Chapter 2: Into The Magic Realm
The attic was circular in shape with a conical roof that tapered upwards. Two windows were built into the roof, letting in gloomy light. Heavy rain pelted against the old grime covered glass, echoing throughout the room.
There wasn’t much in it, just a few boxes and a stack of old newspapers. A thick layer of dust covered the floor and hung in the air. With every step, more dust would float up, tickling Jack’s throat. It looked pretty much like you might expect an attic to look...except for one strange fact.
All around the room was an intricate mural, painted directly onto the walls. Jack scanned by the light of his phone, amazed by the level of detail and the fantastical images.
He followed the walls of the room, running his hand along the mural, feeling the coarse grain of the long-dried paint. Even in the strange light, the scenery was vivid and bright. He paused at an image of a shimmering sea, dotted with small islands and strange tentacled beasts rising from the waters. Following along, he saw the land rise up, huge cliffs making way for giant mountains crowned with cloud. He saw figures on the mountainside, huge giants hurling boulders at one another. Towering high above was a massive volcano erupting. Hot fire and smoke billowed up while lava oozed down its sides.
Lightning flickered outside and the fires of the lava seemed to glow for a moment.
A desert tumbled away from the mountains, yellow sand broken by jagged rocks. Jack peered closer to inspect some small dots and realised they were strange creatures, scurrying across the sands. Touching the wall he felt the dust and took his hand back. It felt coarse and when he looked to his fingers he saw a few grains of…sand?
The desert passed into scrublands and forest, verdant and green. A raindrop fell and Jack looked up for a leak in the towered roof. He could smell the rain, and…something else. The damp smell of earth. Some boxes were stacked in front of the wall and Jack stepped onto one to take a better look at the painting. It wobbled a little beneath him.
Something caught the corner of his eye and he looked to the forest again, scanning till he saw what it was. There, ever so faintly, a silver wisp of smoke rose from the trees. A campfire? Thunder rumbled and he blinked. In the half-light, the smoke seemed to weave and move. Jack rubbed his eyes and leaned in closer, placing his hand on the wall, next to a large tree. The level of detail was impossibly fine and he looked in to see the fine lines of the rough bark, coarse and jagged.
A bird cried out. Jack turned to the window but only the heavy rain tumbled against the glass. Surely no bird was singing in this weather? Again the bird call came and Jack turned in shock. It was coming from within the painting! He looked around, wondering where the bird had been painted and gasped as he saw it fly past. He reached out with his left hand and felt the boxes slip beneath his feet. Bracing himself for the shock of hitting the wall, he fell forward. Lightning flashed and his eyes instinctively shut against the blinding light.
Jack waited for the impact but felt nothing—nothing at all in fact. He felt himself slipping and twisting as he fell into a bright light.