Angel didn’t know what to think. Decorum and delight drew her two different ways.
Finally, she resolved to walk calmly over to the scientist and pat his arm maturely and sensibly.
“I can’t believe it! Christopher!” she said, as she walked across the nothing-floor. It chilled her to think that there was nothing below her feet but blackness, and yet she had such smart balance anyway.
“I’m here,” he smiled warmly. Maddy looked upon the two of them, frowning slightly as she watched each of their expressions with her eagle-eyes.
“What happened…?” Angel began, as she clutched towards Christopher’s arm.
Angel’s hands sunk right through!
“What? You’re air!” she cried, making Maddy look up sharply.
“I…yes, Angel,” Christopher said quietly, “I’m just thin air.”
“But- what? You’re here!” the girl cried, her simply pretty face becoming badly creased with her frown.
“Well…” and Christopher spread his arms out around him, creating little waves of light as he did so. Angel couldn’t look him in the eyes, she watched the flowing ebbs instead.
“This is nowhere, and I’m not really here, but it’s a way for us to talk, without breaking all the rules of physics as you, Angel, know them. I’m not in nowhere, but I’m not somewhere either. The spirit realm does not beckon, yet the false, physical no longer wants me either. What is it that I must do, oh spirits?”
The last he muttered to himself, clutching at the first beads of an almond-black rosary that was spilling out his pocket. Angel’s eyes flicked to it for a second, and her face flushed pink.
“Christopher,” Maddy said, speaking coldly from the back of the room (if it really was a room with a back-end to it), “where are we and how did we get here, do you know?”
“I do, yes,” Christopher said carefully. “I brought you here. I’m in a trance and this is the only connection to your world that I have. There are mirrors sometimes where I am, but nothing more.”
“Of course! That’s why it was familiar. I was trapped with pie before…the evil pie…” Maddy shook her head and brushed away the gothic memories.
“How do we leave?” Angel asked Christopher.
“Leave? Oh you can’t leave yet, not until I’ve given you all the words I need to.”
“You’re on the right track,” he said slowly, as though he was reciting a piece from memory. “You must stay away from false glory, and do unto all your heart desires. You will face much adversary, even from those closest-”
“Oh, be quiet! Just take us home!” Angel demanded, becoming more and more childlike.
“It, this world, will take you home when I break away. There’s nothing I can actually, physically do to aid you now.”
“Christopher!” Angel scowled him once again, even though, inside her soul, she was terribly hurt. “Can’t you do anything that is not selfish to help us out our own predicament?”
“I’m sorry,” he said sadly, shaking his head. “I swear though, I’m trying. I’m helping me so you can help me.”
“What?” Angel almost shouted. She was on the verge of being furious.
“You’ll know what I mean to say when the time comes…” he whispered, moving a ghostly hand on to where hers were still lingering in the air, touching the nothing where Christopher’s arm should have been. Inside herself, Angel felt a little heat from the ghostly motion, but, other than that, her scientist was nothing any more. In this place, he was no more than a thought.
And then, as Angel watched, he began to vanish completely, starting with his extremities, right through to his chest, and his soul. As the last of Christopher went, so did the spotlight and the sounds of all calmness.
Maddy snuck back into her little alcove of black, edging away from the emotional Angel.
And then a large voice echoed around the craniums of the two of them, as though a megaphone had been put to each of their ears. Suddenly, the black was no longer there, on the outside, the blackness was in the heroines.
“Maddy, Angel, can you hear me?” the voice repeated.
At first, Angel thought it was dream-speech, as she stood, hands outstretched to where her friend had once been. Twice in a single day, she had let him, literally, slip through her fingers.
Then, the blackness dully filling the backs, and insides, of her eyes, she realised that she was no longer in nowhere, and, lying flat on some smelly carpet, she was coming round. A man was knelt above her, his top-hat sitting a crooked angle on his bald head.
“You’re a wizard…” muttered Angel, mystified. It was mostly the shock of having woken up here that made her words slurred and dizzied.
“I’m not just any wizard,” replied the wizard, “I’m the wizard you’ve been looking for.”
“Figures,” said Maddy, before she passed out again.