Moving Ahead

July 10, 2011

Thunk.

Julian’s bloodshot eyes suddenly opened. He turned to see that his alarm clock read 6:32 a.m., much too early to start a day. He lay half-naked in his bed clinging to his childhood Batman blanket. Sleep was still in his eyes and the sun was just barely peaking through his broken blinds.

Three hours of sleep wasn’t going to be enough to get through today.

Julian Sanders wondered what had woken him. Did he hear something? He threw off the old tatter of a blanket sat upright in bed. After some hard blinking and rubbing of his eyes, he turned and placed his feet on the bare wooden floor. He kept his breathing shallow as he tried to listen for another sound.

After some time of waiting, and nothing happening, he assumed it was safe.  Julian contemplated not getting out of bed. Maybe he could lay back down a get another few hours of rest.

Thunk.

The sound seemed to come from his living room.

Did somebody break in?

He didn’t have anything of value, except maybe his pitiful DVD collection. And what kind of burgler would work at six in the morning?

“Nah,” thought Julian. “Nobody in their right mind would be up this early.”

Maybe it was his neighbors in the apartment above had dropped something on the floor. Julian contemplated going up there and complaining. It wouldn’t be the first time.

Now he heard muffled voices. But these were definitely coming from his living room.

Julian’s mind raced and he had to stop himself from panicking.

Somebody was out there.

He knew he had to see what was going on, he had to do something. Julian glided his way toward his closet. He didn’t think to reach for pants, or a phone, but instead grabbed his Louisville Slugger.

“I’m not going out there with nothing.” he thought to himself. The plan that formed in his mind involved a lot of bravado and yelling. While he may not be a very loud and aggressive man he expected the bat would do most of the work for him.

“Okay, Julian, just stay cool. Just walk out there and get ready for anything that comes at you. Remember, you’re the boss.” Julian’s conscious spoke to him. “These punks probably don’t even expect me to be home. So, I’ll just go out there and demand they leave. They’ll be out of here in a split second.”

He took a few deep breaths and convinced himself that he was brave. Julian kicked open his bedroom door and stepped out to confront whoever was out there.

He expected to see one or two guys wearing black ski masks and carrying crowbars. Maybe they would be carrying sacks with all of his things stuffed inside. They were probably tip-toeing around as well.

Instead, he opened the door and saw two rather normal looking men in uniforms. There were a lot of open cardboard boxes scattered around the room, some of which contained his possessions.

There was also a large opening in his wall that emanated a green glow of light. These men did not seemed alarmed by the unnatural object whatsoever nor the half naked man facing them armed only with a baseball bat.

The men in the yellow and blue one piece work-suits continued onward, moving boxes to the middle of his living room, and carrying on normal conversation.  

Who- who do you think you are?” Julian managed to squawk out. He had wished his words sounded more menacing.

The men finally took notice of him.

“Oh. Hi there.” said one man casually. “Did you not get the notice? We were told you had gotten notified of your departure.” said the man with blonde hair that was holding Julian’s table lamp. His voice was bright and cheery.

This was discomforting for Julian this early in the morning.

“What notice?” cracked Julian’s voice.

“I guess not.” replied a mustached moving man now walking in through the portal. The bill of his yellow hat was bent in the middle, causing it to look like a cartoon duck bill. He grabbed a box and walked back into the doorway, leaving Julian behind, dumbstruck.

“Did he just walk through my wall?” Julian said. His eyes were locked on the green passageway.

“Yeah, now I know you didn’t read the letter of notice.” said the friendly looking blonde. “You’re moving. Today. And you’re also coming with us.”

“Did that guy just – walk – through -my wall?” Julian repeated with obvious discomfort.

“Yeah, if you would have read the notice you wouldn’t be so concerned right now.” said the kindly man.

After a few seconds of incomprehension Julian allowed a small dribble of drool fall out of his mouth. He had just seen a man walk in and out through a solid wall. It might have been very early for Julian, but he knew that something wasn’t quite right.

Taking notice of Julian’s confusion the blonde man set down the lamp and slowly approached with open hands.

“Okay bud, just take a seat.” He guided Julian by the shoulders to sit on a box full of his unimpressive DVD collection. “Don’t flip a lid. Breathe. Just. Breathe.” The man’s voice was soothing. “Here, drink some water.” he handed him a nearby bottle of water.

Julian wiped the drool from his face with the back of his hand and began to drink. His eyes were still locked on the odd opening in the wall.

The moving man extended a hand. “Hi, I’m Frank. That’s Grant. We work for a moving company – of sorts.”

“I- I don’t understand.” said Julian. His eyes finally broke away from the portal and met those of Frank’s.

“Of sorts?” Julian asked. ” There’s a hole in my wall. I don’t know many moving men that put glowing holes in your house.”

“Oh, no, that’s not a hole per se. That’s what we in the business like to call a ‘Dimential Rift Membrane.’ Most other folks just call it a ‘rift’ for short.”

Grant walked back into the room and tried to explain what he could. “We work for a company that relocates those who have been displaced by the Korring Effect. That’s when people from one dimension end up in another by accident. Our records show that you were moved here, and we’re here to bring you back.”

This guy wasn’t making any sense. Julian thought of the possible explanations of his current state of mind. Maybe he was hallucinating. After all, he did order take out from a very questionable restaurant last night. Perhaps he was still sleeping and a gas leak is causing him to have a trippy dream. Still, everything felt so uncomfortable it had to be real.

After a few awkward seconds Grant spoke again.

“Hey buddy, can you get up? I need to take that box next.”

Julian decided now was as good of a time as any to stand up and fight these guys. He was determined that he wasn’t just going to get robbed, or moved, or evicted without a fight.

“Get  away from my stuff!” he leap up from his box and held his bat in a swinging position. “I’ll hit you so hard your mustache will fly back to where it came from.” Julian didn’t think too hard about his insult, but he figured that if he said it loud enough, they would stop what they were doing.

“Mr. Sanders, just stay calm. We will explain everything but you just need to calm down.” said Frank.

“How about I don’t calm down and you explain everything, or I make that hat become part of your skull.” Now his threat felt a little more convincing.

“You live in a dimension that is not your own. You were moved here when you were young, you just don’t remember. Our company checked your records and decided that it was time you came back to your original dimension. You were slated to move today. It’s not a big deal. It happens all the time.” explained Frank. His voice had a casual tone.

“How can you just “move” me to some other place. I live here. This apartment is my home. I don’t want to crawl through some hole and end up who-knows-where.” he complained. He searched for something else. “Plus, that thing will probably give me cancer or something!”

“No, you don’t understand.” said the man with the mustache. “We move people through, what you might call, ‘wormholes’ to other dimensions. It’s totally safe technology, just this dimension hasn’t discovered it’s wide spread use yet.”

“So, you mean this is like, some Stephen Hawking stuff?” Julian managed.

“We don’t know who that is, but if it makes you calm down, then yes. Yes it is.” said Frank cooly. “Just put down the bat and we’ll get this process started.”

After a few moments, Julian calmed down enough to have a seat. Frank pulled a piece of paper from his pocket.

“This is a copy of the notice you were supposed to have read. Read it and then you’ll have a better idea of what’s going on.” said Frank as he handed the paper to Julian.

It took a few minutes, but Julian read every word.

After another few minutes, Julian stopped crying.

He was placed in the wrong dimension. Something called the Korring Effect causes rips in time and space that mixes things up.

Maybe this is why he always felt alone in this world. Maybe this is why he never found it too easy to live in a world where people lived like this. He always felt out of place.

This could be his opportunity to start over; to fit in.

“Okay, I think I’m ready to – leave – I guess.”

Great!” said Frank. “Come with me. Grant here will take care of the rest of your stuff and I’ll just guide you through.”

“Okay. Just don’t break anything.” said Julian. He dropped his bat and figured Grant would take care of it.

They walked up to the gateway and looked into the green swirl that seemed so sophisticated and terrifying. The neon glow seemed to churn within. There was no sound, nor was there anything to identify inside. It looked like he was going to walk into a dense cloud.

“Now, just walk through. There’s a little step, so don’t fall.”

“Okay…”

Julian took a deep breath, and stepped into the green world that lay beyond.

He was trusting his life to these two men; men he had never met before today. Men with funny yellow hats. Men who were comfortable around the idea of a wormhole.

He wasn’t sure why, but he decided to close his eyes. Maybe it would make the decision less terrifying if he didn’t see what he was getting himself into.

Julian took one step and found nothing for his foot to land on.

He fell.

He decided in that moment to not open his eyes. He would prefer to not see how he died.

Sooner than expected, he hit the ground, face first, in a heap.

When he opened his eyes he saw Frank, heartily laughing, helping him up.

“I said don’t fall.” Frank chuckled.

“Sorry.” Julian squeaked.

“That’s alright. Now you know. Keep your eyes open next time.” Frank opened his arms wide and looked all around him. With a big smile he said. “Welcome to Plane #243 D, Alpha! Your new home.”

After looking around the building he was now inside, his breath was taken away. This was his new home.

Julian acted accordingly.

After another few minuets, he stopped crying and took his first steps as a new resident of Plane #243 D, Alpha; wherever that was.

“Hey, uh, Frank?” asked Julian.

“Yeah?” replied Frank.

“I think I need some pants.”

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2 Responses to “Moving Ahead”

  1. Alba Says:

    As you said earlier (yes, I’m stalking you blog, what of it?), you do use the passive voice a lot. The first sentence in particular sounds a bit funny. On the other hand, the passive voice does fit the theme of this story. Things are very much happening *to* Julian.
    I like the absurd feeling of the story, and the way all the really weird things that are happening are described in a very matter-of-fact way. That really adds to the dreamlike feeling. The last line is *perfect*.
    You do a lot of line breaks (or whatever they’re called – hey, I’m Swedish, I don’t have to know this stuff!). In this narrow format, they aren’t that visible, but in a book or so I at least would feel the text was too chopped up. Try for more flow.

    (this wasn’t so bad, was it? nothing to be afraid of!)


    • Flow more. :::checks list:::
      Passive voice. :::checks list:::
      Check for line breaks. :::checks list:::

      Thank you kindly for your sage words of advice. They will be taken to heart.


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