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Across The Threshold by Jack Bode

From the June 3 issue of The Banner, a local weekly newspaper:

Last Saturday, the 30th of May, our town experienced the largest traffic jam in years, and it was not because of a snow storm. Eyewitness accounts are in good agreement of what happened.

Apparently a man walked to the intersection of Yonge Street and Mackenzie Drive. He stood at the northwest corner of the intersection for some time. It was a bright, sunny day. Traffic was fairly heavy but moving along well. Here is a description by Wayne Harbinger of the sequence of events. Harbinger was working at the time at the gas station across the road:

“About ten minutes to three a customer drove in. I went out to pump the gas. We are still one of the old fashioned places where you get service at no extra cost. I put the nozzle of the hose into the neck of the gas tank and set it for the automatic shut-off. Then I went around the front of the car to clean the windshield. By chance I happened to look across the road.

“Suddenly there were some huge trees on the large vacant lot on the southwest corner of Yonge Street and Mackenzie Drive. The man who had been standing on the northwest corner sprinted across the busy road against the red light right into the path of the cars and trucks going along Mackenzie Drive. There was the sound of honking horns and screeching brakes.

“A big transport came barreling down Mackenzie Drive. The driver had the loudest air horn I have ever heard. And then the trailer jack-knifed. The tailgate flipped open and a flood of live chickens spilled out onto the road. There must have been thousands of birds running all over the place.

“As mysteriously as they had appeared the huge trees vanished again. And the man was gone as well. A police car had been waiting at the red light on Yonge Street. The two occupants now got out and ran over to the transport truck.”

Apparently there was no property damage to any of the vehicles. It took police and volunteers over four hours to recapture most of the birds. Yonge Street and Mackenzie Drive were closed until almost eight o’clock in the evening in all four directions.

From the August 12 issue of The Banner, a local weekly newspaper:

As you probably know privacy laws prohibit the owner, manager or superintendent of an apartment building to enter a rented suite without the renter’s consent. Therefore on the 6th of August His Honor, Judge Philip Mandrake of the County Court, Civil Division, granted a request made by Superintendent George Marshall, to enter the apartment of a certain Carl Kester. Mr. Kester has not been seen since last May 30th ...

From the August 19th issue of The Banner, a local weekly newspaper:

Last Thursday, the 13th of August, Superintendent George Marshall entered the apartment of Carl Kester who has not been seen for several months. Also in attendance were Constable Mark Wheeler of the police department and Abigail Matthews of this newspaper. The apartment was neat and tidy. On the kitchen table we found an envelope addressed to Mr. Marshall. It contained a notice saying that Mr. Kester did not intend to renew the lease when it expired at the end of November, and three hundred dollars to cover miscellaneous expenses Mr. Marshall might incur in getting the suite ready for new tenants. We also found a typed manuscript which at first glance appeared to be a record of Mr. Kester’s experiences.

The police is now investigating the disappearance of Mr. Kester.

From the August 26th issue of The Banner, a local weekly newspaper:

The police have been unable to resolve the enigma of Mr. Kester’s disappearance. They now believe that it was Carl Kester who caused the traffic jam last May 30th at the intersection of Yonge Street and Mackenzie Drive. Eyewitnesses claim to have seen a person answering Kester’s description standing at the northwest corner of the intersection. They claim to have seen him running across the busy road and disappear among the trees which suddenly loomed at the edge of Mackenzie Drive. Several people snapped pictures of the phenomenon before the jungle disappeared again. Tw o different leaves were also recovered.

In an interview Professor Gaskin, who is dean of the Department of Botany at the university, said that neither he nor any of the scientists working in his department have been able to identify any of the plants depicted on several excellent color photographs. In fact he has never seen trees and bushes like the ones portrayed on the pictures. The two leaves were also closely examined.

Upon being pressed for a comment he stated that the cell patterns of the leaves and their molecular structure are completely alien to any­thing existing on Earth and that he did not wish to speculate on where they might have originated.

The End

Sequel to Across the Threshold


“I am a liaison officer, not crew!” Scully glared at the first officer. “You cannot order me around! You have no jurisdiction over me!”

“Everybody on this ship is crew. That includes you. And you will take part in all drills, the same as everybody else.” Kester glared back at the liaison officer. At that moment he knew that their mission was doomed to failure. How could the admiralty have made such a blunder?

“We shall see about that!” Griselda Scully stretched herself to her full height. Her mouth was drawn into a thin line, her lips pressed together.

“Aye, that we shall” Carl Kester shrugged. “Lieutenant,” he added, the pause being just long enough to let her lesser rank sink in. For a moment he stared at the woman in front of him, his eyes cold and piercing.

Griselda Scully shrank back, consternation written all over her face.

“I am a medical practitioner,” she said at last. “That relieves me of any duties concerned with the ship’s maintenance. You have no legal power or authority over me.” Suddenly her face took on a smug expression, “I don’t know why I waste my time arguing with you.”

“You are a lieutenant on a patrol vessel. Nothing more. Yo u also happen to have some medical skills for which a need may or may not arise. When the time arrives that your skills as a liaison officer are required you will be exempted from all other shipboard duties. Until then you are crew. You are afforded no special status. I suggest that you peruse your enlistment papers.

Carl Kester slowly turned around and began walking towards the bridge.

“I shall appeal to the captain,” Scully shouted after him.

Kester halted, half swiveling around. “That is entirely your preroga­tive, Lieutenant.” Then he resumed his walk.

Available from
Stewart Publishing & Printing
17 Sir Constantine Drive, Markham, Ontario, Canada L3P 2X3
Tel: (905) 294-4389 Fax: (905) 294-8718

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