-August 16, 1987-ten days remain-
My eyes flew open and I sat up in alarm as the voice threw me from my sleep. Of course. The one night I was actually capable of finding enough peace of mind to even get to sleep, someone had to go and wake me up.
Elizabeth sat on the edge of my bed, perched there, wearing a sunny smile, black skinny jeans and a pink off-the-shoulder shirt. As usual, her clothes were that of up-to-the-minute fashion. She already had her black and white converse on.
“Wake up,” she repeated. “We’re going shopping. I got my parent’s permission to go over to Williamsburg for the day.”
I rubbed the sleep from my eyes and shoved back the celery green comforter. “I don’t have any money,” I pointed out. Elizabeth shot me an ‘are you serious’ look.
“Don’t worry about it,” she assured me. “My dad gave me his credit card.”
It was an hour drive from Middlesex to James City; we were planning to hit up the Williamsburg outlet there. Elizabeth kept the stereo up loud, singing along as she sped down the highway.
We reached the mall, and Elizabeth eased her Daytona into the nearest parking spot she could find.
I’d only ever been shopping once in my life. My mom had taken me to buy some longer-sleeved clothes after a particularly vicious beating from my dad, lest the neighbors see the scrapes and bruises lining my skin.
Shopping with Elizabeth was how I’d always imagined it would feel to have friends. See, back there I’d never really been very social. Less friends equaled less questions about why I wasn’t allowed to do anything like the other kids, or why I wouldn’t wear any skin-reveling clothes.
Still, I’d had my dreams, and Elizabeth had proved to meet them all.
She bought me practically an entire new wardrobe consisting of all the latest fashion- although I’d gotten a bit of input.
The big ticket item was the dress that Elizabeth had found. It was black, with a wide purple sash around the waist and hanging off to the side a bit. Like the dress I’d borrowed the night before, it too came to just above my knees. Needless to say, it looked stunning on. I caught myself wondering what Donnie would think of it, then shook the thoughts away.
We got back to the house and I carried my things up to my room. I laid them all out across the bed and just stared at them. A few stray tears fell from my eyes. I wiped them away quickly and turned around.
The Darkos were the most wonderful people I had ever met. I would’ve stayed with them forever if I could have. But I knew that that was impossible. Eventually I was going to have to leave them. In my heart I knew that sooner was better than later.
The sky was a breath-taking shade of orange and pink. Clouds hung low, almost low enough to touch them. I stepped out of the shadows, towards the source of the light, of all the light.
“What do you want with me?” I asked her unsurely.
The fairy queen didn’t smile, didn’t give me any sign of comfort. Her eyes were like black ice, like endless vortexes leading me down to my death.
“Have you ever seen a portal?” She asked me. Her voice sent shivers up my spine. I shook my head slowly, my eyes never leaving hers.
“There are only nine days left,” she said to me. “You have to save the world.”
“How?” I replied desperately. “How can I save the world? I don’t even know how to save myself.”
“You will,” she assured me. I sighed deeply. Maybe I had no idea what the hell she was talking about. Maybe I didn’t want to save the world. And, just maybe, I was taking these dreams way too seriously.
But in my heart, deep inside, I was nagged with the feeling that these were more than mere illusions of my sub-conscious. That this was reality and that it was up to me to keep this world intact.
“Okay,” I whispered. “Okay.”