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Across The Threshold by Jack Bode
Chapter 32

Completely bewildered I stood in the vestibule of my apartment building. I had to sit on the window sill for a while before I felt strong enough to go upstairs. I was thankful that the lobby and the elevator were empty.

My legs were like rubber when I unlocked the door of my apart­ment. I slipped inside. For some considerable time I rested on one of the kitchen chairs, trying to come to terms with events. I had spent two long years on Perlos. How much time had elapsed here? Now curious, I turned on the radio.

“.... on this Saturday, the 18th of October,” I heard the announcer say. “It seems that summer is attempting a comeback ...” I switched the radio off again.

I did not go to see the superintendent of the apartment building in the neighboring town that afternoon. Instead I called him. I told him that I would take the apartment, sight unseen. The rent he quoted me seemed low. Four weeks later I moved.

I am convinced now that by some fluke, while crossing the thresh­old of the door of the vestibule, I somehow stepped onto a different time track. The experiences were real enough. And I have all the proof I need.

A day or so before it is going to rain I can feel it in my right ankle. It is at least as good an indicator as any weather forecast you hear on the radio. It is the legacy of Inverness somewhere out there, and it often reminds me of the small ASV vessel and some future war not yet fought on my time line.

And there is the missing tip of my left middle finger. I lost it in Narvik in northern Norway in a war fought long before I could have taken part in a military action. Like in the Inverness experience Petra Baird was there. She had a different background, wore different clothes and had a different profession. But she was the same girl.

And Perlos? It seemed the most tangible experience, the most vivid, perhaps because it was the most recent and lasted the longest. And it, too, was no dream. To this day I have a long scar just below my left knee, exactly as the Petra Baird of that time had predicted.

Oh yes, the experiences were real enough. Would I want to relive them again? To that I answer with a most emphatic no! The tension and the stress I felt far outweighed the few good moments. If only I could meet Petra Baird under more pleasant circumstances. If I did I fear that I shall not return to the present again. Not ever.

It is winter now. I still often think of Petra. Did she make it to Tremaine? And was Colonel Flanders’ prediction right? Did we win the war?

But the most deeply felt question is, will I ever see Petra again? And if so, under what circumstances? Somehow I doubt it. Sometimes I think that I should not have moved. I should have stayed in my apartment. Maybe some Saturday afternoon I could have stepped across the thresh­old of the door of the vestibule. Maybe I could have stepped into a future where Petra would be waiting for me, and where there were no wars and no enemies to fight.

Last week I took a walk, the first one, in my new neighborhood. It turned out to be quite a shock.

One block to the east of where I now live is the main street of the town. It runs north and south. Its name is Yonge Street.

And two blocks to the south of my new apartment building is the main east-west road. Care to guess its name? It is Mackenzie Drive.

Is it an omen? A portent?

Who can tell!

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