Sam didn’t feel so much like he was falling through the white space. It wasn’t an experience so much like gravity. It felt a lot more like he was in a vacuum and had just been shot straight out of cannon. The sensation was excruciatingly confusing. He felt as though he were going to be sick, but didn’t know where to throw up given the absence of gravity. He also couldn’t get a bearing on how much time had passed while he was falling. Minutes? Centuries? Seconds? He really couldn’t tell.
Though he couldn’t exactly remember leaving the whitespace, he did notice he started falling, feeling the reassuring embrace of gravity. Of course, he regretted it once he hit a hardwood floor face first. He groaned, craning his head to look around. The hard landing had felt like sprinting headfirst into a brick wall, but it was a welcome change from the abstract mind bending he had experienced in the portal. He managed to lift himself to his feet after a few seconds.
When he looked around, Sam saw bookshelves on either side of him, housing dozens upon dozens of books. He picked one out of the shelf directly in front of him with a blank canvas cover. He opened it to find the title The Art of Transmutation: A Primer written in flourishing font on the first page.
“Transmutation?” Sam questioned aloud as he placed the book back in its space. He thought it had to be some sort of a joke book, or maybe a very old manuscript on alchemy. He continued surveying his landing spot to come to the conclusion that he must have fallen into some sort of library. On every side there were hundreds- possibly thousands, of books on shelves.
As he walked down the aisle he had appeared in, Sam came to grips with how large the library itself was. Now that he could see the entire space, he saw he was on a second story loft, with one floor below him and one other loft above the second floor rising to a large glass skylight at the top of the archive.
As his head cleared, a frightening thought hit Sam. He had not seen Josh land anywhere beside him. Frantically, he started to look around, desperate to find Josh wherever he had fallen. He checked two of the adjacent aisles, double checking around the corners for any sign of his friend.
Suddenly, Sam froze as he could hear footsteps coming to his left. The thought hadn’t crossed his mind that he might not be alone in this library. He ducked behind a bookshelf and hid, his heart leaping out of his chest with each beat. What if he was trespassing in someone else’s library? The footsteps gradually came closer until the mystery person was no more than five yards away. Sam couldn’t handle the tension any longer and peaked around the corner of the bookshelf to get a good look at the stranger.