alternate universes

How to travel between the alternates

(This is an extract from my novel in progress Housewife with a Half-Life)

Fairly Dave shuddered. He was already shuddering with the force and speed of his momentum through the temporal folds but his emotions sent another tsunami from his pelvis to the frontal lobes. He thought he had judged things right, that he should end up pretty close to the scene of the action but if he had misjudged it then it would be catastrophic. You might think you’ve blown it if you take the wrong turn off the motorway and have to travel forty miles north before you can get to the exit to turn you round and then you hit a tailback and its going to be forever before you get back to your starting point, never mind where you want to get to. But if you misjudge the route between alternate universes then you ain’t never going to find your way back.

If you’ve never travelled between alternate universes – well we all have, as we said, in dreams although we don’t know it – but if you’ve ever brought your body with you then you will know the sensations. You begin by whooshing, by hurtling down a translucent shute, a dull obstructed light coming through, so very similar to going down one of those closed slides in a waterpark. You are skidding, slipping and it’s a kind of joyful thing and your mind goes ‘woo hoo’ and you are a little bit at the mercy but it’s a fabulous kind of abandon and you are rocked and rocketed and accelerating all the time. You feel like there are tiny little men racing down your arms and dancing on your fingertips and toes. The speed is crucial especially when you are firing directly at the membrane of the alternate world. There is a gap but sometimes there are the last remnants of a film you have to break through. And first you plunge and its like going underwater and then like being under the blankets when you’re trying to get out but can’t and there’s a lot of flailing and panicking but its sort of safe and reminiscent of something you can’t quite remember, enclosed and watery and warm but then you see this very small black thing floating in front of you, a little blob, dark and coagulated and shiny like old blood and once it appears you can’t get it out of your mind. And you begin to feel a little sick inside, uneasy, unsure. It niggles and it grows and grows and the more you look and feel the way you do the more you feed it and it expands and becomes giant, a giant glutinous blob and it comes for you and it sucks you inside it and its in your face and your eyes and the stickiness is all over your palms as you push out and you know you are not going to make it.

Flailing without sound. There is no air. You’ve had it. But then you wriggle your fishy toes, you feel an opening around them. You make a movement like treading water. You know there is hope so you somersault or you lever yourself against the jelly walls and turn head to foot and you bang your head against the membrane and it breaks and you are whooshing, splooshing, flooshing out and you fall into light as searing at a nuclear blast, the sun with mirrors. And you have no eyes, they have burned away and you just feel. The light is like a liquid but slick, slick and you are still searing through the space between the solid and the material. You are a red hot iced lollipop hurtling and the solar wind rips at your skin and the back of your eyelids dance with kaleidoscopes and you are slipping through fast honey.

Then it goes black, you open your eyes newly you reach out to the fuzzy felt feeling the dimensions are closing and folding in around you like a fabric, a velvet funnel sucking you back down. And if you stare like you never stared before you can begin to see through the fabric, like watching the city from inside a taxi cab, streaks of neon, snatches of babble, honks and whistles, and a heavenly sky, like the northern lights a multitude of rainbows, streaking, spitting, exploding asteroid rain. Your chest expands and your mouth is stretched wide and joy joy joy floods through you through every tingling morsel of your skin, cells in a Mardi Gras the champagne exuberance of existence, you never ever ever felt this way before, tears shining in your eyes like liquid diamonds, you want to feel this way forever. Plop. He landed on the other side like ketchup squeezed out of a bottle.