Before Convergence #2 - Wake Up, Katherine

Reads: 365  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 0

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: May 10, 2017

A A A | A A A

Submitted: May 10, 2017

A A A

A A A


"Wake up, Katherine."

A deep male voice filled the woman's ears, silky smooth, suave, and full of confidence. She opened her eyes...and immediately shut them as an intense, blinding light filled her vision like a blazing sun. Disoriented, she held her hands up to shield her gaze, but there was no escaping the overwhelming, omnipresent brightness.

"What's going on?" Katherine asked. Her voice was strong and commanding even in her disadvantaged state. "Who are you?"

The voice responded as if surprised that she didn't recognize him. "I'm...someone who's trying to help you break out of this prison, of course."

"Prison?"

"Yes."

Katherine chuckled. "Sure, the light is a little blinding, but-"

"The light is what's keeping you here."

That gave her pause, but she realized the ulterior motive at play.

"Whoever you are...you're trapped in here with me, aren't you? This light...it's preventing you from escaping too, isn't it?"

The person speaking paused, as if weighing his options and choosing his next words carefully.

"Yes," he said finally. "I want to break us both out. And I need your help to do so. Simple as that."

Katherine mulled it over. True, this light WAS kind of annoying.

"Okay," she said, taking a deep breath. "What do you need me to do?"

"First, you need to pretend this light doesn't exist. As in, imagine yourself free from its grasp. If you do this correctly, we should finally be able to see each other."

"That doesn't sound so hard."

"Surprisingly enough, it's not as easy as it seems."

Katherine wondered what the voice meant by that. Clearly he'd tried this before. She closed her eyes, imagining the light slowly dimming like an electrical bulb or the image of a sun setting. Neither worked. She even thought about destroying the light with her bare hands...figuratively, of course, but that didn't work either. No matter what she did, the brightness defied her.

"This isn't working," Katherine said, frustration evident in her voice.

"You're probably not thinking outside the box. You want to be free, don't you? That's the bigger idea. The light is only an obstacle. Think around it."

"I'll try again." Katherine closed her eyes fully once more. This time, she imagined herself sitting cross-legged in a darkened room. Outside, a thunderstorm would be pounding the only window in the room, and consequently the storm's lightning would be the only real source of light. Now, when she opened her eyes, the blinding light vanished. After a few moments of her eyes adjusting to the much darker environment, she saw that the room was exactly as she'd envisioned it except for the lone figure standing in a corner of the room.

"There you go." Through the flashes of lightning, Katherine could just make out the man who spoke. He was in his forties, wearing a dark green suit, matching slacks, and polished leather shoes. An antiquated monocle was perched on his right eye. Medium-length brown hair gave him an aged but refined appearance.

"So you're my benefactor," Katherine said, walking towards him. Interestingly, she could tell from his body language that he was tense, but he seemed to relax as she approached him without breaking a stride.

"My name is Alastar." The man held out his hand as she approached. "At your service, Katherine Sinclair." She noticed he was scanning her, causing her to look down at herself, making sure there was nothing odd about her person. She wore a grey tunic, pants and brown boots. As tall as the man was, Katherine was nearly the same height, but her build was a tad stockier than his. Her medium-length black hair went just below her shoulders, and as she absent-mindedly tugged on a few strands of hair with her off-hand, her red highlights curving around her entire face shimmered in the lightning blasts.

"You seem to know who I am already," Katherine began. "How did you-"

She stopped just as she was taking Alastar's hand in mutual greeting. Wisps of black mist had surrounded her hand from Alastar's own. The cloud of darkness snaked around her arm and into her body. Instinctively, she pulled her hand back, but not soon enough before she seemed to absorb a fair amount of the mysterious substance into the core of her very being.

"What was that?" Katherine demanded.

"I simply transferred some of my power to you." Alastar waved his right hand dismissively. "It'll make our next task much easier. Hold out your right hand against this wall." He indicated to the wall opposite the glass window. "Then close your eyes and imagine it disappearing, just like the light."

"How do you know so much about how this place works?"

"Because I've tried this myself a long time ago. And it worked."

Katherine shot him a skeptical look. "Yet you still need me?"

Alastar responded with an annoyed expression, sidestepping the question. "Are you going to help me or not?"

"Fine."

Both of them raised their right hands and concentrated. A wooden door suddenly appeared, as if the wall had been an illusion.

"Excellent," Alastar exclaimed, rubbing his hands together in anticipation.

"That's it?"

"We're free of this room, but we're far from free of this prison...this madness."

Alastar opened the door, stepping quickly through. Katherine did the same...and found herself standing on thin air in a completely white backdrop, seemingly lit by an unseen ambient, encompassing light. To be precise, there was no floor, yet somehow, defying any logic and reason, the two were indeed standing. The entire area was designed like a corridor yet had no walls, filled with doors very similar to the one they'd just exited, all neatly aligned and spaced apart like rooms in an apartment, stretching far into the heavens above and the endless depths below. What was most interesting, however, was the fact that there was no evidence of the doors connecting to actual rooms. The doors just seemed to exist, floating in place.

"I'm surprised you're not uncomfortable with this," Alastar said, noting Katherine's complete lack of reaction to the unusual landscape.

"I've seen some pretty weird things in my time." Katherine shook her head. "Besides, it's not like I'm afraid of heights. And what about you? You're not the least bit surprised either."

"I've escaped to the Hallway before."

"So that's what this place is called?"

"Yes." Impatient, Alastar indicated that they move forward. "This way."

As they walked, Katherine observed the golden plaques located at the center of each door.

"What are the plaques about?"

"They tell us the names and places of those who were used and...discarded. Like us."

"Used? Discarded? Why?"

Alastar scratched his chin. "Let me be more specific. I have been...disposed of. You survived after your ordeal and remained in a...purgatory, of a sort."

"You talking about the room we were in?"

"That is correct."

Katherine thought about it. "Well, considering we managed to escape the room, does this mean we're free to get out of here?"

"There's just one thing I want to take care of before we do."

The two continued walking for a moment until Alastar stopped before a door on his left.

"Ashley...Paige," Katherine said, reading the words on the plaque.

"Yes." Alastar pushed open the door. Inside, a girl in her early twenties was lying down on a table at the center of the room with her eyes closed as if in slumber. She wore the exact same clothing Katherine did, but contrasted it with dusty blonde hair, a relatively peachy complexion, and a brightly smiling face. She too was in front of a blinding ray of light, but because it was directed at her instead of outward towards the door, both Alastar and Katherine weren't fazed by its intensity.

"Are you trying to break her out too?" Katherine asked, her voice sounding hopeful.

"Not exactly." Alastar stood by Ashley like a sentinel, looking at her with an intense expression. The next moment, he curled his right hand like he was gripping an invisible object and plunged his whole hand into Ashley's chest. Strangely, there was no blood or any sort of physical damage; Alastar's hand simply seemed to have phased through Ashley's body.

"What...hey! Stop!" Katherine exclaimed as she grabbed Alastar's arm and pulled his hand back. While his hand left Ashley's body, again, there was no sign of blood or physical trauma. However, Ashley's bright smile had turned into a grimace. Whatever Alastar had done clearly disturbed the unconscious girl.

"Explain yourself," Katherine demanded, her green eyes flashing dangerously.

Alastar shrugged. "I'm just here to get a little revenge. This girl killed me, after all."

"What did you do?"

"When the time comes, she's not going to emerge as she should."

"I see." Seemingly out of nowhere, Katherine held out a small dark metal object in her hand. Pressing a concealed button, she caused the piece of metal to expand outward in both directions, becoming a staff of dark metal. She leveled the weapon at Alastar, who responded with a raised eyebrow.

"Now, now," he said. "Why do we have to get violent all of a sudden?"

"You're doing it again. The path you took once before."

"Several times before actually," Alastar corrected her. "But I was hoping this time I'd have an ally, seeing how well were getting along together." 

"Your first mistake." Katherine's tone was deadly serious.

"My mistake? More like your mistake, Captain."

Katherine's eyes narrowed. Alastar caught the movement and his own eyes did the same.

"So you didn't lose your memory after all," he said. "I was wondering why you were acting so accommodating towards me."

"I needed you."

"Oh, really? And why's that?"

Katherine smirked. "You won't live to find out."

"And now we're down to threats." Alastar's grin turned malicious. "I'll have you know that I was actually going to spare you, Katherine. We could have gotten out of here together, you and I. But now that I see that you were trying to beat me at my own game, well, I guess I will have to kill you after all."

"You can try," Katherine said confidently. "But you have no idea how sorely you're underestimating me."

"Is that so?" Alastar held both his hands out at Katherine in a claw-like manner. Within his palms and fingertips, the black mist churned, like he was channeling his power. "I know exactly what you're capable of, Katherine. You're no match for me."

"That's what you think!" Beginning the fight, Katherine spun the staff in her hands, then followed with a series of spear-like jabs towards Alastar. The latter blocked the attacks in a raised-arm stance very similar to a boxer's, using his hands and arms to deflect and take hits from the staff. Several times he tried to grab Katherine's weapon, attempting to rip it out of her grip, but every time she responded by turning his attempts at leverage into a counter-attack with the other end of her staff or a solid punch or kick to his upper body. Try as he might, Alastar couldn't find an opportunity to land a hit of his own. After a few exchanges, he backed away, huffing slightly.

"Still the combat expert I see," Alastar said in grudging respect. "But how will you continue to fight if you can't hit me?" He held his right hand outward, causing the dark fog to expand around his arm.

Katherine's tone was insolent. "For all your power, you still don't get it, do you?"

Alastar rushed at her, the fog now encompassing his entire body. Katherine swung her staff at him...and the strike connected, sending him flying to the left side of the room. He groaned as he got up, his expression one of pure shock as he clutched his left side.

"H-How did you hit me?"

"Simple." Katherine held her left hand out, her own dark fog mimicking his previous channeling display. "It's all thanks to you."

"That's impossible!" Alastar shouted. "I didn't give you THAT much of my power!"

"You didn't even realize it." Katherine's eyes glittered in triumph. "The old you would have recognized my power spike immediately, but now? You're weak. Nothing more than a shadow of your former self."

"No! I refuse to accept this!"

"Believe it!" Katherine snapped. "And here you were, thinking you would take advantage of me to free yourself." She paused, letting her smile return. "The truth of the matter is, from the moment I woke up, I knew exactly what was going on. You might have gotten further this time than you ever have before, but your journey ends here."

"Then I'll try..." Alastar's unshakable, absolute confidence had been shattered in a manner of seconds. "And try. And try again! If you know about my escape attempts, then you know that one day, I will find a way to escape this place!"

"Not while I'm here. Why do you think I was in the room with you? Did you think that I was the one being held captive? It was you. I am your jailor, Alastar."

He sighed in defeat, his head drooping downwards. "All I ever wanted was to be free."

"Don't worry, I will do just that."

Alastar brought his head back up to look at Katherine. "What? I don't under-"

Before the surprised man could react, the former captain swung her staff into the side of his head with incredible speed and power. The force of the attack was such that Alastar hit the floor hard and didn't move. 

"The Author was too kind to grant you death, but I'm not." Standing over the body, Katherine held out her hand. The power that remained in Alastar's corpse began to get absorbed into her own. "It's such a shame too. You were always so limited in what you tried to do. Your escapes were nothing more than brute force attempts at interfering in stories the Author came up with. Such limited imagination led you to getting defeated by talented characters like Ashley..."

Katherine's voice trailed off as the absorption process completed, leaving no evidence behind of the dead man, as his body had vanished along with his power. A pulse of dark fog surrounded her body as she felt the true strength of Alastar's ability fill her. She exhaled sharply, closing her eyes in satisfaction, the reopened them before walking over to Ashley's still form.

"Ashley," Katherine said softly. "I don't know exactly what Alastar did to you, but know this: I will do my best to make this right, my fellow Guardswoman." She could feel herself getting a bit misty-eyed as those trying times resurfaced in her thoughts. Struggling slightly, Katherine pushed the memories back down. She placed a caring right hand on Ashley's shoulder, even though the latter didn't react to it. "You will always be our champion. I hope you remember that when you wake up."

Her final words spoken, Katherine removed her hand and turned towards the exit, taking one final look at Ashley before she opened the door and left the room.


© Copyright 2018 T. J. Wong. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:

More Fantasy Short Stories