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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2152379-Realm-Rangers
by brom21
Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Fantasy · #2152379
Experience traveling between two dimensional worlds as different as night and day.
word count: 2,345 prompt: The Mirror dimension

My name is Jack Stockman and I’ve been a Realm Ranger for over twenty years. I used to be stuck in Nether Earth, a vile and dark dimension full of evil and carnage. Nevertheless, the means in which I escaped that dark world was an act of selfishness. What exactly is a Realm Ranger and the explanation of the events that lead to my present? It is an account of suffering and eventual betrayal.

I will begin with how I explained things to my twelve year old nephew. It was a chilly autumn evening in the city of Houston Texas. I still remember John’s glistening eyes and broad smile as I spoke to him.

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“I can’t believe it! You’re finally a Realm Ranger!” John said standing in his mom’s living room. “Have you gone to the other Earth yet?”

I sat on the black leather sofa and motioned with a pat on the cushion next to me and John sat. I folded my hands and smiled. “Not yet. I still have a few months’ worth of transition training.”

John blinked and raised his eyebrows. “What kind of training?”

“That’s when we are put through tests so that we can get used to how dark and scary it is to be in the Nether Earth.”

“What is that?”

“That is what the other world is called,” I said with a tilt of my head.

“How long does it take the space shuttle to go there?”

I leaned in and looked John in the eyes and paused how to put it as simply as I could. “It’s not just like going on an airplane to another city. It’s more like what people have thought where a black hole leads.”

“Like another dimension!”

“Exactly!” I yelled, delighted with his astute understanding.

“Are there any aliens in the Nether Earth?”

Yes! There are! But they’re more like ghosts than real touchable aliens.”

“What do you mean?”

“They are more like dark living shadows.”

“They sound pretty scary,” John said as I saw him shiver.

I nodded. “It is part of why we go through tests. They’re called Realm Dwellers. Just being round them is feels very scary.”

John frowned. “Can they hurt you?”

“Yes they can. But both dimensions have decided together not to hurt each other.”

“Why?” asked John with those irresistible bright blue eyes.

“Because we get things from the Nether Earth and they get things from us.”

“What do both Earth’s trade?” asked John.

“We trade metals, medicines, works of art, weapons and other things.” I looked at my watch. “Well, I have to go home and sleep because my training starts tomorrow. Goodbye,” I said as I smiled and hugged John then stood and headed to the door as John’s mom, my sister Carol, said goodbye.

The training started at 5 am and for five days a week, for six months I was subjected to total darkness simulated by a machine. The kind of darkness in the Nether Earth was so dark it could be felt. The machine also exposed me to the fear accompanied with being around a Realm Dweller. It was a grueling experience but I finally was finally declared an official Realm Ranger. Then came my first excursion to the Nether Earth.

My stomach felt like boiling water and my mind was creating fearful doubts. What if passed out from the intense darkness? What if I get loss? What if a Realm Dweller went mad and attacked me?

I was given my personal dimensional transceiver arm band, the device that creates portals which we Realm Rangers use to traverse between dimensions. I was part of a team of six Rangers.

After slipping into our oxygenated suits, the head administrator gave us the command to embark. “Alright everyone, you have a go.”

I watched my team members punch a few buttons on the armbands and stared with open mouth as they stepped through the black nebulous vortex that spun like a dark galaxy. I pressed a button and two shoulder mounted flashlights turned on. “Here geos nothing,” I said to myself as I took the plunge into the portal.

The first thing I noticed brought a tightening in my chest accompanied by rapid breathing and lines of sweat to run down my temples. It was the absolute darkness of the place I was at. It was like being in the crevice of an abyss. No light of any degree was present – no sun, no moon or stars. The only thing I could discern was a stone surface with stalagmites jutting up everywhere made visible by the range of the mounted flashlights. I had been exposed to be acclimated to the darkness, but actually being there was gruesomely overwhelming. Yet I seemed to be the sole Ranger scared.

The lead Realm Ranger Scott Strider must have seen my open mouth, sweaty forehead and wide eyes. Then he reminded me of something that caused my heart to decrease its pacing and my heavy breathing to subside somewhat. “Rest easy Jack. The light beacon is only twenty feet away from us.”

I glanced at him and nodded. “Right” I uttered with a deep exhale. “It’s enough to make a man go crazy,” I said with a forced chuckle.

“I was a newbie once too. It will get easier,” Scott said with a pat.

Several minutes later, we came to the light beacon that resembled a small lighthouse. Scot pressed some numbers on a keypad and a glorious white shine from the top of the beacon illuminated the landscape for about thirty yards in diameter.

Scott sat on a small boulder. “Now we wait.”

I sat next to Scott. He crossed his hands on his knees. “Remember, they will not harm you. Just think of being in a simulator.”

“I’ll do my best,” I replied.

At last, the inhabitance of the Nether Earth entered into the shine of the beacon. At first my heart jumped up to my throat. Then I gathered my wits and took a deep breath. They were just like from the video recordings – transparent shadowy human shaped figures with glowing green eyes.

I followed Scott who approached one of three Realm Dwellers. Scott carried a cylindrical parcel to the one he was nearing. External speakers on our suits relayed his words. “Greetings. I have the ectoplasmic resin you require,” said Scott. The other four Realm Rangers followed too.

The Realm Dweller’s speech was like boiling lava. “And I have the G14 chemical for your medicine.” A metal crate mysteriously appeared in his shadowy hands. I did not understand how the Dweller would give such a human designation for a chemical or how we knew we were not being deceived. There was no diplomacy pleasantry or verbal pleasantry. Perhaps Realm Dwellers weren’t interested in making companions or had any curiosity for the Earth I came from. The transaction was brief and no mutual connection was felt. The three Nether Earth beings hovered backwards and out of light range.

“That’s a wrap,” said Scott.

I was jittery with the urge to return. We all began pressing in the codes to generate the portals back to my blessed world. Just as I dialed the last button, the ground trembled and shifted sideways. We all trembled to the left where the stone surface was tilting. With a horrible quake, the ground tore open like a cloth being rent in half. My heart raced and I cried out. Scott was the first person to fall into the crevice. A painful knot coalesced in my gullet as a grabbed a stalagmite. Two others did the same as I watched in horror as the remaining two fell into the gaping mouth of the crack. My heart plummeted within me as my last two partners lost their grip and slid into the tear in the ground. I couldn’t hold on and I let go but was tossed against a large boulder that crushed my transceiver band. Then the shaking subsided in several seconds. I was alone and trapped. Thankfully the light beacon was undamaged. I struggled my way to it and then sat against the rounded surface of the beacon. My heart raced with a thudding. It felt like a hand of hot iron was grabbing my diaphragm. Next a single Realm Dweller came towards me.

“Please don’t hurt me!” I spewed out.

“I will not harm you. I see you are trapped in this realm with your arm device being destroyed.”

Again I had to suppress my urge to flee the fearful air of the being. I fought to calm myself. “Can you help me?” I asked with wide eyes.

“I cannot but my Lord may have knowledge to return you to your Earth. Come with me.”

Why was this being aiding me? But I can’t think of anything else,” I thought as I followed the Dweller. Soon I was out of reach of the beacon and the Real Dweller led me through a stone tunnel and to a set of steps leading to a bronze door. Next the alien put his hand through the door like it was a pool of water. And it opened with a stony grind. I froze and began to breathe heavily. I was looking at tall human shape that glowed with a green hue. It sat on a sculpted throne of what resembled onyx.

“I am Wrauth, ruler of this dimension. What reasons are you hear human? The transaction has been done,” said the seated ruler with a raspy voice.

My shadowy guide spoke up. “Master, his traveling device is broken in the quake and he is trapped here.”

“I see. I may be able to point you in the direction of another human who has been reported to have ben traveling alone between worlds.”

I felt the tight grip in my chest greatly release. “Please help me great ruler.” I thought it discreet to be respectful of the kingly alien. The Lord of the realm waved his hand and a sheet of paper appeared on the ground before me along with a large coined shaped object.

“I have made a map and what you humans call a compass. Take it and go.”

“I picked up the items and bowed then turned to exit the throne room of Wrauth. I went out of the tunnel and flipped open the metal casing of the compass. “I used it to face north. I was impressed to see a line scale of miles to the right. In the upper left corner was a circle which was obviously the area where the lone Realm Ranger was last seen to appear. The map indicted the place was relatively close to me. I walked on and on, disgusted by the same barren, hellish wasteland that was Nether Earth. I came across a tar pit full of snake-like creatures writhed about like congealing intestines. I contorted my face and diverted my eyes as I felt slightly nauseous. I pressed on. Suddenly a short distance away from me a light appeared. That’s’ him! I thought. I ran towards the light waving my arms as my heart throbbed within but this time with joy. I finally was near enough to make out a man wearing the traveling suits. I called out to him with a warmed face and a broad smile. He faced me as I came to him. When I reached him I felt my heart explode. “I’m so happy to see another human! I met the ruler of this world and said there have been reports of a lone Realm Ranger in this region.”

The man’s face was narrow and he had deep-set brown eyes that glistened. He had a thin goatee and a small scar above his right eyebrow. He looked at me with a frown then a smile. “Calm down. What has happened?” he asked with his voice transmitted into my helmet speaker.

“There a terrible quake and all my companions fell into a precipice. My transceiver is broken.”

“I see. But I can’t help you. You know only one person can go into the portal at a time.”

“There must be something!” I shouted. “Can’t you go back and bring another transceiver band?”

The man looked down. “There has been a shift in the dimensional integrity that communicates with the transceivers. Travel from Our earth to the Nether earth is now impossible. ”

“What about you?” I uttered with a shuttering lip.

“I was able to travel here one last time when an energy spike propelled me here. Now there it is only enough dimensional integrity for one last trip to our earth.”

“I see.” I looked down. What happened next would be my most selfish, cruel and terrible act I would ever commit. It was me or him. How I ached to be home and my wellbeing took priority. Suddenly, I struck the man in the helmet face glass. He fell back and hit the ground. I leapt on him trying to tear the arm band off him. He gripped my throat and pushed me back and I toppled to my side. He got to his knees but before he could situate himself, I rushed towards him at the waist. We rolled over and I got the upper hand as I pinned him to the ground. I punched his face glass until it cracked, releasing oxygen. Then I tore off his transceiver band as the poor soul rolled about gasping for air.

I immediately fastened the device to my arm and dialed. The portal appeared and I jumped through. I was back in the compound. When I told the administrator what happened to my team members but I left out how I got back, saying my transceiver did not break. For years, scientists tried to open portals to the Nether earth but to this day, nothing has prevailed.

And so I live with the guilt and sorrow for my actions. But what was done is done and I’ll bear it forever.

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