Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Four; Crossing Over

I knew I had heard something.

I hadn't imagined the thin reedy voice calling out for help.

I stepped inside, the brief flash of the dead light bulb had shown me the rough shape of things inside. I stepped around a table with chairs stacked on it, and called, "Hello, are you there?"

There was no reply, so I pressed on, working my way uncertainly towards the back of the storeroom where the sound had come from. I tripped on something, some long forgotten piece of crap, and went over on my ankle. Of course the next thing I did was jump up and down on my other foot and reach for my sore ankle, but all I succeeded in doing was banging a knee and an elbow.

I swore loudly, but gritted my teeth. I still hadn't seen who needed my help.

"Are you there?" I called again, my tone conveying my frustration.


I resolved to get to the back of the room, check it out, if there was nothing there I would leave and assume I was going crazy. First of all dreaming about doors I couldn't know existed, and then hearing people who didn't exist calling for help.

I navigated my way between a drum kit and a paper screen that stretched from floor to ceiling. I stubbed a toe on something else, and this time when I swore I heard somebody laughing. I turned around quickly to see who it was, but as I did so I tripped on something else and felt myself failing towards the paper screen. I reached out to catch myself, but only succeeded in banging the fingers on my right hand which made me swear again.

I heard the paper screen tear as I fell through it. I braced myself expecting to be impaled on whatever crap was on the other side of the screen, but I fell all the way to the ground, banging my uninjured elbow.

"Damn, Spaz!" I cursed myself, in my anger calling myself by the playground nickname that had plagued me for my entire schooling career, and that I still occasionally used to berate myself. Usually when I lost a stupid bet.

"Damn, Spaz!" somebody mimicked.

I got to my feet and looked around.

I wasn't in the storeroom anymore, but I didn't realise this immediately. Instead, my attention was taken up by a short man wearing a green shirt and leggings. I blinked a couple of times and shook my head. I didn't remember hitting my head when I fell, but that was my first assumption.

What I was seeing couldn't be. The man, if indeed it was a man, was less than half my height, and at five nine a giant I am not. As well as wearing the green shirt and leggings he was wearing a green felt cap with a feather stuck in it. He had a red beard he wore in two long plats.

He pointed at me and laughed, then in that wounded kitten voice that had first drawn me into the storeroom said, "Help," and turned and ran away.


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