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Tesseract - A four dimensional analog of a cube, a regular octachoron.
It was getting late, and the computer screen gave a dim glow in the gloom of my study. Books upon books flooded the room, from Heinlein to Asimov, and the mirror held an image of a weary man hunched over his desk, eyes bloodshot and glaring.
It was midnight, and yet my mind was racing. Ever since I had found it, ever since I had discovered such a thing, it has haunted me - plagued me in my waking hours and in my dreams.
It shifted constantly in my mind, moving along the points held in the Euclidean space as gracefully as a ballerina and as mysteriously as the dimension it existed within.
Everything was so very basic compared to the fourth dimension - just lines and squares and cubes upon cubes. Banal. Boring. Dull. What else was I supposed to do: allow for this joyous wonder to be ignored?
But then I learned of Jack Maguire, and the game changed. He was some kind of polymath - always travelling, always trying to understand everything - and for some reason, he clicked with me instantly. The man was a genius (or clinically insane), and some of his works found in a Scotland forest had been put on the Internet.
You won't find them now. I made sure of that. But there was one thing he did write that made more sense than anything else - his theory on the tesseract:
"The tesseract, being a four dimensional construct in the spatial realm, may be considered a flight of fancy or a mere Euclidean state of wonder - but the truth, I believe, is far more than that.
The four dimensions that exist in our universe are stated as length, depth, breadth and duration - time itself. Thus, I argue that the tesseract is not so much a shape as a time - or rather, an area with an absence of time, allowing for this phenomenon to exist. I intend to investigate this further..."
The rest of the article was merely a combination of trolls demanding proof and believers in Maguire fighting on his behalf. To think that time itself could be removed from an area would change the world - to be able to use it would cause a scientific revolution. But there was one thing I had not reckoned with, and now I look back I realize I should have stopped whilst I could have.
Everything began to alter in my mind. Everyone I met suddenly started to become nothing but shapes upon shapes - even my best friend was no more than cubes, cylinders and circles.
I was starting to see the universe as just three dimensional: dull and drab, unlike the wonders of the next dimension. The words of Maguire were inspiring beyond all belief, but they also seemed to be slightly... worrying. Why did he disappear? Where did he go to?
Why did he leave this world with his work unfinished?
The sky was grey. The sun was cloaked in the thick fog. The trees were standing silently outside my window as I gazed at my screen, trying to bend my mind around the wonderous shifting of the tesseract. All eight cubical cells inverting themselves over and over in my mind was pure bliss - tap, tap, tap.
A knock on the door. I looked through the keyhole - it was Eddy. Thank Christ for that. I opened the door to see... no-one there. And then I saw him - just walking down the road, waving at me from about five metres away down the drive.
I looked over to the screen again, and watched as the image shifted again and again. I watched Eddy as he started to come closer - then suddenly disappear - then reappear at the door for a split second - then return to the driveway and continue walking up.
When he finally managed to get in the house. I showed him the stuff I had found. At the start, he couldn't stop laughing - but then I started to walk towards the house while he watched, and his face turned white as a sheet.
"Did you just...?"
"Impossible becomes a relative term very quickly at this point." I grinned as Eddy started to go slightly green at what he had just witnessed. I escorted him to the bathroom and waited for the vomiting to stop.
But the worst was yet to come. I hadn't even scraped the surface of what was going on - and exactly what was going to happen was all too simple. I was going to live. Simple as that. I was going to live, and not die. Never dying, always living. Trapped in my four dimensional prison. It's cosy and all, but it is painful. I starve every day, and yet my body remains strong.
I have not had a proper drink in years, and yet my blood flows faster than ever. My body is young, but my mind is old - so very, very old. Maguire was correct - the tesseract was not so much time as an area with an absence of time. All I ever wanted was to watch the wonders of the fourth dimension for eternity.
Maguire made sure that I would.
Or rather, he will...