The Symptoms Of Interdimensional Shifting

By Jason Lenzo

sfgenre"You may not shift the first go," Amos said with a smile. "It took about twenty or so goes to shift the apple, I couldn't get the alignment right."

"What happens to me if the shift fails?" I asked with a nervous laugh.

"Oh, nothing. Nothing happens, well, not nothing. If I haven't aligned the array just right then you sort of semi shift."

"Semi shift?"

"Yeah, sort of like you shift but then bounce straight back," he said as his attention was drawn back to the computer screen. "It'll be so quick you won't even realise it happened. But your vision might go a bit blurry and things might sound a bit echoey."

"Oh, are you sure it's safe?" I asked, my voice quivering slightly.

"Totally, totally safe, "Amos affirmed as he looked up from the screen.

"Ok..." I said.

"Honestly, you'll be fine. My cat bounced three times before I aligned the array properly. Then he shifted into another dimension for five minutes before I brought him back."

I took a deep breath, "What will be there, what's in this other dimension?"

"No idea, there are an infinite number of alternate dimensions, or realities. I'd guess that it will be like here, we are probably there, but we'll be ... different."

"Sounds like one of those old sci fi shows from the twenties," I laughed. "Is what we're about to do illegal?"

Amos sighed. "Probably," he paused. "But I can't wait for the ethics approvals, that'll take years. I can do this now. I need to know now."

"Then let's start shifting." I said with a smile.

***

I stood on a mirrored platform with a large metallic box hanging over my head. I looked up at it and noticed a round opening.

"Once we start, don't look up. The phase shift arrays will emit through that hole, don't look up at them, you'll go blind," he warned.

I bounced three times. Each time I heard a loud whirring sound coming from the box above my head before I was bathed in a bright, violet light. I squeezed my eyes shut, fearful of impending blindness, before a loud clanging noise came from the box and several expletives spat from Amos' mouth. He had been right about the side effects. A nauseating dizziness and his first words to me would echo. Not a large, empty room kind of echo, more like a canyon echo.

"Are you alright, you alright, alright?"

I shifted dimensions on the fourth attempt.

I was waiting for the clanging noise and subsequent dizziness, but instead the whirring of the machine above my head suddenly stopped and there was complete silence.

I slowly opened my eyes, heart pounding.

I was standing on the mirrored platform in the same room. I looked up to see the same metallic box hanging over my head. The computer sat on the same desk, which stood on the same green, tiled floor. It was all the same. But Amos was missing.

I climbed down from the platform and made my way around to the computer, which appeared to be switched off. Beyond the room was the same corridor leading to the same double glass doors. Outside was the same university campus. Autumn was just around the corner and some of the trees had crimson tips on their leaves, just like they had in my own reality.

Where are all the people? Why is it so quiet? I could hear the rustling of the leaves as they moved, buffeted around by a gentle breeze, and the sound of my shoes crunching gravel on the path. But there were no birds chirping, no background hum of traffic, no laughter of students rushing to their classes. This reality, this dimension was empty.

A wave of dizziness overcame me, I tripped and fell forward. The trees and buildings moved around me as though I were spinning. The weak, afternoon light took on a violet hue. My stomach convulsed as nausea swept over me. I was vomiting, vomiting all over a mirrored platform with Amos standing over me. "I brought you back, you back, back. What did you see? Did you see? See?"

***

That week Amos shifted me seven times, each time insisting that the new reality would have people. Each time, each reality was as empty as the first. The only thing that changed was how long it took for me to recover. The dizziness and echoing persisted exponentially longer following every return.

"How far did you go?" he asked.

"I ran out to the highway, I could see the city. The buildings were dark, it was silent." I replied.

"I don't understand!" he moaned. "This doesn't make sense."

We stood in silence as profound and absolute as all the other realities I had visited. Amos stared at me. "Let's go again."

I wandered down the highway, the setting sun bathing the city in its amber glow. I marveled at the lack of garbage beside the road, another benefit of a humanless world I smiled. The crack of snapping twigs made me freeze, adrenalin flooded my body making me hot and cold at the same time. The noise was coming from the trees just ahead of me. Turn and run, the adrenalin screamed. A figure stumbled out onto the road. I remained perfectly still as the figure righted itself and looked at me.

Several realisations slapped me in rapid succession. The person was wearing one of my jackets. Blue background with a light green leaf pattern and bright silver zipper. The person had the same shoes as me, blue suede with orange laces. He had the same hair colour and style. He had the same face. He was me. A disheveled, sickly looking, me.

"Stop shifting! You are leaving us behind," the other me yelled, taking a step towards me as I reactively took a step back.

Waves of dizziness washed over me, Amos was bringing me back.

"Stop shifting!" We screamed at ourselves. "Stop dividing!"

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About The Author

Jason Lenzo

Jason Lenzo is a medical scientist with a PhD in Immunology. He is currently working on several short stories that straddle the divide between science fiction and horror and every now and again his thoughts turn to The Novel.

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Square Musing
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