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The window from my hotel room casts a broad and sprawling view of the rest of the city. It is storming outside, flashes of lightning illuminating many a distant airliner in the downcast sky. Rain patters against the glass and drips downward, distorting the cars and stop lights below, turning it all into a mess of colors and blurbs as though it were the used paint palette of some disturbed artist. It is a perfect night for what I am about to do, which I hope will produce something just as chaotic and beautiful.

I move away from the picturesque scenery and over to what used to be the bathroom sink, parts torn out and now converted into something far more purposeful than before— a makeshift workshop of sorts, tamed and tailored to suit my goals. Though it is all very rudimentary and amateur, the setting does serve its purpose as a practical means to an end. The machine which sits atop the shattered ceramic acts as a power switch, a pure source of raw electricity strong enough to obliterate a man if he does not know what to do with it. Fortunately for me, I have domesticated the capabilities of the switch and harnessed them for myself, directing all of its potential over to main priority. I turn the rubber handle of the machine upwards, and listen intently as it hums to life and begins to divert all of its energy for what I hope is the final time. I then motion over to the priority device in question— an oversized television huddled in the corner of what was once intended to be the bedroom.

It is the most powerful and high-end piece of machinery that I could afford, though I am still uncertain as to whether or not it will be able to withstand the combined wattage of the entire city block. I've never used this much power in one test before, but I've never used technology as advanced as what I have now. They should even each other out— or so the math seems to say. But there's still one anomalous factor at the heart of this that I need to consider, and I can't avoid the fact that I have no idea as to how it will respond.

The twelve-thousand dollar television, the remains of any savings I still had from my past life, flickers on in one instantaneous moment. Connected to it is a brand-new rental DVD player— the burned out husks of four others just like it sit piled in an alleyway not too far from here. But this one has to be different, I can feel it in my gut as I slide a small, unnamed disk— the anomalous factor— out of my coat pocket and proceed to insert it into the player.

God knows how many past fires this has started amidst the minds of other individuals such as myself. God knows how many hands this small, innocuous silver sliver had passed through before it ended up in my own. God knows how this is all going to end.

I push it into the receiving end of the rectangular black box and push the play button as I hear it all click into place internally.

The TV lights up in a grand display of strange, purple static— the same static that engulfed the screens of all previous tests. The same static which appeared before each prior television erupted into flames, almost burning down my workshop and my accompanying ambition every single time. Though I consider pulling the plug and stopping the inevitable, I prevent myself from doing so. If this test does not succeed, if the mysterious disk does not reveal its secrets to me this time, then I will never have a chance to learn them again. It's all or nothing this time around.

But as the static continues, I am greeted by a most wonderful realization: That this television, and this power output, is more than strong enough to display the unknown mysteries of the disk which have haunted me since at first I tried to understand them. And from there, the static evolves and the rectangular object that was once a device for recreation turns into something far more purposeful. My escapades in this uncharted scientific field, my daring attempts and experiments— they will all be rewarded now. The electro-god is beckoning out to me from beyond the veil, and I can think of only one way to respond the call.

Stepping into the hotel room and taking in the view that awaits, you are overwhelmed by a strong and ever-present odor which almost forces you out of the building and back onto the streets that lie four stories below your feet. But, strengthening your resolve and pushing through the unpleasant smell of burnt circuitry and wiring, you decide to move forward with the investigation and assess the scene that sits ahead of you.

What you know is this: Last night, this entire building had lost all of its power in a sudden surge of unexplained energy, knocking every tenant off of the grid in a matter of moments. Although the local maintenance was quick to blame the blackout on nothing more than bad weather and faulty transformers, folks grew a bit more curious after the realization that the building had taken almost no damage during the storm…

…Save for one room nestled in the corner of the fourth floor. Your current location of intrigue.

Nobody in the neighborhood knew the guy who resided within it, even though he had been lodging there for almost three months. Those three months had apparently been an isolative time for him, although more information makes it exceedingly unclear as to why. Before arriving at the hotel, he had moved to New York in pursuit of some prestigious college in which he would've apparently been right at home— he was a real egghead, with a background check resulting in nothing but good grades and little in the way of trouble. So he clearly wasn't an arsonist, that was for sure…

But looking at your present settings, you'd think otherwise. The room had somehow erupted into flames before being silenced by the fire suppression systems nestled inside of it. Still, the damage was extensive and the property owners simply had to know what caused it— but there was no tenant to explain the accident to them. The kid was gone. Not buried amidst the rubble in the room, not standing outside with his hands in his pockets ready to turn himself in to the first responders, just gone. It appeared to be the ultimate Irish goodbye— not even the security cameras in the outside hallways had caught his departure.

From the right of your entrance lies the first immediately apparent clue of the puzzle: Though it is tarred in soot and almost unrecognizable to your weary eyes, there seems to be the remains of some kind of generator where the bathroom 'ought to be. It's all hooked up to the electrical systems, loose cords puncturing straight through what was once the light fixture and penetrating the internal grids above it. While you fail to make much sense of the science at display here— especially given how amateur and dilapidated most of it is— you do get the sense of some real talent on display. It makes you wonder why the suspect would've skipped out on his quaint college classes, why he would've devoted his time to hacking away at furniture and making little Frankenstein's out of their remains. The abandonment of it all unnerves you a little bit— it's obvious that there's something unhinged at the core of this case which your imagination could indulge in a little too much for your liking.

Past the bathroom and into the cramped living space, a stream of wires lead from the impromptu generator and into the entrance of the bedroom. Alongside said wiring sits small copper conductors, no doubt still hot from the fires that they'd just been drenched in. Everything in the area seems to act as an arrow pointing you to the main scene of the crime on display, and you've no other option but to enter it now.

As you duck through the doorframe of the bedroom, one hand still pinching your nose and the other bracing against the burned walls of the building, you gaze in what almost feels like disappointment at the arrangement that awaits you. Your dissatisfaction is not due to the craftsmanship at display, but rather the lack of it that remains. This must've been the starting point of the fire, as whatever was here is not anymore. All that you can properly make out amidst the ash and melted plastic is what might've been a television, and what might've been some kind of CD player or speaker. It's especially hard to tell with the latter— you pick up the melted box and twist it around in your hand in some fruitless attempt to make sense of the thing.

As you do so, a small silver disk slips out of it and lands upon the blackened carpet floor.

Sitting in the break room of the precinct and surrounded by your peers, you now feel a bit childish as you hold the little compact disk in your hands and prepare to play whatever the contents may be on the recreational television. Everyone around you is working on "real" cases— homicide, vice, and even traffic seems more important than the pretty squabbles of the arson division. But the way you see it, the disk has come this far and survived so much that it almost deserves to be played here today. That, and your curiosity really has gotten the better of you here.

Hands slightly quivering from anticipation, you insert the pearly instrument into place and hit play on the corresponding remote. The screen brightens up as though it were about to display, but then presents a bit of a dead end to you and your colleagues:

Disk either damaged or unauthorized. Please remove and inspect.

You don't have to turn your head to see the response from the rest of the room. The combination of hushed sighs and the shuffling of chairs is enough to tell you that most everyone has left the vicinity in light of the anticlimactic news. For a little while you simply sit there with your remote in hand, failing to summon up the courage to admit defeat and move on from the mystery. But as time passes and little changes, you begin to fumble for the power symbol—

—As you prepare to shut the television off, however, the message evaporates from your view in a jarring screen-tear effect and is replaced by a strange and almost hallucinatory show of garbed light. The pixels that compose the device blare to life with a new pattern of wavy, shifting static that is tinted in an odd purplish hue which screams "otherworldly" to your deepest of senses. But in the background of the many moving and indecipherable shapes, something else takes form with it. Though it is innocuous at first, it becomes almost impossible to ignore in a matter of moments: Amidst the static glow sits a creature in the form of a humanoid, though totally alien in stature and proportion. But when you lean in, both entranced by the imagery that presents itself to you and intrigued by the being within it, your captivation is cut short as the screen shuts off and the glass which composes it shatters into a million jagged pieces.

Stumbling backward from the small explosion, you look up in a frenzied awe as the room is filled with vibrant electricity, coiling out from the television and striking the walls, starting small fires and leaving behind stained blotches which mark their absence. The outlet in which it is plugged into has a similar response, lighting up in a blaze of sparks moments after the detonation. The others quickly fill into room again, carrying extinguishers and guiding you away from the threat at hand.

When you flee to the adjacent corridor, you glance behind yourself and take another look at the disaster which just faced you. It's mostly under control now, with only a few embers remaining on some smoldering plastic chairs. But there is one detail that you catch which will stick in your mind forever, setting alight a new fire in your conscious that may never go extinguished:

The flames are shaded in a dark violet color, unlike any you have seen before.


A frightening storm rages outside of the precinct walls, one not too dissimilar to the weather that had arrived all those weeks ago to foreshadow the beginning of this continuously complex investigation. Though much has changed since then, you still lack even an inkling of knowledge as to how the disk works— the tests from forensics indicate that it is seemingly normal, but you and your associates know better given the prior tantrum it had thrown.

The biggest change since then has been the funding. It appears that someone in the higher ups has taken a similar interest in this case, as the arson division was granted a significantly larger sum of savings to play with than they'd normally ever need. There was only one logical explanation you could come to when you saw the bonus the team had been given: They want this disk to be analyzed, and this investigation put to bed once and for all. It seemed only natural to oblige.

It turned out that the kid had indeed used his own television to conjure the same fires which you had faced all those months ago— only he didn't use any ordinary break room box. That melted blob you saw was apparently his entire college fund, thrown away in an instant in service of something you can't quite yet comprehend. Once again, his apparent recklessness rears its ugly head and ignites your disturbed imagination. What is the endgame here? How does the disk play into all of this, the obsession and the fire and the disappearance?

You figured that the only way to answer such questions was to follow the kids lead, and so that extra funding had gone into a nice new replacement TV for the break room— only this one was state-of-the-art in its capabilities. The power source he'd used turned out to be the easiest to replicate, as there were swaths of used generators sitting in the basement of the station for any old joe to mess with as he pleased. Routing it over to the television for the first time, you aren't entirely sure if the internals will be able to survive the surge that the generator will provide— but it isn't your money to lose anyways. That, and the explosion from the previous play of the disk had encouraged the fire department to install some new systems into the aging cop shop. So if it all does go wrong again, the damage shouldn't prove to be too extensive… Hopefully.

Flicking the switch of the generator and watching as the wall-mounted television responds, you see the screen glow alive as it connects to the Blu-ray player that sits down by your feet. With a secure connection and all systems go, there seems to be only one next step for you to take.

The disk slides into place. At first, nothing. And then, the same sparks and static and violet and flame which you had met prior— the same destruction and furious belligerence propelled by a grey saucer which simply refuses to give up its machinations. Though you reach to pull the red-tinted alarm to your right in response, you are cut short as the flames instantly die out and the analog snow of the display rips in half, revealing a hole in the center of the wall where once a television was drilled into, now a gateway made by something else to lead somewhere else far, far away and far, far beyond your feeble human comprehension.

As the lavender noise parts and reveals the true purpose of the disk— itself a key, and the instrument you inserted it in being doorway— you begin to feel light headed. It is not the current moment which perturbs your spirit, but rather the realization that you had been playing this apparently extra-dimensional chess game since you first stepped into the burned-out husk of that obsessive apartment. From the moment you were assigned this case, you had no choice but to step into the TV— to enter the gateway— and arrive in the lands beyond.


There exists a border world between that of flesh and circuitry, a binding link which very few have heard of and even fewer have seen in-person. It is a harsh, calculated place that begets a purple fire which will grow endlessly. Should said flame ever manage to die out, the many artificial elements of the human plane may die alongside it.

It is here where I had arrived through my own man-made gateway, only to be warped and transmogrified by the powers that be. My skin has been made clear and translucent, revealing veins that are no longer fueled by blood but rather by currents of liquid energy. The eyes which reside in my melted skull are glazed and crystalline in form, refracting my vision much to my own bother. It also seems that my mind has degraded alongside my body, as copious emotions and feelings of my human past have become alien in the light of my present horror.

You have just entered this cursed place as well, a newer arrival to a landscape of riveting power surges and swaths of never-ending cyclones. As I see you from across the sprawling lavender field in which we both stand in, I can only wonder what must be running through your mind at this point. I cannot even remember my own first impressions— my memory is far too faded to hold onto such fleeting moments anymore. But when you gaze up at the downcast skies above— that horrible mutation of weather so angry and full that it should rain long enough to be considered immortal— I then know for a certainty what you have noticed.

In the center of the cloudy formation sits an immeasurable creature formed from the jagged lines of both wireframe and lightning. It looks down on the ground far below it in such a way that you can instantly recognize it as the god of this place, a great yet almost incomprehensible Thunderbird which must rule simply through power and omnipotence alone. As it glides through the persistent lilac hurricanes and effortlessly eclipses the light above the two of us, I can see you question whether it even acknowledges the likes of mortal men at all, or if you are nothing but a mere spec in the vast infinity of its oceanic perception. Though I wish I could tell you that it did see us, that it is a benevolent and well-meaning deity, we all know that is not the truth. It is the manifestation of the forces of weather and energy, and its only personality serves to encapsulate the cruelty and indifference of both subjects.

Looking down from the distant brume and over to me, an indescribable expression takes over your face. As I move to comfort you and reach for your hand, I look at my own only to see that my fingers have faded away from what little remains of my corporeal body. It then becomes clear that we are not long for this world, as our limited forms had never been built to withstand it. I would cry a great many tears now, if only I were still able to.

The inner workings of these fierce phenomena are nothing more than a mystery to men like us— brutal, malevolent things that at all turns prove impossible to predict and even harder to tame. If one may require any evidence for these assertions, they could always seek out an ancient silver key which would thusly lead them down a path they will never recover from.

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