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I was transported to a hellish alternate universe. This is my story.

I was transported to a hellish alternate universe This is my story


Estimated reading time — 24 minutes

The Traveller Series

I’ve travelled to parallel universes. The worlds I’ve seen are terrifying

I’ve travelled to parallel universes. The worlds I’ve seen are terrifying – Part 2

I’ve travelled to parallel universes. The worlds I’ve seen are terrifying – Part 3

First off, I need to clarify something. I am not the original ‘traveller’, although I have adopted his alias to write my account. For those of you who don’t know, my predecessor was an unlikely hero – the sole survivor of a botched experiment that went horribly wrong. He risked all to tell his story, whistleblowing on his government employers and their wealthy backers who have achieved the unthinkable – opening portals to parallel universes.

Thanks to this man we now know the truth about the elites’ plan to escape to another world. And, even more seriously, he revealed the terrible realities of the dangerous civilisations that rule over these alternate Earths – cruel, warlike and merciless empires who pose a clear and present danger to our own world, if and when they develop their own TDP technology.

If you haven’t read the traveller’s accounts yet, I suggest you do so before reading any further.

Many of you will be wondering what happened to the original traveller given the sudden end to his accounts. Well, I’m sorry to confirm that the US government finally caught up with him somewhere in Eastern Europe. Our hero disappeared off the grid and so we can only assume he’s either dead or imprisoned in some hellhole black site prison, which is probably even worse. And so sadly, ‘traveller’ is no more, but his legacy lives on.

This is where I come in. You see, I too worked for this top-secret project, albeit at a much lower level and security clearance. While my predecessor was down in the guts of the huge underground complex, operating as part of the survey teams deployed through the trans-dimensional portal, I was top side, working as a lowly intern in the accounts department.
In fact, my clearance was so low that I had no idea the project existed, nor did I know the true purpose of the sprawling complex I worked within. Officially I was a low-level government employee in a tedious federal job. This is what I was told when I accepted the position. But of course, I’m not totally stupid, so knew there was more to it. After all, my office was located inside a heavily guarded military complex, and we knew there were underground levels where access was restricted.

What’s more, the complex is located in a very remote part of the country, a thousand miles from my hometown. Still, my employment prospects were slim after college and – as dull as this entry-level position was – the pay and conditions were decent, and I was told there were prospects for promotion. So, that’s how it began for me, and I suppose this is where my story would have ended, had it not been for the bizarre and unprecedented events of one fateful night.

I was in the office late, working alone to meet a tight deadline. My boss at the time was a real ball-buster and so I’d already gotten used to working unpaid overtime – frustrating, but nothing out of the ordinary. I was sitting at my desk staring at the spreadsheet on my computer screen whilst struggling to stay focussed. I remember diligently typing away on my keyboard when suddenly the power cut out, plunging the windowless office into darkness.

The event was disconcerting but didn’t cause me any undue concern, not at first anyway. Surges and temporary blackouts were actually pretty common in our offices, and this was the third I’d seen in only two weeks of working there. We’d been told to frequently save and backup our work for this very reason. My laptop was on battery power and so my screen remained illuminated, and so I sat tight and waited for the emergency lighting to kick in, but it didn’t.

Minutes passed and still nothing, and that’s when I started to get worried. Us lowly employees had never received an adequate explanation for these disruptions to the electricity supply. We’d merely been told that power was being diverted ‘downstairs’. Of course, this only added to the rumour-mill and gossip around the water coolers.

It was rather exciting to speculate with my work colleagues during the daylight hours, but it was a different prospect when I was stuck here alone, after hours and in darkness. I began feeling increasingly anxious as the lights stayed off, and then the ground started to shake beneath my feet. This was a new one and not something I was prepared for.

Was this an earthquake? They weren’t common in this part of the country, and I couldn’t help but feel there was a connection to the power outage moments before. I struggled to stand as the floor moved beneath my feet and I stumbled as my laptop fell from the desk, the screen smashing when it hit the ground. Now the room was shrouded in total darkness, until suddenly it wasn’t.

In an instant I was blinded by a burst of intense light, so bright that I had to cover my eyes. Then I got hit by a fierce wave of heat, like an unbelievable surge of energy had suddenly popped into existence right in the middle of my little office. At first I feared some kind of flash fire, but the reality was far more terrifying.

When I reopened my eyes and regained my composure I witnessed something which made no logical sense. The wall at the back of the room had opened up to reveal…well, what I could see was a room almost identical to the one I was in, except in this version the lights were still on. The plaster wall that should have been there had inexplicitly disappeared, but the path through to the other side wasn’t exactly clear.

The passageway looked to me like a fluid membrane, a crystal-clear wall which stood between me and whatever was on the other side. Was this a dream? Had I fallen and hit my head during the blackout? Perhaps…But it seemed so real.

I walked forward, slowly but cautiously, intending to reach out and touch the membrane. Looking back, this was a crazy move, but in that moment it made sense in my confused brain. But to my surprise and horror, I tripped over some object I missed in the darkness, helplessly falling forward, right into the fluid wall in front of me.

All of the air was sucked from my lungs as I became immersed in it, and then there was nothing but black. I awoke sometime later, my head throbbing and retinas burning. It took me a moment to regain my wits and lift myself up. I discovered I was inside an office nearly – but not quite – identical to the one I’d just left. The power was on, and everything looked in order, but my smashed laptop was nowhere to be found.

I shook my head in disarray, trying to make sense of all that had happened. The most logical conclusion was that I’d burnt out. I’d been working long hours after all, so perhaps I had hallucinated the whole experience? Either that or I’d suffered a panic attack and passed out. In any case, I just wanted to get out of there. I needed rest and so decided I would deal with this shit in the morning. With some difficulty I struggled to the door and walked out into the corridor, stumbling along underneath the glaring LED lights.

Now, I know what you’re probably thinking. Clearly, I wasn’t in Kansas anymore, and surely I should have realised something was wrong. But remember, at this point I had no idea what really went on within the facility and couldn’t have imagined what I’d just been through. And the office complex did appear much the same as I would have expected. There were a couple of details different from how I remembered – the odd thing like a water cooler or desk out of place, but I wrote off these discrepancies, telling myself I was just tired and my mind was playing tricks on me.

Soon I reached the security checkpoint in front of the exit. I didn’t recognise the armed guard sitting behind the desk, a burly and disinterested middle-aged man who didn’t bother looking up from his phone when I walked by. I approached the sealed door and swiped the security card I carried in a lanyard around my neck. It didn’t work.

The door didn’t swing open but instead there was a bleep followed by a red light. I tried again, four or five times, but the result was always the same. Frustrated, I turned back to the desk and sought to gain the attention of the bored guard.

“Excuse me sir,” I interjected, “My card isn’t working.”

He looked up in annoyance, rolling his eyes as he slammed down his phone and loudly typed into his keyboard.

“Name?” he demanded abruptly.

I told him and he aggressively typed the details into his computer, frowning in annoyance when he didn’t get the information he wanted. He looked up at me for the first time, his eyes bloodshot and unfocussed.

“Are you new?” he demanded.

“Err…I’ve worked here for two weeks…” I answered in confusion.

The guard shook his head in annoyance. “Damn this system! Those morons in IT can’t sort out the glitches!”

He slammed his fist on a button located under his desk and the door automatically swung open.

“Go ahead.” he ordered.

“Thanks man.” I replied meekly, before walking out.

I eagerly embraced the cool but fresh air when I stepped outside. To my surprise, I saw it was now dawn, with the sun rising on the far horizon. How could this be possible? I couldn’t account for the lost time. I didn’t want to think about it however. All I wanted was to get to bed and put my head down.

I didn’t have accommodation or even a parking space on site, but our employers provided a free shuttle service into the nearby town where I was staying. I boarded the bus, saying ‘good morning’ to a surly driver who barely acknowledged my presence. I was the only passenger.

During the journey I looked at my phone and discovered I had no signal. Great, I thought…This day was going from bad to worse. Although of course, I still had no idea of what lay ahead.

We arrived in the town and I disembarked, strolling along main street as the morning sun shone down upon me. Readers of the original traveller’s accounts may recall his description of this small settlement located about 10 miles from the facility. It’s a two-bit little town which could be described as ‘Anywhere USA’. This wasn’t somewhere I would have moved to if it hadn’t been for the employment opportunity.

I was new to town so hadn’t found a place to rent yet, so for the time being I was staying at a local motel – a basic but clean and comfortable place a couple of minutes walk from the bus stop. I felt myself flagging as I walked through the parking lot towards my room, fumbling in my pocket for my key and inserting it in the lock, but to my surprise and annoyance the door didn’t open.

I saw it was jammed by the latch, which could only be locked from the inside. I noted an unpleasant stench emanating from within, something similar to rotting meat. I looked through the gap into the darkened room, only to be met by a face on the other side – a woman, her eyes bloodshot and skin pale white. I swore I could see dried blood on her chin.
Clearly she wasn’t pleased to see me, as she snarled and exposed her sharpened teeth.

“What the fuck do you want?” she growled, squinting to see me in the morning sun.

“Errr…this is my room.” I replied in confusion.

“To hell it is!” she shot back, “Now get the fuck out of here before I rip your damn throat out!”

With that threat, she slammed the door shut, leaving me standing on the outside.

“Wow!” I exclaimed to no-one in particular. I couldn’t believe she’d been so aggressive and was left shaken by the unpleasant encounter. Fearing I’d made a mistake, I double checked the door number. No. 23 – this was definitely my room. Clearly there’d been a mistake by the management and so I resolved to go to the front desk to resolve it.

I could tell something was off as soon as I walked into the small reception area of the motel. The space was very similar to how I remembered but also subtly different. There was a dark and foreboding atmosphere inside whereas it had previously been friendly and welcoming. I couldn’t quite put my finger on why. The only visible difference I could see was an odd and disturbing shrine set upon a table in the corner of the room, a collection of photographs and trinkets underneath a grim reaper statue – a ceramic model of a robed skeleton holding a scythe. It reminded me of Sante Muerte, the patron of the infamous Mexican death cult.

I was sure this shrine hadn’t been there before and it seemed an odd addition to what I thought was a family friendly motel. Nevertheless, I proceeded to the front desk and rang the bell to get somebody’s attention. After a moment’s wait, an elderly man emerged from the back office to answer my call. I was somewhat relieved to discover that I recognised the old timer. He was in fact the motel’s owner who had checked me in two weeks earlier. But when I got a closer look at the man I realised something was off with him.

The owner I remembered was friendly and helpful, but this man appeared sullen and hostile, glaring at me with contempt in his eyes and spitting when he spoke.

“What do you want?” he demanded.

I could hardly believe how rude he was being and struggled to find the words to respond.
“I’m a guest here, remember? Room 23. But someone else is in there…”

“You’re not a guest here,” he shot back without hesitation.

I was getting angry now and so raised my voice in frustration.

“Excuse me sir, but you’re wrong. You checked me in yourself!”

“Like hell I did! You think I’m stupid!” he shouted, “I would never rent a room to your kind!”

Wow, I thought…’your kind’? What the hell was this guy’s problem?

“Listen sir, you have no right to speak to me like this!” I exclaimed angrily.

I instantly regretted my outburst when I saw the sudden change in the old man’s demeanour, as his eyes screwed up in rage and he reached under the counter. To my horror, the motel owner pulled out a shotgun, pointing it directly in my face.

“Get the fuck out of my business, you damn parasite!” he yelled in fury, “Get out or I’ll blow your fucking head off!”

I raised my hands defensively, shaking almost uncontrollably as I slowly backed up.

Somehow I reached the door, slowly and carefully opening it while the owner tracked me with his gun. Once I was out, I ran for my life, not stopping until I was clear of the office.
I breathed heavily as I hid behind a bush, trying to regain my composure and make some sense of what had just happened. Why the hell had the old man reacted like that? I didn’t know but was determined not to stick around in case he got trigger happy. My plan was to drive back to the facility and report what had occurred here. But – big surprise – I couldn’t find my car. It wasn’t in the space where I’d left it or anywhere else in the vicinity.

By this point I thought I was losing my mind. None of it made any sense. Was I having a mental breakdown, or was I the victim of an elaborate scam? There seemed to be only one option left to me – to go to the cops.

There wasn’t much of a police presence in the small town but there was a sheriff’s office on the main street, so that’s where I went. Still in a state of shock, I stumbled into the police station and reported to a uniformed officer on the front desk – a woman in her thirties or forties with tied back hair and a no nonsense look etched across her weathered face. The policewoman didn’t exactly greet me with enthusiasm, but at least she didn’t pull a gun on me, and her address was abrupt but relatively polite.

“Yes sir, how can I help?”

For a moment I couldn’t think of what to say. Where would I begin, after the crazy morning I’d had?

“Umm…I need to report a crime. My car and all my possessions. They’ve all been stolen.”

“Okay.” the woman replied, as she calmly typed information into her computer.

“Your name sir?” she asked.

I told her my full name.

“ID number?”

This puzzled me. What the hell was up with this town?

“I’m sorry, I don’t understand.”

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“Your state-allocated ID number sir. I need it to log your crime report.”

I was still baffled, “I’m sorry, I don’t know what that is.”

Once again, my response triggered a response I couldn’t comprehend. The policewoman looked up from her monitor, glaring at me with suspicion. She continued to stare me down as she rose from her chair and stepped around the desk, coming to stand only inches from me. Her glare was intense and I felt intimidated. Then suddenly she reached out and roughly grabbed my right arm, rolling up the sleeve on my shirt to examine the skin underneath.
“Hey, what the hell!” I objected, although I offered little resistance to the policewoman’s firm grasp. A moment later, she repeated the process, ripping the sleeve from my left arm. It seemed she was looking for something she couldn’t find.

I saw her frowning as she muttered. “No barcode…”

“Excuse me?” I exclaimed in astonishment.

Suddenly she released me, although her facial expression was still one of concern.

“Please take a seat sir, I need to talk with the sheriff.”

She motioned towards the plastic seats by the entrance. Still confused, I made my way over there and sat down, while the cop went into the back office. It’s difficult to describe how I felt in that moment but it would be fair to say the red flags were flying.

I sat on the hard backed chair and scanned my surroundings. There were several posters on display inside the police station which only added to my confusion and anxiety.

One showed a smiling young woman with a needle in her arm. The catchline was – ‘Give Blood. It’s the law!’

Puzzled, I moved in closer to examine the small print, which read – ‘It is a legal requirement to donate one unit of blood every four months, unless you are covered by a health exemption order. If you know of anyone in breach of the Blood Collection Act, it is your legal and moral duty to report them to your local law enforcement.’

The next poster was entitled ‘Ten Most Wanted’ and showed mug shots of a motley collection of men and women of various ages and ethnic backgrounds. The writing underneath read – ‘Terrorists of the so-called Human League. Wanted for subversion, sabotage and murder. One million units reward for information leading to their capture.’

“What the fuck?” I mouthed, shaking my head in disbelief.

Alarms bells were ringing in my head and so I made an instant decision, jumping up from my chair and making for the exit. I ran down the pavement for about a block, looking over my shoulder to ensure I wasn’t being followed. I was so concerned with what was behind me that I almost collided with a man standing on the sidewalk, resulting in a firm rebuke.

“Watch it asshole!” he exclaimed, whilst shooting me a hard glare.

I apologised to the man, noticing that he was standing at the back of a long queue of people, all waiting to gain entrance to what appeared to be a medical facility of some kind. The assembled persons represented a diverse mix of gender, age and race, but all were waiting impatiently under the morning sun. I noted how their heads were down and every one appeared sullen and depressed. There was no conversation in the line and it seemed nobody wanted to be there.

I looked up at the sign above the door and it read – ‘Department of Human Affairs. Blood Collection Point.’

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I also noted the scrolling neon sign which displayed various messages such as – ‘Complete your civic duty today. Give blood. Do not delay.’ and ‘Blood donations are mandatory. Failure to comply will result in prosecution.’

I swore under my breath as I read those words. This was the second reference I’d seen to mandatory blood donations. What the hell was this? Had they passed a new law that I wasn’t aware of?

I continued to stand there on the sidewalk, pondering my next move, when I was startled by a cry behind me.

“Sir! You need to come with us!”

I turned my head to see the policewoman from the station running down the street after me. She was accompanied by a large, bald-headed man in a beige uniform who I guessed was the town’s sheriff. While the woman was relatively calm, the sheriff clearly wasn’t. He screamed aggressively as he pursued me, pulling a weapon from his holster.

“Freeze asshole! Don’t you dare run!”

I didn’t flee. In fact, I was frozen in fear, not knowing how to react in that moment. I noticed how the people on the street suddenly disappeared, scattering in all directions as if they knew what was about to happen. Clearly I posed no threat, but this didn’t matter to the bullish sheriff, as he aimed his weapon and fired.

I felt a heavy impact against my chest and for a moment I was sure I was dead, but instead of a bullet I got zapped by a taser – a surge of electricity pulsating through my body as I fell down, hitting the pavement with a heavy thud. What happened next is something of a blur in my memory. I recall lying face up on the pavement, still convulsing until the taser was disengaged.

Next they forced me up on my feet, roughly applying handcuffs and throwing a sack over my head before they bundled me into the back of a vehicle.

“Why are you doing this to me?” I cried in despair, “I don’t do anything!”

The response surprised me. It was the woman’s voice, and her tone was empathetic.
“I’m sorry. Please don’t fight.”

A second later I felt a sharp jab in my neck, making me yelp in pain and shock. Only a few seconds passed before I began to feel woozy, struggling in vain to keep my eyes open before everything went black.

I don’t know how long I was out for, but I was awoken with a jolt as freezing cold water was dumped over my head. I yelled out in pain and instinctively tried to jump up, only to discover I was restrained, bound by my wrists and ankles to a hard metal chair. My whole body ached as I struggled in vain against the binds and tried to adjust my eyes to this new environment.

I found myself inside a dimly lit, small and windowless room with bare concrete walls. Other than the chair I was bound to, the only other piece of furniture was a stainless steel table to my right. I glanced over at it and – to my horror – saw the table contained a selection of what looked like sterilised surgical instruments. I dreaded to think what their purpose was, but then my attention was drawn to the man standing over the table, closely examining what I soon realised were the contents of my wallet.

He took the shape of a man at least, but there was something decidedly inhuman about this individual. He looked young – probably in his 20s – and may have been Hispanic in origin. The man was undoubtedly handsome, with a firm jawline and fit physique, but his physical appearance was more than intimidating…he was terrifying.

I saw his teeth when he opened his mouth, revealing what I can only describe as a pair of fangs. And his eyes…dark green and almost reptilian – there was no way they were human. These were the eyes of a predator, and they were focused on me…the fly caught in his deadly web. He glanced down at my wallet before addressing me in a deep, booming voice.
I recall how he read my name and DOB from my driver’s licence.

“That’s you, is it?” he enquired.

I struggled to answer through my quaking lips, but managed to whimper a single word reply – “Yes…”

“That’s funny,” he snorted dismissively, “Because no-one with that name and details exists on the national database. No name, no blood group, and no barcode tattoo on your arm…which of course is mandatory for all humans to have. How do you explain that?”

I shook my throbbing head, still hoping against hope that I’d awake from this nightmare.
“I don’t understand any of this.” I pleaded, “Please contact my employers and they’ll confirm who I am.”

My captor smiled cruelly before replying. “Ah yes, your employers. I am very interested in learning about them, believe me!”

My mind was racing and I felt I was going to be physically sick.

“I don’t understand.” I repeated, “Who are you? What are you?”

My captor’s grin widened, again revealing his crocodile-like teeth.

“Of course, where are my manners? My name is Dr Salvatore. I am Head of Security at this facility, executive member of the Vampire Nation Party, and proud homo-nocturnus of the purest blood.”

I almost laughed aloud despite the extreme danger I was in.

“Vampire?” I exclaimed in dismay, “You mean…no sunlight, drinks blood, sleeps in coffins, stake through the heart, and all that shit?”

Salvatore laughed in open mockery at the description.

“Ah yes, the foolish human superstitions from the old days. Such myths were widespread before the revolution – when my kind rose up and took our rightful place in the world, ruling over the weak and pitiful human race. Your blood is no longer necessary for our sustenance of course, but the ancient tributes are still maintained, thus the Blood Collection Act and mandatory quotas. But of course, you already know all this, don’t you?”

I shook my head vigorously, not wanting to believe what I was hearing. “I don’t know anything! I shouldn’t be here!”

“That much is true.” Salvatore snarled back. “But I already know who you really are. I have long suspected that other worlds would develop their own portal technology and seek to visit our dimension. And now, here you are, in the flesh! But I don’t care about a lowly worm like you. What I want to know is who sent you, and what is their agenda? I refuse to believe that homo-sapiens have the intelligence to develop such advanced technology. Surely you are a pawn being used by a more powerful civilisation…I suggest you tell the truth now, before I am forced to take more drastic measures!”

“I don’t know anything!” I repeated in a panic, “No-one sent me and I don’t know how I got here!”

Salvatore shook his head, and obviously he was not convinced.

“Very well, have it your way maggot,” he spat, “I’ll get the truth from you one way or another.”

To my horror I saw him reach for one of the sharpened instruments from the table, and an ice-cold chill ran up my spine, as I feared what was to come. I don’t wish to recount what happened to me over the next few hours. Honestly, I’m still trying to come to terms with the torture I endured at the hands of that monster. Suffice to say, I was beaten, cut and bled by a psychopath who took a sadistic pleasure from my pain and fear. Clearly he was an expert in torture and thoroughly enjoyed his work.

Salvatore kept on asking the same questions – ‘Who sent you?’, ‘What did I know about the project?’, ‘What was the objective of my mission?’

I didn’t know the answers of course, but he didn’t believe my denials. Either that, or he didn’t care. Some of the torture was psychological as well as physical. At one stage he actually drank my blood in front of me, making a show of spitting it out in disgust.

“Your blood is that of a low-caste human,” he mocked, “You are truly inferior and unworthy in all respects.”

I didn’t know whether he was serious or not.

My panicked brain tried to think while he inflicted pain upon me. Why was this happening to me? How had I gone to work one day and suddenly emerged in this hellish place? In a world similar and yet so different from my own. And why was this monster torturing me? What the fuck did he want?

Clearly my horrific predicament had something to do with the shadowy government department I worked for and the bizarre incident which had occurred the previous night. I would learn the awful truth later, but right then I was focussed on survival.

Mercifully, Salvatore eventually left me alone after what must have been several hours of torture.

“I’ll give you some time to think things over.” he said when leaving the room, smirking cruelly as he did so. “But don’t worry, I’ll be back real soon…”

I was grateful for the respite but knew he would return to finish the job. And I was still bound to the metal chair, weak from blood loss and the beatings. There was no chance I could escape from this torture room, nor could I answer the questions Salvatore was bombarding me with. To be honest, by this point I just wanted to die so that the pain would end.

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I must have lost consciousness again, because the next thing I remember is being roughly shaken awake. I groggily opened my eyes, feeling a renewed terror when I recalled where I was, but it wasn’t Salvatore who’d awoken me. A new figure had entered the room, putting his hands upon me. I instinctively recoiled in fear, expecting yet more pain to be inflicted upon my person.

But, to my immense surprise, the man started to undo my binds whilst whispering comforting words in my ear.

“It’s okay man. You’re okay. We’re going to get you out of here buddy.”

I looked up to see a friendly face – a young man with dark hair and blue eyes, his expression showing compassion but also determination. I noticed how he wore some type of uniform but was somewhat concerned to see a pistol tucked in his waistband. But soon he had me free, helping me to my feet.

I saw the door was ajar and two more individuals stood on the other side – one male and one female, both dressed the same as my rescuer. Both were armed, with guns drawn and ready for use.

I struggled to speak through my bleeding lips, asking – “Who are you people?”

“We’re with the Human League.” the leader answered firmly.

My mind raced as I tried to remember where I’d heard that name before.

“The Human League? You’re terrorists?” I asked.

“We’re freedom fighters!” he shot back angrily, “Our ancestors have fought these vampires fucks for centuries. Now we’re underground, but we keep up the resistance…” He looked agitated, staring at the open door and corridor. “But there’s no time for history lessons. We need to move.”

I could hardly walk due to my injuries, so the two men supported me while the woman took point. We soon reached an elevator which the leader needed to key in a code to summon. When we got into the lift we descended for what seemed like an eternity, down to the lowest level of the facility.

I was still disorientated and baffled by this sudden turn of events.

“Why are you people helping me?” I asked.

The leader nodded his head solemnly. “It’s a good question. We’ve worked for years to infiltrate this facility and now our cover will be blown. But when we heard about you, the decision was taken to help you escape. If we get you home, you can tell your people the truth of what’s happening on our world. And maybe…just maybe, they’ll come to our aid.”
I still didn’t fully understand what he meant but did feel a renewed hope at the prospect of getting home, and I certainly wasn’t going to look a gift horse in the mouth.

Finally, we reached the lowest level of the facility and exited the elevator, speeding down yet more corridors before reaching a steel security door, which the rebel leader opened by keying in another code and going through what looked like a retinal scan. He was satisfied at hearing the beep as the heavy door automatically swung open.

We then entered a huge underground chamber adorned with control panels and hi-tech equipment, the purpose of which was beyond my comprehension. I did note the huge spiral-like device facing the back wall, easily thirty foot long and dominating the room. Again, I had no idea what this device was used for, but the whole scene conjured images in my head of science fiction scenarios, and of secret, dark experiments conducted by shadowy organisations.

I found it difficult to take in my surroundings however, as I was still weak from the blood loss and so grateful when they sat me down on a swivel chair to rest.

“Cover the door! We don’t have much time!”

That was the leader, shouting orders to his two subordinates. They drew their weapons and stood guard, while the leader quickly but carefully worked away at the control panels, bringing systems to life with the touch of various buttons and switches. I watched on, awestruck as power surged and the spiral device started to spin, slowly at first but quickly gaining momentum.

The chamber was suddenly filled up by a cacophony of sounds and illuminated by an intense light. I started to panic, fearing an explosion, but the rebel leader seemed to know what he was doing, as he continued the mysterious process he’d begun.

Suddenly, there was a commotion back at the entrance, as the security door slowly swung open to reveal a squad of black clad troops, all armed with sub-machineguns.

“Here they come!” came the cry.

“Hold them off! Just two more minutes!”

I heard the first shot and saw the lead trooper scream and fall. A split second later, the chamber was filled with gunshots, as bullets flew in all directions. I covered my ears and ducked as a fresh terror overcame me. There seemed to be no way out of this chamber and I couldn’t see any sort of plan, but the rebel leader continued to work frantically at his computer terminal, ignoring the mayhem occurring all around him.

From my hiding place I could see the rebel soldiers fighting fiercely, but they were heavily outnumbered and outgunned, so the outcome seemed inevitable. To my horror, I saw a bullet ricochet and strike the male rebel in the head, blowing his brains all over the floor. A moment later, the woman attempted to fall back but was struck by a burst of automatic fire, falling with a cry as her life was abruptly ended.

Now there was nothing standing between us and the trigger-happy security team. In a panic, I turned to the leader and saw he had finished his work, now drawing his pistol and joining the fight.

“It’s starting. Get ready to move.”

I wanted to ask what the hell he meant but a moment later the gunfire started over. I continued to cower until suddenly the chamber was filled with a blinding light, temporarily pausing the gun battle as an unimaginable power surged through the facility, making the ground shake beneath our feet. I looked to the far wall and experienced déjà vu as I saw a familiar fluid membrane suddenly appear, and on the other side was a chamber virtually identical to the one I occupied.

Suddenly it all made sense, and I finally understood.

“What the hell are you doing? Get going before it closes!”

That was the rebel leader again, as he temporarily ceased fire to scream his order. I was horrified to see a sudden sharp movement, a figure moving quicker than I ever thought possible, and heading straight for the surviving rebel. I tried to shout a warning but it was already too late.

The figure grabbed the rebel with immense speed and strength, knocking the gun out of his hand before plunging its fangs into his neck. I stood paralysed by fear and consumed by horror as I watched my saviour’s blood spill all over the concrete floor. And it got worse. The monster who’d slaughtered the man was Salvatore – my torturer had come to reclaim his victim.

He glared at me with predatory eyes and fresh blood still dripping from his mouth, and I broke from my paralysed state, turning and running the only place I could – through the portal and towards the world existing on the far side. I heard a bloodthirsty roar and heavy footfall, and I knew Salvatore was chasing me down.

I leapt the last few steps, practically diving through the portal with that monster only inches behind me. Next, I was consumed by darkness, falling into a hellish abyss which was only slightly less terrifying than the nightmare I’d escaped from.

A moment later I shot out the other side, my body hitting the steel walkway heavily. I felt pain all over, struggling to move as I turned on my back. To my immense relief I saw the portal close, shutting Salvatore and his gunmen on the other side. The moments which followed were chaotic, as men shouted and people ran to my side.

At this point my strength failed me, and I blacked out once again, not knowing whether I would wake up but realising I had at least escaped the clutches of that monster.

The days and weeks which followed didn’t get much easier. Obviously, I survived and was treated for my injuries within the facility. But I wasn’t even fully recovered when they first came to speak with me – anonymous men in black suits who bombarded me with questions. Thankfully, they didn’t torture me like Salvatore had, but nevertheless their questioning was relentless as they sought to establish every tiny detail of my misadventure.

They told me very little in return, but I managed to piece things together from the information I had. The facility I worked at was virtually a mirror image of the one on the other side, a secret base experimenting in TDP technology. I never should have been a part of this experiment but something went seriously wrong.

On the night I crossed over there had been a test down below, but the stabilisation field had failed, resulting in what they called a cascade event. An unplanned portal had opened up in my office and I’d been unlucky enough to fall through it, ending up in a hellish alternate dimension without any of the knowledge, skills or tools I needed. The fact that I survived and made it home was entirely down to the Human League rebels who’d sacrificed their lives to save me. To my shame, I’d never even asked their names.

I told my interrogators all about this of course, practically begging them to send help to the beleaguered humans on that vampire-controlled world, but I could tell they have no intention of doing so.

Eventually they let me go, paying me severance from my job and warning me not to speak about what happened, quoting federal law and threatening a lengthy prison sentence if I broke my silence. Obviously, I’ve decided to talk in spite of the threats, inspired by the courageous example set by my predecessor and the ultimate sacrifice made by the freedom fighters who saved my life.

Now I’m on the run, having taken steps to hide and conceal my identity. Maybe I’ll stay lucky and escape their net, or perhaps not…Either way, my story is out there and I’ve done my part. But I’m not the last whistle-blower who wants to tell their truth. Others will take up the traveller mantle and in time we will take down this nefarious project and the shadowy figures running it. Until then – stay safe friends…and keep on reading.

Credit: Traveller

Mark Lynch’s new book Harsh Worlds: A Horror Anthology eBook can be found here

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