Across the Barrier, fantasy, On-going Stories, World Weavers

Across the Barrier Chapter Three

‘I don’t like you.’ Luna’s Father’s voice was deep and gravelly.

He was also tiny. Considering moments ago, he had an eye the size of a whole roundabout.

‘Nice to meet you too, sir?’

Metior frowns at me and turns away to the old lady mermaid elf and the large dark skinned man.

For his tiny frame, he had a lot of white hair puffing around his head like fried wire. Thin frame under a baggy dress like garment covered with dozens of pockets in different sizes.

We were inside what looked like a church, but instead of pews, there was large scientific looking equipment.

He walks towards the front of the building beckoning the misfit group we were to follow him.

At the front where an altar could have been was a round door on the floor. The door opens upwards but there is no ladder or secret passageway but a misty portal sparkling.

He jumps in without a word and the others follow. I stand there pondering what I have gotten myself. If being dead was really that bad for this hallucination was getting out of hand.

A knobbly hand pops out of the portal, making it transparent, and I could see the other side of it. There was an ordinary home with a table, chairs, carpets, a fridge and a regular looking kitchen stove, not a fire pit or run by water or glowing electricity.

The hand grabs my leg and pulls before I could hop into the portal.

In seconds I’m in a familiar world. I was in the dining room beside an open kitchen. The side of a staircase rose in front of the dining area, its side wall covered in paintings and photographs.

The large man was tinkering in the kitchen with the old lady helping out.

I found myself sitting on the floor under the dining table on top of a worn carpet looking at the wobbly knees of Luna’s father sitting on a dining chair.

‘If you would like to remain there and be fed scraps, I would be glad to do so.’

I crawl out from under the table, he points at the seat beside him.

‘Your name, boy?’ He picks up a tablet and begins scrolling through it.

‘I’m Ben Hart, Sir.’

‘Yes, I see that, a college graduate with a degree in business. No pursuit in life, I see.’

He was not exactly wrong; I had never really gotten to choose my life’s purpose. Simply followed my parent’s orders.

‘Dabbled in being a pilot. The irony. How long have you known Luna?’ his voice drops into a whisper at the point he mentions her name.

‘For nearly five years, we had been friends at work.’

‘Luna would never have worked in a corporate company, it would have bored her.’ He admonishes.

Which was right, she found it utterly dull and had begun a little trade on the side of her own creating jewellery from scraps. Hoping to quit from a large company that she thought only cared about profits.

‘She was, eventually creating an online Jewellery shop.’ I say, he nods his head but as he opens his mouth a girl’s voice interrupts him.

‘Well hello Metior, Darya, Kai and stranger; Good morning!’

The girl was Luna’s age, but she had a wild look to her while Luna looked docile and sweet.

I stand to introduce myself, ‘Hi, I’m Ben Hart.’ I stick my hand out, and she laughs. She pats my hand and walks past me to the kitchen.

Hello Ben, I’m Kera. You don’t look like from another world. What could Metior want with you?’

She plugs in the water kettle and begins heating up water. Takes out a cup from a cabinet and wiggles a mug my way. I nod my head.

‘Thank you, I never thought I would get to drink coffee again.’

Kera shuts the cabinet and gives me a shocked face, ‘Coffee? What’s coffee?’

I look at Metior, and he shakes his head, ignoring the situation and continues to read from his tablet more about my life or me with Luna, I’m unsure.

Kera laughs, ‘Just kidding, I’ve been to three or four worlds now. I am always glad to come home for some coffee. They don’t seem to have it anywhere there. Which is crazy, I know.’

‘Worlds?’

She squints at me then at Metior.

‘He is from across the Barrier, nowhere else.’ he mumbles.

Her eyes go round, ‘I see why he needs the coffee. If I died, I would need ten cups.’

She quickly mixes the instant coffee for both of us and sits beside me, passing me a cup.

‘Well, what was being dead like?’ She gets comfortable with her elbow on the table with her chin cupped in her hand.

‘Nothing. Just emptiness.’ She nods her head, ‘Sounds deep.’

‘Sort of, cause I could see deep see fishes on the other side of this glass barrier. That’s where I saw Darya as a mermaid elf.’

She laughs out loud, ‘Darya! How come he got to see you in your original form? So jealous, right now!’

Darya slams a wooden spoon on the pan, ‘you will see it one day little Kera, do not worry.’ Darya seemed to be making scrambled eggs while Kai was tossing some sausages in the air. For a mermaid elf and a giant, they were quite comfortable in the kitchen.

Kera shrugs admittedly, ‘I’m sure we will, I just can’t wait to go to Metior though.’ She sips her cup, missing the glance Darya sends to Kai and Metior whose eyes stopped for a second scanning the tablet.

Kera gets up and heads to the kitchen to grab something lost in thought.

Kera looks ordinary, long curly dark brown hair with almond sharp light brown eyes on an oval, round face with a button-like nose and small plump lips. She returns from the kitchen with a slice of brownie.

‘Would you like some? Got to live in the moment, you never know when they’ll suck you through a portal and into a world with nothing but cold raw rabbit meat from a hunt.’

That was a little specific.

Kera chuckles, enjoying my awkward discomfort.

‘Just kidding, but it could happen. It happened to Misty.’

A groan comes from the staircase. Large male feet appear slowly going down the steps. He was lanky, dressed in a crumpled white t-shirt and black pants.

‘Hello, Misty, how was your sleep?’ Kera asks sweetly.

The boy enters the dining room space with messy black hair streaked with silver. He had bright ocean green eyes that now stared daggers at Kera.

‘When will you stop calling me that?’ He growls.

He looked exhausted, he had stubble that could be days old and dark shadows under his eyes. His clothes looked slept in and dirty like he hasn’t changed in days.

‘Ben Hart, Mr Grouchy over there is Lucian also known to me as Misty. He’s a partner in crime of a sort.’

‘More experienced than you, but you act like a know it all.’ Lucian passes by without a glance my way to the kitchen and makes himself a cup of coffee.

‘I like being better.’ Kera says smugly sipping her own.

‘Still can’t transform though.’ Lucian smirks.

Kera rolls her eyes, ‘I’ve been to more places than you.’

‘Enough.’ Interrupts Metior, just as Darya and Kia place breakfast on the table.

Lucian slips into the seat opposite me next to Metior while Darya and Kia take up the remaining two places.

I realise that in this world Darya and Kai seem unable to read my mind. I smile for the first time feeling comforted.

We can all hear your thoughts. That was Kera in my head.

We’re just being polite and try to ignore it.

Try imagining a barrier of a sort covering your thoughts.

Like a bubble around you.

In my head, she sounds kinder and gentler, less loud, a little like Luna.

I create an impenetrable wall surrounding my mind, like the barrier I had fallen through.

Can you hear me now? 

There’s no answer.

‘Let us eat,’ began Metior.

Kera smiles at me, making Lucian frown a little.

‘We shall reunite Luna with Ben today. Once together, I shall finally bring you to Metior City. It is time you learn your prophecy’s.’

Kera glances at Lucian, I could sense something between them. An understanding.

Luna, we’re coming.

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fantasy, Short Story

Forever a Twinkle

The wheels of the plane screech as it bounces against the ground. Voices grow hushed while some reach higher pitches. The fight against gravity becomes intense. There I sit by the window feeling my heart leap at each bound. While fear or nonchalance spreads through the passengers, I grow excited. I was on my way home.

The plane takes its final leap and rises high. Below, the city lights are a cobweb of glowing orbs all holding different secrets, stories and dreams. Mine no longer theirs to find.

On the ground, a few look up and see a rising plane soaring through the sky. A single window blinking brightly.

Looking away from the openness outside my window I move my attention to the human, her name was Kara. She had an abusive husband, but as she walks down the plane’s aisle, she beams at everyone but hiding under powder was a bruise on her chin.

She was about to perform the manoeuvres that remind the humans in case of an emergency.  I take no heed. However, I think of how I would love for a final taste of a cup of coffee.

With some help from Tabitha, a human I befriended from down on earth I was able to purchase this ticket after working a few months at a café. That was when I had the first taste of the coffee.

They came in many different styles and flavours. I loved my coffee black with a few tablespoons of cream and sugar. Deliciously sweet, although Tabitha found it disgusting. It was best consumed with a cake of a sort off course.

I had been introduced to many different types of delicacies, but my favourite was a chewy square block of soft brownie. It was divine, and I had sneaked one aboard. The last piece baked by Tabitha. She had laughed and called me cute at my first bite. She was a colourful soul. One I enjoyed the company of.

She had found me walking the streets in barely any clothes, she had just finished work and had no energy to be taking in a “Drunk psycho” as she had called me. However, her heart was full of guilt so taking me under her wing was her way to make herself feel better.

It was all-new for me, the strange sounds, the way humans spoke but I learnt enough to adapt quickly. Tabitha happened to have lost a roommate and helped me find a job which helped her pay the rent.

Being with humans is very different on earth compared to my usual viewpoint. It was painful but beautiful. I shudder as I recall my time below.

It was hard to be human but…every moment was magic. Every second we laughed the bond solidified. When she cried, I found myself crying randomly a mile away at work dripping tears in someone else’s coffee. When she got her dream promotion, the joy in her was brimming in me. Bursting out by sending me skipping home although my feet were weary.

I soon learnt with every scent of light; there was a shadow. A balance in the universe.

In her oblivious joy and many years of hard work she soon discovers too late that she has a sickness that was beyond healing. Her time had come.

Looking back out the window, the clouds drift past, I could begin to see the other stars sparkling in reach. My heart leaps, and tears slip down my cheeks.

“Excuse me, would you like anything to drink?” says the stewardess politely.

I quickly wipe the tears away and turn to smile at her.

“Yes please, I would love a cup of coffee Kara.”

“Sure, no problem,” says Kara looking at me oddly, “How did you know my name?” she asks. I laugh and scratch my head forgetting again about my bad habit of saying people’s names when not introduced. Then I see her name tag.

“Nametag!” I say, and Kara laughs as she hands me the cup of coffee. “Yes, of course, any sugar and cream?”

I nod my head. As she places the cup of cream and a packet of sugar on my table, I could see outside through the window the world beginning to change.

The sky turns from light pastel blue to a dark midnight hue, and the stars come alive. They begin to form a ring, and as the massive metal bird flies through it, passengers halt in the middle of their actions. Time has frozen.

Passengers with cups halfway up to their lips, couples secretly kissing in the shadows frozen in their embrace, while some frozen in time digging their nose.

Symbols begin to form on every forehead, each symbol glowing, representing a part of them that was part of my home. A piece of the skies and stars the remnant of them that was always searching for something.

Each symbol, if I touched it, would render them to speak their deepest secret, and with each utter of their secret they would be free, but it was not their time.

I took the last sip of my coffee and spoke my secret.

“I of the midnight blue sky, the star in the corner of the universe between earth and sky, protector of wishes and dreams. Fallen but now risen.”

Light begins to seep out my skin, and I explode into a vortex of light, free from my restraints and willingly fall into the embrace of the night.

On the seat beside me, Tabitha’s figure wakes from a dream. She calls out my name as I turn into a bright silhouette.

She stares at me amazed, but I could sense her fear.

“Are you sure you want to know your secret Tabitha?” I ask her barely a murmur in the silence between time and space.

Tabitha sits up and nods, “I want to be free.”

I gently touch the symbol on her forehead.

“I Tabitha Dawn Green, the soul of a hundred and thirty-two lives has reached her end of returns. To become the guardian of the star in the corner of the universe between earth and sky, protector of wishes and dreams.”

Tabitha disintegrates into a cloud of shimmering dust. Swirling around me, giving me an embrace.

The plane flies on, two passengers less and no one to know. Forgotten but never lost and forever a twinkle.

 

Photo by Cristian Escobar on Unsplash

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