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“Ok, you got the pictures. Now, let’s get the hell out of here. I want to leave this place in the rear view.” Josh was about to turn to go when he started to feel a strong air current blowing against his face in a faint whisper. The warning bells in his head went from a small ring to deafening tolls as the wind howled harder.

            “Umm… Josh…” Sam said, trailing off. He had to shout just for Josh to register his sentence. As Josh looked back at Sam, he noticed the hole was no longer black. A beam of pure white light split the inky black space in the middle. It began to push outward, claiming the territory the darkness held until the hole had turned completely into white light. The humming grew to a deafening, blaring peal as Josh gripped his ears, desperate to stop the assault on his eardrums. He felt his head growing light as he lost his footing, stumbling forward. Josh looked up at Sam who seemed to be in the same condition as he writhed in pain on the ground.

            Suddenly, the wind grew stronger until Josh literally felt his feet being swept from under him. The trees moaned and cracked, bending at the force of the wind. The leaves and soil were swept up in the current, adding to the chaos. Josh realized that the wind wasn’t what was blowing; the anomaly was literally sucking everything in.

            Including him and Sam.

            As if a cruel joke by the universe, the force flung Josh into the air just as he realized this. The closest experience Josh could even think about was one time when he and his grandfather were trapped in a storm on the boat and a particularly large wave knocked him out of the boat. He tried to grip anything that could serve as an anchor to no avail as he was dragged by the current towards the tear.

            Sam went through the tear first, swiftly followed by Josh. Josh had never felt such a strong sense of disorientation as he felt when he fell through the blank whitespace of the interior of the portal. Hours, minutes, years, centuries, seconds, blinking of the eyes: It all seemed to blend together. He felt as though he were existing and not existing at the same time. He couldn’t fathom how everything in time and space was warping around him. He had no idea how long the trip through the portal had actually lasted- whether it was instantaneous or millennia upon millennia of travel- but the next thing he could quantify was falling out of the whitespace.

            The first thing Josh saw was blue. He realized after a few seconds that the blue above him was a sky. The next thing he felt was a hard thud accompanied with a crack as his back collided with the ground. A pained huff was all Josh’s chest would let him release as he hit the dirt. He tried desperately to gasp for air, the wind completely expelled from his lungs. His head continued to swim even after the portal relinquished him, and unable to gain a sense of orientation or balance, he couldn’t keep himself from vomiting to his left.

            The nausea passed as Josh turned his head, trying to get a view of where he was. He saw an arid plain around him with a few scattered trees. Josh tried to get up to get a better look, but he felt like he could barely move.

            Just then, Josh saw something so wild that he wasn’t sure it wasn’t just his eyes playing tricks on him. There was a humanoid figure right there in front of him. His face was hidden by something… a mask, Josh realized after a second of focusing. It was a brown leather mask obscuring the lower half of the wearer’s face. The rest was hidden in the shadow of the hood of a cloak. The only other feature visible was the curved short sword in his left hand.

The End

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