7 Wonders of the Unknown
Chapter 1: 1st Wonder – A Journey to the Past
People say it is a grand time to be alive. Humans have made so much progress in science and technology to help make life easy and to a certain extent convenient. But then there are still a great many things that remain a complete mystery to us. There are also things that are out of our reach and control, perhaps it is better those things are out of our control knowing our at times greedy nature.
The sun shone brightly, and I don't know why but I felt compelled to go down into the crowded streets covered by the pure white flakes of snow. The chill within the air caused me to breath deeply, and with just one simple action I felt refreshed. I looked down at the footprints I left behind and felt them getting mixed amongst the many others walking all around me. That's right. I am just one of many humans in this city. I am surely not special. That is what I would like to think. In a world so full of uncertainty, the day I found out I had a certain sight that so few possessed turned my world upside down. I decided to call this the sight of the mind, or rather the mind's eye. I could see things that others could not.
This ability has never really troubled me, though it did cause those around me some concern. Whether that was for my health or their own personal reasons, who knows. But there are times I am glad to have this sight. With this ability I am never really alone as there will always be some departed, yet lost souls. I had quickly discovered that I was unable to communicate with them as a living being. Maybe that is why the physical world and the spirit world is said to be kept apart from one another. Those like me can only bridge the gap so much before even we show our limitations.
Regardless of whether I can talk with them or not, it never bothered me much. I could always just observe these souls for hours. There were a few from time to time who took form, probably the faces of the person they used to be when alive. I deduced through my encounters with such souls to be the most interesting. Maybe it was because they were desperately searching for something before moving on, I wanted to see how they would behave in the spirit world. But I was just an onlooker with no knowledge of what the soul would be feeling or thinking, if it can even do that, that is.
Firmly planting my leg into the snow, I continued my walk. What compelled me to come out here again? I don't know. It's not like I had work today, I didn't even have any special plans or anything. So why did I bother taking a thirty minute transit ride to my city's downtown? People can be really strange, acting on a whim only to question it later. I felt curious I suppose. Questions arose in my mind of what awaited me out there in the world today. Will I find the answers to that?
I tied the scarf around my neck a little tighter to better trap the heat. I stopped to notice that I was now on a less crowded street. There were many shops and cafes open for business as usual. How long had I been walking since the transit station? I suppose it had been twenty minutes already if I had to make an estimate. But even so, I was excited and filled with energy like a cup ready to overflow. I eyed those around me and noticed a calmer mood around here than in the streets before. I suppose this was due to the effects of so many soothing shops. Not only were there your traditional shops here like clothing, but there were also quite a few book stores and interesting concepts for cafes that presented an opportunity for us to leave our harsh society behind in favor of a new world temporarily.
I quickly noticed a pole nearing me and stopped to study its features. It was a simple plain old light pole. There was nothing special about it, but its shadow that extended from the base and onto the nearby wall was rather curious. It was like there was a door there and once you step over its shadow, you will enter a whole new world. That is what it felt like to me. The shadow was entrancing like the seduction of a black widow. Should I step over it?
Will I disappear or come out the other end with the world unchanged?
Are you a shadow to grant wishes?
Am I…over thinking this?
I looked to my right and then to my left. I looked to my right again. The road was clear. I crossed to the other side where the pole and its curious shadow resided. There are still a great many things we as people don't know. Sometimes we are better off not knowing something. But there is no fun in that I suppose. Life isn't always about being passive and waiting for things to happen, sometimes we have to take action ourselves; especially for the things we want the most. So this time I will take action to satisfy my curiosity.
Although it would be a lie to say I am not nervous or scared. In fact I am quivering in my boots. I stood before the shadow with my body frozen like a block of ice. If my skin had gone completely pale in this instant, one may confuse me for a life like ice sculpture. Well, nothing ventured, nothing gained. "Here we go."
With that momentary summoning of my courage I closed my eyes and stepped over the shadow. Huh, what is this?
I kept my eyes closed in fear. But my body began to get hotter. As I took a step forward, I felt no snow beneath my feet. I slowly opened my eyes and immediately felt my mind fall into a state of panic. The tall rise buildings I once saw were no longer there. The snow beneath my boots was all gone. The only snow that now remained on my boots was quickly melting away underneath this punishing sun. I was being watched by the many people that filled this street now. Wait, the shops were all different as well. What is going on here?!
I unzipped my jacket and undid the scarf. Where am I?
I walked over to the nearest newspaper stand and held one up. The name of the newspaper was a curious sight, but more so was this newspaper stand. We never had this here, so did I step onto a set of some movie or something?
I realized that I stood out too much from the differences in our clothing. Whereas my clothes were modern, the clothes of those around me felt ancient in comparison. I perused the date on the paper. The year was 1919!
This is a joke right? Either that or I stepped back into time!
"Ahem," there was a man behind me who was clearly tired of waiting. I put the paper down and promptly apologized for taking so long. I walked around a few more blocks to notice so many changes. The technology of my world was no longer here. Why am I here?
The cars were replaced by much older models that one would now find in museums in my modern era. I paid attention to the tracks on the road and the wires above them. They were placed unusually lower than they should have been. But then the ringing noise of an approaching vehicle caught my attention. It was a street car. I only saw these in movies and pictures before. This was my first time seeing one up close in person. I noticed how it stopped at various points throughout the city, just like how the transit train did in my time. Except there were no formal stations, people just got on and off. So, have I really stepped into the past?
The newspaper was a pretty strong hint, and the people all seem real as well as this world. This is so messed up. How can I get back?
That's right, I still have hope! I stuck my hand in my pockets to search out my smart phone. I will just call one of my contacts. Let's see here who should I p- What is this?
At that moment another wave of panic washed me over. The phone showed no service. I walked around the various streets with the phone raised in the air. It was of no use. No matter where I went, or how high I went on the buildings, I could not get any sort of reception. So does this mean that my provider doesn't exist in this day and age?
What do I do now?
I rubbed the back of my hair in irritation. The heat was beginning to get to me again and so I removed yet another layer of clothing. The people around me continued to pay me attention. Their sense of fashion was definitely dated from my time, but here I was nothing more than this strangely dressed person who no doubt behaved like an alien to them. The curious gazes that were directed my way were met with a considerate smile, but I felt the growing need to escape their sight to my own little oasis of silence.
A loud voice of a man in his mid-forties called out. He was clothed in a western cowboy's clothing and approached me riding on a horse. Well that is a sight you don't see every day now, but then again neither is any of this. He tipped his hat to greet me and held out a flyer. "Come check out the parade starting in the afternoon today if you fancy."
I took hold of the advert and scanned the corny headline. I did my best to hold back my laughter and looked at the pretend cowboy. "Are you in it as well?"
"Sure am," he replied taking out his fake revolver and swinging it around in his finger. "This is the yearly event that even attracts people from other cities in the country. It is a grand time to be had by all."
I looked closely at the vests he wore and let out a thoughtful sigh. "You wouldn't happen to be playing a robber would you?"
"Quite perceptive you are," he answered with a proud smirk. "Let me guess, it was the black vest that gave it away right?"
"Yeah," I smiled considerately his way and looked at the line of horses onto another street now. "Are those your co-workers?"
He looked back and nodded his head. "Yup, but they are more like comrades."
"Yupper, when you work with people long enough, they cease to be just co-workers and become brothers in arms. At least, that's what I think ha! Ha! Ha!"
"I guess," I answered trying to sound convinced. "Say, you wouldn't happen to be from around here would you?"
"What are you talking about? I live in this city."
"Would you happen to know if there are any rumours of anything supernatural happening around town?" I knew that asking this out of the blue would make me sound strange and perhaps even seem suspicious. But at this point I was willing to just do whatever it took to get back home. I will investigate any supernatural related rumour I can come across here. The cowboy rubbed his patchy beard with a hum and shook his head. "Can't say I have, why do you ask? Are you into ghosts and stuff?"
"Not really," I rubbed the back of my neck and averted my gaze towards the street I came from. The cowboy shook his shoulders and decided to take his leave as his friends called him. "Make sure to come and see our parade!"
The cowboy looked back one last time and gave an energetic wave. I waved back only out of good manners. But more so than a parade, I wanted to get back. I was determined to go back to that light pole. As I walked back to the street I originally entered this world from. I noticed the concrete beneath my feet that had turned to stones. This world really is different. If I had to say, it feels more like a simpler society here, but at the same time inferior to the technology of my time. With advancements, people have also made life more complicated in the modern era. For some things though, they have most certainly made it easier.
There it was. The gateway I stepped through stood before me once again, although I wasn't sure if stepping over the shadow will actually lead me back to my world or not. It better though, because I swear if it doesn't then I am going on a rampage. I took a deep breath in and slowly closed my eyes. Please almighty, let this work. I stepped forward and felt uncertain forces grip my body. It felt as though my skin was being ripped apart. My muscles and tendons were slowly disintegrating and my bones cracked until nothing was left. I fell to the ground with deep aggressive breaths in pain. It was the pain of my body being reconstructed on a molecular level. I could not see it, but I could feel it. My senses were returning, the air and the ground felt wet and cold. It felt wet and cold?
I slowly opened my eyes and the blurred vision cleared to greet me with a snowy street. I quickly took out my cell phone. My eyes widened at the results of my verification. This is my time, the phone was getting service. I'm back.
"Hah…Ha! Ha! Ha! I'm back!" I shouted much to my embarrassment just a few seconds later. I quickly put on my winter clothes and felt something inside my pockets. I took the paper like object out. It was the flyer I had received. So it was real. I looked back at the shadow between the pole and the wall with fearful yet at the same time still curious eyes and quickly turned around to leave. I suppose the saying curiosity killed the cat is true to some extent. Since that day, I have done my utmost best to avoid these shadows for one may never know where such shadows may lead us to, and if there would be a way back. There could be more gateways out there, and that frightened me for I would not wish such an encounter on anyone.
There is so much we don't know about this world. Even with all the advancements, I still feel like people have yet to actually make any progress. Even if we learn something new every day, there are several more things we realize we have yet to learn. The world of science is dictated by numbers and quantitative evidence. The world of spirituality and supernatural however is a world full of true mystery. You don't get to measure it in numbers or find some physical evidence for it; you just make theories based on your own personal beliefs and encounters. Then all one could do is hope that someone comes along and believes them.
As for me, I think I will do my best to keep it to myself. I don't need any more attention to myself. After all, I just want to learn more about our universe, but also lead a simple life. Yes, a simple life will be the best thing in the grand scope of things.
A/N: It has been a LONG while since I posted anything on here. On top of that I post a story in first-person narrative, a perspective I haven't written in for so many years I would say. So you might find more flaws with the writing than you would with my usual style of writing. I however decided to pick this perspective because some of the stories I have planned require the first-person perspective.
Some things before anyone comments on it, I want to clarify here. You may notice that I don't give very many descriptions to the surrounding (like the city name) or the main character's features (name, facial features, gender, etc.). There is a reason for that. If I described all this, then you may all form a certain image of the protagonist in your head. I want you the reader to be able to imagine yourself in the protagonist's shoes. This means think of yourself to be there physically experiencing these things. That also means imagining your closest city or the city you live in to be what it might have been like in 1919.
Think of it as role play if you will. I don't plan on defining the features in the future. The story will also not deal much with character development as it is more about establishing a certain system for the afterlife and the encounter our character has with this system. Some may ask how this chapter relates to the afterlife? Don't worry, I will find a way to make it work.
Also, this story will not have a set upload schedule. Chapters will be posted as soon as possible after their completion.
But enough from me, I hope you enjoyed the chapter and are looking forward to more. Constructive criticism is always appreciated. Yes, I do give a review in exchange, but not for one-liner reviews/comments.
Thank you for your time and support!
Catch you all next time,