| |

Precipice; Chapter One.

Adventure’s Awakening

Chapter One.

                The young inventor released his white-knuckling death grip on the 9mm Glock and eased his weapon down cautiously—drops of sweat were collecting and falling from his dark brow, and his forefinger was poised on the gun trigger. His highly tuned reflexes were waiting for the slightest movement in the stillness of the starlit night. Raw fear strafed his skin with crashing waves of chill bumps. There was no toxic slime, no lava, no monster, nothing heinous skulking forward to swallow him whole. In fact, the world around him looked antithetically pleasant. But sinister threats often lurked in the seemingly harmless. His bullets were ready to spin when it showed.

                Jerry Cobalt sucked in a deep breath of the crisp air and panned the area around him. It seemed like earth—though he knew it wasn’t. Just a cool night in the serene paradise surrounded him. The leaves of towering trees were whispering in the faint breeze and stealing starlight from the glimmering celestial mosaic above. His ears caught the constant ambiance of a waterfall a short distance off.

                He glanced back to the circular crimson portal he had just stepped through. Its lurid hue and circular shape were all the same as the earth side’s version. Jerry ducked back into the portal hurriedly, dropping onto the stone bridge and nearly colliding with a girl.

                “Wynthel Watson!” He shook his head and licked his lips—as if he could taste the danger like blood from a split lip. “I thought you were going to stay in the lab, like we talked about.” He clipped his gun away underneath his leather coat.

                Wynthel broke her gaze away from the inky vacuity around them. The emerald of her bright eyes was clouded by the opaque of the abyss. Her words were earnest. “I was. I really was going to stay in the lab. But I got really worried. I didn’t want to anything to happen to you.” She bit her trembling lip.

                “Oh.” Jerry raised an eyebrow, “at least you’re safe. This black part and this stone bridge are the middle world. I call it the Abyss. If my hypothesis is correct, the Portal Opening Device, the POD, actually fabricates this bridge… If you broke the bridge, you’d break the portal. But through this end of the portal… is a full world.”

                “Why is there a middle world? That doesn’t happen in the movies.”

                “I don’t know yet. I saw it with the probe I sent through, but I thought there was something up with the camera. It was so dark. But there’s not any radiation. And the air in the other world is as oxygen saturated as earth’s.”

                “Can we go? It’s too dark in here.”

                She reached and hesitantly took his hand. Jerry slipped back through the gossamer film of the portal doorway. His foot left the hard stone of the abyssal bridge and planted on the organic loam of the new world. After he stepped fully through, Wynthel pulled on his hand and broke the film also. He heard her gasp as the unbelievable scenery came into view.

                “These trees, the sky, the dirt.” Jerry muttered, looking around again. “It all has a different feel, a new gravity. We’ve discovered a new world…”

                “You’re the one who made the portal opening device, the POD… Are you sure we aren’t just somewhere else on earth?”

                Jerry pointed directly overhead. “See those stars? Some of them are green and others a bit purple. Earth has white, blue, and red stars. And see that configuration of five? That doesn’t belong to earth—either hemisphere.”

                Wynthel looked up and shrugged. “That’s why you’re the scientist, I couldn’t tell you a thing unless it’s the big dipper. Do you think we’re on a different planet?”

                “Oh no. That’s not possible.” Jerry said. “We’re in a different world, a negative to the world we live in—an alternative universe. We can’t move through space fast enough to be in a different planet. Teleportation is implausible and impossible. Slipping through the worlds by a hole in the world material, however, is possible. In theory, the worlds are side by side.”

                Wynthel fell silent, examining the strange setting with Jerry. The trees were as straight as pines but broad-leafed. They weren’t indigenous to earth, that much was certain. Stands of vine were strewn between the trees, creating perfect arbors. White flowers dotted the foliage and scented the air with a powerful and marvelous scent.

                “Hear that? I think it’s a waterfall.” Jerry motioned to their left.

                “Let’s go see it.” Wynthel said eagerly.

                “What?” Jerry voiced. “That’s not a good idea. What if something happens to the portal? Remember, this is only the testing stage.”

                “It can’t be more dangerous than a Seattle high school, right? What could happen? Seriously?”

                Jerry shrugged. “I’m not sure, but I’d hate to find out the hard way. Think about it, this portal is the only way back to earth. We could be trapped here—forever—if it suddenly decided to cut out.”

                “What’s the point of making a portal and not exploring? Besides, you couldn’t stop the portal from closing anyway. If it just shrunk, we’d still be stuck, because you said the portal must be fully opened for the bridge across the Abyss to be complete.” She said. “Come’n, nothing is going to happen in your lab.”

                Jerry cocked his head. “Okay, let’s go. But let’s not get lost, or distracted, or hurt or… never mind.” He smiled, seeing Wynthel’s unimpressed expression. She turned and started walking over the damp ground alone.

                “Ah, um, Wynthel, one last thing?”

                “Mm hmm?” She looked back.

                “We’re racing.”

                With a wave, Jerry took off and was pounding through the woods toward the water as fast as he could, the wind whistling around his ears. His legs woke to the action easily, and the familiar strain began, but he kept running. The trees were far apart and there were no bushes or briers on the soft forest floor. In moments, Jerry had reached the waterfall, which turned out to be a majestic flow dressed in white. At its hem, a large tranquil pool had collected, completely bathed in starlight, encompassed and hidden by the dark trees. Small incandescent creatures were scattered on the rocks underneath its glassy surface, seeming to descend into infinity. Wynthel arrived—laughing and breathless—a minute later. She brushed a couple flower laden vines away and stared at the beautiful scenery.

                “Perfect place, don’t you think?”

                Wynthel collapsed onto a moss patch of ground and nodded emphatically. Jerry laughed again and lowered himself beside her, carefully picking a pearly petal from her golden hair.

                “What are those blue glowing things on the rocks?”

                “How would I know?” Jerry demanded.

                Wynthel punched him in the shoulder. “You’re the scientist.”

                “I don’t know the stars of this place, and I don’t know the marine creatures. I’d guess some kind of mollusk. But look how deep this pool is…” The glowing creatures seemed to fade forever downward.

                “Isn’t that waterfall absolutely amazing? It has to be what, twenty feet?”

                “Ah… I think twenty-seven…” Jerry leaned forward and dipped the tips of his fingers into the pool. “Ooh. Cold. But so still.” Jerry reached into his pocket and removed a small device. He submerged it in the cool water, which bite his hand with the chill. “Hmm, interesting. Forty-two degrees.”

                “Do you always carry a thermometer? You are a scientist.”

                “It’s not just a thermometer. Atmospheric pressure, altitude… Whoa. Wynthel, do you know how high we are?”

                “Tell me.”

                “How about I show you? I’ve got a hunch. Want to come with me?”

                She nodded. With Wynthel following, he navigated around the pool to where the water drained in a large quantity. He ducked under a branch and descended into the thick trees that were unlike the trees in the forest. Jerry was guessing they were more like a cross between a willow and a cedar. That was almost a cypress. He followed the small slope for fifty feet, carefully navigating from the base of one tree trunk to the other so not to fall down the steepening slope and pointing out the same places to Wynthel. Gradually as they moved forward, a thunderous noise escalated.

                Jerry dropped from the last trunk and stood upon a narrow ledge. Wynthel joined his side, clasping onto his arm. The eroded edge was covered in long wind-tossed grasses. Beyond the crumbled topography, the world just fell away, but to their left, the water bounded over the edge angrily.

                Jerry leaned over and pulled back, palled. Hundreds and hundreds of feet below, the water hit the ground and became a small cloud of silvery mist. It was a sheer cliff. Jerry brought his gaze to his right. The cliffside curved, seeming to leave them on a cloud above a world of black. Above them, was a sea of infinite galaxies. The shore of the sky was the horizon. Jerry could make out the rough contours of the land below them, but nothing else.

                “I thought the other waterfall was big!”

                Wynthel just shook her head. She couldn’t hear him. She lifted an arm and pointed. Like an orange and blue galaxy pasted to the horizon, in the sprawling form of a city, was a conglomeration of lights that contrasted the stars.

                Jerry nodded, he saw them.

                After enjoying the view of the staggering height for a couple minutes, they left. When they reentered the cypresses, the trees formed a perfect wall, cutting the sound down almost instantly.

                “Glorious creation!” Wynthel exuberated.

                “No kidding.”

As they traversed back up the slope toward the pool, Jerry was thinking. “Those lights proved something, that there are people in this world.”

“It certainly looked like that.”

                The melodic song and dance of the relatively diminutive waterfall met them at the translucent pool edge.

                “It’s so pretty.” Wynthel said, entranced.

                “What is this world?” Jerry asked, shaking his head. “It’s wild.”

                Wynthel found a plush bank and sat down. “I just want to sit and stare—forever.”

                Jerry sat down beside her and leaned back to look at the stars.

                “They are beautiful.”

                Wynthel looked back at Jerry, and her eye glinted. She fell back and joined him in gazing up at the heavens. A mesmerizing collection of stars were blazoned in a belt across the sky, glimmering brighter than jewels and as they stared, the galaxy began to take on a three-dimensional shape. As the starlight kissed them, it seemed palpable, and Jerry felt like he could taste it.

“It’s unbelievable.” Wynthel breathed. Silence rose between them.

                The undefiled flowers protected them with a circlet of purity as the gentle waterfall sang and the resplendent celestials danced. Stars blinked by—hours slipped by—sweet breaths lingered forever. But slowly, a moon rose from the east, as black as a livid eye. When its dull light fell on Wynthel, she shivered.

                “Jerry? I’m cold.”

                “I think it’s time to head back to our world.” He said, rising to his feet.

                “Jerry? What are you going to do?”

                “About what, Wyn?” The spots where they had been left dents in the soft soil.

                “The portal and this new world.”

                The couple started walking between the slender, smooth bodies of the eloquently shaped trees. “Well, I think I’ll go back and close the portal. Part of me is dying to explore, but I also don’t want to mingle anything that God purposefully kept apart—not that He didn’t let me be here with you now.”

                “I agree. We’re happy. Let’s go back home.”

                While talking, they had reached the clearing where they had left the portal. The moon fell behind the onlooking treetops, and everything was dipped in shadows.

                “The portal doesn’t matter to me.” Jerry faced her. His hand touched hers accidentally and then their hands were bonded—for the second time that night. “You matter to me…”

Jerry leaned forward. Wynthel reached up to his tall frame and locked her hands around his neck. Jerry gazed into her eyes, carefully searching for a sign that she felt the same way he did.

“I love you.”

He breathed in a new feel—a torrent of enamored passion.

She breathed out, clearing a space in her soul for the first man to ever receive her love.

His lips were heartbeats away from hers…

Fear—terror—shock—horror—pain as if an arrow had pierced his vital soul. Wynthel felt the hair on the back of his neck jerk up against her palm.

“No, no, no, no, no…” Jerry glanced fervidly back at the clearing and broke from her loving arms. He heaved out breath through gritted teeth. “What happened?!”

                Wynthel clinched his arm, because his fear was contagious, but Jerry pulled away from her.

                “What’s wrong…?” The question was slaughtered on her lips as she realized the inexplicable error with insurmountable dismay.

                “Never!” Jerry fumed, reeling around the clearing where the now gone portal was supposed to still be. “How could this have happened?!”

                “What we going to do?” Wynthel asked, her voice hollow.

                Jerry turned back to her—fear and anguish blazing to a fire in him and burning to his soul. “There is nothing we can do… we’re trapped in this alien world.” He shivered… “Forever.”

Similar Posts