Where am I? Part Four
The sun blazed high in the sky as one by one the three emerged from the storage room. A cool breeze caressed their skin and the warmth of the sun soaked into them lovingly. Brand and Megan inhaled deeply as they took in their surroundings. Tall, lush grass waved back and forth all around. Off in the distance, the horizon was framed with snow-capped mountain peaks. To the right, many miles away, a thick forest lurked. The light from the sun didn't seem to have any luck penetrating the treetops, at least that's how it looked from their vantage point.
"And you thought this would be trouble, Buba." Brand said with a huge smile. When no reply came, however, both Megan and Brand turned around. That huge smile of Brand's flipped around in the blink of an eye. Buba just stood there and held the rope, one end in each hand. Also noticeably missing was the esoteric floating door they used to get here.
Megan smacked Brand in the shoulder with an audible thud then marched over to Buba. "Sorry. We should've listened." She looked over her shoulder at Brand and narrowed her eyes while Brand rubbed his shoulder and slowly stalked toward them.
"Hey!" Brand growled. "I didn't push you through. You chose to come, so don't be smacking me." He grabbed the seared end of the rope from Buba and frowned. "That door couldn't have just appeared for no reason. Someone, probably my thief, had to have opened it; so all of you just chill out. When we find her, we can get the books and make her open a door back." He dropped the rope, brushed off his hands, and nodded.
Buba turned toward Brand. "Do you hear yourself? I know I'm not the smartest guy around but you're talking like a crazy man. People can't just open doors in the middle of thin air!"
"You saw it for yourself, Buba." Megan said quietly. "Something happened, because we're no longer in the bookstore and this doesn't even resemble anything even remotely close to it."
"Let's all just calm down and find someone that can tell us what is going on." Brand rubbed his smooth chin for a moment then pulled out a cigarette and lit it up. After he took several long puffs and enjoyed them terribly, he started to look around for clues. Buba and Megan were already off by then doing the same.
About half an hour later, Buba dropped down to the ground and pulled out a chocolate bar from his pocket. As he opened it, Megan knelt down beside him. "Hey. How you doing?" She asked.
Buba shrugged. "Don't know why I keep expecting Brand to grow up and start acting his age more. Seems like every time I start to feel like he is doing just that... he goes and proves me wrong."
"He thinks of you like a father, y'know? He'd never admit it but he does. I get the feeling he's trying so hard to show you he's so much better with you in his life that he starts to think too much and then makes bad decisions; that's how we usually end up in these situations."
Buba slowly nodded. "Yeah, maybe." Chocolate was one of the few things Buba cherished and he cherished it with a passion. He considered chocolate man's best friend. It was a rare day if you could find Buba without a chocolate bar on him somewhere. Often was it joked that he sold his very soul to the devil for an unlimited supply; but if you asked him, he'd just smile and enjoy his chocolate without a worry in the world for that small moment in time.
As he finished his bar, Buba carefully licked his fingers. He made sure not to miss one tiny speck of chocolate. Not wanting to interrupt, Megan smiled and stood back up. At first she tried to locate Brand but couldn't. She scanned the area again and caught a glimpse of Brand; he was kneeling down and inspecting something several feet away. "Looks like he found something. You ready?"
Buba nodded and together they headed toward Brand. As they got closer, they could see a large triangle with two curved lines on either side, a dot accompanied each angle inside the triangle and a final, small square sat in the center of the dots, all burned in the ground. Brand carefully inspected the triangle without bothering to look up as they approached. "Guys, I've found these all over the field. No idea what they are but see these two curved lines on the sides? They all seem to be pointed in the same direction no matter where I find the triangles."
"It's better than just picking a direction and going." Megan said. "We're in it now, might as well see were it takes us."
Buba nodded. "It's the opposite direction of that creepy forest, so even better. Good find, Brand."
Brand stood and pulled a pair of sunglasses out of his back pocket. "Thanks." He said as he slipped the glasses on and headed straight ahead. "I just hope we find something before too long. I'd hate to find out the nearest civilization is hundreds or thousands of miles away."
Quietly, they traveled along in a mostly straight path. Along the way they passed a good number of addition triangles, this helped them to make sure they were still going in the same direction. For hours they just walked, taking in the surroundings, enjoying the view, the smells, and the sounds. Everything around them felt new and unusual; not to mention the peaceful feeling they'd all felt since they arrived here. After about three hours of walking, Megan and Brand fell to the ground as they tried to catch their breath. Buba stood over them and looked down at them.
Buba shook his head. "What? That all you two got? Come on! That's nothing. We should be able to get at least two more hours before you need to rest."
Megan waved a hand at Buba then laid back and stretched out within the grass. "Rest now. Show off."
"I'm twice your age. How sad." Buba lowered himself to the ground and made a tsk-tsk sound. "If you wouldn't smoke and got more exercise, then you'd be in better shape."
"Thanks, mom." Brand smirked as he lit up two cigarettes and handed one to Megan. "So, security guy. You're big on survival stuff, no? What is our biggest concern right now?"
"There's too much unknown really. But-" Buba stopped and frowned. "Uh, guys..."
Brand was on his feet in a flash. "I hear it." He said while he tossed his cigarette down and stomped it out. "Stay down, Buba. You're too tall even in this grass." He slowly scanned the area as the sun sank lazily below the horizon. A thunder in the distance was getting louder and closer by the second but Brand couldn't figure out what it was that was making such a noise. As Megan popped up next to him, he caught his first glimpse of the group of five horses and five cloaked riders coming straight toward them. They were very far away still, but getting closer fast.
"Holy shit," Megan murmured. "What did we do? Travel back in time?"
"Don't think so..." Brand pointed at the leader of the ground as they came even more into view. His hood was down but his features were still out of focus at this distance. The only thing he knew for sure, though, was that the man's skin was brick red and his multicolored neon hair practically glowed. "What the..."
Before Megan could get a look for herself, a blinding flash of light erupted all around. It was followed by an earth-shattering blast of thunder. All three of them lost their sight and hearing immediately. Shouting out for help, mostly in a mere panic, must have been the thing to do because that's what they did. They tried to get each other's attention obviously unaware they too were inflicted the same.
One by one, Brand, Megan, and Buba were knocked unconscious as a log slammed them each in the back of the neck. An unknown cloaked figure stood over them, then bound their hands and feet with rope and slowly dragged them off, one at a time.