Author's note: I wrote this a while ago. It's not completely revised and the spelling and grammar may be... Show full author's note »
Chapter TwoI wake, lying flat on my back and I’m staring at the sky. It’s sometime after twilight, where the sun has just started to rise, giving off a faint light. I rise up, fully aware of the many creaks in my neck. And then I see it. The land of another world is right before my eyes. I’m on the tower that I’ve visited many times in my dreams. When I stand, I can see millions of brightly colored treetops pressed tightly together to become one living organism, stretched several ways across the land.
I hear something similar to the sound of a cat hissing and look up to find its source. Flying above me in circles, like a buzzard waiting for its meal, is the coolest thing I have ever seen. It spirals closer to me but, I don’t move, fully entranced by the creature. It has a narrow head with a long snout like a Great Dane’s. It has two long lines of pointed teeth. I see them when it opens its mouth to hiss at me once again. Its body is the size of a Bald Eagle’s and it’s a caramel color all over. It has absolutely no feathers and its eyes are neon yellow with a circle of red in the center. It has four short legs and attached to each of them are claws the length of an average pen and the width of a metal leg to a cafeteria table.
The creature swoops down and grabs my jacket with his two hind legs, burrowing the leather into his long, deathly sharp claws. I scream, hitting the creatures’ legs but it’s no good. I’m in the air now, high above land, the tower now behind me. I squeeze my eyes shut and fight off the feeling of nausea coming from the pit of my stomach. My feet kick freely in open air and I know any second now I would die. But when I open my eyes I’m further to the ground. The creature releases me about a foot from the ground and I land on my knees. I stay there for about a minute, not sure what had happened. When I get up I crane my head to see the creature flying somewhere in the distance. I make an effort to raise my hand to the creature like silent appreciation. It had helped me to the ground.
I turn around and dust off my jeans. When I look up, I freeze. “Oh my Go…” I loose track of my words, my mouth now hanging wide open. I’m standing in front of the entrance to the lands colorful forest. Or maybe it’s a jungle. There’s no sign that says so but there are two trees apart from the others behind them that make an arch, a pathway to follow. The trees tower above me, making me feel small and puny. But, they invite me in. There are various colors on each leaf to the trees that dance and the vines that have grown to the bark look almost tidied. Creatures stir around in this place; I can hear them, I can feel them. Maybe there is something in there that would hurt me. I just shrug off the thought, not really caring if there was. I want to go in there; I need to. I place one foot in front of the other and begin creeping towards the entrance. I wasn’t afraid. I just wanted to make sure I didn’t miss seeing anything spectacular. Finally, I make my way into the wooded area and my joints lock, holding me in place. I have to be dreaming. If there is another world out there, it couldn’t look this good. No place could; apart from heaven but, I’m not there yet. It’s like I’m standing in an evergreen rainbow. If unicorns were to trot along with leprechauns on their backs carrying pots of gold I wouldn’t be surprised. This is a dream, after all. There are flowers that I have never seen before the size of my head planted in various places across the natural path. They all seem to sway from side to side like the grass with no help from the wind. They have six petals, each a different color, and where the center is supposed to be there is just a big gaping hole. I laugh, that’s realistic alright.
There’s a movement in the branches above me and suddenly I’m afraid. With the movement comes laughter. Not the deep mechanical laughter that would scare most people but, the high pitched giggles of women. I turn abruptly and see a woman smiling at me from up in the trees.
“Hello.” I say. “Do you know where I can find this girl? She has blonde hair and-” She turns away and runs on the high branches to the lower ones to the trunk of the tree she is standing in. She takes something that looks like a purple sheet and wraps it around the trunk and she uses that to slide down, kicking her feet off the bark when necessary. She lands and smiles at me. She walks closer to me with graceful and seductive strides. She has a body of a super model, only a little more gifted in certain areas. She has light purple hair with specks of glitter in it that fall down to her chest. She has dark eyes and a sly but sexy smile. Her dress is the color of her hair that looks more like a night gown. The sheet is draped over one arm that she has on her hip. She stops only inches from me and when she does, other girls that look exactly like her use their purple clothes to slide down the trees that they were in. They all came rushing to me with the sheets over their heads and began circling me, giggling and running all the while. The one standing in front of me only stared.
I laugh nervously, “If you tell me where I can find her I would gratefully appreciate it.” My head started to spin and my ears filled with the women’s laughter. “The girl.” I manage to say. “I need to find the girl.” The woman closest to me shook her head and placed a slender hand on my face. I try to move away but, I can’t. The woman has some sort of hold on me. She leans in…
“Aphrodite, stop.” Someone calls from behind me. The woman releases the hold she had on me and steps away, the other girls that were dancing around me had suddenly vanished. I felt faint.
“Go.” The voice said. The woman called Aphrodite hissed like a lioness but fled towards the trees. She was gone. I turn around, not expecting to see anyone genially important. When I see who it is, I stop breathing and there’s an ache at my chest.
“It’s you.” I breathe. It’s the girl from my endless dreams and she’s even more beautiful that I ever gave her credit for. There are so many questions I want to ask her. There are so many things I want to say. But how can I when her beauty puts me to shame undoubtedly? Her face is clear of any emotion for a few seconds until fear sweeps across her perfect features.
“Who are you?” She demands. I smile at her angelic voice. It’s like rain hitting a tin rooftop; the most delicate thing my human ears have heard.
“My name is Larson.” I stumble towards her dizzily. What did Aphrodite do to me? The girl nearly jumped back and before I could reassure her I meant no harm, I fell to the ground and the world around me turned black.
I wake up and I stretch out my arms. I’m going to have to get a better mattress, this one feels rock hard. It is dark and all I can hear is the sound of someone breathing. I sit up quickly and rub my eyes to make them adjust to the black that much faster. “Whose there?" I whisper.
Nobody answers, I can still hear the quit breathing.
“I’m armed." I lie.” If you come near me I’ll-"
"Would you stop?" Someone hissed. I knew that voice. It was the most precious sound I’d ever heard and Id already memorized it. I still must be dreaming.
I sigh in relief. “Is there a light?"
Suddenly the area is lit by a small ball of light that levitates in the palm of the girls hands. I didn't look too much on that. This is a dream so anything is possible. She stood quit a few steps away from me, somewhat hiding behind a tree, while I lay on the rough ground. Fear is clearly visible in her eyes and her lower lip trembles the slightest bit. We are in the forest and the sight is overwhelming. I’m not talking about the colorful trees or an undefined flower that has a stalk the size of a baseball bat but, I’m talking about her.
I then, realize what it was she is wearing. She has a white and flowing gown on. It has no sleeves and a V neck, but doesn’t reveal anything. She's modest...I like that. The edges of her dress sparkles brilliant colors in the dim light that shines from her palms.
Her little mouth opens and then closes; debating on whether or not to speak.
"Go on." I smile, leaning on my elbows. She narrows her eyes in frustration and steps one step closer to me, away from the tree. “You almost died today.” She said.
I laugh and say, “May I ask how?”
She nods at the rhetorical question and says, “The Monroe named Aphrodite touched you, do you not recall?” I thought back to the woman with the purple hair.
The girl continues, “Monroe’s have the gift of death. If they touch you with their bare skin they can suck the very life out of you. They are very seductive. You were lucky that I stopped her before she gave you the kiss of death.” I tried not to laugh but failed terribly. The girl frowns impatiently.
“Sorry.” I say, taking a deep breath and smiling apologetically. “Thank you for your kindness.”
She bowed her head and said, “Tell me what you are. You owe me that much.”
I stood up and dusted off the dirt from my jeans. She backed up a ways with the movement. I took one step closer and held out a hand, “My name is Larson McKinley.” She stared at my hand for a long time with horror sketched somewhere in her expression. “It’s okay.” I smile. “I won’t bite.” But, I want to.
When she steps cautiously towards me she does something unexpected. She takes my hand, flips it over, and shoves my sleeve all the way up to my elbow in one movement. She examines my wrist intently. I laugh. "What are you doing?” She says nothing while she drops my hand like its fiery hot and stares up at me with her mouth open wide and her eyes glazing with fear.
“You’re no Ontarion.” She stated in a frightened whisper.
“Ontarion?” I ask. She took small steps back, away from me, putting great distance between us. Finally she was hiding behind the tree again. “What are you?” She whispers, eyes pleading.
“What do you mean?” I say, wanting to know how I can help. I don’t like seeing her like this.
“You’re not a warlock.” She says.
“As in a witch?”
Her eyes narrowed, “You’re clearly not a witch.”
“No.” I smile. “No witch.” She inched her way towards me with great deliberation and an extreme amount of caution. This dream is unlike my others. I thought my other repetitive dreams felt real but, this one blows them all out of the water entirely. In my other dreams the one thing that made them so vivid was the sensations I had while looking at the girl; weird sensations. Like a tug at my chest and not just tugs at other places. Not just lust but, something far greater; though I can’t place my finger on what it could be. In this dream, the feeling is doubled when I look at her and tripled when I hear her voice. And when she touched me just a few moments ago you wouldn’t believe how it felt then. Now, I hear the wind whistling past my ears and rustling the multi-colored leaves on the surrounding trees. I feel the specks of dirt pressed into my elbows and packed into my fingernails. Dreams aren’t suppose to feel this real, are they?
She stood in front of me with a worried expression fixed on her face. “I’m sorry, Larson.” I swear my bones shook when my name escaped from those lips.
I smile, “For what?” I want her to say it again and again. I want her to speak to me and never stop. I want to be able to hear her voice forever.
“This.” She releases something from her fingertips that makes my ears ring and my vision blur. Soon, darkness comes and takes over, forcing my eyes to shut. The last thing I hear, besides the steady high pitched ring, is the smothered thud as I hit the ground