Chapter 5: Questions Not Riddles
Once again we came through the vortexes of Pandora and me finding myself in a loss. This part of Pandora seems to be a different portion of the emptiness, it held a strange doorway marking it. A single metal gate broke the never ending blackness. The twist and turns with in the metal was quite impressive. It looked like one of the older gates that led into cemeteries. And at the top of this gate held a symbol. A yin yang maker sat middle with three curved lines coming from it with one half cut circle on each end of the lines. Connecting the three halves were more curved strokes creating a three legged shape.
Echo noticed me staring at this and pushed me slightly pointing at it, “It’s the mark of Pandora.”
“What exactly is Pandora?” I asked.
“Well, its home to Seekers and demons. It’s kind of a world within worlds. It connects with all other worlds but none from these worlds can enter without being invited.” She explained as if she were distracted.
“How did you get here? And um, are you really a demon?” I asked sheepishly.
“Indeed I am from Hell and as to how I got here you could say I have special clearance,” Echo started walking towards the gate.
“You’re from Hell?” I choked slightly, “does this mean, because I, um….”
“You won’t go to Hell for make a deal with me, but if I complete your wish you won’t be going anywhere.”
“What do you mean?” I inquired stopping in front of the iron bars.
She turned swiftly to me, “When a demon finishes a contract they eat the soul of their master.”
I gulped, “you want my soul?”
“I want what no other has. No demon has successfully finished a Seeker’s wish.” Her hand pushed against the gate softly. The bars moved with little effort to her.
“Why is that?” I asked concerned. I have to finish my goal for my family.
“The goals are too great, too much. Only the demon or angel who can break through a Seeker’s defenses can make a contract with them and even then most Seekers are taught of their ancestries and learn exactly how to avoid a call or how to accept with no danger to themselves,” Echo explained as we walked through never-ending blackness.
“I never learn those things.” Worry filled me.
“Which makes your goal no less difficult. To retrieve the dead goes against death himself and death doesn’t like to be cheated.” Echo stopped and looked at me with a concerned glare. “If anyone is to ask of your goal you must lie unless you risk not only our lives but that of your protectors’ souls. If death finds out what we plan he will send his followers to destroy the spirits in the only way they know how. Am I making myself clear enough?”
“As clear as everything else in this mystery,” I huffed rolling my eyes.
“We’re almost there…… master,” the words hissed of her tongue with distaste.
“Did you just call me master?” I enquired confused.
“That is what you are until the contract is done.” Her teeth grinned together in a fury of her own words.
“You can just call me Dominic ok?” A weak smile came to my lips as I spoke.
“Dominic ok?” Echo repeated in my voice.
“How did you do that?” I asked astonished.
“Comes with the name,” Echo laughed.
A small laugh came from my lips as we continued to walk. White broke the culmination spiral upon the horizon. A castle stood tall across the plane. Everything seemed to be painted with a snowy coloring with grey outlines. Windows stood tall and plentiful on this great white. I stared at the ageless building. It both seemed old and dignified with a brand new appearance. Shadowy gates traveled in a circle around the fortress with the same symbol plastered across the fence. I stared in wonder at the large building with solid color.
Echo and I reached the front of the gates of the fortress meeting with two skeletons twice the height of myself, and I thought I was tall.
“Halt.” One of the skeletons spoke holding out his bone hand at Echo. She didn’t seemed to flinch at the movement. “What business do you have here?”
“A new Seeker has joined,” she called loudly as for the skeleton to hear her.
The boney man looked at me with curiosity, “He is old for a new Seeker.”
“A matter of being hard to track, now if you’d be so kind.” Echo smiled pushing through the blockade with me following shortly behind.
“I’m old for a Seeker?” I questioned as we walked.
“Well not anymore. Most of the Seekers are around your age but most begin their training at the ages of six or seven. Never has one started as late as you are.”
“All Seekers must pass death’s test to return to the mortal world, I’m sure it won’t take long and once we’re done with this we can begin searching for your family’s souls completing your goal,” she puffed.
We walked through the gates of the white castle and then to the gate being stopped by several other guards and passing security. Echo told the boney figures the same as she had the first two and three replies were mainly the same. As we reached the doorway two large wooden doors opened widely to welcome us into its keep. The massive doors marked with the symbol of Pandora seemed to know where and what we were even if I did not. No person or skeleton open the gates, they just opened without a word from Echo or me.
The halls were long and wide with black carpets with a blood shade outline lay across the wooden floors. Pictures hung along the walls of humans from all different ages. Victorian, twenties, modern, all of time seem to hang on these red halls. The ceilings were high and reminded me much of a private school for the wealthy children of diplomats and business men. I felt so out of place partially because I’ve never been invited into such a fancy placement and also for the fact that I am wearing only PJ pants. But then again Echo only wore loose wrappings and a tattered skirt.
We continued walking down several different halls and passages until we reached a hall with several doors on both side of the walls, it looked much like a medieval themed hotel. Echo walked silently down the corridor as if she feared speaking. She stopped in front of a single door and looked at me. She rose her hand to her chest level. Purple smoke swirled in her palm and two pistols formed from it.
“Next time don’t forget these, change and come to the practice room when you are done,” she spoke as if I knew what she was talking about.
“Wait where?” I asked as she turned to leave.
“Ugg,” she sighed. “Down the hall take a left and keep heading forward, you can’t miss it.”
Vague points of her hand gave me my directions. Echo placed the guns in my hands walking away. “Don’t lose them.”
I turned to the door I was placed in front of and read the number, 666 of course that would be it. I opened the door with my hand and looked inside. The room was smaller than I had thought it would be. A single bed with several pieces of clothing laid on it was pushed to the far corner. The only other objects in the room were a lamp and a night stand. A door to my right side led to what I presumed was the closet. I walked into the small bedroom and looked at the clothes stretched across the grey sheets. I picked up the shirt that was left for me. A dark navy collared top with larger collar flaps with the symbol of Pandora on it. Two brown buckles came across the front only about six inches each with matching metal buckles. The sleeves were rolled up held with similar belts that ended at my biceps, if I had any. The pants were solid black jeans like everything else here. I put on the attire and looked at the last pieces remaining. Black gym shoes and a belt with identical holders for my pistols. I didn’t know what to think about this. I stared at the duel guns and frowned. What’s so special about them anyway? I looped the belt and placed the guns in their correct holes. That only leaves the shoes. I hate shoes, I hate everything about this so of course there would be shoes. I sighed pulling the sneakers over my socks with hesitation.
My eyes glanced over at the doorway as my body followed. I followed Echo’s simplistic directions as I walked hopelessly through halls. I eventually found my way to my point of interest. A large doorway matching the ones of the bedrooms with slight differences stood with the golden words written Practice room.
My hand graced the cold handle as I walked into the room. The room was quite large, a gym like quality took place on the floor of the bottom level where I had entered. Great stone walls surrounded the first level reaching the stands of the second. It reminded me of an auditorium for a sporting event. Jungle gym like objects made of metal and rubber stood scattered through the room with a surrounding track.
Several other people stood around in the area. All eyes locked on me as I entered. Glares of curiosity and annoyance were on all faces. Some didn’t care while some were surprised to see me. All of the people stood in pairs of males and females.
The closest two were dressed in a steampunk fashion. The girl stood a little shorter than her male partner. Her hair was a short choppy, boy cut brown color. A red scarf wrapped across around her neck giving color to her black like corset. She wore several watches some broken and others still working on both arms. Leather pants covered her legs meeting her metallic boots. Her partner was slightly taller than her with a deadly black coloring to his hair. Night vision, or what I think are night vision goggles rested in his tangled locks. He seemed strong but lengthy. He wore similar leather pants with a black trench coat with a white undershirt. His shoes much like the girl’s were made of a metal matching the chains across his chest. His red eyes locked on me and a playful smile reached his lips as he whispered something to the girl who then giggled.
The second pair sat lazily on the floor. A girl had a darker skin coloring with red dyed hair. She wore an obsessive amount of eyeliner. With a purple sweater and skinny jeans on her legs. A white scarf hung across her neck as she stared at the gym floor. The boy next to her was lying across the floor eyes closed with a white feathery object underneath. He listen to her speak with little attention. His hair was short cut and a snowy white stain. He seemed less than interested in what was going on and appeared perfectly content in his dreams. He wore a white short sleeve shirt with grey sweat pants with matching white flip flops. He looked more like a bum than a teenager.
A girl hung upside down from the monkey bars holding her hands to keep up her tight dress. Her white hair was long wrapped in braids with flowers tighten in her curls. She laughed to the boy who stood next to her. Her blue eyes were almost neon coloring that seemed out of place in her all white attire. The oddest part is she wore fake white wings that looked realistic like a bird’s. The boy standing next to her seemed tired and irritated from her. His hair was a brown coloring with a short shagginess. He wore a white vest with a brown long sleeve shirt under. Along with his grey jeans.
The last pair in the room stood in along the corner of the chamber. The girl sat several feet above the floor. Her white wings flapped softly propelling her up into the air. Her hair was short and wavy reaching her shoulders. She sat gracefully legs crossed in a lady like manner. She rested her chin across her pale painted hands. And wore a lace dress with white flats. She talked down to the boy who stood below her. He wore a grey colored sleeveless shirt with jeans that seemed tattered and worn with a thin white jacket across his arms. His blonde hair covered slightly over his eyes much like mine. He looked a little older than the others, he seemed about twenty two.
I searched the room for Echo but saw no sight of her. I didn’t really know what to do so I just stood next to the practice room door. I looked around the gym with interests to the others. Mostly the girl who floated above the air. My eyes locked on her with amazement. How was she flying? I looked to the others grabed in white realizing that they too had wings while the boy in black did not. The steampunk girl began walking over to me, her partner staying behind. She smiled a carefree grin as she came closer.
“Hi there newbie, Welcome to Pandora..ra..ra!” She smiled calling loudly.
“Um hi?” I really didn’t know how to reply to that.
“My names Lucia call me Lucy and you die,” she smiled playfully. I couldn’t tell if she was serious or not. “I can see you are a demon Seeker aren’t you?”
“Yeah I guess,” I spoke concerned.
“I could tell from your black clothes, it’s nice to have an even number of angel and demons now,” Lucia sneered.
“So those are angels?” I asked pointing at the floating white haired girl.
“That’s Fawn and the boy below her is Max. She’s a bit of a know it all,” Lucia whispered as if to block her from hearing.
“You can make a contract with an angel too?”
“It’s not just demons. Demons take your soul, angels clean your soul. You have to be a pretty messed up peps to make a deal with an angel.” She put special attention on the words pretty and deal.
“Huh, oh my name is Dominic by the way,” I said realizing I haven’t told her.
“But I didn’t ask you…” her voice turned naïve, “And I believe you meant to say Dom not Dominic. I’d be careful with your word choice if you’re going to lie. ”
My eyes looked down noticing something in her hands. A mace held tight pointed towards the ground. I jumped back noticing the weapon. Lucia seemed confused by this more than anything. The handle of the black mace was a white coloring giving it a yin yang pattern much like my pistols.
“What’s the matter?” Lucia said in a babyish tone.
“Nothing, it just startled me that’s all,” I called returning to the spot I was.
“This is my baby, I call her Crackle,” Lucia stroked the metal with her other hand.
“Why Crackle?” I questioned.
“Because that’s the sound it makes.” She shot out her arm inches from my face with the weapon. “Crack.”
I flinched causing the white haired boy who lay upon the floor to laugh.
“And what’s so funny?” I snapped at the lazy bum.
“You’re so lost aren’t you?” He laughed sitting up keeping his eyes closed.
“And how woul-“He yawned widely opening his neon blue eyes cutting me off.
“Shhh, I get it, I was new once too. Pandora’s castle can be scary,” he yawned mockingly.
“Lue stop it,” his girl spat.
“I thought you’d be a fan of this Sasha,” Lue growled sluggishly laying back down.
“Just stop it ok?” Sasha delivered in a soft tone.
“For once I agree with the sloth,” the floating angel called.
“Seems like a waste of energy,” the boy next to her snarled.
“Do you two ever come down from your high perch?” Lucia smirked.
“I quite like it up here, don’t you Max?” The female angel called down to the boy.
“Whatever Fawn…” He sighed with annoyance.
“I think he’s cute.” The upside down angel called.
“You think everyone is you little whore,” the boy next to her said with a moan.
“That’s not what you said last night,” she smiled flipping right side up.
“I’m Rainia and this sour puss is Danny,” Rainia grinned flirty.
“Nice to meet you?” I asked unsure of all the information given to me.
“Where’s your demon?” Lucia’s demon called from the opposite side of the room.
“I don’t know she told me to meet her here but I don’t see her,” I announced looking around the room.
“She just left you?” Lucia questioned turning her head sideways.
“She just left me to change and told me to come in here.” My voice broke when the sounds of the wood against the shined floor came into ear.
Echo came through the door wearing a long black shirt that came to the bottom of her hip bone with white ruffles underneath sending it out slightly showing her black shorts that would have been hidden. Knee high cloth boots stained with the same coloring tighten with white string in an x pattern. The top came up to her neck display shoulders. A diamond shaped cut was placed on her breast showing her cleavage. Two matching black bracelets were on either wrist.
She stood silently with a blank expression as the room became silent. All three angels flew up into the air above their masters whose faces seemed as confused as my own. Lucia’s demon came from the other side of the room with in a blink of an eye. I had not even seen him move and now he stood in front of Lucia with a deadly glare in his eyes.
“What are you doing here?” He barked.
“Nice to see you to Gaven,” she chuckled patting his face.
Gaven ran back faster than anyone could possibly see holding Lucia. “Don’t touch me,” he yelled.
“Don’t be so mean Gaven,” Lucia said pulling away from him.
“It’s for your own protection Lucia. Now I’ll ask again what are you doing here?”
“Haven’t you heard? I got a contract,” Echo wrapped her hands around my neck smiling a wicked grin.
“Who would make a deal with the daughter?” Gaven snapped.
“Daughter?” I jolted.