Sideways, Into Eternity

The forest glowed a vibrant green, the rich scent of animals and wood, decay and sunshine mingling beautifully. Scott walked beneath the boughs that reached far above, listening to the sounds of the birds. Dappled sunlight broke through the canopy, laying shifting patterns on the leaf litter underfoot. A deer ahead heard Scott approach and darted away, dancing from step to step, a spring uncoiling.

The sound of laughter and merriment gradually rose above the ambient noise of the forest, coming from a small campsite of men in earthy greens and browns. They welcomed Scott warmly, with wide arms and open smiles. He joined them a while, drinking and carousing, before whispering something to their leader and taking his leave. Once out of sight, he found a shadow and slipped into it, into the in-between places. Slipped sideways, into eternity.

Eternity swallowed him as an old friend, its cool embrace familiar and comforting, his step stretching out longer and longer. After a moment, an hour, a minute, Scott stepped out into the light rain, a gentle drizzle that slowly worked its way down the back of his neck and shoes. The city was grey and dismal, dark clouds hanging low and brooding over intermittent spires and flat roof slats.

He stepped under an overhanging eave and covered his nose to block out the smells that ran down the street like rivers, the fetid stench of unwashed bodies pressed too close together and human waste. Lightning crackled in the clustered clouds, forks of light spearing the sky for far too brief a time. This was no place for him.

Scott regretted the deal he had made. He knew something was wrong at the time, but had been too excited to care. The man had been so nice, his too-white coat matching his too-white teeth. The prospect of being able to slip out of time, through time, between time, landing anywhere and anywhen… how could he refuse? But now… now he was tired.

Scott found an open doorway and stepped inside. Stepped sideways, into eternity.

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