Across the Barrier, fantasy, Short Story

Across the Barrier Chapter Six

Gods ruin everything.

They accidentally made us

Played with us only to punish us and to abandon us.

Well, that’s what Baldemar thinks.

I’ve never met a God.

It’s all he talks about. Being stuck inside this place for days has lulled me to believe I will never leave it. I’ve even accepted the goo that they call sustenance.

A prisoner in the void stuck with jail mates that are a little cuckoo.

One is an old man who has killed a God, perhaps multiple times but won’t say.

While on the other hand, I have an automaton that speaks many languages fluently, knows advanced science and math and has the strength of ten people.

Both creating a device right now, that will somehow blow open the doors of heaven, or the gateway to the realm of the Gods.

This could drive me mad and join them in their reverie of a life.

I sit cross-legged on the floor under a window far from them, watching like a bird perched on the wire.

I have tried running, but the moment I stepped out of the house, the world literally turns dark. I could not see anything but infernal darkness, it still haunts me in my sleep.

Baldemar glances at me, ‘You ok, Benny? You’ve been rather quiet these past few days. The dark hasn’t scared you into madness has it?’

Perhaps he knows by experience.

‘I would prefer to be in the world I come from, I would eat a real bittergourd than the mush we eat here.’

Baldemar puts down a laser-like pen and takes off his gloves.

‘I’ll bring you some after my trip since you asked.’

‘A coke would be better.’

‘We’ll see, Ava is putting the final touches and soon I will have a key to the Realm of the Gods, now I just need Divine blood.’ Baldemar pats Ava on the back.

‘Don’t do that!’ she growls. Ava’s gets lost and obsessed when she works. It’s quite fascinating to watch from afar. I would love to see what they are creating, but I’ve been forbidden like a child with the TV remote.

‘Sorry! I’ll go get washed up and make some lunch.’ Baldemar smiles and leaves in a really good mood.

‘He seems happy.’ I stand to move closer to Ava. My legs were aching.

She simply grunts.

I move towards her. Moving around large metal boxes slowly not to scare her.

Past glass cabinets with odd items in Petri dishes sending shivers down my spine.

Ava hunches over her project protectively.

I am a few steps behind her.

Today she looked oddly ordinary.

Dressed in a normal although worn out long sleeve shirt with black jeans and black boots.

I am inches away but just as I peek over, she pauses.

‘I know you’re behind me.’

Ava is suddenly closing a wooden box and begins to wrap it with suede cloth.

‘Glad I’m done, or else you’d be in trouble.’

‘Why can’t I see it?’ I moan. I was so close.

At least I know it’s small enough to fit in a box the size of a book but what could have taken them days to complete that was that tiny?

‘You would go blind and turn into dust!’ she embellishes.

‘Right.’ I snort.

Ava pats me on the back. ‘Don’t worry, I’ve got a plan.’

What plan? For what exactly? The last time I had been left alone with her she had bullied me into answering thousands or more questions about the world I came from.

She looked hysterical, eyes glinting like a mad scientist or it could just be the glass layer over her eyeballs.

Yet, madness could run in the family. Baldemar has definitely lost his mind obsessing over the Gods.

We head down together to the kitchen just as Baldemar sets down three cups of the disgusting goo on the table.

‘Drink up boy and girl. After, I am on my way.’ Baldemar grins raises the cup to us,  a salute.

‘How are you gonna find God’s blood if they blocked us out?’ I take the cup and try not to hurl as the scent rises from the cup sending my tummy roiling like a stormy ocean.

‘A friend of yours is a God’s child. I just need their blood.’ He gulps down the content of his cup quickly like an excited child about to go outside and play.

‘Are you gonna kill them?’

Baldemar puts the cup down and stares at me lost in thought.

‘Maybe.’

My stomach turns upside down and rolls around a bit before I could muster a reply. Who was the God child? Luna is special and Metior definetly looks like a God. Lucian and Kera looked so normal it couldn’t be them.

‘Please don’t hurt her.’ I say but Baldemar simply shrugs.

‘Aren’t you playing the same role as the God that you hate so much? Doing this will take away the one I love.’ I protest further.

Before I know it Baldemar slams his fist across my face sending me backwards smashing through the table and against the wall.

I feel something besides my overwhelming emotions for the first time in a long time.

I could feel blood oozing down the side of my head.

Baldemar laughs, ‘Well, it seems your not so immune after all. I lashed out with some of my Godly essence and BAM!’

God’s are a pain.

My head hurts and the world felt like a roller coaster ride.

I feel Ava at my side.

‘He has a small concussion. He’ll be immobile for a while. He needs to rest and heal.’ As unmanly as it can get, she carries me in her arms to my little cot in the corner of the living room.

‘That is good then, I won’t have to worry about him running into the void again. I don’t have time to go looking for him. Take care of him Ava, when I’m back we can go knocking on the God’s Door.’

Baldemar doesn’t bother leaving the house through the door, he simply creates a portal and without a word disappears into it.

Suddenly the world starts spinning excessively. I’m back in Ava’s arms and she’s sprinting towards the void.

In a second, a blink, I am somewhere else.

In the middle of a crowded street of a place, I’ve never been. Or I could barely recognize with all the spinning my head was doing.

‘I’m finally here.’ Ava gently drops me on a bench and begins to walk away.

That’s not good.

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Across the Barrier, fantasy, On-going Stories, Short Story

Across the Barrier Chapter Five

I’m all tied up — flat on a medical bed, fit for an asylum.

Everything is in black and grey. Void of any vibrant colours.

The floor is made up of black dust and we were inside a half sunken old ruin.

No other soul in sight.

At arrival here in the void, the old man had dragged me onto a contraption that instantly came alive, straps wrapping around my torso, arms and legs.

‘Fascinating, does it not hurt?’

I shake my head, stunned.

He takes out an odd looking thread needle and pokes me. I feel nothing. He tries to slice me with an ancient dagger and again, I feel nothing.

Everything he takes out of his many pockets slid over my skin like it was made of glass.

He couldn’t draw blood if he wanted to and if I had a drop of blood in me.

He said I was a Golem? I barely knew what a Golem was. In the video games, I played those were the giant zombies. I’m pretty sure I still looked like a boy or else Kera would have said something.

Looking down at my body, it showed me everything was normal, my familiar long skinny legs and bony chest, but somehow I wasn’t ordinary anymore.

I remember being human; I’m pretty sure I was human before I died. I’ve had all kinds of vaccinations to protect me since I was a child. No help if you ask me, considering I died, but the needles definitely pierced my skin then.

‘What are you going to do with me?’ the straps holding me down moved along with me. The more I struggled, the tighter they became.

‘ A curious question, yes, but I’m more interested in what you are. Do you think if I drop a boulder ten times your size on you, would you break?’

I begin struggling, but the straps tighten, becoming like a second skin.

‘Don’t worry, I won’t do it, Benny boy, you’re special now, and I would say indestructible.’ He loosens the straps and sets me free and begins walking, leaving his strange contraption behind and into the dark.

As he walks, the only source of light followed; slowly ebbing away from me, leaving me in the shadows.

‘You seem to be made up of a resilient but malleable essence. Once molded into a form, it becomes unbreakable. I’ve never seen it before. I can sense old magic, quite ancient mind you. Primordial. Wherever you came from, it’s not from any world I’ve been to, but maybe it is where I will find the solution to my problem.’ the old man mumbling with himself.

‘Who are you?’

‘Who am I. I have many names, but I was once Baldemar Wayland, a blacksmith.’

We walk and walk as he tells his tale. He is lost in its telling and me in listening.

‘I had a beautiful wife and daughter, but everything changed when a divinity came into our lives, Gods and their magic.’ he grumbled.

Not too far away I could see a short three-story building with its own source of light. It looked so lonely and abandoned in this place.

‘The God had the whole of creation dripping from his hands. He created creatures at whim, made my daughter a creature of her imagination! Something I could not give her or create in my smithy.’

As we draw closer, in front of a grey three-floor house, there was a female automaton that closely resembled a young woman but made out of gold plated metal. She had dark hair loosely tied in a bun, wearing a long black dress with an apron. She was plucking grey roses from a grey garden. She looked angelic, like a young maid painted in the old painting.

‘Hello, Ava, I see you’ve grown bored with your machines again.’ Baldemar remarks before pecking her on the cheek and entering the house.

‘Not bored, I’m simply seeking inspiration. If you took me with you in your adventures, I could be less inclined to become uninterested.’ Ava smiles at me and beckons me to enter the house.

‘I am Ava, Baldemar’s only companion; you would think he’d be more accommodating. So who may you be? An enemy or a guest?’

I didn’t know what to say. Firstly, Ava was an amazing creation. Whoever had created her made her look and move like a human. Her thoughts and way of speaking, it was like talking to a real live human.

Ava sighs, ‘He looks a little dimwitted to me, Baldy.’ She pokes me in the middle of my forehead. I feel nothing.

‘I’m Ben. Whoever created you must be bloody brilliant.’ I follow her through a metal swing door.

Inside was a cozy living room next to a dining room by an open kitchen that looked half like a witches laboratory.

Ava moves close and scans me from top to bottom and smirks, it blows my mind. It had all the right wrinkles, and dimples and her eyes had crinkles, eyeballs to looks so lifelike.

‘Baldy made me, although he treats me like his daughter. I get punishments, studies, house rules, and chores while at the same time, he tells me stories of places he’s been. He likes to talk a lot.’

‘Ava, can you please go upstairs and finish the project we’ve been working on. I’m sure you’ve dallied enough. I’ll need it on my next trip. I’ve found the god child.’

‘Can’t I do it later; I want to talk to our guest. I’ve never met anyone my age before.’

Baldemar’s face darkens; at the sight of it, Ava frowns and leaves without a word. She heads to the far end of the living room and turns to a staircase on the right, heading up she stomps like a child. I’m not sure if she was doing it purposely or she was just heavy. She is partially made up of intricate machinery.

‘She is my daughter you know. My real daughter. She is older than the discovery of the moon. Older than the oldest ruin in any world, she lived hundreds of years ago, during a time when Gods roamed the earth and before they hid in their realm afraid of us.’

Baldemar hands me a cup filled with a thick fluid that smelled foul.

‘Drink it, it will be your only source of sustenance here,’ I take the cup and sip, it tastes like a blend of bitter gourd, fish oil and something harshly sweet. I try not to hurl.

‘I placed her soul in that body myself. Her body I made by hand, piece by piece. I killed the God and stole his magic to do so. Metal tainted with godly magic. It was only fair, why couldn’t we have powers of our own? Why could I not keep my child alive forever?’

‘Is that what this place is? Your creation?’ The concoction was disgusting. I could feel it oozing down my oesophagus.

Baldemar snorts, ‘No, I was exiled here, given the title of God Killer.

However, I was not the only one who killed a God. Other mortals realized the divinity could be killed, so they hunted. Soon the Gods fought, ran and barred the other worlds from their realm.’ He pours himself a cup of the horrid mixture gulping it down like water.

‘But it was too late, with all the dead gods, magic surged through all the worlds and mortals and I later discovered that the killer like I, could not absorb all the magic; I could not become a God.’ Baldemar grew pensive, lost in thought.

I wasn’t sure to be afraid of this man or want to become his friend. I could understand his situation. In a way, it isn’t so different from the rich kids in school who got away with anything just because they had powerful connections or their parents were working in high places.

However, I am stuck in this godforsaken place, literally, and stuck with a killer who killed a God to boot. How could I possibly get out of here and find Luna?

‘Did you know, the moment a God dies, their essence disperses. It doesn’t cease to exist but moves into the particles around us. The air, the sand, in the tiny particles that make us what we are. Finding a new and capable host. No mortal is capable of holding so much magic but they can have a part of it if they are worthy.’

‘Then why do you stay here? It’s dark, gloomy, and colorless when you have so much power.’ I pass him back the cup empty.

‘I have control here. No one can enter the void, and no one can leave it but me, so don’t bother to try.’

I wouldn’t know what to do first even if I tried.

There was something off about this place.

A deadness to it.

Or was I feeling my lifelessness?

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Across the Barrier, On-going Stories, Short Story

Across the Barrier Chapter Two

I burst out of the surface of the water. At my first gulp of air, I swallow a little water as a wave crashes on top of me. I propel myself back to the surface, but a hand grabs my ankle.

Dragging me through the murky water, the bubbles blurring my vision.

When it finally let’s go, I’m left floating in bubble residue.

Relax little one, or you’ll put yourself back to eternal sleep.  

I try to speak, but all I do is gargle salty water. I hear the mermaid elf’s chimes. She is laughing, but as the bubbles clear I see a naked old woman in her place.

I cover my eyes immediately and immediately hear the chimes, the naked old lady is the one laughing.

It is I, the one you call mermaid elf. I’ve transformed myself into my human form. Ack, I can still feel all my aching bones and muscles in the water.

I peek through my fingers, and the old lady wiggles her fingers my way. I notice she has the same catfish whiskers as the mermaid elf.

Comforts me to feel them. I do not like being in my human form. Bad history.  

How is she talking to me?

 In your head, of course, come on, let’s go up to the surface here. Earlier you would have been smashed against the rocks.

I look around, but I see no way we were anywhere near land. It was endless water on all sides. Returning back to the older lady whiskers to find she’s gone.

A hand grabs my shoulder from above and lifts me up through the water.

I break through the surface and get lifted through the air by a large dark skinned man. He holds me above his head, inspecting me.

‘I don’t see what is so special of this human boy. He is thin and fragile and looks like a seahorse. I could crush him into dust right now.’ The man squeezes my shoulder tightly, sure to leave a bruise or worse dislocate my shoulder, rendering me unable to swim. Bravo.

“Whoa, I only look small because you are enormous! Not fair to judge, don’t you think?’ I try to wiggle out of his grip, although looking down below me there is nothing but water.

Then I notice the man is standing on a transparent step that leads to a large round door the size of a cruise ship. It’s camouflaged against the sunset sky. We were surrounded by endless ocean at all corners except for a little island towards the east, not far away.

‘No point looking in that direction little Kampos, we are not going there, we are going in here.’ He carries me as he enters through the invincible doorway water lapping against his large log-like legs.

I am enormous and don’t you forget. If you hurt my mate, you are crushed into sand.

‘My love, stop scaring the boy. We need his help, try to be nice.’ The older lady had disappeared but is back, and this time she was dressed. Thankfully.

She is wrapped in a loose sheer white gown dusted with crystals that look like salt.

‘It’s not salt, it’s Stardust.’ The older lady pats her dress pleased with it.

‘It’s quite lovely; the Metiri women like to create them when the Astercentrum bursts. It leaves behind Stardust.’

I must be losing my mind. What the old lady was saying made no sense, and the fact I am dangling under the hold of a giant man as he walks through a crowded street in the middle of the ocean inside some kind of floating invincible city.

I think I died the second time, and I’m floating through the glass barrier lost forever.

All this had to be inspired by Luna, she did have an otherworldly look. Especially her glowing white hair and grey eyes that sometimes look silver. That makes sense. She always did inspire me. This city, not so realistic.

‘You are not dead little Kampos, you are in Metior, city of the fallen stars.’ The big man grins at me proudly like I should know what he was talking about.

The older woman pats my foot that is dangling dangerously close to her face.

Does that count as a danger to his mate?

They were somehow able to read my mind, the older lady moves a step away, and the man lifts me higher.

There was an advantage of being carried. Not like a baby mind you, more like a rat caught by the exterminator.

Metior City looks like the Egyptian and the Atlantean’s made babies and left them abandoned in the middle of the Ocean.

Everyone here was long but nimble and robust. Some had elongated ears like elf’s, just like the older woman. There were dark and light skinned folks with a few who had a mix of green and gold. Or maybe that was all makeup?

All the people look busy but happy. All protected under the invincible dome. Wouldn’t it be nice if Luna and I lived here? Get a little house on the edge far from other folks just enjoying the view of the ocean and sunset.

The man holding me starts chuckling.

I quickly erase it all and focus on my surroundings. Until I figure out what is happening. I’m supposed to be dead, but now I’m here. If this is a second chance to be with Luna. I will figure out a way to fly if I have too. I mean if this place exists. Surely I can fly.

The streets are clean; you could see the water streaming under the glass floors like jets of electricity.  There is another stream that intermingles with the water in its own current. It has a golden glow, like an endless stream of light. It’s intercrossing, a double network of energy. That must be what made the city work.

Some vehicles float inches from the ground, the golden light zigzagging across the top of the vehicles glass window, forming symbols like a code.

It’s all crazy, and it gets crazier.

We enter a large garden, and in the centre, I could see a large well where all the streams of light are flowing from.

Hooded figures surround the well chanting in a deep, haunting tune. Past the garden, we walk by buildings made of large crystal shards floating upwards in a cone-like formation.

The base looks like a massive fire was burning below the transparent floor. The entire base could fit four to five cars side by side.

As we move closer, I peek down and I see under the glass floor is a giant eye looking straight up at me. The pupil looking like a black hole. Symbols flash across its pupils and disappear. It follows us as we walk by it.

‘What is that?’ I point backwards, trying to look back over my shoulders.

‘That is Metior, Luna’s father.’

What?!

Second chances come with a price.

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