Friday, April 18, 2014

Flash Friday #90: Surviving Elsewhere, Part 39 -- Stonewild 1

(Link to Part 38)

I had never known such overpowering darkness, not even in the Dark Path where we'd been almost trapped before. I remembered the dragon saying that the darkness was coming, but I hadn't expected anything so soon.
I didn't have any idea of which way to go . Even trying to simply turn around didn't help. There was no sense of direction, except that at least this time I felt as though my feet were firmly on the ground.
That helped.
"Hello?" I said softly. "Are you here?"
"We're here," Maggie said. She sounded more annoyed than bothered.
"Every time I think we're about out of the trouble -- Davis?"
"I'm here," he said.
"So am I," Lord Snow said with a bit of a growl. "I am not happy."
"That makes all of us," Edmond added. "What is going on?"
"I can't get my staff to light," Maggie admitted. She had been moving and ran into me. "Sorry, Mark."
"It's alright." I caught hold of her arm, grateful from something solid in this place. There was nothing else. I tried not to think about how Edmond hadn't seen any thing beyond this moment. Did that mean were were trapped here forever? "You saw nothinge else, Edmond?"
"Nothing," he said.
I tried very hard not to shiver.
"Just because Edmond hasn't seen anything beyond this point doesn't mean there is nothing more," Lord Snow said. He sounded more assured than I felt, but he was, after all, just another big talking cat. There comes a point where you have to stand back and consider the situation and right now it was that I was taking comfort from the cats.
"Actually. . . ." Edmond began. Then he stopped. "Yeah, actually I do see something."
"What?" Maggie asked, hope clearly in her voice.
"A light --" Edmond said.
"Yes? What does it mean?"
"It means I see a light. Follow my voice. This way, this way, this way --"
So we followed him and before long I saw the light as well. I heard sighs of relief from all the others. The light grew, a spot in the darkness. I saw a shape take place, and I have to say it was not the most welcome sight I'd seen since I came to Elsewhere, and that was saying a lot.
The building had been carved out from the rock wall, two tall towers, several windows, stairs leading up to a single door. That wasn't so bad; it was the huge snake statues that sat in every niche around the edge of the building. I finally let go of Maggie's arm, but she reached over and patted me on the arm.
"That's Stonewild," she said, though she kept her voice soft. "Not the most welcoming of places."
"Even the trees are dead," I said, looking at the two scraggly trees flanking the building.
Then one of them moved, the thin branches whipping around like more snakes.
"Never make assumptions," Davis said coming up on the other side of me.
The light had come from the rosette window set in the wall above the door. We took a few steps closer, moving out of darkness and into tendrils of fog that moved as though they were alive, too. Even Edmond had stopped and backed up a couple steps, his ears back and his fur starting to bristle. Lord Snow didn't look much better.
"The Council wants us here, right?" I dared to ask.
"Yes. That doesn't mean it's safe," Maggie said and sounded apologetic.
"Nothing is safe." I looked back at the darkness again. "Creston could follow us, right? We better get inside before we're shot."
"I never liked this place," Edmond said. "It's only marginally better than that wall of dark we went through."
I agreed with a nod but started forward. We weren't far from the steps. I watched the closest snake statues, expecting them to change and attack at any moment. Hell, I expected the building itself to attack.
Was I finally going to get some sort of answer? Sanctioned? Have a place in Elsewhere -- and would that make life any safer for me? I had the feeling not because a protector, by nature, sounded like someone who would put himself between danger and others.
No one had asked me --
I wanted to be sullen. I wanted to be annoyed. I hurt from bruises, scratches and bullets. I had the kind of headache that probably would have sent me to the hospital back in the real world.
I went slowly up the steps thinking that one out. I knew Elsewhere was just as real as the world where I had been born. I could not go back home and not just because of Creston --
I glanced over my shoulder, just to make certain he wasn't taking aim. I had the feeling I was going to be doing that for a long time, no matter what happened here.
I couldn't go home because I didn't belong there.
The thought came with a pang of regret. I loved my mother. I loved my half-siblings, and even my step-dad and I got along. But I ahd never belonged there, and I had always thought it was for rather mundane reasons.
I could feel the magic around me now. There was a great deal of it concentrated in Stonewild. I was, as corny as it sounded, about to learn my destiny.
And I wasn't going to back away from it.
"Mark?" Maggie asked as we neared the door. "I don't know what's going to happen now. I really don't. I never thought it would get this bad."
"You've done fine," I said and patted her arm. "Let's get this over with."
"Yeah, let's finish this."
And you know, we would have if the door had opened. I shoved against the hard wood. Davis pounded.
That was when the giant stone snakes finally started moving.

To Be Continued. . . .

992 Words

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