Part 5: An End and a Beginning
“I’ve figured it out, Beatrice!”
“What have you figured out, grandfather? What is this thing?”
“You would know what it is if you were around more often to assist me!”
“This, Beatrice, is the culmination of all of our work!”
“As you can see I have solved the equation that has stumped us all this time!”
“Not really my work, grandfather.”
“Oh now don’t be like that! You’ve helped me so much over the years! This is as much your accomplishment as it is mine.”
“I don’t think we should do this then.”
“Nonsense! Get over here and help me ready the portal. At least you’ve been around enough to know how to do that.”
“I know it will work this time Beatrice! All I need to do is connect the two! The dimensional shifter will be boosted by this and then we will be saved! Have I told you how glorious it was where I come from?”
“Glorious, yes. Can I go, please?”
“Here, help me with this lever.”
“Shh! Bea, we need to leave! Now!”
Beatrice fainted from the exertion it took to teleport both of them out of the lab.
Remmy dragged her to the nearby river and submerged them both.
The sun suddenly shone green-white and rapidly doubled in size. The increased rate of radiation raised the temperature within minutes. The ultraviolet rays became blinding. Anyone who was out of doors at that moment perished.
In rapid succession, different skies flashed in and out of existence. The remaining sims, unaware of their sudden loss, ran outside in shock as the skyscape changed over and over again. Each change was both spectacular and terrifying. Then the sky turned a strange purple in color and an electrical storm ensued. Buildings were struck, caught to flame, and burned to ash within moments.
Then, the skies turned dark. The lands were deluged and any remaining fires were extinguished.
Seemingly as quickly as the phenomenon had begun it ended. It was then that the people of the lands that would become known as Ash Shore, named thus because of the ashes left on the shores of the river that connects the lands, became aware of their great loss.
You may think that you know the rest. The survivors gathered together and little by little more of them joined the group that would become like a family. Perhaps they clung so tightly to those who remained knowing how much they had lost. Very slowly they began to rebuild their lives and their homes.
But, the day that Beatrice approached Elsa and Mack everything changed. Ever since that terrible day she and Remmy, who now found himself trapped on their world, had been working to understand what it was that her grandfather had done in his fanatical search for the world he had come from. And he had come from another, of this they were sure.
They discovered that there had been an upheaval of nature, which still continues. But, instead of a shaking and jumbling of earth and rocks, there has been a shaking and jumbling of space and time. It was not easy for anyone to understand and even more difficult for her to describe. She told them that there are different worlds parallel to their own world. Same planet but different dimensions. She believes that her grandfather did indeed come from one of these alternate universes where the land was shrouded in an eternal fog.
Likewise, their dimension had previously resided in an eternal summer. But whatever Beatrice’s grandfather had done with the machine that he’d attached to the dimensional portal changed that. The terrifying immediate effects were not their own weather but that of other parallel dimensions that snapped in and out of their own. The drifting in and out of the dimensions continues. Somehow they seem to have become less erratic and instead on a perfect cycle now known as the Turnings.
The warning that Beatrice felt was important enough to make herself known for was that the merging with aligned dimensions will get stronger. The change in weather that they have experienced thus far will be nothing compared to what they might endure in the future. There was also a small possibility that the slipping in and out of parallel worlds might have other unknown effects in the future. Unfortunately, there is no planning that can be done for an unknown.
And thus we begin a new chapter in Ash Shore and keep a wary eye out for any other changes we might encounter in the future.
**Although I didn’t quote much of the book directly I did use a few of the lines out of context so felt it was prudent to give credit to Murray Leinster’s 1934 science fiction short story Sidewise in Time in which instead of different weather effects the people found themselves immersed in different histories that may have happened.**
**I’d also like to give credit to the sci-fi television series Sliders in which a group finds themselves sliding from one parallel earth to another trying to find their way home to their own world. The quote “same planet, different dimension” came from the intro.**