You’ve entered the world of The Realm Jumpers. The adventure with Riley and his trusty gang continues…
It was completely silent now, but the wind whipped around me still. I couldn’t hear anything. Not even muffled breathing.
I floated in the swirling darkness. No light. Couldn’t see anything. Lashes of hot and cold, struck my face and bare arms like little whips.
There. A light. Up ahead.
Something pushed me from behind, and I lurched forward. I twisted so my back hit the ground.
The air shot out of my lungs.
Someone grunted beside me.
I rolled to the side. Braeden lay on his stomach.
He hopped to his feet, then pulled the knife from his thigh holster.
Someone groaned. Coughed. I pushed up, ready to face off with the army dude that came through with me.
It was Tish and Hope.
No crazy Lightning Lab freak.
“A little help?” Hope reached for me. “Thought you were a gentleman.”
I helped them both up. “How—”
“You think we’d let you do this by yourself?” Hope said.
Braeden sheathed his weapon and grinned. “I might have nudged that guy out of the way.”
“And jumped in?” I yelled. “Are you guys crazy? Wait. What about Janet? She—”
“Is fine. Jeff showed up.”
“But they know about us, now. What if—”
“Mind wipe, remember?” He pointed his finger to his chest. “Did you lose that super mind in the trip?”
“What if we don’t make it back. What—”
“I’m not the only mind-wiper on the team. Relax. We’ll figure this out.”
At least someone thought so. Even though I was mad they risked themselves to come with me, I really was glad they were here. The thought of being here alone or with that crazy army guy…yeah, this was much better.
Tish giggled. “Told you we were supposed to come with you.”
“Are you okay?” I held her out in front of me. “You could have been hurt!” Heck, we could all be in serious trouble. I didn’t know where we were or how to get us back!
Or how we got here in the first place. We were so screwed.
“I’m okay.” She reached into the front of her shirt and pulled out her stuffed monkey. “Alastair protected us.”
I had to laugh at the sight of that little monkey. “Hope. You good?”
“Yep.” She stood, dusting herself off as she looked around. “Any idea where we are? Or how we got here?”
The coin was glowing in my hand. Not as brightly as before, but flickering. And it was warm. Not hot enough to burn.
“I bet this thing has something to do with this.”
“It’s a portal,” Tish said as she turned around. “And this is Realm number two.”
“How do you know that?” Braeden asked, squatting in front of her.
“We’re Jumpers. Well, me and Riley are.” She shrugged.
“Excuse me?” Hope slapped her hands on her hips.
Tish grinned. “I heard it before. And dreamed it. Before those nice men came to get me from the mean people hurting me.”
“Oh my gosh,” Hope said. “You dreamed it? As in—”
“Had a vision,” Tish said so matter-of-factly. “Realm Number Two, that’s the Realm of Barbarians. The bad men said that before. They didn’t think I was awake. But I was tricking them.”
The ground shook beneath me.
“Okay. Now what?” Hope asked.
Both she and Braeden looked at me. “How would I know?”
“You brought us here, Jumper. So you’re in charge.”
“I don’t know anything about this place. Jeez—”
Hope shrugged. “Okay, fine. We go that direction.” She pointed to her right.
“Why?” Braeden asked. “You don’t know.”
“Then I’m in charge.”
“No way. I was in Scouts. I know how to survive in the wilderness.”
“Oh, did you get a pretty badge? On your pretty uniform?” Hope stuck her tongue out.
I stepped between them. “Knock it off. Okay, Tish, you seem to know a lot. How is that?”
“They didn’t think I could hear. But I could. And my dreams. I didn’t tell them about my dreams. Well. Not at first.”
Trees surrounded us. No stars or moon in the sky. Actually, the sky was orange. There weren’t any clouds up there, but it was murky like one huge orange-tinted mist.
No breeze, either. I thought I caught a hint of some pine tree smell, but that was pretty faint.
And the ground. That was like being in the woods back on Earth. Branches. Not so much grass, but something like it, only black. Dirt maybe.
The trees looked like ours back home, but maybe taller. There wasn’t much bark on them. It was more like crusty fur.
“Okay. I’m the oldest. I’m in charge,” Braeden said. “Riley, try that coin-thing again. See if you can bring us home.”
“What if there are answers here?”
“Answers to…” Hope said.
“That document said I was made with Realm one and two DNA stuff. And that army dude who wanted to come with me said this was one of my Realms.”
“You’re an alien, aren’t you?” Hope asked.
I looked at Braeden, and he shrugged. Some leader he was.
“Maybe we should go home.” Hope nodded. “Might be time we get J2 involved and that Council Triad thingy. They know a lot, right? We’re just a bunch of dumb kids.”
“Hey,” Braeden and I said at the same time.
“Well!” She stuck out her tongue. “We are. Besides Mr. Boy Scout over there, we don’t—”
The ground rumbled again. More intense. A second rumble.
“Anyone ever see Jurassic World?” Braeden asked. “Remember how the footsteps of a monster huge dinosaur coming rippled the water?”
“Um yeah,” Hope said, inching toward me. “I think we need to—”
We all ran. I wasn’t sure where we thought we were going but running seemed the good thing to do after hearing that scary noise. My thoughts went directly to home. But the coin in my hand didn’t warm up. Didn’t open anything to suck us in.
Great. Just friggin’ great.
Braeden held Tish’s hand as we dodged trees and jumped over downed logs. The air was heavy and thick. I couldn’t catch my breath. And being a soccer player, I could run a ton. So that was strange.
We busted through the last row of trees. There was a small house in a little clearing. No, it was more like a hut I’d seen on a TV show talking about a third world country. Only four walls and a roof. It was made of leaves, I think. Hard to tell.
Behind it was a never-ending supply of trees that almost reached the sky. Green leaves. But it was totally quiet. No birds, crickets, nothing. No breeze.
“Let’s hide in there,” Hope said.
“I got a bad feeling,” I said as I pulled the crooked, splintered door open. “It’s not like this would hold up against anything stronger than a sneeze.”
Inside there was a table, small cot and a little fireplace.
“Lantern. On the table.” Hope grabbed it then scurried toward the little fireplace. “Sweet! A match!”
In the next second a flame lit the wick and light spilled over the room.
Off to my left there was a little kitchen-type space. At least it looked like a kitchen since there were apples, bread and cheese on top of a tiny table near there.
“Hungry anyone?” Braeden picked up an apple and smelled it. He shrugged and took a bite. “Tastes fine.”
“Should you be eating that?” Hope asked.
Braeden took another bite. “Hungry. Mr. Jumper here sucked me into a portal before I got to eat my food!”
She shook her head. “Boys are so dense. We’re in a strange, alien world where there could be creatures about to eat us and he’s hungry.”
“Hey, if he can’t get us back, we need to have food. Fill your pockets.”
Beside the bed there was a little stand with a book on there. HAMLET. I wasn’t looking forward to having to read that in English class, but here it was, sitting in a little hut next to a bed. Wherever we were.
I picked up the book and opened it. The cover was worn, and inside of it there was a fingerprint. Or a smudge of dirt, it was hard to tell. No name. The corners were worn as if it’d been read several times.
Where the heck were we?
The bed was small, too. I’d barely fit on it.
The ground shook. The lamp clanked, but Hope caught it before it crashed. A roar filled the room.
“Holy crap, what’s that?” Braeden asked, opening to the door. “It sounds way too big to be something that would fit into this tiny space!”
I looked through the cloudy window in the kitchen but couldn’t see very well. But I could tell something twice as tall as me stampeded our direction.
I wiped some of the soot distorting the view. And yeah, the thing was about twice as tall as the goal posts on our football field.
A bunch of matted, dark hair flopped around as the creature charged. It had three front teeth that had to be bigger than my size fourteens!
It wore some type of clothing that looked like a potato sack tied around its waist.
He didn’t wear a shirt. Only a cloth-thing over his privates. Like a little skirt.
“Yep. Time to go now!”
Join us Wednesday for Chapter 16 of Watcher of the Realms. Be sure to subscribe to the site to not miss a single chapter of Riley’s adventures.
A big thank you to Sizzling PR for the Realm Jumper graphics.
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See you soon….