Part I – The New World
A cool October night, the hustle outside was the throngs of dressed up children, a mix of princesses, goblins, vampires and more as children ran up and down the street on their annual splurge of chocolate and sweets. It was after all Halloween, tonight always had an air of magic, the one night of the year the rules of what was normal simply didn’t apply you were free to be whoever you wanted to be.
Stacy was tall, fair skinned, her face rounded but innocent and sweet looking, hair came to just below her shoulders, a dark brown at least that had been her intention during her attempt to dye it earlier that night. Still it didn’t matter, tonight was the Halloween party she had been looking forward to for a while. She had an amazing dress; a deep blue with silver trims at the hem and breast, the fabric seemed to flow as if it were alive.
The odd thing about the dress is she hadn’t paid for it, nor had she ordered it. It arrived one morning, this had sent her step-father into a rage about her hiding money and her mother into a curious battle of why it looked so expensive and why it made her look so grown up. Stacy didn’t care only that it was for her. The card simply said It’s time to find yourself a strange choice of words she had remembered thinking as she now turned the card over in her hand before placing it back on the dresser.
As she stood in the full length mirror adjusting it until she found it to be just right, she pinned her hair back into a tight pony tail.
As she admired herself in the mirror for a few moments longer she couldn’t help but smile, she looked good, really good tonight, she took a self-pose picture and then headed out of her room, she quickly said goodbye to her parents, who simply muttered in reply, she suspected she could have walked past them totally naked to return the same dull response from them, another one of those issues in a long line of issues in Stacys life, it wasn’t that they didn’t care really more like she had become invisible to them in the last year, Stacy sighed gently then slipped out of the front door closing it behind her.
Thirty-five minutes and she’d be at the Marells Halloween Party, the party of the decade so everyone had been saying. The street was covered with pumpkins, plastic ghouls, ghosts and gravestones, strung along fences and phone wires were along all manner of lights sent the street into a chaotic eerie sight. This really is the best time of year she thought to herself, as she made her way along the street, she would occasionally smile at the children as they passed by on their own grand adventure.
As Stacy made her way along the path she was still turning over the fact she had been invited to the party, after all, she wasn’t usually one to be invited to these things. She had come to both like and accept her place as the odd kid in society it allowed her to be different the rules didn’t apply to her. Tonight was the chance to prove that being different wasn’t a bad thing, that she was just as deserving of attention as anyone else, that social structure didn’t mean she didn’t have more to offer.
As she entered the party it was the usual run of pop icon references and strange TV people look-a-like attempts, of course the cheerleaders were some kind of bunnies, heaven forbid they should do anything other than the standard “I’m-a-slut” make up. They watched her intently as she passed, before huddling together in chat and a fit of childlike giggles.
She found the bar and grabbed herself an orange juice, she wasn’t about to get all stupid with alcohol though she suspected even the orange juice had some in it. As she looked through the patrons of the party she felt oddly content, her dress had at least in most respects kept her as the odd one out, and this was drawing the looks of the others around her.
The room was quite large and led to staircase that led up to the upper floor, a group had gathered here and were mostly those who’d been invited to make the numbers, the center of the room with the couches were occupied now by the cheerleaders and their boyfriends. This gave them a clear view to the front door allowing them to decide the fate of each who entered, those who didn’t benefit their design were allowed to move off to the sides with the rest of the invited guests, those who did were instantly dragged into their high place in society.
The mood of the room changed as another party goer arrived except this one caught everyone and their attention instantly, the cheerleaders sat forward as he entered, tall, lean built, a dark coat that went to the ground and seemed to flow in his movements, and dark hair, it was hard to tell if he wore a costume. Perhaps he was dressed as some kind of vampire lord she thought and sipped her orange.
His presence was very different to those already present, as he made way through the room he simply swept walked past the cheerleaders, throwing them a glance before moving on, that caught everybody’s attention.
“You look good” He spoke softly, she squeaked in surprise having been caught by the fact he now sat beside her, she dropped her gaze as she quickly realised everyone was now looking at her. Stacy drew a short breath to steady herself before smiling and looking back to him, his eyes were an odd shade of green, his words made her blush just a little but the looks on the popular girls faces, those were what made her happy inside, the seriously cute guy was paying attention to her and only her.
“M, me?!” She croaked and awkwardly took another sip of orange mentally scolding herself for been so stupid.
“Yes, you look good” he replied cracking open a beer bottle with an effortless ease.
“I’m Stacy” she said watching his reaction a moment
“Kane” A soft reply
She caught herself studding him once more; his hair was shoulder length and black as could be, though it was beginning to break with strands of silver at least showing he was getting on in life. Stacy watched him carefully, studying his face noting the years that seemed to hide behind his eyes despite his outward relatively youthful appearance.
“Would you care to join me outside, I’m not really one for all these people, and besides it’s such a nice night outdoors” His voice still so soft it almost gave her chills
As he stood and made his way toward the back of the house she simply followed him, the odd thing was as they exited the house she didn’t recognise the place they were. Instinctively Stacy knew she wasn’t where she started, a short breath and she felt funny inside as she slid to the ground her eyes closing the world going dark.
As she stirred she could smell the forest, the air vibrant and so very fresh as she pushed herself to her knees, slowly Stacy looked around the moon was oddly bright casting strands of light down through the trees. She quickly realised this was not home, nor was it anywhere close to home.
“You’re awake, that’s good the jump can be a little hard on humans” Kane stated as he strode from the trees carrying a pile of wood. He promptly threw the wood into a pile on the ground a fire flickered to life; she hadn’t seen a match so that was odd she thought.
“Where … what … “She stopped as her mind raced “You kidnapped me?”
“Kidnap is such a strong word” He replied softly “You can go home if you want, just get up and walk right back into those trees, back to that party and all this will be forgotten” his voice was oddly calming and she could detect no danger to him he simply looked at her and waited for her answer
“Home? As in? I’m not there now?” Her tone still oddly confused and her mind still racing at the fact that something wasn’t adding up here
“No you’re not home, nor are you, on earth, well your version of it at least” Kane replied gently, his tone patient as she fought to find a grip, worse still understand that last statement
“Great, I find a cute guy and he’s an alien and abducts me” She shook her head now trying to wake up from what she could only consider a dream
“No” Again his tone level and sincere “A dimension that exists beside your own, that’s why I was able to use the door as a jump, for us at least, I just thought you might like a little freedom, and some time to think things through, your mind is so chaotic, but as I said if you want to leave you are free to do so”
Stacy had now backed into a fallen tree stump that allowed her to rest against and hopefully gain some perspective on this whole thing, she had in essence been kidnapped by some kind of inter dimensional traveller. It was either that or she was having a very bad hallucination right now and any second those grad kids would burst through the trees laughing and calling her names, though the forest beyond looked almost sinister.
“So not dreaming?” She shook her head trying to shift the odd feeling in her mind
“That will pass, human minds tend to take a day or two to adjust to the” He paused as if looking for the right word “Physics, I guess, our realms laws are a little different to those of your world”
“What you can fly?” She retorted a little childishly now
“Some not all, I can’t but some races can, witches mostly, dragonkin perhaps depends on the strength of the bloodline in most cases” He shrugged as if this was a perfectly rational explanation, she breathed a long slow breath before deciding to try and get answers from the top
“Ok, ok fine, let’s try to understand this in a way my primitive brain can handle, why me? And why now?” She asked
“That depends on your view of things, you see this as a kidnapping or sick joke perhaps, a dream even, I assure none of the above is correct. I am not holding you against your will and you can as I have said on more than one occasion leave at any time; however you wanted to escape the life you had. You believe you are destined for better things, I believe you may find that here, you by choice or by design wanted to escape, I have provided that” He replied with a soft smile then stretched his legs forward and then back to his chest.
“Huh, so you’re here to save me from my miserable life? Erm, you do know people are kind of going to miss me” She sighed in frustration at his lack of helpful answers
“Yes well, that can be fixed, or left to other side to determine, people disappear there all the time” He replied almost matter of fact and simple, as if things really worked that easily
“I have family, friends” She replied
It was then she caught the faint shimmer in the trees, and beyond she saw the distorted view of the kitchen she had previously occupied, the cheerleaders were pointing and giggling and then sneering as they pointed in her direction, some of the boys were looking through the door as if trying to locate her.
“Where is here?” She asked
“This is the Everlands, think of it as a collection of your fantasy worlds, what you believe to be fantasy has a more practical application here, magic as you would call it is very much real magicka here in our realm, of course staying here is not without its danger to yourself”
“And I can go home whenever I choose?” She asked again
“Yes” Was his simple reply
“Ok then, so were you planning on keeping me here in this forest?” She asked if nothing else knowing she could go home meant she should at least explore this land a little, a little freedom right now was better than the mind numbing trap that waited for her beyond that shimmering mass. It took another second and it was once more a path into the darkness if the forest, her way home gone for now.
“Not quite” He replied, a second later his hand was helping her to her feet it was an odd moment as his touch stirred something inside her a warm fuzzy kind of feeling.
Part II – Cabin in the Woods
They had been travelling through the forest for around two days, Stacy had followed as he led her with a practised ease through the forest. She suspected he had done this quite often though it made her wonder how many girls he had plucked from her world, a thought that instantly set a real panic into her nerves.
“Not as many as you might think” He stated then halted causing her to run into the back of him as he turned a look in his eye she couldn’t quite read, he didn’t exactly look the type to get embarrassed though he didn’t look the type who could read your mind either “And I can’t read your mind, only thoughts that give off a more solid feel to them, some feelings will manifest in certain ways here those I have an inclination to be able to read”
“So not mind reading?” She looked utterly lost at his last statement
“No, at least not the way a human mind would see it, also not a good to tell people here I can do it” He shrugged and then turned back to the forest “It’s not like they need another reason to dislike me right now”
This was another odd thing to add to this week she thought as she caught sight of him disappear amongst a thicker patch of trees and she bolted after him, tumbling through the underbrush and then landing flat on her face amongst a patch of grass and saw dust. As she rose her head to look up she saw a log cabin, an honest to god old fashioned wood cabin, hidden in the middle of the forest. She pulled herself back to her feet as Kane emerged from the cabin, his cloak had been removed and he looked good framed in a leather shirt and jeans, lean and well-built, the odd thing was he looked perfectly normal, he wasn’t overly athletic looking but he moved with fluid ease. Stacy had already figured he was as far from normal as it could be, there was definitely something different about him, which of course made her wonder why she was still here in what was supposedly another dimension with a complete stranger.
“Still working it out?” Kane asked as his arms came down the axe shattering a log clean in two, when the hell did he get an axe she wondered, it was like he was capable of action before she had chance to see it.
“Something like that, where are we?” She asked figuring of keeping things simple and then working the more complex things out later
“My home, well, my other home at least, your perfectly safe here I promise you that, just don’t wander off into the forest” He replied and split another log, she didn’t mind admitting to herself that the sight of him cutting wood was something to watch as she chewed her lip in thought a minute. Finally moved to the side of him collecting the split logs, ensuring she was nowhere near the swinging axe, before depositing the split logs into a pile by the cabin wall.
“I see and that makes me?” She enquired now feeling a little better
“My guest” He replied and split another log and she continued to stacked them off to the side, this went on for about half an hour and finally he slammed the axe into the log and it held there. She was pretty sure he wasn’t just hiding in log cabin, she was pretty sure there was a lot more to him than that. Still for the moment he was her protection and her ticket home, after all she was fairly sure those shimmering portal things didn’t just appear by themselves.
They made their way inside it was as she had figured a huge fireplace at one end had a spit, a cauldron of sorts she suspected was used for cooking a large wooden table very sturdy which would serve well as a dining table or any other use for that matter. Off to the side was a door which she figured led to a bathroom and bedroom, a shiver ran through her at that thought, a couch, a large wooden storage chest and a rug were the other things in the room, fairly Spartan if this was his home.
“You can take the bedroom” Kane smiled as he threw a pile of logs into the fireplace and again the fire sprung to life. She was now sure his comment about magic wasn’t a joke though she couldn’t help but wonder if some of the rest was true, he was however been a gentleman and allowing her the privacy of the bedroom.
“But what about you” She asked softly feeling a little overwhelmed.
“You’re my guest, you can take the bedroom” he replied softly “But please try not to wander into the forest alone, and these woods are not always as forgiving as we have found them to be the last two days.
“Can I see what’s going on at home?” She looked to him a sort of test to his intent was her thought only for her quash it as she remembered he could read her mind, something that still made her nervous.
“Of course, the mirror in the bedroom, just ask and it should show you what you want to see” Kane replied as he began pulling out various roots and vegetables
“Should?” She asked
“Yea, the mirror can be a little” He looked at her for a moment breathed and then finished “Stubborn, your world makes magic mirrors look easy to work with, they seem to take offence to that fact, in our world it takes a lot of energy for them to utilise their skills correctly” He turned back the cupboard and continued pulling out various things from the endless supplies he seemed to have, leaving her to make her way to the bedroom.
The bedroom was much larger than she would have thought; it resembled a very intimate and very fairy tale style, the bed was huge a solid dark wood carved four poster bed. The sheets felt and looked like silk, the pillows were so soft and had an amazing spring in them, by the wall a huge mirror it ran floor to ceiling and shimmered as it reflected the room.
“Go ahead and ask girl” someone snapped causing her to squeal in surprise then clamp her hand over her mouth as she made her way to the mirror “Let me guess looking for the disembodied head?” the voice retorted.
“I um …” She bit her lip and then settled on the edge of the bed “I just want to see my family” she sighed softly no sooner had she finished than the image changed to her living room. Her mother sat looking sullen while her step-father paced angrily on the phone. As the moments passed she wondered what they were discussing if it was the police or as was more likely someone else grating on her father’s nerves. If nothing else it was obvious they had noted her absence.
“Is there any sound to this?” She finally asked, though she hadn’t been aware of Kane who was now leaning in the doorway.
“I’m afraid not, again there is only so much the mirror folk can do and just getting those images is probably draining him, that or irking him to no end” As he finished the images faded and then dissolved back to the shimmering reflection of the room “Dinner is ready” and with that he strode from the room.
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