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We didn’t hear them land on earth, nor did we see them. The spores were not visible to the naked eye. Like dust particles, they softly fell, unhindered, through our atmosphere, covering the earth. It took us a while to realize that something extraordinary was happening on our planet. In most places, the mushrooms didn’t grow at all. The conditions weren’t right. In some places—mostly rocky places—they grew large enough to be noticeable. People all over the world posted pictures online. “White eggs,” they called them. It took a bit until botanists and mycologists took note. Most didn’t realize that we were dealing with a species unknown to us.

We aren’t sure who sent them. We aren’t even sure if there is a “who” behind the spores. But once the first portals opened up, we learned that these mushrooms aren’t just a quirk of biology. The portals were small at first—minuscule, even. Like a pinhole camera, we were able to glimpse through, but we couldn’t make out much. We were only able to see colors and textures if the conditions were right. We weren’t sure what we were looking at.

We still don’t understand why some mushrooms open up, and some don’t. Most don’t. What we do know is that they like colder climates and high elevations. What we also know is that the portals don’t stay open for long. Like all mushrooms, the flush only lasts for a week or two. When a portal opens, it looks like the mushroom is eating a hole into itself at first. But the hole grows, and what starts as a shimmer behind a grey film turns into a clear picture as the egg ripens. When conditions are right, portals will remain stable for up to three days. Once the fruit withers, the portal closes, and the mushroom decays.

The eggs grew bigger year over year. And with it, the portals. Soon enough, the portals were big enough to stick your finger through. And that’s when things started to get weird…


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