Heavy breathing.

That is what I remember,heavy breathing.

And the sound of gunshots.

It was dark,the only lights coming from street lamps. We were in small

town on the Pacific Coast north of Monterrey,California. A couple of

people were shooting at us. My brother and I,armed with nine-millimeter

Beretta pistols,were fiuring at our pursuers to cover for Remmy as he

waited for the timer to count to zero.

Our feet knocked against the cobblestoned streets of the town. I heard

my brother shout,"Go!" Then it opened.

A siwrling vortex appeared. It There was a bright,white light in the

center. The air arround the vortex shimmered like the air in the Mojave

Desert at high noon in July. With shots being fired at us,we leaped

straight in. Soon we were on a journey to the unknown.

We left that world,that universe,and were flying through a tunnel of

light. In the past year,I have never ceased to be amazed at traveling

thorugh this tunnel of lights my brother Quinn calls a wormhole. I could

see Quinn and Remmy flying through the tunel,along with our other

companion Maggie. Then,I saw something I never expected to see.

I saw another traveler,flying through the tunnel in the opposite direction.

For I second,I wondered if someone at the other side saw it open and

decided to jump through. In any event,we would have to go back to the

world we just left to find him. Hopefully,the guys who had been pursuing

us just minutes ago would not be there when we returned.

Then I saw that he was on a collision course with me. I saw him

briefly,a man with dark hair. That was it. He collided with me,and for a

moment,I weas flying out of control. I wondered if I would end up back

where I started.

I felt myself hit the ground. I figured I must have reached the end of

the wormhole. I wondered if I had slid back to the world I just left.

Suddenly,the dark ground below me was illuminted. I looked back to see

where the light was coming from,and I saw a hugfe trcuk heading at me at

about fifty-five miles per hour. I quickly got out of the way before the

truck could flatten me. Afdter I saw the truck pass by me,I looked around

at my surroundings. Having been sliding for a year,that has become a


I was standing on a long suspension bridge. At least I did not slide

back to that world I just left. I looked around for the others. I did not

see them in sight. I wondered if they had been hit by the bridge traffic.

I noticed there was little traffic on the bridge at this time of the

night. I climed over a railing to the pedestrian walkway and looked down.

I saw dark,murky water below. There was nothing on the surface except

a buoy and a boat apparenbtly used by the harbor patrol. I wondered if

Quinn,Remmy,and Maggie fell into the water.

"Quinn!" I shouted. "Remmy! Maggie!" I shouted their names many

times,but there was no response.

Now here was a sityuation for me. Not only did I lose my friends,Remmy

was holding the timer when we slid. If the sliding window passed,the timer

would be useless for twenty-nine years,as my brother told me.

I looked down the bridge,and can see the lights of a city.

"Only one thing to do,Colin," I said to myself. I walked along the

bridge,towards the city in the distance.

As it turned out,it was a long,thirty minute walk. As I walked towards

the city,hundreds of thoughts flooded my mind. I wondered who that guy was

that traveled through the wormhole. Was he someone who just happened to be

walking across this bridge when he accidentally stepped in? And where are

Quinn,Remmy,and Maggie? Did they fall into the water? If so,the harbor

patrol would see them and pick them up. Falling from that height,they

would get hurt. It would not have done me any good just to stand on the

bridge. But first thing is first. I had to reach that city and find out

where I am.

As I approached the city,I can see it had skyscrapers. I landed near a

major city,so that was fortunate for me. After minutes of walking,I could

see the tollbooth where people would pay to drive across this bridge. I

ran towards the end of the bridge. The pedestrian walkway of the bridge

ended in a stairwell,and I went down to the city below.

The neighborhood I was in looked like an industrial area. There were a

bunch of warehouses. It was very dark,and the lighting was poor. I figured

this must be the harbor area. I walked dwon the streets to get to the

downtown area of the city.

I made it to a street lined with shops. Some of the shops had bright

neon lights. I went to read the signs.

And I found out I could not read them. Ity was not in English at all. I

recognized the writing as Arabic. I wondered if this was an Arab

neighborhood. then I saw that all the street signs were in Arabic. There

were no English signs. None at all. I ran to a phone booth. I recognized

the numerals on the numeric keypad,as numerals are the same in Arabic and

English. In fact,it was the Arabs who invented the numeral system that I

use. But when I looked at the cover of the phone book,it was written in

Arabic. And all the listings were also in Arabic.

I went out of the phone booth,and saw a convenience store. Although

the sign was in Arabic,I could tell it was a convenience store from the

fact that I can see various items inside,and the store is well-lit. So I

went inside.

Inside the store,I saw a Chinese guy manning the counter.

"Excuse me," I asked. "I am a little lost. Could you tell me where I am?"

The guy said some unfamilar words. It was either in Arabic or Chinese.

I could understand from the context that he was saying he did not

understand me. It was not a new situation to me;I slid into worlds where

the dominant language in California was a language other than English. I

looked at a counter and saw what appeared to be maps. I unfolded the map.

Even if I could not read the words,the street layout would tell me where I


As it turned out,I was in San Francisco,California. I had entered this

world,this dimension,right on top of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.

In my travels,my companions and I always slide to a specific area in

California. We can land as far north as San Francisco or as far south as

Los Angeles. I had slid to San Francisco many times and am familar with

the street layout. So I put the map back onto the rack and I went out into

the dark street. As I left,I heard the Chinese guy mumble something.

The building looked the same as it did in other worlds,although the

sign was in Arabic. The lobby was still open,consistent with the

assumption that this building is a hotel. When I walked inside,the lobby

looked just like the lobby of the Dominion Hotel. I saw the recption

desk,and a rack filled with brochures,which I figured was printed in


Whenever my friends and I slide into the Bay Area,we go to the Dominion

Hotel on Van Ness Avenue. This was our meeting point in San Francisco. If

we happened to get separated after the slide,we would go straight to the

meeting point.

I went to the counter and spoke with the receptionist.

"Excuse me," I said. "Did anyone come into this hotel?"

The man said something,which I figured was that he did not understand

my question.

"Could you please help me? I'm looking for my friends."

It was no use,the poor guy just didn't understand. In my travels,I had

learned to speak other languages just to be prepared in case we landed in

a world where the predominant language in California wasn't English. But

none of us learned to speak Arabic. With no way to speak their language,I

coiuld not ask for my friends or even get a room. Not that I could get a

room even if I was fluent in Arabic,because all my money was printed in

English. and I know I can't just sleep on the couch in the lobby,although

it was mighty tempting.

A hotel employee walked up to me and asked me somthing. He was dressed

in Arbaic-style clothing,with baggy red pants and a white shirt.

"I'm looking for my friends," I said. "They told me they would meet

here. I can't speak Arabic."

I sae the employeee talk with the guy at the counter. They were

conversing in Arabic about me. I wondered if they would call the police.

The bar was closed,and there was nowhere else to go.

So I left. I walked along Van Ness Avenue,or whatever name they called

it on this world. There were some cars parked aslong the curbn,and I saw

tracks for the cable cars. After a long walk thorughn the streets of San

Francisco,I ended up at Golden Gate Park.

And I claimed a park bench. Here I was separated from my friends,with

money that was useless,and without a way to slide to the next world. As I

lay down on the wooden bench,I thought about the events that got me here.

The whole thing started when I was born. My name is Colin Mallory,and I

was the firstborn of Michael and Elizabeth Mallory. Two years after my

birth,my mother gave birth to Quinn. The events that were transpiring at

the time was what led me to this bench.

On my home world,there were these people called kromaggs,who are a

different species of people. The humans and the kromaggs were fighting a

war in the 1970's. The humans on my world had developed sliding

technology,and my parents sent me asnd Quinn to live with their respective

duplicate parents on other worlds.

I grew up in El Segundo,California,in the country known as the United

States of America. On my wordls,technolgy such as

cars,airplanes,spaceships,current electricity,and of course,sliding

technology was not invented. The fastest means of travel was by train.

Soon after I was born,my foster parents died. I lived there for

twenty-seven years,not knowing my true heritage.

Until my brother Quinn came. After I spoke with Quinn and his

companions Rembrandt Brown and Maggie Beckett,I learned my brother's


Quinn grew up in a world more advanced in technology than my own. He

had thought he was born there. He lived in the city of San

Francisco,California,in the United States of America. He briefly explained

the history of his world,noting events such as the American Revolution and

the Second World War. On my world,America did not become an independent

country until 1888,and it was through peaceful means. And there was no

Second World War nor an atomic bomb. On Quinn's world,the U.S. President

was Bill Clinton and the governor of California was Pete Wilson. On my

world,the U.S. President was Pat Buchanan and the governor of California

was John van de Kamp.

In 1994,Quinn had invented a machine to research anti-gravity. He

opened a mysterious portal. After studying it,he went through and found a

paralell dimesnsion where red means go and Elvis Presley is still alive.

(No one named Elvis gained fame in my world,and on Quinn's world,Elvis

died of a drug overdose. I remmbered a time when we landed on a world

where Elvis Presley was on a comeback tour,and Quinn and I got jobs as

ushers in the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. Remmy,whose duplicate was

also a famous singer,got to perform live on stage with Elvis,but that is a

different story for a different time.)

Quinn and two companions,Wade Wells and Maximilian Arturo,slid with

Quinn the second time. Remmy accidentally drove through as he was driving

to sing the national anthem at the World Series. The timer malfuntioned

and they did not get back to Quinn's home world,which herefafter shall be

called Earth Prime.

The four of them had many adventures in the years they were sliding.

They repeatedly ran into the same people,including alternate versions of

themselves. In 1997,they ran into Captain Maggie Beckett of the United

States Marine Corps. Maximilian Arturo was shot and killed soon

afterward,so I never got to meet the original professor,althiough I

encountered his duplicates in other worlds.

After six months of sliding,Wade and Remmy made it back home,but Quinn

and Maggie missed them. They had another timer,and after three months,they

made it back to Earth Prime. Anyone who reads this would think the journey

is over. But it had just begun.

The kromaggs,who had fought a war with humans on my world of

birth,began conquering parallel worlds. Because my birth world's

technology was considerably advanced compared to most other worlds,the

kromaggs were successful. They had conquered Earth Prime in 1997,occupying

its major cities. Quinn and Maggie finally found Remmy,who told them two

horrible things. First,Wade was sent to a breeder camp on another world.

Second,this was home. Remmy had checked this world's history as well as

his personal history,and they were consistent with Earth Prime.

However,antoher revelation occurred. Quinn's mother Elizabeth Mallory gave

Quinn a microdot where he heard a message from his birth parents. Quinn

learned the truth of his heritage,and he,Maggie,and Remmy started sliding

again insearch of me and a weapon that was used to defeat the kromaggs on

their home world. After seven months of sliding,they finally found me,and

I chose to go along for the ride.

Now I am here on this park bench. I am transcribing this from a journal

I bought at Borders Bookstore soon after I started sliding. I looked up to

the night sky,wondering if I would find a way back to my friends,and a way

back to my home world.