Return to the Salvador Dimension

By David Michael Newstead.

A short story based on paintings by Salvador Dali. Read Part One.

Sometimes in my dreams, I still saw that strange place. But all that was left were the fragments of a memory, dark and ghoulish, of a world that was not this one. In quick succession, those pictures flashed through the corridors of my mind as absurd as they were horrifying. Then in a panic, I woke up and I breathed heavy, having had the same nightmare again.

Years had passed and my time in that other dimension seemed so distant to me. Had I imagined it all, I often wondered. Had I hallucinated the whole thing and that old fool who took me there?

No! No, I told myself again and again. That place was real. I knew it had happened, because my mind would never, could never concoct the things I saw there. My fear then wasn’t for my own sanity. Even now, sitting up in bed, I was lucid and aware. Instead, I was afraid just how far this went – how deeply these abnormal truths burrowed into every corner of reality and if the monsters I found in that place would ever pull me back again.

I couldn’t sleep. In the day-to-day world, I felt numb and out of touch. Increasingly detached, I walked around like an automaton, not a person. I felt as if my life was slipping away according to the tyranny of some mundane clock. Or perhaps part of me realized I was always destined to return to that dimension I had left so long ago.

Time passed. Then one day, it happened. I was standing on a train platform checking my watch when suddenly it began to melt from my wrist. In an instant, stainless steel seemed to turn into liquid mercury that rolled off my skin like drops of rain. When I looked up, the rest of the world was falling away too, dissolving right in front of me. Then, something else came into view.

I stumbled forward at first. It was difficult to see, but once I could I wished I was blind to the horror. My eyes watered as smoke filled my nostrils. Then, I heard shots ring out in every direction. Just ahead, there were lines of riflemen and nameless legions, stretching into the distance leveling chaotic volleys of gunfire at each other. Dying men whaled in agony and I tried to run back, but our normal world had disappeared behind me. In its place, soldiers’ bodies littered the ground. Overhead, something shrieked and flew by me. Then, an explosion followed and knocked me down face first. Deafening and bright, flames erupted over the battlefield and, in shock, I covered my ears.

When I raised my head again, creatures not-quite-human were wandering by, wounded and disoriented from the blast. They made noises I can’t begin to describe. Then, the earth underneath my feet started to rumble with the sound of approaching cavalry. The victors had arrived it seemed, already finishing off the last of their opponents in a war without rhyme or reason. On my left flank, the first wave of them descended onto anything in their path, while another group encircled the few of us who survived. Desperate to escape the slaughter, I ran and crawled across the ground looking for cover, but there was nothing. Nothing, but pathetic twigs and pebbles that jutted out from the dirt and wouldn’t protect a man from so much as a sunburn. And when that galloping monstrosity appeared in front of me, I cringed and thought this must be the end!

A moment passed without death and I looked up, awestruck. After all, if the old man hadn’t intervened when he did I surely would have been trampled into oblivion. I was cowering in the middle of a field, dusty and helpless, when he strode out to protect me. Confident and possibly insane, he was disheveled and nude, driven mad by this dimension of oddities. The only thing more crazed and unruly than his eyes, I thought, was his facial hair. But it didn’t seem to matter. He projected all the authority of a thousand generals, screaming at the top of his lungs.

“Stay back!” The old man yelled to the horses and pack animals. “Back I say!”

And for reasons I won’t ever understand, they listened to him, rearing up with fright only inches away from crushing the both of us. Around me, the orgy of violence was fast subsiding. And this crazy old fool had stalled them for just long enough.

I was still trembling on the ground when the real world started to come back into view. While those beasts hesitated to charge forward, their dimension had gradually dissipated into a fog and then the fantasy as I laid there on that same train platform like a lunatic.

“No… No.” I muttered, now waving my hands at nothing. Back in our own dimension, other commuters ignored me the way you disregard anyone talking to themselves on public transit. But if they could only see! Stretched out there on the concrete, I watched the last shadows of that other place recede away forever, stranding me here and leaving that old man where he rightfully belonged.

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Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee Around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening (1944)

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The Face of War (1950)

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Girl at the Window (1925)

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Melting Watch (1954)

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Galacidalacidesoxyribonucleicacid (1963)

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The Burning Giraffe (1937)

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The Invention of the Monsters (1937)

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The Temptation of St. Anthony (1946)

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The Anthropomorphic Cabinet (1936)

BBC: Dali’s moustache intact

Salvador Dalí’s moustache is intact in the “10 past 10” position, the surrealist painter’s foundation has said, a day after his body was exhumed.

“It was like a miracle,” said Narcis Bardalet, who was in charge of embalming Dalí’s body 28 years ago, adding that the hair was also intact.

The body was exhumed in the north-eastern Spanish city of Figueres to settle a paternity case.

Read the Full Article

A Day in the Salvador Dimension

By David Michael Newstead.

A short story based on paintings by Salvador Dali. Read Part Two.

salvador-dali2The device was conceived of by a mad man whose long and peculiar moustache only hinted at his insanity. If I knew then what was ahead of me, I’m certain I would have run in the opposite direction. But at the time, I was curious and naive. His work was intriguing and his demeanor was as charming as it was unusual. So when he spoke dramatically about needing a volunteer, when he described crossing the boundaries of time and space with a pioneering new technology, I admit I was taken in by this eccentric.

I agreed to be his test subject.

“Excellent!” he exclaimed, flaring his eyes and twirling the end of his moustache hairs with one hand.

“Come with me at once!” he said.

Following close behind, I realized that his laboratory was filled with elaborate sketches. He’d even built full-scale models of unimaginable oddities: monsters, the surreal, the utterly frightening. It was as if he’d been painting and sculpting his whole life, designing something that a normal person could hardly guess at. In fact, it was my own inquisitive nature that compelled me to continue until it was too late to turn back.

We climbed one staircase, then walked through narrow hallways like a maze.

As we got closer, the man handed me a pocket watch and attempted to explain the science behind what he’d built. To be honest, I didn’t understand the specifics, but I suspect neither did he. It was clear that creating the device had made him both a lunatic and a visionary, having twisted his mind to its furthest potential.

The Doorway, as he called it, was the manifestation of that genius. The device sat in the middle of a large, empty room and emitted hypnotic light in every direction. The man still tried talking to me, but I wasn’t paying attention anymore. I walked passed him, mesmerized. I was staring into the Doorway and the bizarre destination that lay on the other side. I clutched the pocket watch in my hands as I stepped forward, feeling myself leave one reality and enter another.

In the here and now of our rational world, it’s difficult for me to describe what happened next. But if I was able to escape the confines of conventional time and space, then I must have also shattered several additional layers in the fabric of our universe. Rhyme. Reason. Order. The very laws of nature. These feelings were so intense that they are burned into my mind forever. There was light, energy, gravity, memory – the sensation of every atom in my body flying apart and, then in an instant, being reassembled.

I was re-formed as a person, still holding the same pocket watch, but disoriented from my ordeal. The dizziness passed. My eyes adjusted to the light of another dimension and what I found there was startling. It was daybreak and quiet on a barren landmass. The watch ticked diligently in my left hand, while in the distance, creatures strode across the terrain.

I saw a herd of elephants with legs like giraffes, the height of a skyscraper.

Beneath them, the desert was home to freakish rock formations that shocked every fiber of my being.

I ran. A few dead tree branches clawed at the horizon around me. My heart was beating furiously. Everything about this place was the inverse of what should be possible, what should exist. And I was desperate to find the Doorway back.

I stumbled around a rock formation and that’s when I first saw it – the Sphinx. I discovered that a predator stalked this nonsensical habitat and there it was right in front of me, peeling flesh from the bones of its most recent kill. It was huge and brutal in appearance, somehow wise and murderous at the same time. I stared at it and, worse, it stared back at me. It had knowing eyes. One look and I thought it must have possessed an intelligence that reached back eons across time. Yet, the creature’s mythic stature belied the fact that blood dripped from its teeth, while I stood there.

At first, I didn’t move or make a sound. And the Sphinx appeared calm. It seemed content to eat its meal in peace. We exchanged eye contact and nothing more. There was only the soft, rhythmic tick of the pocket watch in my hand. But when the alarm on the watch rang out, the creature’s expression changed in an instant. I panicked and tried to turn off the alarm, but I could see I’d already angered the beast. Its face contorted with a primal hatred I’d never seen before. The high pitched roar that followed was deafening. And I ran away as fast as I could.

I darted behind a rock and tried to get to safety, far from the hungry Sphinx. But what I didn’t realize was how slowly I was actually moving. Before that, I noticed the pocket watch was turning to liquid in my hand. I dropped it, momentarily confused. And I saw the time piece melt against the searing landscape of the desert. How could I have grasped that the same thing was happening to me? I took a step back. I felt my entire body teeter on a melting pair of legs and when I tried to brace myself against a tree trunk, it was no use. I had all the physical attributes of an ice cream cone on a hot summer day. I could see the enormous Sphinx approaching me, but I wouldn’t last much longer regardless. My vision was blurred, my limbs folded up, and the puddle of me that remained quickly evaporated from that surreal dimension.

Before the creature could get to me, I was gone.

When I opened my eyes again, I was back in the laboratory. The Doorway had collapsed in on itself and the man who built it had disappeared.

Had he gone in after me, I thought. I suppose I’ll never know.

At the time, I stood up and wandered outside, never to return, but always left to wonder about my day in another dimension. And the mad man who took me there.

1Gala Contemplating the Mediterranean Sea (1976)

2La Gare de Perpignan (1965)

3Galatea of the Spheres (1952)

4The Elephants (1948)

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Soft Construction with Boiled Beans (1936)

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Shirley Temple, The Youngest, Most Sacred Monster of the Cinema in Her Time (1939)

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The Persistence of Memory (1931)

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Spider of the Evening (1940)