I never quite expected that this world held so many strange surprises in it. There's nothing there that made me even think about reality… not after I entered that elevator. If I had the courage to look in hindsight, I would never have helped out my friend, the guy that just got the short end of a love triangle. I would never have pulled him here into the mall to comfort him, nor would I have brought my stubborn, old grandparents in tow with me because of their insane parental-like need to hover over me. No, I really would not have done any of that. But I love my friend. If he'd just looked at me instead of that blonde chick, Lucy, then none of this would ever have happened.
My grandfather has the odd habit of carrying around a long, thin blade with him almost every time he exits the house for more than a minute. So, being a short-fused grandfather, and being where we were, in a shopping mall, coupled all with the blade, and the fact that my friend likes to rhyme just about anything and everything that he says – let's just say that this already sounds like a bad combination to my ears.
Let's just add in a few more details. One of those is the fact that just after the elevator started moving upwards, some sort of power outage happened in the mall, isolating my friend, my grandparents, and me from the world. We'll add in one more thing – something that evidently won't make any sense at all – about a week ago, I was abducted by alien gnomes from the Sleventh Planet while watching some television on my couch. They took my couch, and injected some sort of "forget" serum into me, which obviously didn't work. It beats me why they kept the couch but tossed me back. How this relates to my elevator scenario is this – I can see things now that I didn't used to see. I blame that gunk that they threw into me. Really, what else was I supposed to blame the nonsense on?
It was the gremlins, these little blue buggers, that caused the outage, and I'm pretty sure I'd be willing to bet a shiny penny on it. They like to cause as much of an annoying trouble as possible. Stranding us here was more than likely part of their mischief. How was I going to explain that to my elevator buddies? The more logical answer outshone the truth by a thousand fold – there was no way I was going to say anything. We'd already had our own share of crazy and messed up events… But let's center on the elevator now, or more specifically, on the people inside of said elevator.
Grandmother and I were kind of huddled into a corner as Theodore (Ted) and Grandfather started talking, neon glowing sparks almost omnipresent in their "pleasant" conversation.
Some of the alien gnome spirits were floating around in the cramped little space, making me feel just a tad more than a little claustrophobic. I'm usually pretty okay with tight spaces, but I haven't been in one yet after having the stuff pumped into me. Wonder what else it did to me… I guess I'll find out eventually…
In any case, the air around my friend and grandfather was a little bit tense, and if I didn't stop it soon, would probably cause spontaneous combustion somewhere in the cramped little room.
Their conversation went like this…
"How do you know my granddaughter, boyo?" said my grandfather while poising his hand lightly on the green jade hilt of his sword. His delicate battle stance probably hadn't changed since the fifteen century… At any sort of wrong word, my grandfather would pull his sword from his sheath and unleash a fiery of fire and hell upon Ted.
An impish and undoubtedly foolish grin lay upon his face as he rhymed out an answer to my grandfather in a way that if I weren't there, would probably already be offering him a one way ticket to the vacation house in the Underworld. "Oh, to the lovely lady's grandfather, the tale that I tell about how I met your granddaughter, that shall stay, as the story of the average school's day." Somehow, throw some tights on the guy and give him a lute, he'd make the perfect bard in an online video game. Oh, how the wonders of this world never cease to amaze me.
"I see," said my grandfather with a cold, draconian face and tone. There was something in his voice that made him look… restrained and very tired. "And how well do you know my granddaughter?"
The craziness that ensued our lives after that response… it didn't even give Ted enough time to answer my grandfather with another annoying and wistful reply. The lights flickered on for a nanosecond, taunting us that the power was about to return. In that split second, I wedged myself between them. Come hell or high water, there was no way I was going to let my grandfather shred my best friend to pieces while I was alive.
Ted and I had been friends since we were little, we'd played at each other's houses, fought with each other on occasion, and pretended to be dating every time one of my friends asked to go on a double date with some guy that they liked. None of that really felt awkward to either of us, we'd usually just laugh it off afterwards anyways. But then, last year when my parents died and I started living with my grandparents on the other side of town, all of the fun and games stopped. We rarely saw each other because I had to transfer schools. That wasn't any fun. Still… we had email, secret codes, and rendezvous locations. He helped me through all of it – all of the crazy changes and monstrosity that is meeting and greeting new people. He helped me with all the pain.
That was probably when I fell in love with him… or at least realized my feelings if I'd had them before that.
My grandparents, once I started to live there, would barely let me out of their sight. They insisted on coming with me every time I went out outside of school, and ever day I was driven by my grandparent's special chauffeur dude because my grandparents can't drive anymore. But it doesn't end there, because either my grandparents are prejudice or racist or bitter or I don't even know what other possibilities there are, but there's got to be some more. They hate just about everyone outside of the family. All I really knew about that was the fact that my dad (their son) was related to my mom by being her cousin's half sister's brother's mother's great uncle's nephew. Basically what that means was that they were related by some sort of blood. Everyone born into the Rose Alistair family was related by blood… If I didn't want to insult my own family, I wouldn't say that we were inbreeding. That's how bad it is. Maybe that's why my grandparents don't want me to hang with guys outside of the family…
"Ted," I whispered behind me as I stood almost chest to chest with my grandfather. "Don't say anything, especially anything stupid."
My grandfather was undoubtedly distracted by my frightened, slightly frazzled grandmother, a person very much afraid of only one known thing: pulsing or flickering light. That included the lightning of a storm… and the bright flash of light that allowed me to slink into where I was standing at the moment.
When my grandmother's fretting ended, my stout grandfather figured out where I was standing, how close I was to both him and Ted. "Listen to me, child, get away from this buffoon of a boy before I pull you away."
I kept my eyes locked with his. I wasn't going to move. Not until his sword was safely sheathed… away from him and preferably in my own hands. Loving someone doesn't mean that you'll listen to anything they said. Common sense would tell anyone that. But, get real, how many people on this planet honestly listened to common sense? The answer to that would be not many. Half of me just wanted to be obstinate against my grandparents. The other half of me honestly wanted to have my grandfather listen to common sense – something that more and more people these days are lacking in large quantities… maybe it's got something to do with the packaged foods… or maybe all the MacDonald's in the first world.
In either case, the end results were still the same. "To heck with that, grandfather! I won't move, not until you and Ted stop fighting. I love the both of you, and I won't let either of you harm each other – not with words or swords. Besides, Ted's completely unarmed. That's not exactly a fair trial, now is it?"
My grandfather her-humped and then tried futilely to stare me down. "If he manages to defend himself as he is, then I would have no problems with him. But I don't think he can. I won't let some tough-boy ruffian near my precious son's child so callously. Especially when he's really a weakling. Your father would not have approved of me if I ever let that happen to you."
Something about what he said in that short span of fifty eight words made me want to rip him out of this elevator scene. "Some how, I can already tell that by the end of the next page, we'll have settled the argument one way or another."
Everyone seemed confused about what I just said. Was I really the only one to notice that everything I thought and everything I was seeing was being recorded into a book for the alien gnomes' pleasure reading? The answer to that, based on everyone's looks was a definite YES.
Grandfather drew his sword, the polished blade gleaming delicately in the faint blue and red lights cast off by the elevator's emergency-brightened buttons. Behind me, I could practically hear the blood drain out of Ted's face at the sight of a weapon – the guy couldn't even play online MMORPG stuff with any sort of weapons in it. It was like an Achilles' heel to Ted. At first when I found out about it, I burst out laughing. This time, however, I was far from the joking humour I was in at that time. My grandfather raised the sword to be above his head, but when he took a step forwards and I didn't move, he probably started to have second thoughts.
Ted pushed me out of the way, not realizing that my grandfather was hesitating on the attack only because I was there, and that the space was too narrow to swing wide around me and aim solely at Ted. But now that I was on the ground, it made it a lot easier for Ted to taste the steel edge of the blade. It came down divinely, the way one would imagine a god to bring down its judging hammer. If I didn't notice Pokey, one of the spirit gnomes, in my peripheral vision, I would have closed my eyes in horror that Ted was going to face an early end to his life. In the instant that the blade would have touched Ted, Pokey sent something flying through the air, slipping deviously into the tight space left. Pokey's card almost made me laugh at the irony of its name – it was a Joker, one that happened to hold a diamond in its hand the way you would imagine a magician holding up a potion.
Upon impact with the Diamond Joker card, the blade shattered into a thousand pieces as though it were only made of glass, not steel. The debris falling sparkled like snow falling even with the sun shining brightly in the sky – it twinkled in a beautiful way, tiny emissions of pale blue light in a black world.
Everyone was sort of motionless, stunned into blank stares and unmoving forms. Even I was that way, and that was after already being privy to some of the knowledge of the events forthcoming. I knew that Pokey held a pretty good game of Poker, hence the name Pokey. If he ever tried, I'm sure that he would have been able to beat most of the world Poker champions blindfolded. I would have patted his little mint green head if I was able to move.
Okay, so it wasn't that Ted could hold his own in a battle where he was at the disadvantage of having a weapon. Ted was just lucky enough to come across a guardian poker playing minty green ghost gnome.
When things started to move again, my grandfather threw the hilt of his shattered blade to the ground and pushed Ted up against a wall. "Okay, boyo – tell me what sort of sorcery you've just cast to make my blade smash like that! Tell me how you've seduced the blood of the Rose Alistair family so thoroughly."
Getting up off the ground and scooping Pokey onto my shoulder I sighed. This would probably be the worst time for me to confess my love for Ted. So, that left only one option – the other half of the truth. The part that it had nothing to do with Ted that magical possibilities were floating around… unless he was abducted by the alien gnomes too… then he might have something to do with it as well, but he wasn't letting on about knowing anything about their existence. More than likely, it was safe to assume that I was "the chosen one" in the story, otherwise what purpose would the alien gnomes have with my worn out, old, and slightly under-stuffed couch? Thank goodness no one noticed its disappearing act, or I'd have more questions to answer than I had logical answers for. How many humans would believe that tree green alien gnomes stole my couch after abducting me while I was sprawled across it, minding my own business and watching some television? A nearly correct answer would be a nice round one, with no bumps or cusps anywhere.
"Grandfather! All of this is uncalled for! Ted's done nothing! He's just a normal person. Can't you see that?" I said. Now was going to be the fun part. "It's been me this whole time that had the magic. I was the cause of the blade shattering," I guess that equalled a truth… I really was the cause because if I weren't here, then the spirit gnomes wouldn't be having anything to do with me. "I want to protect him. Teddy's been my friend for so long, and he really doesn't need to be attacked by a sword to prove his worth or anything – it's not like we're dating right now or anything."
Before he could reply to my sudden confession of powerful magic (partially falsified if you chose to look THAT deeply into it), the cerulean blue gremlin buggers had done another prank on their elevator guests de jour. I could tell because they were snickering, their blue colouring only making them look menacing and eerie in the blue-red lights of the emergency control buttons.
And then the floor slipped away… I guess it was more of a "disintegrated away" because one minute it was there, and the next minute it felt paper thin. Suddenly we were falling through the ground; headed downwards to I don't even know where we were going. But whatever it was, we were falling for at least a minute before even more craziness appeared.
Pokey's good friend Tinker Bob (do not get the little mint green dude confused with Tinker Bell because they look nothing alike) pulled out some sort of bazooka thing as we fell, seemingly out of his pocket even though logic would have told just about anyone that there was no freaking way a three foot bazooka would fit into a gnome's pocket. On the side it had the words "Portal Maker 5000" embossed in so that one could read it. The whole object was the colour of unrefined metallic wheat and albeit looked pretty darn heavy. Tinker Bob launched the bazooka and a sort of "POWIE" was what the noise sounded like as it left the launcher.
Tinker Bob liked to, for lack of a better word, tinker with things, especially machines so that they would have different functions than the original machines. Tinker Bob would then patent the new machine as his own with a nice new name. Some of his inventions were useful, and others were like an electric toaster iron… not exactly a good combo. He wore minty green overalls, the exact same tint as his skin. At first sight, anyone would probably think that Tinker Bob looked like the average living garden gnome, complete with a grizzled mint green beard, glasses, and slightly pointed hat.
Below us, a great big pool of light formed approximately a hundred feet down when the projectile bounded off the four walls that made up the tunnel we were falling down. If, two months ago, my friends told me that my life was going to take a twist for the crazy, I'd probably never have believed them. I'd have said that they were adlibbing something together instead of fortune telling. I'm sure that Ted doesn't really believe any of this. Even I don't. My grandparents both looked a little frazzled. But just think about it – I used to be a mild-mannered teenage girl. That was only a week ago. Still! Who in the right mind would think that things changed that fast and that drastically?
My name is Sally Ann Rose Alistair. I'm sixteen years old and have a crush on my best friend, Theodore Cole Brown. And, right about now, that's all I'm completely sure of in this whole entire universe. I don't even know if I'm a human, if I'm mortal, or if I'm destined for some sort of greatness that all novel "Chosen Ones" are supposed to have eventually. I'm just the main character of a forest green alien gnome's pleasure novel. I'm not even quite sure how I know that. It must be the author's fault! Stupid gnomes! None of this would have happened if I hadn't chosen to watch TV after finishing my homework that day. Or if Ted decided not to chase after a girl that was obviously not going to love him back that same way, this mess could've been avoided as well – we'd never have been at the mall, hence we'd never have gone into that mall elevator. The blackout with us stuck in there would never have happened. He should've just fallen in love with me, told me a week ago. But all we have now is to deal with the future.