TITLE: The Gathering: Ch1
By Tim Greene
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Where do I begin? I guess my name would be a great place. I am Arnold Cadman, my life and day was going great, sure, it was only eight a clock in the morning, but that means nothing. I was on my way to biology, as I opened the door to the classroom, as I walked into the room suddenly, I was no longer in Johnson City Senior High. I didn’t know where I was, other then my surroundings looked like something right out of a Disney animated movie. There I stood in a long hallway of an ancient stone building something that could have easily been a castle, little did I know I was in one. So many question ran wild through my head, one was did how did I get there, could opening a door to a classroom really have opened a portal that sent me into a Disney movie or even back in time?
I stood there confused, more then I have ever been, well up to that point in my life. Looking down the long stone hallway, lite by torches that lined the walls attached to the gray stonewall by black metal frames. They were evenly placed on the wall two on each side, alternating pattern one on the left then one on the right about ten feet a part then another on the right and so on. This allowed more then enough light to see wherever you may be going. When I finally looked behind me, only confused me more, as I said I walked through a door, but there was not door behind me, just more hallway. Not knowing where I was, no way back, out of all the questions that were plaguing me, only one really worried me, could Mrs. Harris give me detention for being transported back in time where I was late or missed her class. After several minutes, I decided if I was truly sent back in time, she could not since I was back to the time before her class.
With that nagging question answered, well answered to my satisfactory, another one came to mind. I know what you’re thinking, I just arrived in a very old building that looks like something out of Disney and I am here worried about getting detention or not. Well I can tell you this; if you ever met Mrs. Harris, you would be worried about that to if you were in my situation. I am one detention away from getting a letter sent home, and I cannot risk that happening again, my parents promised me that if I got another letter sent home they would take away my fifty-six inch High-Def TV. Sure I tried to get them to take away my PS3, but no they decided to let me keep that but take way the thing I play it on and watch all my shows.
Anyway, I was standing with another question, how in the blue hell did I get transported back in time or to wherever I was. I came to the conclusion if I did not move around I would never know where I was or time. So, what if it took me twenty minutes to figure that out, but didn’t I mention it was eight on a Monday morning? Well if I hadn’t I have now, what do you expect from someone who is only fifteen.
With my decision to finally to explore my new ancient surroundings, I had two choices looking behind me again, and in front. Go forward or backwards, at my current rate it should have taken me another twenty minutes, I am thankful to say I decided why not continue in the direction I was headed, in about thirty seconds. Take that Monday morning, ha.
I began to slowly walk down the stone hallway, taking in my surroundings, which did not change that, much. After walking a few minutes, I came to a large wooden door, with a black handle on my left. I figured to try it maybe someone was in the room that could tell me where I was. I grab the door knob gave it a quick twist to see that the door was locked. Something I should have figured, but nope I learned the hard way, taking a step as I turned the knob and walking face first into the rough wooden door.
After nearly falling on my butt, which would have been nice since my face would not have hurt as much, but then again my butt would hurt more since it would have hit hard stone. I quickly regained my focus, seeing the door was lock I continued on, you might say walking face first into a door scrambled my brains a little, because I could not remember which way I had come. I spun around a few times trying to remember, when it hit me, literally.
I smacked my head on the door again, besides the screaming pain that ran through my body, and trying everything, I can to stay on my feet so not to have a sour butt. For a few moments, I staggered about before finally getting my legs back under me. Something with the second whack to my head shook something loose; I remembered the door was on my left. I turned to continue the way I was head, when I realized my legs were not back as I quickly fell to one knee. After a few moments I once again regaining as much as my focus as I could I turned until the door was once again on my left and continued on.
The further I walked down this endless hallway, more doors started to appear, I gave the first few a try, but remember not to walk in as if they were unlocked. Thankfully, hitting my head on a door twice helped me learned my lesson. Just like the first, all were locked, so I continued on and stopped trying after the tenth door. I am not sure exactly how long I had been walking down this hall when I noticed it was no longer straight, for the longest time it was straight now before me and behind me I was in a middle of a winding hallway. I have been known to zone out after a while of doing the same thing, but you think I would have noticed the hall starting to curve, like as walk into the stonewall, but I guess not.
As hard as it was, I did my best to keep myself from not zoning anymore, but I failed. How do I know this, well when you suddenly come to an intersection, the first one and do not stop to make a decision about if you should change the way you are going, and step out into the middle of the intersection and get run over by a very tall and old man, wearing a bright blue robe and pointy hat, you know the kind that Mickey Mouse puts on in the movie Fantasia, and makes mops do his work.
Well, I got another rude and awakening, as the old man hit me I flew down the hall to my right a few feet and landed on my butt. Ironically, I was just thinking about landing this hard stone floor the first time I ran into the wooden door, but it was nothing like I thought it would be, I didn’t feel a thing. Sure, it might have been because I was still dazed from when the old dude smacked into me.
“Watch were you’re going Michael, I am in a hurry one of the potential contestants has not shown up with his wave for the first task,” said the old man getting to his feet.
“Sorry,” I said trying to get my eye to focus. “I am not sure where I am going and did not expect to see anyone let alone run me over.”
“You,” said the old man, looking at me for the first time. “Where have you been, your wave is almost done with the first task. I need to get you there before the next wave shows up.”
“What?” I said, not sure what he was talking about.
My eyes finally focused only to see the old man with a long white bread extending his hand to me. Sitting on this cold floor was not feeling that good, let alone my butt was starting to hurt from landing on it so hard. I grasped his hand, and he quickly pulled me to my feet. Pull doesn’t actually fit what he did; he more like yanked me to my feet. He had a lot of strength for an old guy, I felt like I was being sent into orbit.
“Just to be sure, you are Arnold Cadman right?” asked the old guy, letting go of my hand once I was once on my feet.
“Yeah, but no one...”
“Good, we must hurry.”
All in one motion the old man grabbed me by my wrist all as he turned the way he had just come, and took of down the hall yanking me behind him. I nearly cried when I felt the first tug on my arm, I swore this guy just pulled my shoulder out of the socket. I have no clue how much pressure it takes to pop your shoulder, but I can tell you this guy had to be close. There I was being dragged down another long stone hallway, with my arm screaming from nearly being pulled out. I was ninety percent sure that my arm had not been dislocated, but at the moment, I was not sure based on the pain.
After a few minutes, the pain went way after I was able to get my legs to move fast enough so there was not any tension on my arm. With the pain gone, I felt how my wrist was feeling being squeezed so hard. I used my free hand to try to pry this old man’s old bone hand open, but could not. This guy had to be near a hundred years old and I could not free myself, how sad is that. For the next few minutes, I had no choice but to go with this old man. Though I have to say, there was a good thing about this guy holding on to me. Mainly it was the only thing that kept me on my feet when he stopped without warning and I ran into him. I could tell this was not going to be a good day, it could be no later then nine in the morning and I have hit my head four times now, landed on my butt once, and nearly had my arm ripped off by a hundred year old man.
“Were not going to make it, we have too far to go,” said the old man, as I try to focus, but only made out the part of having to go to far.
“You mind letting go of my wrist, I can’t feel it anymore,” I said still a little dazed.
“Oh sorry,” said the old man, letting go.
My mistake, you know how I said it was the only thing keeping me from falling again on my ass. Well now, it was two times all within an hour or so. I sat on the floor, my butt hurting even more, but it was not to bad, it was cold and it felt kind of good at the same time.
“What are you doing on the floor again, we don’t have time for this.”
“Well if you would have told me you were stopping, I wouldn’t have run into you.”
“We don’t have time to play who was at fault,” said the old man, as he grabbed my shoulder.
“Wait a sec.....”
Before I could do anything, he grabbed my shoulder. I tried to pull free when he let go and I fell backwards hitting my head now on the hard rock floor. Have you lost count, I have it might have been from how many times I have hit my head. I just lay on the floor, just wanting to know what was going on. Oh and the pain to stop throughout my body to stop hurting.
“Boy get off the floor, your wave has finished up which means the next wave is about to show.”
“What are you talking about?” I asked, sitting up, when I noticed we were no longer in the never-ending hallway. I was now sitting on the floor of a wide corridor, with high ceilings, that had to be at least thirty feet, with torches along the walls and several chandeliers. The space was truly amazing, old oil paintings on the walls of I could only guess were the former owners of this palace. Ancient furniture that looked like it was new, somehow, you could tell it was not but hundreds of years old. I was so taken in by this new room and how quickly the old geezer and I arrived I did not notice another old man walking over to us, or should I say run. Not sure.
“Demetrius,” said the other old man, only a few feet from us, which drew my attention. “The next wave is going to start arriving any moment, is this the boy who did not show up?”
“Yes,” said Demetrius, placing his hand on my shoulder. “I found him in the basement wandering the halls. I nearly ran him over, good thing too it could have taken weeks to find him down there all by myself.”
“Nearly ran me over. I think it is more like you did.”
“Good, we need to hurry.”
“What’s going on?” I asked, still not sure why these two old geezers were so relieved they had found me. At this point I had finally felt like I could stand so I stood up on my own, I did not want to be launched into space again, and after nearly having my arm ripped out of socket, I was too afraid if Demetrius help this time he would.
“You need to take the first task now,” said the other old guy grabbing my arm, before turning and walking back, the way he came.
Was I ready for what this second old man did, no and for the second time within minutes I was being dragged again by an old man against my will. Thankfully, he grabbed my left arm this time, but just like when Demetrius dragged me, it felt like he pulled my shoulder out of socket. The only good thing is I think they stretched my arms out a little. This new old guy dragged me across the room until we reach the other side where another old geezer stood behind a large wooden box, with hundreds of handles sticking out in long rows and columns, but there were some missing scattered about, but I was not sure why. Well until they told me.
“Your task is to pick one of the wooden handles, there are many to choose from as you can see. You are trying to get pick one of many predetermined handles. If you get one of those you continue on, if you don’t you go home.” said Demetrius.
“What happens if...” I was unable to get the words out before a bright flash appeared behind Demetrius and the second old man.
“The next wave is arriving, pick now.”
I had been in this palace for about an hour maybe a little longer, before I finally run into someone other then a wooden door. He drags me around only to realize we will not make it and teleports to where we need to go. You think once I got here I would get some answers, but nooo, I am drag again by another old dude and told to pick a handle to see if I go on. I am not sure if I want to go on after how I have been treated. I was going to demand some answers, but when I looked behind me, I saw hundreds of people walking towards me, with more appearing every second. Demetrius and the other two old geezers looked stressed as it was, I decided I would do what they asked.
I stepped up to the wooden boxes rubbing my wrist, before rotating it to make sure it was not dislocated. Once I was sure I scanned the handles, they were about four to five inches long and two quarters thick. They were all different stains; I figured they were made of different types of wood, which is why they were different colors, since it was obvious they were not painted. I looked over, the handles wanting to make the best choice I could, when...
“Just pick one,” shouted the old dude behind the box.
I was not expecting that, and jump nearly to the ceiling, but I can say I did not fall on my butt. Seeing that if I took anymore time I would possibly straggled by one of the three old guys, I quickly grabbed a handle, one that just seem to stand out to me, far more then the rest. Even if I had, time to choose I would have more then likely picked this handle. As wrapped my hand around the handle, which was near the middle row, I felt a tingling feeling as a first touched, I ignored it and yanked it out.
“Blake,” said a voice. “Class is over, wake up.”
My head shot up from my desk ask Zoe continued to walk by me after calling my name. I was sitting in my seat in my Biology classroom. Was it all a dream? I don’t remember taking my seat and falling asleep. I looked up to see Mrs. Harris at the white board erasing the notes she had written on it, so the next class could not just copy them down and not pay attention to her. I figure I must have just dreamt the whole thing, when I realize two things; first, my butt was hurting a whole lot. Second, in my right hand I was holding a long green pen by its top.
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