By Christian Laforet
The Lorrza skittered across the blackened landscape. The heat, which escaped through the cracked earth, warmed the scales on its stomach, thermal energy powering the reptile’s meter long body. It would need the boost. In the distance, a leather winged Krillette, no bigger than a fist, had landed on a cooling lump of rock to pick the Sla gnats which had become lodged in the coarse hair covering its squat legs. The Lorrza flicked its tongue, the taste of the Krillette hanging heavy in the oppressively hot air. With a burst of power, the lizard sprang towards its prey. The Krillette had been too distracted by the parasites hiding on its body to notice the Lorrza, and now it would be too late.
An arc of blue energy pulsed and rippled across the torn earth, swirling and undulating like a living thing. Its sudden appearance caused the Lorrza to dance sideways frantically, its wide, black eyes like mirrors reflecting the disturbance. It twisted to look towards the Krillette, the delay enough time for the creature to stretch its wings and take flight. The reptile would not be eating tonight. With a savage hiss and a flick of its tongue, the Lorrza decided that the Krillette was right to flee, for whatever this new arrival was, it was beyond them. With a slash of its tri-coloured tail, it slid into a crack in the ground and was gone.
The energy dissipated into a flurry of dazzling blue sparks, at the middle of which stood three women.
“We’ve made it.” Sam tucked the transporter back into the holster of her utility belt. Without looking back at her companions, she continued, “The second world to fall to The Rainbow Emperor, hEarth.”
Blinking rapidly, Robi-Jo took a meandering step forward before falling to her butt. “Oh my god! What just happened?”
She was joined by Felicia. “Nononononono, this can’t be real.”
Sam looked over her shoulder at the girls. “I know this must be hard for you two, but trust me, there’s no other way.” She pointed to the ground they sat on. “Also, I wouldn’t sit there—or anywhere on hEarth.”
“Oh yeah? Why?” Felicia awkwardly rose to her feet.
“No,” Robi-Jo yelled before Sam could answer Felicia. “I’m not listening to you anymore. You’re not like our Sam, you’re mean. So I’m going to sit here for as long as I-” Robi-Jo stopped short.
Felicia looked over at her co-worker. “Robi?”
Robi-Jo lifted off the ground, a scream blasting from her lips, smoke coming from her butt. She danced in circles as her hands frantically rubbed her rear-end.
Sam stifled a laugh. “Because hEarth is basically a massive volcano and there’s heat vents everywhere.
The image of Robi-Jo dancing around holding her backside was enough to break Felicia of her shocked state. “That’s a first, hot gas going into Robi’s butt.”
Rubbing the heat away, Robi-Jo spun on Felicia. “First off, rude! Second, this is basically all your fault.”
“Oh yeah, because I brought us here. Wait, no, it was evil Sam that did that, so, yeah.”
Jabbing a finger towards Felicia, Robi-Jo continued to argue her case. “If you hadn’t been oh so eager to get those signs down, we’d still be at work taking them down completely oblivious to all this crazy.”
“That’s funny, I seem to remember that it was you who asked to use Dale’s knife to speed the job up. So, really, this is your fault!”
Shaking her head, Sam drew her sword and stood between the girls. “I’ve already chopped off two heads today, but I wouldn’t mind adding a couple more.”
“Jeez, I completely forgot that you like to cut off heads. Oh wait, no I didn’t because you still have Dale’s hanging from your belt!” Felicia yelled.
Trying hard not to actually look directly at the severed head, Robi-Jo asked, “I’m sorry, why did you keep Dale’s head again?”
Sam rolled her eyes. “Wow, you guys are really not good at listening. As I’ve already told you, we need to collect as many pieces of Dale across the five worlds as possible to reassemble him. Only then, can the Dread Rainbow Emperor be defeated.”
Felicia nodded. “Kay, but that seems kinda crazy. Can’t you just use your fancy little do-dad and zap next to this guy and chop his head off?”
A sour expression coursed across Sam’s face. “If only it were that easy. Firstly, my teleporter is a prototype. The greatest minds of my world created it in a last ditch effort to find the Dale of Earth Prime. Now that he is gone, I’m hoping that it will have enough juice to bring us to the other worlds to rebuild him. Secondly, you have no idea how powerful the Emperor is. Even my considerable skills would not be enough.”
“I don’t get,” Robi-Jo interrupted. “Why us though. Can’t you just enlist the Felicia and Robi-Jo of one of these other worlds?”
Sam shook her head. “Again, not that easy. Although the five worlds are parallel versions of the same earth, they are still vastly different. It is extremely rare for the same person to exist on more than one of them. As you already know, I am one of those rare occurrences, having a counterpart on your world. So to answer your question, no, I can’t, because there are no other Felicias and Robi-Jos.”
“Okay, so, why Dale?” Felicia asked.
“Dale is a something else. Unlike any living person across the realms, Dale exists on all five worlds. He may not seem like much to you, but the power flowing through him is unimaginable.
“Now, enough talking, we don’t have much time.” Sam’s tone made it clear that she wouldn’t be answering anymore questions.
Felicia turned in an exaggerated circle. “Moving? To where?”
Sam didn’t respond, instead she started walking. When Felicia and Robi-Jo realized she wasn’t waiting for them, they hurried to catch up.
They traveled for nearly an hour before anything but barren landscape could be seen. It appeared, at first, as nothing more than a line on the horizon, but as they got closer, it became clear that they were moving towards a massive chasm.
“This is stupid. We’ve been walking forever. What are we even looking for?” Robi-Jo kicked a small rock which bounced along the scorched earth, it disappeared over the edge of the crevice.
“Did you guys just hear a tink?” Felicia asked.
Sam smirked. “Go take a look.”
Robi-Jo and Felicia approached the lip of the chasm. It was a gargantuan rift in the earth that stretched for kilometres in either direction and yawned as far across. Careful not to slip over the edge, the girls peeked down into the abyss.
Secured to the side of the sheer cliff face of the gorge was a palace. The building was coated in metal plating which glowed from the intense heat pelting it from the river of lava which churned restlessly along the depths of the chasm.
“Wow. What is that place?” Robi-Jo couldn’t take her eyes off the spectacular building.
Sam joined them. “It’s this world’s Fresh Choppers.”
Felicia shook her head comically. “Uh, what? That’s a Fresh Choppers?”
“Yes,” Sam nodded. “There is a version of Fresh Choppers on all five worlds.”
“That’s depressing,” Robi-Jo muttered under her breath.
Sam ignored the comment and continued talking. “This Fresh Choppers is run by a guy named Jordan, but he now goes by, The Sensation.”
Felicia laughed. “What is with all these names? First the Dread Rainbow Emperor and now, The Sensation.”
“So, what’s this guy’s deal,” Robi asked.
Sam cast a hardened glare towards the immense palace. “The magic that ripped the Emperor from your world, also made it impossible for him to leave his current location. Because of this, he has had to recruit people from each of the other worlds to assist him. On hEarth, it was Jordan. As a reward for opening the way for the Rainbow Army, as well as dispatching this worlds Dale, he was given complete control of hEarth. This is where he resides.”
Felicia nodded. “That’s all great, but what are we supposed to be doing here?”
“The Sensation has kept a piece of this world’s Dale as a trophy. It hangs in his bedroom.” Sam had started fiddling with something in one of her pouches as she spoke.
“Okay, well, go cut this Jordan/Sensation guy’s head off and we’ll grab the Dale piece.”
Sam shook her head. “The palace is too heavily fortified to get inside through force. You two will have to sneak in.”
Robi-Jo interrupted. “What do you mean, ‘you two’? Aren’t you coming?”
“No. I have other business I must attend to. Don’t worry though, I won’t be long, and besides, I have faith in the both of you.”
“Uh-uh, no way, you’re nuts if you think I’m going in there without you.” Robi-Jo started walking away from the edge of the chasm.
“Yeeeeaaaaaahhhhh, I’m with her.” Felicia hurried to catch up with her co-worker.
Sam nodded. “Fine, but I think you should know, our presence this close to the palace will have not gone unnoticed. Right at this very moment, a contingent of palace guards are on their way to the surface. If you don’t do exactly as I tell you, they will kill you both.”
Robi-Jo and Felicia exchanged glances before returning to Sam.
“So, yeah, I pretty much hate you,” Felicia grunted.
“Yeah! You are not even half as cool as our Sam was,” Robi-Jo added
Sam smiled. “Now listen very closely…”
A portal in the blackened ground wrenched open, a metal lift pushed up through it. With a clanging bang, a door along the front slid opened. Five heavily armed men stood within.
“Who are you?” The lead guard demanded.
“Ugh, I mean, heeeyyyyy.” Robi-Jo batted her eye lashes. “We’re just, uh, just a couple of lonely girls hoping we can join The Sensation’s harem.”
Felicia whispered, “This isn’t going to work.”
The guard eyed them for a moment. “His lordship will be thrilled. Two fine specimens like you, do not come along that often. Follow me.”
Hesitantly, Robi-Jo and Felicia followed the guard into the lift.
Felicia looked between the armed men nervously. “Uh, you know what, guys, I think I changed my-”
The doors slammed close with a resounding clang.
To Be Continued!
Christian Laforet is the author of the short horror collection, The Space Between Houses and co-founder of Adventure Worlds.
The Space Between Houses is available through Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Space-Between-Houses-Christian-Laforet-ebook/dp/B00P5N8TRS/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-ueredtext&ie=UTF8&qid=1420681234&sr=1-2&keywords=the+space+between+houses