Where am I? - Part One
The thunder of uncountable horses roared behind a lone figure as she rushed through a heavily concentrated section of trees. The night sky loomed above without a light visible; the moon and stars were masked by the dark hanging clouds. In the wall of darkness the woman being chased continued forward, dodging enormous trees without a single hesitation.
As the cloaked being pushed through the last of the trees, her hood fell from her head and a long stream of raven black hair followed behind, melding with the darkness. Before her there was nothing but opened land now and no escape was in sight. She paused to catch her breath but started and jumped aside as an arrow soared by her face.
Again she took off. She ran for her life into the black abyss before her and didn't bother to look back anymore. The sound of the coming train behind her told her exactly what she needed to know: they were coming and they were coming extremely fast. With a last gasp of breath, she shouted out: "Absolvo mea absisto dehinc illico discrimen!"
Several feet in front of her a large tear in the darkness formed. Streaks of multicolored electricity bounced back and forth between two invisible walls and rapidly took a roughly oval shape. One last surge of energy was all she needed. She dove into the middle of the energy with her arms spread wide.
Hundreds of men on horseback came to an awed stop several feet from the energy barrier and froze, staring in silence. For several long minutes they stared at the unnatural formation, their torches lowering as they finally came around and started to rub their eyes.
Before the lead man could start his approach, thunder exploded in the sky and the energy barrier vanished within the blink of an eye. The lead man guided his horse around and shook his head at the men gathered behind him. "That just ain't right," he said.
Brandon Ward, Brand to his friends, sat at the table in the break room and flipped through a tabloid. For a break room it was pretty much basic. In the middle of the room there was a small four-sided table with four chairs surrounding it. A vending machine stood across from the only door. On the counter there was a coffee maker and a small refrigerator.
When the bell to the front door rang, Brand quickly read the last couple of lines of an article about aliens with human disguises, then stood and tossed the magazine to the table.
He walked through several shelves of books on his way toward the front of the store. Once there, he looked around, but to his surprise he saw nobody there. He shrugged and went back behind the counter, then waited for the customer to come to him. He really wasn't in any hurry.
The store itself was a medium-sized used bookstore. There were about twenty shelves of books lined up in the main part of the store. Several bins were off to the sides of the store and filled to the rim with used up paperbacks, mostly of the entertainment variety. The books on the shelves were the more valuable ones; some dated back as far as the late 1800's.
After about twenty minutes, Brand stepped out from behind the counter and slowly walked through the shelves. He sighed faintly as he looked for the missing customer, rather annoyed at the notion of having to actually do some work.
As he reached the section on historical figures from the past, he paused and called out. "Anyone here?" When no response came, he shrugged and started to head back toward the front. Out of nowhere a hand swooped out from behind a shelf and grabbed the back of his neck. He tried to pull away but the grip was too tight and got tighter the more he struggled, so he stopped.
A soft feminine voice whispered in his ear. "Take me to the magic section."
He blinked as he led his mysterious assailant out from the shelves. He walked down the side of the aisles for a moment, then stopped and waved a hand at a bin of books. "Here you go. All you had to do was ask."
The hand dropped from his neck and a small form, no more than five feet tall stepped around him. He looked at the figure covered from head to toe with some kind of cloak and hood. A gloved hand sorted through the books for a moment but that moment didn't last. As Brand started to step back, the hand shot up and grabbed him by the neck. "Not these."
"Hey, those are the only books we have about magic!" Brand said. He was a little louder than he had expected to be but he was slightly startled at the hand on his neck. He tilted his head, trying to peer into the darkness that shadowed the face. For a moment he blinked and shook his head. Before he could look again, the hooded head turned to the side. He could have sworn he saw bright green eyes peering out at him.
"No they are not. I can feel them. There are more here. Take me to them," said the voice, which sounded most definitely like it belonged to a female.
"If you can feel them," Brand said, "then you just feel your way toward them and I might be able to figure it out."
The woman sighed. She lifted her free hand up and shook the glove from it. Brand glared down as the hand became visible and opened his eyes wide; the skin was a deep maroon color, the fingernails were as black as night.
"W-what is-is going on? Who a-are you?" Brand asked, uncertain about the situation now, more than he'd ever been.
"Shut up," she said, then reached over and grabbed Brand's hand. He felt a shock as her hand came in contact with his. Energy seemed to flow up his arm then started to bounce up and down his spine quickly. He couldn't move, he couldn't breath, he couldn't even think. All he could do was feel like something was searching his body from the inside.
What seemed like an eternity was in actuality only five seconds. He didn't know how long he'd been standing there, alone, but when he finally realized he had regained his senses, he discovered that his mystery customer was gone. Quickly, he rushed to the front counter and reached for the phone. Before he reached it, however, he froze. To his left, standing in the hall was the customer. She had her hands against the door across from the break room.
He shouted out, "Get away from there!" then ran at her as fast as he could. As soon as he got within tackling range, he dived at her but to his surprise he slipped right through her and crashed into the ground. With a gasp of breath, he rolled over and stared as the woman passed through the door as if it wasn't even there.
Two things were swirling around in his mind at the moment. He really wanted to know if he was dreaming for one. If he were dreaming, then everything would be all right. If, however, it turned out this was really happening, he would be in big trouble. The day he was hired he was told never to open that door for anyone and never to go into the room beyond that door.
He leaned back against the wall and continued to stare at the door. A decision had to be made. He could try to get in there and get that woman out or he could call his boss and tell him what has happened. He really didn't want to lose his job, so he slowly stood up and approached the door.