Some parallel worlds have different time-flows, like the fabled dwelling-places of the elves: those who visit them under the hill for a night return to find that years have passed in this world. Perhaps it is the gate leading between the worlds which causes the alteration. If a gate were 'misaligned', the shift from '| |' to '| \' or '| /' as it were would lead to that difference, much as a light-beam split and bent by a prism ends up taking a longer path. There might even be a mathematical function linking degree of misalignment to alteration of time-rate.
As they travel they notice a horrible rotten smell. As they travel it gets stronger and stronger forcing them to cover their noses and mouth less they choke on the horrible smell. Rotting animal carcass that has been ripped apart and tracks all over, covered in maggots.