Before Convergence #2 - Wake Up, Katherine

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

Submitted: May 10, 2017

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Submitted: May 10, 2017

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"Wake up, Katherine."

A deep male voice filled her ears: smooth, suave, and confident. She opened her eyes...and immediately shut them as 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 light.

"What's going on?" Katherine asked. Her voice was strong and commanding. "What are you doing?"

"Breaking you out of 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.

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

The voice took a moment, 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. Well, if she wanted to get this infernal light out of her face…why not?

"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 it. 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, but she figured she would try. 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. The brightness defied her every attempt.

"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." 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 imagined it, except for the lone figure standing at the corner of the room.

"There you go." Through the flashes of lightning, Katherine could just make out the man. 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," she said. "You're my benefactor."

"My name is Alastar." He held out his hand. "At your service, Katherine Sinclair." She noticed he was scanning her and she looked down at herself: she wore a grey tunic, pants and brown boots. She also noted that she was nearly as tall as he was, but she was just a bit stockier than him. Her medium-length black hair was cropped at her shoulders, and as she absentmindedly tugged on a few strands of hair, she realized she had red highlights around her face.

"You seem to know who I am already-" Katherine began, taking his hand in mutual greeting. She halted as wisps of black mist surrounded her hand. Instinctively, she pulled back, but as she did, a surge of power engulfed her as her body appeared to absorb the dark fog into itself.

"What did you just do to me?" She 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 hand against this wall." He indicated to the wall opposite the glass window. "Then close your eyes and imagine it disappearing."

"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 looked at him skeptically. "And you still need me?"

Alastar gave her an annoyed expression. "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 expectantly.

"That's it?"

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

He opened the door, stepping through the arch. Katherine did the same...and found herself standing on thin air. To be precise, there was no floor. Yet somehow, defying all logic and reason, the two were indeed standing. The entire corridor was filled with door after door neatly aligned and spaced apart like rooms in an apartment, stretching far into the heavens above and to the endless depths below. What was most interesting, however, was the fact that there was no evidence of actual rooms. The doors just seemed to exist, floating in place, against a completely white backdrop.

"I'm surprised you're not uncomfortable with this," Alastar noted.

"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."

She took a look around. "So that's what this place is called?"

"Yes." Impatient, he 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 all 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 blinding light?"

"You're as perceptive as ever." He smiled. "Good."

Katherine was not amused. "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." He 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 blond 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 didn't seem too fazed by its intensity.

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

"Not exactly," said Alastar. He 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 fist into her chest. Strangely, there was no blood or any sort of physical damage. It was as if Alastar's hand had simply phased through Ashley's body.

"What the-" Katherine exclaimed. "Hey! Stop!" She grabbed Alastar's arm and pulled his hand out. Again, defying reason, there was no blood or any opening left behind. While there was no visible signs of damage, Ashley's smile had turned into a grimace. Whatever Alastar did clearly disturbed her.

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

"I have a very vivid memory of her," he replied, his voice distant as if he were reminiscing. "And not a good one."

"So you came in here to exact your revenge."

Alastar shrugged. "She killed me, after all."

"I see." Seemingly out of nowhere, Katherine held out a small dark item in her hand, which expanded into a staff of dark metal. She leveled it at Alastar. "I was hopeful you might have turned a new leaf, but I guess I was wrong."

Alastar raised an eyebrow. "Now, now. Why do we have to get violent all of a sudden?"

"You're doing it again, aren't you? The path you took before."

He sighed. "And here I was thinking we were getting along so well together..."

"Your first mistake," said Katherine, her voice deadly serious. 

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

Katherine's eyes narrowed as Alastar emphasized her rank.

"Yes," He continued, noticing her change in expression. "I know exactly who you are. I don't blame you for wanting to protect one of your subordinates."

"It's good to know we both fully remember the past."

Alastar's grin turned malicious. "I'll have you know that I was actually going to spare you. We could have gotten out of here together, you and I. But seeing as you also remember everything, well, I guess I will have to kill you after all."

"You can try." Katherine's lips curved into a smile. "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, the black mist churned, like he was channeling some kind of dark power. "I know exactly what you're capable of, Katherine. There's no way you can defeat me alone."

"That's what you think!" She spun the staff in her hands, then executed 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. Several times he tried to grab the staff and rip it out of Katherine's 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 properly land a hit of his own. After a few exchanges, he backed away.

"Still the combat expert I see. 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.

Katherine's expression 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. It felt like her staff had cracked one of his ribs.

"H-How did you hit me?"

"Simple." Katherine held her left hand out, dark fog surrounding it. "It's all thanks to you."

"That's impossible!" Alastar shook his head angrily. "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 nothing more than a shadow of your former self. "

"No!" Alastar cried. "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. I knew you wanted to escape The Author's mind. That's what you ALWAYS try to do. Well, this time, just like the last time, and the times before that, you've failed."

"You..." Alastar's unshakable, absolute confidence had been shattered in a manner of seconds. "D-Did you plan all of this?"

"No," Katherine said with honesty. "But we knew you might try this one day. That's why I was in the room with you. I am your jailor, Alastar."

He sighed in defeat. "All I ever wanted was to be free."

"Don't worry, you will be."

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

Before he could react, she swung her staff into the side of his head with incredible speed and power. The force of the attack was such that Alastar was killed instantly; his body hit the floor hard with a dull thud. Standing over him, Katherine held out her hand, absorbing what remained of the man's power and making it her own. 

"It's such a shame," said Katherine, more to herself than anything. "If you were as strong as you were back then, I could have actually used your help. Ironic really, considering you wanted mine for the same reason. But you are now truly nothing more than a liability. Unlike the last time, when Ashley was the only one who could stop you..."

As Katherine finished speaking, the absorption completed, leaving no evidence behind of the dead man, as his body had vanished along with his power. She let out a sigh, then turned to the still form of her sister-in-arms. Ashley still wore the grimace on her face.

"Ashley," Katherine said softly. "I don't know exactly what he did to you, but know this: I will do my best to make this right." She could feel herself getting a bit misty-eyed, but was disciplined enough to maintain her composure. She placed a caring right hand on Ashley's shoulder. The latter didn't react to it. "You will always be our champion. I hope you remember that when you wake up."

With that, Katherine removed her hand and turned towards the exit, taking one final look at Ashley's prone form before she opened the door and left the room.


© Copyright 2017 T. J. Wong. All rights reserved.

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