Estimated reading time — 26 minutes
I stared at the odd hole that had appeared in my arm overnight. It was located on the inside of my forearm just before the bend of my elbow. I’m positive it wasn’t there when I went to bed last night. How can I be so sure? Easy, because there used to be a mole where the hole is. It’s like the mole collapsed in on itself and became a hole.
I couldn’t tell how deep the hole was. All I could see was the rim of skin around it and then blackness. There was nothing else, no blood, no tissue, nothing but an endless black void.
I probed it with my finger and expected it to be sore, but it didn’t hurt at all. If you saw how deep it was you’d think my entire arm would be in pain. The hole was the same shape as the mole it replaced and was about as wide as a pencil. There wasn’t any blood that I could find on my clothes or sheets. Whatever made it did so without breaking any blood vessels.
Since I wasn’t in any pain and the hole didn’t look inflamed or infected I was going to wait and see if it would close on its own. Once I decided that I jumped in the shower. As I washed my arm I noticed something that alarmed me a bit, all of the water that flowed into the hole never filled it up. That’s not possible, right? It would eventually fill with water, right? It didn’t though.
That unnerved more than I cared to admit so I finished washing and quickly got out of the shower. After seeing the amount of liquid that poured into my arm I couldn’t stand to look at the hole any longer. I covered it with a small bandage then got dressed and ready to go to school. Before I did that though I gave my forearm a little shake to see if I could feel any water sloshing around inside of it. I couldn’t.
I did my best to ignore the hole and was doing pretty good until lunch. While I ate my sandwich my arm started to feel wet. I glanced down and noticed a small stream of water flowing out from beneath the bandage. I quickly ripped the bandage off and couldn’t believe my eyes. Water was streaming out of the hole.
I used the tip of my finger to plug the hole and get the water to stop flowing. It worked, but only as long as I kept my finger pressed to it. Since I didn’t know how to get it to stop I walked into the bathroom and held my arm over the sink and just let the water flow down the drain. After a few minutes the water eventually slowed to a trickle and then stopped altogether.
I returned to my table and sat down. After I glanced around to make sure no one was watching me I grabbed the straw from my drink cup and placed it over the hole in my arm. I then started to slowly push it into the hole. I wanted to see just how deep it really was. I got it about halfway in my arm which should have been impossible. The tip should have started poking out the bottom of my arm, but it didn’t.
What happened next scared the shit out of me. I went to pull the straw back out, but it was tugged out of my grasp, and into the hole where it disappeared. What the fuck, I thought as I jumped up and stared at my arm. This had to be some sort of fucked up magic trick. My mind couldn’t think of anything else to explain what had just happened. It was that or I was going crazy.
As I sat there and wondered what I should do a little metal cylinder slid out of the hole. I just watched as it popped out then fell onto table. When it hit the tabletop it came apart to reveal a rolled up piece of paper nestled inside one of the hollow sections.
I picked up the paper and unrolled it which revealed the handwritten note on it. This is what was written on it:
Hey Collin (or however you choose to spell your name), I know you have a lot of questions about the hole in your arm. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you much. What I can do is apologize for the inconvenience it has caused you and will likely continue to cause you.
We had a little problem with this experiment we were working on. We don’t know what went wrong, but whatever happened caused this weird little wormhole to open in the mole on my arm that leads to the mole in your arm.
Because of this hole we are now connected across space and time. I know that sounds like the plot to a really bad science fiction movie, but I really am you. I just live in another dimension. Don’t worry, I am doing everything I can to fix this mistake and I am confident I can close the wormhole. In the meantime, if you could, please sign your name to the bottom of this note and place it back into the wormhole so the next Collin gets the message.
P.S. Please refrain from sending anything else through the hole. It can create some awkward situations. Also, keep it covered when you bathe.
P.S.S. If something living comes through the hole, burn it (or drop it in acid if you happen to have some available.)
I picked up my pen and glanced down the list to look at all of the other Collins that had signed before me. There must have been over fifty signatures on the sheet so far. Even though each of the Collins that had signed came from a different dimension the handwriting for each one was very similar.
I signed my name to the bottom of the list and placed the sheet of paper back inside the cylinder. Then I picked it up and slid it into the wormhole. As I did so I wondered how many Collins the cylinder would travel to before it made its way back to the first Collin or back to me.
Then I thought, what the fuck did he mean by something living!
“Collin.” The sound of my name being called out pulled me from a restless slumber. I looked at the clock and groaned. It was just after 1 AM.
I sat up and rubbed my eyes. “Collin.” There it was again. It sounded deep and throaty, kind of like a frog.
I stopped and peered around my dark bedroom. I thought I was dreaming when I heard it the first time. The second time it clearly came from somewhere in my room.
I reached over and turned on the lamp that sat on my nightstand. “Collin.” That time it sounded like it came from the closet. As I turned towards the closet doors, I happened to glance down at my arm. I stopped what I was doing when I noticed a small hole in the bandage I used to cover the wormhole.
The opening was ringed with ragged little half-moon shapes and frayed pieces of fabric. It looked like something had chewed its way out. Have you seen a leaf that has been eaten by a caterpillar? That is what the hole in the bandage looked like.
Seeing the bandage reminded me of the note that had come through the wormhole a couple of days earlier: If something living comes through the hole, burn it…
“Collin.” That didn’t come from the closet. That sounded like it came from the bathroom. Whatever was calling my name seemed to be moving around. The bathroom is on the opposite side of the room from the closet.
I stood up and walked to the center of my bedroom and waited for it to happen again. I figured I’d have better luck pinpointing it if I listened from a central location.
When I got up off the bed I clamped my hand over the hole. I didn’t put much thought into the action. I just wanted to prevent anything else from coming through. While I waited for my name to be called again I looked down at my hand. Then I imagined something biting its way through the bandage. My hand probably wasn’t the best thing to plug the hole.
I didn’t want something to bite its way through my palm, so I removed my hand. I had no idea what had come through. I let my mind wander over the possibilities. What did it look like? How big was it? What if it were venomous, or worse, what if it were infectious or harbored parasites? I was starting to get worried. I’ve seen enough movies to know alien creatures were never a good thing.
I ripped the damaged bandage off my arm then scanned my room for something I could use to cover the exposed wormhole. That was when I noticed all of the spare change that sat on my dresser. I walked over, grabbed a quarter, then walked over to my nightstand and grabbed the roll of duct tape I kept in the drawer.
“Collin.” I didn’t bother to try and pinpoint it. I wanted to secure my arm first.
I placed the quarter over the hole and wrapped my arm in a layer of tape. That should keep anything else from getting through for the time being. Unless it could chew through metal, I thought. Shut up! I chided myself. I needed to focus on finding the thing that had come through. Worrying about what it was capable of wasn’t going to help me at that moment.
I tossed the tape on the bed and returned to the center of the room and waited. I didn’t have to wait long. “Collin.” It definitely sounded like it was coming from the bathroom.
I quickly walked in, turned on the light and scanned the room, but saw nothing. This was really starting to annoy me. The sound was so loud and so clear. Why couldn’t I find the thing that kept calling my name?
I started to move my toiletries around. I opened the cabinet under the sink. I pulled the shower curtain to the side. I even got down on my hands and knees and peered behind the toilet. I couldn’t find anything.
I turned and started to walk out of the room. “Collin.” I nearly shit my pants. I am not kidding. It sounded like someone came up behind me, leaned over my shoulder and yelled my name in my ear.
I whirled around and gave one of those halfhearted karate swipes, but I only struck air. I then took a defensive stance and glanced to the left and right. That is when I noticed the strange looking bug on my shoulder.
If you have ever seen a cockroach then you already have a good idea what this thing looked like. Imagine a standard cockroach, the ones that can fly, that has been stretched to twice its length. It also looked a little stockier than a normal roach. Instead of being brown, this bug was an off-white color, almost grey. The creepiest thing about it was that it was semi-translucent.
I may have screamed as I flicked it off my shoulder and onto the floor where it landed on its back. Once it righted itself it shuffled its wings, cleaned its head with its front legs, and said “Collin.”
Holy shit, it’s a talking bug, I thought to myself. Then I remembered the warning and shut the door to prevent it from escaping.
The bug cocked its head to the side as it seemed to consider what to make of the giant standing before it. I guess it decided I wasn’t a threat because it spread its wings and silently flew directly at my face.
Okay, it might not have been coming right at my face, but it did start to fly. That put me on the defensive so I used my karate chop to swat it out of the air. It was a good chop. I knocked it into the toilet.
I walked over and watched as the bug flailed around in the water. For a moment I considered flushing the toilet, but again, I remembered the warning.
I shut the lid of the toilet and ran back into the bedroom and grabbed the lighter out of my pants pocket. I then grabbed the empty soda can off my nightstand and returned to the bathroom. My plan was simple. I was going to put the bug in the soda can and set it on fire.
To get the bug into the can I used an old razor I had on the sink. I held the can just above the water and used the razor to guide it into the opening. The bug didn’t hesitate when it was given the choice to enter the can or drown. It crawled into the can.
When I set the can on the counter the thing said my name again. “Collin.” I could feel the can vibrate as the sound reverberated against the aluminum.
I quickly shoved a bunch of toilet paper through the opening with just enough sticking out so that I could light it. Then I lit it. I could hear the bug run around the can as it frantically tried to avoid the flame. After a couple of minutes the fire died down to a few embers of paper and the bug stopped moving.
I shook the can just to make sure it was dead. When it didn’t make any noise I dumped the contents of the can into the sink. The bug’s legs were all curled up close to its charred body. I poked it with my finger. When it didn’t move I picked it up and held it in my palm to get a better look at it. It definitely looked like some weird species of cockroach.
As I examined it I felt a soft pinch on the center of my palm. It wasn’t dead! It bit me! I could see its head move ever so slightly. I dropped it into the sink and used the bottom of the can to pound it to pulp. Then I picked its body up with a wad of toilet paper and shoved it back into the can. I burned it again. Once the flames went out I packed it with more toilet paper and burned it a third time.
When I looked at the small welt growing where the bug bit me I started to panic. I convinced myself I was going to die. I cleaned the wound as well as I could. I washed it, I poured alcohol on it, and then I put some antibiotic on it.
By that time I was feeling light headed and felt like I was going to pass out, so I crawled back into bed. Before I knew it I fell asleep.
I awoke around 8 AM and sat up quickly as I remembered the events of a few hours ago. I looked down at my hand. The welt was gone and all that remained was a slight red area that was sore to the touch. I guess I wasn’t going to die.
I swung my feet out of bed and was going to go take a shower when I heard a metallic tapping. I didn’t know what to make of it until I realized it was coming from my arm. Something was banging against the coin I taped to my arm.
I pulled the tape off and removed the coin. As soon as I did, a small metal cylinder popped out of the wormhole.
I picked it up, opened it, and unrolled the note that was inside. This is what was written on it:
To the Collin who sent the bugs through the wormhole, you are a COLOSSAL DICK. That was not funny. I know you did it intentionally. If those bugs lived in my universe I totally would have done the same thing.
To everyone else, be on the lookout for some long thin cockroaches. They have the strange ability to mimic sounds by rubbing their wings together. This particular species seems to be able to mimic the sound of our name. I thought my fucking house was haunted.
I hope this note finds you before the roaches do. Don’t worry. They are harmless and relatively easy to kill with standard bug spray. Don’t try and pick them up though, they bite.
P.S. Make sure you kill them all. They breed rapidly.
That is just like me to pull something like that. I agree with the Collin who wrote the note, I totally would have done the same thing if those bugs lived in my dimension. As I rolled up the message, placed it back in the tube, and sent it back into the wormhole I wondered just how rapidly the bugs bred.
I got my answer when I heard my name called out a dozen times from various locations around my room. It was just like the seagulls in Finding Nemo, only they were saying Collin instead of mine.
Fuck burning them. I caught them all and sent them back.
I slid the thick rubber strap back over the opening to the wormhole. I had to remove it to allow a message tube to come through. Once it was back in place I read the note.
At first I thought it was another joke. The wormhole had become a source of amusement for quite a few Collins. They liked to send random things through it (like the roaches) and wait to see how the other Collins responded. That is why I thought, yeah right, when I read the first line of the note. When I finished reading it that thought was quickly replaced with, oh shit.
This is what was written on the note:
WE ARE BEING HUNTED (There was no greeting this is how the note actually started.)
I have received a few messages asking if anyone else has seen a strange man in a black suit hanging around. I have seen him. At first I didn’t know what to make of him, he didn’t seem threatening. He would just stand off in the distance and watch me. That changed this morning when he tried to kill me.
My advice to you is this: If you see him, KILL HIM! If you cannot kill him then RUN! (The capitalized words were underlined three times.) Do not wait for him to make the first move. You might not live to regret it.
Given the number of queries that have come through I think it is safe to assume that this is not a single man, but several men with the same appearance. Their arrival probably has something to do with what happened to us. I think they may be drawn to the wormhole.
If you have not seen a man in black yet, it is only a matter of time before one finds you. You need to prepare yourself. If you do not own a weapon, find one. If a man in black shows up in your dimension his only goal is to kill you.
Stay safe and I am sorry I caused this. Once you are done reading this please pass it along.
P.S. These assassins may look like men, but they are not. Don’t be fooled by their professional appearance. When you look one in the face you will see it only looks human from a distance. (This was the last line of the note.)
Great, I thought. As if things weren’t bad enough with all of the weird shit that kept popping out of the wormhole, I now had to worry about being stalked by some interdimensional serial killer.
I spent the next couple of days constantly looking over my shoulder searching for the boogeyman in black. Every guy I saw in a dark suit was a potential suspect. I’m sure I made more than one businessman uncomfortable with my scrutiny. There was one guy who seemed to like the attention, but he was way too weird to be an alien.
I considered buying a gun, but I couldn’t afford one. Plus, I’m not sure I would be able to shoot someone, even if they were from another dimension or wherever. I opted to carry an old pocket knife instead. My father gave it to me when I was ten. The six-inch blade was dull and had several nicks, but it would still get the job done.
Four days after I received the note I started to let my guard down. I couldn’t keep walking around in constant fear of a man that might never show up. The note was the first and only time I’ve heard about the men in black.
Who knew how many Collins were connected; there could be a million of us, right? So, the way I figured it, the chances of a man in black showing up in my dimension were about the same as the odds of me winning the lottery. I was never going to win the lottery and figured I’d likely never see the man. Why would he come here? I’m not that special.
Yes, I know my assessment of the situation was flawed. I failed to take into account that there were an unknown number of men hunting us down, and that we didn’t know how they were finding us. I learned I wasn’t good at figuring out odds when I won the man in black lottery later that afternoon.
The morning of that day was fairly uneventful. Nothing had come through the wormhole and I didn’t have any classes. For the first time since it appeared in my arm everything felt normal. It was such a mundane morning that I was lulled into a false sense of security as I got ready for work that afternoon.
As I was about to open my front door and head off to work, I got this strange feeling of vertigo. I felt like I was everywhere and nowhere at the same time. I know that is vague, but that is the only way I can describe it. It only lasted a few seconds, but it troubled me enough to make me stop and lean my hand against the door.
I could see the giant rubber band wrapped around my outstretched arm and wondered if the wormhole might be what caused the dizzying sensation. Weren’t things like that supposed to emit radiation or some other type of dangerous substance?
No sense worrying about it now, I thought as I grabbed the knob and opened the door. I’m sure the look I gave when I noticed the man standing on the other side my door was meme worthy. I bet yours would have been too if you opened your door and came face to face with the man in black.
Collin was right when he implied the man in black wasn’t human. He was pale to the point of being white. He wore a hat to cover his obviously bald head. His expressionless face was completely hairless and looked too perfect; like it had been manufactured. Even the material of his suit seemed otherworldly. The worst part was his eyes. They looked artificial. Like the eyes you’d expect to find on a doll.
I noticed all of that in the second it took to slam the door and lock it. I wish I had been able to afford a gun. I wouldn’t have had any problem shooting that creepy fucker.
I ran out of the backdoor onto my balcony. I then climbed over the railing and lowered myself down until I could drop to the ground. Thankfully, I was dressed for work, so I had my keys in my pocket.
I ran over to my car, got in, and drove off. When I looked in the rearview mirror, I saw the man in black standing on the curb watching me as I drove off. As I watched him disappear from view, I started to wonder if that strange sensation I experienced had anything to do with his appearance. I needed to send a message to the other Collins as soon as possible in case that is what happened. Having some kind of warning, even if it only gave us seconds to react, was better than none at all.
I drove about an hour outside of town and stopped at a truck stop. I figured that should be far enough away to gather my thoughts. I quickly sent a message telling the other Collins about what I felt right before I saw the man in black. Then I called work and told them I wasn’t feeling well and needed to take the night off.
I did all of this while I ate dinner at the diner that was part of the truck stop. After weighing all of my options I decided to head to my parents’ house and see if I could lay low there and figure out what to do next.
As I pulled out of the parking lot and headed back towards the interstate, I saw the man in black as he casually walked down the side of the road. I don’t think he noticed me as he continued on his way towards the truck stop. Apparently he could track me; there wasn’t any other explanation for how he found me so quickly. I would have to let the Collins know about that.
Since I could be tracked that meant I couldn’t go to my parent’s house. I didn’t want to put them in danger. My only option was to keep driving until I figured something out. That was eventually going to be a problem considering how broke I was.
I doubt anyone would let me crash on their couch while I fled a killer. This is one of those times I wish I had a crazy friend who collected weapons like the apocalypse was coming. I could use a small arsenal right now.
Things went from bad to worse a week after I fled the man in black. While I was on the run, more and more reports of the strange men started to pop through the wormhole. Thankfully, some of the Collins had sent through accounts of how they managed to kill the one stalking them. Apparently, I’m a bit of bad ass in some dimensions. However, I was not a bad ass in my dimension, so it wasn’t going to be an easy task for me.
The men in black could not be stopped by simple means and by that I mean guns and knives. You couldn’t shoot them in the head or stab them in the heart and expect them to fall. Their bodies didn’t function the way ours did. Injuries that would kill us didn’t faze them. The only way to stop them was to dismember them or burn them. That was a prospect I was not looking forward to.
I fear that more than one Collin may have fallen victim to the men in black. A few days earlier a plume of dark smoke started to pour out of the wormhole. The smoke was so thick I had to pull over and wait for it to stop and clear out of my car. Normally the smell of cooked meat would make my mouth water, but when it accompanied the smoke it made me queasy. My car still reeks like a steakhouse and not in a good way. I started to drive with the windows down after that.
The smoke wasn’t as bad as what came through the wormhole the next night. It happened while I was driving. I had one arm on the steering wheel and the other on the gear shift when my arm started to feel wet. I assumed it was just water. When I glanced down and saw what it really was, I slammed on the brakes and almost got rear ended by the driver behind me. It wasn’t water that I saw, it was blood. There was enough coming through that it started to seep out from under the thick rubber strap that covered the hole.
I recovered my wits and drove to the next exit and pulled into a fast food restaurant. I ran into the bathroom and pulled the band off my arm. There was so much blood coming out you would have thought I punctured an artery.
I held my arm under the water until the flow of blood slowed, then stopped altogether. I grabbed a paper towel to dry my arm, but stopped as something else started to come through the wormhole. I couldn’t identify it at first, but once enough of it had spurted out I recognized it for the meaty flesh it was. I immediately started to gag. I was able to keep myself from throwing up until pieces with bone and bits of hair started to come through. I barely made it to the toilet before I hurled my guts out.
I didn’t care that I was hugging the bowl of a public toilet. Pieces of what I assumed where another Collin just came through the wormhole like ground beef from a grinder. That was far worse than anything that could be on that toilet. Just thinking about it as I write this is making me nauseous.
I sat and hugged the bowl for an eternity. I know I pissed off at least one customer who wanted to use the toilet. But I wasn’t going to get up until I was good and ready to.
After I cleaned the vomit out of my nose and off my chin I went about the task of cleaning up the pieces of Collin that had come through. Most of them were on the floor next to the toilet. They continued to ooze through as I puked up everything I had eaten that day.
I managed to clean it all up with without throwing up, but only through sheer force of will. As I walked out of the bathroom I decided someone was going to pay for that and I bet you can guess who I had in mind.
I sat in my car and took stock of everything I had with me that I could use as a weapon. I had my pocket knife, but the other Collins said that was an ineffective weapon. I had my car. I could use it to run the bastard over. I had my lighter which I could use to set him on fire, if I had an accelerant. I also had a tire iron in the trunk, but that had the same problem as the knife. It couldn’t do damage fast enough.
To make matters worse, I only had a quarter of a tank of gas left and was down to my last five dollars. Even if I hadn’t decided to confront the man in black I would have been forced to face him sooner rather than later anyway. Frustrated that I couldn’t think of what to do I got back on the interstate and drove.
I got about five miles down the road before my car started pulling to the left. I didn’t know how far it was to the next exit so I just pulled over onto the shoulder and got out to check what was wrong.
Fuck me, I thought as I noticed my front tire was flat and I didn’t have a spare. I looked up the road then back the way I had come. I could walk forward and hope there was an exit or I could walk back to the exit I just left.
It was a tough call, so I just flipped a coin. Heads I go forward, tails I go back. It landed on tails. I popped the trunk and grabbed the tire iron. I wanted to at least be able to defend myself.
As I grabbed the tire iron I looked over at the band around my forearm. Nothing had come through since the bathroom incident. That seemed ominous and it got me thinking about some of the messages that had arrived earlier in the week.
When news spread about the men in black all of the Collins were sending out their theories about who they were and what they wanted. Most of them were ridiculous, but there were two that stuck out as possible to me.
The first one proposed that the men in black were some type of entity whose function is to maintain the balance of order and chaos in the universe. When the wormhole that bound the Collins together was created it likely tipped the universal balance towards chaos. In order to restore balance we must be eliminated.
The second theory proposed that the wormhole was not an accident, but was instead a deliberate act designed to tether all of the Collins together. It would make us easier to track through dimensional space and therefore easier to kill. The big question here is why? None of the Collins had a good answer to this question except something wanted to erase us from the multiverse.
Both theories had one thing in common; the men in black wanted us dead. That meant they probably weren’t going to stop trying to kill us. In other words, if I kill the one stalking me now there is a good chance another one will show up and take his place. Our only hope was if the Collin that created the wormhole was able to close it.
I mulled all of these thoughts over in my head as I walked back to the exit. I must have walked about 2 miles before I saw the silhouette of the man in black in the distance walking towards me. I guess it’s time, I thought to myself as I tightened my grip on the tire iron.
The stretch of interstate I was on was dead. I hadn’t seen another car in over 30 minutes, so I didn’t expect anyone to stop and help me. Even if they did, they’d probably try to help the man in black first since he was dressed in a suit and looked like a respectable businessman. At least from a distance he did. I was wearing jeans and a t-shirt that hadn’t been washed in a week.
When he was about a hundred yards away I stopped and waited for him to close the distance. As I stood there I noticed a large chunk of asphalt sitting on the ground. I picked it up and weighed it with my hand. When he came within throwing distance I chucked it at him. It hit him on the shoulder. He kept walking.
He stopped when he got about six feet away from me. He then reached into the pocket of his jacket and pulled out a strange looking device. I held the tire iron up ready to swing it the moment he made his move.
He took one step towards me. I fidgeted and raised the tire iron a little higher.
He flipped open the device. It looked like some sort of metallic cuff. He took another step towards me.
He was now within striking distance. He didn’t seem concerned by my threatening posture. I swung the tire iron and struck him on the side of the head. All it did was knock his hat off and make him turn his head to the side.
He then reached out with his free hand and grabbed me by the throat and lifted me off the ground. I dropped the tire iron and tried to pry his fingers loose as I started to choke. His grip was like a vice.
This entire time the man in black didn’t make a sound or show any expression. I don’t think he even blinked.
I flailed around as he tried to place the metallic device on the arm with the wormhole. I was starting to lose consciousness and with it the strength to fight. In desperation I reached into my pocket and pulled out my pocket knife. I flipped the blade open right as he snapped the thing onto my arm. I lashed out with the knife and felt the blade pierce the device then sink into my arm.
There was a flash of light and that weird sensation of being everywhere and nowhere at the same time. Then I lost consciousness.
When I came to I was lying on a carpeted floor. My head was pounding. I tried to open my eyes but the room was too bright. All I could do was squint. I stayed on the floor until my vision grew accustomed to the light. Then I sat up and leaned my back against the bed that was next to me.
I was in a large spacious bedroom filled with a bunch of futuristic looking furniture and electronics. Even the lamps on the nightstands looked like they belonged on a moon base. Everything looked polished and shiny. The coolest thing in the room was the large flat screen that sat on top of the dresser. I later discovered it was a television which was a shock considering the TV’s in my dimension were huge boxes that sat on the floor.
I had to adjust the way I sat on the floor because something in my back pocket was pressing uncomfortably into my butt cheek. I reached back and pulled out a small rectangular electronic device. When I held it up the screen lit up showing several small icons arranged in rows. I didn’t know what half of them referred to, but I could easily tell it was a communication device of some sort.
That is when I happened to look down and noticed I was wearing different clothes. When I struggled with the man in black I was wearing jeans and a t-shirt. Now I was wearing black slacks and a long sleeve grey polo shirt. They looked expensive. Actually, everything in the bedroom looked like luxury items that probably cost way more than I made in a year.
I stood up on shaky legs and went to find the bathroom. I had to take it slow to keep the pounding in my head to a minimum. The first door I tried was the closet. The second door opened to a hallway.
I walked down the hall until I found the bathroom. As I stood before the mirror I stared in shock at my reflection. I looked different. I still looked like me, but my hair was much shorter and styled differently and I was clean shaven. When I was on the run I was several days into starting a beard and was in need of a haircut.
“Collin.” I jumped when I heard the familiar sound. I walked out of the bathroom and towards the front of what appeared to be an apartment. As I stepped out of the hall I heard my name being called again. It sounded like it had come from the kitchen.
I walked around the corner and through the archway that led into the kitchen. The first thing I noticed was a large glass jar sitting on the counter. In the jar there was a large stick, a cookie, and a Collin roach. As I approached the jar the roach climbed up the stick, fluttered its wing and said, “Collin.”
Everything I experienced since I woke up had a dreamlike quality to it. I started to wonder if the man in black had killed me and this was my afterlife or if this was some dream I was stuck in when I fell unconscious. I soon discovered it was much worse than either of those.
My mouth was incredibly dry so I walked over to the refrigerator to see if I could find something to drink. When I opened the door I didn’t recognize a single product on any of the shelves. I grabbed a can of something called Coca-Cola and popped open the tab. I was happy to discover that it was a carbonated drink and gulped down two of them in rapid succession.
While I drank the soda I peered around the room. I noticed a stack of magazines and went over and picked one up. I didn’t recognize the title or the celebrity pictured on the cover. When I saw the date I started to piece together what I thought happened.
I looked different. I was surrounded by futuristic technology. I didn’t recognize any of the products in the fridge. There was a Collin roach in a jar on the counter and the date on the magazine was almost fifty years in my future. Since I knew multiple versions of me existed, the only explanation I could come up with was that I had switched places with a Collin from another dimension.
When I plunged my knife into the device, it must have malfunctioned and swapped my consciousness, or soul, or whatever you want to call it with the Collin of this dimension. I could only imagine what horrible end the other Collin met at the hands of the man in black.
As I walked out of the kitchen I accidental banged my arm against the back of one of the dining room chairs. When my arm hit the wood there was a loud thud. When I first awoke on the floor I thought the pressure around my forearm was the rubber strap I used to cover the wormhole. It shouldn’t make a thud like that.
I stopped and slowly rolled up the sleeve of my shirt to reveal a metallic device clamped to my forearm. There was an opening in the device around the area where the wormhole was. It looked very similar to the one the man in black placed on me before I passed at, but this one seemed to have been extensively modified.
I considered taking the device off, but decided it wouldn’t be a good idea. I didn’t know what would happen. It could be the only thing that kept me tethered to this Collin’s body. If I took it off If I might be sent back to my dimension. If that happened, I might be returning to a dead body. The Collin that swapped with me might have already died with my body, so that meant two of us would die if I took the device off.
Plus, I was almost positive as I saw what was arranged on the dining room table that I had become the Collin that created the wormhole. On the table were several tools and electronic components along with several message tubes. Also on the table was the first note I received through the wormhole. The one I signed my name to.
As I looked at the list of names I noticed several of them had been crossed off. I don’t think this Collin just wanted to say hi when he sent this note through. I think he wanted to see just how extensive the Collin network was. I think he also wanted to keep us from looking for help by acting like he was the one that was going to fix this.
I think this device was stolen and modified. Collin somehow figured out how to modify and use it, probably with help since the original note said “we” not “I”. But why, why would he go through all of this trouble to connect us? Obviously the men in black were not happy about it. The Collin from this dimension was the one they were looking for. They were willing to kill all of us to get to him and he knew this. I guess you really can’t trust yourself.
I sat down at the table to think. I could potentially close the wormhole at the cost of my own life. I couldn’t do that. I’d like for everyone to think of me as a hero, but I didn’t want to die. Plus, there was no guarantee that the other Collin wouldn’t return to this body and continue what he was doing. I needed to learn more about this device and see if I could use it to fix the damage that had been done.
I’ve spent the past week hiding in this apartment as I figured out how to use Collin’s television, phone, and computer. I hoped I would be able to find out more information about what he was up to, but I couldn’t find anything useful.
That is why I posted my story. I need help. I think someone out there helped Collin. I need to find that person. If you know Collin or you are the person that helped him please contact me. We need to stop whatever it is that he started. What was he doing that was so important to him that he was willing to risk all of us to accomplish?
This will be my last update for the foreseeable future. I have told you everything I know. I have sent copies of this story through the wormhole so that the Collin collective knows the truth. If anything else develops you will be the first to know.
Want more? Check out K.G. Lewis’s recently-released collection of short scary stories, Through the Mole Hole: Strange Stories for Peculiar People, now available on Amazon.com, containing 28 of the author’s most terrifying, twisted, and thought-provoking tales.
Along the way, you will meet a young man who awoke to find a hole to another dimension in his arm, a couple whose painting is more than the simple portrait it appears to be, and a woman whose cat ate something it shouldn’t have. These are just a few of the unfortunate souls whose stories await you. Do you dare take a peek at the worlds that lie on the other side of the mole hole?
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