Chapter 5

When Vic opened his eyes, he found himself in a room full of paintings. The walls had changed to a sparkling white. His eyes scanned the room with a sense of familiarity looming in the air. It was a place he visited before in the past. He was sure of it. The only problem was, he couldn’t recall when and where exactly. As he was trying to recover the memory, his mind snapped toward something else. Something very obvious that he should have realized since he entered the room. No Janine. Or Kai. They had disappeared. He searched the room once more, turning in every direction possible. Only piles and piles of books met his eyes.

“Not good,” Vic mumbled to himself.

He has already established the fact that the other two really existed. Now he lost them. Or had his mind wanting to trick itself so that he wouldn’t feel so left out at this strange, creepy place? Anything was possible really. Before he could ponder any further, a pile of books on the table caught fire and danced toward his direction. He leaped out of the way, searching for an escape route. But everywhere his eyes reached, flames had covered it already. How could it move so fast? He didn’t stop to ponder. He jumped toward a set of stairs that he was sure was there and fumbled, rolling down every single one of the steps. Yet he still didn’t feel any pain. He checked for bruises as he scrambled up from the ground. Then he remembered.

“School library,” He muttered, shaking his head.

It was the library at his old university. What could he have seen in that place to come there instead of focusing on waking up? He knew now that he had hesitated the last minute and wanted to come here. That was why he was still stuck at this strange place instead of waking up like they had planned and agreed on.

Turning and searching with his eyes again, he couldn’t come up with a reason why he even wanted to be there. It was a good hiding place when he wanted to be alone and think. That was it. Or did his conscience wanted to hide instead of face the truth that he might be trapped in this strange plane–or universe as Janine has put it–forever?

“No,” He said out loud–as if by speaking it, the word would have a stronger effect. “I don’t believe it.”

Not wanting his confidence to dip any lower, he searched the area again. He reassured himself once again that he was very familiar with the place. He couldn’t be lost. He turned back to the staircase leading up to his secret hideout. The flames were still blazing in that room. But for some strange reason, it was not going past the staircase to attack him. Then he stopped his thoughts, not wanting his thoughts to become his doom. Yet that was too late because the flames had found its way to him just in seconds, trapping him and forcing him to flee. He knew he couldn’t turn back in that direction.

“Why can’t I make it disappear?” He yelled out in frustration as he tried to dance around the flames.

Recognition formed on his face again seconds later as sweat began to form on his face. The sweats weren’t from fear. It was the cause of the heated flames. Soon, he heard the whooshing sounds of water rushing toward him from somewhere. That was the thought he had conjured up to stop the fire.

“Shoot!” He screamed out as he lunged for the steps leading further downstairs.

Apparently, it didn’t work like he had thought. The water didn’t put out the fire but had merged together with the fire to form a fire-liquid sphere, and it was coming for him. He ran further and further down, using the rails to secure his way, not being able to see in the dark. He knew he couldn’t conjure the light or he might just as well start another fire. The front desk loomed ahead then. He ran toward the nearest exit to find…no exit.

“Damn!” He swore, crinkling his eyes to search for some other route.

The thumping sound came closer and closer as he desperately tried to recall the plan of the library. How could the door disappear just like that? Smacking his forehead, he declared himself dumb by then. It’s a dream, he reminded himself. The unconscious realm. Nothing makes sense. Nothing. He turned to face the fire-liquid sphere then. The shade of fiery and ice reached his eyes. As if his calmness had caused it to stop, its bright, enhanced color finally faded. It was then that he understood that he could control it better if he was calm and collected. Closing his eyes and ignoring the threatening sphere of fire and water altogether, he conjured up the exit route–the door.

Footsteps were heard several minutes later. He opened his eyes again to find the fire-water sphere gone. Instead, he saw a silhouette coming his way. A girl to be exact, because he could hear the high heels clicking on the grayish floor, and he could also see the black heels as her form began to take shape. And gasped as soon as he recognized her features.

“Margaret?” He called out, taking a step back–forgetting to remain calm.

Tears were formed on the girl’s face. She still looked the same from that day. He couldn’t bring himself to speak up any more than her name.

“Vic,” She finally spoke, her voice soft yet haunting. “Why did you leave me?”

“I told you already,” Vic returned, feeling the familiarity of the situation. “We aren’t meant to be together.”

“Why did you abandon me?” She asked again, ignoring Vic’s previous response.

“Margaret, don’t do this,” He coaxed her, his eyes searching for an escape route at the same time.

“If I can’t have you, then…she can’t either.”

All went dark then. But Vic could still feel her presence. She was coming closer to him. He didn’t care where he was running at the moment. As long as it was away from her. Bracing himself for possible objects, he dashed around the place. It was really hard to run like that but he had no choice. How could this feel so real when it’s not? The question echoed in his mind as he continued to dodge at every corner, shielding himself at the same time.

Stay calm, the mantra found itself back into his mind again–after the umpteenth round around the library. It was also then that he stopped running. He hid in a corner, steadying his breath and closing his eyes. He tried hard not to think about anything having to do with this place, having to do with Margaret, or anything else. But it was too hard, just too hard to brush it aside when he could hear her marching closer and closer to him.

“Janine, Kai,” He mumbled, feeling like he needed their help–if they did indeed exist, wherever they were.

© Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

Posted: Sunday, September 18th, 2011