Wednesday, April 10, 2019
“You’re taking a break outside your office building in a city. Listening to music you unconsciously tap your foot to the tune, but suddenly the sidewalk falls out from under you. You hear a voice in your head, ‘Correct. Access granted.'”
I gasp. The opening is no bigger than a three by three square, just big enough for a human adult to slip through. All the Alice in Wonderland references that I have kept stored away since childhood race across my mind.
My head shakes slowly back and forth as if I am trying to convince myself not to just jump in. I finally look up at the cluster of people coming and going, no one else seems to notice the large hole in the ground.
The alarm on my phone goes off telling me my lunch break is over and my legs slide forward. I let gravity do the rest.
The wind rushes past my ears and it is the only thing I hear. A loud roaring sound that I focus on to keep from thinking of the fact that everything in every direction is pitch black. I make myself look back up and there is darkness there too. Either the hole closed or I have fallen too far to see the opening I came through.
It is only now I worry about landing. I know I am falling fast and no matter the distance to whatever ground awaits me, death is a certainty. My life was boring enough to make me jump in a hole in the ground, it wasn’t horrible enough for me to jump to my death.
With a final rush of air the blackness is replaced by the sunny sky that is attached to a horizon of a world that I am quickly racing to meet. Looking up I watch the remnants of the portal I slipped through fade away.
I bring my body parallel to the ground below hoping to make myself less aerodynamic and slow my rapid decent.
“Oi, you there!”
I turn my head at the faint shout to my left and see someone or something flying fast towards me. They are in a uniform much more suited to falling through the atmosphere. I twist in surprise and any equilibrium my body had is now lost as my body begins to tumble.
Colors and shapes swirl past my vision and I feel the nausea begin to build in my chest heading for my throat. A hand grabs one of my flailing arms and rights me easily. This person is wearing a mask with goggles, through which I can see their eyes. They are huge with worry as they quickly work on strapping me to them.
I don’t hear the click of the buckle, but I feel the pressure of the belt that is now securing me to my rescuer. My waist is attached to theirs and I have no choice but to grip them in a tight embrace.
“Hold on,” they shout through the rushing air.
Before the ground gets too close I feel them pull their parachute and our bodies jerk upward in response. The belt keeps me attached to my rescuer, but the stinging of my skin tells me that I’ll have a mark or two once I touch the ground.
Again, I don’t hear the snap of the buckle as I am released from whoever just plucked me out of thin air and so I am not prepared to stand on solid ground.
My knees crumple easily and I land on what I assume is grass, but it is not the kind of grass I know. It is not green, but a dark shade of blue and while it has a damp earthy smell to it, it is softer in texture and I can’t stop my fingers from gliding across it’s blades.
There is shouting off in the distance and I lift my head to see a group of the same kind of humanoid figures running towards me and my rescuer.
“Who are you?” they pant. Now that wind isn’t drowning out all sound I can tell that they have a deep voice. I would assume male, but can’t be sure until they remove their mask completely. So far they’ve only pulled enough down to uncover their mouth.
“My name’s Remi,” I say standing to face them, “And who are you?”
The mask is torn away and discarded revealing the sharp and striking face of a young man who looks like he forgot to shave this morning. I have to tilt my head up a bit to look him in the eyes, but this doesn’t faze me because I am shorter than most people I meet.
“I am Arden, first class ranger of the Yadin clan and I would very much like to know why you appeared falling through the air, without protective gear, in the middle of our militant training exercise?”
He glances over my shoulder and nods at the approaching, what I assume now are other soldier types and I hear them come to a stop just behind me. He looks back at me expecting an answer, but all I can do is give a small shrug and ask, “Have you ever listened to the band Imagine Dragons?”
Shall I continue? Let me know.