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Into the monkey’s mouth

The monkey pulled on his jaws and dislocated his mouth.

“In you go,” he said, although it was hard to understand now that his jaw didn’t move up and down.

The humanoid, no taller than a typical vase, stepped onto the tongue in the monkey’s mouth and threw a grappling hook down the monkey’s throat.

“Okay, off I go,” the humanoid said.

As soon as he was down his throat, the monkey grabbed his jaw and pushed it back into place. That’s going to be a little sore.

The humanoid, dressed in a spacesuit, lowered himself into the blue forcefield that intersected the monkey’s throat and disappeared through it.

The humanoid’s feet appeared in its new reality. Though there was still an up and down, a left and right, and though the second hand on his analogue watch still ticked, there was now another direction ‘between’ up and left, and between up and right, and between down and left, and between down and right.

The humanoid’s brain started to ache like it had been awake too long.

Alright.

The humanoid yanked the spacesuit using a grip on his shoulder to make it more comfortable and started to walk in the normal ‘forward’ direction across a large black surface that shone more than made sense. In the far distance there was a black wall in each of the six normal directions, like he was in a giant black cube. But there was also a surface in each of the other two directions.

So this is a cube, but it’s got four dimensions, the humanoid thought.

Summoning courage, the humanoid walked towards one of the two not-up-not-down-not-forward-not-backward directions. As he did, his perspective changed in ways that made no sense. The ground that he had been walking on suddenly disappeared to be replaced by a different coloured one. In fact, it changed colour every time the humanoid raised or lowered his head even tiny amounts.

Interesting.

He walked for some time, experimenting with different ways of walking, and different combinations of directions – diagonally, for want of a better word.

The humanoid looked at his watch, to check how long they had been here, and how much oxygen he had left. The second hand was not moving. His heart skipped a beat. He looked over his shoulder to check the oxygen tank and saw that it had six sides, as before, but the two extra sides were missing, and the oxygen had all, presumably, escaped quite easily.

It’s lucky I can still breathe.

The humanoid looked back down at his watch. Still no movement. Maybe the kinetic mechanism has finally given up the ghost? The watch is pretty old, so I guess there’s a chance.

Absentmindedly, the humanoid started to wander back towards the forcefield and, as he did, he noticed that his second hand was moving as he moved. As though the not-left-not-right-not-forward-not-up-not-down direction was affecting time itself.

But I am moving. But isn’t how fast I am moving a product of distance and time?

The humanoid started to run.

The forcefield was not where he’d left it.

A panic set into his heart and he frantically tried to calm his heart and his brain. You have to use your brain deliberately – there’s no sense panicking.

He tried walking in a different direction, watching the floor change colour again, trying to find a black floor – the floor colour he’d seen when he first arrived.

Success!

As soon as the floor was black, the forcefield was visible again. But if the humanoid lifted his head a millimetre up or down the forcefield disappeared again.

The humanoid settled himself back into the place he’d come down from the forcefield and reached up towards the still-hanging rope, attached to the grappling hook. As he pulled himself up the rope, the forcefield disappeared again, but the rope was still visible, so he pulled himself up anyway, hoping that this was a problem of perception, not of physical existence or accessibility.

As his head came up inside the monkey’s throat, he breathed a sigh of relief.

Once out of the monkey’s throat, he removed his space helmet and immediately gasped for breath. It was like he was in a vacuum and there was no air to breathe.

Again, aware of the risk of panicking, he acted as though he were holding his breath, and thought.

The only thing that’s different is that I was just in a place with more dimensions.

That was a thought. And was it helpful? Out of the corner of his vision he saw the monkey replacing his jawbone again.

And now I am back where I am used to, with the same three dimensions that I have known all my life.

His lungs were straining now, his brain demanding he take a breath that he feared he couldn’t take.

Maybe my lungs don’t have sides in the dimension that I walked through and now they don’t have an inside.

That was a thought. But was it helpful?

His lungs gave up, and his muscles attempted to make him breath in the beautiful, odourless air that he had grown up breathing.

But nothing happened. And then panic really did take over. He grabbed himself around the midriff and tried to force air into his lungs with his arms.

No difference.

Then he spied his helmet and grabbed it and put it back on.

Sweet air.

Only prolonging the inevitable.

“What’s going on?” asked the monkey.

The humanoid looked at the monkey, rolled his eyes, and sat down.

“I can’t breath without my helmet on.”

“Huh.”

“Helpful, thanks.” The humanoid paused a beat. “But if I can’t breath without this suit, I am quickly going to die of starvation.”

“What if you go back in and see if there’s something about the hyperdimensionality that broke your three-dimensional lungs?”

The humanoid looked at the monkey. “It’s sweet that you think your simple ape brain can comprehend where I went, and what it all meant.”

The monkey shut its mouth firmly, wrinkling its lips, dramatically.

“I mean… well… what I meant was that, yes, that’s possibly the answer.”

The monkey’s eyes shone slightly as it found something amusing, but its lips remained firmly shut.

“Can you let me come back in and try what you suggested?”

The monkey looked at him with unrestrained glee in his eyes, but with a firm certainty in his mouth.

“Please?” the humanoid asked.

The monkey picked up the humanoid like he was a banana and raised him towards his mouth.

As the monkey raised the humanoid closer to his mouth, he used his other hand to rip off the humanoid’s spacesuit.

The monkey opened his mouth and put the humanoid in, whole. And then chewed enthusiastically.

Published inSpeculative

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