Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A Story to Bide Time- Ch.1

A Story to Bide Time

First Tense :: Chapter One 

"Who can know what the future holds.." she turned the crinkled page of the worn book, only to find it blank. 'Is this a joke', she thought as she turned to the next page and the next. 
Feeling crazy, she looked around the dusty second hand bookstore wondering if there was a camera on her recording this prank. The suns rays barely managed to stretch past the rug in the entryway. Dim fluorescent lights cast shadows beyond the rows of abandoned books yearning to be taken home and remembered. No one was in sight. Only the buzz of a small fan by the service counter accompanied her. Assuming the clerk must be in the back, she smiled and laughed under her breath as she flipped to the end of the book. Still no words. The book had no title engraved on the red binding. This had perked her interest and she felt pulled to open it. She read the single sentence again, out loud this time. "Who can know what the future holds," She shook her head, closed the book and reached to put it back upon the shelf. At that moment the door burst open. The service bell above it ringing out in agitation of being handled so aggressively. This was the moment her life changed. 
A young man about her age appeared and she observed him silently, finding him handsomely disheveled. Out of breath, he placed his hands on his knees, then sighed heavily and brushed off his blue jean pants. As he straightened, his jet black hair glistened as it caught the sun, a classic compliment to his dark jacket. Their eyes connected and neither said a word. His brown eyes held a calm yet stern honesty. He took a step towards her then another with a sultry confidence. For some reason she was frozen, her arm extended with the corner of the book resting on the shelf, unable to break eye contact with this abrupt stranger. Her mind was working, screaming for her to move like a normal person, yet, she felt content in letting the scene unfold. He did not break eye contact as he reached for the book in her hand. He stood only a few inches taller than she.
"I'll be taking that," He said coolly, "Thank you ma'dam, you've saved me a bit 'o trouble." His British accent was fake, she could tell, but it was good. His gentle smile dissipated and his brows knit together when he realized she would not let go.
Now she was curious, "I don't think so," she smirked and pulled the book from his grasp, shielding it behind her. Bouncing back a couple steps, she tossed her brown curls flirtatiously from her face."This book has one sentence. Only one. What good is it to you?"
He chuckled, regaining his cool composure, "That," He took a step forward, "is none of your concern."
"What's with the fake accent?" a playful tone in her voice.
"Come now, hand me the book and I'll be on my way." His voice was became stern, but he did not drop the accent.
He had sparked her curiosity the moment he had burst through the door. He wasn't leaving until her curiosity was satiated.
"Well you see, I saw this book first and I would like to purchase it," that was a lie, "I have grown quite fond of this book, dear sir." She mimicked his accent as she sashayed to the service counter. Her heart beat quickened when she heard his footsteps follow to her side.
There was a hardness in his eyes when he spun her around by the shoulder. "This is not a game," his accent was gone, "Give me the book or I will take it from you. I'm asking nicely, give me the book." 
"You didn't say please," she mumbled holding the book closer to her chest, keeping a playful air.
"Oh, I'm sorry." he corrected sarcastically, "May I please have the boo-" There was a loud crash out in the street drawing both their attention. "Shit," he scoffed, "Outta time. Time to go!"
Without warning he grabbed her hand, jerking her out the back door. They burst into a sunlit alley causing both of them to squint and cover their eyes. He looked left to right and decided to go right.
"Hey!," She yelled, "HEY! What are you doing! Let go!" She tried to pull, but he wrenched her forward, urging her to keep running.
"Listen, I can't explain much, but since you can read the book it looks like I have no choice."
'Great a crazy person,' she thought,'what have I gotten myself into now.' Her dad always told her that curiosity killed the cat, ironic her astrological sign is a Leo. "What do you mean 'I can read the book'? Of course I can read!" She yelled as they turned down another alley. They were winding behind buildings and jumping trash flowing from dumpsters that should have been emptied a week ago.
"Wait a minute! I said WAIT!," She managed to wrench her hand from his grasp.
She was breathing heavily, sweat dripped from her brow and perspiration began to bleed threw her graphic tee under her zip up sweater. Her grey skinny jeans were proving to be the wrong choice today. "Why are we running?" she huffed, adjusting her purse. He opened his mouth to respond but something behind her caught his attention. His lip curled in a snarl, and in a flash he was standing between her and a new entity. He had just bridged over five feet in a matter of seconds. Her mind struggled to keep up with the situation.
Wide eyed she turned slowly, becoming aware of a third person breathing heavily. Well, at least she had assumed it was a person. When her eyes fell upon the third individual her body went numb and she could feel her knees grow weak.
The alley they stood in was s-shaped with sharp turns, giving it the illusion that they were closed off. The buildings were not tall but had no windows, leaving only red brick leading up to a clear blue sky. The alley was empty save for few trash cans standing by a back door. There was no one else around, no witnesses. Not even a sound could be heard from the streets beyond. She swallowed hard, physically trying to push back the fear that was welling up inside.
The 'thing' stood at least six feet tall, but the awkward fit of a brown trench coat hiding a bulge seemed to suggest that the figure was taller. 'It' began to straighten, its height growing. She was right. Most of the time she liked being right, but this was not one of those times. It's shoulders rolled back and a ripping sound could be heard. It shed the coat like a skin it had grown out of. It looked humanoid in nature except the eyes were pale yellow and the skin held a green tint to it. The arms dangled un-proportionately long at its sides, revealing sharp nailed, lizard like fingers. She felt like she had just fallen into a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle TV special.
She laughed but it was more of an exhale, "This can't be happening."
"The artifact," It hissed at her through uneven teeth.
Instinctively she gripped the book tighter and stepped back. The boy raised his hand, palm facing her, as if protecting her.
"Not today Grom." He smirked devilishly, "This here, is my treasure." His voice sounded playful, but everything about his demeanor said he was ready to fight.
She could barely find her voice, "This thing has a name...wait, you KNOW this thing?" Her question fell on deaf ears. The two seemed to be lost in their own world, glaring, each anticipating the first move of their opponent. 
It happened in a flash, they sprang towards each other. Their movements were a blur to her. She could only stand there frozen as the man she had met 15 minutes earlier battled a creature that seemed to have lept out of the pages of a comic book. He dodged the monsters swing with expert ease and struck it low in the gut. He hopped back and then sprang in again to deliver a blow to the head of the doubled over creature. Then he delivered a powerful, swift roundhouse kick to the creature's side sending it into the adjacent wall. Without even pausing her apparent savior whirled and grabbed her hand, pulling her from her stupor. 
"Do you trust me?!" he called back to her.
Her brain was still processing the fantastical situation that was occurring. "Do you trust me," he repeated louder and with more urgency as they ran.
"I- I," she stumbled over her tongue. Did she really have a choice? Something was happening to her that was beyond her imagination, much less beyond her control. Thoughts of her parents, friends, and future plans flashed threw her head. Suddenly, she was filled with adrenaline- the will to live. She could feel her whole body on fire with fatigue. She became acutely aware of the blood rushing in her ears, and her feet pounding on the pavement. She wanted to live, the desire was overwhelming.
"I- I trust you," she finished.
He just smiled back at her for a quick moment, then extended his free hand in front of him. His lips moved, speaking in a hushed tone, but she could tell it was no language she was familiar with. Suddenly, she noticed the alleyway opened into a busy street. She could see the cars rushing past, and they didn't seem to be slowing down. She had the urge to slam on the brakes, but a loud crash and howl behind her quickly nixed that idea. She was more afraid of what was behind her.
"Um!" she squeaked nervously, "Uhhhh what's the plan?" He was still mumbling gibberish, but a strange light had begun to surround his outstretched palm.
"Uh, hey! There's a street right-"
"You said you trusted me, right?" He grinned wide.
"Yeah but-"
"Then don't let go," he almost whispered, and lightly squeezed her hand.
Without slowing down they sprinted straight towards the busy avenue. She squeezed her eyes shut and braced for impact with the silver compact car en route to hit them. But there was nothing. She felt light, as if she was floating. She couldn't feel the ground under her anymore. She peeked, opening one eye and what she saw caused her jaw to drop. The two of them seemed to disappear from space into a shimmery silver tunnel. It looked like a worm hole out of Star Trek. She squeezed his hand tighter. Before she had time to take it all in, they touched down on green grass and the world around them slowly materialized and stabilized. She recognized the park, it was a few blocks from her college's campus.They were several miles away from where they had just been.
"You can let go now," he smiled gently at her, understanding she was in shock. She just stared wide eyed at him. He wiggled his fingers in her death grip, "Let. Go." He enunciated playfully.
She snapped out of it, releasing his hand. He flexed his hand and massaged it, studying her face. Feeling embarrassed she lowered her head and turned slightly. Lightly biting her lip, she pondered the last few moments struggling to come to any logical conclusion that wouldn't make her sound crazy. She looked at the red book still in her hand. This book was no ordinary book.
"WHAT IS THIS!?" She abruptly turned and practically shoved the book up his nose.
"Woah, woah," He raised his hands in surrender, "calm yourself lassy." He used his accent playfully. "I will explain everything, but let's get somewhere safer first." He looked about, and then started walking off. She stayed put, glaring at the outstretched book. Something pulled at her to open it again. She obeyed and lifted the hard cover.
"Who can know what the future holds..." but there was something more now. Another line had been added as if by magic. "In every moment lies a story waiting to be told..." Her mouth fell open. What could it mean?
"Well, are you coming? Or are you just going to stand there til the sun sets," he called back lightheartedly, tossing his black hair in the setting sun.
She closed the book, deciding to keep the addition a secret to herself... for now, and hurried to his side. 

[To be continued...?]

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