Walking out into the hall, Martin turned back, seeing Jose emerge behind him, look around, scream, fall to his knees and begin to sob. As Sam and Jamie quickly followed, something even stranger happened - if that were possible.

 

         “What the hell!?” Martin was confused. His friends began to fade and become transparent. Martin wondered if he were about to be the first witness of someone vanishing. That notion changed as reason took over; people didn't disappear in groups. Martin was being taken, but where?

 

         “Should we go to a counselor?” Jamie asked, putting an arm gently over each Jose and Sam.

 

         “No, fuck that, not yet, I need to calm down. Besides I just sent Martin . . . to go see a counselor . . . and now . . .” As Jose fell into another sobbing fit, his voice and image faded, as did everything else. Martin was in a strange daze that washed over him like rapids as if pulled into some sort of dream state without actually falling asleep.

 

         Yanked from reality, Martin reasoned he must have been brought to whatever place was native to the thing he'd seen the previous night. Martin was again gripped by an odd combination of curiosity and fear as his new surroundings came into focus. It was as if Martin had been looking though a window previous night, when he had seen whatever that thing was and was now immersed in the same strange world that birthed it.

 

         The scene surrounding Martin was the antithesis of subtle. Ornate mirrors so fine and so polished you couldn't discern reflection from reality hung as if arranged down a hallway. The mirrors appeared to hang mid air, though Martin could see nothing beyond them, only empty space. Martin could see no ceiling and no end to the hall in either direction. The floor beneath him was made of some kind material Martin only knew was there because he was walking on it. Martin reached out and felt the space between mirrors and found a slick surface, so slick that his hand could not stay upon it, slipping off. The whole experience was beyond disorienting.

         As he examined the first two mirrors, they made Martin laugh, showing him in some circus style way - the third was opposite funny. A more disturbing image Martin could not imagine: a version of himself looked back - this one warped in an entirely non-comedic manner. Martin's reflection was wasted away from what could only have been lack of food and water. Visibly shaken by a force unmistakable to any who've known suffering, this version of Martin knew violence all too well. As he stood staring into the eyes of his reflection, it seemed to look back. Stunned and in disbelief, Martin began to feel his opposite's pain more and more keenly by the second.

         “Don't travel the roads I did,” the doppelganger advised, as it reached out, placing a hand against the other side of whatever type surface this was. “Still, I will not be taken.” As Martin's reflection went on, it looked down sadly and began to raise a gun.”

 

          A bolt of shock went through Martin as he forgot it was a mirror. Fear quickly gave way to another kind of panic as his opposite's intent was not hard to guess. At that moment, Martin forgot what was reflection and what was real and lost himself in the mindset of the other. It was as if Martin had broken some empathic barrier and could see totally the plight of another.

         “No!” screamed Martin, reaching forward in an effort to save his counterpart, as if anyone could save someone from such a far-gone state. He touched his side of the glass and closed his eyes. Seconds later, Martin was gripped in new horror, when he opened his eyes and fell to the ground, unable to muster the will to stand in his opposite's body.

         Hours passed before Martin adjusted to his new body and environment. Struggling to his knees Martin faced a mirror opposite the one through which he'd come. As Martin viewed a scene even worse than that which he'd entered, he recoiled. In this mirror, Martin stood in a luxurious penthouse - behind him countless buildings burned. As black smoke billowed forth filling the sky and blotting the sun to a tiny sad dot, this doppelganger sipped fine wine and readied himself for a gourmet meal with an impossibly beautiful woman.

         Another type of fear gripped Martin, the fear accompanying the pain Martin endured to this point was so preferable to the existence he had just seen, his hasty retreat quickly progressed into a fall. Tumbling over, Martin likely would have broken several bones; Instead he stumbled moments later into what should have been the mirror through which he'd come. Rather than glass however, Martin hit only air until, a half heartbeat later he struck the pitch black floor - again his former self.

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Majik is a free to view, donation supported fantasy universe created by
Horror-Fantasy writer (Among other things) LIL 6 but is intended to be shared by
the fandom. Rather than try to own it, LIL feels that the best way to create something
amazing is to allow it to be created by its culture. Fan fiction is invited and some
of what is submitted will become canon and some writers will be invited
to write canon about stories that have been planned.


“This is my creation but I want to give it to its fans; this is yours.”

Eventually a group will form to decide what will or will not be canon and
LIL will relinquish control to them and move on to create other shared
universes already in the works.

         Sam, was seething, his knuckles white his fists clenched so tight his nails dug into his palms. Jamie tried to calm Sam, knowing he was the most likely candidate to do something rash. Jose wasn't far behind him. Though Jose’s brain was his greatest asset, his go to was to logic his way out of things.

         “We have to find out if anyone saw Martin after the door shut.” Jose reasoned.

         “No one saw him Joes (pr: hoes: nickname)! No one ever sees any of 'em - he's just gone. Fuck, if I could get my hands on the shits that took him I'll rip their balls off!” Sam was more ranter than reasoner. Being from a broken home will do that to a you.

         “You can't punch your way out of every situation Sam” Jose' hackles were clearly up.

 

         “Nor can you reason through every problem.” Jamie chimed in, heading off the fast approaching 'bro' argument she knew she couldn't tolerate. Not when the only man Jamie ever loved - with whom she'd only put things on hold when Martin needed time after Jake vanished - had joined him out in wherever..

 

         “Yes, I can,” Sam said in a hushed tone as he turned away; he knew she was right.

 

         “Besides, Martin isn't gone, he'll be back!” Jamie was the only person among them who openly declared that those missing would be back. Jamie was the gentlest, most caring and understanding person imaginable; he'd had Martin's heart from 'hello.' Jamie's razor-sharp mind and age-defying wisdom gave her a decided advantage over her male counterparts. When you added her seemingly limitless capacity for empathy to the mix, Jamie left any notion of her lone female voice being drowned out by the her male friends dead and buried at the starting line.

 

         “I... just...” Sam was choked up, incapable of further speech; his hands, shaking badly, told a different story. Sam was spoiling for a fight and Jamie knew, given past behavior, that if Sam didn't calm down a fight with someone would soon follow. Being that Jose was the obvious and closest target, Jamie had to act quickly, the brothers were known to look for reasons to fight already.

 

         “. . . want our friend back!” Jamie threw her arms round Sam in what was an awkward but welcome hug for both. As Jamie, extended the hug for as long as it took for Sam to calm down, Jose fast approached his breaking point as well.

 

         “This is a crisis of infinite proportion!” Just seconds after Sam and Jamie emerged from their hug, before either could provide what both knew Jose needed, he was in full panic mode. Jamie was easily an intellectual leader, while Martin was their group's spiritual leader in equal measure.

 

         “If Martin is gone, I don't know what I'll do - I'll probably go goth . . . I can't go goth! I can't wear that makeup. Nope, I'll for sure end up locking myself in the basement, playing video games and eating Taco Bell by the ton . . . Oh Goddess no, I'll let myself go!” Jose had turned from reasoning his way out of things to reasoning his way in; this was not good.

 

         “He's not gone!” Jamie lied a little, for the first time she was slipping into despair. Still, Jamie felt a need to be strong. She turned, again hugging Jose as he finally let go and began to sob uncontrollably.

 

          “I'm not even saying Martin's gone, but Jamie, the others, their not coming back!” Jose was quickly running out of both ideas and hope, the lack of which betrayed by the tears welling up in his eyes.

Chapter Four

Rabbit Holes

         On the Pacific Ocean, somewhere in the half frozen wastes between Alaska and Siberia, some fishermen bore witness the impossible, as a strange ship approached. The barge, no more than 20 meters long and 10 wide, looked as if it had come straight out of Hell. The craft seemed made from whole timbers in an odd log cabin system, but the outside of each was charred as if the thing had been sailing a literal lake of fire. No deck could be seen, but instead, a massive metal dome capped the length of it. The metal was shiny black like volcanic rock; it was a sight to behold, but the eye seemed to want to slip off it. It was as if the massive thing didn’t want to be seen.

 

         The boat came to a stop in what appeared as empty ocean. A ramp descended and hung off the ship's side. As the fishermen watched in awe, a tall slender figure wearing only a tattered robe made its way down the ramp and into the air. A dock appeared intermittently, there and not-there, becoming visible each time one of the figure's feet fell upon it, for a fleeting moment and then vanished.

 

         As the figure looked back at the boat, it shrugged and put out a hand expectantly, perhaps impatient. Then, as if made of paper, the boat folded itself over and over until it fit in the hand of the figure, which pocketed it, turned and walked a few steps, only vanish a moment later. The fishermen spent hours investigating the area repeatedly, convinced they were exactly where the figure and the dock had been awhile before, only to find no sign of either. Eventually, they gave up and settled on having an odd tale to relate to folks on the mainland.

A Crisis of Infinite Proportion

         Sara and Rayn walked to the principal's office in stunned silence; half their classmates were in full crying fits. Everyone knew what it meant when counselors came to get you: someone was gone. For Sara and Rayn, shock had taken over. When the adults spoke, only one thing registered: the name of their remaining brother. The rest they had heard before - a twisted version of the absent parents from Peanuts Comic strip: the words didn't need to be understood - the gist came through silently.

 

         The twins sat aside each other like boxers after taking a beating in the first round - blindsided and badly dazed. Rayn was trying to be angry but was more at loss for how to feel. She had already lost Jake and River, now, facing yet another loss; she felt numb.

 

         Sara's mind raced, clinging to what Martin said the night before - giving Sara something to hold on to. She kept telling herself Martin was right and she would see them all again. She was working on the believing part. A in the back of her mind was an odd sort of guilt, as if sitting next to Rayn, who had lost something more than Sara, somehow made her pain wrong.

 

         The two sat - each not wanting to be where they were, but not wanting to be anywhere else either. Via different paths, both twins had fallen into the same sensation: wishing they would just vanish - an odd feeling given the times. So the two, stunned stupid, waited for their parents with ever increasing anxiety and a tinge of dread.

         Christian Ramirez looked like a ghost as he handled the call from the school their sons attended. The look instantly made clear to the entire office something was wrong. The real question was far less what had happened and far more who it happened to.

         “Sam?... Mary could barely say it, “Jose?” It felt as if it weren't even her speaking.

loving yourself

 

         “No!” Christian couldn't think straight.

         “Martin?” Mary's coffee cup shattered on the ground. While the Ramirez parents dreaded either of their son's being lost almost as bad would be their friend Martin, who the couples knew as the glue of the social group.

         He didn't need to say it - he couldn't. Christian Ramirez could never say the names out loud. Everyone knew people who had been lost and everyone had their own way of coping; for Christian, something inside told him not to say the names. Like someone saying 'so-and-so is gone' made it official. Christian knew full well by then it was childish but by that point he didn't care.

         In situations of spiraling crisis, shock is a well known friend. From the time they heard the news, nothing Mary and Christian Ramirez experienced registered. Hugs from friends at the office, most in tears, failed to penetrate the fog that had surrounded them. Mary drove, Christian was in no shape to do anything. For Mary, focusing on anything helped so long as it could take all of her focus. Christian however was not cooperating.

 

         “Okay... What we... Okay...” Christian's mind was grasping for any answer other than the one answer he could not face. “Um... Well...” he went on.

         As Mary drove, it got harder and harder to concentrate on her distraction Chrsitain was distracting her with his own.

         “Would you shut the hell...” as Mary responded her one-track mind, as it were, skipped from driving to yelling at Christian and her foot hit the brake. The driver behind did not see.

         As the following vehicle crashed into the bumper of the Ramirez' Prius the two were jolted back to reality. Behind them, a woman, in her mid 50s had clearly been drinking. Mary got out to have a stern word.

         “Your gonna kill somebody!” Mary started.

         “Who cares,” said the woman “it's the end of the fuckin world - no one cares... My husband, my kids... Gone! So what's left?”

         “Our son's best friend is gone...” Mary had gone from angry to sympathetic all at once. “We've been lucky in our family so far... all I can do is wonder…”

         “What's next” The woman said as she gave Mary a hug. Oddly it was the first positive thing Mary had noticed since hearing the news.

         “Do you need my insurance?” Mary fell back on procedure in times of hardship.

         “You're joking, right…?”

         “No, please...” Mary made for her purse.

         “Stop being silly! Go see to your kids before I started throwing things at you.”

         The woman's ability to throw anything in any way that would matter was less in doubt and more outright laughable, but Mary clearly needed the push.

         “Thank you.” Mary said with a resigned squeak.

        Getting back into the car, Mary and Christian had the obligatory “you okay?” and “Wow that . . .” interactions before getting back to their coping patterns - and the two were back on their way.

The Obligatory “You Okay?”

A Fleeting Moment

Stunned Stupid

Another Type of Fear