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It knew instinctively that someone had opened a portal. Someone always did. It slowly drifted towards the opening.


He stared into the void, disappointed at his latest failure. The portal should have lead to the Astral plange, allowing him to finish his life’s research on the old gods, but instead it had lead to nothingness. He slowly headed to the controls to shut it off and looked at the portal one last time. It was then that he realized something very important. The void was looking back. He ran, trying to shut if off, but before he could reach the controls, something forced its way through. He looked at it and saw nothing but tentacles and eyes. It was then that he blacked out.


When he came to, everything seemed to have a green tint. “Is something wrong with my eyes?” he asked himself. He looked around and noticed that the green glow was emanating from the portal. He surveyed the controls, noticing that they were burned and charred. They weren’t doing anything anymore. Something else was holding the portal open. What had come through?


He left the room, pondering the fate of the other occupants of the house. Turning a corner, he came upon his servant, Gerald.

“Gerald,” he asked, “are you okay?”

“Yes,” Gerald said slowly, “Come over here.”

“Something’s wrong.” he thought.“It looked like Gerald, it spoke like Gerald, but…”

It took a step closer.

“What was that expression on his face?” he questioned himself. “It looks almost hungry…” And he then knew with all certainty that this wasn’t Gerald. It took another step forward.

“Stay back!” he shouted. “Don’t take another step forward!”

It kept advancing, seeming almost to slither toward him. He blindly reached behind himself, searching for something, anything, to defend himself with without taking his eyes of it. It suddenly burst into a spring, running towards him. He gripped the knife he found, temporarily pausing, but then attacked. Whatever it was, Gerald was gone. He stabbed the knife into the thing’s chest, slicing it open. The creature then fell to the ground with an unnaturally high shriek. From the wound, small spherical objects rolled out. Curious, he took a step closer and then realized what they were- eyeballs. Suddenly, it jerked. He realized that he hadn’t killed it, but instead had only stunned it. He muttered a brief prayer for his friend, and left quickly, carefully looking for other monstrosities.


After a while, he came upon a doorway and realized he was walking into his bedroom. His bed laid before him, a beacon of hope. It was certainly well past midnight at this point, and he decided that any risk he took in sleeping would be smaller than that of not. He quickly barricaded the door with some of the furniture and slept.


They had always opened portals, and they always would. It didn’t matter if they were shut sometimes. Sooner or later, one would stay open, and then they would escape.


He looked at the clock. It read 9:23 in the morning. Why had Gerald let him sleep in so late? It was then that he remembered. He quickly scanned the room, tightly clutching the knife in his right hand. The door was still barricaded and there didn’t appear to be anything inside the room. He relaxed and stepped onto the floor. “Perhaps this room is safe...” he thought. A tentacle shot out from under the bed, tightening around his ankle. He fell to the floor and the knife left his hand. He kicked at it with his other leg, until it let go. He then ran to the barricade and began throwing things off. He could hear it behind him. He resisted the urge to look back and finished taking the barricade down. He ran out of the room, lamenting the loss of his knife. “Had I really slept on top of that creature the entire night?” he wondered “Do I really want to know?”


He slowed to a stop, realizing that the creature wasn’t following him. Turning the corner, he thought of what he had done to his family’s mansion. “I’ve ruined the only thing that truly belonged to me, and what for?” he asked himself, “For the sake of idle curiosity? For the chance to be famous?” Still thinking of what he had done, he turned a corner and scanned the area. There didn’t appear to be anything there, but this time he was more cautious. There! The wall in front of him seemed to slightly shimmer. He slowly turned away and froze, noticing the shimmer on the wall where he had come from. The shimmering seemed to intensify. He froze, wondering how to escape. “The crawl space!” he thought, realizing his possible egress. Behind a thin layer of plasterboard was an access tunnel, used for maintenance. He purposefully kicked at the wall, forcing himself from looking behind. When he had kicked away enough, the tunnel exposed itself and he crawled inside.


He moved quickly, or as he quickly as he could in the cramped space. He could only barely force himself through, the tunnel was intended for much slimmer men. He listened intently for any signs of something following him. He realized then that there was a faint rustling behind him. He forced himself to move faster, hoping that the end was near, and soon he’d be safer, if not safe. “Ouch!” he thought. He had crashed his head into a wall. He felt blindly to his left and right and encountered only walls there too. The space was sealed shut. The rustling intensified and he frantically started hitting the wall with his fists. Eventually it started to give way, but the source of the rustling was right behind him. Something sliced his arm, cutting a large gash in his right arm. He used his other arm and quickly forced the wall down, ignoring the pain. He pulled himself through and quickly moved a bookshelf in the room he had come upon over the entrance.


He looked at the bloody gash. A major artery had been severed; he’d have to do something or he’d bleed to death. He tore a strip of his shirt and tightly tied it just below his armpit. It would stop the bleeding until he could do something else. He looked around, and realized that the crawl space had lead to his alchemy lab. Gritting his teeth, he picked up a flask of gunpowder, and poured some of it into his wound. Using a still-burning torch in the lab, he lit it. He gasped as the powder exploded, cauterizing the wound, and he felt his grip on reality slowly sliding away.


It had been many millennia since they had been trapped here. It had only taken twelve to do so, creating a new plane for them. The perfect prison.


He tried to get up, but his limbs felt like lead. He laid there for a few minutes until, with a sudden burst of energy, he flipped over and stood up. Running to the room, he viewed the melted control panel and started frantically pulling together the fused circuits. He glanced up at the door and saw a giant eye approaching, seeming almost to pierce him, understanding  all he was in an instant. With a shudder, he turned back to his work. He could feel a dark presence at the back of his mind, seeming to push and pull at its boundaries. The eye was nearly at the portal and he realized for the first time how large the eye truly was. The presence in his mind increased and he gasped in fear. The presence seemed to be adding facts and concepts to his mind, revealing dark secrets about how the universe worked. “It’s not just a’s conscious!” he thought and with that realization came more. He began to realize just how small the universe really was. “These realizations are fascinating, but…” he thought, increasing his pace. The eye was only a few yards away and was still coming ever closer. With a final connection, the controls were fixed. He sent a burst of energy snaking down the wires and when it reached the portal, it shut with a explosion of energy. Exhausted, he fell to the ground and pondered the ideas implanted within his mind.


It was then that he understood. He understood everything. The purpose of life, or rather lack thereof. The inevitability of death. That the work he had dedicated his life to was based on flawed principles. He had stopped them, but they would come again. He slowly lifted the gun in his hand, contemplating it. He couldn’t live his life knowing, understanding how the universe worked. Once you did, there was nothing to strive for. He lifted the gun to his head and fired once. The pain blossomed in the side of his head like a rose. He was all. He was everything. He was nothing.


They had always opened portals, and they always would. It didn’t matter if they were shut sometimes. Sooner or later, one would stay open, and then they would escape.


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