first chapter of a new story
Prologue: Laurent's arrival
My name is Jake. Not original, I know, but it's what I named myself by shortening my true name of Jacob which was given to me by my parents. You might be wondering what makes me so special, and I can honestly say, not a lot. Up until very recently I was your average guy with an average life, average friends, and a plan to become a vet. That all changed one day when an old man named Jamie Laurent walked into my home town. He didn't seem all that special, but then again, no one who came to my town seemed all that strange. My best friend Zero and I used to joke that if anything big happened to our town the entire world would miss it, and I guess he was right. I'm not really sure because of what happened about a week after Laurent walked into our town. You know what; I think it'll be better if I explain what happened on that day from the beginning, rather than in the middle. Think whoever you are, dear reader, you can handle that? If not... well hate to leave you waiting, but a good story never starts from the middle. You always have to start at the beginning, and this one begins on my twentieth birthday the morning of November Fourth 2012. So let's start there....
Chapter 1: Opening the door to Eternity
My birthday started like any other day I got up and got ready for my classes, which weren't any big deal as far as I was concerned since they were all pretty easy. I walked around the mess I called my room and started digging in the piles of clothes scattered across the floor and tried to find a clean shirt and a pair of jeans I hadn't yet worn that week. I finally found them at the bottom of the pile and glanced around my room then walked over to my closet and pried the doors open with quite a bit of effort. When I finally got it open I smiled at the fact it was the complete opposite of my actual room. It was neat and organized. I quickly pulled on my belt from when I'd ridden on the local drill team then grabbed my favorite black baseball cap and my sun glasses before walking out to my car and turning on the heat. I walked inside and sat down at the kitchen table eating breakfast as my car heated up then Zero walked out of his room yawning and wearing the same stuff he'd worn yesterday and said "So what's our first class again?" I thought for a few minutes then said "I believe we've got Zoology with Doctor Davison first thing this morning, and then we have like three other classes before we can go pick up your girl and meet Laurent at the park with AJ."
Zero sighed and mumbled "Of course Laurent had to invite that stupid ass to see whatever the fuck he's showing us. It had better be worth AJ's snide comments or I swear I'm kicking one of their asses." I laughed softly wondering if he realized how much like me he sounded. I sighed softly as we both ate breakfast and thought "Zero's right about AJ's remarks and everything, but I swear Laurent is the one who pisses me off. He has to constantly point out that I'm the only single guy in the group and that my friends are slightly above average while I'm just your normal guy with a normal dream. Zero plans on being a top notch graphic designer, and AJ plans on being a videogame designer. Guess in comparison my dreams of being a large animal vet are pretty tame." I blinked as Zero said "Jake, are you listening?" I looked at him questioningly and he said "I asked if you had any word from you, parents about your sister and all of them."
I blinked and said softly "Everything's fine back home. They asked if everything was fine with us and I said yeah. It's still kind of weird to be living in the apartment complex, despite only going to the local community college." He nodded and I sighed then finished my cereal and set my bowl in the dishwasher. He quickly finished his food and said "Mind if we drop by Mickey's on the way to the college? I want to get a coffee before we have to deal with Doctor Johansson this morning." I nodded in understanding, thinking I'd grab myself a cup of hot chocolate from our favorite waitress while we were there then drove over to Mickey's which was halfway between our place and the college. It was about a half hour drive from our place to the college, which meant Mickey's was only a fifteen minute drive. As I drove Zero and I started talking about the latest movie we'd seen and I said "It's still not as funny as the second Ghost Rider film." He nodded and we both said "Imagine a flamethrower." We burst out laughing as I stopped at my usual spot in front of Mickey's and Zero said "Best part in the entire film, can't believe we remember that after almost an entire year."
I nodded and stretched then shut off the car and we hurried into the diner before we froze our poor reproductive organs off. I silently wondered why the fuck Arkansas was so cold in November then shook it off and walked to our usual table. Jack, the owner and cashier of Mickey's, saw me and Zero as soon as we sat down and smiled then said "Hey boys, I'm glad to see you still come here every morning. Rose isn't working today but Maya will be happy to take your orders." I sighed and silently cursed the boring routine of my life. Wake up, go to Mickey's, go to school, go home and relax, then pick up Maria and head out with her and Zero. I silently wished for something to make life even the slightest bit more interesting. I sighed softly then smiled at Maya as she walked up and said "Hey Maya, sorry to hear Rose is out. We'll have our usual, because we have to get out of here pretty quick."
Maya smiled sweetly and said "No problem Jake, I'll go get them and you guys can be out of here in about five minutes." I smiled in thanks then glanced at Zero who was staring at the table with a distant look in his eyes. Suddenly he reached into his bag and pulled out his drawing pad then started a very detailed drawing of the two of us back at the kitchen table talking. I watched him for a few minutes then blinked as Maya said "You sure you don't' want anything else?" I nodded and handed her a twenty motioning for her to keep the change then sipped my hot chocolate and sighed contently as Dustin sipped his coffee and continued working on the drawing. I watched him for a few moments then shook my head deciding I'd never figure out why he was drawing what he was until he told me, and by that point it would either be complete or in the trash. Zero had a habit of only accepting as close as he could get to perfect, and since he'd been taking lessons he was even pickier now than when we first met.
I yawned and stretched then finished my hot chocolate and tossed the cup in the trash. Zero looked up as he heard my cup hi to the trash and said "Time to go?" I nodded and walked out then turned on the car and sighed in contentment as the heat hit me. It felt wonderful compared to the frigid air outside the shop. Zero walked out still working on the drawing then ran to the car and jumped in shivering. I laughed and said "You knew it was cold, but you were more worried about your drawing than getting warm." He nodded and said "Thank god for having three jackets on." I laughed remembering that he'd come up with that idea back in high school, it brought back a lot of memories. I grinned slightly and said "Well at least a few things have changed. You don't believe your art is crap anymore, I'm not chasing every skirt in sight, and Maria is even deeper in love with you." He nodded without looking up.
I quickly drove us to the college then got out and ran into the building enjoying the warmth as Zero slipped in and walked to class still drawing what he'd started in the diner and I followed him. As we walked I glanced around taking stock of everyone in the college and wondering how many would actually transfer to other colleges and who we'd gone to class with. I blinked as I realized that most of our classmates must have gone to other colleges and pulled out a notebook as some song lyrics started flowing into my thoughts. I quickly wrote them down then shoved the notebook in my pocket as I sat down and the teacher started lecturing us. I paid only minimal attention as the music continued in my head and Zero kept working on his drawing.
It was a relief when class ended then our next few classes flew by and I just wrote the song down without paying attention to a word my teacher's said. At the end of the day Zero had finished his picture, and my song was half written, I drove us home then crashed on the couch as Zero glanced at me and said "So what do you think we should do to kill the time between now and our picking up Maria?" I thought about it then shrugged and he said "Halo?" I shook my head finding that games had less appeal to me than when we were younger and he asked "Listen to music?" I nodded and turned on the stereo. Hinder blasted out of our speakers and I closed my eyes relaxing as Zero walked into the kitchen. I must have dozed off because what felt like a few minutes later, Zero walked up and shook my arm then said "We have to go pick up Maria and meet Laurent at the park." I nodded and got up then turned off the music and walked out to the car. It was warmer now, so I turned the heat down low and the two of us drove to Maria's where she slipped in the back.
I drove us out to the park where AJ and Laurent were standing around a large arch that had always bothered me because it had a strange keyhole in it, but no key, and no door. I parked a few feet from the door and the three of us walked over. Laurent looked up as we walked over and said "Ah, Jake, Zero, Maria. It's so kind of you to join AJ and I." I nodded and motioned for him to explain why we were staring at the door. He smiled and held up a brass key shaped like the keyhole on the arch. I blinked and mumbled "So you found the key to the arch. What good does it do you, if you don't have the door?" I knew I sounded like a smart ass, but I was honestly curious what Laurent's answer would be. He just smiled and said "Ah, but this is no simple arch my dear boy. The arch itself is a door, a door to the very gates of eternity themselves." I stared at him and thought "Houston Laurent's brain has left the building. This is a major problem, because he obviously knows more than he lets on." Laurent saw the look on his face and said softly "Ah, Jake my poor boy you truly don't understand."
I arched an eyebrow questioningly and prepared a sarcastic retort when he said "Watch and be amazed, as I James Laurent open the gate of eternity and leave you children hear in the world of the mundane as I alter history." I didn't' like the sound of that and prepared to tackle the bastard thinking he'd really gone nuts. Sadly AJ grabbed my arm and stopped me saying "Let's see if the key does anything before you go after James." I wondered when AJ first started calling Laurent James then realized that while Laurent and I'd been talking men had come up and surrounded us. They suddenly grabbed Zero and Maria. AJ smiled slimily and said "These are Laurent's men. I decided to work with him, rather than against him, so they follow my orders." I sighed and silently swore I was going to kick AJ's ass first chance I got then watched Laurent as he slipped the key into the keyhole and started whispering some strange chant. It sounded a lot like the song I'd been working on so I mumbled the words to my song in counter tempo to his chant.
I didn't realize that what I was doing was completely fucking up what Laurent did; I just knew that the chant was helping me think up words for my song so I kept singing. Suddenly Laurent grabbed the key and turned it shouting the last word of the chant. I mumbled the last word of my song and heard a click as something was unlocked. Slowly the arch filled with purple light and Laurent laughed. He smiled darkly at me and said "Well it appears my friend in another world was right. This is one of the keystone worlds where the doors to Eternity are. I guess since you know too much I'll have to throw you through, before I call my minions to destroy this pathetic town of yours." I glared at Laurent, but the swirling light in the portal eventually drew my attention. Laurent followed my eyes and growled then said "Something's wrong the door to eternity is supposed to be a light silvery blue. This is a door to another realm. Ah well it will do for your final resting place, any last words?"
I smiled and spat in his face then said "Yeah, five. I'll see your ass in hell." Laurent's men dragged me over to the door then tossed me into it. The last thing I heard was Laurent laughing and saying "Yes, but that won't be for a long time." Then everything was consumed by the roaring of the vortex and the swirling of the colors. I don't know how long I was in the vortex, but I think after about half an hour or so I finally passed out from the exhaustion caused by first time temporal and inter dimensional travel. My last thoughts before the darkness claimed me were "Damn I can't die yet, I haven't even found the girl of my dreams." Then everything faded as the blackness consumed my mind.