“Turn to face the strange changes.” ~ David Bowie
Ch 5 … Lock and Key
Dryst’s eyes widened. He was going to ask, even though he already knew the answer. Still, all of these happenings and all of this information mounded up into something so overwhelmingly bizarre that he felt the question spilling from the top of his lips and rushing down into the space that he and Spence shared on the patio, which was also filled with the 30 or so very quiet tribe members who were mulling randomly about but who did so with very open ears and equally open eyes.
The word rushed out from Dryst’s tightening throat even before he truly had ingested the fullness of what Spence had said. But Dryst knew the fullness. He didn’t need to ingest it. He knew. He no longer needed to ask.
“…the warrior…” he said quietly. His thoughts raced to The Event, to the shock on Mya’s face, to the fury that the beast had unleashed in his altering of the world.
Spence nodded grimly. He didn’t say anything for a while, just continued to softly move his head. Perhaps he was giving time and weight to the knowledge, helping it to sink into the recesses of Dryst’s mind. Or perhaps Spence didn’t know much more beyond that…if he even knew all of that much. Dryst met Spence’s grim expression with his own and gave an equal amout of time and weight to his renewed study of the man. He sensed and felt more than he thought or said. Soon afterward, he decided that Spence had spoken as honestly as he could but probably had been (and was) doing little more than exploring a series of best guesses. Who could blame him. Who could know much more than guesses at this point.
“We don’t know much about these shape shifters,” he said at last. “And this warrior, as you call him — if that’s who or what he really is…” Spence’s voice trailed off; after a beat, continued. “Well…can’t say I’ve ever seen that particular variety before now.”
Dryst nodded, waiting for him to explain further, to get to the heart of the matter.
Spence sighed and picked up on something hardening in the will of the other.
“The entrance Way is here, kid. Somewhere here, in this morphing house. The patio has never changed…well, it hadn’t. Not until that warrior blew in here. ”
As he settled deeper into the chaise lounge, Spence held up his hand as if cautioning and lightly said, “I’ll explain before you even ask…so just hear me out. A few of us saw you and your gal, Mya, poking around. Don’t look surprised, kid. We’re keeping watch, like I told you. Looking for those strangers I told you about earlier. Anyway, just before all hell broke loose – pardon the phrase, I’m sure she’s fine, trust me on that – the patio vibrated. I mean the air around it, the atmosphere immediately within it. That’s what vibrated. Not the ground. The atmosphere. But only in this room. And a strange glow travelled along the grid of that atmosphere – yeah, we could actually see the form and structure of what a simpleton like me thinks of as invisible air – and then circled the swirl of it…because like everything else about this place even invisible air morphs. So that’s my long way of saying that well it’s only a hunch, but my hunch is that this patio is the front door to the dimension you seek.”
Dryst looked around. The patio didn’t strike him as anything unusual, as any place of transport or magic. But that’s not to say that Dryst doubted Spence’s word. Still..there were times when all of this – from the moment of The Event to now – was difficult for Dryst to swallow.
“Yea?” Dryst said evenly. “We must be sitting in that dimension then, because we’re sitting in the front door.”
Spence clicked his teeth. “Probably are, kid. Probably are. And that definitely will be the case…when you use that key of yours.”
The scrap metal.
Dryst had forgotten about it. He rummaged through the pouch that was strapped to his left thigh. Quickly enough, he gingerly felt its cool, sharp edge. But a subtle heat radiated off of it at the same time. It didn’t burn, but Dryst knew the metal was still glowing.
“Couldn’t help but notice that your gal set all this off when she picked up that thing,” Spence poked his jaw in the direction of Dryst’s pouch. Then added, “The Gloaming, kid. That’s when we can see if my hunch is right.” He paused. “That’s when we can go from Here to There,” he said as he lazily wagged his finger in the direction of some other place, some other level, some other area.
Where Mya waited.
National Novel Writing Month: Chapter 5 of 30 (wah!!! gah!!! still needing to make up some deficit amounting to some such number); Chapter 5 total wordcount: 750 (not including this notation). Total total count: 8100.