Through The Helicoid

There wasn't much to the day it happened.  It was a bit cool with overcast skies.  I was showing a friend around the farm I worked on and talking about how I once managed two farms, but that the second was now out of commission. It had been sold off and become somewhat of a run-down trailer park, but there was a hot spring people from the area once swam in.  We decided to go see if it was still there.

We arrived but the place had changed so much I had a hard time recognizing where the spring was.  We got out of the truck and walked down a dirt road to the top of a hill passing several shanty houses along the way.

A man came out of this house in front of us carrying a shotgun and yelling that we needed to leave.  There were targets on the cliff behind his house that I could make out.  Seeing this told me he was probably a pretty good shot and that we needed to leave immediately.  But, as usual, my friend decided we needed to argue instead with him about threatening people, who meant no harm, with a gun.

The man walked down from his porch with the gun still drawn and said he was going to shoot us and let Jack sort it out later.  Luckily, I recognized the name.  Jack had sold the farm, and these were the new tenants. When I realized this, some kind of courage I can't quite explain welled up inside and I walked right up to the armed man and snatched the shotgun away from him.  He was so surprised that he then pulled out a little pocket knife and threatened to slice me, his hand shaking in fear now that I had the gun.

My friend and I turned to walk away when I noticed a gravel embankment.  We walked up to the edge and I realized the spring I remembered was now a smaller pool of water.  I don't really know why, but my friend jumped in; clothes and all.  I started to protest because the water didn't look right but it was too late.  My friend disappeared below the surface that looked a little slimy and laden with chemicals.  What had happened to this place I had once known?

At this point people started coming out of their houses and my friend had still not surfaced.  I started to get concerned when Jack came out of the house behind the spring.  My friend also surfaced about that time yelling that his skin was burning.  Jack yelled for his wife to grab some towels and turned on the outside water to try and remove as much of the contaminants from my friend's skin as possible after he had climbed out of the water.  Jack hosed down my friend and some of my friend's hair started falling out.

Jack told me I had to get him to a hospital as quickly as possible, so I ran down and started up the truck while Jack finished washing my friend off.  We got him in the truck where he changed into some other clothes Jack's wife brought out.  Naturally, the truck would not start.  When we saw what happened next, it no longer seemed to matter.

In the far distance, above a mountain range, in a gap in the clouds, a spiral smoke trail was forming.  We seemed to forget all about everything that had just happened.  I grabbed my iPhone, stepped out of the truck and started recording video, though the little camera had trouble seeing what I was seeing due to the distance.

"What is it?" my friend asked, still shaking from his experience.

"I've seen this before several times over the past few years in news reports and sources have claimed these events were missile launches that went wrong.  I've always suspected it was something much different than what we were being told."

The spiral trail grew and clouds began to swirl around the spiral in a massive way.  A tornado unlike anything I could have imagined began to envelop a mountain top.  A small object grew in size as it flew toward us.  When the object got close enough I realized it was the top of a house that flew over our heads crashing into the tree tops behind us.

"Jack do you have a cellar?" I asked in desperation.

Jack motioned for us to follow him but it was too late.  The massive tornado split into multiple tornadoes, crossed the mountain ridges and the valley below and were already beginning to destroy Jack's home as well as others around us.  

"Jump!" Jack yelled and we did so.

Down the hillside we rolled, tumbling all the way down.  Debris and wind rained down all around.  We made it to the bottom and stood to look over a large cliff, but the twisters were still just behind us.  I had no time to disagree when Jack launched himself at me and my friend carrying all of us over a cliff.

In any other instance I would have thought this would have been death, but a funny thing happened, and yet as frightening a thing as I have ever experienced.  Somehow the largest of the tornadoes turned sideways and extended from the spiral above the mountain ridge to across the valley to where we were.  Jack, myself, and my friend fell right into the winds of the sideways tornado and were being swept in the winds toward the spiral.

I was still holding my iPhone and shooting video in disbelief.  There were geometric patterns forming above and half way down the sides of the inside of the tunnel of wind.  We were now flying across the valley.  Of all things to realize, I became aware the battery on the iPhone was about to crash but I had a battery backup case on the phone.  I tried to engage it but it would not go active.  That's when I noticed several vehicles just outside the vortex trying to catch up with us on a road below; one did.

It would have made more sense to me that the sideways tornado would have sucked up or tossed away the van with the open top but it did not.  Instead some man with a beard and whirling lab coat extended his hand toward us.  I could not make out everything he was yelling, it was too loud, but I managed to throw my phone into his van just before the road ended and the tunnel of wind carried us up the mountainside.  Within seconds we hit the end of the vortex and disappeared through some type of portal where the spiral had been.

When I awoke, I was alone.  Well, not alone as you might think of it, more like on display in a foreign land.  That's what it felt like waking up with people staring at me like some type of exhibit.  I sat up and people in strange ancient looking clothing began to disperse, but not as if frightened.  I stood up off the bench, just in time to move around a corner.  Someone was looking around for something that didn't belong.  Fortunately for me, he moved on.

As I began to come to my senses, I recognized I was inside some kind of massive museum for the ancients, perhaps Persian?  I wasn't sure why that name came to me, but I soon realized I was the one in the strange looking clothing.  I began to move about them, but they didn't seem to pay much mind to me.  They weren't the kings, fortunately, they must have been followers.  There were many manners of dress so I didn't stand out as much as I thought I did.  

The walls looked like they were made of blocks of sandstone and the displays were extravagant, full of jewelry and textiles and all manners of things one might expect to find in a hidden tomb of royalty.  But these objects of art and beauty were current to the day I had fallen into, or so I thought; displayed like artwork might be at a high-end art museum today.

I crept down one of the hallways gazing at the artifacts on the walls and ornate ceramics on pedestals.  Carved holes in the walls and ceiling allowed sunlight to shine upon works of gold at specific moments, so that as the sun drifted over the museum during the day, different gold pieces were highlighted.  Off to the side of one massive hallway I saw a lounge of sorts and entered.  There were several others, including my friend, gathered around someone holding their own smartphone.  

"What happened to us?"

"I don't know for sure," said the one holding the phone.  "But I recorded it."

"Me, too," I said, "But I threw my phone in what I think was a scientist's van just before blacking out and waking up here."

My friend finished watching the video that stopped just prior to our crossing over into this dimension of time, if those were the proper words.

"Do you think we will ever get back?" someone asked.

"I'm no longer sure where back is," I replied.  "We have to first figure out where here is."