Author : J. S. Kachelries
â€œWell, Tom, what do you think?â€
â€œJoe, if you made me hike 50 miles through the jungle, climb a freakinâ€™ 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 caveâ€¦â€ Tom pointed a threatening finger at Joeâ€™s chest, â€œTeri Hatcher had better be in there, or one of us isnâ€™t going home.â€
â€œCalm down,â€ Joe said with a reassuring smile, â€œthis is better than Teri Hatcher. And, thatâ€™s not another cave, itâ€™s a doorway. See all that writing above the opening. Thatâ€™s ancient Greek. I looked it up on the internet, that phrase at the very top translates to â€˜The Portal to VakEishnâ€™.â€
â€œVakEishn? Whatâ€™s that? And why is it so dark in there? My flashlight doesnâ€™t seem to brighten the inside.â€
â€œFirst of all, itâ€™s â€˜whereâ€™s that,â€™ and itâ€™s not really dark. Thereâ€™s some kind of energy barrier. I donâ€™t know whatâ€™s on the other side, but I plan to find out.â€ 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, â€œIâ€™m hoping the aluminum shielding will allow the signal to pass back.â€ He flipped open the video display and gazed in astonishment at a sandy tropical beach. But it wasnâ€™t like any beach heâ€™d ever seen. The sky was pink, and the ocean was almost orange. â€œYes,â€ he said enthusiastically. â€œThis is better than I had hoped. I think this is a portal to another planet.â€ He stepped closer to the portal. â€œAnd, I plan to go there.â€
â€œWhat! Are you nuts? If that is another planet,â€ conceded Tom, â€œthere may not be oxygen there. It might be minus 300 degrees, that â€˜oceanâ€™ could be liquid methane.â€
â€œNow youâ€™re being crazy. Why would an advanced civilization build a portal to a place where they couldnâ€™t breathe the air, or tolerate the temperatures? Iâ€™m going. You can watch through the camcorder. Iâ€™ll let you know if I need anything. But whatever you do, donâ€™t follow me.â€ He tossed Tom the camcorder, and stepped through the portal.
Tom quickly looked down at the video display. He saw Joeâ€™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, â€œNooo! 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, â€˜Caution. Enter only, not an exitâ€™.â€
Tom turned back toward the portal. But all he could see were miles and miles of sand dunes.