CHAPTER ONE: NO SOUP FOR YOU!

Liz walked into the back of Saromi's Hibachi as if she owned the place.

She waltzed past Gregor the owner, and Eddie, who almost started a fire on the grill when he saw her.

"Where is he?", she asked them, arms on her hips as she staring at the dimly lit kitchen in pure disgust.

"Hmm," was all she got, and was going to from Gregor the Hunchback Hungarian Hippo.

"Eddie, where is he, please?"

"Hey my love. On break, but if you...", he moved to follow her, but immediately was smacked on the hand with a metal spatula by Gregor.

" Ow! Alright alright I'm cooking I'm cooking!"

Liz walked out to the front, but didn't see him. Kicking a pile of boxes towards the wall as she walked across the wet floor to the office.

The 'he' that she was looking for was no other than her best friend, Kel. She shook her head as soon as she spotted him. Like a spider a bout to pounce, he was squatting in a child-sized small wooden chair, about to stuff his face. As she approached the tiny hole in the wall that doubled as the break-room, she watched Kel in pure awe. Somehow, surrounded by piles and piles of papers tiny dingy office, he had managed to get an entire PlayStation setup connected to Gregor's ancient setup. And as long as Kel was gaming, or eating (give or take a few things Liz just wouldn't acknowledge for her own sanity) then he was happy.

She stood watching him for a minute, as he was staring at the computer, yelling, "That is the stupidest fucking shit I've ever heard. The MK3 is so much better than...


On the verge of a literal breakdown, Liz stared at the screen, daydreaming. She had gotten caught up after coding, writing a new story. Then she got distracted looking up Mk3's, something she'd read about in one of Kel's newest stories.

She was working on a short parody-paralell of Kel's newest story, with a first chapter paying homage to Seinfeld's "No Soup for You" episode. She should have been focusing on how her character would spill Kel's bowl of soup. Instead, she was searching machine guns. This was always the problem. She couldn't finish a story to save her life for her distractions and procrastination, and it was killing her.

She was supposed to be happy. She was a married adult, living a married adult life. Her best friend was also experiencing those joys, of love, romance, kids, etc. But truthfully, it was killing her. And surprisingly, not because she was still in love with him, but because he shut her out.

For an epic friendship that would continue past all time, it was a though he'd forgot about her, unless she was going through something. So, instead of being the friend that ran away from crisis, he ran towards one and helped her fix the pieces. And because she hated to only contact him when she was going through something the more that she grew up, the more she didn't.

Yet, she was driving herself crazy. She'd been to literal hell and back and shut him out of it, giving him a half-ass hint of it over the past two years. But, in the past week, she'd been on the verge of divorce again for the umpteenth time, and in the past 24 hours both she and her youngest child had been shot at. She worked at a dead end job, and her literal survival was based off a rock relationship with her mother.

Meanwhile, she just hoped he was happy. She didn't want to be the bearer of bad and only bad news, or create drama in his new love life. So, she let life kick her ass and her heart.

She'd bust out into tears several times a day, whenever she was alone, with no real or clear understanding of why. In all honesty, her life was a wreck.

And no one had a clue.

Everyone thought she was so strong. Her mom raised her to be nothing but. As wife and mother her kids saw her as a queen, and her husband didn't accept anything short of perfect. And even her distant best friend, saw her as stronger than she felt she was capable of being, as he was reduced to writing stories of a life that they both wished could be was more than it ever would. And though she loved reading about the strong, resilient version of herself, the stories were fewer and farther between, and it was more than she could really bear.

As her thoughts raced at two in the morning, she accepted the fact that tonight wouldn't be the one where she'd finish a story. She saved the work, making it another story clogging up the new terabyte of cloud space on her phone.

Not feeling like coding and realizing that sleep was just not happening, decided to read. She wasn't feeling the usual Anne Rice bedtime story, so she began going through the other tabs in the browser again.

The titles jumped out at her:

CURE DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY NATURALLY

ARE YOU ADD/ADHD OR IS IT YOUR THYROID

FEEL BETTER NOW AND GET SOME SLEEP

She blinked for a moment, thinking she was either seeing things, or just didn't remember searching the last one. She knew she needed sleep, having only about 4 more hours to get some more sleep, so she clicked on the one about sleep.

A blinding rainbow-esque light emanated from her screen, and she was all of a sudden in a white room, surrounded by large white tiles. She looked at the ceiling and saw the tiles there as well.

"What... the ... fuck?"

"What the fuck indeed!" A short hooded figure appeared a few feet in front of her, donned in black.

"I'm sleeping now, right?" Liz asked.

"Of course not. I brought you here." said the hooded figure, matter-of-factly.

"And here.. is where exactly?"

"To the Transdimensional Abyss"

"Transdimensional? As in there is more than one dimension? Or as in I have time traveled or something?"

"You're highly intelligent. You know the answer is..."

"Both." Liz started pacing the room. She mindlessly ran her fingers over the wall, but gasped as her fingers went through.

"Don't touch. I can't hold this room together for long. And don't ask questions. Our time is running out."

"Where am I? What do you mean hold the room together, and who or what..."

"I am Oracle. Don't ask questions. And we don't have time for this."

"So what do we have time for exactly. Oracle. Like Sasha..."

"I am whatever you know me to be. You are here, on the abyss, and already know you're path."

"What? How could I know my path, when I don't even know how I got here. And you can't be who I think you are, because she isn't real. At least not like this. She is a..."

"I am who I am. Just as you know me to be. Now, we have about a minute. You are to..."

"A minute until what?"

"Fuck! Liz. I am an Oracle. You are here find yourself. You are on a quest. You're needed to save the world You sucked up so much of our time with all these questions. You are to find the Void. Here. take this" she waived her hand, and a white pillar appeared in the tile in front of me. On the pillar was a silver ring with an obsidian stone in the middle.

"Thanks? I guess. And the void...what's that?" Liz asked, while the Oracle simply held up a what might have been a hand under her robe.

"You're welcome. 45 seconds. Okay, well this ring will allow you to search the realms for the clues you'll need to enter the Void. No one, not even me know's where the void lies, however the ring show you the way. I will come to you in this form again, only if you stray from your path."

"How will I know if I'm on the right path?"

"Because you'll see me if you aren't. All outcomes will be whatever they are willed to be. "

"Sooooooo..., out of the cryptic mess I am supposed to do what!?"

"Help the world be saved from the chasm that is within the Void." She waived her arms and behind her the wall transformed into a countdown clock, with 10 seconds on the wall. 9...8...7...6...

"Seriously, I am to I am to save the universe or whatever and you tell me nothing useful, not even how to use this fucking ring?"

She didn't answer. She pulled back her hood to reveal large dark eyes. As she waived her hand from under her hood, she revealed one pale white finger, and pointed to Liz's third eye, immediately knocking her out, while whispering two words:

Find Kel