Gate Between Worlds. Short Story.

“And this is the Gate Between Worlds. Legends say that this was a portal that connected the human realm and the realm of the fairies. It was broken by a young man who sought to free humans from the oppressive reign of the supernatural creatures that held dominance. It’s said that those who were trapped on this side of the portal withered and eventually died. You can purchase a book in our gift shop that details the legends more specifically, both those surrounding the gate and legends that reference it. The arch itself is made from black onyx, though there is still some debate over where the onyx itself originated from as it is not indigenous to the area.”
Johnny looked around as the tour guide continued to drone on, Darcy was still staring, wide eyed, but then she was into all that fairy crap. He had been dragged along, and while it had been interesting at first, he was starting to get bored. The arch itself was much less imposing than he expected, it was about six feet across and made out of what seemed to be a relatively thin band of onyx, four or five inches thick. The most impressive part about it, in his opinion, was that it hadn’t been broken at some point over the years. Darcy slipped her hand into his and smiled at him, he smiled back. She started walking towards the arch, the tour guide was still going. Something about going through. Of course Darcy would want to be the first, no doubt she’d want to walk through it a few times to really get the feel for it. He followed after her, smiling slightly. Now that they were closer to the arch he was surprised at how truly black the colour was, a faint shiver ran up his spine. His hand slipped from Darcy’s as she stepped through, leaving him behind. She smiled, spun and came back through, circling around it to get a good look. Johnny didn’t move, the thing gave off a weird vibe, it made him a little nervous, right down in the pit of his stomach, he took a step towards it and felt a faint clench. Weird. Maybe it was some kind of magnetic field or something, screwing with him. He stepped to the side and moved around it. In the distance he could hear the roar of the sea, the wind picked up, bringing a faint tang of salt with it.

It was a nice day, the sun shining down. That’s what started it all, Darcy wanted to get out of the apartment, do something fun, but fun cost money. In the end they had decided here, they had a picnic in the car and the tour itself was free, they just wouldn’t go into the gift shop. Johnny already knew if they did Darcy would want to take half the shop with her when she left. It would be easier just to skip it entirely.

“Johnny!”
“Sorry, what?”
“Come here for a second, I want you to get a picture of me standing in the doorway!”
“Ok, sorry!” he had been miles away and judging by Darcy’s pout it hadn’t been the first, or even second time she had called him. He took a step to the side to go around again, bumping into an old man, “Oh, sorry dude I didn’t see you there.”
The old man glared for a second, then turned back to whatever it was that old people did. Johnny shrugged and feeling a little guilty, stepped around him, the group that they had been with had seemed to decide it was an ideal time to swarm the doorway. It would be a few minutes before it cleared enough to get a good shot of Darcy. He tried to weave his way through the people, but they all kept moving in his way ever so slightly. He turned back to the arch and, letting out a sigh, started to walk towards it, ignoring the feeling in his stomach. As he stepped through his stomach lurched, he squinted as the sun shone in his eyes, a deep, heady smell of grass over came him, he looked around, Darcy was gone. So was everyone, he was alone on top of a hill. The sound of the sea was gone, as was the breeze, in the distance he could hear a faint rumbling sound. Johnny turned around slowly, he felt sluggish, slow, how had he gotten here? Where was here? He had been with Darcy, and there was something about a photo and there were people. When he completed his circle he could see the source of the rumble, hundreds of people were running towards him, faster than he would have though possible, darting around them all were animals, some looked he recognised, large dogs, cats that seemed to be weaving amongst legs effortlessly, but there were others still, ones that looked like impossibly large versions of animals he knew, and others that seemed as though a child had taken the best bits from their favourites and mashed them onto one animal. The group was screaming as one, he couldn’t make out any individual words amongst the cacophony, some looked joyful, others seemed thunderously angry and they were getting ever closer. Johnny took a step back, they were speaking, but it wasn’t a language he understood, there was a sudden sharp pain in his head, he winced, but when it cleared he was able to make out words, English ones. Someone was screaming, “It’s open, quick, quick!” Johnny looked around again, what was open? The noises grew louder as the ground beneath him began to shake, the crowd seemed to be swelling in size and they showed no signs of slowing. Johnny hesitantly took a step backwards, they were coming right at him, they’d go right through him if they didn’t stop. He turned to run, he made it only two steps before he stumbled and fell, he skidded along the grass for a second before he stopped. He looked up, feeling dazed, the camera was lying beside him, his palms and knees burned steadily, “Oh my god! Johnny! Are you ok?” He rolled over onto his back, he was on the cliff again, people were staring at him, Darcy raced over and crouched by him, “Yeah, I’m fine, I guess I slipped.” He looked around again, the old man from earlier was grinning at him, but everyone soon lost interest. The people from before, they were gone, leaving no sign of the massive crowd. When he was standing again he shook his head, it was obviously just his mind playing tricks, it didn’t feel like it but maybe he had banged his head when he tripped, just some weird fantasy. As he limped away he looked back at the arch, it seemed to shimmer in the light, it had been a weird dream. As he looked a thought struck him, he had been walking towards Darcy, how had he fallen facing away from her? Already what he had seen was starting to fade away, he shivered again, then pushed it all out of his mind. It had just been some weird dream, caused by a bump on the head. He started walking away, going as fast as he could, Darcy walked beside him, still wrapped up in making sure he was ok.

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About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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