“Okay, I know what we need to do.” Charr had retreated to the bedroom and was now reappearing fully dressed in a red flannel button-up shirt with black jeans. She picked up a pair of solid looking boots from near the door and began putting them on. “We need to go see the principals.”
“Who?” I asked.
“The principals? They used to run the Academy?”
I looked back blankly, holding out my hands. She shook her head. “There wasn’t an academy somewhere in your world?”
“We have schools, if that’s what you’re saying. A ton of them. That makes a ton of principals, by the way.”
She straightened, shaking her head. “The Academy was something different. Nevermind. We’ve got to go see them.”
Oh hey, wait a minute. I drew the sigil from my pocket. “I might be able to get back!” I exclaimed. “Hold on to me!”
With a frown she put her hand on my shoulder. I squeezed my eyes shut and visualized the sigil with all my might.
No nausea. No movement. No luck. I opened my eyes to see Charr looking grimly at me. We were still in her dinky apartment. She let go of my shoulder. “Seems like your bus pass doesn’t cover inter-dimensional travel,” she said with a hint of kindness. “Now come on.” She lifted a necklace from under her shirt, and at the end was a small black box. “We need to see the principals.”
Well her bus pass worked, so to speak. Within a blink, a burst of giddiness, and a whirl of darkness, we were on a beach. It was boiling hot, and that’s coming from someone who lived in hell.
“Oh hey!” there was two figures standing under a parasol, in suits. Suits? They looked like two government agents here to spy on what it means to have a good time. They had sunglasses, drinks, and one of them, the woman, had sequins and rhinestones on her suit. Her hair was chin-length, like almost every other woman in the universe seemed to have. The man had hair that swung down around his hips. Both were raven haired and atrociously pale. Vampires maybe?
The one with the sequins waved at us dramatically. “Darlings! I knew you’d be coming by!”
Charr didn’t even look around, she just marched towards them. I looked around. Where was this place? The sky – whoah. It was bright daylight down here, but up there – night sky. How? I looked around and yeah, there was ocean and beach and trees, no civilization in sight except for the drinks plopped in the sand in the shade.
“Where’s Kuryo?” Charr was asking her questions, but in my head I was all ‘where’s here’?
Deciding I wouldn’t figure out much on my own, I walked over to the trio. The woman in the sequins was laughing. “How should I know?” At my arrival, silence settled. The woman sucked in her breath. “Look,” she turned to Charr. “You can’t take something without leaving something else. A vaccuum gets created so -” she gestured to me “It’s kind of like a body swap.”
“We can send you,” said the man in a soothing tone to Charr. I got the feeling he was the nice, sympathetic one, while the woman was… the bozo?
“Oh, yeah,” said the woman emphatically. “we were telling you that there was work to be done in that dimension but no-o, who wanted to stay home and leave it all alone?”
“We’re not yours to send around! We have lives!” Charr snapped.
Both agents looked pitifully at Charr. The man held his silence pointedly, the woman did not. “Yeah, well you try and see how messy things get if no one does anything. So,” she combed her long bangs out of her face. “You want a ride or what?”
“Yes,” said Charr angrily. “And you help us get Kuryo back.”
“No we don’t interfere, you know that,” the woman said cheerfully. “It’s a law of the universe that the hearts remain detached-”
“Bullshit,” muttered Charr angrily.
The woman laughed. Charr bristled. I was uncomfortable. “Who are you all?” I asked pointedly. “Gods?” I tried to sound relaxed and detached, but everything in me was bristling. They didn’t feel like gods. They felt different somehow.
Again, the woman laughed. Charr ignored her with a scowl. “No they’re not,” she muttered angrily. “Look let’s just go? We can talk about this later.”
“Cheerio darlings!” said the woman, clapping a hand on each of our shoulders.
Just like that, the world lurched. I saw darkness, was gliding through silky darkness that curled around me like silky tendrils – then WHAM! I landed face-first in snow. Cold snow.
“Buh!” I floundered, trying to find my legs. My arms broke through a crust of hardened ice atop the snow and I felt like I was drowning. A world of blinding white was opened up before me with a crisp blue sky. I staggered to my legs. Where was my coat?
Charr was already on her feet, tense and looking around. Imitating her, I did the same, hoping to recognize the place. No such luck. We were in a non-descript valley dotted with pine trees around the edges. Farmhouses were visible on the horizon, where a mountain rose. “We’re uh, probably somewhere near the vampire territory.”
Charr gave me a dark look. “Is that near where Kuryo is?”
I nodded. “Someone will have sensed our arrival- either the military or Bella. We can just wait here and we’ll get picked up soon.”
“By whom? Which one do we need?”
I balked. Uh, I wasn’t sure? “Well I’d rather go see Bella, and you want to see your boyfriend so,” I shrugged. “We hope for vampires?”
Charr gave me a narrow look. “You don’t seem like you have a plan.”
I grinned nervously.