The following is a flash fiction, sort of fan fiction, borrowing a concept from Stephen King's Dark Tower series:
"The thinny takes you over yonder."
The old man gnawed a sliver of wood, rolling it from one side of his gummy mouth to the other. His black eyes, surounded by a web of wrinkles so complex it would have given a spider a run for its money, squinted in the harsh light of the desert. His head cocked to the side when the wind brought the sound of the the thinny to us where we stood at on the edge of the arroyo.
"Yonder?" The air was unbearably hot, and sweat poured down my brow and over my cheeks. The sound of the portal whined like a mosquito in my ear, and burrowed deeper in my mind. It was a profoundly unpleasant noise.
"Aye." The sliver rolled back and forth. "To the other side of the universe. So said my Papaw. It's bigger these days. Used to be you couldn't hear it from here." He sniffed and hiked up his sagging pants as if the suspenders he wore were just for show. "I ain't goin' any closer, and if I was you I would just head on back to the ranch and forget this."
"I can't." I stared down the arroyo that meandered through the scrubby bushes. The rains had ceased weeks ago and the stream bed was dry, hard and cracked. I had been in this world for 2 years and this was my only chance.
"No tellin' where you come out. Or if you come out."
"It has to be better than here." I turned to the old man and extended my hand. "Thankee Sai, for your help." He took my hand and shook it, a single pump up and down. Then he turned and left without another word. That's how they did things here. No long goodbyes.
I stepped down into the dried up streambed and started walking. As I moved down the arroyo the whine of the thinny grew louder, more intense, and began to shift and distort until it was no longer unpleasant. It called to me with sounds of home, promises of a world lost to me.
*Image from here