Lydia was soaked to the bone, terrified and very confused as Chess drove them through the clouds high above a city she didn't even recognize, for all she knew they could be in Canada and it wouldn't make any difference to her.
Chess drummed his fingers on the wheel and hummed cheerfully to himself, while Lydia watched the world fly by and wondered if this was really all just a dream. Cars couldn't fly, she never would have guessed in a million years that she would be involved in a gun fight and break about a hundred road laws. She didn't know if "no flying" was a law, but if it was, they broke it.
"How much longer until we get..wherever we're going?" Lydia asked blankly.
"Oh maybe a few minutes." Chess replied. "You seem like you're going to be sick." he raised his eyebrows at her. Lydia shook her head. "I don't have anything in my stomach." she answered. "But I'm still very confused....so, Sam is alive?"
"But you said-"
"Listen, Lydia. Listen carefully. What you have grown up believing is basically maybe one percent of what goes on in the world. Things happen all around every day that you can't see. Like this flying car for example." Chess spit out his gum, then got another piece. He had been doing this about every twenty minutes. Either he had a bad gum chewing habit or he was just trying to keep the flavor. It was quite a waist though.
"So what are you saying?" Lydia asked.
"I'm saying that you had best just accept things the way they are. Don't try to argue saying that what's about to happen isn't possible or can't happen or blah blah blah. Your life is going to be different now. And I don't want to hear any complaints out of you."
"Yes mom." Lydia said sourly. But her mind was buzzing with questions. Was she going to see Sam? As what, a ghost? And what had Chess said about him not being human? He looked human to her. It was like one of those stories she was always reading where the character's friend turned out to be a vampire or a werewolf or whatnot.
Around half an hour later, the car began to slow down, the clouds were beginning to thin out letting streams of sunlight through. Chess stretched, changing gears. "We're here."
"What, in the sky?" Lydia asked, but a few seconds later they rose above the clouds and Lydia gasped out loud, leaning out the window to get a better look. In front of them was....well, it looked like a floating island. The bottom half was made completely of rocks. The top was tall grass, about four acres wide, four tall buildings that resembled windmills were placed in a rectangular pattern, and a river must have curled between them because it dropped off the far edge of the island in a long thin waterfall.
"What happens when that hits the ground?" Lydia asked, indicating to the river.
"It doesn't. It evaporates halfway down."
"What is this place anyway?" she breathed as they drew nearer. She could see the grass dotted with millions of multi-colored wild flowers. There was a wheat field too, a garden, and even a few sheep that were being herded by a boarder collie. It was almost like a small farm that had just floated up one day and never came back down.
"Well, I call it the magic unicorn fart land. But it's real name is Tortiagus." Chess yawned.
"How has airplanes and helicopters never found this place? And what about the clouds? If they move, anyone could see it!"
"It's a little something called Spells. You know, those things that don't exist." Chess said sarcastically. "If we don't want them to see it. They can't. That's what's so funny about you humans. You only see what you want to see."
Lydia ignored his last comment and watched in facination as the car began to drop slowly over a gravel lot next to one of the windmills. It hovered over the ground for a moment, then landed with a bounce, nearly throwing Lydia into the roof of the vehicle. She shook her head, then unbuckled and got out curiously. Stepping onto the grass she looked all around her. Rotating on the spot. The cool breeze blew through her drenched hair, giving her chills, but being above the storm clouds, the sky was orange with the setting sun. Leaving the area below them a vast blanket of white mist. It was absolutely breathtaking.
"Well, I guess this won't be too hard to fix." Chess sighed, knocking the back of his knuckles on the dented hood of his car. Even as he said it, more glass fell from the window. He bit his bottom lip then pulled out the car keys and pressed a button, there was a loud honk and the vehicle began to shake. Lydia covered her eyes as it was surrounded in a bright flash. When it faded away there was a purple convertable. Lydia raised her eyebrows at Chess.
"Yeah! What are you talking about, it's pretty sweet." He gave a toothy grin.
"Chester, good heavans what took you so long?" A voice asked. Chess turned to glance behind him, Lydia's eyes widened. Two more people had walked out of the Windmill. One was a young woman, swathed in a violet robe with gold lacing. Her hair was ink black and a golden band was weaved around her head like a crown. She had purple eyes. Purple! And pale skin with perfectly set features and a very calming look about her. She was the mere image of royalty. An empress, a queen, whatever you wanted to call it; that's what she was. Standing tall and proud next to her was;
"Sam!" Lydia almost screamed. "What are you doing here! I thought you were dead!"
Sam gave a sly smile through his long black bangs she recognized so well. It was really him...
"I am." He answered. Lydia gave him a look. Was he calling himself a zombie now?
"Are you okay Lyd?" he asked seriously. "I was going to tell you everything, but Gilt got to me sooner than I expected. I heard he was going to attack you at my funeral."
"He did. But I'm okay. Chess got to me in time." Lydia breathed. Then after a moments hesitation she ran over and threw her arms around Sam's middle. He blinked in suprise, then hugged her back.
"It's good to see you again." she said softly. Then pulled away and smacked his shoulder. "But you got me into a world of trouble. You had better have a good explanation!"
"I'm sorry Lydia. I tried to protect you but...well, yes I do have an explanation if you are willing to listen." He said. Lydia sighed, but could hardly hold back the joy in her chest. Sam was with her again....even if half of it didn't make any sense. She nodded. "I'm willing to listen." she said. "I've seen enough, I'll believe you."
Sam nodded then turned to the woman who gave Lydia a small bow. "Welcome to Tortiagus. Sam has told me much about you. I hope Chess didn't give you too much trouble on the way."
"Nah, he was all right." Lydia smiled. "Who are you?"
"My name is Alyss. I am the princess of this realm." she smiled at Lydia. "We have much to tell you and very little time. So please come in." she gestured to the windmill. Lydia nodded and follow Alyss towards the front doors. Behind her she heard Sam gave an exasperated sigh.
"Really, Chess? A Purple car?"
"It's cool." Chess argued. "Black was too boring. I'm glad it got destroyed."
Lydia gave a small laugh. But it quickly disapeared when she thought about her family. Her friends. What were they thinking? That she had been kidnapped? That was kind of what happened. She had to get home. But something told her that wasn't going to happen for a long time. Like Chess said; she was about to get a whole new life.