1. The Unknown

Why had I been told to come here? I looked at the letter that had been left in my locker at school, wondering whether or not I had made the right choice in coming here. I gripped the old brass doorknob and turned it as I pushed the aged wooden door open, disregarding the voice in my head that was telling me this was a terrible idea. I entered the dusty hallway, feeling the wall for a light switch to rid me of this fear. I had always been scared of the dark, now was no different. I couldn’t find one and at this point I started to panic. Why did I do this? I turned around to reach for the doorknob, but there was nothing there. I patted the wall where the door had once been, screaming for help.


“Calm down.”


I stopped. That voice was familiar, I had been hearing that voice for most of my life. It was Jamie.


“Jamie? Is that you?” I asked, trying to hide the shakiness in my voice.


“Yes, it’s me.” He responded, his voice had an edge to it that I had never heard before.


“Did you put the letter in my locker?”


“Follow me.” He commanded dryly.


“Jamie, did you put the letter in my locker?” I inquired.


“Follow me.” He insisted as he walked away, his voice growing distant.


I trailed behind him, looking around for any source of light or any other person who could answer my questions.


“What is this place?” I asked, starting to worry about him. He was never like this to me. We had never had an argument in our years of being friends and on the occasions where we did fall out, it was forgotten a few hours later.


“Don’t worry. All your questions will be answered later.” He explained.


We carried on walking, I moved closer to him so as to not lose him. I reached out to touch his arm, making sure that he was actually real and this wasn’t just a dream. As soon as I touched his arm, he stopped walking.


“You can’t do that.”  He mumbled.


“What? Jamie, it’s me. Why are you being so weird.”


I tried to pull his arm to make him face me, but he twisted away from me.


“Just keep walking and you’ll have all the answers you need.” He muttered as he carried on walking.


I continued after him. After what seemed like half an hour of walking, we finally stopped. We walked into a room, dimly lit by candles that lined the wall at regular intervals.


“What is this place? Why am I here? Tell me!” I demanded, my frustration at Jamie reaching a point that it had never been at before.


“I’m sorry.”

A gust of wind extinguished the candles, plunging the room into complete darkness.




“I’m sorry.” He said, his voice fading as he left.


I turned to follow him but I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face, let alone him. He must have put the letter in my locker as he’s the only person who knows my combination. So many questions rushed through my mind. Why had he made me come here? What was this place? Why was he so cold towards me? How can I get out of here? My thoughts were interrupted by a female voice.


Hello Emma.”


Wait. There was something different about this voice. It was in my head. It was speaking directly in my head.


“I know this is all very disconcerting but you have nothing to worry about. You’re safe here.”


I’m safe here? Why wouldn’t I be safe anywhere else?


“This is a safe place for you. No harm will come to you here. We will protect you.”


Protect me? Why do I need protection? And why are you inside my head?


“You are not safe anymore. Tomorrow is your 17th birthday. You can no longer be protected in that world. You have to make a decision.”


What decision do I have to make?


“We can train you and you can learn to protect yourself and carry on living in the world you know. Or we can carry on protecting you, but that would mean leaving everything you know behind.


A two rectangles of light appeared at the opposite end of the room.


“You have to decide now.”

How am I meant to decide something like this now? What about Jamie? What about my family?


“Jamie is part of our world. He has been your protector in that world for your whole life. He will leave that world, regardless of your decision. Your family knew this was going to happen. It’s a consequence of your parent’s actions. They knew this day would come. Regardless of your decision, they will remain in that world.”


Why do you keep saying ‘this world’ and ‘that world’? There’s only one world.


“No Emma. There are many worlds, you have the opportunity now to enter them and become a part of them. You must make a choice.”


I can’t make that choice. I can’t do it.


“You must. If you don’t make the decision then you will go back into that world and we will not be able to help you.”


What will happen to my parents if I don’t go back?


“They will have no memory of you ever existing. They will continue on with their lives as if you had never been there.”


What will happen if I go to your world?


“You will be able to live the rest of your life in peace.”


Why wouldn’t I be able to do that here? Who wants to harm me?


“I do not have the answer to that question. It was the responsibility of your parents to tell you that. If they did not tell you, then I can not tell you.”


Who are you?


“Who I am, is not important. At this moment, the only important thing is the decision that needs to be made.”


Well I can’t make a decision.


“You must or we will let you go with no help. Make the decision.”


I can’t! How am I meant to choose?!


“We have all made this decision. Jamie made it on the eve of his 17th birthday as well. You can see which one he chose. If you make the same decision then you can do the same as him and help others like yourself. If you choose the other option, you will never have this opportunity again.”


Okay. I understand.  I want to go to your world. I want to be protected.

“Are you sure? Once you enter into our world you can never go back to the life you had.”


Yes. I’m sure.


“Very well. Walk towards the light on the left. Jamie will be waiting on the other side for you.”


I walked towards the light, trying not to think about what I was about to do, what I was about to leave behind. I reached the door and heard his voice.


“Come on Emma. Just step through and you’re here and safe.”


His voice was as it had been before, a sense of stability in my life. The familiarity of it made me take those few steps into the unknown.


“Welcome to your future.”




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