He slid his keys into the door knob and jiggled it once, twice, and three times before it opened. It was a secret the guys had instead of just buying a new door knob. He sighed and looked at the boxed up apartment.
The dance was tonight but he did not really feel like going. It was not mandatory. But it was expected that the graduating seniors attend as a 'going away' event. He bent down to take off his Nikes with one hand and dropped them noisily onto the ground.
He eyed the boxes warily. Both he and Simon had been feverishly packing in an attempt to get things ready for the moving truck in a matter of days.
He peered down the hall toward Blake's room where the door was slightly ajar. They had taken some of Blake's possessions to keep them since they figured he wouldn't be coming back. Randy had kept the CD's and several frames of photos. Simon had kept some of his games and a few movie ticket stubs that the boys had gone to see together. Everything else lay where he left it.
Randy stood up and began stacking the boxes toward the door in neat piles so they were out of the middle of the floor. His messy locks fell around his eyes with each movement. Some boxes were heavier than others and the task took a matter of minutes before the living room was clear.
"That's done. . ." He sighed and rested a hand against the counter. The pens caught his attention and he grabbed a plastic baggie to tie them up.
"Simon sure knows how to make a mess." He muttered and then grabbed at the piece of paper. The words caught his eye and he read them slowly.
I know where he is.
The words were scrawled in a tiny writing so Randy had to squint to read them. "What is this. . .some kind of joke?" He growled and crumbled up the paper into a ball. He shot it into the wastebasket and let a scowl fall over his lips.
"No one knows where he is."
"I do." A soft voice met his ears and Randy jerked around toward the sound. There was nothing, no one. He felt his heart stop and he slowly backed up till the counter was behind him. He narrowed his eyes.
"Simon, this is the last time you pull this shit on me..."
No one responded to him and so Randy reached into the drawer and pulled out a kitchen knife. He held it close to his side and slowly backed up toward the door.
"Where are you going?" The voice whispered in his ear and he yanked around stabbing at the air.
"Who the fuck are you and what do you want!" Randy shouted and spun in a circle as he felt a whoosh of air pass by his neck. A thin line of sweat coated his forehead.
"I know where your friend is and I want to bring you to him." The little voice answered. It seemed farther away now, like it was down the hallway toward Blake's room. Randy gulped and glanced toward the front door. It was looking pretty appealing.
'I should make a run for it.'
Randy turned his body toward the door in slow easy steps.
"He needs you." The voice whispered again when his fingertips brushed against the knob. Randy froze and slowly lowered his hand. He glanced toward the room where the voice was and placed the knife upon a nearby table. If it was a ghost- the knife wouldn't do him any good.
"I won't hurt you."
Randy snorted. "Bullshit."
"It's true." The voice was loud in his ears and Randy jumped. He breathed in and out and tried not to panic.
"Where is he?" Randy asked, he scratched at his arm nervously and waited for a response.
"Somewhere you never would have thought to have looked."
"Tell me, do you still have that amulet?" Randy hesitated before nodding his head. "It's in Blake's drawer." He scratched his locks and shrugged his shoulders as he moved into Blake's room.
"I felt bad so I moved all his stuff from his car in here." He pulled open a drawer and soon enough the glint of the golden locket and it's gems were revealed.
"Part of me thought about selling it and doing something with the money in honor of Blake. But I didn't want to yet."
"He would be happy you kept it, you are a true friend Randy."
The voice seemed very happy and whoever it was seemed to be standing right next to him. Randy peered over his shoulder out of the corner of his eye before re-wraping the amulet.
"So now what?" He asked curiously and turned to face the voice. He placed his hands in his pockets and tilted his head back.
"Unfortunately, I cannot grasp tangible objects." The voice chirped and Randy looked up as something sparkling caught his eye.
"So Human Randy, if you are brave enough, I would love for you to accompany me to save Aion!"
"Aion?" Randy echoed and he moved a few steps closer to the small glittering dots on the wall. He rubbed his eyes.
"Blake." The voice answered again. To his surprise, the small dots fell off the wall onto the ground before him. They lept around before curling into a small bird. The small golden bird flew twice around his head and nestled on Blake's desk.
"Can you see me, Mr. Randy?" The voice asked and he shakily nodded his head. He ran a hand through his curly locks and felt as though his eyes were going to fall out of his head.
"This is a dream .. . this is a dream. .. just think, powder puff football. . .graduation .. . .the job. .." He mumbled.
"It's not a dream Randy." Marian's voice came out in a sigh. The small bird drifted to land upon his shoulder. He shuddered at the contact.
"Blake is in danger."
Randy sighed and bounced on his feet, he turned his head to glance at the magical bird nested on his shoulder. It stared blankly back at him.
"What kind of danger. . . you promise not to curse me?" He asked and looked down at the amulet in his hand.
"Promise." Marian's voice rang out.
"All right.. . I'll help." Randy nodded his head confidently and smiled toward the constellation.
Her laughter rang throughout the small room and sent shivers down his spine.
"Hold on tight!" Before Randy could answer, the stars lept from his shoulder and traced a circle around his feet. He opened his mouth to ask a question but immediately was shot down through the floor as the carpet dissipated.
"Holy Shit!" His voice rang out in the room before he vanished from sight. He could have sworn he saw Simon staring at him through the open door. Simon's mouth was ajar and his hand was outstretched as to catch him.
Randy knew a lot of things. He was one of the smartest kids in his field going into radiology. He loved the skeleton and imaging. The body moved as though it was a work of art beneath the X ray machines. He prided himself on his advanced knowledge of human anatomy. Most kids from his school would never have known how smart he was if his name was not etched into the plaque for their graduation year for being number four in his class.
No one would have suspected it.
Randy knew a lot of things.
But what he saw when he tumbled through the tunnel. Flashes of golden light and a small girl floating next to him as they defied all rules of gravity and began floating up. He felt his jaw go slack and he looked all around him. Wind tore through his hair and clutched at his shirt in an attempt to pull down his body. He thought he was going crazy, but it wasn't a dream.
He pinched himself one more time for good measure.
It was real.
The small girl drifted next to him and curiously observed him. She extended her hand out to him in a waving motion.
"I'm Marian!" She shouted over the wind. A soft light encompassed her tiny figure. She was covered in a soft white material that looked so silky Randy thought it could have been air.
"R-Randy." He awkwardly waved his hand back at her. The wind slowed down around them and they gently floated within the air. Marian motioned with her hand and they were carried by the wind to a soft platform that drifted within the dark blue scenery. Randy stared in amazement when he noticed that the soft glittering lights he had seen began to look like stars.
"Where are we?" He asked slowly and turned in a full circle to admire the beauty of this world. It was more wondrous than all the open oceans he had ever seen. More magnificent than Mount Everest. And more enchanting than the Northern lights. Soft voices echoed around him. A few orbs drifted down from the ceiling to curiously observe Randy before the lept into the sea of stars.
He felt at peace for the first time in his life and utterly amazed.
"The Rhelm of Fate!" Marian answered and stood before him with her hands crossed behind her back. She sighed in relief as her power began to return to her back in her familiar world.
"You might think this is crazy, I admit that I would, but your friend has been gifted with magical abilities to protect this world." She sighed and stared into his eyes. Randy gasped when he noticed the bright golden color. An abnormal color. He ran his hand through his curly locks.
"So, like, you mean that Blake has like superpowers.. . or something?" He said it slowly, realizing more and more how weird this situation was.
"I guess you can say that. . ." Marian sighed.
"Look, I know he would have told you if I hadn't kept it a secret. But the Blake you know really isn't from your world. There's more going on than you could have ever imagined. That girl is in danger!"
Randy's head shot up and he narrowed his eyes.
Marian nodded and clasped her hands in front of her as she rocked back and forth on her bare feet.
"She's more involved in all this than you know."
Randy's brow furrowed and he seemed lost in thought for a moment.
"Does this have something to do with that Tanner guy?" Marian frowned.
Randy sighed and pulled the amulet out of his pocket. He rubbed his fingertips over the jewel and glanced down at her.
"Tell me everything."