No Sense of Time

Disclaimer: I own all of this, the idea, the characters, the names of characters and things, and the horses and the mule. Especially the stubborn horse. He was mine to begin with. If I even catch you stealing I will have to send Faram after you and that wouldn't be very pretty.

Chapter 1



Annie hung her feet out of the window, even though Monica had told her many times not to. Monica wasn't looking at her though; she was thoroughly engrossed in the map that was propped up against the steering wheel, as she had gotten them impossibly lost. Monica looked up from her map and punched Annie in the arm. It wouldn't have hurt as much if she hadn't had all those rings on, the large spiral one being the one that hurt the most, but Annie got the point and pulled her feet back in, rubbing her arm ruefully and fixing her seatbelt so it didn't press into her neck so much.

" You really need to stop thinking that you know where you are, Annie. We are so totally lost and for some reason, the gas station that we passed a few miles back is gone..." Monica said, putting the map away and starting the car again, pulling out of the parking lot of the abandoned store.

" I've been in California before... three years ago." Annie said sheepishly, knowing full well that the exit that she had instructed Monica to take was not the right one, but it had said that there was a Starbucks nearby, and she wanted her grande double shot vanilla mocha!

Monica, Erin, and Annie had decided to go on a road trip to the very end of California, the one that gets shown on maps but not on tv.... They'd never heard of how it was like in Southern Cali, and it had been a very bad idea, seeing as even though it was the end of summer, it was still ninety-eight degrees out and no wind and it had rained last night. A hot, scorching rain.

The car wasn't really a car, more like a very large van that Erin's father had loaned them, but made them promise that they would bring back in one piece. There were three seats, and then a curtain had been put up so the back was hidden, the place where they slept when they couldn't get a hotel or something. Annie had a fear of dead bodies being under the bed from the last time she was in Cali and so she slept on the floor with a club she'd made out of a crow bar and a large sized stone, all duct taped together. Monica made sure that she didn't go anywhere near Annie when she was sleeping, as she had the tendency to thrash around and hit people with her club.

Monica didn't turn the radio on because if the radio was on then the air conditioning wouldn't work, and they would all personally be bored stiff than be hot and sweaty. Besides, why listen to music when you could talk to each other, or even make your own music? Annie and Erin both had a tendency to randomly break into song, and this time it was Mercedes Lackey's Demonsbane, with Erin as Herald Vanyel and Annie as everyone else. Monica didn't mind, as long as Annie didn't try to sing any Leslie Fish stuff, because the woman's voice grated on her ears and Annie had an uncanny knack of emulating Leslie to a point sometimes.

" There's going to be a storm." Erin mused after she finished the song.

" How do you know?" Monica asked, keeping her eyes one the road.

She was still a little afraid to drive, it was only her first month of doing it, since she had been voted driver for the trip; Annie being too young and Erin not wanting to have to learn in such a short time. It had been challenging, but Monica was always up to challenges.

" The dark clouds on the horizon." Erin smiled and tapped Annie on the shoulder and pointed to the storm ahead.

Sure enough, there was the sound of distant thunder and a few stray flashes of lightning. Monica stopped the car and got out, and for the first time since they had gotten into California, she felt a cold breeze. She turned to the others, who were still in the car.

" Maybe if we stay far enough away, it will miss us or just go around us or something." Annie said.

" But the cold does feel good." She'd stuck her head out the window and her short dirty blonde hair moved in the breeze, and she turned her head into it like a happy dog, even though the look on her face at the moment was very un-dog-like.

" Can I dance in the rain if it comes near enough?" Annie asked Monica, and Monica crossed her arms and tried to study the distance between then and the storm.

She shrugged, hoping that it wouldn't come near them, just pass by or something, like Annie said.

" Sure."

" Dance dance dance dance!" Annie shouted as she skipped along the concrete, landing in small puddles along the way.

Sure enough the storm had come close, right down on them. It wasn't throwing lightning bolts anymore, or thundering, just raining very hard and it was all very cold. Monica had said that she could dance, and she was. There was no symmetry to her movements, and she didn't feel that she needed any, because when she danced, no one usually saw her except herself, and she didn't feel the need to show off for herself, so she wouldn't show off for anyone else. Not with dancing anyway, she didn't know enough fancy moves to really call what she did showing off.

She knew her white shirt was plastered to her body, and she knew her jean shorts were going to be hell to get off, that her hair had come out of the curls that she had put in that morning, and her eyeliner was streaking down her face, making her look like some Goth wanna be freak, but in that single moment, she didn't care the least.

" Oh crap!" Was all she got to say before she tripped over something and fell to her knees, skinning them.

She lay there for a moment before rolling over and sitting up, looking at the damage. Only one was skinned so bad that it was bleeding, but the other one had collected alot of dirt, so she sat and let the rain wash it away before she got up and knocked on Monica's window to let her in. Monica was ready with a towel and Erin got the spray bottle of detangler and brush out of Annie's bag, knowing that she hated having her hair all icky like it would be if she let it dry like it was now.

" Thanks you guys, you're so nice to me." Annie said as she wrapped the oversized beach towel around her and sat down to let Erin take care of her hair.

" Yeah, because you would make our lives hell if we weren't, and you know it." Monica had to add when Annie got this innocent look on her face, as if to say Monica was lying.

* * * * * * *

A few hours of having nothing to do, and Monica was the first to fall asleep. Erin and Annie snuggled together, Annie now nice and dry. Eventually the pitter-patter of rain on the metal roof sent them off to dreamland also. Outside, the storm raged and blew itself out, but they still did not wake up.

* * * * * * *

" Yo! Monica! You gotta come look at this!" Monica groggily opened her eyes to see Annie leap out of the car and look around wildly. " I don't think we're in California anymore!"

She turned over and mumbled something about having weird dreams, but then she opened her eyes wide and sat straight up, fumbling for her glasses and putting them on. She shuffled to the window, but dared not go outside, because to her eyes, Annie was right and they were definitely not in Cali anymore.

" We probably aren't even on Earth anymore, much less in the States." Erin said.

" Stay out of my thoughts." Monica said grumpily.

" I did it again?" Erin pressed her palms to her eyes and groaned. " We need to stop that."

Monica whole-heartedly agreed with her, but right now their brainwaves being on the same frequency was not the problem.

" I found some fruit." Annie carried a few apple-like things over to them and handed one to Erin. She looked at it, sniffed it, and took a small bite out of it, chewing it slowly.

" Not bad, tastes kind of like taffy, but without the chewiness." Erin took another bite, but promptly spit it out and threw the thing out the window. " Too sweet! Ack!"

Annie frowned and took another bite out of hers, and they all got to see that the fruit had a oozy center that was creamy green. " I don't know what you are talking about Erin."

Monica decided that she wouldn't try one, because if it was too sweet for Erin, it would be too way sweet for her, and she liked sweet things.

" It's safe out here, really. Nothing wrong and a huge fruit grove to the left, with nothing but a beautiful lake to the right." Annie said, popping the last of her fruit into her mouth and chewing, then kneeling down at the lake and taking a drink and washing her face off. She felt a little grimy still.

Monica woke up a little more before she got the courage up to get out. Challenges she could take, but this was another thing completely. She wrote about being sent to other worlds, but they were usually ones she had read about in books or mangas and animes. She knew what was wrong with them and usually why she was there, mostly because she wrote the damn things! But this was different, this was new and bold and completely unfamiliar, and she had to admit that she was the littlest bit of scared. But when she finally did, Erin got out also, and instantly ran behind a bush.

" I knew she shouldn't have drank all the soda last night." Annie said with a look on her face that clearly stated that she had done the same thing, but they hadn't been awake to see.

" Whatever." Monica muttered as she scanned the place.

Annie had been correct in her description. A large fruit grove to the left, and Annie was at the lake, they had landed a few yards away from the banks of it. She looked at it closer, and saw that there was sand on the ground, and it stretched until there was nothing but blue in the distance, but land around it.

" It's an ocean, not a lake." Monica said as she kneeled by her younger friend and washed her face.

" A lake. Oceans and seas have salt water. I don't know if you could call it clear, but there's not salt in it." Annie said, and Monica looked again.

Sure enough, there was no salt or anything in the water. It looked as clear and clean as books described pure water to be, but this was no exaggeration. It was totally clear. Monica could see all the way down to the bottom, even a few feet away where the bottom did a steep drop about a few hundred feet. There was a coral reef looking thing, but not quite light enough to be coral. It was something else.

Suddenly, everything went dark, like night had fallen in the blink of an eye, but it passed as soon as it had come and when Monica looked up, a huge flying lizard passed over them with something in one of it's hands, a screaming struggling thing.

" Erin! It got Erin!" Annie screamed as she shot after it, waving her club in the air.

It was no use though, the dragon disappeared over the mountain as quickly as it had come, and there was no sign of its passing, except that Erin was gone.

" That... that... oh my god!" Annie didn't know what to say.

She was in a weird land that was not where she was supposed to be, her girlfriend had just been taken by a dragon, and she did not know what to do! She didn't even think there were dragons in California!

" Let's go for help." Monica said shakily.

" Where?" Annie snarled and turned around. " That thing under the water? The grove? There is no one around but us!"

Monica tried very hard not to loose her temper and yell at Annie, and she succeeded. " That castle."

Annie blinked at her dark haired friend and then looked at where she was pointing. Indeed, there was a castle in the lake now, a large and may turreted one, made of grey stone blocks and having many colorful flags waving from the turrets. There was one large wooden door in the front, and it opened, laying out a long and wide drawbridge to the shore.

" That wasn't there a minute ago." Annie said, dropping her club and running to the base, stopping and looking at Monica, then made a mad dash for the large entrance.

" What do you think you're doing?" Monica yelled, wondering what had gotten into her.

" Doing what you said! Going for help!" Annie yelled back, and Monica hurriedly followed suit.