The Demon Rift Explained
|68% of the Universe is dark energy. It is a complete mystery what it is.” National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Rift of Dreams
November 2004, Redhill Mall Opening
Extending his arms, his power of persuasion generating cheers of approval from the crowd, Bernie looked for resistance. The bored teenager or sniveling toddler did not concern him. There was an odd block . . . behind the tent . . . ah, there she was, Stella Bedone, his “little girl”. He had put the suggestion of possible gain in the boss’ mind, the fry cook, as he thought of him, though it had been years since Tiny had manned a grill. If Tiny could get Stella to come, John the Senator might feel beholden. Ambition was a favorite carrot. It was coming together. The renovated house, the largest and most elegant the backward region had to offer, had been prepared for his arrival. The “Elite” of Redhill were holding a dinner in his honor. He would not be attending; he saw no need. The dinner would have to be cancelled. Someone would fall ill, perhaps a stroke or a heart attack.
“Too long has this fine town been forgotten, forgotten by those who are in the public employ, forgotten by the Washington power brokers, forgotten by the those entrusted by the state to serve all its citizens, not just city folk, even my good friends, forgotten by Cuyahoga County.” He paused, looking at the upturned eager faces and decided that the athletic-looking woman in her fifties, wondering, he realized, if he found her attractive, would have an unfortunate aneurysm in the early evening. Susan Beckwith, the Mayor’s horsy wife was not in the least attractive. His taste was for more exotic fruit. He would have an “Other” arrange it.
He glanced at the two attractive young women stationed on the right side of the platform. They smiled, looking like eager young volunteers, making their contribution to public service. The dark one’s eyes had a faint glow and she nodded, acknowledging that the unfortunate event would soon occur. He never knew how an “Other” might appear. Sometimes it was a new custodian, the regular employee delayed because of a sick child or a hangover. A flight attendant filling in when another’s car broke down, the paper trail not quite accounted for, but no matter. It was power best used selectively, to break the will of a too-strong opponent, or to manifest engine failure in a plane carrying a young man, grieving for his dead father and flying home to his beloved as she gives birth to twins.
He put his index finger on his temple, “But I did not forget. I am back to pay a debt. This place, this mall I have been fortunate enough to fund and oversee as it was built, will bring new life, infuse new blood into this area.”
Thunderous applause, whistles and the stamping of feet interrupted his closing. Waiting, he marveled at how they could not feel his contempt and his eagerness for the glory of sacrificing them. He could see the news reporters struggling to remember exactly how they planned to trip him up, not just alluding to the tragedy of the prison fire, but shedding light on the numerous accidents, deaths and string of disasters, spanning over a hundred years.
A Rift in the Wall
The Mall stood where the prison had burned, and before that, the cabin had stood there where the murder of Becka Tobin had taken place. The Mall stood in a place so rare that for years Bernie had searched for another like it, taking “fact finding” trips, including one to the Towning Estate in London where he had been seduced in his mother’s womb, a place where the barrier had been vulnerable for a time. No more, he had discovered; the estate was a disappointment. Regrettably, the fountains of pain and chaos bursting from Earth’s interminable wars would have nourished the demon world for centuries, but there had been no path, no way to siphon it. Particularly frustrating were the World Wars. Such a waste. Though he had vowed to find another, Bernie suspected there were few places like the Redhill Mall in our universe, where the barrier protecting one world from another might tolerate a permanent rift, and a subsequent merging of dimensions. One day, the demon rift would swallow Earth and its tenants in a frenzy of ghastly delight.
The barrier was an unknowable mass of stardust, unknowable even to the creature that often peered through its filmy surface, reading our shifting timeline. The creature itself had become a planet, a single entity, a monster formed from drifts of negative energy, its intelligence growing through countless eons until the creature decided to nest. As it drifted, absorbing the nectar of destruction that streamed from exploding stars and stray bits of matter that tumbled in their wake, it became aware of us. Little of what occupied its universe was intelligent, since intelligence takes time, but as in our universe, there were exceptions.
Drawn to our cycles of life and death and the joy and despair of our blue world, which shimmered, winking and beckoning behind the gauzy barrier, the creature stayed to watch. Studying our teeming life, it decided to imitate us. Of all the imitations it tried, crows were its favorite, their clamoring restlessness a delight. It created monsters and conjured demons with flames for eyes from its own center. It created and destroyed trees and mountains and restless clouds, under which the ground erupted and burbled. It could manifest human forms for a short time, an achievement that was sure to be useful. All were parts of it and so the process of creating and destroying brought no nourishment.
Then there was a way. Ironically the first intelligence the creature had encountered because there was little in its own universe. Humans brought religions, which brought rituals. The words came from thoughts, and the piercing energy stippled the wall and began to soften it in spots. On occasion, a human would traverse the barrier and meet his death and the prolonged agony, which preceded it. Each time there was a breach, the wall healed almost instantly. If there were to be more, the monster realized it must create incentives. Contracts evolved. The creature would reward those who served it. It regarded the inhabitants of our world with a ravenous appetite, one that could only be sated with the chaos of death and pain.
Rifts were few, made with great effort, closing soon after they opened. A lasting breach was rare, the result of a flood of pain seeping into the porous fabric of creation, lapped by the creature’s eager tongues. Another sacrifice, and then another, each with hundreds screaming, creating another crater, another pocket, until the wall remained broken, and a bridge between worlds flowed with the blood and bones of the conquered, enough to sate the appetite of an ancient foe.
How many more assaults would it take? Bernie didn’t know. Until then, he would serve and collect his rewards.
For eons, universes had bubbled up during a moment of creation, a moment like countless others, joined here and there but as far a way from each other as the end of Time.