. This is crazy, all of my life I wanted my own space. Now that I had it, I was overcome with fear. Granted, this wasn't a normal situation that I was in. Why would Dr. V mention anything about there being any danger? I kept thinking. Who the hell does he think he is anyway leaving me all of this? What's he up to? Where in God's green earth did he go to? My best guess at the time was that he hung himself in that secret room. He cracked from working too much and figured that he would include me in on his sick joke. I'd stopped hanging out with my friends because I didn't want them to get involved in whatever game Dr. V's had going on here. Plus, I couldn't bare for them to have seen me as a drunken recluse.

I'd gone through all the apple brandy (this was from the Dr.'s stash) and moved on to his pear brandy. I didn't dare rip through his wine just then; it's probably very expensive. So, I just stuck with the burnt, fermented fruit juice for then. I never really drank at all before, but at the time it gave me a handy excuse to blame all that I was seeing and hearing here on the drink. Just like that Ramones song, I didn't want to go down to the basement. But, the knowledge of that secret room had me thinking that whatever had happened to Dr. V (and thus granting me this demented fairy wish) had everything to do with that room. I had to go down or I'd end up dead by alcohol poisoning first.

Before going down the spruce skeleton, as Dr. V called it, I had to crank the master switch. It was one of those Dr. Frankenstein touches that old V was so fond of--a big toggle with three exposed blades that snapped and shot blue light when making contact. The spruce skeleton was an exposed frame staircase that followed the side of the stone foundation then did a switchback before touching down. The spruce beams were painted white and looked like the bones of some horrid monster in this poorly lit portion of the basement. I was still a little tipsy and had to hold on to the hand rail like an old man to keep myself from pitching forward. It took a while to get down to ground, but the trip and cold damp air had put me a few more degrees toward sobering up.

The basement was deep. I always did marvel at that. Most of my time down here, though, was spent around Dr. V helping him out. I really didn't like it too much, but it was tolerable because I knew that V was right there with me. I took out his letter and headed down the corridor that led to the well. I had to keep reminding myself that whatever was behind door number three wouldn't be a brand new car. The well room reminded me too much of Buffalo Bill's holding area from Silence of the Lambs. I never had to go in there before. Dr. V told me that it was pretty much dried up and served no purpose for him. He said that he had no more wishes anyway.

The well was certainly dry. The crank handle to lower and raise the water bucket no longer had anything to hoist. Before I started the sequence on the handle, I wondered if I was really up to finding out whatever it was--the secret. I thought, What if it was a bunch of ladies underwear and evening gowns? Now, that would be a secret room! I felt maybe that I should go back upstairs and cook some eggs, have some toast, and black coffee. I needed something to eat and I knew that if I was sobered up that I wouldn't be breaking my commitment to Dr. V by doing this so soon. It was too late: nine clockwise, thirteen anticlockwise, seven and five eights clockwise again.

A hydraulic rumble tickled my feet. It was coming from the well. I could see down in the well water foaming up higher and higher, until after a few minutes, it finally hit the brim of the stone circle. Floating on top of the water was a bottle with a note in it. I quickly grabbed for the bobbing vessel, missing it a few times. As soon as I had a firm grip on the bottle, I pulled out the cork and shook out the contents onto the stone floor. I picked up the message and it said only, "float".

"What the...float?" I murmured aloud. As I said this, the water started to drain fast. I didn't have enough time to respond, it had gone down too far. I then figured out that I was supposed to float down with the water, so I repeated the procedure again: nine clockwise, thirteen anticlockwise, seven and five eights clockwise again. The water rose again with predictable speed and hit the top right on time. I sat on the edge letting the water creep up my jeans until I felt comfortable with going in all the way. I'm not afraid of water; I'm actually a great swimmer, but this was a little claustrophobic. I started to shiver uncontrollably as the water covered my shoulders. It wasn't because the water was cold, either. It felt heated. I was just freaking out--what if the thing breaks down and I get trapped down at the bottom of the well?

The descent down wasn't too hard. I kind of just guided myself down the one side of the stone cylinder as the water supported most of my weight. It must've been about thirty feet before I felt solid ground. A great sucking sound echoed up the well as the last dregs of the water disappeared into a brass grate. Before my eyes was a stainless steel vault door recessed back about eight feet into an entry way. There was no combination or key needed; it had a wheel like you see on bank vaults. I got a hold of the wheel and started off the wrong direction, then got it going the right way. The wheel's travel ended with a firm "click" followed by a slight drifting back and forth after it was positively engaged.

The door had considerable mass to it, but it was well balanced and opened quiet easily. I couldn't see anything. It was dark and musty. I searched around for a light switch and found a pushbutton switch just to the right. The lights flickered revealing a long stone corridor. I followed this down as far as I could go. Dripping wet, I really felt uncomfortable. There was air coming through the bottom of a steel door that felt warm. I stood over the warm draft for awhile, going over in my head all that had just transpired. Feeling sober now, definitely, I remembered thinking. I figured that I'd have to be. I knew that once I opened the door that there was going to be some heavy stuff waiting for me on the other side. I was still certain that I'd see old Dr. V hanging from a rope or worse, his head blown to bits. I don't know why I was fixed on such morbid images. The whole situation was getting to me, and I had to find out once and for all what was going on.

I slid my hand over the door knob and gently turned it. It was like a slow burlesque strip tease. I didn't want to be shown everything all at once--that would only ruin the suspense. I then cracked the door a little. More warm air came through blowing my hair a little (I managed to keep my head dry at least). Even with the light coming in from the hallway, it didn't seem to light up anything in there. I opened the door all the way and still could not see anything. I felt around again for a light switch, but couldn't feel anything. Getting a little anxious this time, I went ahead and stepped down into the room.

As soon as I stepped into the room, a beam of light came down through the center of a high, domed ceiling. This strange light started to slowly gain power and brought the entire chamber to a rich amber glow. The chamber was round, or rather, spherical. I really couldn't describe it. It's like nothing I'd ever seen before. The best I could say was that it was like being trapped inside a big, hollowed out bowling ball. A satin black film lined the entire inner surface of the room. I closed the door behind me and slowly descended the slope towards the bottom of the sphere. There was a trap door at the bottom. I lifted it up and there in a small compartment was a large binder full of files, a jumpsuit, and what I call "the device." The device is what makes everything happen: time and space manipulation. But, I had no idea at the time what it was or what the reading material was that I would have to bone up on for the next few days. This is where things started to get interesting.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

I once worked as a personal assistant for an old professor who had PhD's in physics, mathematics, and astronomy. This guy was a real genius. I spent little time helping him out with his projects. Mostly, my duties consisted of cleaning up his shop at night, feeding his iguana, pete, running errands, and sorting his mail. He rarely shared any details of his work with me and didn't seem to be in contact with any of his old collegues. He called himself Dr. V (never knew what the "V" stood for), an odd name for sure (damn name sounded evil). No one wanted much to do with the guy, and he was quite happy with that.

I could never pinpoint where, exactly, he came from. He didn't teach in the states at all. I'm guessing he's Austrian or maybe German. Dr. V's tutonic accent had a fine, high-pitched snear. There was one call I constantly dreaded from him. He laid his accent on real thick just to get under my skin: the "Caum heyer, Vill! I've gotzum paperz for ze incinzarator!" call. Cripes, he thought that was so funny. I had to go down to the basement of his old house where an old coal furnace lived. I'm a little dim when it comes to all the figures, equations, and theories of the hard sciences, and I think that's why he's kept me around. But, it pained me to burn all of this important stuff, even if I didn't get any of it. I could never figure out why he would spend so much time on his work, then immediately have me burn it. Maybe, I thought, he was just a perfectionist, but I once asked him if he was sure about burning his work. His reply was "I've no reason, only to confuse you Vill!" His humor was always inscrutable in that way.

As for me, I was a college dropout trying to get some kind of feel for what life had in store for me. I dunno, I supposed that it was all in the stars, but that sounds gay. I knew that something big was coming; I just didn't know what exactly until I got the letter from Dr. V:

I have to leave for an undetermined time. I am trusting my estate into your hands. I have no kin or friends that I can trust. You are a good boy, Will. Don't worry about legal matters. I took care of everything with my lawyer. On top of your normal salary, you will have a stipend for college. I no longer will tolerate your state of moratorium. Lazy bones syndrome is what you have, and I don't want a thick-brained lump staying in my manor. Yes, you heard me, you can live here now. You can't have my room, though. The brown room is yours. But, you can have any of the other seven rooms, if this one is not good for you. There will be no mortage or leans, debts, etc. to worry about. You'll have enough in your stipend and salary to take care of expenses and utilities. For other things, talk to my lawyer. His card is attatched.

I trust, Will, that you will keep my affairs and my work confidential. I have a special room that I've kept secret all this time. It's down in the basement near the well. If I do not return within a year, I'll need you to access this room. There are important things in this room. You must keep this to yourself. The well is not what it seems. Crank the handle nine times clockwise, thirteen times anti-clockwise, then seven and five eights clockwise. This will give you entry to a chamber. In this chamber you will have specific instructions on what to do. I stress that you do not meddle with any devices and follow, precisely, my orders. This is all I can say. Keep this letter safe.

Will, I want you to know that you are not in harm's way as long as you keep to yourself. Don't invite people over to the manor except some of the family and friends that I have met personally. Don't be bothered with inquiring sorts. Be vague and aloof with them. I know that I can trust you with these simple things. I only hope that I will not need you to be trusted with things that might come, if I do not return.

Dr. V.

What a mindblower that was! Honestly, I didn't think that I was that close to the guy to merit something like this. I'm probably the only person that he has interacted with for the past five years that I've known him. All the groceries, goods, and services were being handled by me near the end. If I didn't know any better, I would say that he was probably prepping me for something, but other than this note, I didn't know what at the time. I''ll spare you the details of the few months that I stayed in that house alone. When someone just up and leaves you their estate and takes off for some unknown location and period of time, you get a little curious and very paranoid.

I didn't wait a year, like the letter advised, to go down into the secret room. I'll tell you about that later, though.
But, what I will tell you now is, after this letter, life as I knew it had changed forever. The kicker is it keeps changing so much that I thought I'd be better off dead than feeling responsible for screwing things up so badly. The world, history, and man can be in danger because of one footstep out of place and time. I'm still going to make everything right, but right now I'm having a blast traveling. My name is William Schears, and have I got a lot of stuff to tell you.