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Far From Home

The call came around 4:15, on Friday, August 29th. A frosty brew at my favorite dive, The Manhole, was beckoning, so I almost let it ring through. To this day, I don’t know what it was that made me pick up.

“Vertex Sentinal, Vincent Luna speaking.”

The woman on the other end sounded tired, yet determined. “Oh, Mr. Luna, exactly the man I wanted to speak to. My name is Lydia Dandridge and I believe I may have a story you might be interested in hearing.” The pint of ale evaporated from my mind.

During the next ten minutes, Mrs. Dandridge unspooled a tale so unusual that my fingertips were tingling just thinking about enshrining it in type. It appeared that her daughter, Vanessa Dandridge, had disappeared while working on some sort of secret project in Odessa, Texas. What made it all the more interesting was that Ms. Dandridge, a UC Berkeley graduate with a PhD in Botany, had worked at some sort of theme park.

Oh, but not just any theme park. According to her mother, Dandridge was working on a top secret project at a place called OmniPark, which she referred to as “part center for scientific research, part tourist attraction.” Six months prior, the park had closed down for renovations. Dandridge told her mother she would be “off the grid” for a while and unable to communicate with her. I gathered from the tone that the younger Dandridge and her mother didn’t get along well.

There was just one thing that bothered me. “If she told you she would be unreachable, why do you think she’s disappeared?”

“Because I’ve been doing some research on OmniPark, Mr. Luna. Do you know what I’ve found? Nothing.”

That’s when my ears pricked up. “What do you mean, nothing?”

“I mean, there is no record of this OmniPark in Odessa, Texas.”

“Do you think it’s something she made up?”

The woman sighed. “My daughter is a lot of things, Mr. Luna, but imaginative is not one of them. She’s a bit of a dreamer, but her lies have never been that elaborate.”

That’s when the tingling started. “How long did you say your daughter worked at this place?”

“Six years.”

I whistled. “That’s a long time to work at a place that doesn’t exist.”

“That’s just it, Mr. Luna. I don’t think OmniPark ever existed. I believe now that my daughter has been involved in some sort of cult activities. She was always so gullible. I’m just sure that she’s fallen in with the wrong kind of people and I’ll be damned if I’ll let them get their grubby hands on my money!”

And there it was. The hook. Rich dame’s daughter takes up with persons unknown, then cuts off all communication, making mama very nervous about daughter’s pending inheritance. As missing person reports went, it was pretty cut and dried. Or was it? Why did it seem like so much more?

After I had taken down the pertinent information and signed off, assuring Lydia Dandridge that I would look into it, I replaced the receiver in its cradle, studying the words scribbled on my notepad. The conversation had been an odd one, even by Sentinel standards. She didn’t sound like your average crank case. But why Odessa, Texas? To my knowledge, there was nothing there but oilfields and jackrabbits. I just couldn’t get that word out of my head: OmniPark. Yes, my fingertips were definitely tingling now.


How does one go about finding a place that doesn’t exist? My first stop was the guest services kiosk at the Midland International Airport, where an elderly docent stared blankly at me when I mentioned the park.

“I’ve lived here my entire life,” he said, perplexed, “and I don’t recall ever hearing of an OmniPark. Are you sure you have the right city?”

“I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t,” I replied. “Mind if I look around?”

“Suit yourself,” the old man said. “That’s what we’re here for.”

Giving a cursory glance at the brochures and flyers lining the outside of the kiosk, my eyes fell on a slick trifold sticking out from behind a stack of cards touting the wonders to be found at the Odessa Meteor Crater. I pulled it out.

“Bingo!” I shouted, waving the trifold in the direction of the docent.

“Well, I’ll be…” the old man said, “Let me see that.”

“Nothing doing, pal,” I replied. “Looks like this is the last one.” I flipped through it, finding it came equipped with a map of the park and directions about how to get there. I thanked the confused old man and headed toward the rental car section of the airport.


It really shouldn’t have come as any surprise to me that OmniPark, once I had arrived, was closed up tighter than Fort Knox. I’d seen a few theme parks in my time, but this time was a little different. A monorail serviced the enormous mile long parking lot, dropping tourists off at what I could only describe as a citadel, with twin spires reaching into the skies and an arched entryway that would have made Disney jealous. Only problem was, it didn’t seem much larger than your average warehouse. Walking around it took less than ten minutes.

A thorough investigation of the gateway found me a side door with a button to ring for service. It took a while, but eventually somebody got tired of hearing me lean on that button, because a harried-looking woman in business dress finally cracked the door open. I flashed her my press credentials. She rolled her eyes, but nodded, excusing herself for a few moments before returning with a press packet, which she slid through the crack and disappeared before I could ask any questions.

Fine. It was a start.


Three days and several phone calls later, I was finally put through to the Director of Public Relations at OmniPark: Brock Danson. His tone of voice told me everything I needed to know.

“What can I do for you, Mr. Luna? My secretary says you’ve been badgering him for days.”

“I wouldn’t call it badgering…”

“I don’t have all day. Please get on with it.”

“I’ve been flipping through the press packet your office provided me, but I’m afraid I have more questions than answers.”

“Of course you do.” He sighed. “What can I help you with?”

“That’s what I like to hear,” I said, pulling a page from the folder. “Let’s start with the owner of this park. It says here that Dalton Teague owned an oil company called Omni Oil and that he sold it to British Petroleum in 1967, apparently using that money to buy up a parcel of land and began plans for his theme park.”

“It was a little more complicated than that, but yes, you are correct,” Dalton said grudgingly.

“The records I found in the library claim that British Petroleum didn’t enter the United States until 1969, when it acquired the East Coast refining interests of Sinclair Oil.”

There was a pause on the other end.

“Not all multi-million-dollar transactions are made public, Mr. Luna.”

“No, but isn’t it curious that I wasn’t able to find any mention of Omni Oil anywhere in the Odessa Public Library? Nor was I able to find any record of a Dalton M. Teague, a man your packet claims to have been born right here in the Midland Odessa metropolitan area.”

I braced myself, but all Danson did was clear his throat. When he spoke again, his voice had changed somewhat to appear almost congenial.

“Odessa isn’t exactly known for its state-of-the-art communications, Mr. Luna, despite being three years into the 21st century. I’m sure you found our public library severely lacking in many amenities, not the least of which is carefully maintained stacks. Clearly the lack of information on Mr. Teague and his civic interactions comes as a surprise. I shall put my people to work rectifying that oversight immediately. Will there be anything else?”

I had him off-balance. Good.

“There seems to be a gap of seven years between the alleged sale of Omni Oil and the purchase of the land. What was Mr. Teague doing during that time?”

“What anybody with millions of dollars and nowhere in particular to be would do, traveling the world.”

“I see. And where is Mr. Teague now?”

Danson’s voice lost its congeniality. “Mr. Teague is no longer with us.”

“Oh? Travelling again?”

“I’m afraid not. Mr. Teague left this earthly plane two years ago.”

“I’m sorry to hear that. Who’s in charge now?”

Another pause. “May I ask where this line of questioning is leading”

I smiled. “Just trying to figure out what I’m dealing with here.”

“Everything you need to know is in that packet, Mr. Luna. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I do have other duties to perform.”

“Just one more question, Mr. Danson.” Without waiting for him to acknowledge, I plunged on. “According to the statistics provided here, OmniPark hosts over 35,000 guests per day.”

“When it’s open, yes,” Danson said.

“Then why is it so difficult to find any information on this park. Did you know the Department of Tourism here in Odessa doesn’t have any record of OmniPark’s existence? I had a hell of a time finding it. Where are these alleged 35,000 people a day getting their information?”

Another impatient sigh. “OmniPark is not a regular theme park, Mr. Luna. It is a research facility that also invites tourism. We advertise mainly through schools and colleges. Our intention is to attract curious young minds. Believe it or not, they actually exist outside the audience your newspaper favors.”

He said newspaper like he was talking about garbage.

“Still, that’s a huge number to be overlooked by the Department of…”

“I have a delivery coming in, Mr. Luna. I’m afraid I don’t have time to indulge you any further. Have a nice day.”

The sound of silence on the other end of my Nokia was deafening. I sat in the air-conditioned Honda Civic I’d rented and stared at the citadel. What had Danson said about a delivery? Either he was making an excuse, or…

A nondescript white van rolled into the parking lot, making its way around the left side of the building. Bingo! I put the car in gear and followed. When the van suddenly disappeared into a large opening in the ground – an opening that definitely hadn’t been there before – I pulled my car over and jumped out.

Running has never been one of my favorite activities, but when I need to, I can still outrun most college track stars. It’s a gift. Or a curse, I’m not sure which. I was halfway down the ramp before the doors slid shut behind me. The darkness gave way to a soft luminescence once my eyes adjusted. Opting for a less hasty approach, I crept down and into the underground enclosure.

I heard the sound of muffled conversation and waited until it receded, before poking my head around the corner. The van sat parked next to a set of double doors, propped open to admit the delivery. I rushed in that direction. Inside was a bank of elevators. The one on the far right hummed with use. I chose the elevator farthest from it and pressed the up arrow.

The wait was excruciating, but when it finally arrived, I climbed aboard the elevator and reached for a panel that wasn’t there. The doors slid shut, entombing me in a car without buttons or lights, except for the soft luminescence of the ceiling tiles. Before I could panic, the car started moving. I braced myself for the unknown.

The doors slid open and I found myself looking out into a service hallway. I exited slowly, looking both ways. There was nobody around. I exhaled the breath I had been holding and pushed onward toward a set of large metal doors. I don’t know what I expected on the other side, but whatever it was evaporated from my mind and was replaced by abject wonder.

Contrary to what I had discovered outside, the enclosure was enormous, more in keeping with a cathedral than a theme park. It’s towering vaulted ceiling peaked above a large, multicolored fountain, with windows set high among the buttresses, allowing sunshine to filter in.

Brightly colored banners hung from the ceiling, and the walls were hung with gigantic canvases adorned with images of cells, planets, cave drawings and other semi-recognizable creatures. Those same themes were reflected in the mosaic covering the floor and stretching out in all directions. It gave the room an almost solemn, museum-like quality, broken up only by the kiosks and stands scattered about, hawking merchandise and snacks.

Along each wall of the octagonal building was an archway leading into the park’s themed “realms.” They were all labeled: The Realm of Life, The Realm of the Cell, The Realm of the Deep, The Realm of the Stars, The Realm of Man, The Realm of the Particle and The Realm of Time. I began to understand why an egghead like Vanessa Dandridge would be drawn to this place. It was a nerd’s paradise.

Moving carefully, to avoid being seen, I stuck to the walls and crept deeper into the enclosure. Passing a fake tree and fern covered archway leading into the Realm of Life exhibit, I was struck by the cacophony of jungle sounds coming from inside. The park had been shut down for six months, but the sound effects were still in operation? I found that more than a little odd, but not nearly as odd as what followed.

From inside the enclosure, crowded with trees and plants like nothing I had ever seen before, I heard a loud buzzing sound. Curiosity being one of my more dubious qualities, I decided to investigate. Instantly I was hit by a humidity so oppressive I was drenched in sweat just a few yards down the winding path.

I scanned the area, but the morass of foliage obscured any signs of life. The buzzing sound was growing louder and seemed to be coming from somewhere overhead. I looked up and into the multi-faceted eyes of a creature from my wildest nightmares descending from the treetops. It was a giant dragonfly and it was coming straight for me! I froze, but only momentarily before instinct kicked in and I dived for the floor.

The creature buzzed over me, the breeze from its wings causing a mini-hurricane in the jungle around me. I looked back toward the entrance. How had I gotten so far inside the exhibit? I swore I had only stepped inside a few steps, but there was the opening, several hundred yards behind me.

I looked up. The dragonfly had disappeared into the jungle, but the buzzing continued. In fact, it seemed to be getting louder again. Jumping up, I put my running skills to use and darted toward the exit. The buzzing was growing louder and I knew that if I looked back, I would be terrified, so I concentrated on what lay ahead.

Something was wrong with the spatial quality of the room! I was running as fast as I could, but the exit didn’t seem to be getting any closer. The buzzing overtook me and I dove floorward again. This time the monster raked my arm with one of its forward legs and I winced at the numbing pain.

Rolling to my feet, without looking around, I sped for the exit once again, determined to make my way out. That determination must have made a difference, because suddenly the room telescoped inward and the exit swooped forward, spitting me out on the other side.

I rolled to a stop against a kiosk and lay there for a minute, catching my breath. Had that really happened? I looked toward the verdant archway, but there was no sign of the monster that had been pursuing me. Some investigative journalist. Scared by an animatronic bug. I decided I would need to tread more cautiously.

Voices alerted me to the presence of far less intimidating creations. I slid around the kiosk in search of the cause. My eyes fell on three individuals wearing white labcoats, exiting the Realm of the Cell, whatever that was. They were deep in conversation. I waited for them to pick a direction, then followed as silently as possible, listening in all the while.

“If these calculations are correct,” a short redhead with frizzy hair and thick glasses was saying to a long-haired man with an enormous black beard, “the convergence should already be underway.”

“Why wouldn’t they be correct?” Blackbeard asked peevishly. “The prophet himself made those calculations. Everything we’ve worked for over the past 25 years has led to this moment. Are you questioning his vision?”

“No, no, no! Of course not!” the redhead sputtered. “I was just making an observation. Physical signs of the synthesis should be manifesting themselves now.”

“Can you not feel the changes in the air?”

“I’m a biologist,” the woman said quickly. “Not a physicist like yourself. I rely on empirical evidence.”

“We are no longer of that realm, doctor. We are transcending the world of science, do not forget that,” the third member of the party said decisively. He was tall and thin, with shiny black hair combed back and a pencil-thin mustache adorning his angular face. There was something of an early movie matinee scientist air about him. This guy, I thought, must be the ringleader.

I followed the trio in silence as they passed the enormous fountain which made up the centerpiece of the massive vestibule and entered a futuristic archway labeled Realm of the Stars. A movement to the right of the entryway caught my eye. What I saw there shocked me almost as much as the dragonfly had. Hunkered down just inside an archway that appeared to be made out of elephant tusks was a small group of hominids.

I say hominids, because they definitely were not humans as we know them. They were smaller and almost completely covered in hair, but were bipedal and the larger, male members were carrying crude stone tools, or weapons. They watched the trio of scientists enter the archway warily, but did not make any decisive moves. That changed when one of the smaller, female creatures caught sight of me and called out an alarm.

I froze in my tracks. The leader of the pack, or what I took to be the leader, locked eyes with me and I was startled to see an intelligence there unlike anything I had ever seen in similar apelike animals. It put out its arm, gesturing to its followers to fall back. They did so, disappearing back into the cavelike atmosphere of their Realm of Man. With a nod, the leader slowly eased back into the shadows, never breaking eye contact until the darkness enveloped him.

“May I help you?”

I whirled around to find a tall, striking woman staring back at me, suspiciously. She wore a labcoat and held a sheaf of paperwork protectively against her chest. Her coarse black hair was pulled back into a braid. She had large liquid brown eyes, framed by a high forehead and prominent cheekbones. Her skin was coffee and cream, her lips full. She was, in a word, luminous.

“I don’t think you’re supposed to be here, Mr…?”

“Luna,” I croaked. After clearing my throat, I stuck out my hand and tried again. “Vincent Luna, with the Vertex Sentinal.”

She regarded my hand uncertainly. “Did you lose your tour?”

“My… Oh, yes! My tour. I lost my tour. I think they went that way,” I said, gesturing in the direction of the Realm of Space.

“Well then,” the woman said, with a tentative smile, “why don’t you accompany me? I’m heading in that direction myself.”

“Perfect!” I winced inwardly at my awkwardness. Even at half power, her smile was megawatt brilliant. “I mean, thank you for your assistance. This place is enormous.”

The woman’s smile brightened as she strode past me. “Oh, you have no idea…”

“I beg your pardon?” I asked, struggling to keep up.

“Nothing,” she said over her shoulder. “Names Indigo. People just call me Indy. Mind if I call you Vinnie? I’m not big on honorifics or titles.”

“Vince is fine.”

We had entered the archway, and I was surprised to find myself in some sort of walkway, similar to those I had seen in videos of astronauts boarding NASA rockets. The hatchway ahead of us was open.

“I’ve never heard of the Vertex Sentinel. Science journal?” Her soft brown eyes regarded me, cautiously.

“Something like that.”

“Watch your head.”

She ducked and entered the hatchway. I followed, finding myself in a capsule of some sort. It had three rows of four seats each and windows looking out into some sort of vast metal chamber.

Indy had already claimed a seat and, as I watched, slid some sort of metal card through a reader.

The door behind me slid shut. I jumped, turning to find myself locked inside. I tried frantically to find a lever or handle, to no avail. I looked around the chamber, my instincts turning my guts to mush.

“Are you alright, Vince?”

I spun around to face her. “I have a thing about confined spaces.”

“You should have said something earlier,” she responded, her face suddenly serious.

A rumbling started up and a digital clock facing the seats depicted a countdown.

“You’d better strap yourself in!” she said urgently.

Instinct took over. Hurriedly I strapped myself into the chair next to Indy, just in time as the chamber shook violently.

“Oh, shit,” I hissed.

Indy placed her hand over my white-knuckled fist. “It’ll all be over soon.”

“That’s what I’m afraid of.”

The countdown finally hit zero. Instantly, I felt as though I were being pushed down into my seat. I don’t know how much time passed before the g-forces eased up, but a look out the nearest window showed the earth receding and the blackness of space swallowing up everything I knew. If this was a ride, it was the most realistic I had ever experienced.

“Who are you here to see?” Her no-nonsense voice broke the silence.

I expelled a lungful of air I hadn’t realized I was holding. “Initially with Brock Danson, but right now I’m looking for somebody else, maybe you’ve heard of her: Vanessa Dandridge?”

 “Nessa? She’s a friend of mine!” Just as quickly as her face had lit up, it darkened. “I’m afraid you’re a little late, though. She was part of the last prep group to go into the portal. I’m hoping to meet up with her on the other side.”

There was so much in that sentence I had to process. “Portal?” I blurted.

“Uh huh. That’s why you’re here, right?”

“Uh… right! The portal.” I paused, my brain cells sparking. “Remind me again, where does the portal go?”

She turned and looked at me, her brows furrowed with a new suspicion. “Are you serious?”

The sparks became fireworks. “No! Of course not. I’m just… you know… trying to break up the tension.”

She turned on a relieved megawatt smile and patted my hand. “It’ll all be over soon. You poor thing. I don’t know how you’re going to handle the transition itself. Maybe they’ll drug you.”

“Yeah… maybe.”

Before long, a space station came into view, hovering like a giant metal ring, high above the planet. Our destination, it seemed. Like something out of Kubrick movie the shuttle floated toward a docking area, then jolted into place. The sound of compressed air escaping followed by clunks and clangs, then silence. The hatch opened. We were aboard the space station, which, unlike the other areas of the park, was teeming with life!

Indy was out of her seat and hovering before I could take my second breath.

“Are you okay?”

“I’m fine,” I croaked.” Just a little woozy. Let me catch my breath.”

Indy relaxed and smiled. “Oh, good. It would be a public relations nightmare if I let anything happen to you.”

“Indy!” a voice called out.

“Oh, shit,” indy whispered. “My boss. I’ll be back in minute.”

I was left alone in the capsule and none too eager to be out of it. Grabbing a labcoat hanging by the door, I hurriedly pulled it on and poked my head out of the hatchway. Nobody seemed to be paying me any attention. Stepping out, I tried to look as inconspicuous as possible. Until I saw the windows. If you could call them windows.

It was more a skylight. In fact, the entire curved ceiling above the metal walls through which I’d just passed was transparent. As magnificent as that was, it was what lay beyond that truly caught my attention.

To describe the magnificence I saw there would take a writer far more creative than this humble reporter. It was as though the wonders of the universe had converged in this place. Those vast windows looked out on planets, galaxies and a profusion of stars so plentiful and realistic, I shuddered at its vastness. We were not, I repeat not, in Odessa anymore. In fact, I was relatively sure we weren’t even in the same solar system. Fear crept into my stomach, sending icy tendrils into my extremities.


“Whoa, careful there.” Strong feminine hands gripped my upper arms, preventing me from dropping to the floor in a pile of drool. The familiar voice continued. “You’re just not having a good time of it, are you my friend?”

“I’m fine, I’m fine,” I stuttered, trying my damnedest not to soil my boxers.

“It may take some time to get your space legs. If it helps, look down.” Indy came around and put her hands on my cheeks, looking directly into my eyes. Tearing them away from the madness beyond those windows, I met her lovely brown ones.

“That’s it,” she said. “Now breathe in slowly through your nose… that’s it… and out through your mouth.”

Feeling returned to my limbs and I felt myself growing less tense.

“That’s much better,” Indy said, smiling that megawatt smile. “As soon as you’re feeling better, I’d like to introduce you to my boss and her associates. They’re the real heroes here.”

“I don’t know if that’s such a good idea,” I said.

“Why not?” she asked. “Don’t you want to interview the people who are making this miracle happen?

“I’m not really here to interview anybody… Wait, what kind of miracle?”

“The Migration, of course.” She was off balance and perplexed. “What hundreds of brilliant minds have been working toward for 25 years. Aren’t you here to… Why are you here?”

“Writing a story about the park!”

“The park?” A look of curious surprise crossed Nessa’s face. “Then, you’re not going with us?”

“Going where?” I asked.

Eyebrows knitted, she pointed over my head. Turning, I looked up and through the arched window again. If the madness I had felt creeping up on me before was terrifying, what I saw out there now was beyond comprehension. There, beyond the glass, beyond the planets, beyond the galaxies, was a jagged opening, swirling with a darkness so intense it blotted out the stars.

There, floating like some kind of shimmering mirage in space, was a hole in the heavens that turned my guts to jelly. Stars, planets, nebulae, all were dwarfed and eclipsed by this monstrosity, not quite window, not quite doorway, but somehow both. And on the other side of the opening was… madness! I stumbled backwards. This was no projection, or holograph. This was real! Somehow the scientists working on this project had torn open a rift in space and as I watched, it was slowly creeping closer!

“I don’t think you should be here,” Nessa said, breaking the trance. She grabbed my arm and swung me around, so I was forced to look away and into her molten eyes again. “You’re not supposed to be here! C’mon!”

Grabbing me by the hand, Nessa dragged me back toward the capsule. The return to the park was a blur. My mind was having a hard time processing everything I had witnessed.

“What was that thing?” I stuttered.

“It’s a dimensional rift,” Nessa replied nervously. “Our ticket home.”

“Home? Earth is your home!”

Nessa turned to pierce me with her molten eyes. “I was born on Earth, but it isn’t my home. Not anymore. It hasn’t been for a while. Death and decay everywhere you look. The air is too polluted to breathe, the water is too poisoned to drink, and all the people in power can do is amass money so the majority are reduced to cattle. This is not the world I was promised. It’s not the world any of us were promised. So, we’re taking the best of what Earth has to offer and starting over in a new dimension.”

“But, that’s insane!”

She placed her hand over mine again. “No, Vince. This world is insane. Your world. We carry the hope of mankind with us.”

“How do you know that’s what lies beyond that hellmouth?” I asked.

“We know.” Her smile was sad. “We’ve been preparing a long, long time. The prophet, himself, has been talking to us from beyond the rift.”

“Prophet? You mean Teague? He’s dead, isn’t he?”

She shook her head. “Very much alive, actually. He was the first to migrate. His efforts on the other side have allowed us to pull everything into alignment. The migration is happening, Vince. I’ll only ask one time. Come with us?”

It didn’t take any time at all to decide. “I’m sorry, I can’t. You may have given up on this weary old world, but I haven’t.”

“Fair enough.” She removed her hand and suddenly I felt the loss of its weight as a finality.

She didn’t exit the capsule with me. Nor did she say goodbye. Instead, she smiled briefly as I backed out into the walkway. Then the door slid shut and I was running back the way I’d come. Little did I know, my nightmare was far from over.

Exiting the Realm of Space, I was confronted by chaos. Creatures, large and small, many of them unknown to me, ran, crawled and fluttered about the enormous chamber. The hominids I had seen earlier were bringing down what looked like a towering crablike creature, using their tools to hack away at its chitinous shell. An amoeba-like mass of mucas slimed its way into the rainbow fountain. And high above it all, was the dragonfly that had chased me earlier. The sound was deafening.

Not stopping to see anymore, I ran. I dodged large insects and prehistoric mammals. Slid past nightmare reptiles and blobs of protoplasm. Intent on escape, I bolted for the front gate. Locked, of course! After what seemed an eternity of running, and dodging nightmares, I found my way back to the service entrance.  

I pushed my way through the door that had admitted me and made a bee-line for my car. Never before had I appreciated the battle-scarred and rusty hunk of metal like I did at that moment. Jumping inside, I cranked the engine and, as it sputtered to life, threw it into gear, leaving black marks with my squealing tires.

The air around me was shimmering. Looking in my rearview mirror, I saw the same happening to the large archway to the citadel. Flickering in and out like some sort of mirage, the entire structure wavered and blinked, then with a sound like a sonic boom, it simply vanished.

I pulled the volvo to a screeching halt and pushed my way out. Where once had stood the sprawling structure known as OmniPark, now stood… nothing.


And so, dear readers, I leave it to you to decide. Was OmniPark a nexus of some sort? An intersection of gateways to other dimensions, conjured up by a master magician and his arcane “technosophers”? Or was it something more?

All I have are a few hastily gathered facts. There are no records of the park’s creator, the so-called “multi-billionaire oilman” Dalton M. Teague. Nor of his co-conspirators in the creation and operation of the never never land known as OmniPark. Ah, but here’s the kicker: Neither are there records of the park’s existence. No documents, no tax records, no zoning plans. Nothing. It’s almost as though it never existed.

But should you ever visit that empty field on the outskirts of Odessa, Texas, be warned. For almost two decades, the area has been home to a mystery. Nothing green grows on that large swathe of land and mysterious lights can occasionally be seen dancing in a pervasive fog on dark, muggy nights. What you will not see is anything to indicate that on that spot once stood a magnificent temple of the unknown and uncharted. But it was there.

I know, because I was there when it was swallowed up into the void. Transported to some faraway place on the other side of the universe. A Bermuda Triangle of scientific curiosity and, perhaps, an indictment against mankind’s all too frightening potential. You have my word as an ace reporter. That will have to suffice.

                                                                                                     *  *  *


© David Salcido, 2020. Registered with the Library of Congress and the Writers Guild of America, 2023. All rights reserved.

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