[A/N: My first fic, so please be nice and don't forget to REVIEW! Thanks and enjoy!]
Ashley and her best friend, Chris, stood in front of the arched passage, taking on the graceful green plants climbing up it and tiny flower buds. What was such a beautiful structure doing in this abandoned garden? Unlike the surrounding plants, this passage was alive and bright and peaceful. It beckoned to them, urging them to go in. It looked so welcoming, Ashley and Chris stepped closer to it. They took another hesitant step. Chris stopped, turning to face Ashley.
"Are you sure we should do this? Old Mr. Johnson would kill us if he found us in his precious garden." Chris asked.
"Nah, we could outrun him anyday," Ashley replied, waving her hand.
Chris laughed. "Yeah," he agreed, grinning.
"So let's go,"
"Of course, where else?"
"Just-never mind. Let's go."
Ashley gave her friend a weird look then headed for the passage. Chris nervously followed her. Now both standing a millimeter into the passage, Chris said, "Something's not right. I feel...tingly,odd. We shouldn't go in."
"Yeah right. And fairies are everywhere...c'mon, Chris, don't be a baby."
"I'm serious, Ash. This isn't a good idea."
"What are you scared of?"
"I don't know. But I do know that we shouldn't go through this passage."
"Gee, Chris, what's the worst that could happen? It's a passage, not a cemetery."
Chris sighed, giving up. "You're right. I'm just being paranoid."
Ashley smiled at her best friend.
Without another word, the pair walked through the passage. As they came to the other end, Ashley and Chris couldn't believe their eyes. It was as if they had traveled to another world. Before them stood the most beautiful gazebo they had ever seen. It was painted with elegant cloud designs and had a golden Chinese-style roof. There was a path leading up to it, with spiraling pines along the sides. It was the most amazing sight.
"Come on," Ashley said, grabbing her friend's wrist and tugging him down the path.
"Please..." Ashley fluttered her eyelashes and gave him "the look".
Chris sighed. "Fine,"
"Thanks, Chris. You're the best!"
They raced up to the gazebo. As Chris ran into it, only inches ahead of Ashley, steel walls slammed him in. He was trapped. "What the-?" he exclaimed. "Ashley, get me out of here!"
"Chris? But how-"
"Doesn't matter, just get me out!"
Ashley banged on the walls. She kicked and thrashed at them. She used every ounce of strength in her to try and help her best friend. But no matter how hard she tried and tried, the wall would not let her in. Just as she was about to give up, a boy appeared in front of her. He had wavy dark hair and black eyes. He looked like Chris' evil twin.
"I am Adrian, meaning 'dark one'. And yes, I am indeed Chris' evil twin." he said.
"What? How did you know what I was thinking?" Ashley asked.
"I have my ways, Ashley. I've been watching you."
"How do you know-"
"Come with me, Ashley. Leave this fraud, I'm the one you want."
"No! I don't even know you!"
Ashley pulled away from Adrian. Sure he was cute, but he was no Chris replacement. Chris had been with her since first grade. Now they were in seventh. She couldn't leave him like this. Not even for his twin...evil twin, actually. She never had to chose between boys. She knew many liked her-she was pretty with long brown hair, green eyes, and rosy cheeks-but only few had actually tried to hook up with her, and they all did it one at a time. How could she choose now?
"Listen, Adrian, Chris is my best friend and I won't leave him. You can stay around all you want, but I'm not gonna change my mind." Ashley finally told him.
Adrian's face turned red with rage. "Fine. Then join him!" His hand began to glow, and Ashley felt herself being pushed backwards through the wall and into the gazebo.
Ashley steadied herself, trying to understand what Adrian had just meant. She had chosen Chris over him. Of course she would. But why had he been so angry? It's not like she knew him or anything. Adrian's voice filled the gazebo. "Why? Why? All my life I have grown with Chris and helped him when he was lonely or bored. But what do I get in return? Abandoned for a girl, then completely forgotten and even denied of my existence. And for that you shall pay, Chris. Ashley will be mine...forever."
"What's he talking about? Is it true?" Ashley glanced over at Chris.
He stared at the ground, blond curls covering his expression. "Yes. I didn't tell you because I knew you'd think I was crazy. Or just plain out wouldn't believe me."
"Sure, Chris, but you did tell her everything else." Adrian sneered.
"You didn't tell me because you thought I'd laugh in your face? Chris, I'd never do that! At least have some more faith in me." Ashley said, ignoring Adrian's comment.
"You're right. I'm sorry." Chris looked up, blue eyes gleaming with a thin layer of tears.
"I forgive you,"Ashley replied, hugging him.
Adrian's voice filled the gazebo again. "You might forgive him, but I don't. Ashley comes with me or you die in here. With Ashley having the great pleasure of watching. So which is it?"
"Isn't there anything else we could do?" Ashley pleaded.
"You're in my world. I set the rules. And my rules are simple: Ashley can come with me forever and Chris can go, or you both can die in here." Adrian answered.
Ashley sighed, saying, "I'll go with you if that means Chris will survive. Let him go and I'll come with you."
"Ashley, are you sure about this?" Chris asks, giving her a concerned look.
"Yes. I have made my choice."
"Very good choice, Ashley." Adrian's voice filled the gazebo once again.
Then after he had spoken those words, the steel walls lowered. When they touched the ground, they disappeared, just sank into the ground like they were never there. Adrian stood at the entrance, smiling at Ashley. He took her hand in his and motioned for Chris to leave. Chris mouthed,"I'm sorry" to Ashley and headed to the passage. With one last painful look back at his friend who was willing to give up her freedom for his, he walked through it without looking back.
Chris lay in bed next to his sleeping wife, Gloria Summers, unable to think. It was that exact day twenty years ago that he had lost his best friend because of his evil twin. But Chris knew Adrian wasn't done. He would also come for Gloria. He would not stop until every last person Chris cared about was gone. Chris had already lost Ashley. He wasn't about to lose Gloria, too.
Chris ran his fingers through his wife's smooth red hair, feeling her breathe steadily and silently. He smiled to himself. She wouldn't leave him, ever. He would make sure of that. Slowly, he also drifted to sleep.
Chris was back at the gazebo. Ashley and Adrian were standing there, waiting for him. Gloria was with them, crying for help. Chris ran up to her, giving her a tight hug. "Let her go," he said.
Adrian grinned. "You wish."
Ashley shook her head. "Traitor."
Chris couldn't believe his ears. His best friend never called him that. "Ashley, what's gotten into you? You're my best friend!"
"I was your best friend. Before you abandoned me here without even trying to rescue me. Not that I needed rescuing. Adrian has been an amazing husband. Much better than you ever could be."
Ashley's bitter words slapped Chris like a whip. He didn't even recognize his best friend anymore. She was scowling at him with such distaste in her eyes that Chris couldn't tell it was still kind, gentle Ashley without her unmistakable long auburn hair and bright green eyes.
"Let Gloria go. She has nothing to do with this." Chris repeated.
"But she does, dear brother. You love her, and she matters to you. As Ashley had." Adrian replied.
"Brother?" Gloria gasped.
"Evil twin brother, more like." Chris muttered. "And Ashley still matters to me. She always has."
Chris looked into his friend's eyes for sympathy, but only saw cold bitterness in them as she said, "It's too late to try and make up for a long made mistake. I know that now, thanks to Adrian."
"Gloria will come with us." Adrian said, and with a blinding flash, all three of them were gone. Chris was standing in the gazebo. Alone.
Chris woke up, relieved that it was only a dream. He felt the spot beside him and his heart stopped. It was empty. He scrambled up. Sure enough, Gloria was gone. Chris felt the spot where she had lain. It was still warm...