They opened a gate, a few thousand years ago, out in the desert, as far away as it could be from people and animals, so they didn’t fall through by accident and end up on the distant planet it connected to.

It was made in such a way that what went in came out at the same rate on the other side, and what came back did the same here, so that there wasn’t a catastrophic loss of atmosphere, either there or here. Although they didn’t take into account the effect of the acceleration as our planets moved apart, so actually slightly less came out then went in, on both sides of the hole.

It used to be so busy they built a railway to bring people here to the in side, and another to take them away from the out side. And they did the same on the other planet, although that wasn’t a railway but something more advanced for which we never had the words to describe.

No one comes here now, though, so the railway’s all rusted and partially submerged beneath the sand.

I stepped through the gateway to the other world, and it was as bleak and as dead as our own. I walked round to the other edge of the gate and stepped back home, and did this over and over, each step through advancing time by fifty years, or thereabouts, and by a hundred, by the time I got back.

And like this I watched the worlds change, a stroboscope of incremental decay.



1. Written on 20th July, 2018


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