The store front wasn’t extraordinary, in fact it looked like all the other store fronts on the street. The only difference was that the display window for this store was blackened out. I looked over at Summer standing beside me, she was considering the store front with an expression that sent shivers down my spine. “Summer?”
“Hmm? Oh, well let’s go in.” She said in a forced tone.
“You don’t seem certain, I thought you said this was what was going to save us?”
“Yes, well it is. The problem is I don’t know if you are ready and I never thought it would be me bringing you across this threshold.” The sigh that escaped her as her hand clamped down on my arm was deep and long. Before I could ask more we were moving through the doorway.
I felt like I was passing through a strange film and when I glanced behind me the opening in the doorway shimmered. The sound of the busy street outside was gone and silence dominated momentarily. I felt the air rush out of me, my heart felt as if would burst from my chest, my mouth went dry as I sucked for air I didn’t feel I could get. My vision swam and I reflexively bent over placing my hands on my knees.
“Just take a minute Storm, it’s a lot to handle without warning and on top of that you need to adjust to the air difference in here,” a soft voice cooed at me. “I know why you are here, and we won’t have a lot of time to get this sorted out before they realize that you have been brought here.”
I felt a slight shift in my brain like a veil was sliding away and a flood of new memories was suddenly flicking through my head like snippets on a movie real, but I saw them all in minutes. My life was all a made-up reality to keep me safe from those that were hunting me now. I am a princess and the only magic member of my family left alive. When I am restored to the thrown I will be powerful enough to destroy and vanquish all evil within my kingdom.
“They hunt you here on earth because your powers are limited. Even without training you are the most powerful in your world. I can see the confusion and fear in your face but you have to trust that everything you need to know is locked inside you and will surface when you need it. NO, there isn’t time for questions especially those kind, but yes I am reading your mind. My apologies princess Storm.” A sharp noise at the shop door broke off any further discussion. “They are here. That’s film will only hold them for so long.”
The shop keeper threw back a screen and revealed 2 display cabinets. The first cabinet held wings! There were all different shapes and sizes. Some sparkled, some shimmered, some were flat but with wispy ends, some looked as if they belongs on butterflies, dragonflies, bats, dragons, fairies… I became aware of a voice whispering in my head. Yes this is where they all come when they decide they want to fly but I haven’t time to explain princess you must pick. The shop keeper was gesturing to both display cases. I shifted my eyes to the second display case and felt my already large eyes grow wider. This display case held fins of various shapes, sizes, colours, and textures.
Hurry Princess the voice urged in my head. “I don’t understand,” I whispered out loud. You must pick you method of travel of course. You need to get home to save your kingdom and defend yourself. You must pick wings or fins, fly or swim. I looked askance at Summer. She smiled and pointed to two glass fronted doors at the back of the shop. The door on the left was holding back a flood of water and I could see beautiful coral and strange sea creatures moving around. The water was a rich aqua colour. The sound of the ocean was suddenly alive in my ears. The other door showed a rich blue sky, no ground in sight, just blue skies and white clouds. There were birds and some other strange flying creature that I didn’t have time to consider because there was a terrible screaming sound coming from the door.
The shop keeper’s voice was in my ears not in my head this time. She was loud and urgency was foremost in her tone. “They are ripping through Princess, you must go now. Wings or fins?”
I will never know what would have been my choice in that moment because suddenly the water door became shrouded in darkness as a huge shadow moved towards it. The shop keeper threw wings on my back and Summer pulled me towards the sky door. Suddenly there was nothing under my feet and I was flying, or maybe not so much flying as being propelled through the air by Summer. I glanced back to see the shop keeper locked in battle with a form I couldn’t make out. The shop keeper fell and I knew without seeing that her life had ended, sacrificed to save mine. The sky doorway darkened and oversized bat like fingers wrapped out around the door frame pulling the body that was attached to them. I saw black wisps slip out into the air, long terrifying tendrils attached to big strong wings. I had no desire to see what the rest of the body looked like. I turned front and suddenly I was pulling Summer through the air…
Wings or fins my ass, I thought to myself. We are talking about life or death!
By Shari Marshall – 2019
January’s theme is contrast. Post a link in the comment section below with your interpretation of contrast, any medium welcome. For other compare/contrast ideas visit Waffles versus Pancakes posted on January 22, 2019.