A collaborative storytelling project exploring communication through time and space…..

International storytelling learning objectives: 

To cultivate an experiential understanding of different communication styles with the aim of creating a synergistic exploration of community building and storytelling using imagination, imagery and felt personal experience to deepen an understanding of how to accept and understand the past while honing the skills to move forward into the future with resilience and a greater understanding for the world at large

A creation of synergistic exploration
Our goal is to embark on a journey of collaborative exploration through the lens of the hero’s journey. Each participant in the International storytelling group will take a key theme that comprises the hero’s journey and adds her or his unique perspective through taking the responsibility to make 1-2 paragraphs contributing to the overall arching theme. Each participant takes on the task of carrying the story forward in a symbiotic manner in consideration to other authors while expressing their own creative input and maintaining their unique perspective.


                                 The Time Traveler

                                                                           A Hero’s Journey 


  1. Vardaan // The introduction to the Ordinary world
  2.  Brookelle // The call to Adventure
  3. Zachary // Refusing the Call
  4. Hero //Meeting the mentor
  5. Vaishnavi //Crossing the Threshold
  6. Titiksha // we need someone to take this part! Sidharth? // Tests, Allies, enemies
  7. Hero //Approach the inmost cave
  8. Zachary //The ordeal
  9. Brookelle //Reward Seizing the Sword
  10. Ash //The road back
  11. Ash //Resurrection 
  12. Vardaan //Return with the Elixir


  1.    Ordinary world -Introduction-


The ringing of the phone saved me from a dreamless void. As the gentle tunes of that sleek device became an unbearable cacophony of noise, my eyes snapped open and slowly focused on the world around them. The minimal lighting in my room played tricks on my mind, creating monsters out of the shadows cast by everyday objects. My eyes fell to the alarm clock as I slid out of bed, taking a deep breath to wake myself up before I picked up the call. 



“Get down here, sergeant, we are good to go.”


Suddenly, I could feel the blood coursing through my body. There was a weird pounding in my chest, and it felt as though I could lift a car. Side effects of the adrenaline that was coursing through me, of course. The rest of my morning routine almost felt like a dream; I was moving so fast I didn’t have time to register myself taking a shower, or wearing my uniform. All I could think about was the mission my team had worked so hard to accomplish. 


The government had approved an expedition through time for my team, as part of our efforts to preserve some semblance of a past. Now that we had approval to jump through the ages, we could save a memory, or a version of the past for future generations. Ironic, that we were holding onto stories of the past for those to come. I was still adjusting my shirt as I walked through the well lit halls of the Archaeological Department, our logo plastered onto the floor beneath me. “Praeteritis Futura” it read in bold font, reminding us of our purpose as a team. 


I almost ran into our laboratory, quickly throwing the doors open and looking at my leader. She was looking at the contraption that soon caught my eye as well, a swirling circle of blue, green and purple. It was encased in a metal frame with the gentle, pulsating fluid seeming like it would fall out. 


“It’s the latest version of the portal. They say you don’t even need a special suit to travel through it. Just take one of those pills to stop the space time continuum from shredding your cells as you move back in time.” 


“Wait, why am I going through that?”


“It’s an order, sergeant.” Her expression softened a bit, a smile tugging on the corners of her lips. “I think you should experience your hard work first hand. I couldn’t think of anyone I’d rather have jumped through that.”


I nodded lightly, staring at the hypnotic, swirling mass that slowly shifted and swirled around. A private rushed over to me, handing me the pill on a small platter alongside a glass of water. Once I’d washed it down, my feet automatically began to shuffle and stride towards it. I turned around for one last look at the room behind me, nodding to my captain and the rest of my team. 


“Praeteritis futura.”


                2. Call To Adventure

“I’ve been a traveler but I’ve realized my true path is to become a seer”

A flash unlike any other loitered its rays in my vision, still lingering, clinging to my vision like the dew drops that adorned the blades of glass before me. It took me a long time to come to my senses, I spent what felt like forever in that field, things seemed to move at a much simpler pace as time all but stood still. In the flash I lost all recollection of the purpose of my mission and was  overcome with an unwillingness to move, rather or not it was truly a resulting physicality of the accident I am unsure, this uncertainty left me in a state of perplexed distress. I was glued to the emerald floor by the weight of shame that washed over me like high tide, not a tide of cleansing but a tide that leaves a bitter taste in the mouth and a parchment  where the void of nourishment is undeniable. Here I lay in this shame,

 “Me, the traveler? Idol, with no where to go, no sense of what needs to be done, no mission or purpose??? How LUDICROUS, what will the others say?” 

Tearing myself apart from the inside but still unable to cue my limbs to move, my mind fragmented into several different stories. Rumination of the past, brought to mind all the expectations that have been placed on me to be a doer, to be a completer, to be a traveler, and in a hairline fracture of a second I felt a new ping of remorse unlike the rest. This was not the remorse I was used to, it did not have a name or a place to cast blame, it was not quick to the surface, and try as I might it was not being made apparent by tactics of the mind.         

       As I lay there like a fish out of water, except my limbs would not flail, I studied the inner workings of my mind. I began to see a pattern that no matter how hard I thought, the problem was not getting better, in fact, perhaps my thoughts were making matters worse. I was desperate to move, but growing  more so to unearth the cause for this new found sense of remorse was that it had such a distinctly different flavor, a taste that was gnawing away at me. It seemed like ages went by as I played out scenarios in my mind. A strong gust of wind wisped my hair out of my face and I could see further in the distance a tree, swaying easefully in the breeze. First I became enraged, at witnessing the ease in which it could move. Then a realization came to me “the tree is not moving, it is allowing itself to be moved by the cosmic forces”. Astounded by a simple but profound realization, I found some peace and drifted into a deep deep sleep.  

           I awoke to a voice, carried by the wind, its words slipped through the cracks of my mind and landed somewhere deep in my soul, only to be revealed in due time. A particularly beautiful glistening dew drop stole my attention and carried my mind far  from this voice. In my stillness and focused attention I witnessed the most radiant light emit from this simple drop of dew in a fantastical display. A kaleidoscope of colors emitted in every which way, yellow, red, and blue and all the hues in between, it was but a fragment of a second, but in this display I was bathed by a second wave washing over me. This wave lacked in the original salty essence the first wave carried that bound me to the sea of green, instead it brought a cleansing as all my senses were activated in this witnessing of divine light. I realized as a tear brought its own sheen to my eyes, how I would have missed this beautiful display had I been living the life others expected of me, of I had been numbly obeying the commands enforced upon me. Yes, I had been a doer, a completer, a traveler, but now I realized, my true mission was to become a seer.

           Suddenly the sheen from my tears grew in magnitude transforming into an engulfing cosmic orifice of light, in the light I felt renewed and I began to feel myself awaken from a deep sleep as my limbs could finally move…..

This journey has already  proven it is not meant to be what was expected or what others would demand of me, this journey is a discovery that must come from within me, and so I took the leap trusting the ground would reemerge beneath my feet. 


  1. Refusing the Call


I woke up again standing in the middle of a cement lot, behind me my worn torn time machine made a reappearance. Age and weathering had caused cracks to form, and weeds and grasses had begun to grow and take over. In the middle of the lot were crude devices that people had once used for pumping petroleum fuel, and a decrepit building sporting some sort of colorful branding stood a short distance away. I made my way to the fuel station, hoping to find something I could use to repair the machine, or at least some food. Stepping inside, I could immediately tell it was going to be slim pickings. A few vine plants had found their way in the windows and were growing along the walls and ceiling. There were the remnants of old packaged potato chips, and shredded plastic bottles bearing brand name labels for long-dead carbonated beverage companies.

Suddenly, I heard the sharp crash of glass from somewhere in the back of the building, followed by low guttural growls and grunts. Ever so slowly, I tiptoed closer to the back, looking through the beverage racks into the back supply area of the station. At first I couldn’t see anything, it looked like grasses and leaves had been blown back here for ages and had built up quite a collection of debris back there. The debris pile suddenly shifted, the hulking mass standing and turning around, and with a loud roar, I found myself face to face with the jaws of a massive brown bear.

I attempted to back away as slowly as my wobbling feet would let me, but the bear crashed through the old rusted beverage racks, breaking them with ease.

“Next Place!” I yelled, as I abandoned my slow retreat for a dead sprint back to the time machine.

“Next Place! Next Place!” I yelled again as I ran, as if to encourage myself.

I made it to the time machine, with the bear just seconds behind me. At the same time I engaged the machine, the bear put all its effort into a final leaping lunge.

As I began to fade, and with the bears maw inches away, I yelled: “Not this time!”


  1. Meeting the Mentor


My head was a little fuzzy after the last jump.  This was only exacerbated by what seemed like a sea of pigeons surrounding my feet.  I’m not entirely sure what to call a group of pigeons, a flock? A swarm? A murder? No, that’s crows, and these are not crows.  Some had speckled wings, others had hypnotic, almost holographic plumage on their chests, some were a soft tan colour.  All of them seemed to move in waves giving the effect of an impressionist painting.  I looked up to see an old man on a bench holding an injured pigeon. 

  “Now who are you, bursting into the non-physical and into the material, you gave some of my friends quite a fright,” he said with an Eastern European accent, gesturing to the birds around him.

“I’m a time traveler, more like a time archaeologist really,” I said.

“Well now traveler, sit down.”  Uncertain of what else to do, I sat down next to the man.  “Now, am I the third stop along your journey?”

“Yes, how did you know?” I said in shock.

“Because it makes sense, threes have a certain magic to them do they not?”

I nodded hesitantly.  Now I was closer to him, I found this man was strangely familiar.  Suddenly it hit me.  “You’re Nikola Tesla aren’t you.”

“Of course.”  He gently patted the head of the pigeon in his arms.

“My time machine is broken, do you have any idea how to fix it?”

“Probably not, I create the future but yours is past that.  I will take a look.”  Tesla stood up and walked towards the machine, pigeon still in hand.  He looked at it intently, picking it apart with his eyes.  Suddenly the machine started again.

He looked back up at me and said “I think that’s your cue to go.”

“But I don’t know where it will take me,” I said.

“We are made up of our flaws and our virtues, perhaps it will take you where it needs to.”


  1. Crossing the Threshold 


Do I have to get in?’, ‘What is the point of all this?’, ‘Why am I on this journey where I don’t even know my destination?’… Thoughts crossed my mind as I stood right in the door of the time machine.

‘I have always been a traveler, but what have I achieved? What good has happened to me or to anyone else?’

Well, I am a believer of the butterfly effect, I believe that one action can have its effects in many other ways even after years. There are things humans have done that terrifies souls, there are times where humans have suffered. Humanity needs a messenger for the sake of the times of suffering. There is a purpose tied to my journey and I am not afraid to fulfill my purpose. It is said that the wrong train can take you to the right place, I trust my time machine, it never fails to surprise me. I took a step, bid adieu to Mr. Tesla and flew in time with a new hope.


         6.  Tests, Allies, Enemies


I came upon a familiar scene as I made my way from the portal. All too familiar I thought. From the smog in the air and the buzz of wireless energy, it appeared I had re-entered into my own time. I wondered what Tesla would make of our latest contraption, wireless energy seemed like a revolutionary invention at the time, but studies are beginning to show cognitive decline, and I can’t help but think the electromagnetic rays that permit our breathing space are partly to blame.
I observed my imminent surroundings more closely, I had landed in an amusement park, “Funny how little these places change” had it not been from the smog, and satellites I could have believed I was somewhere in the distant past, maybe the 1980’s with the retro appearance of the machines. A sudden eagerness washed over me, as I realized here I was at dusk, the sky was a lit in a neon hue as all the machines were on, but nothing was going, there was the laughter of the staged games, but no one was playing, it fact, it appeared I was the only person here. Odd.
I went about my way, looking for something new to see, or at least to find a less creepy place to be. I traversed the entire area until I came to a fenced-in gate that was not only locked, but chained, and had an extra layer of security surrounding it in the form of a bob wire fence. Suddenly a feeling of confinement set it, exacerbated by an enormous flash to my left. I whirled to see a fun house of illusion, and just above it was my time machine toppling down, a loud crash resounded as it busted through the roof and landed somewhere deep inside.
I knew facing this fun house of illusion was my own means of escape, so with resolve I sat forth. I had never been a fan of these places, they always seemed one of two spectrums, eerily cliche or terrifying. I had no affinity from a young age for tricks of the eye, I was a person of truth, and anything that distorted that disturebed me deeply.
My entrance was easy I found no surprises no motivation to go and hide, just me and a hall of mirrors. All different versions of myself came to light, tall, small, large, short, distorted, colorful, bland and vibrant, these mirrors seemed to have their own type of technology. I was surprised to find the variations they were able to emit. I observed these projections in a whimsical hue. Until…. One of them started to move. It reflected back a time when I was there for myself, when I lended a kind supportive ear and was my greatest friend. It then reflected a time when I was responsible for my own demise, a time when I was my greatest enemy. I was shocked to see these two extremes coming from the same source, and even more shocked to know they were me. I wanted to dismiss it but I could not, I was captivated, and again… I could not move.


  1. Approaching the Innermost Cave


When I exited the portal I think I ended up somewhere in the future.  Everything seemed a bit shinier than my time, especially the people.  I finished the minor repairs on the machine, it was running on luck at this point.   I had to find some way to get it fixed.  Something made me think that this may be the place to find it.  It appeared as if I was in a large hall.  I was struck by the sheer indifference the small groups of people had at my arrival.  Well, I suppose if I’m on the wrong train it’s taking me to interesting places, met some interesting people.  Speaking of interesting people: was that Tesla?  He looked quite a bit younger and certainly more rigid since the last time I saw him.

“Welcome to the Traveller memorial time museum, I am Nikola Tesla, how may I help you today?”  the animatronic said.  I wondered whether that meant I would die on this trip or if I would return and then die.  I supposed I’d have to see. I noticed the hall was lined with similar animatronics.

“Umm, I was wondering if you know of any way to fix my time machine?”  I said hesitantly.

“What is the make and model of your time machine?”  Tesla’s voice seemed very fragmented and I supposed it was simply the recording pieced together.  This most definitely wasn’t the Tesla I had met.  There was no spark of electricity in his eyes although it was clear he ran on it.

Suddenly the false Tesla smiled, putting me into a sudden panic.  My hand curled into a fist.  Without thinking I punched the inventor’s robotic face.  I saw a glint of the original electricity in his eyes before the machine started sputtering.  In a shriek of a voice which devolved into a low mumble, Tesla screamed “Cave,” over and over again and then “End” as he died.

I looked down at my hand.  How could I have strayed so far?  I had stopped being the seer I had set out to be, I wasn’t even a traveller anymore.  I had so easily leapt for destruction, was I a destroyer now.  The screams of multiple children in the hall joined the dying Tesla’s in the hall.  The portal sprung to life again, and I hoped the real Tesla was right about it leading me where I needed it to. 


  1. The Ordeal


This jump was rough, the damage to the time machine was starting to really show. A few of the couplings were starting to fall off, and the minor repairs I’d made along the way weren’t exactly up to code. The materials available didn’t readily bond with our modern technology, so the patches didn’t fuse properly.

“This is getting me nowhere,” I said. “No part of this was in my job description. This was supposed to be simple, ‘Test the machine, see and collect what’s on the other side, then come back.’ That’s it. If only the machine had landed on that damn monkey. I’m the Traveler, not a quantum engineer, I don’t know how to fix this thing. Where the hell even am I right now? WHEN the hell am I?”

Frustrated, and oddly parched, I started to make some sense of my surroundings. I must make note of the dehydration caused by subsequent time jumps if I ever get back, someone in the development division will probably want to know about that. The landscape around me seemed pleasant enough, large oak and pine trees on mossy, rolling hills. I could smell salt in the air, and could hear gulls in the breeze. The sea was close by. I started making my way to the top of the nearest hill. Looking out over the horizon, I saw a beautiful blue expanse stretched out before me. I was in the middle of an island, three, maybe five miles long. Pillars of smoke reached out to the sky from three points on the island. One, obviously, was coming from the time machine, and once again I felt my frustration grow for a moment. The other columns of smoke, however those weren’t my doing. One was coming from the center of the island, from what looked like a small freshwater lake, and the other was coming from a distant point on the coast. Still feeling dehydrated, I made my way towards the lake. As I got closer, I started to notice damage done to large areas of the surrounding flora, as if there were frequent mudslides in the area. I decided to take a stealthier approach upon getting closer to the lake, my history meeting some residents of the past hasn’t always been stellar. Memories of the monkey that got me into this mess popped in my head, adding to my sense of caution. The source of the smoke was on the other side of the lake, coming from what looked like a well-established camp.

No one around, good.” I quietly poked my head out, sticking my flask gingerly into the lake, doing my best not to make my presence known. After a quick drink, I made my way a bit closer to the camp. Upon closer inspection, it was less of a camp, and more of a collection of discarded wooden and metal pieces. A few wheels here and there, broken planks strewn about, large stones, and rusted and twisted pieces of iron. A rancid smell lingered in the air. Looking past the broken bits, I saw that there was a large crevice in the rock cliff right behind the area. Moving as slowly and stealthily as I could, I maneuvered my way toward the opening in the rock. “There was a fire here, so someone must be around.” The stench grew stronger from the cave, and I could see light coming from somewhere inside.

“This is such a bad idea,” I said under my breath, as I slowly made my way into the cave. Going deeper inside, the smell became almost unbearable, and I finally saw why. Bones and half-eaten body parts from many different creatures were strewn about the cave, causing my stomach to turn.

“Hey! You! Get us the hell out of here!” A voice whispered. Catching me off guard and causing me to choke on my own breath.

“Cut that out! They’ll hear you!” Another voice whispered.

Having collected myself and taking a look around, I saw a group of people in chains against one of the walls in the cave. They were wearing armor, and there were shields and weapons in a pile nearby, soldiers most likely.

“What sort of creature chains up soldiers and takes their weapons?” I said. “ No bear or cat did this to you.”

“This was no bear,” a silver-haired soldier replied, still whispering, “These are creatures far beyond that. Who are you, that you can come here and not be ensnared? You certainly aren’t part of my crew.”

“I’m nobody, just a traveler, but let’s see if we can get you all out of here.”

I found a nearby metal javelin, which was much heavier than it looked, and began jamming it into the links of the chain, hoping to break one.

“Hurry, they’ll hear you if you’re that loud!” The silver-haired man said.

Almost as if on call, I felt a pulsing rumble from the ground, getting louder and louder and causing the rocks and chains to rattle and roll.

A booming voice came from the entrance to the tunnel, “Well well, what have we here? Looks like I missed one,” the voice said with a bone-chilling chuckle.

Turning around, I saw what had really caused all this. Before me stood what looked to be a giant human, twenty feet tall, and grotesquely muscled. As it ducked into the cavern and stood up to its full height, I was able to see its face in the glow of the torches. One eye stood in the center of its bulbous face and his mouth was twisted in a smile.

“Hello there, new food, what are you up to? Where did you come from?” the creature said.

“I’m…I’m nobody, just a traveler,” I stammered, now with a fear-induced death grip on my javelin.

“Well then, Nobody, I eat the troublemakers first,” the creature said, as he reached out and wrapped his massive hand around my body.

As the giant pulled me toward his mouth, my javelin, still stuck into a link of the chain and pinned with me in the creature’s grip, started pulling the chain, increasing the tension on all points of the system. With an extra tug, it pulled the javelin free of the chain, causing the chain to snap, freeing the captives, and causing the javelin to swing around, piercing the creature in the eye. The giant reeled, shrieking and clutching at its face. As it did, I saw it, that silvery blue glow of the metal I needed for my coupling. This creature had a bracelet made of the precious material. I quickly slammed my new favorite javelin into the clasp, breaking it open, and snatched it from the creature’s wrist. I started to immediately run out of the cave, followed by the soldiers, who, I confess, I had completely forgotten about. Making our way out of the camp, we headed towards the time machine, hearing more rumbling footsteps behind us coming from the other direction. When we found the time machine, I quickly welded the coupling on, and got the machine started again.

“Well, that was quite an experience, my friend,” the silver-haired man said, “We’d be food if it wasn’t for you!”

“Yeah, I wasn’t quite ready for this when I woke up this morning, but, hey, we’re still here.” I replied.

In the distance we heard a voice shrieking “Nobody! Nobody stabbed my eye!”

“Ha! ‘Nobody stabbed my eye,’” the silver-haired man laughed as I faded, “I might have to use that one day.”


  1. Seizing the Reward


          Another flash, another malfunction, “How much longer can I keep up this senseless searching before the machine gives out for good” my voice reverberated back to me as I spoke aloud to no one. The mentioning of the machine brought to light my surroundings, still recovering from the lingering rays. I knew it was no trick of the eye that the machine was nowhere in sight, my leap of faith cast me to a place where I had to face the unknown. I rested in humorous reflection for a moment of how this ordeal of tumultuous travel has brought with its chaos and uncertainty a certain sense of inner release, I have lost my way and in that I have lost my expectations freeing some of my unconscious limitations, I witnessed myself wondering if this was what people referred to when they mentioned inner peace. Despite being in what looked like a pharaoh’s tomb, a final resting place, a home for death without an easy means of escape, I did not find the same familiar constriction in my chest when faced with one of life’s many tests, instead I found myself filled with curiosity and surrendered to the rest. The purpose of my mission was becoming ever more clear. This was no lesson the chief could bestow, this was a lesson to be learned from the source. I was coming to realize that the environment would change, the times would shift, yet somehow the underpinning lessons remained despite the external shift, because there was something greater beneath it all. This awareness was fragmented and fleeting at best, still from my many years as a traveler and gatherer I could see the pieces coming into view.

           The tomb was an impressive exhibition, the walls had etched in them the stories  of the generations showcased in intricate displays, the carvings themselves were adorned with shiny things, glistening jewels arranged in a whimsical presentation that seemed beyond their time and place. The jewels had a certain familiarity to them, and upon further inspection  I was taken back to the time at the beginning of this journey. Despite being buried in what appeared to be tons of earth and stone, I caught a whiff of the emerald floor I had come to know, and I realized that in these jewels was an emanation of the same fantastical reflection that motivated me to move. Despite time and space, this essence perlifiated even in this deadened space.

  One jewel stood above the rest, situated over the golden crested coffin showing a lofty royal blue eye with a single stoned clear center, it had a piercing gaze that hooked into the deepest parts of me. I was brought to stillness by the captivating gaze, a sense of omnipresence washed over me, and I realized I was not alone. I felt a compelling fit of obsession drowning my senses, an unnatural desire to possess this stone at any cost, the eye of my desires had become actualized in real time and I was convinced I must have it. Growing more frenzied I was beginning to believe this stone of sight  had been searching for, after all this mission has revealed to me my purpose is to see. Another notion made an appearance onto the grand stage of my mind, as I remembered the almost fatal interaction with the giant, and how its glutenous obsession with consumption was what led to his untimely loss of sight. “Was this to be my fate too?” The awareness cut through the desire like a hot knife to butter, and  I felt the density soften a little in my mind. 

  Back to observing I returned to the curiosity of the unmistakable feeling that I was not in this space alone, yet aside from the hieroglyphics and glistening jewels, there was just me and the coffin in the tomb. I froze as I heard a thumb from inside “It can’t be…”. I scanned the room with my eyes but my feet were planted still, “oh no, not again” my limbs… frozen. The door began to creak open, a golden ray from one of the many amulets lining the door captivated my eye, a flash of light that brought me to my senses and with it the same voice from my dream “stillness” is all it said. Suddenly I  regained my ability to move although I no longer had the desire to. I was here for a reason, and I was determined  to see it through. Trusting in the process that was unfolding, I held my ground and awaited the arrival of what lay in the darkness beneath the light drenched vessel. 

I was greeted by an unexpected alluring purr for quite some time and eventually arrived out of the dark opening a hairless sphynx, long since extinct in my time, and one of the few ancient novelties that no traveler had been able to acquire. “A TRUE treasure!!” I thought, my mouth salivating at the prospect of my fame and fortune for returning home with such a fine specimen. It walked toward me in a long elegant stride, every step intentional, every tail stroke radiated an air of confidence, this was a beast of the gods, no wonder they were so highly revered. It stopped at my feet and gave a half sigh, and its full body stretched almost to offer all of itself to me. We locked eyes, blue. Like the gem above, exactly like the gem…Momentarily I was consumed with desire to snatch up this beast and to make it my own for fortune and fame. “Stillness” I could still hear this notion in the back of my mind, and it calmed me. I could observe the beast but had no desire for it, seeing this the Sphynx grew bored and returned to the coffin. Moments later a large black slender leg emerged from the coffin, and another, and another, and another until eight slender legs, a bulbous toned body coated in bristly hair, and a head with dangerously sharp venomous dripping fangs and piercing blue eyes emerged, at first slowly and then in a moment flat it made its way to my face, I could taste the rotting flesh emitting from its mouth, I could feel the hunger in the air. “Stillness”, I remained still as I had before and allowed myself time to see that all around me spikes had risen from the ground, except on the path to the coffin. The coffin was opening more slowly behind the beast, seeing I was unmoved by its snarls it began to retreat. The coffin was wide open now, there was no light emitting any longer, before the beast could finish its retreat it was greeted by the shadow of a man, and in one swift movement the beast was on the floor, and devoured by the shadow of a man in the next. The man approached me and still I knew my place was to observe so I did not move, as he drew closer I could sense an otherworldly aura to him, although not that of maliciousness. He was not a man, but a god, the jackal headed man stood in the blue hue, we stood together there in stillness for what felt like many moons. With him  I explored the crevices, rivers and valleys of my body through my breath, I mapped out the densities and softened the hypertonicity. In my stillness I invited myself to see all of myself, the loved and the feared equally revered one neither good or bad. Anubuis must have known, yet he said nothing and remained still. After another moon passing, I felt an ease and content with all there was and I begin to move, abubus did too and with him I ventured into the coffin, only to realize it was my time machine in which I stand with the royal blue stone of sight now engraved with the words “don’t forget to move too”.


  1. The Road Back


As I step out of the portal, I find myself on a small cement pathway nestled between two duplexes, planted in the heart of what seemed to be a massive forest. Why Here? This certainly wasn’t anywhere close to being the fantastical places I had visited already in my journey – no amazing conversations instantly laying waiting for me to have, no kaleidoscope of vision  – just… a cement pathway between two duplexes. I take a deep breath in and begin to walk along my set road, but quickly realize that I have no idea what I am looking for. Previously, in the other portals, what I was supposed to find was always pretty obvious. An old man on a bench with a pigeon who just so happens to be the reason Electricity exists in the capacity I know it back home, for instance. This place, however, was quiet, peaceful, uninterrupted by anything that would distract the mind. 

I walk along the path until I get to a T shaped nexus between two doors. The door on the left is the entrance to the duplex on the left, and the door on the right – the entrance for the right duplex. Beyond the end of the pathway, a thicket of trees stand tall above the ground, blocking out most of the sky. After taking a second to absorb the absolute massiveness of the trees, I take another deep breath in, feel around for what was happening inside of my gut, swallow my nerves, and walk up to the door to the right – determined this would be the answer I am looking for. 


“You’re wrong,” a voice said calmly from behind me. 


The nasally baritone of the voice did not frighten me – if anything, it comforted me. 


I turn around and am confronted by a small giant who had opened the other door on the path, who was easily standing at least a foot and a half taller than I am. It is wearing its hair up in a bun, sporting black and white glasses, denim jeans, and an old BAUHAUS sweater that looked like it had been through the wash one too many times. 


“You seem to be a little lost,” the giant says to me, staring deep into my soul.


“Come on inside, I know what it is you seek. I can help you.”


I scoff at the sentence.


“What could you possibly know? Who even are you?”


“You’ll find out soon enough” the giant answers, with a coy smile streaking across its face. “Come in and make yourself at home” they say with a wave of their arm. 


I look around cautiously, but eventually succumb to the suggestions being given by the giants’ eyebrows to come inside. As I pass, I ask casually while looking around at the cramped living space “What is it I am looking for? You claim to know, so tell me!” 


The giant motions to a chair settled at the end of a dining table, which I accept, even though I feel like a toddler sitting in it. 


“You have come seeking the end of your journey, the resolution to your story. Quite succinctly – I would say your wish as of the moment would be “to go home” – but you can’t. Not yet, at least, not without first properly fixing your portal machine.”


I catch myself staring, mouth agape, as I am told these things. The feeling in my stomach goes from fluttering, to down right dead weight. 


“How…how could you possibly know these things?” I hear my voice ask, shaking involuntarily. 


“How? Ha! Why, because I was the one you brought you here! My name is Ash, and you are here because a team of top notch writers and I created you specifically to be brought here – in order to have the conversation we are having right now. Your life…your adventures…up to this point, has all been scripted. Whenever you hear all those voices competing to be heard inside your head, well – that’s us!”


“What…what do you mean?” 

Again, I am hearing my voice say these words, but I do not feel myself speaking them. 


“The future society you belong to, the conversations you have had, the family you were born to, the time machine (and it’s breaking) – even the very sensations your nerves have experienced – all have been thanks to the story me and my team have been writing about you!” 


I burst out laughing, harder than I have ever laughed before in my life. 


A character being written into a story! How ridiculous! I think.


…or is it?


“You’re right. It isn’t nearly as ridiculous as it may first sound.” the giant says to me. 

“But no more ridiculous than you travelling through space and time, no?”


I stand up and throw my chair to the floor, so that it crashes with a loud BANG!

And shatters into several pieces as it makes contact. 


I turn to head back out the front door, when the giants’ voice rings out to stop me. 


“Wait! I can get you back to where you want to go!” 


As I turn back, the giant is sitting on the chair that I had broken – in completely perfect condition – as if nothing had ever happened to it. 


“You see, this is our power. All of ours – yours included. We have the power to write whatever reality we want. I have the power to re-break this chair with my mind. The power to bend spoons or lift objects ten times heavier than I am. I have the power to make you completely silent, if I wanted to.” 


As he says this, the skin around my lips begin to melt, until finally there is no more hole, but a large patch of skin. I put my hands to my mouth in panic, trying to grab a hold of something to rip my jaws open – but to no avail. 


“That all being said, I also have this ability” continues the giant “to put you back to normal – to have everything go back to the way things were at the beginning of the story – without any real change or fuss happening. No more wiser from the days work and experience you had.” 


And with that, the giant snaps its fingers, and my mouth opens back to normal – I can breathe easy again. With another snap of its fingers, the front door flies wide open, and in its frame appears a large swirling vortex. The winds from the vortex whip at me, grasping me by the waist, and inch-by-inch, bring me closer to it. 


“This meeting was interesting, but it was not supposed to be for long. Had to cut this conversation for time, unfortunately. It was fun while it lasted though! It’s a very very rare event for a creator to meet their creation in flesh and blood and for a reason. So, consider yourself very lucky! You have a lot to live for!” 


Those words fade fast from my ears as the vortex rips me off my feet and takes me deep within its cyclonic rift. I spin for what feels like hours, my skin and bones crunch and expand rapidly –  contorting themselves into a series of geometrical shapes and various occult symbols. The pain is excruciating, yet at the same time, I feel the most at peace I have ever felt before in my life. The pain reaches its threshold, and while I still feel calm, the feeling becomes too much and overwhelms me. The colors of the rift go from a repeating rainbow, to a variety of plaids, to eventually: nothingness. A great, vast, open white void, completely empty of anything. 


  1. Resurrection 


The traveller opens their eyes to the blankness of the world around them. 


This was certainly different. 

The cozy wooded scenery had been entirely replaced by…nothing. 

No trees, no pathway, no doors, no giants, no air, no heat, no color – nothing. 


This was not supposed to happen. 


The traveller was sure of this.


There is just simply no way that a massive multi-billion dollar corporation could make such a careless error as to not cover the end of existence in their training manuals!


A million thoughts suddenly began to bombard the traveller’s mind. 


What were they supposed to do? Where were they supposed to go? How long will it take before they die of thirst? Will one wrong step hurtle me into absolute oblivion? Did their roommate really record their favorite episode of The Future Bachelor while they were gone like they promised they would?





DAMN LOUD IN HERE? IT’S SHATTERING MY EARDRUMS?!” I scream to the heavens around me!



The traveller pauses, stunned, taken aback by hearing the exact words “I scream to the heavens around me” repeated back to them by the booming omnipresent voice. 


Then, after taking a second to gather their bearings – while ignoring any and all of the words being read aloud right now by the reader of this short story as they read them  – the traveller bursts out and interrupts their celestial harasser with a direct line of questioning.



“Who are you?! WHERE ARE YOU?! How do I get out of here? Is there Wi-Fi here? How far is it to the nearest Goodwill? Is Parking Free on Sundays? And if so, why Sunday and not the other days of the week as well?”


My words seem to go on for minutes. Hours. Days? Weeks? Months?

My voice weakens and begins to shake as I grow more frantic during my questioning. 


The Traveller is immediately frustrated when they are interrupted by their own thoughts  being repeated back to them. The sound is drowning out anything the Traveller thinks. Thena wave of  understanding washes over them as they realize that the words they are hearing are not answers to the questions being asked, but rather, words that are echoing back the Traveller’s own internal narration. 


How is this possible? Can this thing read my mind?


No! It can not be! It hasn’t said anything else other than the words I have been thinking – it has no sentience of it’s own…Do you?


The Traveller pauses and waits for an answer, but hears only these words – confirming their suspicion. 


Then…Am I Creating This Voice?


The Traveller listens even closer, and begins to recognize the bass and treble of their own voice – like listening to an old message they left on a friend’s answering machine. Distorted, yet, recognizably their own. 


I dare not ask why, or how, and accept this as it is. It is not my place to understand the impossible, but it is my place to achieve it! This void will contain me no longer! If this voice I am hearing is being created by my own thoughts, then it stands to reason the environment and people around me too can be created with my own thoughts!

With this The Traveller furrows their brow harder than they have ever furrowed in their life. Their eyes roll to the back of their head, hiding their pupils and leaving a pure white canvas – streaked with thin, snaking rivers of red. They straighten up, put their shoulders down and back, tilt the top of their head forward, widen their legs into a stance of strength, and begin breathing laboriously in and out – first through their nose, then out through their mouth. 


Soon, the landscape around them begins to shift. The Traveller feels their feet touch the cool rock and dirt of a mountain. In the Traveller’s mind eye, they saw the mountain – barren and dry – and before them, on the path, a seed begins to sprout and grow. What feels like years, yet somehow also seconds, pass as the seedling hatches and grows into an entire forest so immense, it could be seen if one were to peek out over the Earth from the dark side of the moon. 


Small creatures begin to crawl around the Traveller – being born, maturing, dying, evolving, and beginning again with each step they take around the newly born deity. These creatures build civilizations, small at first – then reaching to the size of empires. Cities rise and crumble, and rise again. As these images move past The Traveller, they begin to blur together, until soon they are a kaleidoscopic swirl of cosmic entities crashing into one another and creating new life out of the universal debris. The images begin to flash and grow, getting brighter and brighter, faster and faster, slipping out into infinity – growing and swallowing whole realities, crashing dimensions together, creating and containing energy outputs far exceeding the big bang. This chaotic vision paces faster and faster and faster and faster and faster and faster until…


  1. Return With Elixir 


The ringing of the phone saved me from a dreamless void. As the gentle tunes of that sleek device became an unbearable cacophony of noise, my eyes snapped open and slowly focused on the world around them. The minimal lighting in my room played tricks on my mind, creating monsters out of the shadows cast by everyday objects. My eyes fell to the alarm clock as I slid out of bed, taking a deep breath to wake myself up before I picked up the call. 



“Get down here, sergeant, we are good to go.”


Suddenly, I could feel the blood coursing through my body. There was a weird pounding in my chest, and it felt as though I could lift a car. Side effects of the adrenaline that was coursing through me, of course. The rest of my morning routine almost felt like a dream; I was moving so fast I didn’t have time to register myself taking a shower, or wearing my uniform. All I could think about was the dream that I had had.