It was a cloudy, rainy day in the little town of Sandine, but then, it was always cloudy and rainy in Sandine. For some unexplainable reason, it always rained but never flooded. Just one of those mysteries of life, I suppose. The one part of town that stood out the most was the one and only school. Every kid in town went there and even some kids from out of town came to attend. Classrooms teemed with life as the teachers taught their lessons and quite a few of the children were lost in daydreams, One boy in particular could be found doing just that as his teacher, a small, slim woman of about thirty years of age, went on about some civil war of some country he couldn't pronounce the name to. Her name, as the kids called her, was Miss Ammon.
The boy in particular was named Christoff Peren. He was one of those kids that everybody picked on and made fun of. He was slight of build, a skinny little kid of about five and a half feet tall with hazel eyes and unruly brown hair. He wished at that moment to be anywhere else but there. He would have liked to have been in one of the books he was always reading so often in the library; running off to go on grand adventures, rescuing pretty women, or even living in peace without the fear of people harassing him. The more he thought about the books, the more he slipped into a stupor. Images of places he had never been flashed through his head until a voice cut sharply through them like a knife through butter, shattering the images to pieces.
"CHRIS!!!" Miss Ammon snapped. "That's the fourth time I had to call your name. You know you shouldn't be sleeping in class. Now please tell the class who took over Shadow City after Elge disappeared."
"I'm sorry, ma'am," Chris replied. "But I don't know."
"So, Mister Peren, I suppose I am to assume that not only were you sleeping in class again, but that you've been neglecting to do your homework as well?"
"We had homework?"
"That's it, young man, I am going to place a call to your parents tonight to inform them that you're not doing well in class, that you won't do your homework and that you like to sleep during my lessons."
"NO!" Chris exclaimed. "I can tell them!"
"I sincerely doubt that you will. Now sit down or I'll give you after school detention as well. Oh, and crack open your book for a change and join the class on page 74."
Chris sat down in his chair and opened his book with the laughter of the class ringing in his ears. Miss Ammon wrote something down on a notepad before returning to her lesson. "Most likely a reminder to call my parents tonight," Chris thought. He groaned inside at the thought. A call from school would mean another beating along with more chores. He hated his parental units even though he knew that he shouldn't. They did give birth to him and provided a roof over his head and food in his stomach. That's what he called them: Parental Units. He had started calling them that when he was eight, which was six years ago. They just weren't parents to him. The parents in the books he read would never beat their children or treat them badly. They were loving and caring and while they enforced the rules, they certainly didn't beat their children or yell and scream and curse at them. His parents both drank heavily, usually all day long. His mother made him do all the chores and was always nitpicking every little thing he did while his father, who was usually pissed off from work and alcohol, would do the beatings. Though he did feel somewhat better that his father didn't just beat him, he beat his wife too.
Chris knew he was better than they were. He didn't yell or belittle people like they did; he had better morals and values. The sad part was that he had to learn those morals and values from the books he read. He knew he had had homework the night before and he knew he could have done it if he tried. It just bored him to do it. It was just too easy and too slow-paced for him. The bell rang for class to end for the day, bringing Chris back to the present. He closed his book and packed his things away into his backpack. As he made his way out of the classroom and down the hall toward the busses, his bully came out from behind a set of lockers and made his way to him. Chris tried walking faster to get around him, but it was useless because the bully stopped him anyway.
"Hey twerp," The bully said as he grabbed Chris' shirt. "Ready for your ass-whuppin'? I'll teach ya to give the teacher a hard time."
"Is there a way we can settle our differences that won't involve in me getting my face pounded in?" Chris asked hopefully, getting punched in the face for his efforts. He could hear the crunch as his nose broke and blood came gushing out onto his clothes and the floor.
"None of that smart talk, ya hear? If you were as smart as you sounded, you'd be doing better in class."
"Hell my dad hits me harder than that anyway, so do your worst," Chris retorted, getting socked twice in the stomach for his efforts at reverse psychology.
"I keep telling ya, that smart shit don't work on me, egghead. My mother's a psychologist and she's tried all that on me before." He hit Chris a few more times in the face and let go of his hold on his shirt. Chris fell to the ground where the bully aimed a few well-placed kicks to his kidneys and then laughed as he walked off to catch his bus.
Chris waited a few minutes for the pain to subside and then picked himself up off the ground. Looking through his good eye, he saw the busses start taking off.
"Shit!" He cursed. "Now I'm going to get it double for being late!"
He started walking down the road toward his house, which was about a mile away, knowing that if he called for a ride that it would be ten times worse than it already was when he got home. He spat out some blood onto the sidewalk and rubbed his left kidney as he walked. From the way his face was feeling, he had a black eye, maybe two to compliment his broken nose. One of them was almost swollen shut and then he still had his nose to contend with. That hurt the most at the moment, though the rain felt good as it washed the blood off his face. Chris tried not to think about how bad his dad was going to beat him when he got home. Not only was his teacher going to call home, but he was late as well. His dad wouldn't even care that he had already gotten beat up, he would just say that he had had it coming. Not that his parental units cared how he was doing in school, it would just be one more reason to crack down on him.
As he cleared the hill separating him from the trailer park he lived in, he saw flashing red and blue lights. As he crested the hill, he noticed they were coming from in front of his house. Hope filled him as he made his way down the hill; hope that his mom had finally had the guts to call the police to report getting beat by his dad. He would deal with the extra chores if it meant that his dad would be gone for a while, if not forever. Then he saw the smoke rising from the lot and noticed for the first time that the trailer had been burnt completely to the ground. He walked a little bit further and saw the police cars and fire trucks along with a few ambulances parked out on the road. A policeman saw him walking up to the house and came toward him.
"Do you live here, son?"
"Yeah, I do. What happened?"
"We really can't say for sure, but it appears that your dad fell asleep on the couch with a lit cigarette in his hand and that started the fire. I don't know quite how to say this, so I'll say it the only way I know how. Your parents are dead, kid."
Movement coming from the house caught Chris' attention and he turned his head in time to see a stretcher being rolled out of the trailer, shortly followed by another.
"Where will I go?" he asked as he turned back to face the cop.
"With your uncle."
"My uncle," Chris asked. His parental units had never mentioned an uncle to him before.
"Yes. He's the one who called 911. He had been coming to visit and saw the trailer burning when he arrived. It seems none of the neighbors even bothered to call," the cop said with contempt."
"Where's my uncle at?"
"He went around back with the fire marshal to see the extent of the damage. Ah, there he is now," the cop said, looking behind Chris.
Chris whirled around and saw his uncle for the first time. He was short, about Chris' height, with crimson red hair and piercing green eyes. He wore a three-piece seersucker suit and was just a tad bit overweight. The suit impressed Chris, but not as much as his next action: He came up and grabbed him and embraced him in a bear hug. When he was released, Chris looked into the smiling face of his uncle.
"You're just how I imagined you to be. Everything is squared away with the police, so if you don't have anywhere else to go, you can come stay with me."
"You're for real, aren't you?" Chris asked. "You actually want me to go live with you?"
"It would be my honor."
"I would love to, uncle..." Chris trailed off in search of a name.
"Samuel, lad, just Samuel. No need to call me uncle."
"All right then, Samuel it is. Do you have a car?"
"Right around the corner, there." Samuel replied, pointing toward the side of the house.
They walked around the corner and there sat the strangest car that Chris had ever seen. It looked as if it might have been a carriage in a past life. It was green with red trim, suiting Samuel's hair and eyes perfectly. When they got in, Chris noticed there were no seatbelts and he could have sworn it sounded like a horse when Samuel started it up. They drove in silence for a few miles and then Samuel spoke up.
"I'm not really your uncle."
"What?" Chris asked, staring at him.
"The truth, Chris, and this will be hard to believe, but it is true, is that I came from another world than the one we are in now. I came to bring you back to that world."
"What, you expect me to believe that?"
"Not only do I expect you to believe it; I also expect you to believe that you are from that world too and that the people you thought were your parents are not your parents."
"Yeah, I'll admit that when I was younger I hoped that I wasn't their kid and that I had another family somewhere else, but a whole other world? Come on, stop playing around."
"I'm completely serious, Chris. You're true parents were the King and Queen of Peren, the world we're from."
"Ha, ha, You know, the least you could do when telling a whopper is at least make up a name that's believable. That's my last name."
"Will you please let me finish?" Samuel asked politely. Chris rolled his eyes as if to say 'fine, hurry it up.' "As I said, your parent were the King and Queen. That is, up until a foul beast named Demitrius showed up. From what world he came from, we don't know, but he had usurped the throne right out from under their noses before anybody even knew what was happening. Somehow, you ended up here. Nobody knows how or why, because the only people that know the truth of it all are your parents, and possibly Demitrius."
"You can definitely spin a good yarn when you want to, but I'll bite; what happened to my parents, then? Were they killed?"
"No, they were locked up in the dungeon of the Keep because Demitrius couldn't manage to kill them off, only trap them. And this is no made up story. In fact, I'll have proof in about...3...2...1..."
All of a sudden, Chris saw a shimmering in the air around him and then there was a sudden lurching that made him close his eyes. When he opened them again, he saw that the car had been turned into a Green and red carriage, drawn by two beautiful silver stallions, and then Chris began to believe in fairy tales.
"What do you mean, he couldn't manage to kill them? Why not?"
"Everybody in Peren has magical powers, some stronger than others. Your parents had the strongest in the land and together they were unbeatable, until Demitrius came along and tricked them. Yours are even stronger than both your parents combined, but Demitrius has gained a lot of power since he took over."
Chris was about to ask how to work his powers when their conversation was cut short by a growing awareness in his mind of being watched. A presence strove to look into his mind and then, as quickly as it had come, it was gone. The sky above darkened and lightning flew down to earth through a ring of clouds that was forming, Chris watched as the clouds swirled together and formed a giant face.
"So, you've brought the boy to Peren, have you Samuel?" the face boomed in a gaseous voice.
"Yes, Demitrius, I have."
"Very well, bring him to the palace." And with that, the face dissipated into nothingness with a final clap of thunder. The sky lightened up and went back to its natural shade of greenish-blue.
"You...tricked me?" Chris asked, very much confused.
"No, Chris, I didn't. Just listen. Let me explain..."
"No! Go to hell, Samuel," Chris interrupted. "You know what? I'm sick and tired of people...pissing...and...shitting on me and....being....LIED TO!!!!"
"NOOOOO!!!!! DON'T!!" Samuel screamed out and then fell to the ground as blood poured out of his nose and eyes. Pressure dissipated that had been building up and Chris looked down at the lifeless corpse of Samuel and fell to his knees, vomiting.
"...What have I done..?" he asked. "WHAT HAVE I DONE!?"
He began to cry and as he cried, rain began to pour down from the sky and washed away the blood from around Samuel's body. After a while, Chris stopped crying and the rain stopped with it, bringing to face the realization that he had caused it to rain somehow.
"What am I?" He asked the air. "What am I going to do?"
"Stay right where you are," came a voice from behind. "Don't move a muscle."