The tunnel had been strange. Lex had driven through the underpass, and just as he’d expect to come out the other end, it just kept going, as though his truck was stuck in place. The light at the end of the tunnel grew dimmer, and suddenly he’d appeared in what he assumed were the ‘Sunterlands’. It was an impossible land, floating bobbing blobs of galaxy-light drifted lazily through a pitch-black sky, the ground was made of smells and memories, warm bread crunching under the trucks tires, his baby brothers crying under his feet as he’d walked up to the suburban home awkwardly planted in the center of this chaos.
The house was a carbon copy of any given house from his street; picket fence, small garage, a porch with a swing-chair. Its white painted wood starkly contrasting against the array of impossible colors dancing around it. Lex stepped onto the porch, glad to be done with the strange sensation of walking on memories, and knocked.
The door opened, and a man stood in the door way, except it wasn’t just a man. As Lex looked, the beings shape shifted constantly, the large older man holding a cup of coffee, Lex’s own father, short and cheery, a squid, some kind of gas, these shapes moved and shifted like the cover of some of Lex’s special edition comic books. They all, somehow, made sense too, like Lex’s mind accepted the hallucination as though it were the most normal thing in the world.
“I uh, I’m here to pick up….” Lex trailed off. He’d always been nervous about dating girls. Boys were easier.
“Al’ferius, Queen of the Sunterlands and Devourer of Lies and Sight, the 8th pillar of mobial reality and the bearer of the celestial, my daughter?” The being spoke directly into Lex’s mind, a strange vibration just behind the Goblin’s eyeballs.
“Y-yes sir, is she ready?” Politeness was the key, the book he’d stolen from the Forbidden Stacks had said. The beings from beyond loved polite people.
“She is preparing herself. Please, come inside”
Lex took a deep breath and followed the being into the house. He steeled himself for the usual questions – what do you do, are you looking forward to graduation, what do you want to be when you grow up – when the being paused at the foot of a flight of stairs. “Ah” it said, taking a drink from its coffee by pouring it into a void where its heart would be.
Atop the stairs was Al’ferius. She took the shape of an amorphous cloud of stars, crowned with blue flame around its edges. If Lex stared too much, a million faces tessellated inside the cloud, all of them blushing just a little bit. Coiled around the cloud were wheels, anvils and roses, swirling around her like planets orbiting a sun.
She looked good.
As she descended the stairs, they turned from wood to suns, stacked atop of one another like flapjacks. Her father seemed deeply proud of this moment.
“It has been eight thousand years since I last danced with the mortals” she said, her voice emanating from her form, unlike her fathers. “Thank you for asking me to prom, young Alexander”
Lex gulped, the man-being turned its head and smiled at him. “You’re very welcome, Al’ferius. It is an honor”
As they began to leave, Al’ferius’s father pulled Lex aside briefly. Lex anticipated this, he hated how backwards some people were, treating their daughters as needing some special protection, but he stood up straight and smiled warmly as the being placed a hand on his shoulder.
“Young one” its voice echoed, shaking Lex’s brain. “Please ensure you return with my daughter by 10PM. As the 8th pillar of Mobius, she alone holds back the tides of ample luminosity, and without her presence, the multiverse will shudder itself apart at the seams, collectivizing all conscious beings into a final overmind, unity at the cost of uniqueness, wisdom without meaning. Do you understand?”
“Yes sir” Lex lied, turning his head just slightly to see Al’ferius climb into the pickup truck.
“Good lad. Here’s $5. Have fun now”