Bewildering Stories

The Essence

Gehenna Inferno

They came out of the interdimensional portal.

She said, "Where are we?"

He said, "I don't know."

"Look! What's this? I believe it's an archival copy of the Jaugustuly 2002 issue of Bewildering Stories!"

"Bewildering Stories? What's that?"

"It's a webzine."

"What's a webzine?"

"You know, a web magazine."

"Oh."

"And, from the looks of it, it seems horrible, really horrible. The webzine is so different from the rest of the stuff we've been seeing."

"Really?"

"Yeah. It seems quite different. Very."

"Well . . . you know . . ."

"Yeah, I know. It's stupid."

The interdimensional portal fluxed and kapoppled. It sizzled and popped and kaplazzed. Something happened.

"Yeah, I know. You've told me a hundred times. Life is meant to be a joke."

***

Later, she learned that what she experienced on the other side of the interdimensional portal was not the true reality, only a fake conjured up out of nowhere for purposes unknown.

She hesitated before entering the room. Inside were a table and a chair. Something told her to enter, so she entered. She sat down in the chair.

A hologram appeared in front of her.

"Hello. I am your personal counselor, E--. We have met before, but unfortunately your experiences on the other side of the interdimensional portal have had disastrous effects. You no longer have any memory of your previous life. I am here to help you during the process of assimilation into the essence of reality."

She stared blankly, confused.

"Who are you?"

"I am your personal counselor, E--."

"Doesn't that equal D?" she asked, cautiously.

"I am sorry. I do not understand."

"What am I doing here?"

E-- did not answer. She stood up, pausing before the hologram for a moment, and then backed out of the room.

The hallway was silent, empty. She looked left and right at the white walls lining endless corridor and then pseudorandomly chose a direction and walked down the hall. She would have time later to figure out what it all meant.



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Copyright 2002 by Gehenna Inferno and Bewildering Stories.