Chapter 5

When Vic opens his eyes, he finds himself in a room full of paintings. The walls have changed to a sparkling white. His eyes scan the room with a sense of familiarity looming in the air. It’s a place he visited before in the past. He’s sure of it. The only problem is, he can’t recall when and where exactly. As he’s trying to recover the memory, his mind snaps toward something else. Something very obvious that he should have realized since he entered the room. No Janine. Or Kai. They have disappeared. He searches the room once more, turning in every direction possible. Only piles and piles of books meet his eyes.
“Not good,” Vic mumbles to himself.
He has already established the fact that the other two really exist. Now he lost them. Or has his mind wanting to trick itself so that he wouldn’t feel so left out at this strange, creepy place? Anything is possible really. Before he could ponder any further, a pile of books on the table caught fire and dance toward his direction. He leaps out of the way, searching for an escape route. But everywhere his eyes reach, flames has covered it already. How could it move so fast? He doesn’t stop to ponder. He jumps towards a set of stairs that he’s sure is there and fumbles, rolling down every single one of the step. Yet he still doesn’t feel any pain. He checks for bruises as he scrambles up from the ground. Then he remembers.
“School library,” He mutters, shaking his head.
It is the library at his old university. What could he see in this place to come here instead of focusing on waking up? He knows now that he has hesitated the last minute and wants to come here. That’s why he’s 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 wants to come here. It is a good hiding place when he wants to be alone and think. That’s it. Or does his conscience want him 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 says 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 searches the area again. He reassures himself once again that he’s very familiar with the place. He can’t be lost around here. He turns back to the staircase leading up to his secret hideout. The flames are still blazing in that room. But for some strange reason, it is not going past the staircase to attack him. Then he stops his thoughts, not wanting his thoughts to become his doom. Yet that’s too late because the flames have found its way to him just in seconds, trapping him and forcing him to flee. He knows he can’t turn back in that direction.
“Why can’t I make it disappear?” He yells out in frustration as he tries to dance around the flames.
Recognition forms on his face again seconds later as sweat begins to form on his face. The sweats aren’t from fear. It’s the cause of the heated flames. Soon, he hears the whooshing sounds of water rushing toward him from somewhere. That was the thought he has conjured up to stop the fire.
“Shoot!” He screams out as he lungs for the steps leading further downstairs.
Apparently, it doesn’t work like he had thought. The water didn’t put out the fire, but has merged together with the fire to form a fire-liquid sphere, and it is coming for him. He runs further and further down, using the rails to secure his way down, not being able to see in the dark. He knows he can’t conjure the light or he might just as well start another fire. The front desk looms ahead then. He runs towards the nearest exit to find…no exit.
“Damn!” He swears, crinking his eyes to search for some other route.
The thumping sound comes closer and closer as he desperately tries to recall the plan of the library. How could the door disappear just like that? Smacking his forehead, he declares himself dumb by then. It’s a dream, he reminds himself. The unconscious realm. Nothing makes sense. Nothing. He turns to face the fire-liquid sphere then. The shade of fiery and ice reach his eyes. As if his calmness has caused it to stop, its bright – enhanced color finally fades. It is then that he understands that he could control it better if he’s calm and collected. Closing his eyes and ignoring the threatening sphere of fire and water altogether, he conjures up the exit route – the door.
Footsteps are heard several minutes later. He opens his eyes again to find the fire-water sphere gone. Instead, he sees 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 begins to take shape. And gasps as soon as he recognizes her features.
“Margaret?” He calls out, taking a step back – forgetting to remain calm.
Tears are formed on the girl’s face. She still looks the same from that day. He couldn’t bring himself to speak up any more than her name.
“Vic,” She finally speaks, her voice soft yet haunting. “Why did you leave me?”
“I told you already,” Vic returns, feeling the familiarity of the situation. “We aren’t meant to be together.”
“Why did you abandon me?” She asks again, ignoring Vic’s previous response.
“Margaret, don’t do this,” He coaxes her, his eyes searching for an escape route at the same time.
“If I can’t have you, then…she can’t either.”
All goes dark then. But Vic could still feel her presence. She’s coming closer to him. He doesn’t care where he’s running at the moment. As long as it’s away from her. Bracing himself for possible objects, he dashes around the place. It’s really hard to run like this but he has no choice. How could this feel so real when it’s not? The question echoes in his mind as he continues to dodge at every corner, shielding himself at the same time.
Stay calm, the mantra finds itself back into his mind again – after the umpteenth round around the library. It is also then that he stops from running. He hides himself in a corner, steadying his breath and closing his eyes. He tries hard not to think about anything having to do with this place, having to do with Margaret, or anything else. But it’s too hard, just too hard to brush it aside when he could hear her marching closer and closer to him.
“Janine, Kai,” He mumbles, feeling like he needs their help – if they do indeed exist, wherever they are.
© Wednesday, August 31st, 2011
Posted: Sunday, September 18th, 2011