The Tesseract

Chris sprinted through the woods, dodging trees and rocks and the deadfalls of old leaves he knew must be hiding out there. The rain stung his face. It was a hard, cold rain for so late in the spring, and he wiped his eyes again with the back of his hand, not as if it would do anything, but because it was habit. When you couldn't see, you tried as hard as you could to see.

In his left hand, Chris clutched his backpack by one shoulder strap. He had been too panicked to strap it to his back before he began running, and too panicked to stop. Occasionally as he ran, the backpack would jostle and slam against something, and Chris was caught between terror that what was in the bag would break, and equal terror that it wouldn't.

Finally he saw his garage through the trees. He had left a light on in one of the rooms above the garage where he lived, and it was a beacon guiding him home.

Chris sprang from the woods and beat feet to his door. He fumbled in his pocket for his keys, tried putting the key into the lock, and failed. He dropped them in a puddle of water at his doorstep.

"Oh, shit," he squealed. Frantic now, Chris dropped to his knees and plunged his shaking hands into the puddle to search for his keys and found them finally.

Standing to try again, Chris froze when he heard something behind him. The crack of a tree branch, perhaps? Something falling from a great height onto a rock, it could be...

But this time his key slid in and he turned the door handle and dashed inside.

Image courtesy of liam_101 via Flickr Creative Commons
He ran up the steep stairs to his filthy apartment, flipping on light switches as he went. In his kitchen, he slammed his bag down on the table that was covered with weeks worth of litter - old coffee cups, cigarette packs, the detritus of a lonely life, and he swept it all to the floor.

He opened the bag and dumped it out onto the table. The cause of all his miseries, the source of the lights.

It was a tesseract. Chris remembered what these were from high school physics class. A cube within a cube within a cube. It was built of what looked like glass, though it was lighter than glass and shimmered like a diamond as he watched with revulsion as the thing lit up his apartment with its sickening glow.


Chris's heart slammed in his chest. It was Rachel, in the bedroom. He had completely forgotten she was there.

"Baby what is that, what are you doing out there?"

For a moment he considered telling her everything. About the lights in the woods, about the dreams. But then the light changed again, from that vile green to the calm white, and he was filled with quietude.

Gently, he put the tesseract back into his bag and zipped it up.

"It's nothing, Rach. I'll be back to bed soon."


This was written for Write at the Merge Week 24 over at Write on Edge, which is becoming my favorite place to link up because it's not (yet?) a huge community. I don't feel lost there, is what I am saying.

The prompt this week was hard but it has inspired me big time. We were to use the image above, and the word "tesseract." Yes, I had to look that up on Google, and you should too.


  1. It's a great word, and you did a great job using it in this piece! Very good little piece of writing!!

    1. Thank you! This was probably one of my favorite prompts yet! I was so inspired by this word, it has spawned an entire week's worth of other challenge responses. Thanks for reading it ;-)


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