“Fine on one condition. And stay away from the kids. I don’t want them in danger. Cause as far as I am concerned, their the only family I have left.” Stanley sneered before walking away. He’d stop atop the stairs, glancing back over to Ford who was giving him the cold shoulder. He heard him sigh before disappearing behind the door.
Ford felt the grief now. How can you be so stupid, Stanford? He told himself. His eyes went back to the mirror they were just staring into together. He cleaned up fairly nice, his tan coat has seen better days though. Its edges were ratty and dirty. Might need to replace it someday. He stroked at the little bit of stubble on his chin.
It was kind of strange to be back in his dimension. He couldn’t grasp that reality was still similar – well besides Stanley making the cabin an attraction and the great niece and nephew who were living in the attic currently – which he never knew about. What a world to come back to. Even if it wasn’t what you expected from it. All that really mattered was he was back where he belonged.
He sighed while gazing upon himself. Stanley must hate him for not saying the two words he’s been waiting for. How long has it been now? Thirty years it seemed like. No wonder they are old and wrinkly now.
He ventured into the basement, punching in the code on the vending machine. The stairwell was tight going down as the darkness seemed to suck you in. Once at the bottom, you pretty much were in the lab area. Machines blinked and hummed walking through where it opened up into a wider section. The triangular portal took up the wall with its strange symbols lining its rim.
Ford seem to become disconnected as his eyes were nailed to the portal. He was still angry at Stanley for even starting it again also using his name. But he still loved him. He was still family. He glanced down at journal one in his hand. The golden hand glistened in the dim light as he matched up his. He sighed while lifting up his six fingered hand.
He turned towards the lever beside him as he went behind it to push it forward. With a grunt, the portal slowly started to expand until it filled the whole rim. Its blue glow lit up the room as he instantly scooped up all three of his journals. He cradled them, grabbing the first one and going mid toss only to hesitate. His reflection stared back at him from the thin gold sheet.
Ford wanted to throw them away, forget about them. But his life’s work was inside. They could end up anywhere in the universe through this portal. And it meant they were far away from him and his family. But he found himself reconsidering for some reason as he just saw his true self.
“God damn it.” He whispered to himself. He slowly sunk down to his knees, sulking in the glow as if to take it all in.
He would rise and place them back on his desk, his nails digging into its sides. His tension was still high from what he had experienced. Stanley wouldn’t understand what he even saw or heard. He could probably write a whole book about it honestly. But thirty years – thirty years is a long time.
He turned his attention to the now open portal. He instantly went over to the lever and pulled it back. It slowly dimmed away until it fizzled out. Ford would sink into his desk chair, placing his hands over his face. He just let his own thoughts run through, thinking about if he should of stayed away.
Ford awoke to the sound of mechanical whirling. The three journals were still where he had left them. It took a second for him to realize the location of the sound as he jumped up to his feet. He knocked over the chair in the process as he ran for the lever. The portal glowed brightly when he approached, bringing his hand up to shade his eyes.
On instinct, he grabbed the lever and pulled it back. But nothing happened. He tried again and again. The same results. “No. No.” He mumbled to himself as he quickly went over to his tool stash and scrambled for a wrench.
Once he found one, he returned back to it and broke off the covering with the bolt side. He skimmed the lines for any sign of sabotage. He was hoping this wasn’t Bill’s doing. One of the plugs was mangled with the other, causing a delay on the power. With a quick readjustment and plugging them back in.
He stood up just in time to see a mass form behind the portal. It morphed and danced until it made a full form of a human. Just a few days prior, his family had experienced the same thing. The form moved forward and limb by limb, it appeared more distinct. It would stop at the edge of the line as it skimmed the surroundings.
In a panic, Ford forcefully pushed the lever back as the portal begun to spark and crackle a light show. Both Ford and the form took cover. The form flipped itself and combat rolled to save its landing while Ford slid behind his desk. The whirling grew louder before it exploded into a bright light. It reached across the shack’s windows as it beamed out and just like the snap of a finger, it went dark.
Ford coughed while getting to his feet. He cautiously walked out, his hand hovering over his gun holstered at his side. The form appeared behind a table off on the right side as it aimed its gun at his head. Ford did the same as he whipped it out and aimed. It was a classic showdown scene as they stared heavily at each other.
“Who are you? State yourself.” Ford commanded. He scanned the form top to bottom. It was for sure human, lean and feminine from what he could tell.
“Stanford?” It replied, carefully lowering the long red scarf from its mouth.
Just as he suspected, it was a woman. She had bright green eyes and deep brown flowing locks. Her lips curled a little bit at the ends in a smug look. Something about her made Ford’s visions come back to him. He knew her.
“Stanford, it’s me.” She repeated as if he had amnesia. His gun was still pointing in her way until his eyes sparked realization.
He slowly lowered his guard and his gun with it. “Alma, what are you doing here?” His personality suddenly changed to being more firm.
Alma let out a calming breath before lowering her gun. “I came to see you. I didn’t think your portal was going to open again.” She placed her gun on the table. “So I took my chance and jumped in.”
“You have to go back.” Ford ordered with the point of his finger.
“Why?” Alma asked, looking back at him.
“My brother is here. And so is my great niece and nephew – apparently.” Ford replied, sliding his gun away. He walked up beside her and shared her gaze. “It already weird enough I am here, but you-” He hesitated once her eyes saddened. “This isn’t your place.”
Alma sighed, breaking her eye contact. “But it was my dimension once before too. I’ve been waiting for this chance to come back.”
“You’re here. But, I can’t have you be here.” He empathized on the here with his finger pointing down.
She grabbed her gun and toyed with it for a second before sliding it back into its holster. Without another look, she started to walk away, only for Ford to grab her arm. “Alma wait.”
“Having second thoughts?” She said, stopped by his hand. His six fingers tightened on her as he let out a slight whimper.
“I’ll let you stay on one condition.” His arm fell as he took a few steps back. “Stay away from my family. That’s all I ask.”
Alma turned towards him, her eyes glossed over. Ford still didn’t think this was the best idea. But she didn’t have any other place to go. He just hoped if his family did discover her, they’d accept her. Just like he did.