As Audrey left the man who only identified himself as The Guide, she walked down the hallway of the building where she had met him. The last thing she recalled was going to bed, and she was really not clear as to how she got to this building. The Guide told her she was brought here by The Processor, whatever that is. He also told her of some sort of demonic guide who also uses a thing called a Processor to bring others to this place. Supposedly there is a young girl who was brought here. This young girl needed to be returned to her world in less than eight hours or she would be here permanently. The Guide wanted Audrey to undertake this task. She wasn’t sure why, but she had agreed.
She also wasn’t sure if this was all a dream or if it was reality. She certainly remembered more now about this place, than before going to bed. Yet, if she is in fact asleep, her mind may be just filling in the blanks. She looked at the design and then noticed some old school lockers. That’s when she realized this was an old school building. Was this her minds’ adaptation of the school she attends? She just wasn’t sure yet. The Guide had told her to go down the hall to room number 7.
Arriving at room number 7, she opened the door, however instead of a room, the door opened into a kind of rainforest. The heat and humidity of the forest hit her in the face as soon as she stepped through the door. She estimated the temperature to be about 120 degrees. It was a short hike down a path to a small beach, which she arrived at, soaked in sweat. There she found an inflatable motor boat. Near the throttle of the boat she saw a device, and a note. The note read “push”. The only thing she could see that you could push on this device was a single, unmarked button; so she pushed it. Immediately the engine started and entered into reverse.
Soon Audrey’s boat was making its way around strange rock formations covered in a variety of vegetation. The sky was blue; however there was a large planet that was clearly visible in the daylight. She wasn’t sure if it was a moon, or if she was on a moon orbiting that planet. After about forty-five minutes, the boat turned sharply and slid on the sand of a small beach
Audrey jumped off onto the beach. Even through her boots, the sand was very hot. She looked around but did not see anyone. “I wonder if the boat knew what it was doing?” she thought. She noticed a cave entrance adjoining the beach.
The guide did say that Madison may be hiding from a monster. Audrey went back to the boat and picked up a laser pulse rifle which she had found while riding in the boat. She switched it on, and an electronic whine could be heard. She looked at the indicator which read 125 pulses available for the charging pack installed.
“Amazing!” she thought. Here, this weapon’s technology seemed so familiar. She seemed to know much more than she thought she should. She also grabbed a laser knife; a kind of combat knife with a razor edged blade and a button on the side near the thumb to deploy a narrow cutting laser beam the width of the blade.
She decided the cave was her best starting point. She stopped briefly at the entrance and took a breath.
“Why is it we always expect the worst in a cave?” she thought.
As she cautiously advanced her way into the cave, she found it started out wide and then began to narrow. It also slanted down. Finally she reached the other end. The exit to the cave had a pile of rocks covering half the exit. Audrey could see light coming from the other side of the rocks. Once she climbed the rocks, she stopped looking in awe.
In front of her was a city street. On either side of this street were a series of Victorian style storefronts. Also, the sidewalks were covered in snow. There was a breeze of cold air that made her shiver, having just come from the tropical climate. It was dark, with street and building lights illumination the scene. As she looked over the street, she saw a young girl on the sidewalk. Suddenly, the girl started to run away.
Audrey looked at her watch. She only had about three hours to return the girl to her world or she would be a permanent resident of this one. She really didn’t need to be playing cat and mouse with her. She started to run after her.
The girl ran down a street and into an alley, emerging back onto the street at another point. Audrey watched and anticipated the next move. She did well, catching the girl by the arm the next time she emerged onto the street.
“It’s okay,” said Audrey, “I’m not going to hurt you.”
“Let me go,” the girl demanded with urgency, her eyes wide with terror.
“It’s okay,” Audrey repeated, “I’m not going to hurt you. I’m here to help. You don’t have to run away.”
The girl fought Audrey’s grip, in desperation twisting and prying to get away.
“I’m not running from you; I’m running from that!” she said, pointing with her free hand.
Audrey turned in the direction the girl was pointing. It appeared a man was running towards them. Then she started to see his features; it was like nothing she had ever seen before. He appeared muscular, yet his skin was a combination of flesh and scales. The cracks between the scales looked like blood vessels, yet they glowed green. His face had pronounced cheekbones and eye sockets. He was hairless and had recessed eyes that glowed. His face was scowling and had long fangs protruding from his mouth.
“He’s after me, “the girl cried, “Don’t let him get me!”
“No he’s not!” Audrey said sternly, looking directly into the girls’ eyes. “He’s not going to get you! I’m not going to let him!”
Audrey told the girl to hide in the doorway of a nearby store. Audrey stepped into the path of this monstrous man, who was running at her. She held the laser rifle at port arms, and switched it on. The weapon whined to full charge.
“That’s far enough!” Audrey said with a strong, commanding voice. “Stop right there!”
However the command had no effect on the creature. He didn’t even break stride. Audrey started to level the rifle at the creature, but she misjudged her timing. The creature struck Audrey just as she fired sending a laser pulse into the front wall of a store, snow falling to the ground. The impact of his arm sent her sailing across the street and onto the sidewalk. The snow broke her fall. She looked at the creature moving towards the girl, however she fell to unconsciousness.
The girl looked for a way to escape. Leaving the doorway would place her too close to the creature. She turned and tried the front door to the store but it was locked. She was looking for something to break the glass with when she heard a deep gruff voice.
“No place to go, now” the creature said.
The girl turned to face him, tears now streaming down her face.
“Please” the girl begged in a broken voice, “don’t hurt me. Just go away!”
“Go away?” the creature said with an evil laugh. “You’re coming home with me. My master said I can keep you.” He reached out his scaly hand towards her.
“Please, no, please!” the girl cried.
“Now don’t you worry, I have a nice terrarium you can live in and I’ll take good care of you.”
“You wish!” the voice came from behind the creature. He turned to look over his shoulder. Audrey was on her feet pointing the laser rifle at him. She smiled.
“Not even in your wildest” she said firing a pulse which struck the creature in the chest,
Sparks and smoke escaped from his chest and he staggered. She then squeezed off two more pulses in rapid succession. With the second impact the monster exploded!
“A robot” Audrey thought, “I should have known. “
Audrey fell to her knees, still weak from the tumble she took. Her shoulder hurt from hitting the ground.
“I guess it’s like pinching yourself” she thought, “I am awake!”
She looked up at the girl with a smile of victory. The girl smiled back and moved out of the doorway, heading for Audrey.
Suddenly the laser rifle left Audrey’s hands, and something grabbed her around the ankle and pulled her away from the girl. She turned to see a multi-tentacle creature sliding across the snow.
Its shape looked like a horseshoe crab, with a skin of green slime. All the tentacles were in motion in various directions and it made a slurping and hissing noise as it moved.
Audrey turned back to the girl to tell her to run, however the creature had her about the waist, holding her in the air. The girl screamed! Audrey became enraged!
“Oh, no you don’t,” she yelled. She pulled the laser knife, and with one quick motion, sliced off the tentacle that held her rifle. She had hoped to retrieve it; however it landed some distance away. Then with the back slash motion, she severed the tentacle holding the girl. The girl was free, but only for a moment as another tentacle wrapped around her.
Audrey realized there were so many tentacles it would be impossible to keep up with them before the creature reached the girl. She had to act quickly. She then leaped onto the creatures back plunging the knife into its hide. Pressing the button, the laser beam fired, and with one swift motion the creature was cut in two.
Audrey stood and looked at the two halves. This one was not a robot. The young girl, still crying, pushed the tentacle off and ran to Audrey, wrapping her arms around her neck.
“Thank you, thank you,” the young girl kept repeating.
“It’s alright now,” Audrey said in order to calm the girl. However, she looked over the girl’s shoulder to make sure there was nothing else around. She looked at the girl and wiped her tears.
“You must be Madison,” Audrey said with a smile. Madison could not speak yet, but she mustered a smile and nodded yes.
“I am Audrey” she continued, “I was sent to help you.”
Madison’s smile grew wider, hugging Audrey again. Audrey looked at her watch. Very little time remained.
“We need to go” Audrey said. As they walked down the street towards the cave, Madison reached up and took Audrey’s hand. On the way back in the boat, Madison told how she had been having this dream of someone chasing her. It was a frightful dream she had been having for some time.
“Well,” said Audrey, “I don’t think you will have that dream anymore.”
Still, Audrey wondered why Madison was brought here and what reason there would be to keep her here. However she thought that she will probably never know.
They left the boat at the beach by the rainforest and walked up the trail, however instead of heading for the old school building; she turned down a path to an overgrown pavilion. She seemed to know she would find the transport chamber down this path. She also seemed to know, as she had indicated to The Guide, how to send Madison home.
“I’ll need some blood” said Audrey holding a syringe.
“Is this how I get home?” Madison asked.
“Yes” she answered.
Madison entered the chamber while Audrey placed the vile of blood in the device.
“What is this?”
“It’s called The Processor. It will send you right back to your bed.
“Will I remember?”
“Only parts of it. You will forget most of it.”
“I don’t want to forget you?” Madison said with a worried brow.
“Don’t worry,” Audrey said. “If you could remember me, you would remember all the bad, and that’s stuff you don’t need to remember. Our meeting is locked in your heart, and when you have good dreams, maybe again we will see each other.”
Audrey bent over and gave Madison a kiss on the forehead. She then closed the chamber. A bright blue light came on, and when it dimmed down, Madison was gone. Audrey left the pavilion and this Processor and walked up the path to the old school building. Her Processor and The Guide were waiting for her there.
The Next Day – Morning
Audrey was in a positive mode this morning, although she did not know why. She had the same fragmented dream, but it did not bother her like before. She came down stairs and grabbed a pastry. Her mom and dad were sitting at the table. Audrey headed for the door.
“You slept well?” her mom asked.
“Yes ma’am” she answered.
“Oh yeah,” she answered confidently, “Bye!”
Her mom and dad looked at each other after she left.
“I guess you just don’t know with kids” her mom said.
At school Audrey walked down a hallway past the open doors to some of the 6th grade classes. She looked inside at the kids. She wasn’t sure why she was looking. She just seemed to be curious about who was in the classes. She really didn’t know any of these kids. She exited the hallway and stated down the sidewalk next to the classroom windows.
In one of the classrooms a young girl looked out the window watching Audrey as she walked by. A boy sitting next to her asked, “Who are you looking at?”
“Oh no one,” she said. I just thought I knew that girl.
“Alright you two,” came the voice of the teacher, “I know you’d rather be outside, but we have some math to cover today.”
The girl’s mind returned to the classroom.
“Sorry Ma’am” she said. The teacher gave a closed mouth smile. She decided to make sure she had the girl’s attention.
“Okay Madison, can you please complete the nines time table I’ve placed on the board?”