Chapter 2: Decision
She had to admit, this was a split second decision. That was often what happened to her when the voices spoke. She would react to the words in her head so quickly, it was almost like a reflex. She didn’t know how she would get into The Library once she got there, she wasn’t sure of anything, not even in the next moment after she should step outside. She only knew that she must go and make haste, before something tried to stop her.
The reason why this essay was so important was not just because it gave her a passing grade to finish her degree. It was also because she was doing a little research of her own on something so unexplainable she didn’t know if she was reading the words on the page correctly.
She couldn’t do the research on her own terms, in her spare time, as people would begin to wonder why she continued to pore over internet articles and write frantic and hurried notes on them.
No, the only way it could be done without anyone suspecting anything was to write an essay on her own research. That way when people wondered so curiously, she could explain to them that it was an important essay for school. Then they would leave her alone. And it worked. People never questioned again her franticness after that.
What was she researching for so desperately, you may wonder?
Something that made her question everything she ever believed in or thought was real.
The Legend of the Shadow Portals.
Danielle knew that she had to leave now. She stood up, grabbed her jacket and took one more glance into the mirror that was on the other side of the room. Her eyes seemed to glow a pure crystallised blue and when she opened the window to climb out, a large gust of wind blew around the room, whipping her hair in all different directions.
She took a deep breath and jumped into the unknown. Not in place, but her future.
She hurriedly stood up and began to run down the darkened roads. As she ran, her breathing became louder and it caught in her throat as she saw dark figures and shapes on the sidewalk as her legs pushed her down the track.
The voices in her head urged her on, but now that she was nearer to the truth, the monsters began to appear. The twisted shapes and shadows that her glowing, crystallised eyes saw scared her beyond measure, but she knew they couldn’t hurt her.
For this plan to work, to get into the library undetected, she would need help. Amanda, her best friend would be the only one who would understand. She already knew part of why Danielle was doing all this research. She didn’t know the whole story though. But now was the time to reveal it and risk everything.
Slowing to a walk as she was now in a thick section of town and the lit up streets where flooded with people as it was not uncommon for people to work well into the early hours of the morning as scientists had discovered a way to function incredibly well with hardly any rest. It was not the case with Danielle as she preferred to do things the Old Way.
Ironically though, she pulled her iPhone out and called Amanda. The phone buzzed loudly as fear rang in her ears, creating a twisted harmony that taunted yet urged her on.
She walked into a coffee shop on the side of the street, aware of all the little, seemingly insignificant things that were happening around her. Her senses were extremely heightened and she noticed everything through intense, glass clear eyes. The smell of slightly burnt coffee beans and overly sweet smell of vanilla that was drenched through the air in attempt the mask the fact that the establishment probably hadn’t been giving a cleaning in years; the feel of the panicked wind that blew on the back of her neck; the whisper of people through nearly closed lips as they struggled to keep their mask intact. Even now she knew how they must feel, as she had struggled to keep the perfect mask they were given perfect and flawless. She had given up on that a long time ago and decided to be undefinable.
Amanda finally picked up on the other end of the line and Danielle’s heart began to pound out a frenzied rhythm that kept to no earthly metronome.
“Danielle, where are you? Somethings wrong, I can already tell. Danielle, talk to me!” Amanda exclaimed into the phone as Danielle breathed in relief, but still not certain of Amanda’s reaction.
“Cool it, it’s a long story, and I feel like I’m going to go insane. Do you know what they’ll do to me if they find out that I know what I do? It’s not going to be a breezy walk in the park. They want to keep people in the dark forever.” Danielle replied desperately as she ran her fingers through her messy, wind played with hair.
“Danielle, finish explaining what you mean. I’m still a little confused and from the tone of things, it sounds like we don’t have a lot of time for confusion.” Amanda said, with a stain of worry to the intensity of her voice.
“Amanda, I am going to sound like I’ve lost my mind, but I’m going to tell you anyway. The Shadow Portals are real. It isn’t just a myth. At first I was convinced I was delusional. But do you remember the voices in my head? They talk about the Portals! The voices are supposed to be spirits of Shadow Travellers that try to shout across truth and warning across the shadow portals to people who have the ability to hear.”
There was silence for a moment and Danielle thought that Amanda was living up to her expectations and had hung up, convinced that she was crazy. But then she heard a breath on the other side of the line.
“Danielle, listen to me. You’re not crazy. I just can tell that what you’re saying is true. There’s a reason that you can hear them. You must be the only one listening.”
Danielle sighed into the phone and then looked around nervously.
“I don’t even know what I’m going to do now!”
She heard Amanda shift her weight on the other end of the line, she must still be at home on her bed.
“You want to get The Library, don’t you?” She said confidently.
Danielle’s head snapped up and she hissed into the other end of the line.
“How did you know that? I didn’t even mention anything about The Library! What are you, a mind reader or something?” she shook her head in disbelief.
Amanda replied with a laughing lilt to her voice.
“No, but I do know that the information that you want to access and that you need can only be found there. This is serious stuff. They aren’t going to give out stuff like that into the university research room.”
Danielle moved slightly on her seat and put her hand on the side of her head.
“I know, but how on earth am I going to get inside? It’s got the tightest security in all the world!”
Amanda sighed and then said, “Where are you?”
Danielle replied, “I’m at the Pinecone Café, you know the one near the genetic upgraders?”
“Yeah, I know the one.” Amanda said.
“Give me 10 minutes. I’m not letting you do this on your own.”
Danielle stammered, “What, no, wait a minute!”
But the phone line buzzed, signalling that Amanda had hung up.
Danielle groaned in desperation. She couldn’t let Amanda be dragged into this! Who knew what could happen! She could get killed. Or arrested and tortured at the very least.
Just then the bell on the door clanged loudly and Danielle quickly whipped her head around. Darn it! Amanda was already here. How was she going to persuade her to not come with her? Danielle groaned internally and leaned her head back in frustrated desperation. She knew that talking Amanda out of something that she was determined to do had a 100 % percent failure rate.
Amanda made her way confidently over to the table Danielle was sitting depressingly at. She did this while attracting a couple of interesting looks from the males in the room. She was a very attractive girl and she didn’t seem to notice all the looks she was getting. This knowledge made her sadden slightly as she knew perfectly well that she was very plain and boring. She wasn’t jealous of her friend, she was just a little upset at the fact that she would never get the same looks that her Amanda did.
Amanda glided across the room gracefully and easily slid into the chair that was across from Danielle. She gave her a look and stared into her eyes.
“Now we have to figure out a plan.” Amanda said surreptitiously and looked casually around the room to make sure that no one was paying their conversation too much attention.
Danielle leaned forward, her brown hair cascading onto the table and said, “Amanda, I can’t drag you into this. Who knows what could happen to you? You could get killed because of me!” She hissed loudly at her and then folding her arms across her front that was dressed in a black leather jacket. What can I say? If I don’t have looks, I gotta have the clothes.
“Dani, this isn’t even up for discussion. I am coming with you! I have known you since we were sucking on dummies and I am not letting my best friend get herself into something like this without me! Dream on girl, I’m coming whether you like it or not.”
Danielle groaned in frustration and grabbed her jacket from the back of the chair. Amanda stood up to follow her and Danielle proceeded to stare at Amanda in annoyance.
Amanda turned back to look back at her and flicked her head toward the door.
“Come on, Dani, we need to leave now, you glaring at me isn’t going to make me vanish.” She said with a decidedly satisfied smirk on her face.
Danielle rolled her eyes and stormed quietly out the front of the café. Luckily people didn’t notice has they were too busy sipping their expensive coffee and carrying on in polite, stiff table conversation.
They walked innocently down the streets that were lit up with blue streetlights and made their way down an alleyway, each looking over their shoulders to make sure that they weren’t being followed by nosy or curious strangers.
Dani buried her hands in her pockets and leant towards Amanda as she said,
“We need to formulate a plan or this breaking in thing will never work. We will literally need to have the highest smarts and serious moves to pull this off. But we need to pull this off. Failing is not an option.” Amanda looked into the glass blue eyes of Dani and saw the steeled determination behind the curtains of her pupils and then began to think.
Dani remained quiet and thought of her own plan as she knew that Amanda was lost in different strategies and plans about how they could possibly get into and break past the heavy security.
“How could they get rid of the guards? It’s not like they could just strut in confidently and knock out all the guards.” Then Dani had an idea. But for this manoeuvre to work they would need supplies and time.
Then she realized Amanda was looking at her intently. “You’ve got a plan, don’t you? Well, I have something that could work too.”
Dani smiled and then explained the dangerous moves to Amanda in hushed, nervous but excited tones, getting carried away as her hands splayed while she told Amanda her idea. Amanda then quickly told Dani her plan as well and they organised how it would work as they began to walk swiftly down the alley and back out onto the blue lighted road.
Then, as if fate was in on their secret, they stopped in front of a robotics and hardware store.
They both looked at each other with raised eyebrows and their hoods on, casting shadows on their faces.
“This had better work,” said Amanda.
“It’s got to work. Failing isn’t a valid option anymore,” replied Dani.