Chapter - A Change in the Wind
The Five Kingdoms: A New Age
Darkness. That’s all Alex sees. Complete and utter darkness. He looks to his right and then to his left but still nothing. He looks down and can’t even see to his feet. The only thing he feels is the cold bitterness of the air upon his skin. That coldness puts a shiver down his spine as he walks forward. Goosebumps fill his body and the hairs on his arms stand up as he continues to try and figure out where he is.
“Hello?” he asks. No answer. “Is anyone there?”
He walks a little bit further. He does not know why he walks in this direction, but he feels as if he has been here before. He feels as if, he knows his way in the darkness of this world. But where is this dark world?
“Hello?” he shouts out once more.
“The time is coming, Alex Hodgins,” says a dark sounding voice.
“Who’s there? Show yourself!” Alex turns around demanding.
It feels as if something is continuously right behind him. He turns around back and forth trying to catch it. Finally, he decides to run forward trying to find anything.
“You can’t run from destiny. We are destined to either rule together or die at each other’s hand. Take a look into you’re future.”
Suddenly, everything changes, and he appears outside. As he breathes, he can see his own breath in the cold brisk air. He stands before a familiar white farm house. His white farm house, in fact. He looks around the house to see nothing but apple trees and rose bushes There are no other houses anywhere near his home. The sound neighs echo from the red barn behind him. He turns around to see the red sun setting on the beautiful Rockies. Everything seems normal until out of nowhere everything changes with a blink of an eye. The barn and house are on fire the, the sun is completely gone, and all of the trees and flowers are turned into flame and ash. Alex stands there in shock until he hears a girl’s screams coming from inside the house. Without a moment of thought of his own safety he darts into the burning home. As he runs past the flame, he does not feel heat at all. In fact, the fire seems to not be harmful at all. He continues charging through the flames toward the sound of the high pitch screams. He heads into the basement where he sees a purple glowing circle on the wall. Not too far from the circle lies his sister, Sara. She lies there on the ground with her leg clearly shattered as screams of pain radiate from her mouth.
“Help, Alex, please help” she screams in agonizing pain.
“I’m here, Sara.”
He reaches to grab her, but his hands go right through her.
“Why did you leave me? Why did Alex leave?” she cries.
“I didn’t leave. I’m right here.”
“This is yet to be but only you can avoid it,” says the voice again.
“What do you want?” asks Alex.
“The time is nearing for us both, Alex, heir of Floren. Where is the weapon?”
“What are you talking about?”
“Alex, just give it to him,” says Sara begging.
“I don’t know what this weapon is.”
“All will fall because of you. Can you handle their pain on your conscious? Can you handle their screams?” All he hears is a bunch of voices screaming his name over and over again. The voices cry in so much pain. The agony in their voices is not only heard but can be felt in his heart.
“Alex, Alex, Alex-,” the noise gets louder and louder until suddenly he feels a shake and opens his eyes.
He opens them to see his father sitting over him looking as concerned as ever. Alex sits up feeling soaked in sweat in his bed. He looks around confused and sees snow falling down through his bedroom window. Alex continues to look around his bedroom to see a poster of a Denver Broncos’ version of Peyton Manning hanging on his wall. Next to it he locates his shelves full of trophies and medals from past achievements. He keeps scanning his head until he sees his father still near him, but now sitting on the edge of the bed.
“Alex, are you okay?”
“Yeah, you know, just a nightmare.” Alex says trying to shrug it off.
“Yeah, I do know. You’ve been quite prone to getting those as of late.”
“Well, are you sure you don’t want to talk about it some?”
“I promise I’m fine, dad.”
“How does the arm feel?”
He looks over at his right shoulder where a scar remains from surgery. His left-hand grazes over, as he feels each bump.
“Alright, kid, well get ready for school. Today’s the last day before winter break.”
He pats Alex on the leg and walks out of the room. Alex gets out of bed. He rubs his eyes and looks at the clock. It reads 7:47. Outside it looks as if the snow had been falling all night. He slips on his blue jeans and plaid button up shirt and rolls up the sleeves. He stares at the mirror looking over his thin but athletic stature. After brushing his teeth and combing his hair over to the side he decides its time to move on downstairs. As he heads into the kitchen, he sees his dad setting the table by putting food out. The smell of bacon, eggs, and toast fill the air. On one side of the table sits his sister, Sara. She sits there with her long blonde hair covering her face starring at her phone while still in her plaid pajamas bottoms and a Nickelback concert t-shirt. He decides to sit down across from her at the dining room table.
“Morning, lazy” Alex says to his twin sister
“Morning, loser,” she replies jokingly
“You guys ready for winter break?” asks their father Dan. He comes in carrying pans of food for breakfast. The steam flows from the pans of food to the ceiling as the smell of eggs and bacon fill the air with an intoxicating aroma.
“Yeah by the way me and Tucker are hanging out today after school,” he says grabbing a piece of bacon.
“Thanks for telling me eventually. Sara? Any plans”
“Eh, probably nothing. Maybe come home and watch some Netflix and chill.”
“You can hang out with us,” offers Alex.
“I think I’ll pass.”
“Come on, you used to always hangout with us.”
“I’m going to finish getting ready now. Then we can go to school.”
She takes a final bite of eggs, drinks her orange juice and walks to the bathroom just down the hallway. Once she is in there, she shuts the door behind her. She gazes at the old school bus yellow walls. The rest of the bathroom shows the homes age starting with the shower that is filled with missing tiles and the beginnings of black coloured mould filled in the spaces after years of neglect. She goes over to the cracked vanity and washes her face and looks into the mirror. She pulls and ties her hair back into a ponytail but frowns before deciding to do her makeup. Applying black eyeshadow and eyeliner, she darkens her eyes and uses more makeup to cover up her natural freckles. She grabs her leather jacket and slips it on. She notices her sun medallion necklace hanging out before hiding it underneath her t-shirt. She looks back up into the mirror and sees something in the reflection. Snow is falling. She snaps her head behind and realizes there’s no window. She looks back and sees the snow still falling in the mirror. She places her hand on it but it is just a mirror. She stares closer until she sees two glowing yellow eyes appear in the snow. She blinks and rubs her eyes, but the yellow eyes seem to be getting closer. She decides to get closer herself to get a better look. Sara continues to be drawn in by the eyes until…BAM! a black wolf jumps into her direction. She jumps back falling onto the ground lightly smacking her head on the tub.
“Damn it,” she stays quiet and holding back tears. She takes a deep breath when she hears a knock at the door.
“Hey, Sara. Let’s go,” yells Alex.
She rubs the back of her head as she slowly stands back up to her feet. Her eyes go into tunnel vision as she walks back to the mirror to see just herself. Nothing else besides the bathtub and yellow wall are shown in the mirror.
“Sara!” Alex yells at the closed door again.
She sighs and yells back, “Coming.”
She backs up from the mirror, rubs her head with a sharp pain still existing and slips on her cowgirl boots. Just before she heads out of the door, she pulls down her beanie. They yell goodbye to their father and walk outside towards their old blue pickup truck. Alex looks up into the sky and feels the cold nip in the air. So cold that the sub-zero temperatures almost hurt to breathe into their lungs. They both get into the truck watching their breath rise from their mouths and into the atmosphere. Alex turns in the key and the truck fails to start.
“Come on,” pleads Alex.
He tries again. It still fails to start up until a third try. Alex smiles while Sara rolls her eyes.
“What a piece of junk,” Sara says shaking her head.
“Don’t say that about Ole Blue.”
He pats the dash and drives through the snowy road towards town to school. He looks over and sees her gazing out of the window without blinking.
“How are you doing?” asks Alex.
“Fine?” she asks questionably not looking away from road.
“You had another vision, didn’t you?”
“No.” she looks down at the dusty floor board. “Well, maybe. So what if I did?”
“You wanna talk about it?” he asks staying calm while she develops a defensive tone in her voice.
“I don’t know. I know you had another nightmare.”
“How could you possibly know that?”
“Alex, our rooms are right next to each other. If dad could hear you from downstairs, I can hear you from my room. I wouldn’t be surprised if the whole town heard you last night.”
“Don’t worry about it, I am just kidding.”
“So, once again, you wanna talk about any of it?”
“Who else would you talk to about this?”
“Fine then, you first.”
“Well, it’s been the same dream as before. Something dark is looking for some sort of weapon and all I hear is hundreds if not thousands of voices screaming because I can’t help them. Even you were in it this time. But it wasn’t you. It was someone showing your body, but it wasn’t real. None of it was. It felt like a vision of things to come. And this time there was a purple light that appeared right before I woke up. This one felt more like a warning than just a nightmare.”
“I feel like our visions are getting stronger and more complete. This time the yellow eyes showed itself. They belong to a large black wolf-like creature.”
They sit in silence for a while pondering their vision, until they pull up to the parking lot of the school. They sit looking at the large all grade building. Everyone from the little kindergarteners to high school seniors, bustling into all of the doors. They remain, rumbling inside of a parking stall on the high school side but sit in the truck for a bit. Finally, Sara sighs and pops open the heavy metal door and jumps onto the icy pavement.
“Alright, well, I will see you after,” says Sara
“Hey Sara, be careful,” he says just before she starts to shut the door. “You were right earlier. Whatever’s happening is getting stronger and closer to our deepest thoughts. Give me a call if you need me. Also remember that today is a half day of school. See ya.”
Alex sits in his truck for a bit longer listening to the rumble of the old Winser engine. He suddenly snaps his head backwards when he hears something rubbing against his truck. It sneaks quietly but rubs against the cold steel. He feels the beat of his heart accelerate now that the sound sounds like it is right outside and below him. Alex slowly rolls his window down and looks out cautiously until out of nowhere.
“Boo,” a short and stalky teen jumps out causing Alex to jump.
“What the hell’s wrong with you, Tucker?” he holds his chest as Tucker laughs so hard, he leans over and holds his knees. The cold air breath flows from his mouth as the laughter consumes him. Finally, Alex gains his composure before getting out and facing Tucker with a pissed off look upon himself. Tucker takes a step back and attempts to wipe the smile off of his face when he sees the seriousness in Alex’s face.
“Oh, don’t be a sore sport. I got you good, Alex and you know it.”
Alex turns the scowl on his face into a grin.
“Alright, alright. You got me good.”
He holds his hand up and they fist bump before walking towards the front of the building.
“You ready to hangout this break?” asks Tucker
“You better believe it. I’m stoked.”
“I don’t think I’ve heard anyone not over under thirty ever say the word stoked,” Alex mocks walking across the parking lot.
“Whatever, man. Video games and basketball on Christmas.”
“Dude, Lebron James vs. the Warriors rematch again. I can’t wait.”
“It is going to be awesome.”
“Speaking of which,” Tucker starts. “How is the arm? You going to be able to play this year at all?”
“Doesn’t look good. Doctor says another month of resting it which wouldn’t even give me time to adjust to the team or get in shape.”
“I’m sorry, man. They definitely could’ve used you this year. They look terrible.”
“Tuck, its basketball. We suck every year.”
They walk inside the main doors where they face a row of lockers. Easily a hundred students bustle all around with friends, while others get ready for class. They take an immediate right down the main hallway. They pass a glass office with a sign that reads Ms. Sandavol – Secretary, but nobody seems to be inside at the moment. As they enter a nearby classroom, they can hear the chatter of teens filling the room. Tucker and Alex walk over to a couple of empty desks on the far side of the room next to the window. Alex sits down in the seat while Tucker sits on top of the desk top and feet on chair, looking back at Alex.
“So, what’s going on?” asks Tucker.
“Nothing, just waiting for another day of home room.”
“You seem pretty out of it today. Not getting any sleep?”
“Something like that.”
“Who is keeping you up? I know you don’t talk to me at night.”
“I’m not talking to anyone.”
Tucker scans the room as if he is looking for someone.
“Alex Hodgins, the most eligible bachelor of our high school. Of course, you’re talking to someone.”
“Tucker, just stop, we only have like thirty boys in our class anyways. You are the only person I ever talk to.”
“Ah ha. You said boys.”
“What are you talking about now?”
He scans the room hard now looking for who could possibly be keeping him up. He spots a girl on the other side of the room and his eyes light up.
“What about Jessica Bloomquist?”
“Is there something wrong with Jessica?”
“No, not at all but she is super preppy. I am amazed still she isn’t in this class with Tiffany Becker.”
“Don’t be too harsh, remember that your sister used to be best friends with them.”
“Yeah, and so was I. But I don’t think we were ever anything like them. You need to remember we live in a town of maybe a thousand people. Everyone was best friends at one time.”
“Quiet! Everyone take your seats,” yells a younger adult male in the front.
“Who is that?” Alex whispers to Tucker.
Tucker just shrugs and turns around to sit down into his desk.
“Did you even hear the bell ring?” asks Alex.
“Alex, shh,” says Tucker.
Alex stares at the back of Tucker’s head angrily before unfixing his eyes. He changes focus to the man writing his name on the board. After writing Mr. on the board, he stops for a minute, almost to think about what he was writing. Only Alex seems to notice the hesitation before he finishes writing, Mr. Scott on the dry erase board. Alex also notices something off about the man. His skin is as pale as the winter snow outside, his eyes never make contact with anyone else, and doesn’t seem to move much at all.
“I am Mr. Scott, I will be your teacher this morning while your teacher is on an early vacation. It would seem I have a few announcements to read to you all, so pay close attention.”
He speaks in such a monotone voice most students already are falling asleep but Mr. Scott either doesn’t care or doesn’t notice. He pulls out a clipboard with a paper on it, but it would seem his eyes are suddenly fixed directly on Alex. Alex notices and starts to stare back for a moment. The teacher’s lips continue to move but not to the words that Alex is hearing.
“The time is near, Alex, son of Bethany, daughter of Ludius, heir of Floren. You do not belong here. You think you can sneak into this world without consequences, the Dark Lord will have you and your sister. The time is near.”
Outside, the clouds turn from fluffy light grey into dark thunder storm clouds. They begin to move into a swirl in the sky.
“The time is near. The Dark Lord sees all and know you are here. It is time for you to leave my world, Alexander Hodgins. How can a boy save a world when he won’t even be able to save himself?”
Alex looks deeper into Mr. Scott’s eyes as they roll up into his head and turn pure white. He looks deeper into them until a loud bang of thunder comes from outside and Alex jumps out of his desk and onto the floor. Everyone, including Tucker can’t help but chuckle at the eight-teen year old sitting on the floor. He looks around to see the teacher scowling with folded arms at him with normal brown eyes and outside is back to fluffy grey snow clouds.
“Mr. Hodgins, is it?”
“Why don’t you go walk it off?”
“I will go with him,” Tucker says popping up from his desk. He helps Alex to his feet.
“Does Mr. Hodgins need a personal servant to walk?”
“Mr. Scott,” says a girl from the back of the room. “You have to understand they are pretty much lovers.”
“Shut up, Jessica,” says Tucker.
Jessica starts mocking them further by making a kissy face with her face.
“I said shut up.”
He clenches his fist in anger. Alex puts his hand on his chest, pulling him to the doorway. They walk out of the room grabbing the wooden hall pass. Tucker rushes off, breathing hard until he can’t help but scream.
“Feel better?” asks Alex.
“A little, actually. But you were right, she is such a bitch. I mean we have been friends since birth pretty much.”
“I am pretty sure I never called her that, but she is just trying to get a reaction out of you. Come on, let’s go take a walk.”
Sara sits in the girls’ locker room tying up her running shoes and getting ready for gym class. She puts her earbuds in and turns up her favourite country song. Out of the blue, she hears a girl’s faint scream for help. She pulls out her right ear bud and listens closely. She hears it again but this time louder and more distinct. She definitely hears someone crying over by the showers.
She gets up and rushes over to see an unfamiliar freshman getting picked on by three older seniors. The freshman was a tiny looking brunette with brown eyes and glasses lying next to her. They continue to push her around and haze her until she slips and falls to the ground. She crawls away from the girls until she is crying in the corner. Sara decided to walk over to the showers to confront the seniors.
“Come on, Tiffany, really?” says Sara. They all stop to see Sara standing there looking at them with her arms folded. The leader of the group walks over. “Aren’t you a little old to be picking on freshmen?”
“Look who it is? I would’ve thought you were kicked out by now.”
“Look there’s like thirty girls in our class. I know you see me from time to time. Just leave her alone.”
“Or what, you freak?” they all laugh. “Will you have another episode and freak out again?”
“Just leave her alone.”
Sara sighs in frustration and starts to walk away, back towards her locker. She stops suddenly in her tracks when she feels the cold wetness of a used rag hit her on the back of the neck.
“You know, you used to be one of us before you started having a conscious. So, don’t be coming into here thinking you are everyone’s hero. You are just a nut job.”
She turns around and marches right back into the shower room to face Tiffany once again.
“No, I was never like you, bitch.”
The giggles stop immediately, and inside of the locker room, you could hear a pen drop from the other side of the room. Tiffany then cracks a sly smile and steps forward into Sara’s face. The two girls now stand just inches from each other.
“What did you call me?”
“You heard me. Bitch.”
“Well at least my mom didn’t hate me so much that she left right after laying eyes on me. How does it feel to be hated so much that-?”
Just then Sara clenches her fist and lands a haymaker right in Tiffany’s face. She falls backwards onto the ground. Tiffany stands up staggered and wipes the blood off of her mouth.
The three girls quickly gang up on Sara. Even though she tries to fight them off she is soon overwhelmed and kicked onto the grown. Tiffany kicks her in the ribs. The two other girls lift her up to her feet and Tiffany sucker punches her again in the stomach. Tiffany grabs Sara by the ponytail and gets close to her face while the girls hold her up
“Listen very closely, you and your family are nothing and you will always be nothing. I own this school and one day this town. I own you.”
Sara spits in her face and kicks one of the girls in the knee causing her to let go. She uses her free hand to throat punch the other girl and free herself. Finally, she kicks Tiffany in the stomach with the bottom of her foot forcing her to the ground.
“What’s going on in here?” screams a voice.
Everyone goes quiet and freezes as the gym teacher, Miss Hall, appears as a red rage flows through her body seeing the scene. She walks into the showers to see the freshman in the corner trying to adjust her bent glasses, one girl holding her knee cap, one catching her breath, and Tiffany in the middle with of the shower on her back. Finally, she sees Sara standing above them all. Miss Hall marches with her rage across the locker room straight up to the showers.
“In all of my years I have never walked into such a shameful display. Where is your dignity? I don’t care what happened. Tiffany, Sara, Courtney, grab your belongings and come with me now. You two, get yourselves together and get to class, I’ll deal with you later. I would definitely expect a suspension for you two. Come, you three.”
The walk to the principal’s office was done in complete silence. Thoughts rush through Sara’s mind, Suspension, Expulsion. What is my dad going to say? Will we have to move?
Miss Hall lead them to the office of Principal John Davison. That is the what the gold sign that Sara reads next to the office door. Below it sits a wooden bench for those required to wait for the principal. Miss Hall knocks and enters as they see an overweight balding man of a pretty plain face sitting behind a desk.
“Thank you. You may go,” he directs to the gym teacher. “Alright, I don’t have time for tedious details today, so I am going to get straight to business. I’m guessing that you were picking on this smaller girl and you two aren’t friends and got into a fight and basically, I just don’t care. So, basically what I’m saying is that Sara and Tiffany you are suspended and possibly expelled because I’m tired of all of this nonsense. Tiffany Becker, you are notorious for this type of behaviour. I know you are wealthy and think you can do whatever you want but no longer. Sara Hodgins, you have changed over the past year and seem to pick fights with everyone. I don’t know if you are trying to become the baddest girl in school or what but it doesn’t matter to me. This has become the final straw.”
“But sir-,” starts Sara.
He puts his hand up to silence her.
“No, it is over. I have no choice anymore. Courtney, go home for the rest of today and I will see you after the break. Your parents have been contacted. And for the two of you, you have exactly thirty minutes get off school property.”
They all file out of the office, shutting the door behind them. Tiffany goes right so Sara decides to walk left with Courtney directly behind. Sara walks pissed off to her locker not too far away. She grabs some books and puts them into her backpack and put it on her back. She slams shut the locker and sees Courtney’s innocent looking face starring at her with mascara stains running down her face.
“What do you want?” Sara asks angrily.
“I just wanted to say thank you for standing up for me in the back there, but it wasn’t worth it. Although it will be nice not to have to deal with her anymore at school.”
“She’ll be back,” she says walking down the hallway. She pulls out her phone to call home but no service. “Damn school is always a dead zone.”
“Because it is an old school that is basically a bunker made out of brick.”
“No, why will she be back?”
“She’s super rich and her dad owns all of this town for the most part. She can buy herself back into school. And I didn’t hit her because of you but never think that you aren’t worth fighting for. Alright?” she says turning around to her, looking her into her brown eyes.
“Crap,” Sara tries to hide her bloodied-up face as Alex and Tucker come heading their direction. They keep walking toward the girls without noticing them.
“I am telling you, I wasn’t sleeping,” Alex tries to convince Tucker before noticing his sister. “Sara, are you alright?”
“Yeah, I am fine. Why?” she asks keeping her face covered.
“Let me see your face,” he demands before carefully examining her face. “You have a bloody lip and you are still in your gym clothes.”
“She laid out a bully in gym class. You must be Alex Hodgins.”
“Why do you know me? Never mind, that’s not important. Who was it?”
“Nobody,” she says glaring at her apparent side-kick.
“You, girl, I’m sorry, but I don’t know your name.”
“Right, Courtney, who was it?”
“Some senior named Tiffany.”
Sara rolls her eyes and folds her arms in disgust.
“It’s not that big of a deal. What are you doing out of class anyways?”
“Sleepy head here, fell out of his desk. Did you really punch Tiffany Becker?”
“Not now, Tuck,” responds Alex.
“She did,” buts in Courtney.
“Courtney!!” Sara yells
“Sorry,” she says looking down at her feet.
“Anyway, I’m fine Alex. Just a couple bruises.”
“Well let’s get you home anyway and get you cleaned up.”
Sara hold her phone again up above her head but all she sees is her phone reading 9:03 with no bars in the upper right corner.
“I tried calling dad but my phone hasn’t had any reception. I wonder if he forgot to pay the phone bill or something. Anyway, Davidson said I have exactly thirty minutes to get off school property.”
“The principal?” asks Tucker
“Yeah. Do you know another Davidson?”
“Well, for your information, Mr. Davidson went on vacation last week. He hasn’t been here since,” replies Tucker.
“Tucker, I’m in no mood right now.”
“No, he right,” assures Alex. “Tucker is his assistant for the year.”
“Guys, I was just in there. I’ll prove it.”
She walks quickly to the office and the others follow behind closely. They approach the door and Alex knocks and turns the door handle when he sees the others hesitate. The handle is locked and the door doesn’t move.
“See? It’s been locked.”
“Me and Courtney were just in-.”
“Hey, get away from there.” yells an older woman’s voice from the down the hall.
They all turn around quickly to see a middle-aged woman walking with excellent posture and her glasses around her neck on a chain. She approaches in a typical uptight and professional style.
“Mrs. Sandavol, we were looking for the principal,” says Alex as the others clearly have frozen yet again.
’He’s not here, Mr. Hodgins. I called you out of class to come to the office over 30 minutes ago. Both of you.” They all look questionably at each other not knowing which two she was talking about.
“Yes, and that’s why we went to the principal’s office. We thought you wanted this office here.” Alex makes up assuming she is talking about him.
“Whatever,” she says questioningly. “Usually, I’d say you’re full of it but considering the circumstances, I don’t care at the moment. There’s been an … incident at your home. I don’t know details in full, but you should head home immediately. You two may as well leave, too.” She says pointing to Courtney and Tucker. “There’s only half an hour left of school anyways.” She turns around and walks away out of sight of the children. Alex turns to Sara.
“Something isn’t right.”
“No shit, Alex. That’s what just said. Come on, let’s go,” replies Sara.
“Wait,” he grabs her arm as she tries to leave
“What is your problem?” she shakes loose.
“She’s right, man. You need to head home,” says Tucker, “I’ll come with if you want.”
“Guys, I’m telling you something isn’t right,” he says again. “Think about it. Have you ever seen Sandavol ever just send someone home or not care about anything?”
“Are you kidding me? You’re being suspicious of someone for being nice,” says Sara hotly. “Dad could be in danger.”
“Actually, hold up,” says Courtney.
“Not you too.”
“No, hear me out. When do half days get let out?”
“Noon” Sara answers.
“Well,” she pulls out her phone, “It’s only 9:03.”
“Guys, this is ridiculous,” Sara complains. “So she was wrong about the time?”
“Also, this hallway should be full of people right now. People should be getting to second period right now.” Tucker ignores Sara.
“He’s right,” agrees Alex.
They all look around and up and down the hallways. There isn’t a single other person or sound in the area. Alex pulls out his phone and sees 9:03.
“Courtney, let me see your phone.” Alex demands. She pulls it out and hands it to him. It shows the time of 9:03. “Guys, something is definitely not right.” He shows the time on both phones and the time shows 9:03. There is no service or data at all on their phones.
“Guys, check it out.” Tucker shows his wrist watch. The hands aren’t moving at all and show 9:03.
“Alright, something is not right.” Sara finally comes around to terms. She runs down the hall towards two nearby doors with the others not far behind.
“The time has come,” says a group of teachers in unison smashing through two hallway doors. They walk together from the other side of the hall towards the four teens.
“What is going on?” asks Courtney scared.
“Guys get back,” Alex stands between the deranged teachers and his friends.
“THE TIME HAS COME!”
Principal Davidson begins to charge at them quickly when a gunshot goes off and he drops to the ground. When he collapses, he doesn’t just die but disappears into the tile floor. The children turn around to see Alex and Sara’s father standing there with a Colt .45 revolving pistol. Smoke rises from the barrel and into the ceiling.
“Dad? What are you doing here?” says Sara.
“And you just shot the principal,” exclaims Courtney.
“No time to explain. But I didn’t kill any principal,” says Dan as he fires three more shots killing more apparent teachers who also vanish when they die. Soon, a dozen more “people” come charging at them.
“Alex, get them out of here. Go to the house and find a man name Fromm. Trust nobody else. Now, go!”
“But dad -,” starts Alex.
“You are meant for great things, son. I am sorry for everything. Now go. I will find you eventually.”
He walks towards the enemy firing and Tucker pulls on Alex towards the front door. Sara leads the pack quickly through side fire exit.
“Sara, hold up,” yells Alex but she does not hesitate.
Alex runs quickly after, followed by the other two. She smashes through the front doors leading to outside to find nothing. All colour in the world has disappeared in the world through her eyes. She rubs her eyes and re opens them only to see black and white world remaining just as before. The others come flying through the door soon after and see the same. Nothing. Not a breeze through their hair. Not the breath of cold air. Not the heat of the sun’s rays. The four look around together stunned and confused.
“W-what is this?” Sara asks trying to take
it all in.
“I don’t understand,” says Courtney.
“It’s as if the world has stopped existing,” adds Tucker.
“Guys let’s go to the house. I mean that’s where dad said to go,” says Alex. “It’s our only clue at this moment of what has happened to us and the world.”
“I agree,” replies Sara. “Let’s go.”
Alex leads them all to the truck at the end of the parking lot. They hop in with Alex driving, Sara in the passenger and the two others squishing into the back. Alex turns the key and the truck starts right up with no problems. Alex and Sara look at each other in surprise but shrug it off considering everything else going on. They drive through the small town and enter the countryside seeing nothing but black and white. Sara unzips her backpack and goes to pull out her clothes to find it empty.
“Is this a dream?” asks Tucker.
“A dream that we are all sharing together. I don’t think so, Tuck,” answers Alex. “But something is going on.”
“More like a nightmare, where the hell is my clothes? I swear I put them in my bag before gym class.”
“I know,” says Tucker. “I don’t think I have seen you in shorts this long before. Your legs are quite blinding.”
“Shut up. Someone stole my jacket.”
“Look,” says Courtney pointing into the distance.
They look to see in the direction of her finger’s point and see a stream of smoke rising into the sky. It seems to be coming from a home in the fields.
“It’s our house,” says Alex. “It’s on fire!”
He speeds up and slides his truck to a stop on the dirt driveway. He jumps out and runs inside without thinking when suddenly an explosion sends him back and throwing him onto the ground.
“Alex!!” yells Sara.
He blinks and only hears a ringing in ears. She jumps out of the pickup and rushes over to him. She quickly helps him to his feet. Tucker and Courtney pile out of the vehicle and immediately stop in their tracks. Tucker stands there pointing speechless.
“Tucker what are yo-,” Sara starts until she looks to where he is pointing and sees two shadowy figures coming out of the house. They stand about seven feet tall and look like two shadows standing up from the ground.
“Where is it? The Dark Lord is impatient,” says one with an almost loud whisper. “And you are un welcome here.”
“Who are you? What weapon are you looking for?” asks Alex
“We are getting impatient. I will cut any information out of you.”
The both pull out a long dark sword that also looks like a shadow. They come for the four high schoolers and without thinking Alex places himself between the shadows and the others.
“Guys, get back,” he warns.
The shadows get closer and raise their swords and as they bring them down, Alex blinks and a man jumps from the side blocking the swords with his own. He is a tall and scruffy man wearing brown leather armour. He pushes them back away and starts to return the attack while keeping the kids behind him. Out of the house door come three large, ugly and grey creatures.
“Grab the girl and go,” says one of the shadows before they both attack the man. “Before we lose our patience with you too.”
The man and the shadows exchange blows back and forth. Continuously the man blocks the shadows strikes and the shadows block the man’s strikes. Finally, he shoves one back and cuts it at the leg and then shoves his blade in the chest. It falls to the ground screaming and vanishes into the dirt like the teachers did. The grey creatures approach the four. Alex swings and punches one but the creature kicks him back out of the way. One quickly grabs Courtney and runs back to the house with her while the man is busy with the shadow.
“Courtney!!” yells Sara as she charges after them.
“So long, Protector,” scoffs the shadow as he vanishes. “Leave this world.”
The man quickly goes over and grabs Sara before she can run into the house. She kicks and screams until he sets her back onto the ground.
“What are you doing?” she screams at him. “They took her into a burning building.”
“Relax, Sara,” he says as the others approach.
“How do you know my name?”
“I know you both and I can explain almost everything.”
“Let’s start with a name.” suggests Alex.
“My name is Fromm. I am a Protector of the Five Kingdoms. You are probably wondering where you are.”
“That would be nice,” says Tucker.
“You are in what’s called the inter dimension. You are in between an inner dimensional portal. We knew this attack was coming and couldn’t risk them entering your actual world.”
“We?” asks Sara.
“Father and him I am guessing. He mentioned you. Do you know where he is?”
“When did you decide to send us here against our will?” asks Sara.
“While you were asleep. If you noticed, your visions were probably a lot stronger today. We didn’t know when they would show up for you, but we couldn’t risk you finding out sooner than right now. Actually, we were hoping you had a couple of days. Which one of you attacked one of them?”
Alex and Tucker stare straight at Sara.
“I may have had an encounter with a girl named Tiffany and her ghouls.”
“Well, unfortunately that wasn’t Tiffany or her ‘ghouls’,” says Fromm. “When you decided to fight them the spell was broken, they slowly started realizing you weren’t one of them.”
“So, what were those things?” asks Sara.
“Well, you just saw two different things. The big ugly grey things were orcs. Servants of the Dark Lord’s army. They do not sleep, they do not eat for hunger. They are born and bred to hunt for the Dark Lord. Those shadows are called shadow-shifters. They were originally created to protect the portals between world but eventually fell to corruption.”
“So, their job was to prevent this very thing from happening?”
“In a way. When you attacked them, our spell was broken, and they were kind of pissed and decided on a side. The Dark Lord is becoming powerful and they know this.”
“Basically, this day didn’t happen at all.”
“Your life hasn’t happened. When we took you from your world, you were erased from existence. We couldn’t risk anything crossing over and affecting that world. This was honestly the only way to save both worlds.”
“So, if our father and you are not from our world and you are here to save us from some dark lord, why did you bring Courtney and Tucker into all of this?” asks Sara.
“To be completely honest I have no idea how they got sucked in to all of this. Their connection with you two must just be that strong.”
“We all just met Courtney today, in our world.”
“Really? You never met her before ever?”
Everyone shakes their head.
“Interesting. I don’t know what or why, but something wants the two of you as much as I needed Sara and Alex.”
“Alright, well, where is Courtney and why did take her?” asks Tucker.
“Somewhere in the other world. In the Five Kingdoms. They are looking for the weapon that can destroy the ruler of kingdom. I assume they were going after Sara and grabbed the wrong girl.”
“But that just brings more questions than answers. Why would they want me in the first place? I know nothing of your world or the enemy threatening it.”
“Alex and Sara, you are the chosen ones. The last of the royal family. The future leaders of the rebellion. And future High King and Queen of the Five Kingdoms. Now shall we continue to your kingdom? I will answer more questions as soon as I can.”
Alex and Sara look questionably at each other.
“Those shadow-shifters are not going to be gone for long. They do not allow visitors in here. We must go now,” pleads Fromm. “I know that this a lot for you to take in right now but hopefully when we return to the Berthold, the capital of the Five Kingdoms, things will become clearer.”
“What of our father?” asks Alex.
“I do not know. He should’ve been back by now, but we can’t wait for him to return. Time is running out. He will find a way. I know it.”
“I don’t know of this whole royalty thing but if it means getting Courtney back, I’m in,” decides Sara. “I will not allow someone to suffer in my place.”
“Of course, I’m in if she’s in.” says Alex. “Plus, what choice do we really have?”
“Well, I may not be royalty but as your best friend I got your back,” agrees Tucker.
“Follow me, then.”
They all follow Fromm into the burning house but as they approach it no heat comes from it. It reminds Alex of his dream he had seen so many times before. They continue to follow him into the house and down the stairs into the basement. The reach the cement wall and stop.
“Where is this portal?” asks Sara.
“It is there,” points Alex at a brick in the wall that doesn’t match the rest of the wall.
“That’s correct.” Fromm replies. “How did you know that?”
“Let’s just call it a lucky guess.”
“Well, whatever it is, it shows that I definitely have the right people with me.” Fromm pulls his sword out and places the tip on the brick. “To open it you must read the markings on the brick while placing your weapon on it.”
Alex looks at the brick closely trying to read it:
oʊpən ˈaɪz tu ˈʌðɚ wɝldz
“What does that say? I can’t read it.”
“It’s Nagib, an ancient tongue and civilization. It reads ‘open our eyes to other worlds’.”
Suddenly a purple lighted up circle forms around on the wall as the portal opens up. “Shall we?” he stands next to it holding out an invite to enter the light. Alex lead the way through followed by Sara and Tucker with Fromm closely behind before it shuts.