“Hurry! Get to the basement!” mom yells over the shrieking wind and shattering glass. In my drowsy stupor I stumble out of my bed and into the hallway. As I try and figure out a way to the basement, still half asleep, the window I’m standing by shatters, the broken glass tearing the curtain to shreds. Through the strips, tattered and wind-blown, I catch a glimpse of a giant funnel quickly descending from a storm gray sky.
My brain snaps to attention, rivaling the furiosity of the wind. I start to calculate and analyze my options; of the things ill have time to save. I realize my best option would be to grab the nearest candle and make a dash for the basement.
I snatch the largest candle I can find from a shelf in moms makeshift office. I race down the stairs, through the living room (which was a catastrophic mess.), past the kitchen, through the dining room and to the basements trapdoor, the rug that normally covers it tossed aside by the wind. I glace behind me to see my mother and little sister, Hero, rushing in my direction.
I hoist the door open and let them run past. Watching as they fumble their way down the stairs, I realize I’ve forgotten something. The matches.
“I’ll be back!” I shout, more to convince myself than my family. I ignore the shouts of protest escaping my mother and start running toward the kitchen, where I know there is a box of matches in the cabinet drawer.
I’ve just made it to the dining room when another window shatters, scattering glass across the floor. Before I have the chance to run around the shards I feel a piercing pain shooting from my foot to my leg, causing me to let out a shriek of agony.
I bite my lip and limp through the pain. “I have to get those matches.” I whisper to no one in particular. I crash and stumble onwards, all the while my injured foot bleeding heavily on the linoleum flooring.
I reach the kitchen and snatch the matches from the drawer. I turn towards the hallway, and down the length I just glimpse the look on my mother’s face peeking over the trap door.
The last thing I hear is my mother’s earsplitting scream being swallowed whole by the sound of cracking wood and crumbling cement before something large and solid collides with my head. The world goes black.
I wake up with a terrible pounding in my head, when I reach back to feel the spot where the pain is originating there’s a terribly large bump, or a “goose egg” as my mom would say.
I look around the room as the memory of what had happened returns. The kitchen is in shambles and sunlight is streaming in through holes placed all around the house. Across the room my matches and candle lie like maybe they had just been left there by accident not because a tornado swept them from my unconscious fingers.
I slowly push myself upwards into a sitting position to take in the damage. Dishes were smashed and lying in scattered piles, the sink was ripped from its setting inside the wall and was thrown across the room, there were holes leading outside, each surrounded by broken planks that looked like jagged fangs of a terrible monster.
“Mom? Hero?” I yell praying to myself that they were both ok. I didn’t know what I would do if they hadn’t survived. I had no other family and no one would want to adopt a 16 year old punk girl with no self-esteem and a bad attitude.
With a few minutes of no reply I forced myself to stand up, reopening the cut in my foot causing the blood to flow again. I hobble into the hallway and make my way to the basement. The trap door had been ripped off the hinges and was now lying crookedly on top of the hole leading to the stairs. With fresh panic implanted into my mind I run forward ignoring the agony from my foot. “Hero?!” I yell “mom?!” Still no reply.
I crash down the stairs to a room full of destruction. My mother and sister nowhere to be found. I search every crevice of our small basement hoping to see something or hear something that will prove my fears wrong. I glance towards the middle of the room and some small faintly glowing object catches my attention.
I walk slowly towards the dull light, pick the object up and tears begin flowing freely. It was my mother’s locket. I open it up to find the picture of me, hero, my mother, and my father in the days before my father had the accident.
I tuck the locket into my jeans and make the miserable climb up the stairs that seemed a million miles long. With each step my heart overflowed with sorrow, the pain being enough to cancel out that of my foot. I reach the top of the stairs and continue down the hallway. I make my way into the living room before I notice something I hadn’t before in the panic of finding my family. The light coming through the broken windows and gaping holes was different than anything I had seen before.
The light filtering through was almost red. Not light of a sunset red but almost…..blood red. Then I notice something else. The house was tilted at an odd angle starting from the middle of the hallway ending at the living room leaving it set at an odd angle.
I reach the front door and drag it open, which was pretty difficult with the hinges ripped from the wall. As I do my heart thunders and my eyes widen in amazement at the scene before me.
The sun was blood red and the light it produced was as well. Then as I glance around I realize I’m defiantly not in London anymore. I was in a maze of black roses with walls that looked like they reached the blood red sky. Strange creatures circled above, they looked like snakes with various types of wings some with bat wings and others with wings like doves.
I stumble down the shattered steps of what used to be our front porch but was now a wasteland of broken planks and bent metal porch chairs. Ahead I notice an intersection, where any of the ways led I wasn’t sure but then I noticed something else, something in the center of the intersection. As I approached I realize what I was looking at sort of looked like a cat.
It was an unearthly shade of black with stripes the color of fire, but the oddest thing about this creature was how stretched out it looked. It was so skinny its ribs stuck out like knives and even though it was sitting it stood as tall as my knees. I just stared as the curious feline flicked its tail back and forth with the consistency of a metronome.
Suddenly it was up and slinking its way towards me. It wrapped itself around my legs and did something stranger than anything I had witnessed so far. It spoke.
“Well done, my dear. You will have pleased Penelope.” It purred in a scratchy voice. Too stricken with fear and wonder I simply stood there as the strange cat stared up at me with eyes the color of this places sun. “Well? Come along we shall see how Penelope rewards you.” It said in a voice that could only be described as a voice that would be suited for a skeleton. “R-r-reward me?” I stutter “reward me for what?” It stared in what seemed as amazement. “My dear” it chuckled “you have crushed the dragon of the west who has plagued this land for thousands of years.”
I turn to see what I now realized had been the cause for the house to lean. A Giant wing and an equally giant clawed foot peaked from beneath the house. Just as quickly as I saw it the thing disappeared, disintegrating within seconds until nothing was left but a fine layer of dust that was sent flying as the house slammed back into place.
“Where are we?” I asked my new feline companion. “When, Where, Who, Why, How my dear. All good inquiring’s and they will all be deciphered when you’re ready for the answer. Until then we must continue along this pathway until we reach the sanctuary.” It purred with a slow lazy tone. “What’s your name anyway?” I couldn’t imagine calling this cat something like fluffy. “Hmm names are pointless things, beings should be known by their presence not there title but you may call me pernicious if you must.” He said. “Pernicious? Does that mean something?” I ask. “Yes, where you’re from I believe pernicious means to cause great damage or harm.” He chuckled. “Perfect, just what I wanted to hear.” I mumble to myself.
We arrive at a temple made of a strange stone that lights up under touch. “Where are we pernicious?” I ask as I watch a trail of light sparkle behind where I was running my fingers along the wall. “Why my dear I believe I already informed you of our whereabouts. We have arrived at the sanctuary of light and the den of the pixie.” Pernicious purred in the same monotone voice that never seemed to change from a lazy drawn out sound.
“Pixie? Like little flying trouble makers from story books and children’s rhymes? Pernicious their just story’s there’s no such thing.” Then I pause to recollect my past experiences with this strange place “wait…There aren’t are there?” “Why of course there are my dear. There as real as you or I. albeit they are a tad more…petite than either of us” Pernicious chuckled. “What could be more petite than you, your skin and…” but before I could finish my sentence a high pitched giggle catches my attention. “ahh Pernicious dear what news hast thou brought me?” I look everywhere but the voice seemed to come from thin air.
“Hello Faun it’s been quite a while has it not?” Pernicious said with a smile I hadn’t noticed before, it was quite eerie and the neatly file row of razor sharp teeth was enough to leave anyone with nightmares. “That it has my lovely feline companion now the new that thou hast brought, what is it Pernicious?” a flash of light reflecting of a pair of glistening ivy green wings catches my attention as I realize who was speaking.
She was as small as my index finger and just as thin but not a terrifying thin like pernicious but a beautiful thin that left a perfect figure attached to the most beautiful face I’d ever seen. Her eyes were the color of a foamy sea and her cheeks were the color of roses upon her pale portilan skin. Fauns torso seemed to be wrapped in braided together ivy vines and her skirt seem to be made of a material as liquid as water but stayed in place as if it were solid.
Pernicious glanced in my direction and spoke in a voice that was gentle but at the same time left little room to argue "Dear? Do you mind going over to take seat upon that wall?". He gestured to a wall that looked as if it was made of water." Ummm sure.....i guess." As i looked back pernicious was stalking away with the beautiful pixie fluttering beside him, strolling as if they has all the time in the world.
As i stared into the bloodred sun slowly creeping lower beneath the tree line i feel a warmth from my poket that spread through my body filling me with a sadness strong enough to bring the happiest person to there knees. I reach in my jeans and pull out the locket that contain dwhat i had left of my family. All at once my tears return, blurring my vision and making my face turn red and splotchy.