Author : Callum Wallace
“Well, this is a little awkward, but we’ll have to destroy you. Only literally, of course. Metaphysically you’ll be right as rain.”
Paul shrank back from this. “Metaphysically?”
The speaker nodded, the soft beak spreading into what could have been a smile. “You’ll continue to exist in what you would call our minds. Specifically Klegg’s.”
The grey figure to his left waved cheerfully and nodded its bulbous head.
Paul shook his. “I don’t understand. Why do you have to destroy me at all? I don’t think I like that idea.”
The spokesalien gave a shrug of his tiny shoulders. “It’s quite safe. Imagine a two dimensional line. Take that line to your dimension, the third. It only ceases to exist in the sense that it is no longer two dimensional. If you think about it, it now exists even more! As a third dimensional shape, of course.”
The third alien piped up helpfully. “A rectangular prism.” This earned him a bony elbow to skinny ribs.
Bhob continued. “Yes, thank you Lendi.” He turned back to Paul, regarding him with over-large eyes. “In this way, so too must you be destroyed, and reborn as a fourth dimensional being.”
The being smiled its beaked smile again. “Yes, like us.”
He raised his arms, closing his eyes and taking a deep breath, like a vicar before a sermon.
Before he could speak, however, Paul interrupted. “Excuse me sorry, one more thing. If you’re fourth dimensional, how are you here, speaking to me right now? Aren’t you, you know,” he rolled his hands nervously, “third dimensional like me?”
The lead alien made an irritated noise and lowered its elongated hands. “Well, strictly speaking, we’re not in the third dimension. We’re with you in your mind, not actually here in any sense.”
Klegg joined in. “On that note, why do you lot always make us look like this?” Paul mouthed wordlessly, prompting Klegg to indicate their frail, pale bodies.
“Make you look like this?”
Bhob nodded. “We’re in your mind. You subconsciously chose us to look like this.”
Paul shrugged. “Um… Movies?”
Klegg grunted and rolled his eyes. “Popular culture has a lot to answer for.”
Bhobb cleared his throat. “Anyway, as I was saying, we’re here, in your mind.” He tapped his head. “But before you can meet the council, we need to take you into our dimension. Klegg?”
The second alien nodded and stepped forward. “The transdimensional shift doesn’t hurt. As Bhob said, we ‘destroy you’,” he waggled his long tipped fingers like bunny ears, “and reconstitute you in our dimension. Then, you’ll be able to interact with the council and find out just why they summoned you.”
Paul blinked and took a step back. “Wait, wait, you don’t know what they want? Aren’t you higher beings? How do you not know?”
Klegg ran a thin hand over his fleshy face. “Every time!”
Bhob shook his head. “Only higher to you. Do you know what your leaders are doing all of the time? Are you aware of how your universe functions, just because you exist in it?”
Paul shook his head as Lendi stepped forward, trying to smile kindly. “We’re just the collectors. Like your bureaucrats.”
“Or bounty hunters?”
Klegg gave a short laugh. “Kind of. Right, close your eyes, hold your breath.”
The aliens closed their eyes, arms raised.
Paul, still unsure and slightly reeling, waited, thinking.
Was this real?
And if so, what could possibly await him on the other side? What would he see?
It might be wonderful.
He steeled himself, took a deep breath.
Paul blinked, and —