(Link to part 44)
While we stared upward, a crack appear in the dome above us, which was bad enough, but then I remembered we were deep within a mountain. More than just the ceiling stood above us.
"I suggest," Edmond said, his voice quite calm. "That we run."
A fine mist of dust fell. The ceiling cracked more in a fine spiderweb pattern.
We all turned to the exit, but Darman stood between us and that doorway. He brought his rifle up again and smiled.
"Well, this works out much better than I hoped!" The smile never wavered as he took a step back. "Goodbye."
Maggie grabbed my arm and Davis had hold of her. The cats looked to the rifle and then to the water, as though they weren't sure which was the worse. Lord Cayman gave a quick glance to the galleries, but they'd mostly emptied already. I wondered if we could get up there and out the way they had gone --
My father put a hand on my shoulder. "You are Sanctioned as a Protector."
I felt an odd stirring inside me, as though something came awake. Nothing scary; I felt more alive, but also far too aware of all the problems around us from the creature in the water to the cracking ceiling and to Uncle Darman with the rifle.
He still smiled as he fired at the ceiling, followed by a splash of magic; some of the ceiling turned to molten stone. I leapt backwards, tottering on the edge of the platform as glowing rock fell and steamed in the water. I saw the water creature hastily heading off and movement in the gallery where the last of our witnesses escaped. More rock fell, one hitting me on the shoulder and knocking me to my knees. Then I heard a distant rumble --
Darman disappeared into the dark, but we'd never make it out the doorway. Rock fell to cover the exit.
"Through The Veil!" Lord Cayman shouted.
A rock knocked him down. I reached for him, but Lord Snow grabbed him by the tunic and half threw him into the air so he fell across the big cat's back.
"We must go!" Lord Snow shouted.
He leapt through the curtain of lights at the other end of the platform.
Maggie made a sound of dismay. "We should have gone together!"
She still had tight hold of my arm. Davis had hold of her. I grabbed Edmond who gave a great sigh of relief, as though we would have left him behind.
"We must jump," Maggie said.
A huge boulder fell behind us, the platform cracking. Larger rocks fell around us, some sending up sprays of water. And worse, I saw the light curtain -- what I realized was our escape -- had begun to darken along the edges.
"I'll use magic. I'll get us through!" Maggie shouted.
"This just isn't going to be good," Edmond sighed and buried his head in my arm.
We leapt. I turned my head a little and saw a wall of rock come down where we'd been standing less than a heartbeat before. A chunk caught me again, this time in the back of the leg. I bent over Edmond to make certain he remained safe.
We fell into the light.
What had seemed like a wall of light changed as we passed the threshold. Colorful tendrils caught at us, trying to pull one way or another. I knew now why we needed to hold on to each other. I worried about Lord Snow and . . . My father. I couldn't see them.
Maggie's fingers dug into my arm. I realized she'd been talking. I'd never heard her.
"Focus!" she shouted, but the word echoed oddly around me. "Focus!"
I didn't know what I was supposed to focus on, but then I decided to just keep my eyes on her. avis had pulled in closer and wrapped an arm around my waist so we were in a circle of three, our heads close together and Edmond safe in the middle of us.
"Must find a way out," Davis said. He looked one way and another. Light everywhere, the shades different, but nothing that looked like a path back. Could we go back? Not a good idea, with the mountain falling.
"Where go?" I managed to say. I realized Edmond was hanging limply in my arms, but I could feel him breathing. "Must go."
"Yes." Maggie looked pale. She closed her eyes and I thought she might be close to fainting. Then she looked back at me, her eyes narrowed. "This way. Not back -- can't go back. This way."
We didn't argue. Out was important. The light grabbed at us, pulling and I thought maybe taking energy as well. I wanted to see Lord Snow. Yes, and Lord Cayman, but Snow was my ally. I wanted help.
Maggie kept us moving, her wings fluttering with distress and I could feel her growing weaker. Davis fed her power, but she could hardly move. I didn't know what to do. I only knew they were my friends and I needed to protect them --
Power flowed from me into all three. We moved, and very quickly. It felt almost as though The Veil kicked us out with such a shove that we flew more than a yard before the three of us went down on our knees. Darkness fell behind us and The Veil disappeared.
This wasn't anywhere I knew. The dark night sky was littered with a thousand stars, brighter than any I'd ever seen. A multi-colored nebula hung off to the right over a huge moon sitting on a horizon of craggy mountains and snow.
A city of glass towers floated in the sky.
"This -- this isn't Elsewhere, is it?" I asked.
Maggie shook her head. "We're . . . Somewhere Else."
But we were together. We would survive.
Edmond finally lifted his head as something huge swept across the sky.
"Well this can't be good," he sighed.
Thank you for reading Surviving Elsewhere. I plan to take up the tale again in Escaping Somewhere Else in 2015, followed by Saving Elsewhere in 2016. Surviving Elsewhere will also be available in ebook in the next few months.
I hope to see you when the next set begins! Thank you again! For the immediate future I will be going back to stand alone flash fiction for the Friday entry.
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