Another photo from the inspiration pile – 12

Whilst we might be looking at the tree with the broken branch, there’s something else far more imaginative on offer.

A portal.

Yes, it looks very much like an ordinary archways leading from a walkway out onto the grass.

As the story goes…

Archie scoffed at the idea that there were alternate universes. It was the stuff of SciFi TV shows, and he’d seen quite a few. But whilst the notion that alternate universes were a possibility, in a skilled and fertile mind of a science fiction writer, no one had seen one, or been through one.

Or if they said they had, they were now hunkered down in the back room of an asylum.

Jerry had always been a believer, as much as he believed we were not alone in the universe, and that aliens visited the earth – how else could there be so many sightings of UFO’s?

But this latest assertion, that he had ‘accidentally’ found a portal, had even me questioning his sanity.

I had to ask, “What was it like on the other side?”

“Exactly the same. Except the people were different, dressed different, and there was no carpark.”


“Look, I know you think I’m making this up so we should go there.”

“Now?” It was almost night, the light failing fast.

“No. The same time tomorrow.”

“But if it’s a portal, it will be the same any time.”

“No, and that’s the thing. It isn’t. I’ve been through that archway a hundred times, but only once did everything on the other side change.”

“Even when you looked back?”

“”That’s not going to change. You have to have a way back.”

It made sense, in an odd sort of way, more questions that he couldn’t answer on the tip of my tongue, but one stood out. If the portal was only there at certain times of the day, if you lingered too long on the other side, was it possible you couldn’t return?

“Look, come with me tomorrow, see for yourself.”

It was an easy decision. He fervently believed what he was telling me, but I knew there had to be another more logical explanation, and I owed it to him to prove he wasn’t seeing what he thought he was seeing. Being dressed differently wasn’t a stretch because people often came in period clothes to have the photo taken in a rustic setting. As for the carpark, I was sure there was a logical explanation for that too.

“OK. When should I be here.”

“Three O’clock.”

“I’ll see you then.”

© Charles Heath 2021

Two titles come to mind, “Behind the invisible curtain”, and, “The other side”.

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