Gordon reached into his post bag and grabbed the last two letters of his Saturday delivery. He pushed them through number twenty-seven’s letter box, turned and went back down the path. He leapt over the low gate with a grin on his face. It was 1pm and he now had the rest of Saturday and all of Sunday to himself.
As he rode his tired, squeaky old postal delivery bicycle back into town to the depot, not for the first time Gordon’s eyes briefly noted the town sign – Galden, twinned with Galfron, an equally nondescript French market town.
This whole twinning thing was a monumental load of rubbish in Gordon’s eyes. Some idiot somewhere within a government department had come up with the concept and now practically every city, town and village across the land was fraternally connected to somewhere else in the world!
Today was his thirty-third birthday and he was planning a twofold celebration. First he would do what he always did after work by enjoying a relaxing walk through the ancient oak forest which separated the town from the next village. Then he planned to meet his friends for a celebratory pint on his return.
An ancient stone archway exists in the thickly wooded forest, straddling the much used path. He and practically all of the residents of both the town and the village passed through it on a daily basis with no trouble. But today would be different…
As he approached the archway, Gordon’s mind was totally occupied with the planned drinking session and a good game of darts.
When the front of his leading shoe entered the shadow beneath the archway his mind was still preoccupied with his birthday drinking session. But when he stepped out on the other side, he began to experience great pain.
Gordon fell to the ground screaming in agony – every bone, sinew and muscle in his body was rapidly growing. Gradually the pain subsided and his vision slowly cleared. He looked around him.
The familiar ancient oak forest was no more. Instead, he found himself laying in unfamiliar parched grassland. In the distance he saw sharp peaked yellow hills. Above him the sky was no longer that familiar shade of blue with wispy cotton bud clouds. Now it was a pale mauve colour, and where before there had been one star, now there were three – two green in colour, one a dull red.
He thought he was dreaming until he pinched himself on his now heavily muscled arms. Normally Gordon was barely five foot eight inches in height. But he estimated his new height to be close to ten!
Somehow he had stepped between his normal existence on Earth and its direct twin. But where was it located? Beside his now robust physical shape, a by-product of this strange world, his lung capacity had trebled owing to its rich oxygen supply.
Gordon saw an approaching group of tall muscular humans.
“Hallo. Welcome to your new home.”
The individual who greeted him smiled and held out his hand. Gordon took it and hauled himself to his feet. He started to wobble as he gradually accustomed himself to his new height and physical build. Tiny white points of light floated in his vision as his blood pressure readjusted to the increase in oxygen intake.
“My name is Gregor. Welcome to the world of G.”
Gordon stared at Gregor and the rest of the group with a mixture of fear and total disbelief.
“The world of where?”
“G, the world of G,” Gregor replied good-naturedly.
“How do I get back home? This obviously is not Earth – right?”
“Sorry friend,” Gregor began as he turned and beckoned Gordon to follow.
The group surrounded their latest incumbent in silence as Gregor led the way to a fortified village on a slight rise in the savannah.
Once inside Gordon was taken to the centre of a group of roundhouses that made up the village. Gregor bent to enter the largest of the roundhouses and gestured for Gordon to sit.
“What year it is now back on Earth?” one individual named Gerald enquired.
“I arrived here in 1909, like you, from England” he muttered.
Gordon shook his head in total disbelief, hoping and praying that this whole weird scenario was a dream.
“How long have the rest of you been here?” he asked as he slowly began to realize that this was reality after all.
“Geoffrey came from twelfth century Normandy. Grolf arrived here in the early fifth century from Saxony. Ginnette appeared from sixteenth century Belgium. The first to arrive was Gaius. He arrived here when he stepped beneath an archway in northern Italy during the first century AD. There were others but they died when they tried to re-enter the archway. Down the hundreds of years many have tried and perished, wiped out for all eternity. The archway you walked through Gordon is like a one way mirror…” Gregor explained.
The one thing they all told him was “You cannot return – ever!”
Gordon sat in silence struggling to come to terms with the bizarre situation he found himself in.
“So why name the planet G?” he wondered.
“Why not? For some strange reason everyone who has arrived all share the letter ‘G’ as the first letter of their name,” Geoffrey replied with a wry smile on his face.
“But I’ve walked beneath the archway back home many, many times. Why now?”
“How old are you – were you back on Earth?” Ginnette asked.
“Today is my thirty-third birthday – why?”
“We all arrived here on our thirty-third birthday. That’s another thing we all have in common here besides the first letter of our names.” Gaius observed.
“What’s the name of the place back on Earth where you live – lived?” Gerald asked.
“That’s right,” Gordon confirmed.
“Galden twinned with Galfron and now G. Great, just great!” he sighed…