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The Edge

Gazing into other worlds

By Daniel TessierPublished 2 years ago 4 min read

There weren't always dragons in the Valley. No, that was only every second Tuesday, when the Valley intersected with the correct time and space.

Hannah had lived by the Valley all her life, which as of two days ago, was seventeen years. Somehow, she was bored. Even as she stood on the edge of the Valley, the brutal rift in the earth that had split the city in two decades before she was born. The remnants of the barrier that had once stood on the edge of the Valley remained, the occasional section of fence or snapped post still standing. It was no longer needed. When the Valley had been torn open, people had been terrified, but over time, curiosity took hold. A few made their way into it, and the authorities had erected the barrier to keep them out. They needed to study it, find out just what it was and what had caused it. Still, a few people scaled the barrier or broke through; none of them returned. Before long, people were terrified again, and the barrier was no longer needed. Eventually, even the authorities stopped trying to understand it. The Valley was just there, a reminder that they where at the mercy of untold powers in the universe.

Hannah sat there, alone. It was early on Tuesday morning. People still came to watch the strange sights that appeared in the Valley, but less and less so. For all the miraculous, inexplicable sights the Valley showed them, people had somehow grown bored with it. It was just there, like the stars, the clouds, the forests, and all other mundane, everyday miracles.

Right now, the Valley was empty. Truly empty – not a loose rock, not a stray branch. Just a cleft in the land, perfectly symmetrical, stretching into the distance in both directions. She could just about see the bottom, bare grey rock.

She stood in the same place the day before. Then, she saw the Valley full of butterflies, from as small as a coin to as broad as a falcon, wings of every colour imaginable, iridescent in the morning sun. She felt like leaping off the edge, into the cloud of insects to see where they would carry her.

Two days before that, she had come in the evening, when the sunset bathed the Valley in amber and blood-red, and watched as snakes had writhed in the refracted light. Thousands of them, their scales shining, the hiss from their mouths and the hiss of their skins across each other almost deafening.

On Fridays, except for the third Friday in the month, the Valley was filled with its own city. Gleaming spires peered over the edge, unknown energies crackling between them. Deep in the Valley, she could just make out cars driving below, and wondered what kind of people were driving them. Were they looking up at her, wondering what was up there?

When they had still studied it, the authorities had charted the different worlds that appeared, listing the schedule of their manifestations. They had studied the energies that warped through the Valley, the disturbances to gravity, the way that subatomic particles had started behaving in unpredictable, about-face ways. They could find no way of explaining why the worlds had appeared as they did, what caused the patterns, or what had created the Valley in the first place.

Hannah had spent the last year or so making her own observations. The patterns were changing. In fact, the unpredictability of the manifestations was increasing. Soon, she reasoned, there would be no way of predicting what worlds would appear.

So, it had to be today. Just to be safe. There could be no chance of missing it.

All the people who had entered the Valley, who had never come back... everyone assumed that they had died, or worse. To be fair, no one could survive in the world of the snakes. Nor the world of the golden warrior giants, or the zombie pterodactyls, or the world that was just fire, or the ocean that seemed to hold a single life form, a vast, writhing kraken with flesh the colour of dried blood.

But those weren't the only worlds. There was the butterfly world, the beautiful city, the world of glittering meadows and opal pyramids, and the world of the dragons. Hannah knew the real reason people didn't come back: because they didn't want to.

Somehow, people had become bored of the Valley, and the wonders it offered. Hannah was bored of the city, of the people who had closed their eyes to beauty and discovery.

Flickers of electrical energy began to spark along the edge of the Valley. Hannah watched, waiting patiently. With little preamble, the Valley lit up, syrupy golden light flooding it. Shapes formed rapidly: vast, winged shapes, red, green, blue and silver, peacefully flying with slow, deliberate wingbeats.

Some people were frightened of the dragons, but Hannah couldn't understand why. She looked into those dark, gentle eyes and knew that they meant harm to no one.

Hannah stepped up to edge... and jumped.


About the Creator

Daniel Tessier

I'm a terrible geek living in sunny Brighton on the Sussex coast in England. I enjoy writing about TV, comics, movies, LGBTQ issues and science.

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