Solace looks around at the husk that was once a home. The broken frames, decimated furniture, shattered walls and fallen staircase, this is the mark of a merciless gang of mercs. Was this all because of him, did they turn over every home just to find him.
“Someone is full of themselves.”
Solace spins around, his cane ready to strike, but there is no one behind him.
“Come now, I wouldn’t be there, look again.”
He sends his cane flying at a face peeking behind a curtain. It rips right through the painting and clanks loudly. Solace limps over to retrieve it but finds it’s slipped into a hole too small for his hand to fit.
“Don’t worry, you won’t be walking for long.” The voice says again. “Find me Solace.”
“How do you know who I am?” he pulls out his gun and surveys the room again.
“I’m a big fan of your work.” The voice clears its throat, “well, not really now but in a few years, watch out. It gets really good.”
“I’ll make it easier, just follow my voice. One day you will write a speech that will turn a nation on its head. Until then you’ll have mediocre fame with the biography of a close friend and a movie deal. But let’s not give too much away. Let’s see, my name is Orin, I am from the future, and I have a possible obsession with television.” Solace finds a hole behind the fallen staircase. “Good job, now come find me.”
The whole is actually a broken doorway that leads into the rest of the house. Half way into the hall the ground dips dramatically, it looks like someone dug their way in. the smell of mold is stronger than ever. There is a shredded chair scattered along the hole, maybe they dug their way out.
The hole opens into a massive cavern. Both the ceiling and ground are littered with glow worms. He stands at the very edge a precipice. Far ahead, in the center of the cavern, there is an island of rock suspended in the air.
“Come on Solace, I don’t have all day, who am I kidding of course I do. Take your time.”
“How am I supposed to get there?”
“Easier said than….” A small group of glow worms catch his eye as they flicker on and off, like the ones directly below them. He pick up a small rock and throws it and the ground far below. Instead the rock brakes the surface of a massive lake. He watches as the small stone sinks before it vanishes into the darkness. “This doesn’t make things easier.”
“Oh, don’t be afraid to get a little wet. Trust me your wounds won’t go septic.”
“Fuck it.” Solace takes a limping step into the lake, only to have the mirror of water solidify. He takes another step onto solid water. His footsteps send ripples across the water, but he stays above it. He continues to limp across the lake. Halfway across he feels a rumbling, looking back he knows it’s too late to go back. The surface of the water bubbles to his left and there is a splash on his right. Something brakes the surface ahead of him and dives back down. Yards from the small island he hears and feels a roar echo from under the water. The entire lake bubbles around him. He jumps the last couple of feet and lands painfully on the island. The water is still again, Solace laughs at himself and turns to find an antique couch, floor lamp and analog television. A man sits clicking away the channels.
“You made it, Sit down and take a load off. Give me a bit while I find the station.” Solace walks around the couch and watches as a faceless man curses at his T.V.
“Who are you?” he asks.
“Told you, my name is Orin. Well my full title is Orindom Ki Sulvant Risix Funh, Champion of the Light and Guard of the Eternal Council of Imaginorians, but please call me Orin.”
“Orin, nice to meet you.” Solace takes a seat next to his new friend, “you said you were from the future, like Allan.”
“No, I’m from this universes future, he is from a totally different one,” Orin says, still looking for his channel. “His is the parallel universe to our parallel. I know it sounds crazy but that’s how it is.”
“I always wondered how he could get so many facts wrong.”
“Oh cut him some slack, do you remember your own history. Just because you’re from the future, it doesn’t make you a historian. Anyway, I found the channel, take a look.”
The small television screen is static, but Orin reacts to scenes Solace cannot see. “I don’t see it.”
“Jeez, the council said you would be smart. Close your eyes.”
Solace looks down at his knees and closes his eyes. Darkness. Nothing more than darkness. Orin sighs and lifts his head up, through the darkness he can see that the television has been replaced with a model of a city on fire. Solace open is eyes, the screen is still static. He closes them again to find city replaced by a single building, its logo floats above the roof.
“Yes it is, the future home of your writing school. Keep watching, this is where it gets good.”
All of the windows on the upper six floors shatter and like lemmings people jump. The model changes again, this time to a road where hundreds of cars hurdle towards one another. The two walls of metal smash into each other and explode. Another Model depicts an elementary school where teachers holding knives slowly close their classroom doors.
“What is this?”
“The Master Plan.”
“I don’t understand.”