I hear on my headset: “Multi-nauts: Extra-dimensional seals are functioning at peak efficiency. Astral defense systems are green; all weaponized poetry and philosophical ordnance has been loaded and chambered. Zero-point engine is fueled and primed. You are ready to enter Bleed-space.” I look to my left, and see Dombrowski (my copilot), grin at me through the reinforced plastic of his Bleed-space ensemble. I toggle a few icons on my onboard holo. “Command: Multi-nauts are ready to jump planes. See you on the other side.” The world around our ship runnels into a swirl of color—a kaleidoscope of hues that narrow into a pinprick speck. There’s a bright flash, and our ship vanishes into the space between worlds: Bleed-space. But all we see is dark. I exchange a puzzled glance at Dombrowski. I don’t need to say anything: We’ve both been here before, and usually, it’s filled with a variety of concept-based life forms. Now all we see is…Dombrowski perks up like a dog who’s glimpsed a squirrel. He turns to me and whispers, “You hear that?” I cock my head and say, “Hear what? I don’t—“ he brings a finger up to the section of helmet over his lips and hisses, “SHHHHH! Look.” His finger points to my lower right, displaying a 3-dimensional visualization of a bleed-space entity. “That,” he says. I don’t reply; I just keep staring at the holo. It looks like a grody old man who’s wearing a tank top and short shorts. The fellow yawns and stretches his arms overhead, displaying shocks of lint-and-slime-threaded pit-hair. I make a face. “Ugh.” The guy gets to his feet, rubs his eyes with the back of a weathered hand, and begins doing squats. Wait a second…I recognize this guy; he’s—suddenly, Dombrowski screams in terror and starts clawing at his helmet. His face begins bursting open with maggots, then shrivels into a mess of decaying, parchment-like skin. The blood underneath is flaking off and crumbling into dry, fragmented red. Suddenly it hits me: That thing out there is Gary Busey! Garey Busey doing squats! NOOOOO—THE HORROR!!!! I’m not sure why Dombrowski died before I did, but before I can think further on it, the cabin of the ship begins flashing with red-lit alarms. A robotic voice blares, “WARNING: SANITY DEFENSES HAVE BEEN BREACHED. VACATE THIS PIECE OF CONCEPT-TIME IMMEDIATELY, OR YOU WILL BE FORCIBLY DISSOLVED. WARNING: SANITY DEFENSES HAVE BEEN—“ No shit, Sherlock! I flick a switch, causing the alarm to shut off, when suddenly, my mind begins crumbling. I feel like barbed tentacles are tugging at my brain, while at the same time something whispers in my ear with the same, sibilant hiss you might imagine Lucifer would possess. No. NOOOO!!!! I clap my hands over my ears, but it’s simply a reflex: even if it were to do any good, I’m still wearing a helmet. I’m about to suffer the same fate as Dombrowski, when I throw my head back and scream, “PALAMEDES PUBLISHING!” Magic flash. On the display I see Gary Busey fart, burp, then fall back asleep. As the zero-point engine refolds space and time, I look at Dombrowski and see that within his suit, he’s being reconstituted particle by particle, bones and organs covered by networks of veins and arteries, followed by a sheath of muscle, then skin and hair. Our ship blinks back to our home dimension and reappears in the launch bay, where the doors open with a hiss, and me and my copilot come tumbling out. Lab-coat wearing nerds rush to our sides, helping us take off our ensembles. “What happened?” the lead scientists asks. I look at him with haunted eyes and reply, “A horror beyond imagining. It’s gone back to sleep now, thank god.” And then I break down weeping.
Have you accidentally dimpled the fabric of reality and witnessed an extradimensional horror that’s scarred your psyche? That’s why Palamedes Publishing is there: To protect our minds from unspeakable evils that dwarf the likes of Yog-Sothoth the Lurker. Palamedes Publishing. Check out their poetry here: Machu Picchu Me They are assisting me with the process of getting Echo Volumes 1 & 2 in paperback. For now, get Echo Vol. 1 on Kindle here: Vol. 1 on Kindle. Vol. 2 on Kindle here: Vol.2 on Kindle Vol. 3 on Kindle here: Vol. 3 on Kindle