Built in to every man’s madness is the ability to destroy. Destroy your surroundings, the places you live, the things you love. Being afraid to do any damage is the handicap of sanity. Criminals do not care for the safety of others. Some of these thoughts went through my mind in the final seconds of my life. You, dear author, are the only connection that was present in those last moments. A connection across universes. In your dreams you witnessed parts of the end, not just of me, but the extinguishing of the flames of billions of lives. The day everyone on our planet was left staring up at the sky, with nothing to do but stand there and die. So, listen closely and I’ll tell it, and when you wake please bring it into the consciousness of your version of the Earth. Retell it and hopefully, you will keep it from happening to you.
“I can’t believe him.” my father said quite plainly at the supper table that night. Dr. Edison had announced to the world that he had cracked the secret to pulling energy out of thin air. [Note: It was later understood that Nikola Tesla had accidentally killed himself attempting one of his early alternating current experiments, and Edison had continued those experiments vaulting him into position as the creator of the modern age of electricity. This is not, of course, how things happened on your world, dear author.]
“What, father?” my sister had asked.
“Edison is so sure of himself. What if something were to go wrong with his experiment? What then?” he lifted a forkful of potatoes to his month and chewed. Dinner was never very interesting at our house. The mines were not producing like they once were and our family was one of the last in our small desert town that were still hanging on to their old homestead in hopes of finding a new vein of ore. It was one of the last mining towns still in operation in the area, and was all but a ghost town.
My sister and I would play in the mines together. Flashlights in our hands, and miner’s helmets on our heads we would play games among the jewel encrusted caverns, and stalactite cathedrals that were near the entrance of the mine. People had discovered these long before they started digging to find the veins of gold that marked our town’s initial birth. The caverns were our playground.
“He’s a very smart man, dear, I’m sure he’s worked out all of the possible problems with his device.” mother had said. “Would you like some more potatoes Andrew?” she asked me and I shook my head. Mother would never sit down to eat if she was up all the time serving everyone, so finally after everyone had refused the second helping, she sat down and ate a little of her meal.
“You’re probably right. I just can’t help but feel strange about it.” dad said between bites.
“I think it’s going to be amazing.” I had said. Edison was like a childhood hero to me. His inventions had captivated me since I was a little boy. First his alternating current, then his more recent discoveries of the quantum electron gateway. It seemed so amazing that he now thought he could pull raw energy from other dimensions. Dimensions with surpluses of energy could be used to fuel ours. Fantastic indeed. His trial runs were set to proceed the next morning.
Breakfast was brief. The radio announcer sounded afraid. Something had gone wrong. I wasn’t sure what had happened. The announcer said:
“The Edison device was switched on at ten o’clock, New Jersey time. At first, nothing appeared to be happening but soon the air around the device seemed to crackle with electricity. The effects began to intensify and move outward from the device and quickly everyone was rushed away from the device, and the warehouse complex. We have news now that there has been an unanticipated problem and everyone in the area of the device has suddenly died. Oh, this is terrible, no one was able to turn off the device, which has continued to affect the air, and the effects are continuing to spread.”
“Oh my.” my father had said.
We all rushed out of the house. The dusty yard met the dirt road, and at the edge of the road we all stood looking up at the sky. Our town was nestled in between two mountain ranges so our view of the sky was somewhat obscured, but we could already see that there was something wrong with the sky. The usual light blue at the horizon was more like the darker blue if one were to look straight up. My eye followed my head as I tilted it back, and as I looked straight up I could see stars! In the middle of the day, there were stars! My breathing was already laboured, and as I looked around, my father and mother had already gone down on one knee and were holding hands. My sister reached for my hand and with one of my last movements I grasped her hand in mine.
The sky, by that time, had turned entirely black as if some dark candle had been lit which inverted night and day with its terrible flame. My family and I, and all of the families in the rest of the world, suffocated silently. My last thoughts were of the Saviour of Menlo Park, Dr. Thomas Ogden Edison, who likely died quickly with a look of surprise on his face. His inventions saved our world from the brink of destruction, only to finally and completely destroy us all. He would not be remembered.
So, dear author, please remember your dream. Our world’s light was put out by the very man who created our world’s first incandescent bulb. There is some irony in that. It is a miracle that I found you here, in my afterlife and in your dreams. Warn your world. There will be more warnings to come. Believe it or not, there are many of us here with stories to tell of the many disasters brought to our worlds by our mad scientists.
[Author’s note: It seems Thomas Edison didn’t reject the ideas of Tesla in their universe and actually embraced the alternating current. It also seems he was given his father’s middle name. The prefix of Doctor on his name suggests that his schooling was not cut short by ignorant teachers, and instead he went on to graduate school and obtained a degree of some sort. I have not been given this information, it is just a supposition based on the details of a dream I had once and have since gone over and over in waking and have committed to this story.]