The Infinity Hallway - By Rosy

   On a day full of magic, in the year of surcease, or so it was hoped, we embarked on the adventure of the Infinity Hallway. There has always been that closed door, a door rarely mentioned or admitted, never even really seen though it's always been there. Just there, just so. Beyond perception and beyond thought, hidden in obscure disbelief. This then is the door whose secrets we set forth to unlock.   

   I knew I'd find it on the first page, probably mentioned in the first paragraph, but more likely to be in the second, and that was just where it appeared. In all its inane posturing, there it was, {The Door} the very door itself. I called my team. 

   I'm Captain Rosy and my team is the A Team! Gosh. Well, I just always wanted to say that. I mean it sounds really cool, right? But in actuality we're adventurers from the All Vehicle Rivitir so we're probably Rivinauts, or maybe Riviteers. Anyway I took the A from All Vehicle and I thought A Team, you know? But my crew wears the title unenthusiastically, claiming it has connotations to an old, cheesy television program where escaped criminals foil nefarious scams. 

   So, for now, they're just the crew again. The crew then are Rover, navigator and my second in command, Brak, our pilot and Jant who runs the radio and other electronic stuff. Brak and Jant are twins who grew up in the Heroes Я Us Collective and are professional, and quite probably fully licensed, heroes. 

   Having discovered {The Door}, we were poised for adventure, ready to face the unknown. We knew the Infinity Hallway was behind {The Door} and we were determined to explore its secrets. We just had to get past {The Door}. 

   First, I blasted it with my ray gun, then Rover tried the knob. Brak battered it with his indomitable hero shoulders and Jant administered advanced karate moves, all to no avail. {The Door} stood firm, plain and plainly unmoving. We tried everything we could think of until finally, in desperation, Jant cried out, “Door! Please let us by!” {The Door} opened. Before us stretched the Infinity Hallway. 

   We stood unmoving and stared, silently pondering this endless passage. The Hallway is wide, about three meters and perhaps three and a half tall in the center, because the ceiling is curved making it seem more like a tunnel than a hallway. It is all a featureless brown, seemingly forever. We have provisions for a few months and about a week's worth of water. 

   Brak looked at me and I nodded the okay. With Brak and Jant in the lead we embarked. Rover and I stayed close behind. We have packed flashlights and torches but it appears we won't need them as the Hallway is diffusely lit. We are unable to discern the source of this light, which is not very bright, keeping us in a sort of perpetual dusk. 

   After about an hour and a half of steady travel I was about to call for a break when I noticed the hall was darker ahead of us. We proceeded slowly, cautiously, to investigate this darker area. When we got there it lit up showing a large room with couches and tables. There was even a stove and a sink with running water. We spent about an hour or so there. Everything was so nice I was hesitant to leave. We may never find another spot as nice, but we needed to move on. We had adventuring to do.  

   As we walked on, I was thinking about the location of the Hallway. Today we accessed it by using {The Door} that was hidden in the second paragraph. Years ago Lillow accessed the Hallway by nearly being dead in the cosmic ocean and finding a giant turnip sticking up out of it with a doorway and steps leading down to the Hallway. She followed it back to the Darnalong stump and the lobby, seemingly where the Hallway ends. At least that time. Anyway the lobby's door is in the stump behind the Golly Orchard where the Darnalong's lived, giving easy access to the meadow. But then I thought, what if she'd gone the other way?  

   “She'd probably still end up in the meadow,” Rover stated. 

   “Wait, what?” I sputtered. “How'd you know what I was . . .” 

   “You mean like a big loop?” Brak asked. 

   “Yeah,” Rover agreed. “It'd be like a loop. A circular loop in the Infinity Hallway to accommodate a particular need.” 

   “So it's like the Hallway responds to thoughts?” Jant asked. 

   “More to needs, I think,” Rover replied. “I mean, it's sort of like a deep emotional need that's maybe stronger than just thoughts, so it gets heard better.” 

   “Makes sense,” Jant said with a dreamy smile. “We shape the Hallway according to our emotions.” 

   “Strong emotions,” Rover stated. 

   We walked in silence for a while. I was somewhat bemused because it was like they'd heard my thoughts. Suddenly I began to feel a little claustrophobic. Was the Hallway deep underground? I glanced at the ceiling. Soon we could see what appeared to be sunlight ahead. I hurried, feeling a sense of relief at the sight. We emerged into a broad grassy bowl surrounded by forest. It was so beautiful, so idyllic that it took my breath away. There was a fine little river flowing by and several rock lined pools of hot, warm then cool water from a hot spring mixing with the river. We were soon luxuriating in the pools, having walked all day. 

   After a good soak we set up camp on the edge of the grassy bowl, near the Hallway, which was the nicest spot by far to camp in. There was lots of dry wood around and we had a roaring campfire as the sun set. I didn't recognize any of the star patterns but the night sky was glorious. Curiously this place seems to have two moons, neither like the earth's moon. After a hot supper we spread our blankets and stretched out, watching the stars in that strange sky. 

   Morning arrived, her golden strands embracing us, pulling us awake. We all awoke at pretty much the same time feeling quite rested. Again I was loathe to leave this spot. It was so perfect that we were almost giddy. But one last dip in the ponds and we must be on our way. The entrance to the Hallway was quite apparent on the far side, being exactly like the one we'd left yesterday, behind us. We had merely to trek across the grassy bowl. 

   Brak took the lead with me behind, then Jant, then Rover. We went single file as a narrow trail had appeared just after we started. I was surprised I hadn't noticed it before because it crossed the river a short ways down from the hot springs. There were well placed steppingstones so we didn't get our feet wet in the crossing. Then we hiked up the other side of the grassy bowl and we were there. Before entering we stopped and took a long look back at the big grassy bowl and our campsite on the other side, next to the river. 

   Wow. What a place. I wondered if we'd keep finding wonderful places and things as we continued, then I wondered why we'd had so much good fortune this far. It's been like a luxury vacation, a walking vacation with more successes than we'd ever dreamed of, but not a drop of the danger or suspense we'd imagined we'd need to face. 

   This time I took the lead as we continued down the very familiar Hallway, although there was plenty of room across. Brak and Jant lingered, admiring the lush and mysterious grassy bowl then turned and caught up with Rover who was following me from a couple meters behind. They seemed uneasy about leaving the grassy bowl and I understood completely, because I felt it too. But we soldiered on, keeping to the plan of exploring as far as we could down the Infinity Hallway before having to turn back. 

   Every time we needed a break a rest area would appear. When we walked the way was easy. Evenings we'd arrive at comfortable accommodations, sometimes beautiful campsites on strange worlds, sometimes luxurious rooms with comfortable beds or cozy little cabins. Clean linen. Everything was so perfect my suspicion's grew. I mean this doesn't happen in real life, this incessant good fortune, these constantly comfortable settings, maybe once in a while but not like this. Normally some blah or even bad things happen every so often.  

   “Yeah, I been thinking that too,” Rover muttered.  

   “Feels almost like walking into some sort of trap,” Brak remarked. 

   I could only gape. How'd they know what I was thinking? I stopped and they stopped too, the four of us forming a circle facing each other. 

   “I can't believe you all are hearing my thoughts,” I stated. 

   Rover shrugged, “Yeah, well we can. Thing is, whatya think we should do?” 

   “We can't really stop, can we?” Jant stated. “I mean it’s either forward or back.” She glanced uncertainly back from where we'd come. 

   “Forward, I say,” Brak threw in, “I mean it's the only way we'll find out what's going on.” 

   “If we can find out,” Rover said, looking at the Hallway ahead of us. 

   “What do you mean?” Jant asked. 

   “I don't know,” Rover replied with a worried look. “Just a feeling, I guess.” 

   Still somewhat bemused I asked, “So, forward?”   

   “Yeah,” Rover answered. 

   Brak and Jant took off down the hall with Rover and me following. It wasn't long before our worst fears began to be realized. As we walked something took hold of our backpacks, all at the same time, and lifted us up almost to the ceiling. We dangled there for a while before we finally wiggled out and let the packs go. As soon as we hit the floor the packs disappeared, leaving us with nothing but the clothes we were wearing. We were stranded deep inside the Infinity Hallway. 

   “We can't go forward with our expectations being so low,” I told them. 

   “It's like we get what we expect,” Jant said. 

   “Exactly,” I agreed. “We started with high hopes and lots of good fortune, a lovely trek that was only dashed when we became suspicious.” 

   “So whadda we do?” Rover asked. 

   “Happy thoughts?” Jant suggested. No one responded to this and I could tell they were skeptical. I was. 

   “So where did we hope the Hallway would take us?” I asked.               

    “To answers,” Brak said. 

   “To the source of the answers, to the source,” Jant said quietly. 

   “To the source,” I echoed. 

   We began walking again, this time in a decidedly different frame of mind. Somehow, I was not surprised when we rounded a corner and there stood the AV Rivitir, our home. Ellim, our service bot, was waiting with hot tea and biscuits and Zingellawabix was humming softly on the mantle. I looked around, smiling. “Gosh Dorothy!” I gushed, feeling like other heroines who came home to deeper understandings. “We are and always have been the source, with all the answers within because we are the Infinity Hallway.” I posed heroically. 

   “Huh? Who's Dorothy?” Rover asked.             

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