Author : P. Djeli Clark

An extra-dimensional portal has opened up in my grocer’s freezer.

Not a giant portal, that might send out shaggy mammoth blue beetles with a thousand legs–like what happened to poor Doyle McDonald out at the granary (no one’s still quite certain where that beetle’s gone, though pets and livestock are still disappearing from time to time).

Neither was it one of those floating portals that sometimes flitter about as giant translucent globules, sucking in everything they touch. Last month one of them floated down and swallowed up the PS 19 elementary school bus on a field trip to the strawberry patch. The bus showed up way out on route 75 near Occom’s Crossing at precisely 11:16 PM the following Tuesday (which is where and when all such things swallowed up by the giant globules always make their reappearance). But of course all the elementary kids are now middle-aged and speak only some language the government linguists (who seem overly excited at the whole affair) say is a dead Aluet dialect.

No, the extra-dimensional portal that opened in my grocer’s freezer was none of these things. It was small, tiny enough to be lodged between a box of Klondikes and the last pint of rum-raisin gelato, a perfect shade of cerulean blue that swirled and churned like an ocean.

As I stared at it, momentarily forgetting my need for late-night snacks of cold creamy sweets and ignoring a bored teller’s last calls for items that broke through the muzak adaptation of Barry Manilow’s Mandy, I knew two things. One, this seemingly small extra-dimensional portal was not really small at all. Oh it may have looked so from this end, but I knew without knowing how I knew, that it was unbelievably vast–vast enough to swallow the grocer, our town, perhaps the world. And two, what ever lay on the other side, there was a nagging familiarity, a yearning and comfort that made me long for it in a way that only one word would describe – home.

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