PART NINE: HOMEWARD BOUND
The creature Avery embraced held onto her with a vise-like grip she was unable to break free from. Before long, it had pierced through her skin with razor-sharp fangs as she futile flailed trying to free herself from its grip. The creature’s bite was the most painful sensation Avery had ever undergone except maybe for…
‘What pain could possibly have been worse than this?’ she wondered to herself. She had a feeling that the answer to that question was the key to surviving the creature’s attack but as she grew weaker, the creature grew stronger consuming her blood and life-force at an alarming speed.
Avery began to feel herself gradually fade away as the creature greedily consumed her life force. She stopped struggling and accepted death which was imminent. Something within her still demanded that she kept fighting for her life if not for herself then for… another…
Why couldn’t she remember? Whoever it was she had made a promise to had to have been important. She was barely able to hear her own thoughts as her vision was suddenly obscured with darkness. Her body dangled helplessly within the creature’s grasp and she felt as if she was flying, the creature supporting her weight on its own as it fed…
Just as she felt the light calling out to her, she heard the creature squeal in agony and it hastily dropped her body to the ground as it fled from whatever had caused its distress. Avery thanked whatever unseen savior had come to her aid but knew it was far too late for her anyway.
The site of the deep wound caused by the creature’s bite burned and was almost as painful as the creature’s consumption of her life force. She heard the creature screaming in rage and agony before she lost her consciousness entirely.
Avery woke up expecting to see a Messenger of the Creator. Perhaps, if she was lucky, Purity, her best friend’s daughter, would be the one to welcome her to the Paradise lands. However, Avery found herself restrained in a room painted in a dull color she couldn’t quite identify rather than being in what the faith had taught her to expect the Paradise Lands would look like.
Once her eyes were fully opened, she heard some unrecognizable squealing. She could only assume that what that squealing was indicated that whatever creature had made it was in distress or at the very least terrified.
Avery tried moving but was unable to because of her restraints. And yet vague memories of how to escape in such a situation replayed in her mind and she was able to somewhat escape her bindings. She then looked at the creature responsible for her imprisonment in awed horror.
Staring back at her was what Avery could describe as being a lizard man as all its features were reptilian except for the humanoid shape of body it possessed. The creature was so terrified of her, it fainted after raising the alarm that she was awake.
Avery immediately turned the room upside down in search of weapons she could use. The objects within the room were all foreign to her but she went with the objects she saw could make lacerations. She then masterfully waited for her opportunity to attack when the creature’s people came rushing in and managed to incapacitate enough of them to make a daring escape.
Avery then began going around the facility seeking an exit, defending herself as she encountered more hostile lizard men. She aimlessly searched the building for an exit for what felt like hours, fighting off complete hopelessness as each new lead turned into a dead end. By the time she did find an exit, it was almost too late for her as the lizard men warriors had multiplied significantly and fighting them off successfully proved futile.
She was once more restrained with the head of the lizard men facility angrily speaking to its people in a language Avery had never heard of before. Avery wondered whether they’d have translation software for the lizard men language back at home when it suddenly hit her- this world was not her home.
Avery began to reflect about her previous thoughts as well. The creature she had encountered had mimicked and even adapted the appearance of someone that was very dear to her which was how the creature had managed to trick Avery in the first place and she had earlier thought that the creature’s attack was almost as painful as something else she had experienced before but what…
The lizard man in charge observed her wearily. It was clear to Avery that it was terrified of whatever she was. This tipped her off that in that strange world, she was ‘an alien’ which was probably why the lizard men had captured her in the first place.
They hooked her up to their strange machines which monitored all things physiological. They injected something into her system that caused drowsiness but it was not strong enough to completely knock her out. She however, pretended to be fully sedated in the hopes of gathering more information on the place of her imprisonment in order to plot a course for her escape.
It was nearly impossible to understand the strange language of the lizard people but the more she heard it, the less like gibberish it began to sound like. Avery could even understand some select sounds of things by the time the creatures were through talking.
Avery could easily tell what the creatures were discussing by eavesdropping on their conversations when they thought she was truly under the influence of their sedatives. It became clear that the head of the facility wanted to dissect her to better understand how her ‘strange’ organs worked. Avery then began to plot on how to escape from the facility.
There had to have been a better way to escape other than rushing down to find the exit as she had so before, Avery thought. She had the means to do it too but… Avery could not recall what those means were. Avery shut her eyes and tried to focus- her memories of her real home were there where they had always been if only she could reach out to them.
‘Who am I?’ she wondered.
Avery gasped on recalling her journey up until when she had arrived in the Alternate Reality she had traveled to. She was surprised that she had so easily traveled to the Reality and though she dreaded the punishment she would no doubt receive from Director Shaw for being so careless and risking her life like that, she was also excited to share her encounters in that world with them.
She concentrated on her worst fears concerning her son and it allowed her to make a path back to the Timeless void. She hastily shut the portal down on the lizard people who had been bold enough to follow her through it and took several moments to reorient herself with all the events that had occurred leading up to that point.
Avery was so eager to get back to her family that she didn’t even think to return to the exact moment she had left the Present Reality and instead just begged to return to Emre and her son, Blaize. The Void obliged and she suddenly fell out of the Void and suspended in the air for a few moments when she noticed Emre and her son soundly asleep on her bed.
Emre was suddenly roused from his sleep and upon noticing that Avery was back, hastily moved their son out of the way so that Avery landed with a soft thud on her bed. For several moments, Emre stared in awe and wonder at Avery, tenderly cupping her face and shaping it with his hands as if to reassure himself that she was real.
“Em, is it really you?” she asked confusedly.
Tears welled up on his face as he replied with a resounding yes. His reassurance put Avery at ease and she merrily succumbed to the fatigue of traveling back to her Present Reality.
When she awoke, Emre was by her side, tenderly caressing her hair. She sat up and looked around the room and immediately knew she was at the Department’s Med Bay. Her family and even the Director were all present in the room with her with the exception of her son, Blaize whom she assumed must have been at school.
“Avery, can you speak?” the Director asked throwing all caution to the wind and shuffling Emre out of the way.
“Yes, Director Shaw. I can… speak,” she stated wearily.
“Where the hell have you been? You seemingly disappeared off the face of the Earth,”
“How long did I go missing?” she asked the Director curiously.
“Five whole days! Five days, Avery! Where the hell were you?” snapped the Director.
Avery counted the days back and noted that she had only been gone for 3 long days by the Alternate Reality’s time and somehow, time seemed to have ticked by way too fast which disoriented her and made her head hurt. Avery took a deep breath and said, “I didn’t mean to but I… I traveled to an Alternate Reality where I spent 3 whole days.”
Silence permeated the room as they all awaited Avery’s account of her time away from Present Reality.
TO BE CONTINUED…
Shall this be the end for Avery’s adventures in Alternate Realities? What after-effects has she suffered from spending time away from her Present Reality? Stay tuned to find out.