Monday, December 16, 2013

The Fields Chapter 3: This is just the beginning

I found myself standing on a wooden pier and although it had a 19th century look to it, the boards nailed to crisscrossed stilts only looked mildly rotted. I took note of the lamps swinging from tall metal poles on the left side of the long and narrow walk way and how they didn't emit any tangible light. Despite that, the path and railing below them was brighter than the twenty-foot gaps between each lamp. I must've been near the very end with my back facing the water because the walkway before me terminated in a much larger structure and maybe some kind of docks. The only problem being the distinct lack of details on just about anything besides the wood I stood on. In my peripheral vision the water and sky both seemed black, but that wasn't quite right, more like blank. Like a rough sketch on a chalkboard. I didn't notice any smell but felt a slight breeze whistle through my skull.

My body started moving forward, though I don't really know if my legs were lifting though, just that I was no longer in control of them. I moved at a steady pace towards the darkness, a growing sense of terror following close behind me. I broke into a sprint, my feet hitting cement steps. Much to my dismay, just as the nothingness began to caress my cheeks, I was suddenly back on the pier again. Only this time, I was looking out at the empty yet still body of water. The only detail which made it seem like water was the shimmer of a ripple of water, illuminated by no distinguishable light source and moved by no distinguishable falling object. It reminded me of hail, but the lack of water sounds made that image disturbing.

At the very edge, its head tilted down, was a man of average height and a slim build staring at the same ripple effect. He was the only thing in this world besides the wood which was decorated in any kind of color and his presence literally brightened the atmosphere around him. It was almost as if I was watching one of those murder mystery shows, the kind where every time the show wants to make a piece of evidence very clear they highlight it with a static-y oval. Although with those, they're not exactly adding color nor light to the picture, just brightening the image enough to show how awfully old the photo looks.

The man wore a light grey trilby with a black band around it on top of regular street clothes. A ragged and faded grey wool coat, red-brown corduroy pants with dark brown leather loafers. I couldn't see what kind of shirt he was wearing because his back was to me. It only took a nanosecond for that to change, however, as the next thing I knew my face was almost buried in his shirt which seemed to be soaked in oil or blood.

Becoming increasingly apparent that my presence as a walking human was just my brain trying to make sense of the situation, for some reason my point of view was now suddenly only about to this man's abdomen and he must have been six feet tall. So I ran. Or, well, it looked more like my consciousness was being dragged behind my will to live, but all the same really. As I pushed myself towards the blank docks I could feel the man effortlessly speeding up as well. Images of a madmen brandishing a sickle and a sick smirk rattled in my head, but to be honest I wasn't brave enough to actually turn around.

To my horror, my body sporadically slowed down or wouldn't respond at all. I wanted to kick myself in the ass just so I may hope to start running again, but all too quickly that was resolved for me. The man caught up, I felt him reaching for me, the air drained from my lungs and-

I woke up on a blue futon in a well lit room that sort of reminded me of what I always imagined teacher break rooms to look like, maybe mixed with a bland cafeteria. Cold sweat matted the back of my hair and stuck strands of it to my forehead, my face now flushed and red. I felt stiff and I looked stiff, my feet just dangling off the other end of the futon. I also looked dead, I was covered in blood and dirt. My vision was slightly hazy and I could hear somewhat familiar voices that I immediately registered as both irritating and worrisome. Oh yeah, I remembered then, that's my family over there.

"Check it out, the Joker is alive." I already wanted to punch Sierra, but I was too tired. She always hid her concern by doing that, even at really inappropriate times, so that made me feel slightly better about myself. Sierra was only a little younger than Heather, but the two weren't very much alike. She gets a different hobby every other week, is very comfortable in her lack of career goals despite being twenty three years old and is the only one of us who maintains an up-to-date police record. Her hair is lengthy and braided into a ponytail. She could whip me with her hair if she wanted to. She was in her best comfortable-but-still-wants-to-go-out outfit, her gaudy lipstick wiped off for once and she appears to have been crying, but won't ever let me see that again since I'm actually conscious now.

"That's a dick thing to say, do you know how hard it is to get shot in a freak way like that?" My oldest sister tries to be supportive but it often comes off as misguided. I studied Heather's body language, her shoulders stayed turned at Sierra but she no longer could keep her eyes off of me. Something tells me it's about my gross wounds and not because she just loves seeing her little brother that she hasn't actually visited in about 18 months and just nearly died. She has a more studious attitude about things, she was the first person to actually beg my dad to let her study at a university and goes through more books than I do slices of pizza. Sometimes I think she needs a few less cover-to-cover bookshelf marathons and a few more pizza eating competitions. She took after my mom the most with the same with her petite shoulders, all the way down to the same fashion that my mom was into when she was 25 as well. That part really wasn't a great thing, but at least she owned it. She is already a published author and writes novels about Victorian robots who can cry or something. While she doesn't tower over Sierra, the few added inches now make her a scarily skinny 5'7". She's not someone you can trust with a shotgun.

I sat up, almost falling backwards again in the process and jokingly held out my arms for a hug. They both took up the offer, including my distraught mother and my father who seemed deep in thought. I didn't intend for this to happen. I sighed, "You guys are acting like I've never had a scratch before. Heather didn't even visit me in the hospital when my appendix burst!" "I was in the middle of my finals!" she retorted. Sierra let out a small cough that had a hint of tobacco in it, "Derek your breath smells like shit," her observation was buried under comments and questions. "Honey, three and two thirds of an inch higher and you'd be our very brain dead son!" My mom really knows how to cheer me up.

My dad grunted and now stood beside me looking very serious. "Derek, we need to talk. All of us do. I'm glad you're okay, you know how much I care about you, but we-" I waved a dismissive hand. "Don't give me that. You already gave me the talk when I was like nine. Anyway, you never tell me anything. Why can't Heather handle this?" My dad tried his best to look mean. The guy did have the build of some hero out of one of Heather's fantasy-romance novels and he had a couple mean looking scars, but I've put so much effort in distancing myself from this entire family that he doesn't faze me anymore. "We are being reminded of a threat that is capable of decimating all human history, not just the Fields family members." The room got quiet. Well, shit, I thought, I guess this means I better call in a sudden vacation at work. "Everybody, to the conference room. We're doing this the right way."

Once everyone walked out of the room, heads hanging low, I could take in the room. It looked different from my childhood memories. Of course, I'm talking about the Fields Manor, a five - or more, who knows at this point? - floor shelter built for one family but capable of defending against every conceivable outside danger. My dad started renovating it while I was in preschool. Right now I was in the break room, on the second floor. It has a few small metal tables with benches, except only the benches are bolted to the floor in case you need to barricade the room or something. For the most part it's just off white colored walls, cabinets full of food and miscellaneous supplies, the futon I bled all over, some sinks, a mega fridge with a cold storage system capable of storing several tons of food for over 25 years, I could brag forever. My dad never found a way to make this place seem less like a bizarre office building, though.

I worked my way over to the sink, cured my dehydration and dry mouth and took a moment to touch my face. Someone stitched up my cheeks, Sierra I'm guessing. My tongue could still feel the stinging flesh in the inside of my cheek, my spit was still the color of pink lemonade, but the weirdest part was that my wound already began to close up. Let me remind you that this was in fact not a scratch, two large hot hunks of lead ripped my cheeks open. Yet the wounds are about as bad as if I chewed on my cheeks during an unusually long horror movie.

The conference room was just one door over. It has a large round table with a couple of chairs for everyone, plus a huge map pinned to the wall and some computer monitors in the back. This is the first time that I've been in here and my feet touch the floor when I sit on these damn chairs. My dad had some pieces of paper clipped to a clipboard in front of him, monitors behind him and I sat directly opposite him. Everyone else sat wherever. He took a deep, sorrowful breath and began explaining.

"Right, now, girls, I know you both know a little bit of this but this needs to get to Derek the most." My mom stared intently at a piece of paper at her own seat, my sisters stared at my dad. "There are things in this world more terrifying and dangerous than anything you've ever read about in fiction, anything you've watched in a movie, any urban legend, any real event or person. While none of us, and I do mean us as humans, know much about this threat, we know now that they have been hunting us for over eighteen years. I'm sorry if all that time led you to a false sense of safety and believe me, I would never wish this on anyone, but the fact remains that we all need to become as vigilant as humanly possible. I've trained all of you for this day, to the best of my ability. Sierra, Heather, you two need to depend on Derek now more than ever. No sibling rivalry is worth losing each other over. Now Derek, that doesn't mean you get to slack off anymore. I call you for a favor, you get here as soon as possible. Even if Heather or Sierra are just scared, they tell you and I want you at their house that same hour. Understand?" I looked at the table, contemplated leaving, then looked at him, "Sure." He slammed his fist on the table, startling everyone, "DEREK! No bullshit, this is a life or death situation and you are my family. Take this seriously for once, goddammit!" I stood up, placed my hands on the table and just looked at him. "Tell me what they are."

My dad didn't speak for several minutes. I thought I may have broken him. He stared at his clipboard as if it was a bowl of charred cereal. "Alright," he began, "I'll tell you what I know, then what to look out for, but there is one important detail. Most of this is just a theory." He rubbed his face, "There are things that look like humans. They don't belong here. They don't exist. Yet somehow, they're here now. They have unimaginable power that seems to only grow as time goes on. You've seen them, I can tell. Derek, there are multiple dimensions in existence. In fact, there are an infinite number, or so we think. Either way, a lot of these dimensions are, well, similar. Similar enough that, given a tool to cross over to another, it's theoretically possible to find a new home this way. It's also possible to encounter horrible monsters, and those can theoretically live elsewhere too."
He was sweating a puddle on the table. His voice became hoarse.
"Derek, I'm trying to say that these things came from another dimension. I'm trying to tell you that neither you nor your sisters were born in this dimension. Not me nor mom, none of us."
I wanted to pass out.


  1. We started watching Fringe when I moved here and this is reminding me of it, but with enough differences that it's still cool and awesome and not very much alike it except for the multiple dimensions part.

    Also, much better than chapter 2. Um.... Critic advise... You switch back and forth between past and present tense? That's something that's usually fixed during a big editing though.

    1. I like Fringe. This may have been partially influenced by it.

      That's one of my bigger problems unfortunately, I have trouble maintaining the correct tenses :/ However, I think I've been doing better with my most recent chapters and I'll make a note to check for tense changes before I publish.