Same Day, Different Universe-Part Three
The light was so bright it blinded Kayla. When she regained her eyesight, she still stood among the trees. Trembling, she looked around for the wolf but saw no sign of it. With no time to relax, Kayla needed to find a way out of the forest.
The edge was up ahead. Upon seeing the apartment buildings and how different they looked, Kayla knew something was wrong. The property looked dark and gray, not the normal faded rust color. All the windows had blackout curtains, and Kayla couldn’t remember if she had seen them before. She walked across the parking lot.
Kayla examined her surroundings as she came closer to her place. Reaching into her pocket, she retrieved her keys. The number on the door stated it was her apartment. Why wouldn’t her key work? Her roommate should be home. As she raised her fist to knock, she felt someone behind her.
Her eyes widened as a hand reached and covered her mouth. She tried to scream. Her heart raced as the strong intruder dragged her down the narrow alleyway between the buildings. A hot breath in her ear whispered, “I’ll release you if you promise not to yell.” Kayla nodded her head. The stranger, with long white hair, torn jeans, and a brown Nirvana tee shirt, looked her in the eyes. “You’re in danger and need to leave now. Follow me.”
Kayla followed the young man. She recognized the young girl walking a few feet behind them, Liz, her roommate. Kayla’s body relaxed. She turned and smiled, but Liz ignored her. “Why is she acting as if she doesn’t know me? This must be a joke. Okay, I’ll play along.”
All three walked through the forest until they came upon a clearing. Kayla counted fifteen people huddled around a fire. “Why didn’t you say we were going to a party, Liz? And I thought you would kill me.”
“How do you know my name?” Liz inquired.
“We’ve been living together for two years.”
Liz stared at her blankly. “I don’t know who you are.”
“Drop the act, Lizzy.”
People whispered to each other. Not sure if they directed their whispers at her, the guy with the white hair approached her. He looked her up and down. “It’s dangerous for you to be out after nightfall. That part of town is known for its violent crime. If they caught you, you’d disappear.”
“Who the hell are you?” Kayla asked.
“Damien Chasey. And you are?”
“Where the hell am I?” Annoyed, he wasn’t being forthright.
“First, you’re safe here. And second, you’re in our encampment.”
Kayla stared at Liz. “This isn’t funny. I don’t appreciate you playing on my fears about the night in the forest.”
Liz glared at Kayla. “I still don’t know who you are. I’d remember if we met before.”
Kayla let out a huff. “I shouldn’t have run into the light.”
Jason, another guy sitting around the campfire, heard what she said. “Excuse me. Did you say you entered the light?”
“I observed this strange blue swirl through the trees, but a gigantic wolf chased me into the forest. Not a friendly fellow. I had little choice, so I stepped into the light.”
Jason’s mouth dropped open. His eyes opened wider. “You don’t belong here,” he said as he stood up and walked away.
Kayla’s brow furrowed. This is the strangest night ever.
“Damien,” Jason walked over to where he was standing. “Remember the rumor about the warlock trying to spread his knowledge? I heard he could conjure portals to other places.”
“Come on, man. No witch or warlock has the power to create gateways to other universes,” Damien rolled his eyes.
“How do you explain how she got here?” Jason motioned over to Kayla.
Kayla’s mind raced as she listened to their conversation. Was it possible she came from a different universe? She had to be in a dream. Yep, home in bed, dreaming up this wild fantasy. This wasn’t reality.
Damion snapped his fingers in front of Kayla’s face. Deep in her own thoughts, she hadn’t seen him walk over. Kayla shook her head. “What…are…you…called?” Damien spoke slowly and deliberately.
“I don’t have to answer you. This is all in my imagination. None of you are real. I am going to wake up and go to work. I need to forget about this nightmare.”
As Kayla turned to walk away, Damien grabbed her arm. She winced at the pain as she struggled to get loose. “Why haven’t I awakened? Isn’t this how it happens in the movies?” But she didn’t wake up, and all these strange people stared at her. Am I insane?
“Look, Miss, I understand you’re scared, confused, and angry. Can you tell me what you’re called? It’d be a good start,” Damien told her calmly.
“Kayla, my name is Kayla.” Her voice quivered.
The realization hit her. She wasn’t in a dream and didn’t know what to do. Surrounded by strangers who gawked at her, it made her feel like a museum piece.
“Come have a seat. We can talk.” Damien motioned to one of the unoccupied logs by the fire.
“I’d rather stand,“ Kayla murmured.
Damien let out a sigh. “I’ll tell you a little secret. You entered a different realm when you walked through the blue light. Here, monsters are real. Vampires, werewolves, witches, and ghosts exist, and humans are figments of their imagination. Humans are the ones who live in the shadows.” He paused and waited for her reaction. “The supernatural creatures are the norm. The mortals, well, they’re the stuff myths, and legends comprise.”