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January eighteenth, 1892

Samuel Brooke applied a warm cloth to his wife’s forehead and checked the clock hanging from the wall; it was already 7 am. He shouldn’t have been awake for so long, but she just seemed to be unable to rest. She wasn’t quite sleeping. It was more of a trance as her brain lost the ability to stay active through all the torment its diseased body was going through.

When the cloth was put against her head, her breathing slowed and she seemed to react well, so he held it until she finally slept and then stepped back. He hurriedly washed the basin she had thrown up into repeatedly throughout the night and tossed the contents into the overgrown back garden. He was just on his way back when he heard the mail slat open, followed by a rustle of paper falling to the ground.

He frowned, cheated out of the sleep he desperately needed. At his desk in the corner of the small dining room, he opened the first envelope. The neat writing of the bank he had rented his house from was immediately recognisable; he skipped past all of the needless prattle about the company’s good intentions and got straight to the important part.

The seven month rental period for your house is almost over and you have failed to pay for a longer duration. The cost of rental must be paid in full within five months. If you are further unable to pay at or before the deadline you will be evicted.

Samuel looked around. The small abode was in obvious disrepair. The kitchen was home to a nest of mice, which still prospered despite his best efforts; the stinking bathroom was completely unusable; and the dining room had only held one person for the past year because his damned wife stayed in the bedroom and barely ever rose above complete catatonia.

His fist slammed the desk in frustration. It seemed outrageous to him that anyone should have to pay to live there when the rats in the roof lived more comfortably than they did. Samuel had gotten his first job at a government agency immediately out of college with a degree in theoretical physics. But he had gotten greedy, and his promising career was exchanged for being stranded with no job and a diseased wife.

Deciding that he had lost his lust for sleep, he decided to look through the others. A newsletter promoting some political candidate was discarded immediately, useful only as fuel for a fire. The next was equally dull, as was the next. The mundanity of the letters only hammered in the prospect of just how doomed he was.

“What are those letters?”

Samuel whipped around. His wife was standing in the hallway, leaned against a wall. Her hair was wispy and long, having lost its volume and colour long ago.

“It’s nothing, Penelope. Everything’s fine,”

She came and looked over his shoulder. “It’s not, is it? That’s a letter from the bank,”


“How long do we have left?”

“Five months. But I’ll make it better, I promise. I can try and get a job in a mine, or on the railroads. Anything that works,”

She nodded, already tired from leaving her bed.

He stood and helped her from the room and back into bed. He held her close. “I will fix this,”

She looked up at him. “I know you will, Samuel,”

He left the room, went to his desk and continued to sort through the letters, the occasional involuntary tear trickling down his cheek and splashing onto the paper. When he got to the bottom of the stack, he noticed something he hadn't seen before. It was a sheaf of official-looking papers enclosed in a transparent folder.

Samuel pulled them out. Some of the papers were wrinkled, but they were still easily legible. It took a few seconds, but then he recognised the three familiar arrows within the bulging circle.

The Foundation, the agency dedicated to the study of impossible items. While working there, Samuel had attempted to steal a variety of those items with the intent to sell them. Of course, he had been caught almost immediately and and they had retrieved every single item and research paper. Although, with these documents in front of him, it seemed that their search had possibly not been as exhaustive as they had thought. As he read the notes, Samuel's eyes widened. He knew this was his only chance.

Samuel was in a manic rush, as usual. One of the notes he had read concerned a powerful anomaly, a being that resided in a small pocket world and had the boon of unlimited power, although this ability was made obsolete by the chains it was bound in. The part that had interested him the most, however, was that the notes contained the approximate dimensional location of the entity. And Samuel planned to take full advantage of this information.

He had spent the last four months in the dank, poorly lit basement dedicating himself to researching reality distortions, which were his specialised field, and how they could be applied to facilitate the traversing of dimensions. He then coupled that with what little he knew of reality-affecting symbols and emerged with a complex glyph that would transport him to the rough location of the being and back.

At that moment, he had completed tracing the sigil on the floor of the basement. Every line was done with perfect precision and width.

Upon completion, Samuel retrieved a squirming baby mouse from a nearby box. His stomach churned and, deciding to get it over with, he twisted the head and the body away from each other. There was a pop and the wriggles subsided. He dropped the carcass into the square in disgust.

Samuel closed his eyes in the basement and opened them to redness. There hadn’t even been a noticeable change, but now the heat was beginning to rise. The world had a surface of red and orange pebbles and the sky was endless scarlet stretching into the horizon.

There was only one direction to go. A mountain rose up in the distance, its cap extending through the clouds.

Samuel walked for hours. There was sweat running down his entire body, and his spectacles fogged and had to be re-wiped every few minutes. He stopped every so often to rest and eat his meagre supplies.

Then he saw it. There was a lump in the distance, so pale in comparison to the red earth and sky that it seemed alien even among the alien landscape.

Samuel reached the shape and was taken aback. It was twice the size of a man, yet its white skin was so heavily marked with bruises and wounds both recent and old that it seemed fragile. The creature, who must surely be the entity Samuel was looking for, raised its head, heaved itself off of the ground, and sat cross-legged. The chains that bound its body to the ground clanked and screeched off of each other.

Its eyes, brilliant orbs of deep purple with an amber iris, lazily drifted and landed on Samuel. At this moment, Samuel realised that he never actually considered what he would ask the god. Would he ask for money? Power?

In the end, he didn’t have to ask. The thing spoke to him in a velvet voice, one that seemed bizarre coming from its gargantuan form.
“You are a human,” it said, not quite asking a question, not quite making a statement. “I have not seen another living person for a long time. Who are you?”
Samuel calmed his nerves as best he could. “I am Doctor Samuel Brooke,” he said, stammering slightly, “I-I have worked so hard to come here."
“You have come to find Prometheus and you have succeeded. That is no small feat. I assume you have come seeking something?”

Samuel thought quickly and decided upon the thing that would give him the most immediate satisfaction: money.
“I have come seeking wealth. Enough that I may pay my debts and live comfortably for the rest of my life.”
“That can easily be arranged. But first, you must undo these chains and-”
“Wait, How did you get into those chains in the first place?”
Prometheus sighed and spoke: “I loved humanity. It was my wish that they could enjoy the power the Gods were endowed with from birth. One night, I stole into the Gods’ repository and took many things. I took the power to think and innovate, I took weapons that could end conflicts in seconds, I even took the nectar of the gods, which would make any mortal man into a being of equal power.” Prometheus shook his head solemnly.

“The Gods woke, and I was caught while fleeing their fortress. I was only able to throw three things down to mankind. Fire, inventiveness and thought.”
He then spoke of how he was chained to the ground and tormented each day by the Gods whose pets he had given free will. Samuel felt anger at this part, although a part of him whispered that this was the Titan’s anger and not his.

Prometheus preached for hours of technologies far beyond anything any mortal man could conceive. Crafts that could reach beyond the moon, power sources that would never wane and even ways to snap time itself into place. However, Samuel was utterly captivated and was only listening to the beautiful tones of the voice, not what they were saying. At that moment he would follow Prometheus to the end of the earth.

They had talked for a long while when a distant screech came from the mountain as the sun dipped behind it. Prometheus winced and a panicked look entered his face. He spoke a few words and extended his hand. Samuel reached to shake it and as he took it he suddenly realised he had no idea what he was agreeing to. He felt the world go cold and the Titan’s smile, once inviting and warm, now was a grinning mess of broken teeth and burst lips.

Prometheus opened his eyes. He saw darkness, then he saw light, then his eyes focused and showed him a dark room. He was sitting in what he instantly recognised as a primitive trans-dimensional gateway. Behind him there was a flight of narrow stairs leading up to a door, which opened to the rank smell of rotting meat. He wrinkled his nose and made his way out the front door.

He strode through the street, passing shops and houses and admiring the warm, yellow sun. One of the shop windows held the date, July fifteenth.

Prometheus grinned. He had big plans. But first, he needed a lab.

Far far away, deep deep down, in a red, burning world, Samuel Brooke screamed as eagles tore him to pieces.