Chapter 3

When the bullets did not come piercing and burning their flesh, Baybars and Jason opened their eyes. Then closed and opened their eyes again.  It was pitch black.

 “What happened?” asked Baybars, “Are we in heaven?”

 “If we are, I didn’t think heaven would be so dark.  I have no idea what happened,” replied a worried Jason.

 “What do you think happened!?” Baybars blurted out again, suddenly frustrated by the little amount of information that he had about his surroundings. 

He was not used to feeling helpless.  As a person who got along well with others, he had many connections.  Baybars knew many and could depend on many for help and information in any and all situations.  Except this one.  He only had the company from Jason Storch, who was equally clueless as to what was going on as well.

“We let’s analyze what we have,” said Jason taking stock of the situation, “We are lying on our backs on solid ground…I can stand.  The temperature is neither hot nor cold, and there is no wind.  Neither of us seems to have been shot, and lastly, we can’t see a damn thing.”

 This calm assessment soothed Baybars who was having trouble adjusting from near death.  Jason was too, but he was keeping it together because if he cracked, Baybars would go and both of them would go no further.

 “Do you feel different?” asked Jason.

 “Yea, I do, and these aren’t my clothes that I am wearing.”

 “What?!”

 Though they couldn’t see anything, the two began a groping investigation of themselves.  They noticed the fabric and lay of their clothes were different.  Moving from their clothes they began to explore their faces and the rest of their body.

 “Dude!  My clothes feel like… grass, but it won’t rip.  My pants are rough like bark but are segmented so I can walk, and my shoes are gone.  My hair is in dreds.  I have never had dreds in my life.”

 “What are dreds?” asked Baybars.

 “Feel.”

 “My clothes are silky smooth.  The shirt is wrapped around my body like a robe and my pants only come down to my shins.  I have sandals so supplely crafted that it doesn’t even feel like I am wearing any.”

 “Woah, what happened to us?” asked Jason.

 “I don’t know but my hands are smooth and yours are really rough.”

 “Hey…you’re right,” Jason said rubbing his hands feeling the calluses and ridges that he never had before, “Everything’s changed…”

 Their blind exploration completed, the two friends stood in silence for a while their thoughts racing down avenues that led nowhere. 

 Abruptly breaking it, Jason said, “Let’s go.”

 “Where?”

 “Who knows, who cares.  We need to do something.”

 With that, he began to walk, his footsteps making little sound on the dry ground, and Baybars reached out blindly for him. 

 “Don’t leave me, dude.” 

 Bumping into him, he grabbed his hand and they began to walk into the seemingly empty vastness of nothing together. 

 After hours had passed their eyes finally began to adjust.  They started to differentiate black from less black but not by much.  Baybars stumbled as his foot caught inexplicably on something in the way.

 “Wha…?” he mumbled as he tripped, “Uhh-”

 He landed on something hard and angular.  It was almost beyond belief that something should be in the way.  They had been walking for hours feeling nothing, hearing nothing, seeing nothing on this dry quiet plain.  Jason reached out cautiously and felt the surprisingly warm object.  His hand found the end, a tapered point, which steadily got larger and larger until it was the size of a small table.  At the point of greatest mass, the object split off into several more branches which ended in stumps.  Jason didn’t explore the opposite end, and he missed the sickled protrusions sharp as an executioner’s blade resting on the ground on the other side.

 “Hey c’mon man get up,” Jason whispered getting a bad feeling, “Why did we find this?”

 “I’m okay, okay,” he replied, “What is this?  Haven’t we had enough problems?  Now we can’t even see what we’ve run into.”

 “Let’s just move around it and keep going.  It’s big and warm and unknown.  I don’t like mysteries, so let’s get away from it.”

 “Where?!” Baybars demanded standing back up and putting his hand on his hips, “We’ve been walking for hours and are no better off than we were before.  Now we have hit something and you want to move on?”

 “I don’t have any answers, man.  I just have a bad feeling about this.  It doesn’t make sense that this should be here.  I am just as lost as you are!” Jason replied his temper rising, the inability to see creating a jagged frustration within both of them.

 “Well then, think of something!”

 Jason did not reply.  He was staring just past Baybers’ left leg.

 “What do you suggest we DO?!” he shouted not seeing that Jason was not paying attention to him.

 “We run,” said Jason in a whisper.

 Jason had been staring at a crack of small red light which Baybars had not noticed.  This needle thin line appeared a meter and a half away at the opposite end of where they had been arguing. It slowly grew to grapefruit size.  Then it winked out of sight and came back.  The glare from the orb burned into Jason’s eyes.  It was a pure hatred—nothing but.  Baybars noticing the glow distinct from the pitch black turned around and stepped back driven by the baleful stare from the red disc.

 “Y-yes, yes, “Baybars stammered, “Good idea.”

 They began to run at a right angle from which they had been walking and did not look back.  Unbeknownst to them, the orb had once gain blinked out of existence returning to its timeless slumber.

 As they ran they found that they did not get tired, and they were able to run fast too.  Their hands held and pumping furiously in unison, they sped across the empty timeless nothingness once again encountering nothing.  The two figures finally found a horizon.  It appeared only after light, which had been hidden by the curve of the land, came into view.  Finally, there was one less mystery.  There were boundaries again; anything to restore some organization to the world, even if just a line, was a blessing.

 “Let’s go to that,” said Jason running effortlessly.

 They had accepted this new fact much easier than anything else, their brains warped enough by the strange changes that they had already experienced and questing for some normalcy.  The red light though faint was degree by degree growing stronger.  The light looked like the glow of a fire that a traveler sees just over the next hill—always over the next hill.  Jason and Baybars ran, the light still growing stronger, but still so faint.  What had begun as something new, something better than darkness, took on a different feel.

 Its aura began to feel like burning homes, murder, diseased children and livestock, and decay. This negative feeling seeped into the lightness of the beings of Jason and Babyars imperceptibly, until all they wanted was the red light.  Their teeth bared, they ran faster; the red glare reflected in their once calm eyes.

 Their equilibrium was broken by a noise.  It was as earth shattering in the quiet, drowning out the silent screams emanating from the glow of the red light. This noise caused them to stop, as it did not come from the malevolent glow.

 “What were we doing?” asked Jordan.

 Bayars could not hear him above the din; he cocked his head turning his body trying to pinpoint the direction of the sound.  If one listened right, it sounded like someone signing.

 “Whoever it must be must be monstrous with a voice that loud,” he thought.

 A pinprick of light appeared so small that Baybars would have not noticed if it he had not been looking where it appeared.  Instinctively, he knew that this is where the sound originated.  Jason seemed less enthralled; he was still drawn by the power and rage of the red.  They stood slackly facing opposite directions, both looking at something different than darkness.  Baybars reached for and grabbed Jason’s hand.  It felt cold.  Pulling him to get moving, they set off for the pinprick of light; at first Jason resisted.

 Baybars whispered urgently, “C’mon, need more speed!”

 They started running again; this time towards the pinprick.  It was further away then the red glow, and they had a long way to go.  Jason and Baybars ran and ran.  And then ran some more.  Eventually, the land ended.  The two young men did not even think to stop when the land turned into water on Earth.  Feet skimming the surface, they just kept running, flying over the water like a pair of geese; then, after an innumerable amount of time, they reached land again.

 The light behind them, itself now a pinprick, briefly fared up.  Jason slowed and began to turn.

 “No!” Baybars shouted.

 But it was too late, Jason’ feet tangled up and he crashed to the ground, his concentration broken.  He tumbled violently almost knocking into Baybars.  As he slowed his tumble, he disappeared in a flash of light similar to that which had brought them to this place, wherever and whenever here was.

 Baybars gasped and shielded his face from the blinding hot light.  The invasion of light left Jason’s figure burnt into the after image of his retinas.  Baybars could never have imagined Jason gone in this strange place. He felt that he couldn’t go on.

 “Noooo!!” he yelled, but he was cut short by a creature which swooped down and passed through his neck.  It did not cut the skin, but slipped in between; as it did, he felt his voice box tugged, a brief pain, and then nothing as it left his skin.  Baybars became silent both out of force and choice.  He grabbed the fluttering creature, the size of a large dragonfly with spikier limbs, but it evaded the prison Baybars made with his hands, slipping out much like it did from his throat.  Falling silent, he began to be aware of other creatures above him.  After this thief, none promised good. 

 Tottering, Baybars put his hands to his numbed throat and then began to run.  The white glow was so close, but it did not illuminate very far from its source. He ran to the light and stood not a meter from it.  He was still in complete darkness only able to see the shades of dark as before.  Then Baybars heard something else nearby…something big.  Rather than face the darkness, he chose light.

 “Jason!” he yelled, but the only one who heard was the echo in his mind. 

 A roar and a rush filled his ears.  An intense heat enveloped him, which marked the passage from the ether to this reality—only this time the heat did not dissipate.  The last thing Baybars saw was a large door opening in the sky.  It was twilight past the door, and the light diffused gently on the featureless landscape.  Apparently, there was more to see.

 Then he passed out of that unworld and appeared in fire as hot as if in hell.

 Baybars began screaming as he fell, hitting his head on a dresser and going unconscious before knocking into Harvey who grunted in surprise.  The picture of a group of little girls resting atop the dresser curled in on itself and burned merrily as the fire claimed another token. 

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4 Comments

  1. Crazy.

    Where were they?
    What happened to Jason??
    Who is Harvey???

    So many questions…they’ll all get answered, right?

  2. of course. all in good time. i finally get to do what i’ve always loved about reading-write cliff hangers to be answered in the following chapters.

  3. Does Harvey ride motorcycles?

  4. no i don’t think so. does he seem like he would?


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