Author : Roger Dale Trexler
Gilfred stood at the door. “Where does it go?” he asked.
He turned and looked at Samuelson and Thromby. Both men shook their heads. “We don’t know,” said Thromby, his thick jowls quivering as he spoke. He was the oldest of them and self-professed smartest of the lot. Gilfred didn’t much like him, but Thromby had a perchant for being able to procure funding when the situation seemed dire. He’d gotten them the money for their research and Gilfred both respected and detested the man.
“How can you not know?” asked Gilfred. He walked up to the door and touched it. “You created it.”
“I’m not sure we did,” Thromby replied.
“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” Gilfred looked at Samuelson as if to ask: is he crazy?
Thromby was about to reply, but Samuelson beat him to the punch. He pointed at the door. “It’s not really a door,” said Samuelson. “At least, not in the conventional sense of a door.” He walked forward and stood between Gilfred and Thromby. “It’s a gateway.”
“A gateway?” asked Gilfred. “What sort of a gateway?”
Samuelson shook his head. “That’s what we’re trying to figure out,” he said. “We were brought into this project two months ago, after the scientist working on it disappeared.”
Gilfred was taken back. “What scientist?” he asked.
“Addison,” Thromby chimed in. “Addison Burke.”
“Addison Burke!” Gilfred’s jaw dropped. He knew Addison Burke well; he was one of the originators of the project. “I….I had heard he was missing.”
“Well,” said Thromby. “He’s not just missing….he’s gone.”
“Gone where?” asled Gilfred.
“Through the door, sir” said Samuelson.
“You’re sure of that?”
Samuelson nodded. “Yes. His last log entry said that he was going through the door.” He pointed at the computer. “We’ve gone through his journal extensively. He thought he’d found a form of astral projection that could transport him anywhere he wanted.”
“And you think he went?” asked Gilfred.
“Yes sir,” said Samuelson.
Gilfred turned to Thromby. “And you concur?”
Thromby nodded. “Yes, I do.”
Gilfred walked around the door. It wasn’t really a door, of course, but they had sealed what lay behind it with a metal door. He reached out and touched the metal. It was cool to the touch.
“Burke was a genius,” Samuelson said.
“Indeed he was.”
“But he was torn with grief over his wife and daughter’s death,” said Samuelson. “He went a little mad.”
“A little,” Thromby said, “He went absolutely bugfuck! He locked himself away from everyone. It was only when we had a surge that blew the power grid for ten blocks that anyone truly knew what he was up to.”
“And this was it?” asked Gilfred.
“Can we open this door?” Gilfred said.
“Sure,” Thromby said. “It’s safe….for the most part.”
Gilfred reached out and touched the doorknob. For a second, he debated. Then, he threw caution to the wind and opened the door.
Brilliant light filled the room.
It took a full twenty seconds or so for their eyes to adjust, then Gilfred saw the swirling chaos of light beyond the door.
“My God,” he said. “He did it. He actually did it.”
“So, you knew about this?” asked Samuelson.
Gilfred nodded. “I financed it,” he said. “I owed him that much. His wife and daughter were gone. He had nothing else to live for.”
“You sent that man to his death,” Thromby said bitterly.
“Did I?” asked Gilfred. “Did I?” he pointed into the swirling void.
“Tell no one about this,” he said.
“But….what do we do with that?” asked Thromby.
“Nothing,” said Gilfred.
“Nothing,” he said again. “Unless one of you wants to go in there after him.”
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