On that day, eight years ago, everybody in the world was woken up by a furious rumbling that shook the entire Earth to its core. Luckily for Arian, she should have been up by this time anyway.

She fell out of bed with the force of the shaking, and rushed to the window, expecting to see a fissure in the road, or maybe a giant robot traipsing down the street and crushing everything in its path. But everything seemed normal, albeit shaky.

The rumbling stopped a few seconds later, and she saw people leaving their houses. Most hadn’t even bothered to change out of their pyjamas, simply putting on a good pair of shoes that could withstand the morning dew and headed out of their houses. Grabbing her wellingtons, Arian joined them.

Everybody seemed to be moving towards the main building in the city centre, where the Mayor of the town always showed up whenever something happened. He was already there, in fact, in a house coat and ratty old t shirt and jeans, looking worse for wear. His wife, who was also his secretary, was standing by his side while he sat on the building’s stairs, scratching at his aging hair.

“What’s happened, Mayor Guthrie?!”  

He took a while to answer, but nobody seemed to mind. Some people were still looking around, as if waiting for another tremor to hit. But everybody was silent as they watched Mayor Guthrie get up, dust off his jeans and clear his throat.

“Before you all got here, friends, I received a message that was sent out to every town in our country by the President. It appears that this is no isolated incident. In fact, the whole world has just experienced what scientists in the top countries are calling a ‘dimensional shift’.”

Murmurs escaped the crowd, but they all quietened down when he put his hand up for silence.

“It appears as if the entire world has somehow opened up…portals…into another world. Investigations are still being carried out, but it appears that these portals have only appeared in open places, free of buildings surrounding them.”

“Like backyards?”

Arian turned around, staring at her aunt and uncle, who were staring up at the Mayor expectantly.

“There’s a swirling, purple…thing in our backyard.”

“That appears to be the general description of the portals, yes.”

Her uncle beamed despite himself, whispering a small ‘cool’ as his wife saw Arian and smiled softly her way. She smiled back, turning her attention back to the Mayor almost immediately.

“Until further investigations have been done and we receive confirmation that these portals are safe to go through, nobody is allowed to touch them. Army officials will be coming to town to guard them until further notice.”