Flash Fic: A Different World

We were walking near the beach when we came to a wooden stairs that led to the top of a small, mangy hill. “Where do you think that goes?”

Cory shrugged. “The water?”

“Why not just go around? Wouldn’t be difficult.”

He squinted. “What’s there, at the top?”

“I don’t see anything.”

He put an arm around my shoulders. “Look again.”

“Okay, I see something. It’s like… wavy glass or ripples. Heat shimmer?”

“It’s not that hot, and why would it be in only that one spot?”

A seagull flew overhead, then dipped low to see if we had any food. We didn’t. We were on our way to a friend’s house for lunch and had left early enough to enjoy a walk along the shore before joining him on his fabulous deck, which overlooked the ocean. Disappointed, the seagull left.

Cory pulled on my sleeve. “Let’s go. I’m hungry.”

“You don’t want to check it out?”

“Not particularly. I’m sure there’s a reasonable explanation for the phenomenon.”

“‘Phenomenon.’” I snickered. “Listen to you!”

He buried his face in my neck and nibbled. “You love it when I use big words.”

“Why yes. Yes, I do.” I almost let myself be swayed into a quick and dirty make-out session, but now that I’d seen the wavy sky, my curiosity drove me up the steps. “Be right back.”

“I’ll wait here.”

“Knew you would.” I laughed. Cory was the most pragmatic boyfriend I’d ever had. Things I considered mysteries did not capture his attention.

I slowed as I neared the top step. The closer I got to the strange ripples, the more anxious I became. This wasn’t normal, and I couldn’t think of anything that might explain it. Looking through the disturbance, I could see waves breaking on the sand about a hundred feet away and steps leading down the other side. There were no houses close by, so who had build this and why, when you could walk in either direction a hundred feet and easily reach the beach?

I glanced at Cory, who’d taken out his phone and was checking something while leaning on the stair rail. Not only pragmatic, but patient. Something no one had ever accused me of being.

From a foot away, the disturbance was even weirder and more obvious. I raised a hand a couple inches away from it and felt… something. Not quite a tingle, not an electrical charge, like static, and there was no sound, not even a hum. I heard the waves and someone laughing farther down the beach but muted, as if coming through glass.

It was as if a breath had been held.

I was suddenly reminded of  the stargate in the movie of the same name, and that made me think of Ra, played by Jaye Davidson. An essentially evil character, but gawd, he’d been hot. I’d had several sweaty midnight fantasies about him.

I stuck my fingers in the ripples and felt nothing that scared me. Literally nothing. My fingers weren’t hotter or colder, heavier or lighter. It was like there was simply air on the other side.

Go for it. What if Ra’s on the other side?

The moment before I stepped through, I realized I could no longer see the beach through the disturbance. Freaked, I tried to go back and couldn’t; some kind of force had hold of me and wouldn’t let go. I was dizzy, then nauseous, and then I was standing on a flat rock that overlooked a field of tall golden grass. Beyond that were red foothills that gave way to high mountains.

The sunlight was not quite the same color I was used to, but it was warm and felt good on my face. A light breeze ruffled my hair and carried the scent of something sweet. Flowers?

Something was coming fast toward me across the field. I squinted, and after a few moments, I made a surprised sound. It was a dragon.

I smiled. How cool that I’d ended up in a place with dragons!

The closer it got, however, the more nervous I became. There was purpose in its flight. It wasn’t playing or screwing around. It was headed for me as straight as an arrow.

My throat tightened. Its body language was threatening, not welcoming, and my joy at seeing it turned to terror. That fucker wanted to eat me!

It opened its mouth wide, and at the very back, deep in its gullet, was a soft red-gold glow that quickly expanded and intensified.

Fuck! It was getting ready to flame me!

I hurriedly stepped back, not taking my eyes off the dragon until it vanished; I was in the disturbance. I kept moving back until I abruptly popped out at the top of the stairs.

Trembling, I dropped down a step and collapsed, my legs suddenly too weak to support me. Cory was still playing with his phone.

“Cory?”

He looked up. “Finished exploring? Because I’m still hungry, and Tim said he had a new wine for us to try.”

I’d never been more in love with him than in that moment.

What if I hadn’t made it back? What if I’d ended up being char-broiled and eaten? I shuddered. “Remember how you used to wish you could live in the Game of Thrones world?”

“Uh, yeah.” He chuckled, puzzled. “Why?”

I felt strong enough to stand, and I went down the steps as fast as I dared and threw my arms around him. He felt good against me, warm and solid and there.

“Hey, that wavy air is gone.”

I looked over my shoulder. It had vanished as if it had never been. I pulled him toward Tim’s house. “I have one hell of a story to tell you, but first I want to say yes, I’ll marry you. I don’t know why I hesitated. I love you.”

He yanked me to a stop, eyes shining. “Really?”

“Yes.” I cupped his face and greedily kissed him. “Let’s get to Tim’s so we can open that wine and celebrate.”

The dragon would no doubt find another meal somewhere.

_________
Word count: 1025

About Fenraven

Fenraven lives in central Florida, which reminds him of Wisconsin and Minnesota. Find him on Twitter and Facebook by searching on 'fenraven'.
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7 Responses to Flash Fic: A Different World

  1. bryandspellman says:

    Great story, Theo!

  2. Helena Stone says:

    I loved that. It’s got it all; a wonderful mixture of suspense and romance.

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