The Happenings

Daith Fetherstone discovers the Library - a place he's been trying to find for his whole life. However, now he's found it, the Happening takes him to another, more dangerous world.

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1. The Happenings

                     
The single chink of moonlight filtering between the boards over the window was soon smothered by the suffocating darkness within the Library. Dust rose in swirling clouds from the carpet in the wake of Daith’s footsteps. Moaning like an ancient ghoul, the mould-encrusted door swayed shut behind the small boy. Shadows pressed in upon him, forcing him back against the wall, imagining a thousand monstrous oppressors. Despite the invasive dusk, Daith Fetherstone felt a malicious glee. He was here at last, in the Library of Happenings.  

 

“What’s in the Library?” A younger Daith pressed his father.

“Nothing that concerns you.” His father replied in his usual surly manner.

“But-“

“No.” Snarled his father. “Stay away from that place, Daith. It’s trouble. It shouldn’t even exist.”

“But it does.” Daith continued stubbornly.

“Let the place alone. It’s dangerous.” His father turned in a swirl of plum cloaks, describing his court rank, leaving his son alone in the room.

Daith grinned. That was all he wanted to here. Danger beckoned him.

 

As his viridian hued eyes adjusted to the gloom, he could gradually make out row upon row of dusty boxes. What had looked like wood was, on closer inspection, a refined form of Klestine that he had never seen before. He lowered his finger to touch the lid of one large box before him.  A kaleidoscope of colour radiated out from the point at which his skin touched the box.

He recoiled, as if burned, gazing in wonder at the box whose colour was now extinguished. Daith explored the room, weaving in amongst the shelves, blanketed in dust, which held the boxes. The Happenings.

 

He had first heard of the Happenings from his friend Everhart, whose father worked as a Futurist. He had arrived at school one day in a state of nervous excitement, bearing news from his father about his top secret work. Everhart’s father was having a discussion with a colleague about work the night before. Every word of this conversation had floated through the keyhole and into the ear of a curious Everhart. From what he’d heard, Everhart had worked out that the Library contained Happenings. His father, and the other Futurists, had the task of exploring what was inside each of the Happenings. The each contained another world. Trapped inside a simple box, you could discover other worlds, other futures and other destinies.

 

As he turned a corner near another boarded-up window, he stopped abruptly in front of a towering lead casket. In the centre was a large, rusty padlock held the two heavy doors closed. Closing his hands around the lock, he watched as it disintegrated beneath his cold skin. With all his strength, he pushed the doors apart to reveal…

Nothing. Wait, no, something. Sitting on a shelf at chest height, a box – smaller than his fist – appeared innocent and harmless. Despite its size, it drew him more powerfully than any of the other Happenings in the room. Alabaster hands eager to explore it, his finger touched the edge. Expecting a flash of light, he was surprised by the flame of black, so dense that it stood out against the darkness around it, that swirled away from where his skin met the box. He watched it in fascination as the tongue of blackness covered the entire Klestine surface.

The tip of his numb finger reached out to hook itself around the brass latch that secured the lid shut. Flicking it back, the lid soon rose, revealing a pulsating sphere of golden light snared inside its Happening prison. It was so beautiful, holding his gaze from his surroundings. Suddenly, with such a shock that it knocked him from his feet, a blinding light exploded in Daith’s head, pounding against his skull. He pressed his palms against his eye lids, yelling as the agony spread, the light engulfing him.

 

He awoke, cheek pressed against the icy stone floor beneath him. His temples still pounding from the light, he looked about him. It was the same room, it had to be. He could make out the forest of shelves towering over him, the spherical feet of the casket by his head. The same room. Nothing had changed. It hadn’t worked. All the planning, and the searching, all for nothing.

Rubbing his head, he hauled himself to his feet. Somehow, he was able to make out the room very quickly. That was when he saw the window. Now, it was not covered in old wooden boards, but only by a thin, gauzy curtain. The shelves were different too. There were no boxes on them, but books. Hundreds of books, bristling with yellowing pages. He could feel the grin spreading over his features.

It wasn’t the same room. He had made it! Unless, he though franticly, it is the same room, just in the future, or the past? It had never been heard of before, but it could be possible. When he reached it, the door swung without protest at the lightest touch, almost responding to his thoughts.

Outside, he breathed in the sweet, nectar-heavy air, shielding his eyes from the midday sun. A thick green carpet rolled out before him, spattered with wild flowers and chirruping insects. Away across the pasture, a group of children played, laughing, yelling and turning carefree cartwheels.

“Not from ‘round here, are you?” Whirling around, he caught sight of a girl, around his own age, with  a mess of orange curls escaping from her linen cap.

“No, eh, no.” He stammered.

“Why are you here, then?” She prompted him.

“I don’t know.”

“You don’t know? Well, how can you not know?” She chuckled at him as the set off across the field.

“Well, I arrived here, sort of, by accident.”

“Ha.” She laughed happily. “I like you…”

“Oh, Daith, Daith Fetherstone.”

“Daith.” She repeated, as if to see how it tasted. “I like you, Daith Fetherstone.”

There was a short silence as the passed the young children.

“Considering you don’t know why you’re here, I suppose you’ll be wanting something to do.”

She continued.

“Yeah, maybe.” He shrugged. “What do you need?

“Where do I start?” She laughed again.

“What’s that?” He asked, bringing her out of her revelry, pointing at a sleek black vehicle that had rolled up across the grass.

“What?” She asked off-handedly. “That – oh, no!”
She began to run across to the children playing happily.

“Stop! Stop, come here. Come away!” She shouted to the children, who had stopped playing and began to look wary.

Some of the younger children ran towards Beatrice, one jumping into her arms. One or two more recognised what was happening, and hurried towards them too, but not before two tall men unfolded themselves from the car. They were at least six feet tall, clad in unflattering jet black suits, and holding something that looked like a- BANG!

A boy screeched and fell, a dart in his shoulder. Panicking, Daith ran wildly, tripping over a young girl fleeing in front of him. Heaving them both to their feet, they continued; as he looked over his shoulder, he saw three more children unconscious, and the men had thrown a net over the younger ones who had run to him and Beatrice. He heard a spine-chilling screech, and his name shouted out in pain. Dreading the sight that would meet his eyes, he turned. Beatrice was spread-eagled on the grass, a dart in her leg, her eyes rolled back in her head.

“Beatrice!” He yelled. “Beatrice.”

Her name came out as a whisper as the world spun around him, turning black. He felt his body thud to the ground, and then silence.

Groggily, Daith Fetherstone came to on a cold floor of flawless steel. Head spinning, he could make out huddled shapes around him, one knelling comfortingly at his shoulder.

“Daith.” The voice was soft, feminine. “Daith, it’s me, Beatrice.”

Raising his heavy head, he saw the blurred outline of the girl he’d met in the field.

“Beatrice,” he murmured, sitting up slowly, “where are we?”

“Janus Corporation.” She whispered, her voice pregnant with unrevealed fear.  In answer to his slightly quizzical expression, she continued: “It is an organisation that specialises in radical new medicines. We all know, now, that they are behind the disappearances of children down in the village. They take them for testing.”

She pulled a long, silver, cylindrical object from her coat.

“Father Alban says that they are actually testing poisons on them, to see how strong they are, and what effects they have. He gave me this, and now – I think – I must give it to you.” She held the object out. “It was made to bring down Janus Corporation. It will help you to do it.”

“What? But, why me? Why aren’t you doing it?” He asked, bewildered.

“Father told me to give it to a boy who needs something to do.” She smiled, before hearing heavy, military footsteps outside the door, coming closer. “Hide it, quickly.”

The heavy door to their prison banged open. Three men carrying huge machine guns entered.

“Against the back wall.” Their leader commanded. “Don’t try anything clever.”

They did as they were bidden, crawling away to the far wall. From this side, Daith could see the crystal window pane that covered the wall to their left. It let them see into some kind of laboratory. There was a table in the centre that seemed to somehow emanate evil. While he was distracted, the leader of the men had grasped Beatrice by her flaming hair and was dragging her from the room.

“No! Leave her alone!” Daith shouted at them, attempting to stand.

One of the thickset men punched him in the stomach, forcing him back against the wall and leaving hi m winded. A moment later, he could see Beatrice being strapped to the table in the room beside their small cell. He pounded on the window, yelling her name, and cursing the Janus Corporation. They just shot him a sadistic grin.

He sat down by the door, breathing heavily and ever more terrified. The cylinder from Beatrice slid out from up his sleeve, brushing against the lock on the door he used as support. There was an inexplicable click. Trying the door, he saw that it slid smoothly open, revealing a gleaming white corridor.

“It will help you do it.” Beatrice had said.

He ran from the room, immediately unlocking the next door: the one that led to the laboratory. Inside, a devastating sight met his eyes. Beatrice was laying, still, on the table, a needle full of ruby liquid in her arm. Daith screamed, alerting the men, but he didn’t care. He had to get out of there, away from the girl whose death he felt solely responsible for.

Blindly, he ran down the passage, weaving in and out of the warren of corridors. Security guards attempted to grab him, but he flashed past, tears of grief and rage flying in his wake. He soon found the magnificent entrance doors. Made of high quality Klestine and brushed steel, engraved with swirls and patterns. The beauty meant nothing to him.

Holding out Beatrice’s cylinder, the doors were blasted into nothingness, leaving him free to leave. He kept running, even when he had left the building far behind. Soon, out of breath and shivering in the cool twilight, he turned towards the monstrous building that had taken her life.

“Beatrice!” He screeched to the night, hurling the cylinder towards the Janus factory. It burst apart in an explosion of silver light, shooting up through clouds and leaving a scar in the pristine landscape. The ground where it had once stood was shrivelled and burnt away. Nothing remained of Beatrice.

All of a sudden, the world turned white around him. An emotionless, automaton voice boomed out across his reality.

“Your destiny has been fulfilled.”

“No! Beatrice!” He shouted.

“Your destiny has been fulfilled.” It repeated.

He felt his tired eyes close, plunging his mind into darkness
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