Everlasting Truth

One day, Alice finds herself transported not only from her life, but from her world. She finds that those who die can be resurrected and have special abilities. The M.A.C.E.S., a group of ascended beings, both from Earth and other planets, have chosen Alice to help defend her world from the evils that lurk. With the help of her mentor, Frank, and her friends, James and Emma, Alice finds that her second life is more interesting and challenging than her first.

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4. Parthimis

Chapter 4

        I stood in a room opposite the morgue, looking through the glass opening in the door. Frank was still under the rubble, half dazed and bleeding from his head. Two creatures that resembled the one that I killed stood guard on either sides of him. 
        The other creature, who seemed to be questioning Frank, had a hunched body with metallic spikes protruding from his back. He spoke through a blood-orange beak, spit flying through the air as his hand gestures became more elaborate. 
I didn't know what I had to do to get Frank out of there, but I knew I had to do something. He was the only one who could give me some answers.
Turning from the door, I scanned the shelves that sat against the walls, laden with bottles and sterilized equipment, trying to devise a plan. 
        I sighed quietly to myself and thought. Alice, remember chemistry? That cute guy who was your lab partner? The experiments? There's got to be something useful here. 
        I looked. Potassium nitrate, a box of scalpels, sugar, matches, hydrogen peroxide. Nothing, I thought, absolutely nothing. 
        I slumped into a metal-backed chair that sat in front of the room, and stared at the shelves, waiting for the creatures to find me, and my dream to be over, when the thought popped into my head. 
I sat up straight. Potassium Nitrate and Sugar!
           I laughed at my ignorance and quietly grabbed the bottles, searching for something to mix them with. A broom and a bucket leaned up against the far wall.
         Why could't my mind just project the mixture already? I wondered, silently mixing the ingredients with the handle of the broom, forming a gritty paste. If this is a dream, wouldn't it just appear?
I shook the thought that this wasn't a dream off my mind, and a few minutes later, I had concocted the perfect diversion.

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There was a door on the other side of the room that I had used to get in without being seen. 
        If I could somehow position my diversion at the edge of the hall, it would work better, I thought, but that means I would have to pass the morgue to get there.
I sighed and stared at the gooey brown substance wrapped in gauze that I held in my hands. 
         You're my only hope, I thought, should I risk you? It seemed to say yes. 
I smiled and looked out the glass again. The guards were distracted with something the other creature was saying. This was as good a time as any.
I ran across the room to the other door and quietly slipped out. My heart was beating fast as I slid past the morgue door. 
"For the last time, where is she?" a screeching voice echoed in the hall,  "Where is the destroyer?" 
I heard Frank mumble a reply, but I was too caught up in being quiet to listen carefully.
Once I had made it past the morgue and down the hall, I unwrapped the brown substance, and stuck it to the wall. I pulled out a match box that I had found, and shoved a few into the blob.
         It might take a while for them to burn completely, I thought as I lit the matches one by one. That'll be perfect timing for me to get back to the room and wait for the guards to leave. I turned around and headed back down the hall to my hiding place. 
         The smoke bomb went off before I had reached the room. Smoke seeped out from the brown substance at a rapid rate. I set my sword on the ground and crouched down behind a cabinet to wait for the guards.
         Minutes later, they came out, coughing and clutching thick cloths to their faces. My eyes watered, and I held up my arm to my nose so I wouldn't breathe in the fumes. 
         The smoke had blanketed the entire hall, concealing me, and forcing the guards to slash blindly with their swords until their tips hit a solid surface.
          There's no escaping, I thought as my legs cramped up, I have to fight. Maybe fending for myself is the lesson I'm supposed to learn in this dream state. I smiled at myself. If this is a dream. I'm beginning to think otherwise.
I heard the guards get closer, their boots echoing in the hall. I waited until one, his figure standing dark against the white smoke, passed me, and I jumped out of my hiding place, stabbing him in the back with my dagger. He cried out upon the force of the impact, alerting the other guard to my presence. 
         I sighed. The only weapon I had liked now sat lodged in the dead guards back, a few feet away.
When the other guard ran at me, swinging his double-edged blade around his head with a battle call, I had no choice but to use the sword. It felt clunky and heavy and not as effective as the dagger I had stolen, but the grip was secure and reliable for my defensive position.
         Have I ever lifted a sword? I asked myself. Or killed another? I remembered my childhood being filled with girly things, not hunting bugs and making mud pies. 
         The creature thrust his sword at my stomach, and I weakly parried the blow.
         Who am I now? I thought as my arm grew heavy, and sweat clung to my palm. Am I a fighter? Maybe.
The creature grabbed my arm with his hand, squeezing my wound and forcing the blood to leak out of the gauze. I screamed in agony and hit him in the head with the hilt of my sword.
He stumbled back as I clutched my arm and ground my teeth from the pain. We stood at a standstill for a brief moment, staring at each other, searching for weaknesses and strengths.
Am I a killer? I wondered as I stared cold-heartedly at the creature, trembling from the rush of adrenaline. Perhaps I am, but only if they try to kill me first.
The smoke started to clear throughout the hall, its tendrils retracting to the source of its outburst, when I laughed at a sudden realization.
"This isn't a dream, is it?" I asked him, as I raised my sword, "I would never dream of such cruel-looking beasts and men who tell me I've died. People don't dream their fears, they live them everyday. No amount of drugs or sleep-inducing hallucinations could make things this real. I have died."
         "Of course you have," he said, panting and dripping with sweat, "Why else would we be here, destroyer?" He spat on the ground in front of me, "You have come to destroy what little peace we have, what little hope we have of truly being gods, of ascending."
He lunged at me, knocking my blade away, and sending me spiraling to the floor. I landed on the dead guard, the dagger in his back sending a spark of pain up my side as my hip struck it.
He laughed, "Now we will be gods! We will be Maces!" he took one final swing at me, and in one fluid motion, I rolled over, pulling the dagger out of the dead guards back.
I narrowly missed the sword as it stuck into the body of the dead guard with a loud thud. The creature yelled in frustration.
I positioned the dagger in my right hand, and reached up, piercing his skin, and stabbing him between the ribs. He fell on top of the other guard as I laid there next to them, with my hand on my chest, gulping in the air, trying desperately to slow my breathing.
Now I've killed three, I thought. I never knew I was capable of such a feat. I slowly sat up. But I never thought that I would be the one to get robbed, shot, and killed. So, who am I? A fighter? A killer? I need to know. And right now, there's only one person who can tell me the truth. 
I stuck with that thought as it somehow managed to motivate me to stand. The bruises and nicks the guard gave me in our fight stung fiercely. I shrugged off the pain as I sighed, and bent down, yanking the dagger out of the dead creature. I wiped the blood off on my dress and twisted it around in my hand, as I surveyed the dead bodies. 
I heard a pair of footsteps echo down the hall, and I looked up to see the interrogator fleeing. I laughed with relief and stumbled my way into the morgue.
"Nice to see that you're still alive," I said, standing in the doorway with my hands on my hips.
"I thought I told you to run, Alice," Frank mumbled as he rolled his head back to look at me, eyebrows raised.
"Well, I couldn't just leave you with those things," I replied, dropping my dagger on the ground with a loud clink, as I ran over to him.
"I'm glad, thank you," he said, blinking slowly, "You know, I think you came back here for answers, didn't you? You don't believe this is a dream, you can't possibly, not after what you must've done to get here," he motioned his head in the direction of the dagger, "What you must've done with that. It's all too life-like."
I nodded, "Yes, I realize that now. I remember when I got shot, I knew I was going to die. I knew. But I chose to ignore that because I didn't want it to be true." I reached down and picked up the loose cement tiles that covered him.
"You didn't want to that to be the truth, I understand," he touched my arm, "And I'm sorry. But you've been given a second chance. One that you can't deny or ignore." "I still don't truly believe that, but at least I've accepted the fact that I've died and been brought back," I threw another cement piece aside.
"Yes, at least we've gotten that out of the way." I reached out to lift the column. "It's heavy," he warned, "The two guards tried and they couldn't get it off me. Besides that, I can't feel one of my legs." 
I nodded. "If they couldn't lift it, I certainly can't. But," I grabbed one the cement tiles I had thrown aside, "maybe I can prop the ends up and slide you out?" 
He grunted, "It's worth a try, but if I hear reinforcements, you're leaving me." I laughed and hefted one end of the column up with my right hand while I slid two pieces of cement under it with my left.
"That looks bad," Frank said, after he noticed me grimacing through my teeth whenever I bent my left arm. 
I shrugged, "Might need some stitches, but I'll be alright." He looked worried. "I'll be fine," I assured him, "it's not that deep." I stood up and moved to the other end of the column.
"What were those creatures?" I asked, pulling some cement tiles within reach.
"The horned ones are called Matars, a warrior race, and the spiked one was a Teeker, an intellectual race. As you can tell, they aren't fighters, like the Matars. Teekers tend to run away whenever trouble comes. This spike on their backs? Retractable. Purely for looks." He laughed.  
"Have they died too?" I asked, slipping the last cement tile under the column, "I mean, like me?" 
He shook his head, "No the rebirths, like you, are very rare. You're called Anatys, which means the undead in the ancient language."
"Ancient language? Like Aztecs or Egyptians?" I stood up and held my hand out.
"No, your view of other worlds is based solely upon this one. The ancient civilization was the first to discover other worlds. Their ascended beings are The Maces." He reached out for my hand to help pull him out, "I will explain it all Alice, once we're safe." 
I slid him out from under the column. "Can you stand?" I asked, crouching down to inspect his legs. 
"I've broken at least one, and the other I can't feel," he replied, "But that's okay, it's an easy fix." He pulled a translucent-colored pen out of his pocket.
"What is that?" I asked, "It's almost invisible, but the rainbow effect it creates is... beautiful," I reached out to touch it.
"This is our key to another world. With one word, we can travel anywhere we want," he said seriously.
He moved his fingers to the tip of the pen so I could grab onto it. "On the count of three, say Parthimis. And whatever you do, don't let go, okay?" I nodded.
"Alright, " he took a deep breath, "One... two... three."
         I wet my lips and whispered, "Parthimis."
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