Writing Prompt #19 — The Thing From the Fourth Dimension

Prompt: You are running for your life from a four-dimensional creature that can phase in and out of your three-dimensional space.

What has occurred up hitherto is something that must be put down into history, though it is doubtful that any poor soul would discover it, let alone glance over it.

I digress… I must hastily jot down everything.

A week ago, or perhaps it was only a day or two ago, I stumbled upon a relic in the museum on one of my many trips there, — I like ancient and dusty things, and the past is far more interesting than the present. It was a round box with rusted golden trim, and a clear, large jewel was embedded in the top. When I questioned one of the directors about it, they insisted it was not a diamond or any other type of common, transparent gem. They believed it to be a mix of moonstone, though lacking the milky color, and morganite, though, again, lacking the pinkish tint.

Under the electric light of the display, the gem sparkled and gleamed, sending blades of kaleidoscopic colors over my clothes. I moved out of the way and allowed the colors to plaster the wall, but then… It’s hard to describe, for I hardly believed it myself.

It appeared the light created a hole in the wall, but in the same moment, there was no hole at all. I could peer through the wall, sees its insides, the wood, the plaster, the nails, and so forth, and also could clearly see into the connecting room. However, when I placed my hand over the hole, I still felt the solid wall.

Initially I believed my mind was playing tricks on me, and that’s what I assumed the other attendants at the museum believed, too, but after experimenting with other things — what a fool I must’ve appeared to the others who walked or idled in the museum — like a piece of paper, a notebook, a watch, and whatever else I could manage to bring into the museum. It was all the same. I could see the insides of the paper, the thin, nearly microscopic insides; the leafs of paper inside the notebook; the inner metal workings of the clock.

But yet when I stood before it myself, allowing the light to fall onto me, I could not see into myself; nor even when I lifted my shirt and let it lay on my flesh. Before I was escorted out of the building by one of the burly security guards, I knelt and watched the light fall onto the other attendees as they moved to other exhibits, but yet I couldn’t see inside them either.

When I returned to my apartment, confused, intrigued and in dismay, I paced the small room for quite some time. If the gem had the ability to see in some sort of other dimension, then what did the box contain? Was what was inside, and did it cause this Was the gem but just a catalyst? I tried to think of an idea as to what may cause something like this, but could not. I was no scientist or physicist, I was just a curious fool.

The next day I set out early for the museum once more. The wind was harsh and cold, and flakes of snow fell from the sky like dandruff. I had come up with a plan, and despite the danger and illegality of it, I had to know what was in the box. It weighed on my mind like a lead helmet. It was all I thought about, all I dreamed about, it was all consuming and just a peek into the ancient container would relieve my mind greatly.

I stood before the exhibit. I looked over my shoulder to find no security nearby or no other attendees — thankfully I came early. My body trembled and sweat started to come through my clothes. I wiped my forehead and eyes and took a deep breath. Quickly I snatched the artifact from its cushioned pedestal, held it against my side underneath my overcoat and dashed out of the museum, keeping my vision to the ground.

I only wanted to look inside. I’m no criminal, no thief or degenerate, just heavily curious. My intentions were to return it once I discovered what laid below the cover, but God, what a fool I was and am.

I sat on the floor on my apartment and placed it before me. I gripped the top and twisted it, for it seemed to screw on, and pulled it off. As if a shadow passed over the light coming in through the window, my room darkened but returned to normal a second later. Inside the container was nothing, not a piece of paper, not another gem, not a single thing but air.

* * *

Fool! I said to myself, screwing the cover back into place. What I fool I am! Then suddenly an idea dawned on me, stopping me in my self-loathing.

I held the container underneath the light, and the gem sparkled but yet there was no longer a rainbow, no light seemed to refract from the diamond. Was something released? I thought. Was I correct to believe that something inside was causing the rainbow? I must have been, for the rainbow is no more… But what was released?

After setting the box down, I stood up and glanced around the room. Nothing had changed, no furniture had moved, not even the books sitting atop the dresser had fallen over, but I noticed underneath one of the chairs was a hole in the floor. I strode over to it, slid the chair out of the way, and looked down to find it was another hole like before. It was solid to the touch, but I saw the inside of my floors: the floorboards, the nails, the dust and ash and mice pellets.

As I knelt closer to it, placing my face a few inches away, something in between the space of my floors and not my floors rippled, as if something had ran past the hole. I jerked up. I only briefly caught sight of it but it gave the impression that it was large, far larger than I or anyone I had ever seen, and it did not appear human in form, more bestial, like a lion.

I moved the chair back, then turned towards the box. There was now a hole underneath it, like the one I had just inspected. I strode over to the newly formed hole, snatched the box up and tossed it onto my bed, and peered down into the hole. Again, I could see the woodworking on the floor and at the last moment, before I looked away, something flew passed it in that place that isn’t a place. I stumbled back, wide-eyed and mouth agape.

God what a monster it was! I could hardly conceive its shape or form, as if its makeup was far too complicated for any mind to comprehend. It possessed, what I believed to be, legs, multiple legs that carried a frame that seemed titanic, but yet did not? The way it moved gave the impression it was light as a feather, but its body was so large it would be nearly impossible for something of that size to be that light.

Shaking my head, as if I were shaking a bad dream away, I went over to my bed, ripping off a blanket, and placed it over the hole. There, fine; if I couldn’t see it, I thought, then it couldn’t bother me. But then the hole pierced the blanket, passing through it like a lit wick through paper. The monster passed by once more, but now nearer.

I think I made out its head, its face, its maw of a mouth. No, God, no… This couldn’t be happening, I told myself. I turned away, but there on the wall was another hole, then a smaller one above in the ceiling, then a crudely, jagged one on the floor below. The creature passed by them at all once. I had to get away, perhaps it was only bound to my apartment?

I ran to the door, threw it open and sprinted down the small flight of stairs out to the sidewalk. As soon as the cold, harsh winter wind hit me, I realized I did not bring my jacket but I refused to go back up to that place. I looked from one end of the street to another, pondering where to go next. I decided on the coffee shop a few blocks away, so after crossing the street, I tried my best to appear normal and casually walked there.

Inside was warm and filled with the aroma of coffee beans and fried dough. I ordered a cup of the black brew, then once I received it, sat at a small table near the window. The warmth radiating through the ceramic mug felt good cupped in my hands and the wafting steam over my face, for a brief moment, relaxed my raging thoughts. I closed my eyes and inhaled. God it smelt good. I took a sip. It tasted good as well.

I opened my eyes and glanced out the window, mid-drink, then stopped. There was a hole in the street, like a sinkhole, and in the sidewalk, and on a shop across the way, and even… No, that wasn’t possible… but in the sky? in the sky! The mug almost shattered in my hand as I gripped onto it with dear life.

Then the monster passed by all of them at once, but now the details could be seen. Its mouth a tooth-filled, jagged maw of swirling nothingness that seemed to stretch to the pits of the earth, its dozens of eyes that protruded from the center of its face, each one oddly, differently shaped than the other, the hues of the irises possessed no known names, and its mane, for it had one like that of a lion, was a tangled mass of kaleidoscopic tendrils that swirled and twisted, moved as if each strand was sentient.

I choked back the scream pinched in my throat. With a trembling hand I set down the cup, and peeked at the other people in the shop. None of them saw what I seen, none of them were screaming or running or even reacting to the monstrosity that lurked just outside. Was I simply going mad? Was I hallucinating? Or was it because I was the fool who opened the box and released the abomination prisoned inside?

* * *

These questions lingered in my mind for just a moment before a large hole, larger than all the others, blanketed the inside of the shop. All the walls, windows, ceiling, counter, everything was covered. The people still walked, talked, drank and laughed as if nothing had changed but I could see everything and anything, into everything and anything; the inner workings of the machines, the woodworking of the floor and ceiling and cement-work of the brick walls , and… in the distance of this vast, empty plain that the box released, the monster running towards me in the far distance.

I screamed. I could not hold it in any longer. I leapt up, screaming, and ran out of the shop. Everything became the world that I released. I could no longer see the cement I ran upon, the gray sky above, the shops I passed, even the people soon vanished before my eyes. Everything was a desolate, vacant place overlaying my world, the real world. I ran and ran for what felt like hours, but eventually my legs would move no further and I stopped, gulping air into my lungs. Nothing changed, no familiarity of my world returned. I was now a prisoner, and the monster’s prey. In the distance I could hear the gurgling roar of it, echoing through the air like the vibrations of a church bell.

I sat and took out the small pad and pencil I had in my pocket, and began this entry. Perhaps one day someone will find it, perhaps it will somehow seep into the real world and make its way into someone’s lap, or, perhaps, it will stay inside this place for all eternity and no one will ever know what happened to me.

But I must go, I have wasted too much time writing. The roaring has grown, the ground shakes underneath its titanic weight. The monster comes and I must find somewhere to hide, to live to tomorrow… Is there a tomorrow in this world?


Read my previous prompt, “Johnny’s Birthday

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