The TRAVELLER Chronicles

By Zak Standridge

Scifi

Blurb

On her way home from school, Jade takes a shortcut through her favorite graveyard only to find herself abducted! Yet, in order to fulfill her temporal abilities, she must travel with, and learn from, the very stranger who kidnapped her...

Chapter 1

The evening was crisp and cool. The air was refreshing, the scent of fall lingering in the breeze. She could hear the leaves making their inevitable descent to the cold earth. All of the birds were gone, in route to somewhere warm. The sun was setting, casting a glow about her that she missed when it wasn’t this time of year. Her birthday was soon. Alex squeezed her hand then awkwardly kissed her on the cheek. Cute.

Jade watched him meekly wander into the nearby wood. He didn’t particularly care for going through the graveyard. Sometimes, but not usually. Not this close to Halloween. What a pansy. She had been going through the same place for a decade now.

Graveyards, to Jade, had never been scary. She opened a compact and checked her lipstick. Black just felt right this time of year. She casually strolled over a headstone. That particular one had been there since the civil war. She knew. Jade could walk through this place at midnight on a new moon blindfolded, never miss a step. What she was concerned about was what she thought Sydney would tell her about what to do about Alex. It was complicated. She liked him, but she wanted to date Tim. So what? Sydney would whine that Tim wore khakis. Yeah, because somebody is preppy or happens to have some money means that he can’t be deep. Or hot. Freakin’ LAME, whatever.

Over the small hill she spotted the tiny mausoleum where she always parked. Covered in leaves. Decrepit.

Next to it, waiting to take her home as always, her pink Aspire. As she approached she noticed something a bit off...it wasn’t that the graveyard smelled especially of dust and mildew. It wasn’t the exceptional chill in the breeze.

It was a grave marker. A strange silhouette, never before present. A statue, which appeared ancient. It had seemingly come from nowhere. Wait. She looked again. When had they added another statue? She stood for a moment, trying to remember clearly. She was sure; no, it hadn’t there before. Jade was sure of it.

So exactly where the hell had it come from? Walking gingerly toward the stationary marble stranger, the crunching of dead leaves echoed brashly causing Jade to feel very exposed. Everything was so terribly quiet.

Out of nowhere this angel sitting alone, crying in the graveyard. Why? Jade back-tracked through the forest of her mind...Everyday, coming home from school, Jade made her path through-

-A loud mechanical whirring sound suddenly groaned and creaked from nowhere and everywhere at once, interrupting her thoughts. Electricity surged in the air, Jade suddenly felt chills and heard a melody from far away. Almost...like singing, sort of - but she could not place it.

Diverting her attention back to her car she saw the familiar, sad little mausoleum she always parked near.

...Except. Except there was another column on the mausoleum she had never noticed before. Right in the front. She wondered when they had added that strange piece as well. Her cemetery appeared to be changing before her very eyes.

And then abruptly everything seemed sped up, TIME seemed to speed up, yet simultaneously slow down. It was disorienting and exceedingly anachronistic.

Adrenaline coursed through her veins making time appear to move slower to her, yet her reflexes were sped up and Jade realized she only experienced this strange occurrence a few times before, and only in this graveyard.

She turned back around and gasped. Inches away from her a horrifying, screeching face appeared. Jagged teeth looming, staring deep into her was a monstrosity of stone.

It was the same angel statue, it had moved in the split second wasn’t looking. It was baring its teeth and roaring at her silently, arms raised as if to attack and marble talons sharpened to a lethal edge. She gasped. Her eyes grew large. She held her breath.

And Jade almost screamed.

Almost. A bead of sweat. For some reason right then, she knew that she absolutely could not move. “I’m sorry.” came a voice from behind her. Jade’s mouth was gaping. Any attempt to communicate on her part sounded like she was having her tonsils checked. She was frozen. And that was going to save her life.

“You will feel me grab your arm. If we are both VERY, VERY lucky, you will not feel that thing grab your OTHER ONE!!!” This guy did not sound sure of himself.

A female voice intoned “This is a poor idea.” The strange man’s voice again, “Do you have a better one?” “Not any that involve saving the human.” “I can’t take the chance that they can use her! If they get enough energy here to gain a foothold-” Jade stopped listening to the two people yelling very heatedly behind her. She began to step backward, keeping this terrifying, tormented stone beast right where she could see it. She moved slowly, deliberately, and made sure she was getting right the hell out of here. She dug for her keys. And her mace.

She felt behind her for the door handle. She didn’t breathe. She didn’t blink. “Now.” Jade heard him yell. She was spun around by a grip on her arm. Jade instinctively smacked the stranger’s hand away but felt a crushing grip on her right shoulder. She looked at the stranger just as he activated some kind of light....bomb.

Jade’s eyes were pierced, damn near raped with illumination. Gripping pain, agonizing. Her shoulder hurt so bad it felt like it was cracking, splintering. But she could sense the angel getting closer, it’s mouth growing wider.

The stranger attempted to reign in his grip, yanking her toward him by fingertips. She shoved back. His grip faltered, and the stranger flailed backward into the stone column.

Disappeared. Inside the stone column. The angel almost had her throat, its gaping maw towering over her skull. She was terrified. This thing was going eat her! Her head could fit in its mouth-

A hand emerged, thrusting through from the stone column. It grabbed her by her pink scarf and yanked her backward inside.

Jade Vanished...

From a distance, with the screaming and electricity, it would be difficult to tell what had happened. A stranger locked onto a time embolism; the portal through which an angry, hungry statue had made its move. That embolism was stilled to a definitive quantum temporal nexus, until instantaneous implosion.

It...got smaller. The energy wave keeping the angel at bay suddenly collapsed in on itself. The angel’s teeth shattered on a small bubble of pure time energy. Then the statue destabilized on a molecular level. Instantly turned into dust. And drifted.

And wafted off, into the breeze. From inside a mysterious Roman-type column there could be heard what sounded like a strained voice. A girl’s voice. It may have been yelling or crying or singing but it was soon replaced by the odd, mechanical sound of a chorus.

Which simply faded out of existence, as did the extra column itself. Everything was deathly quiet. As a graveyard should be.

Inside the Aspire, Jade’s car-phone rang...

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