Chapter 1: Walls in Between

Chapter 1: Walls in Between

A Chapter by Haeshin

 Well, this was weird. Jay Delafoy had no idea how where he was or how he'd gotten to a maze of cream-colored stone. The last thing he remembered was the town plaza as he walked past it on his way home from school, but how did he get into a indoor maze? Could it be one of those locked room games he'd heard about? But Jay wasn't interested in that sort of thing.


“ Weird,” he said to himself, speaking out loud this time. Beneath his hand the walls felt smooth, soft, and just a little fuzzy like velvet. The wide corridor was well-lit but he had no idea where the glow was coming from. Maybe the lights were camouflaged or spilling out of a doorway not too far ahead. Jay moved down the corridor and paused to look through every doorway he found, peering more cautiously around the corners, but he found nothing except stone walls, dust, and the occasional staircase. Jay was starting to feel more bored than scared. He peered down a short flight of steps and caught sight of his clothes.


“ Definitely a dream,” he said. His T-shirt and pajama bottoms had been replaced by a sleeveless robe, cloth trousers of the same dark gold color, and a broad purple sash that was wrapped around the waist and stomach. Jay lifted the hem of the robe to see closed-toe sandals on his feet. It was like wearing a Halloween outfit, one that had been modeled after the bedtime stories he'd been told as a kid.


Jay's mother, Faye Delafoy, was a woman who had filled his childhood with tales about the desert kingdom of Kyria. In the fictional world of Reyyis that kingdom was the only place in the world where people were born with great magic and the only place where gods could walk the earth. Faye had pretended that he was the Prince of Kyria and the dad he'd never met was the Altair, the king. She had thrown in songs, pictures, history, made-up games, and even created multiple languages that belonged to different countries. Jay had loved it, of course, but the stories and games were left behind when he grew up. He made sure to remember them, though, so he could pass it all to his kids one day. It'd be a great family tradition.


“ This is seriously weird,” he said to himself. Jay had heard that dreams were sometimes based on memories stored in the brain, so he shouldn't be so surprised about the Kyrian outfit. He just felt a little ridiculous playing dress-up when he was a teenager and nowhere near Halloween. It was time to get back to reality. Jay pinched the back of his hand to wake himself up.


...Except he didn't wake up. He stayed where he was in that strange maze of cream-colored stone, lost and confused. Jay stared at his hand and wondered if he needed a bigger jolt of pain.


A loud snap! by his head threw the thought from his mind. A crooked fracture had appeared in the wall, but why? Jay could swear that he hadn't touched it!


“ Holy crap!” Struck by an invisible hand, more fractures burst into the walls. They came at random and from both sides, leaving Jay no other path except the stairs at his feet. He leapt over them all since there were only a few steps.


Jay ran a short distance and then whirled to look back. He couldn't hear any more snapping sounds or see anything that could have caused them so he stopped, but someone else could still be in the maze with him. They could be invisible for all he knew. Inside of a dream everything was possible.


Great. Then what do I do? Jay bit back a groan of annoyance. It would take time for him to get used to the rules of a dream, or lack thereof. Warily he went back the way he came and looked about for signs that he wasn't alone. Except for the fractures in the walls there were none, and for some reason that frustrated him even more. Jay set his hands on his hips and announced:


“ I like reason and logic.”


And what joy is there in that, sekahti?


“ Huh?” Jay looked over his shoulder. That voice had been faint and distant, but he was sure that it had been the voice of an arrogant young man. Someone else was definitely in the maze! “ Who's there?” he called out.


Who? You dare question my presence?


Jay rolled his eyes at that response. “ It's a harmless question!” he shouted back.


Why are you there, sekahti? Are you not meant to be here?


“ 'Here' where?” Jay asked. He heard a muffled voice in response but couldn't make out the words. After a moment or two he thought that the young man was calling out 'sekahti, sekahti' over and over again.


Jay frowned in confusion with every time he heard it. 'Sekahti' was a word from the Kyrian language that his mom had invented, a word usually meant for children like 'sweetie' or 'honey'. The exact translation, if he remembered right, was, 'precious one'. This dream was really digging into the part of his brain that stored his mom's bedtime stories.


Ade? Jay found himself taking a step towards the young man's voice, then another, and another, and finally he couldn't stop walking. He tried to think of why he would say the name 'Ade' but his brain threw the door shut on any coherent thoughts. In mind and body he was completely focused on walking towards that voice. It led him down a corridor that was more narrow and layered with shadows than the rest.


“ HRK!” A hard tug at his waist yanked him off his feet. Suddenly he was sailing through a cold black void where he couldn't see, hear, feel or smell. If Jay's jaw hadn't been clapped shut so hard he was sure he wouldn't be able to taste either. With one final somersault Jay felt his body splash into a cool body of water.


Then he knew without a doubt that he wasn't dreaming. There was no way that he could be dreaming when drowning was so painful! Jay floundered, gasped for air, swallowed a mouthful of the cleanest water he'd ever tasted, nearly sank, felt his lungs being slowly crushed, and all he could think about was how he lived an hour from the nearest beach. He seemed to be thrashing about a large pool, but how could he be drowning in the water when he was supposed to be on bone-dry land? A strong tubular body whipped around his waist and with a flex of muscle tossed him out of the water.


“ GPAH!” He was embarrassed and at the same time amused by his first gasp of air. It was a word that belonged on a page next to the sound effect 'KRAK-A-DOOM!'. Jay supposed he shouldn't have tried to question whoever it was that had saved him, tried to breathe, tried to wipe the water dripping heavily from his face, and demanded to know where he was at the same time. His heart tripled its speed when his feet touched solid ground, and they lurched in different directions until he somehow managed to stay standing on his own.


At long blessed last, he felt he could open his eyes without water dripping onto his eyeballs. Then he looked up and came face-to-snout with a giant snake.


...Oh, dear God.


He wasn't sure how he felt about snakes, much less giant ones that put Godzilla to shame, but this one did look absolutely gorgeous. Slender wings of metallic brown, gold, and cream extended from the sides of the diamond-shaped head and a long, tubular body that was partly raised in the air, squashed into a flat S-shape to look down at Jay in the face. Sleek beveled scales the color of dry beach sand winked in the light.


Sekahti?”


Jay's eyes followed the snake's curves until they sank beneath the still waters of an ocean. The rest was kept in the air by a low stone bridge that stretched across an endless ocean, the same bridge that Jay appeared to be standing on himself. Beyond it he couldn't see a single shoreline in sight. There was nothing but smooth glassy waters that blended blue and green together, mirroring the sky above it down to the last detail. Diamond dust stars had been scattered through both the heavens and the waters.


This was all very familiar. Didn't his mom have a painting like this before, a picture where the sea and the sky were identical? She had made one during a mom-and-child art class back when he was a kid, and now it was a part of the Kyria package Jay was saving for his own kids. How had someone made it come to life like this?


Sekahti!


And speaking of familiar things, Jay could swear that the giant snake looked like Ade, snake god of the sands. According to Kyrian myth he was also one of the four gods of creation and the 'father' of every living beast in the world. He was most commonly depicted as a winged snake.


But that can't be right. Kyria isn't real. Jay suddenly sneezed when some of the narrow feathers poked him in the face. “ What the...!”


Awu sai inetu!” the snake who was apparently Ade half-roared. 'I will not be ignored!' After a couple of years Jay was surprised that he could translate that. Of course, he and his mom still used Kyrian on occasion when they wanted to joke around or say things they didn't want other people to know. He'd never expected to hear it from anyone else, though.


It was understandable that Jay would be annoyed by the poking of feathers, and normally he'd shrug it off. However the giant snake's head was hovering too close to him for comfort, its attitude was also irritating, and Jay was tired of being confused and stuck in this very realistic dream. In a fit of blind rage he reared back his head and slammed it against Ade's blunt snout.


Suddenly Jay couldn't think, couldn't see, while his head was swelling with either pain or dumb confusion. Ade, on the other hand, reared back in outrage and no pain at all.


What was THAT for?” he roared.


“ Oh, stuff it!” Jay managed to say, or at least, he thought it was him. “ You're just a dream!”

I am not!


“ Are too,” Jay muttered. “ This is all just a dream. Totally a dream. Definitely a dream. Absolutely a--Ow!” Somehow a light-as-clouds bunch of feathers managed to slap him across the face. Hard. “ What the hell was that for?” he shouted.


Is that not what you Earth mortals do to bring back the senses?” said Ade, half curious and half innocent. “ I was also told that it is very nearly a tradition all about the world there, to inflict pain across the face to prove that one is awake, or to wake one from a dream.


“ Who the hell told you that?” Jay shouted.

Faye.


The simple announcement of his mother's name whooshed the fury from Jay's mind. As he stood there like a statue made of flesh and hair, Ade took the chance to study every inch of him. The snake god swayed his upper body this way and that to stare at Jay from different angles. It was nothing new. People often stared at him because they thought he had exotic looks, which he assumed was a fancy way of saying 'different but nice'. No one else he knew had bronze-colored skin, violet eyes, and blond hair that looked like it was the perfect blend of gold and sunlight. As far as Jay could tell that combination wasn't too common anywhere, so of course some people would stare. He wasn't a bad-looking guy either, putting aside colors....


Now tell me how she died,” said Ade. At the question Jay jerked back to reality, or rather what his current dream insisted was reality.


“ Died?”

Died,” said Ade.

“ Mom?”

Mom. That is, Faye,” said Ade, huffing now with impatience.

“ Mom isn't dead!” Jay cried out.


But she must be! The plan we agreed upon was for you to return at the age of sixteen years, the earliest legal age of adulthood in Kyria. By my calculations you are but a few months shy of that moment but Faye would not play so loosely with her word, not to mention she possesses no power to send mortals to another world. That leaves but one explanation: She is dead. Only her death could have freed you from Earth and allowed your return to Reyyis.


Jay did nothing but stare back with a dumb, slack face. His brain tried to pick out the most important facts and arrange them with logic.


“ My mom is not dead!” he insisted. “ She's alive!”

You would not be here if she was!” Ade snapped.


“ And I'm supposed to believe you? A dream thing? You're fictional!”


I am not fictional.


“ Are too!”

Am not!

“ Are too!”

Am not!

“ Are too!”

Am not!


“ Are TOO! My mom totally made you up!” Jay cried out. “ You're just a bedtime story!”


I am not!” Ade roared. “ Your mother was forced to tell you that the tales were fictional because magic and the like doesn't exist on Earth! If she'd told you about Kyria as truth, she would've been shut up as a madwoman in a hospital for the insane! What did she call it? Ah, yes. The loony bin!


“ And how in the world would you know any of that?” Jay snarled.


Because that's what we agreed upon, you idiot!” Ade snapped. “ Your mother came to this world by chance seventeen years ago. She said herself to be a grad student of archaeology at the time, whatever a 'grad' student is. A higher form of study, I believe. Anyhow, Faye met your father, Zashere, fell in love, married, and gave birth to you. After that she had no choice but to return to Earth, for staying in a world that she did not belong to would have caused the Walls to crumble.


“ I know about that,” Jay grumbled. “ 'The Walls Between Worlds', blah-dee-blah-blah. Once a Wall comes down, every world connected to it comes to an end. It's the worst house of cards effect ever.”


Ade made a sound that might have been a chuckle, but he squashed it into silence before Jay could be sure.


“ I know the rest of the story too,” he continued. “ You guys let Mom take me to Earth 'cause you felt sorry for her, a woman who would one day be forced to separate from her kid and never see him again. World travel was possible for me since I had blood ties to both Earth and Kyria, but even I'm able to travel between worlds only a few times, one more time, in order to return to Kyria. You can't risk the Walls any more than that. Mom said that she made a deal with the gods to send me back when I was seventeen, 'cause I'm the Prince of Kyria and I'd have to go back one day to rule.” When he rolled his eyes in exasperation Jay nearly rolled himself off his feet.


Exactly!


“ Wrong!” Jay shouted. “ That's just a bedtime story! It's all just a bedtime story. It's the guy version of a Disney princess story!”


What nation is this Disney? Never mind. You are the one who is wrong! I told you what Faye had to do or else she would be locked away as a madwoman!” Ade's slender wings flapped as if a flock of birds were going into a frenzy. Jay was startled by the sight, and a tad more worried when Ade's body abruptly froze.


You're not sixteen years yet,” Ade said slowly. “ Very nearly, I think, but not quite. Now for the love of us, what has happened to Faye?


With every word of the last question the air was charged to the breaking point by the snake god's temper.



© 2017 Haeshin


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Added on February 16, 2017
Last Updated on July 19, 2017
Tags: fantasy, fiction, prince, magic, gods, comedy, adventure, alternate world


Author

Haeshin
Haeshin

CA



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