A Moment Between Worlds
By Violet Day
Date: December 29, 2017
Ch. 55

She poured him a bowl of cheerios and watched him chew at it with an intent look on his face. His face was slender. It almost looked fragile.
“I’m going to go pack a bag,” she said, trying to quell the quickened heartbeat she began to experience.
She pulled a backpack out of her closet and set it on her bed. She took a deep breath.
Yeah, she had known she thought Amien was beautiful. But she didn’t expect to actually, honest to god, start to get butterflies for him. Whether or not he was actually a sorcerer from another world or a crazy lunatic, this wasn’t going anywhere.
Tessa shut her eyes and took a deep breath until the butterflies went away. When she opened her eyes she started throwing things into her bag that she might need.
First came the clothes: a few pairs of jeans, some t-shirts, a sweatshirt (she put this on, not in the bag), and plenty of underwear and socks. That filled up almost the entire backpack. She stuffed a little bag with her toothbrush, mascara, and sunscreen into the space left at the top. Then, thinking twice, she also put in the first aid kit that she kept in her bathroom cabinet and never used. It was compact enough.
As she zipped up the backpack and walked out of her room she saw her purse. Should she bring any type of ID? Cash? Probably not. She started to leave the room again but then remembered the little bottle of pepper spray she kept in her purse.
She took it out of its special pocket and put it in the small front pocket of the backpack. It made her feel a little safer.
When she came back into the living room, she could see Amien pouring himself another bowl of cereal in the kitchen. So he liked Cheerios. She made a mental note of it, but wasn’t quite sure why.
“Amien,” she called. “Come in here.”
He started.
“You can take the cereal with you,” she said, smiling.
He came out, balancing the bowl in his hand, trying to keep the milk inside the edges. He had made himself a large second serving.
“When you’re done with that,” Tessa said, “I’m ready to go.”
He took a big bite. “I’ll be glad to return to my kingdom,” he said after swallowing. “This world disorients me terribly.”
Tessa laughed a little. “Me too.” She tried not to watch his face as he ate his cereal. “Do you have showers in your world?”
Amien tilted his head. “Showers? In the spring, I suppose, but the word is not so often used.”
“Okay,” Tessa said. “You don’t have showers. How do you bathe?”
“In the palace we have baths, but the common folk use water from a well if necessary. Why do you ask?”
“Just wondering if I should bring shampoo or not.” The vocabulary clearly went over Amien’s head. “I guess we won’t be doing much living, anyhow. We’re going to… What are we going to do again?”
Amien sipped the last drop of milk from the bowl before he put it down on the coffee table. “We are going to overthrow the corrupt man who controls good King Mathus.”
“And how are we going to do that? And how can I help?” Tessa didn’t really need answers to these questions. Just the chance to maybe, just maybe see another world was enough. She didn’t need any other reason than that.
“If I have even one more supporter –and another head with which to come up with ideas –overthrowing the corrupt one will be easier.”
“That makes sense.”
There was silence for a moment. A car drove by, but they couldn’t see it.
“So,” Tessa said. “How does this work?” This was the moment. This was when she would know whether or not to call the police.
Amien took her hands. She took a sharp intake of breath. His skin was soft and warm, warmer than the cool colors of his eyes and hair. “It is very simple, at least for you. Just hold onto my hands and focus all of your energy into this moment. Shut your eyes.”
“O –okay.” Tessa gripped his hands tighter in her own. She shut her eyes. She suddenly imagined that it would go wrong; that she would end up with her limbs in different worlds or that Amien was about to pull out a gun and rob her.
Somewhere in the midst of her worries, she noticed something different about her surroundings. She could still feel the weight of her backpack pulling down on her shoulders, and she could still feel Amien’s hands in her own, but everything else had changed. She felt warmer. There was less light. The ground beneath her felt softer. She smelled something earthy and fresh.
“You can open your eyes now,” Amien said. “We are in my world.” And then his hands fell from hers, and she heard him fall to the ground.

She barely had time to look at her amazing surroundings as she knelt beside Amien.
He propped himself up on one elbow, his eyes glazed. “I’m… I’m alright. That… took my remaining energy.”
Sure that he was okay, Tessa let her backpack fall to the ground and stood up again so she could take in her surroundings.
They were in a forest, a mature forest with trees of stupendous height that let in only a dapple of warm, golden sunlight. The floor of the forest was covered in a rich green moss that gave way when Tessa took a step. The colors were more vibrant than anything she had seen on earth.
A group of little orbs of light played at the edge of her vision. She turned to take a look at them and they darted away through the trees.
“What are those?” she asked quietly.
Amien pushed himself up, though he looked paler than before and tottered a little as he stood. “Forest sprites. You don’t want to get too near to them, though it is unlikely that the creatures would let you.”
“Oh.” Tessa blinked. She took a deep breath, feeling the reality of the fresh air in her lungs. “This is amazing.”
Amien shrugged. “It is a typical forest.”
“No, no.” Tessa turned to Amien, grinning. “This is amazing. You actually did it. This is real. You brought me to another world.”
He smiled a little, his pale cheeks almost regaining color. “I did not know you would be so overjoyed by the experience, but I am happy to see so.”
“Overjoyed?” Tessa said. “Yeah, I guess I am overjoyed.” She laughed, almost for no reason. “I haven’t felt this excited in ages.” She knelt by a clump of large orange flowers growing at the base of a tree, marveling at the complexity of their odd, tear-drop shaped petals. “Are we anywhere near where you wanted us to end up?”
“Reasonably so,” she heard Amien say behind her.
Tessa stood. “How long will it take us to get to the castle?” Just the word excited Tessa. She had never seen a castle in real life, only in movies and pictures of her parents’ travels to Europe.
“I believe this is the southern woods,” Amien said. He glanced up at the sun through the trees. “This way,” he said.

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