Friday, September 8, 2023

“A Hero Through the Gate” • by Addison Smith

“Take it slow, Jim.” 

The voice emitted from the speaker in his suit, a minor reassurance beneath the looming form of the portal. It glowed brightest red in its frame—a sheet of inter-dimensional barrier stretched tight, unwavering in the bunker.

Jim checked the safety cord and pulled it taut. Pull yourself together, he chided himself. He was a hero to the entire world. He was Jim Dixon. He had shaken hands with beings who had lived a thousand of his lifetimes. He had posed for cereal box photos and modeled for action figures.

But these weren’t aliens. Across the gate in a parallel dimension, he could be a hero again.

An alarm sounded and the room flashed yellow around him. The cord tugged at his waist. “Control,” he said into his radio, “what’s happening?”

“Interference,” Control responded. “We think something is coming through.”

“But that’s impossible,” Jim said, already doubting his words. They had created the portal. What was to stop a parallel dimension from creating the same portal, and making the same trip through dimensions?

The red wall fluctuated, rippled, and a form stepped through. It was a man, no different from any other Jim had seen, and completely unremarkable. He wore a suit and carried a briefcase in his left hand. Jim staggered as he approached, and the man reached out to him with a single sheet of paper. Jim took it and read the words printed in the language he spoke every day.

“Jim!” Control hissed. “Jim, what is it?”

Jim’s mouth went dry. The inter-dimensional man looked at his watch.

“It’s a message from Jim Dixon,” he said. “Their Jim Dixon. His message says to stay home. They already have a hero.” 

Jim closed his fist and stared into the portal. “Who the Hell does he think he is?”


Addison Smith has blood made of cold brew and flesh made of chocolate. He spends most of his time writing about fish, birds, and cybernetics, often in combination. His fiction has appeared in Fantasy Magazine, Fireside Magazine, and Daily Science Fiction, among others, as well as here in Stupefying Stories, of course, most recently with the inexplicable fan favorite, “His Monstrous Cloaca.” You can find Addison on Twitter @AddisonCSmith.


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Anonymous said...

That was an unexpected ending.

Karin Terebessy said...

I love this idea that “ego” not only exists inter-dimensionally, but it’s the primary motivator in all dimensions. I mean, good grief the ego! Are there no more worlds to conquer…

Made in DNA said...

Bwahahaha! Perfect!