I stared out the window at the darkening sky, watching planes traverse the clouds. One day, I was certain, I would take flight in a hull of steel and depart for adventure. One day. But right now I had a large pile of math homework to complete. My mind pulled itself back from the stirring pull of freedom, bracing itself for the sight of five pages of unanswered questions. Pen poised as if to do battle, I plunged myself head first into a sea of numbers, mind racing.
Twenty-five questions left. The stars were beginning to poke their heads cautiously from behind velvet curtains. Fifteen left. I wondered vaguely what dinner was going to be. Ten... Five...
My head flew up from the crumpled pages, eyes darting about the room for the commotion. I could hear yelling from downstairs, muffled voices screeching undefinable words. I sprang to my feet, wrenched open the door of my little attic room, and sprinted down all four flights of stairs. I was half certain my brother had just played another one of his elaborate pranks. A lot of them did involve loud noises.
But there was far too much fear in my parent's voices as I raced into the kitchen, unsheathing the small pocket knife I often carried with me as I went. My vision took in the chaos of the room with surprising speed, eyes racing along quite as fast as the pounding of my heart. A man stood between the sink and the cluttered counter, his sweeping cloak and long black hair as normal as Sunday tea when in comparison with the hole that seemed to have opened in the air in front of him. A blank space of nothing stretched before him, hovering as if waiting for something.
I spotted my parents, both cowering against the fridge, and made to run to them. The strange man looked up as I moved away from the door, smiling as he saw me, quite unconcerned by the kitchen knife my father held. He reached forwards, fingers closing on my wrist before I could stop them.
"Time to go, Echo," he told me, voice calm as he pulled me towards the hole in the air with a strength even my wildest fighting could not deter. As I came closer to the spot of nothing, I couldn't help realizing that my plea for adventure had been answered a little sooner then I had expected.