The Wondrous Times of Amy From Mars

The Wondrous Times of Amy From Mars

the multiverse, and the things that happen there


Tanis cautiously mounted a precarious rope ladder left by the worker that hung over the edge of the pit; it disappeared into the darkness.  He slowly descended to the first floor below; sand prickled the top of his hat the length of his decent.  He quickly brushed his suit.  He stood facing stark blackness that reached the horizons of his perceptions.  The wall was smooth and and black; cold.  No dust or sand clung to the sides; clean blackness.  So empty of color, it appeared as a void, and somehow not solid, but solid indeed.  Strong and cold to the touch as his hands searched the surface for any seam, or deformity, or opening;  nothing.  Not a dent, scratch, bump, ripple, or rough spot; he felt nothing - with his hands, but the object called to him.  The fortress rose about twelve feet out of the floor of the pit, and it stretched forty feet a side.  He postulated to himself that twenty-eight more feet of the object must still lay below the earth if it were a cubic structure - a design his temperament was comfortable with.  Investigating further Tanis lightly tapped the wall with the butt end of his pick ax; he heard no sound, but rather felt a resonance.  A reverberation, and again something beyond the wall called to him; resonance, reverberation, a curious attraction.  He judge the structure hollow, or emptier than its size revealed.  After a few more minutes of unfruitful investigation, and with arising level of frustration, he struck at the wall with the business end of the pick ax with the force of gold miner who just discovered a new vain.  Over his head flew the ax breaking the air with swoosh.  To his alarmed surprise the jab end of the tool sank soundlessly into the side of the wall, came to a soundless and abrupt stop, and stayed there.  Momentarily stunned, Tanis stood clutching the handle of the froze ax, and only a peculiar flaw in his personal composition kept him from not only staring astonished, but from staring astonished with his mouth agape.  Presently, he let loose his grip on the ax, stepped back, unconsciously adjusted his jacket, and picked up his hat which had fallen in the ax fight.  He walked half around the dark object performing a cursory inspection with a dim lantern, and then returned to the suspended ax stuck like some sword in a stone in an Arthurian legend.  Strained from the closeness of his subterranean quarters, Tanis leaned with his back on the wall - since if nothing else the wall was pristine, where as the walls of the excavation offered sand, dirt, and disagreeable loose clay.  With a magician's grace he produced a handkerchief from his jacket, and wiped his neck and forehead.  In a single, slow motion he holstered the handkerchief in his breast pocket while retrieving a cigarette.  Shadows must have grown on the desert surface above, as the light of day waned, and as it went in it's flurry wisps of sand spun private eddies, one of which fell apart at the edge of the pit, and rained down as a light mist blanketing the contents of the dig; and Tanis, who was unimpressed.  As he fumbled for a match he realized that he was leaning at such an angle that his feet began to shift underneath him.  Looking to his left, and then quickly to his right, and then left again he found that he himself was somehow embedded in the wall an inch or so across the back and shoulders; the cigarette in his mouth flopped downward, hung momentarily on his lower lip, and tumbled down the front of Tanis's shirt as he now stood uncharacteristically gape mouthed, and look quite dazed.  Regrouping, and putting shock and astonishment aside as much as possible under the circumstances, he scientifically tested the waters with a shifting of his shoulder.  Convinced this was not a life-threatening activity, and since the wall seemed to have no objection, Tanis proceeded to lean forward as if to fall out of the wall.  He stood free.  Funny, he thought, he had rather expected a tearing sound, or a popping of some sort to accompany his liberty from the wall, but there had been only silence.  Facing the wall again - and this time with an odd respect - he gingerly tested it's surface again like a child learning what hot is all about.  A few little taps, a rub of his palm over the surface, and he was back to pounding the once again none-yielding wall with his fist;he stopped.  He again eye balled the ax, and on double take realize that it was now sunk more deeply into the wall than before, and where it had previously been hovering at waist level, it now almost at eye level..  So, either the ground had imperceptibly shifted down a couple of feet, the object, wall, or both had without his permission risen a couple of feet, or the walls possessed properties akin to glass, and were visibly solid, but molecularly in a liquid state, and some inverse law of physics had acted on the ax to both further envelop it into the wall, while simultaneously pulling it upwardly in an attempt to toss it from the planet; the latter seemed unlikely, but so did his entire predicament.  He studied the ax.  On a hunch, he grabbed the head of the ax and tried to push it further into the wall, but it did not budge.  Next, he tried some side-to-side, up-and-down, and out movements, and again to no avail.  Tanis quickly glanced at the mouth of the pit which revealed a darkening sky, and then at the lantern burning brightly for the time being, and that time being he new was running out, and the was approaching quickly.  With only a passing thought he took a deep breath, and decided to try one more little test before calling it a night; tomorrow, with the holiday, and lack of hordes of milling workers about he could spend the bulk of the day in his investigations.  Grasping the handle firmly, and with all the last ditch effort conviction he could muster, he planted his feet at the base of the wall, and forcibly yanked the ax from the wall.  Worlds changed.