Author : J. S. Kachelries

“Well, Tom, what do you think?”

“Joe, if you made me hike 50 miles through the jungle, climb a freakin’ 10,000 foot mountain, and craw through a cave for half a mile on my hands and knees, just so you could show me another cave…” Tom pointed a threatening finger at Joe’s chest, “Teri Hatcher had better be in there, or one of us isn’t going home.”

“Calm down,” Joe said with a reassuring smile, “this is better than Teri Hatcher. And, that’s not another cave, it’s a doorway. See all that writing above the opening. That’s ancient Greek. I looked it up on the internet, that phrase at the very top translates to ‘The Portal to VakEishn’.”

“VakEishn? What’s that? And why is it so dark in there? My flashlight doesn’t seem to brighten the inside.”

“First of all, it’s ‘where’s that,’ and it’s not really dark. There’s some kind of energy barrier. I don’t know what’s on the other side, but I plan to find out.” He reached into his backpack and pulled out two camcorders attached to each other with a wire wrapped in aluminum foil. He turned on one camera and gently tossed it through the portal. It disappeared. As he turned on the power to the second camcorder, he said, “I’m hoping the aluminum shielding will allow the signal to pass back.” He flipped open the video display and gazed in astonishment at a sandy tropical beach. But it wasn’t like any beach he’d ever seen. The sky was pink, and the ocean was almost orange. “Yes,” he said enthusiastically. “This is better than I had hoped. I think this is a portal to another planet.” He stepped closer to the portal. “And, I plan to go there.”

“What! Are you nuts? If that is another planet,” conceded Tom, “there may not be oxygen there. It might be minus 300 degrees, that ‘ocean’ could be liquid methane.”

“Now you’re being crazy. Why would an advanced civilization build a portal to a place where they couldn’t breathe the air, or tolerate the temperatures? I’m going. You can watch through the camcorder. I’ll let you know if I need anything. But whatever you do, don’t follow me.” He tossed Tom the camcorder, and stepped through the portal.

Tom quickly looked down at the video display. He saw Joe’s calves come into view as he jogged toward the crashing waves. Minutes later, Joe was performing Olympian-type feats; jumping vertically six to eight feet high. Tom could hear Joe laughing and shouting like a child in an amusement park. Tom stood open mouthed, staring at the display. Apparently, the portal did go to another planet, one with much lower gravity than Earth. And it was habitable. The temptation to pass through the portal was unbearable.

As Joe bunny hopped back toward the camcorder, Tom suddenly appeared. Surprised, Joe tripped and slowly tumbled face first into the sand. He looked up at Tom and screamed, “Nooo! What are you doing here? I told you to stay on the other side. I needed you to supply me until I could find the return portal. Oh God, I forgot to tell you what the rest of the Greek writing meant. It said, ‘Caution. Enter only, not an exit’.”

Tom turned back toward the portal. But all he could see were miles and miles of sand dunes.

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