Friday, February 21, 2020

Flash Fiction #395 -- Lost in Elsewhere/Part 5

Wall of snow, meet my face.

I  had just enough time to close my mouth, or I would have been inhaling more snow.  It was lucky for me that the wall was firm snow, but not ice.

I don't like snow.

My hands moved instinctively, and I grabbed at the wall when I started to slide downward.  Snow began to crumble, and I couldn't get a grasp on the fluffy white stuff.  I was going to fall again, and a long way --


I had magic, though I wasn't really used to doing anything helpful with it.  My training had only barely started, and my father was trying to teach me just the basics.  I understood the need to build that foundation, but at a moment like this, I really could have stood something more concrete, so to speak.  The one thing I did understand, though, was need.

I needed not to fall.  I desperately needed not to fall -- and my fingers caught hold of the snow that felt more the consistency of a rocky cliffside now.  Unfortunately, it was still cold.

"Mark!" Edmond shouted and quite close.

I turned my head to see him flapping in circles, trying to get close to me.  For a moment, I feared he would land on my shoulder, and we'd both go falling --

"I found him," Edmond shouted.  "He hasn't fallen.  Come on, Mark.  You need to get up to the top before more trouble comes along."

"Not the most encouraging reason for me to move, Edmond," I said, but I had started climbing upward, testing out the snow at each lift of my arm.

"How about this, then:  Five is really worried about you."

I cast him a sideways glance and then sighed.  Yes, that one did work better.  I didn't want to upset the poor little thing.  I felt a few twinges of pain as I moved, but the cold helped there, at least.  Edmond kept circling around, and I wondered what he thought he could do to help. 

"Go on up, Edmond," I said.  "I'm almost there."

That was not entirely true, but I was closer.  Edmond made one more circle and then moved upward.  I had heard him gasping.  The last thing we needed was to rescue Edmond from the snowy bottom of this shaft.

I made the mistake of looking downward.  I was far higher than I had expected -- and yeah, I don't like heights that much, either.  So I hated the snow and didn't want to fall.  I started upward again.

The world felt empty without Edmond around.  I strained to hear the others somewhere above me, but I was gasping and my heart pounding.  I wanted to get to the top.

I didn't want Five to worry.

And then there was worse.  I could hear the sounds of trouble up above -- both Maggie's shouts and Lord Snow's growls.  The sudden fear almost made me lose my hold on the magic.  I dropped nearly a foot before I caught hold again and started out once more, moving as fast as I could.  It was dangerous and took so much energy both in movement and magic that I was soon gasping and lightheaded.  The buzzing in my ears blocked out most of the sounds from above.  I had to stop.  I was starting to see black spots at the corner of my eyes --

Five landed on my shoulders.

"Aunt Maggie said I should tell you to hurry," Five said, sounding quite official.  Then she gave a little tremble.  "Please hurry, Uncle Mark."

They had sent Five down to get her to safety.  I tried not to think that meant they were in real trouble -- though there were still yells from voices I didn't recognize and growls from Lord Snow.  Maybe, though, they were trying to get her out of the path of trouble.  Kittens had no sense of danger.

I had already started moving back upward.  My fingers began to go numb with the cold, and I had to watch where I placed my hands.  I concentrated on that work and thinking about getting Five into my pocket once I cleared the wall of snow.

I heard Edmond let out a yowl like I'd never heard before --

"Dada is mad," Five whispered.

"So am I," I said, and it was true.  I was mad that we'd fallen -- literally -- into trouble when all we wanted was to get back home.  What was it with Elsewhere that we found difficulty at every turn?  Why couldn't --

My hand reached for the next hold and found nothing.  I looked up.  I had reached the top.  That gave me a surge of hope and enough energy to propel myself up and over the top.  I scrambled forward an all fours and Five gave a squeal of surprise and delight as she did her best to hold on.

I got to my knees then quickly to my feet as I put Five into my pocket, mumbling something about secret weapon -- she liked that.

My friends were fighting a yeti.  The huge, white-furred creatures with eyes of ice blue swept dagger-like claws at Maggie and Lord Snow.  Edmond was nowhere to be seen, and I had a sudden fear that was colder than the world around me --

Then Edmond came sweeping out of the sky and headed straight for the back of the Yeti's head.

Edmond had never learned how to land -- not on the ground and certainly not on the back of a Yeti head.  He hit with enough force that the Yeti gave a startled shout and started to slip on the ice.  Edmond had grabbed hold of the long fur and flopped around a couple times as the Yeti shook his head, still stunned by the blow.

Edmond hissed and grabbed hold of the creature's ear.

It turns out that Yeti's have very sensitive ears -- as well as high--pitched howls that can crack glass.

And ice.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Flash Fiction # 394 -- Lost in Elsewhere/Part 4

Welcome to the new adventures of Mark, Maggie, and Edmond the talking cat.  There are three sets of adventures on the Joyously Prolific Blog.  You can find them by searching for Surviving Elsewhere, Journey to Somewhere Else, and Saving Elsewhere -- or you can find the entire set here: Tales from Elsewhere -- and you can buy the book for $1.99 with this coupon code WN38F (not case-sensitive) which you enter prior to completing their checkout.  (Good until December 31, 2020 -- pass it around to your friends!)

"Lord Snow!" Maggie yelled, panic at the edge of her voice.

I felt much the same way, but I couldn't quite get my breath to yell -- and that might have been a good thing.


I heard the word over Maggie's shouts and grabbed her arm.  "Listen!"

"Be careful up there!"

That gave me a good idea of where Lord Snow had gone. I dropped onto my knees and carefully crawled forward, signaling the others -- including Edmond -- to stay back.

The opening was about twelve feet across and irregular.  Another foot of it broke off as I neared, and I stopped with my heart pounding.

"Slowly, Mark," Lord Snow said from somewhere below me.  Far below me.

I inched forward and looked down.

Lord Snow sat on a ramp of ice about fifty feet below.  Pieces of the snowbank sat all around him.  He looked annoyed.

"Ah, there you are," Lord Snow said.  He shook snow from his fur.  "Well, this is embarrassing. I was actually trying to find an opening into a burrow.  I did not intend to drop in like that, though."

"Burrow?" I asked. Paths led off to different areas, all of them made of translucent ice.  It looked slick.

"Probably an ice spider," Lord Snow said with a twitch of his ears.  Not a happy cat.  "The question is whether you come down here and join me or not."

"Ice spider?" I said and thought maybe I ought to back away from the opening, especially since part of it cracked and fell away.

"Ice spiders are annoying, and they can be dangerous -- but I don't think you want to be up there on the flat plane when night comes and the winds blow."

I hadn't considered storms, even though I had noted that the breeze was a bit brisker now.  Wind?  There was nowhere to take shelter, except down.


"Down," she said and with a glance around the bleak landscape.  I felt nervous about all the things we could not see ... but I could hear the sound of the wind starting to roar in the distance.  "Edmond, you go first.  The wind is picking up."

"You expect me to jump into some spider -- oh."

A gust of wind caught Edmond and slid him back a couple inches.  He scurried forward and dropped down over the edge with hardly a pause.  I watched Edmond land and slide a few feet before Lord Snow snagged him.  Edmond nestled in close to the larger cat.


"Waiting for a break in the wind," she said, her metal wings fluttering a bit.  "You should --"

"You and Five go first," I said.  "Don't worry -- this snowbank isn't going to hold up much longer anyway!"

Maggie lifted on her wings, flapping them rather frantically as she slipped over the opening and then dropped the last couple feet.  Five let out a sound of delight.  We'd have to find her a rollercoaster.

I slid forward, trying to let my feet down first --

Of course not.

The snowbank tore free, and I tumbled, snow and ice falling with me.

It can't be that far --


I hit the ice path more on my side than my face, which was good.  I didn't need a broken nose. Then snow fell over me.  And then more snow.  I thought I could hear the others yelling frantically, probably telling me to move -- but that wasn't exactly possible.    Snow is light and fluffy in the air, but once it hits the ground -- and piles up -- it might as well be made of lead.  One arm was pinned under me, and the other was quickly weighed down beneath snow.  I tried to wriggle that one free, aware that there was little air to breathe, and everything was damned cold.

Distant voices.  I tried to call out, but that meant breathing in snow.  Panic helped, though.  I got my arm free with a wrench and tried to push the snow away -- and it worked, at least a little.  I was able to breathe just a bit of icy air -- but more air than snow this time.  I pushed more out of the way, but it was starting to compact, not melt.

Sounds still.  Distant.  Muffled.  I hadn't fallen that far, had I?  How much snow --

Cold.  Colder than I had ever been.

Glad Edmond wasn't with me.

I tried to push a little more, but then thought maybe being still might help more.  Be still and quiet. --


Maggie's voice called me back to the danger.  I tried to move, but everything felt too heavy.  There wasn't much air, either.

"Mag --gie --"

"I think I can hear him.  I'll try to use a little magic.  Stay back, Lord Snow. We would have a hell of a time dragging you out of the snow."

"He's close --"

I knew that was true, too, because I could clearly hear their voices, and I thought I saw a bit of a shadow overhead.  With a force of will, I shoved his arm upward --

"There he is!" Maggie shouted.  She grabbed my hand -- had to be her, since she was the only human -- and I felt a surge of warm magic and heard the frantic beat of her wings.  Maggie was lifting me up out of the snow that fell cascading away from me.  I'd dropped much farther than the others, probably breaking through the ice where they had stood.  I could barely see Edmond and Five up on the higher shelf.  Lord Snow was gingerly making his way up along the edge, but even as I watched, some of that snow fell away.  He barely scrambled upward in time.

Maggie was gasping.  "Mark --"

"Toss me -- wall," I said.  "I'll grab -- not toward Lord Snow.  Too much weight there."

"Yeah.  Magic, Mark."

"I'll try."

We both knew that my magic wasn't always reliable.  I barely had time to think about it as she tossed me aside.

Thursday, February 06, 2020

Flash Fiction #393 -- Lost in Elsewhere/Part 3

Welcome to the new adventures of Mark, Maggie, and Edmond the talking cat.  There are three sets of adventures on the Joyously Prolific Blog.  You can find them by searching for Surviving Elsewhere, Journey to Somewhere Else, and Saving Elsewhere -- or you can find the entire set here: Tales from Elsewhere -- and you can buy the book for $1.99 with this coupon code WN38F (not case-sensitive) which you enter prior to completing their checkout.  (Good until December 31, 2020 -- pass it around to your friends!)

The snarling creature landed with a head roll, and I saw claws flash in the diffuse light.  Huge.  It growled and stood, so snow-covered so that even the face showed nothing but eyes and the flash of teeth --

I wanted to back away, but there was nowhere better to stand.  Maggie moved to my side.  Edmond tried to burrow into my jacket, and Five disappeared into my pocket.

We were not prepared to face monsters.

The thing stared at us and blinked.  Then it gave what could only be a frustrated sigh as it shook the snow from his body.

"What have you people gotten me into this time?" Lord Snow demanded.

Maggie gave a cry of relief and threw herself at the unhappy snow leopard.  She wrapped her arms around his neck.  The snow leopard looked startled. 

"We're glad to see you," I said and kept from doing the same as Maggie.  "I don't think any of us tried to call you here, Lord Snow.  I'm sorry you got dragged in --"

"No, not your fault," Lord Snow admitted and looked around with narrowed eyes.  He and Maggie came back so that they gathered in a little circle.  It seemed warmer now that the huge snow leopard was with them.  "I set a spell of my own so that if any of you came to trouble in Elsewhere again, that I would be pulled to you.  It seemed wise at the time.  And this does look like trouble."

"I'm not sorry you are here," Maggie said, a hand on the Snow Leopard's head.  "Thank you.  I can't get any indication of where we are, Lord Snow.  We were starting to walk in the general direction from which we came, but as far as I can tell, there's nothing but more snow out that way.  Or any other direction.  Are we in Lord Ice's lands?

Lord Snow looked around, his eyes narrowed.  He even walked up to me, looking past where I stood to where we'd been thrown.

"How --" Lord Snow began.

Five pushed her head up out of my pocket.  "Hi!"

Lord Snow puffed up and leapt backward a good ten feet -- a very startled snow leopard.

"I scared the big kitty!  I scared the big kitty!"

"What in the name of the Gods --" Lord Snow said.  His fur was starting to settle back down.

"Talking, winged kitten," Maggie said and took Five from my pocket to hold her out in view.  She batted at the snowflakes.  "I'll give you one guess how that happened."

"Edmond, whatever were you thinking?" Lord Snow asked, slightly bemused now.

"I wasn't thinking," he admitted.  "That's pretty obvious.  This is Five --"


"Five of Six.  The others are not with us."

"Well, not so much a disaster as I expected," Lord Snow said.

"I'm not a disaster!" Five exclaimed with righteous indignation.  "I am a good kitten!  It could have been Two instead!"

"She does have a point," Edmond agreed.

Lord Snow came closer to the kitten in Maggie's hand.  It occurred to me that Five had no idea that she ought to be worried about big things that could be dangerous.  We'd have to teach her quickly if this adventure went on for long.

"I am pleased to meet you, Kitten Five," Lord Snow said with a bow of his head.  "I have known your illustrious father for some time, and I hope you will find this adventure as exciting as our others."

Edmond snarfed in disbelief but changed it into a cough when Lord Snow gave him a sideways glance.

"It is cold out here," Lord Snow said.  "And your father is not as young as he used to be."

"Hey!" Edmond protested.

I hid my smile while Lord Snow looked around again, sniffing the air and even the snow.  We had it up above our ankles, but it felt like more snow below us, packed down by more snow -- a vast flat glacier that didn't appear to be moving in any direction.

"We are, I believe, at the very outer reaches of Lord Snow's lands," he finally announced.  "This is where Winter begins, and it is not a safe place to linger.  However, there is a problem.  Even if I pointed you in the direction of home -- and I'm not sure even I could -- the boundaries are made to keep things inside this area.

"Dangerous things," I said with a sigh.

Lord Snow glanced at Five as though he thought we should not be saying such things in front of the kitten.

"If there is anything dangerous," I said and drew his attention, "then we all need to be aware of it and careful."

"Ah, yes.  Of course.  Pay attention Kitten Five."

"Yes, sir," she said with a quick nod.

"Didn't learn her manners from her father," Lord Snow said.  Edmond sighed this time.  "But there is hardly anyone I would rather have by my side than Edmond, Mark, and Maggie.  We are all resourceful.  Right now, my friends, I think we would do best to head the way you started.  All directions lead Lord Ice's lands.  If we are lucky, the trouble there will be over before we arrive."

"Trouble?" Maggie asked.  "I had just come back from a Council meeting, and no one from Lord Ice's lands had shown up."

"Trolls, icelings, snowbirds -- all manner of creatures are stirred up, but we don't know why," Lord Snow admitted.  "I was out scouting when I inadvertently took this side trip.  I thought I had fallen into some trap."

"Then we need to get you back," I said and stared at the flat white world all around us.  "I suppose we better get walking."

"Let me go ahead," Lord Snow said.  "I know the feel of the snow better, and this is a dangerous land."

We did not argue.  We just walked and walked.  At least there was magic to stay warm.

And then Lord Snow disappeared.

Friday, January 31, 2020

Flash Fiction #392-- Lost in Elsewhere, Part 2

Welcome to the new adventures of Mark, Maggie, and Edmond the talking cat.  There are three sets of adventures on the Joyously Prolific Blog.  You can find them by searching for Surviving Elsewhere, Journey to Somewhere Else, and Saving Elsewhere -- or you can find the entire set here: Tales from Elsewhere -- and you can buy the book for $1.99 with this coupon code WN38F (not case-sensitive) which you enter prior to completing their checkout.  (Good until December 31, 2020 -- pass it around to your friends!)

The world swirled with nothing real except for Edmond, who had grabbed hold of my arm with all claws and Maggie, whom I held onto so tightly that my fingers were going numb.

Magic swept everywhere around us with rope-like tendrils of bright colors, the magic so strong that it blocked our everything.  I had a sense of movement, I couldn't say for how far or for how long.

Maggie was trying to say something, but I couldn't understand the words.  I heard the sounds, but they danced around us just like the magic in the wind. Whatever she planned, Maggie was on her own. I wanted to do something as well -- but I had just enough sense to realize that the two of us doing magic in different ways would not help.

Maggie's metal wings unfurled, caught at one strong surge of wind -- and we were moving out of the storm.

I lost hold of both of them, Edmond disappearing ahead of me, and Maggie just behind. 

I came out of the whirlpool as though something had thrown me, and I landed face-down in a layer of white that fluffed up around me.  Pretty.

Right until I realized how cold I was.


I surged to my feet and saw snow everywhere, and more coming down, while a brisk wind stirred up clouds of the stuff so that I couldn't see the landscape.  Fear surged -- until Edmond appeared just ahead of me standing shoulder deep in the stuff.  He looked at me, his eyes huge. 

"Snow," he hissed.

I didn't see Maggie at first, but then she sat up as well, not far to my left.  Some of her metal feathers had gotten bent, and she looked stunned more than startled -- right until she put out her hand as though to make sure the falling snow was real.

"Oh, this can't be good," she said.

Not exactly the words I wanted to hear.

I was about to speak when I felt movement in my jacket pocket, and Five's small black head popped out. 

A snowflake landed on her nose as she looked up at me.  "Six is in soooo much trouble."

"So are we," Maggie mumbled as she stood and brushed snow from her clothing, as though that would work for long.

"Snow," Edmond snarled and flicked snow from his ears.  "I knew there would be snow.  Of course."

I bent and picked him up.  He snuggled half into the jacket, which wasn't made for this weather.  He felt warm.  I'd have to share him with Maggie.

Five had ducked all but her ears and eyes back into the pocket, looking like a gremlin.  I could feel her tail twitch.  She apparently didn't like the snow any better than her father.

"Why didn't you see a vision of this, Edmond?" I asked as I tried to find some landmark.

"I've had nightmares from the moment I first saw the kittens," he admitted.  "Sleeping and waking.  If I came to you with every tale of disaster that I saw unfolding, you'd have locked me up."

"Are we all bad kittens?" Five asked, her voice trembling.

Edmond sighed.  He twisted a bit and looked straight into her face.  "You are the best kittens ever.  But there are six of you, and so much good and cuteness is bound to draw trouble."

"Oh," she said, as if that made sense.

Maybe it did in cat logic.
"I'd just come in from the outside."  Maggie began digging through the pack she had still be carrying.  "I think I have something that will help."

I hoped for something useful because all I had was a light jacket, a candy bar, and a bag of cat treats that I'd brought over from the human world a few days before.

"Any idea where we are?" I asked.

"Still feels like Elsewhere," Maggie said.  She paused and lifted one hand for a moment.  "Yeah, feels like it.  That's good."

"Lord Ice's lands?" I asked.

"Most likely -- ah!  Here we are!"

She pulled out an old compass, one that I had used a long time ago (or so it seemed) to reach Elsewhere when I was running for my life.

"I had this set to lead me home -- back to your father's castle -- when I was out doing work for the Council.  Your father tends to move the building whenever he feels like it.  She snapped the compass open and held it out so that we both could see.  "Ah!  Oh."

The needle pointed one way, spun, pointed another -- and kept doing that while we stared.

"What does that mean?"

"I think we're at a nexus to possibilities," she said and sounded worried again.  "That's not good.  We want to get back to our reality, not someplace with another Maggie and Mark."

"Yeah," I agreed.  I had finally found my place in life, and I didn't want to go somewhere else and never get back.

Though if another Mark didn't get randomly thrown out into the snow...

Oh, but that Mark wouldn't have the kittens, and maybe not Edmond either.  No, that wouldn't be good.  Besides, I had Maggie with me. She'd figure it out.

"What should we do?" I asked.

Maggie looked around before she lifted her hand and tested out the magic of the place.  I knew there was magic; I could feel it in every snowflake.

"I think we should go back the way we came," Maggie said.  "We all dropped here facing that way --" she pointed ahead of us.  "So, we turn around and start walking."

I had hoped for something a little more magical, but I was game to try.  Otherwise, my feet were going to freeze in place.

So, we turned and started walking.  Nothing seemed to change, and when I looked back, even our footsteps had disappeared under the new snow.

Then I heard a piercing yowl, and something huge landed in the snow in front of us.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Flash Fiction # 391 -- Lost in Elsewhere, Part 1

Welcome to the new adventures of Mark, Maggie, and Edmond the talking cat.  There are three sets of adventures on the Joyously Prolific Blog.  You can find them by searching for Surviving Elsewhere, Journey to Somewhere Else, and Saving Elsewhere -- or you can find the entire set here: Tales from Elsewhere -- and you can buy the book for $1.99 with this coupon code WN38F (not case-sensitive) which you enter prior to completing their checkout.  (Good until December 31, 2020 -- pass it around to your friends!)

Are you ready for more Elsewhere adventures?  Cats who can talk and have wings?  What could go wrong?

I should have seen the disaster coming.  What else could you expect with six furry, hyper three-month-old kittens -- especially black kittens who could talk and who had wings?

We'd had some calm days lately, though.  That lured me into staying calm.  Edmond and I had taken the kittens into a magically-made playroom where they could fly, leap, jump, and attack each other -- and wear off their excess kitten energy without getting away from the two of us.  No one wanted that to happen again, and even my father, who housed us in his castle, was happy with anything we did to wear out the little ones each day.

They were growing fast.  Soon we would need better distractions and more teaching.  If you think flying cats sound bad, just consider hordes of flying kittens.  The playtime also gave me a much-needed break from lectures and training of my own, though.  I had to learn magic and the rules now that I lived in Elsewhere.

I'd made the glowing walls soft so flying kittens could hit and bounce off, which was a game they loved.  They had toys and a cat condo to climb.  Their enthusiasm was fun to watch.

After about an hour, tired kittens began to get cranky.  Edmond, their father, tried not to get annoyed at his screaming children.  I was surprised that Edmond hadn't just disappeared on us.  I wasn't sure you could call Edmond responsible, but he stuck this out.

"Number Two, if you don't stop grabbing your sister's tail --" Edmond shouted.

Two kittens parted in midair, one flapping fast to bounce off the wall and the other gliding down to where I sat on the floor.  Five was usually the quietest of the group, but Two had been teasing her for days, and Five now had fur fluffed out in indignation.  She settled in my lap with her ears back.

"He's not nice!"

"Two is just trying to play," I explained.  "But he doesn't know when to stop."

Five huffed a little, but she settled down a moment later.  The kittens would be ready for dinner and sleep soon.

"How is it you know so much about young ones, Mark?" Edmond asked.  He even sounded reasonable -- and very tired.  The kittens hardly let him sleep ten hours a day lately.

"Mostly cousins," I said and let Five settle into the pocket of my jacket -- a favorite place for the little furballs.  I'd soon be covered in them trying to win the coveted pockets. "And my mother's friends had kids sometimes.  It turns out talking, flying kittens are not much different from human toddlers.  Except there are more of them all at once."

Three had lost control and began heading for another head-first landing.  I reached out with a bit of magic and snared him before I set him on the floor.  The kittens had learned that they didn't get to fly much except in this room, and if they didn't obey that rule, they didn't get to come in and play.  I hated doing that to them, though.  There is nothing more pitiful than a kitten crying when the others go off to play.  In fact, Five had stayed behind more than once, so the bad kitten wasn't alone. 

They amazed me some days.

They didn't like to stop when they were here, but One -- the other female -- had taken up her role as the chief herder and began chasing the others down toward the floor.  We had another squabble in the air.  Three and Six were flying circles around One began to lose her temper.  Edmond sighed and stood, stretching before he started to climb the cat condo.  Four got out of his father's way, and Two landed so quickly that he did a flip -- and then laughed, took off, and did it again.

"All of you -- down now!" Edmond ordered from the top of the condo.  "If you don't, I'm going to launch --"

Kittens dropped to the floor with a series of distinct little thumps. 

"Okay," I said and stood, trying not to laugh. 

"I learned something today," Six said, and he sat up straighter.  "Can I say it, please?"

"Yes, of course," I said and smiled.  Six was our scholar.  I was starting to picture him in little wire-rimmed glasses sitting on an open book while he read.

"I read this in a book," he said, which didn't entirely surprise me.  "Something I found the book in the library!" 

He began to speak.

It took me a few seconds to realize he was not speaking English and that the words were magic.

I leapt at him.  Edmond swept down at him.  Six was so startled that he squeaked and took to the air, trailing magic with every move, a whirlpool of power that began sweeping up paper and cat toys.  I shoved kittens into the cat condo --

"Hold on!" I shouted.

And someone opened a magical door into the playroom.


Too late.  I saw Maggie's startled face as she started to take a step inside, but her magic to open the door and the kitten-made magic collided.  The whirlpool grew larger and dangerous.  Six was mewing in panic, flying one way and another, the power reaching up for him. 

Edmond grabbed him and threw him at the condo where he grabbed hold.  Maggie was trying to contain the whirlpool, and I moved to help her --

And Edmond got caught in the powerful magic that began to pull him in. 

"Edmond!" I shouted and leaped forward, reaching for Edmond's legs.

"Mark!"  Maggie cried and grabbed my arm just as I caught hold of Edmond.

I hoped it was enough to pull us back out -- but no.  The whirlpool dragged at Edmond, and I would not let go of him.  I almost tried to shake Maggie off, but that was stupid.  We needed to stick together because we were all going ... elsewhere.