Author: Hari Navarro, Staff Writer

I’m not sure who told me that the gates were to be stormed. I mean, for years now we’ve all, I guess, contemplated it. It’s only natural to want to know, you know? They’re mysterious and controlled and bound in a swath of secrecy, and such unanswered things they do fester. They mutate into unfounded theory and farcical fiction. A constant nagging taunt.

We see what we want to see and, from the sky, we’re no better. I’m a pilot. I don’t know all the answers. I understand much of the science but, then, there are the little things. The not perfectly conclusive. Anomalies. They’re part of the job, of life.

It’s a big long world and I used to think it nice that it thought to hold on to some of its shadows. But, I mean, just what unknown flavour of science goes into the fact that when I’m throttling up my Pouakai-God Spark-352 and I’m skimming the great vast upper-stratospheric pond at 6,150kmh that it still takes me 6.5 hours to complete the total 40 km circumference of this world? No sense, but it is what it is.

It is, I mean was, amazing to me that there were still those who believe there is an entire other world outside of the fences. Over the looped barbs and past the oxidizing steel mesh. The dreamers clutching their youth, the socially maligned spooky kids and the perpetually worried doom-gloomers who cannot sleep of a night for fear it will be their last.

It is a truth that the narratives they conjured are great. Myths of fantasy, fog and mist but, nonetheless, it is they that inspired me to reach for the beyond. From the sky I found the truth. Yet, still the fringe post their theories and chant that the end it is nigh. From the sky I know this existence is rectangle. Not a perfect rectangle but near as well enough.

The myths were true. Fancy that. We all start out believers. I did. Craving anything that took me away from this sand sodden place. I read tales about fantastical iron creatures that could eat an entire dune in a day. Of vast stretches of water that magically turned to plastic and, then, clinked and fumed in the sun. I loved the horror. The violence. Tales about mythical majestic hunted creatures. Chased until they fall exhausted, tongues extended and eyes wide as they swallowed their very last breaths. Their heads then art for the walls. I know, I know, totally unbelievable but that’s why I loved them. Far-fetched fiction. My only escape.

The storm hit about a week ago now. I’m losing track. I thought it a joke. That we’d all crunch up there through the salt sea chanting with brews held aloft. A bit of silly fun. But, then, they cut the chains and we surged and the gates crashed into the sand…

… I can’t remember if they fell inward or out. I just know that once there was a barrier and then there was not.

I saw my sister and I saw my father. Frances has been missing since she was six and a half. I know with certainty it was her and I know she knows I am me. My father, John, he was a test pilot like just as I. But then John he died the day I was born.

So we spilled as drunken rabble into their world and they into ours and then I saw my family and then I saw me and then time sparked and let out a shrill wail. It died or, perhaps, it just went away and now all that is left is this.