From: XXXXX XXX
Sent: 29 October 16:06
To: XXX XXXX
Hi XXX XXXX ,
It’s XXXXX XXX here from your Department office. I haven’t been able to locate your attendance on either of the registers for your seminars on Thursday and Friday last week. As you know, official notice must be given for absences. Is there some reason you were unable to attend? You may come and speak to me in the department building any times between 09:00 and 17:00 on weekdays.
From: XXX XXXX
Sent: 01 November 03:47
To: XXXXX XXX
Subject: Re: Seminars
Sorry, I wasn’t able to attend last week. Though my attendance had been slipping of late, on that cold October morning, I’d raised myself from bed to shave and shower early to attend my seminars. That time of day is one of the best, the air unspoiled by fume-spewing traffic known as the commute to work undertaken by office workers, manual labourers and all others who need to be in the city at such an early hour. As I had so much time before my seminar, being up so early on that cold October morning, I decided to take the longer route, the one less taken to the university campus—whether longer or not I do not know, the campus is large, the object of debate as to which route is faster, depending on where one wishes to be. Without having timed the distance there and back, I usually took the route of my fellow students.
The route I chose to take on that cold October morning was chosen to avoid the majority of the fume-spewing traffic known as the commute to work. Instead, I followed a one-way street between a long, thin park functioning as a buffer zone between the aforementioned road and a row of houses built in a neo-fascist style. The houses echo aesthetics of post-WWII Nazi occupied Europe as might be imagined in some work of alternate-history fiction; the trees of the long, thin park coating the pavement with leaves, and various child-minders treading the ground, emerging from the houses built in the neo-fascist style, handling all manner of push-chairs, harnesses and other such contraptions.
Upon that road between the buffer of the long, thin park and the houses built in a neo-fascist style, my eye fell on a strange object in the gutter, the size of a child’s beach-ball, but rather than spherical, the shape would be best described as that of a horn torus. As, on that cold October morning, I had so much time before my seminar, I stopped to examine this strange object, crossing the road to see it from a closer vantage point, when by chance or fate a car speeding the wrong way down the aforementioned one-way street (between the long, thin park and the row of houses) forced me to jump out of its way, landing on the horn torus. To my surprise, I did not land on the object proper but found myself falling in. All at once there was a loud, rushing sound in my ears and a searing pain above my right ocular orbit, and as I looked about, I continued to fall into what seemed to be infinite space. Falling faster into the horn torus, I found myself approaching a cloud of tiny clusters of light; super-clusters of galaxies, stars. As the searing pain above my right ocular orbit lessened, I understood that I was falling into a miniature horn torus replica universe of our own. I continued to fall into the miniature universe for years of subjective time, travelling at well beyond the natural physical speed of light. After who knows how long—for I had no way of measuring time— within the miniature horn torus replica universe, I spied the replica galaxy analogous to our own Milky Way, speeding past nebulae, stars, and globular clusters. It seemed my vector was carrying me to the direct equivalent of where I had fallen from.
My travelling vector within the miniature replica horn torus universe was so precise that as I fell from the sky, I noticed only too late that within the miniature universe there was another identical horn torus universe on the other side of the road. The searing pain above my right ocular orbit returned as I bridged the gap and began an intergalactic free-fall for a second time. After subjective millennia of time, I finally began my approach to the third Earth and the third miniature replica horn torus universe. This time I was prepared and managed to roll out of the way just in time to prevent myself falling through yet another. Having stalled my descent, I turned about face and began my ascent to the original universe, our universe, from which I had begun. It seemed to me that each miniature replica horn torus had nested within it another miniature, much in the manner of Russian Matryoshka dolls. I was so preoccupied with my ascent out of the nested universes, I overshot our own and found myself in a larger, outer horn torus. This was, however, to my advantage as when I was inside the horn torus universes of our own, time passed at an exponentially faster speed, and by overshooting into the replica horn torus universe above, my subjective experiential time had brought me back to the cold October morning on which I had begun.
At this point, on that cold October morning, as the searing pain above my right ocular orbit throbbed, standing between the buffer of the long, thin park and the houses built in a neo-fascist style, I had a realisation. The miniature horn torus replica universes were not separate, identical replicas nested within one another. The horrifying truth was that they were all one and the same, a Matryoshka doll both inside and encapsulating itself; the horn torus rotating through the nth dimension.
Attempting to discover if any others on the internet had stumbled across this horrifying truth, I found a series of videos on YouTube purporting to be state produced North-Korean propaganda. A closer examination revealed the majority of clips to be grainy footage from a variety of eras, of vaguely oriental looking soldiers on exercises set to militaristic, ominous and heavy-metal backing tracks. In many parts, what are clearly CGI flying saucers or computer generated concepts for impossible or implausible automated weapon systems are superimposed onto the background, and the videos themselves spliced with blurry home footage of a young blonde Caucasian woman wearing make-up that seems intentionally suggestive of Eastern Asian epicanthic folds. The owner of the account habitually uploads new videos and insults any commentators who question the veracity of the videos or the supremacy of North Korea, in badly broken English and nonsensical Korean characters.
From: XXXXX XXX
Sent: 03 November 09:17
To: XXX XXXX
Subject: Re: Seminars
Hi XXX XXXX ,
I will be in the office all of today, please come and see me at the earliest opportunity.
About the Author
A. S. Arthur put her biography in an email but it was eaten by the dog.
by Beth Maiden