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March 19th, 2009

The Sunlit World: Act III

Kevin met Trent in the hallway after sixth period.

"So, I was thinking, about David --" Kevin started.

Trent sighed. "Here we go again. Has anything actually changed since we talked at lunchtime, Kevin?"

"I doubt it, but --"

"Then let's not waste time on this now. Unless we're going to skip class to go check up on him, then thinking can wait for one more hour."

"Wait, this is important." Kevin lowered his voice and leaned in, trying to keep his words below the chatter of the their fellow students. "Both of us drank at least one healing potion. David didn't, and now he's too sick for school. Maybe the transfer process causes some sort of internal injury that takes a potion to fix."

"So? He had both of the spares, remember?" Trent said. "I'm going to Precalculus. Meet you afterschool."

Kevin didn't realize until after he sat down in American History that, if their weapons hadn't returned to Earth with them, the potions had probably also disappeared.

He stewed about it the entire period, watching the minutes crawl by on the classroom clock, not even bothering to take notes. Occasionally, he would glance over his shoulder. Crissy was writing carefully, face neutral -- alternated with wider pencil arcs that were probably more sketches. Once, he caught her stealing a glance back up at him. Kevin quickly averted his eyes and pretended to be reading one of Mr. Sparks' handmade 19th-century timelines.

As the class bell rung, Kevin stuffed his books in his backpack as quickly as possible and hustled toward the door. Crissy did likewise and fell in alongside him.

"So," she said, "let me guess. Off to find David?"

"No. Off to check up on him."

"Really!" Crissy said, curious. "Where is he?"

"I found Darren at lunchtime. He said David threw up at breakfast this morning and their mom sent him back to bed."

"So he's been home sick all day."

"Yes," Kevin said slowly, wondering what Crissy was getting at.

"Which is really interesting," Crissy said, "because I've tried calling him three times, and he hasn't picked up his room line."

Kevin's stomach sank. "Oh."

"And now you're going to tell me that you need to go talk to Trent and the two of you will check it out, right?"

Kevin shifted uncomfortably. "Um ..."

"He's heading toward your locker."

Kevin looked at Crissy strangely.

"And I'm going to come along with you when you meet him."

"Ah," Kevin stammered, but couldn't find an excuse to tell her no. "Sure, I guess."

"And you know," she said as they walked, "far be it from me to be presumptious, but wouldn't it be nice of you to tell me what's been going on with you guys?"

"How do you know Trent's heading toward my locker?" Kevin asked.

Crissy smirked. "Well! I guess we both have secrets now, don't we?"

Kevin held back his response as they passed a crowd of chattering sophomores. Then, quietly: "Okay. Look, you're right. I'm sorry. I should have told you. I've been avoiding it because this is just so huge and freaky and I was trying to keep it to the people I trust more than anything. If I tell you, you need to promise that this is a secret from everyone else, except me and David and Trent. Everyone."

Crissy thought back to whatever strange being had posed as Mrs. Weaver. "Yes," she lied.

"Alright," Kevin said. "Then let's grab Trent and go to my house. We'll talk on the way."

Trent walked up to Kevin's locker from the opposite direction as they arrived. "Hey," he said, then glanced over at Crissy. "Uh --"

"She's coming with us," Kevin said. "To my place."

"Why --" Trent said suspiciously.

"She called David three times today. He wasn't home."

"But Darren said --!"

"He probably lied," Kevin said. "It wouldn't be the first time."

"And she --"

"Crissy knows enough. She needs the whole truth."

Trent sighed. "God damn it."

Kevin waited until they left campus -- and were out of earshot of any other classmates -- before saying anything. "Alright," he started, taking a deep breath. "Here's the bottom line, Crissy. I got this pendant that opened up a portal to some strange new world called the Shadowlands. We went inside last night, found some weapons and started exploring. Some little monster things attacked us, so we came back. If David's not here ... he might have gone back on his own." He cringed inwardly, waiting for the inevitable ridicule.

"Okay," Crissy said.

"Okay?" Kevin repeated.

Crissy shrugged. "Well, it was pretty obvious something weird was up from the way you guys are acting. And with all we've seen on the news, I'm supposed to freak out over some dimensional portal?"

"Well," Kevin said reluctantly, "the world appears to work ... in some of the same ways as a computer game."

"It is a video game," Trent interjected. "A game that can kill you, but a game nevertheless."

"Kill you?" Crissy's eyes widened.

"Hang on!" Kevin objected. "It is not a game!"

"We fought this giant fish-bull thing, which stabbed me in the chest," Trent told Crissy. "If it weren't for a lucky healing potion I wouldn't be standing here now." He turned on Kevin, irritated. "We discussed this last night, Kevin. How is it not a game?"

The frustration that had been building up in Kevin since returning from the Shadowlands finally burst forth. "Because it saved my life when I got hit by a car!" he shouted. "Games don't do that!"

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legend of hero
ttustories
Tales from the Tomorrowlands

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Legend of Hero
[001]. Premonitions
[013]. Incursions
[026]. Companions
[043]. Complications

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