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In the late 1880′s, Henry O’malley often visited Charles Dodgson in pursuit of a number of unpublished thesis on the nature of extra dimensional mathematics. Dodgson was a mathematician, theologian and teacher who had once witnessed something so utterly terrifying that his faith and work had become his only comfort. His short lived but successful foray into literature was little more than a respite, a way to cope with the events that had inspired the subject of those books.
That event had also triggered a life long train of thought, a hypothesis – that not only did planes without surfaces exist, coiled up in quantum voids, accessible via esoteric forms of physics, but also a distinct link between certain brain disorders and an ability to not only see, but pass between the veil that separates us from it. “It” being the thing once witness by Dodgson, one evening, after many days without sleep, when his thoughts had pondered the slight irregularity in the mirror above his fire place. As his mind wandered, the surface had rippled, its perspective peculiar, as though the very glass had peered at him. As he peered back, the reflection swelled and folded, and allowed him to glimpse beyond. What he saw left a hole in him so wide, he took pen to paper, and attempted to fill it with explanations. But this was not the last time he would see the other place. For a year later, the place would find him, and consume him, only allowing him escape when his wits were entirely broken.
Henry offered Charles not only a modicum of relief, having seen this place himself, but also a conduit for analysis and consideration of what that “other place” was. They began to formulate a plan, to not only open a semi permanent gate, but to explore it. Having noticed bizarre changes to barometric pressure there, and also a tendency for both gravity and light to distort, thus inducing nausea, they designed specific apparatus to allow themselves to withstand their journey. A few months later and a plan was set.
Henry called for a carriage and they made their way to a disused factory complex on the outskirts of Hackney. Dodgson stood and contemplated what lay ahead as Henry heaved open great rusted doors, He exclaimed “about five years ago I was commissioned by the British government to construct a series of large electromagnetic coils, coils that could generate fields that disrupted other electrical current. A weapon, if you will, against the rise of the lightning age!”He closed the grand doors behind them and ushered him into a large room, three imposing shapes covered with tarpaulins lay before them. He removed them in a flurry of dust and awe to reveal the blackened iron edifices of the Triplets . They were an ominous sight, towering at nine feet each. Their innards lay bare, reels of copper wire sprawling like intestines on to the floor, attached to a series of hand cranks. Henry began tinkering and explaining as he did so. ” I worked with a few men, good men, none of them dreamers. I felt I had something of a connection with these beasts, I could feel when they were in tune, working, purring almost!” He chuckled to himself as he closed the housing, directing Dodgson to a pile of equipment he wished placed within the triangular formation. “One day” he said gravely “it felt very wrong, I had been calibrating the triplets and I had a sense of unease, thoughts popped into my mind, you know, memories of dreams I’d had as a child, they started to clarify, almost as though the energy shared by the triplets was focusing my thoughts – i felt almost assured that these memories, fantastical visions – were not dreams at all, but realities, glimpses. And in a moment of epiphany, i saw the world around me melt away, almost like someone blew out a candle. seconds later, I was there.”
Dodgson nodded knowingly. As a child he had suffered from a bad case of flu and in his fever dreams witnessed visions so frighteningly real, he had awoken to find his hands bloody, clutching some alien substance, rather like fur. In his 20′s his schooling had suffered as his flights of fancy and an obsession to comprehend this formative experience led him to electric shock treatment and opium. In a fit of hallucinogenics and euphoria, he had crossed over once more, glimpsing the hidden plane that hovered before all of us. In this moment, his abrupt vanishing witnessed by others learned in the art of metaphysics, he saw the truth of his madness.
He hypothesized that children had the ability to perceive more than our own reality, that imaginary friends were glimpses of other realms, an ever fluctuating frequency that slowly tuned to our reality as we grew older. But for some, this perception never waned. He even found some evidence that a particular mental disorder could be explained by the brains inability to distinguish realities and that madness was not madness at all, but over stimulation, a mind tormented with too many facets. He believed that fine tuning these faculties could allow someone to literally cross over – it was the perception of these realms that made it possible. All it needed was a nudge.
Henry held a hefty lever in his hand, they were both coiled with copper wire and both brandished heavy bags of supplies and equipment. Henry looked at Charles and whispered. “Think of that grinning bastard, think of his face, think of gaseous clouds, the wretched hues, the cackling faces. This is our destination, think Charles, Think!” he pulled the switch, and in a flurry of sparks, the void opened, and they vanished.
They awoke to find themselves in a gravity well, their bodies seemingly crushed by their own weight. They dragged their great bags of rations and made for a tree line, both vomiting as they walked. It seemed to abate as they kept moving, and soon they found sanctuary away from their entry point. They rested for a while, saying very little, only uttering barely audible explanations for their malady. “The triplets, they bend space, I hazard a guess that what we accomplished has a rather profound effect on gravity!”
They collected themselves and looked out on to the ever shifting landscape before them, a plethora of fluctuating waves of sickly colour – greyish purples and yellows, jaundiced and malformed, mountains misshapen and curiously ordered, as though drawn by a child. They scrawled a map, avoiding similarly bizarre gravitational distortions, visible almost like air on a hot day. They made for the gnarled forest before them, cataloging species as they did so. It was soon apparent that the nature of this place was entirely alien, stripped of any logic. Despite his theological perspective, Dodgson was a clever man, and found species that appeared influenced not by selection but by thought, an idea galvanised soon by the appearance of a huge anthropomorphic rabbit.
The hulking figure had been tracking them for hours, until it approached them, with little regard for stealth. ‘Newcomers I assume’Its said, its hunched back and ragged clothes almost threatening despite its lapine similarities. It introduced itself as White. “This is a harsh place, and I am assuming you do not know the rules.”
“There are rules?” exclaimed Henry. White ushered them to a clearing where he sat, uncomfortably. “I have been here for 100 years, I believe. I used to count but it seems pointless. I was once human, like you, a penny pincher down Thames way. I suffered these head aches as a kid, and they got worse as I got older, until one day I passed out and woke up here. Thought I had died. I sadly hadn’t. This place, its alive..the place itself is alive. The folk here, they were all human once. all of them. The sentinels, the cats, maybe not the Jabbers, but all of em, once were human, some maybe thousands of years old. No one dies here. Animals, some animals breed, some don’t, some get eaten, some don’t. We just exist here. But whats worse, is that – thought, mere thought changes you. I thought I was going mad so I tried to concentrate on the few good things I had when I was back at home. I had a rabbit, a white rabbit. I used to fall asleep here and dream about that fucking rabbit. I had no mirror, no way of knowing until my skin began to change, shed, fall off. I became what I dreamed. Now i’m this. funny really. But i’m nothing. People here, they are all insane, bloody insane. You should see what they become – that is frightening. But the worst thing is that they loose all of their marbles, they are all weak- that weakness allows them to be manipulated by the only other strong willed mind here – her majesty, the bastard Red Queen.
They were taken from the clearing and walked to the top of a ridge. It was a clear view across the fluctuating landscape, hundreds of miles of nauseating blacks and reds. In the distance, reality seemed pulled taught, rippling to an apex, a structure of rock, the palace of the red queen. “Thats her haunt, surrounding her are the breeding grounds of the Jabberwock. Beware the jabberwock my friends, teeth like cut throat razors. taste fucking great though, if you can kill ‘em. That and the cat guards are always in the forest, their skin is something special, can camouflage at will..all you see is their pearly whites. I tend to punch them in the face. Got ugly faces those bastards. But so it goes. The queen knows when strong minds are here. She will know you are here. So, take heed. If you can get out, do it. I can’t come, I’d be cut up and sold in the chinese quarter. But take her out, and you have free reign here. Maybe rule this place. Or better yet, let me. But if all you want is to explore. Do it quietly, help people where you can, and then leave. Leave before she sees you.”
They took the advice and collected what they needed, A close encounter with a Jabberwock brood, gave them a stillborn infant, a cat guard, curiously vicious,wide-mouthed creatures with Cheshire grins stalked them for days as they wound through the sickly undergrowth, collecting insects resembling rocking horses and caterpillars feeding from hookah shaped flower buds. They trapped, skinned and ate one cat, keeping the head as a trophy, along with various other entities that Henry enjoyed naming. They soon carried a wealth of evidence and specimens back to the gravity well, where Henry placed his hand cranked coil. As the charge built. Henry looked at Charles. His eyes were clear.
“This place could be ours to rule.”
What they did is unknown, They both returned to England and Charles continued teaching. A great many of Dodgsons personal diaries are missing and many assumed that his questionable relationship with the real Alice, a child of the Liddell family upon which he based the protagonist of his books was the subject of these ledgers, although this is often assumed as myth. His life was secretive and plain to those beyond closed doors. What Charles Dodgson was in our reality is a quiet author, teacher and thinker.
Lewis Carroll however, is a different matter altogether.