The Book of Gateways Installment 24th

By this time I think the police are fed up with coming and asking me about perpetrators who have already fled the scene. Thank God, Piers’ ankle is fine. Just a minor sprain.
Once everything calms down and the police leave Piers and I rejoin. Sitting across from each other on my white living room couch a few inches from where he was pinned down just a couple hours ago.
“This isn’t safe anymore. We need to lay low.” Piers says as he rubs his ankle.
“You need ice.”
“I’ll get it in a second.”
Silence. I don’t think either of us know what to do, and neither one of us wants to give up the book.
“My semester at the college ends in two weeks. I’ll try to finish it out. Maybe by that time things will cool off.” I clasp my hands together at his statement. Two weeks is a long time. Anybody could come back within that time.
“You don’t think they’ll come back? I’m afraid they will. I’m still shaky from earlier.” I fidget in my seat.
“I know you are but you did great today, thank you for helping me earlier.” Piers’ eyes water a little and grabs my hand. I let it rest there for a while. We both need the comfort.
“I don’t think we should travel during the next two weeks. Just to be safe.” He nods.
“The book should stay in the safe.” I nod. “We just have to be careful…that’s all.” Piers’ thumb strokes my hand thoughtlessly. That brings me into his gravity and I find myself drifting into his comfort. Before I know it my back is pressed to his chest. He kisses the crown of my head, but I don’t mind. All of this just exhausts me. I’m not sure how much more I’ll be able to stand.

~*~

Three days go by and nothing happens. Everything seems to return to its normal state. My nerves didn’t seem to receive the memo. Every noise, shifting shadow, and random stranger became a threat. I’m jumpier than normal, but I still return to the book store. I like to think Milo keeps me company while I stay there.
“Hello, beautiful.” I know who it is before I look up from my computer. My skin ripples into goose flesh.
“What are you doing here Matt?” I say clenching my desk.
“Don’t act like this is my fault.” He says advancing to my desk. He makes himself comfortable and sits on my desk.
“Get out.” I stand. “I don’t know what you’re angle is but you’re nothing but trouble. Get out.” I walk towards the door and open it. He sneers at me and walks towards the door, but before I can react he yanks me by my collar and slams me into the wall.
“Listen to me! You stupid half wit. I warned you, I told you to stop this and get rid of it. But you refuse.” He presses against me more firmly. I grown under his weight. “You’re just like him.” Instantly it registers.
“You knew Milo?” Tears pour out of my eyes.
“No.” He releases me. I slap him in the face as hard as I can manage and spit at his feet.
“You’re disgusting.” I say as tears drip onto my collar bones. I look over to see a mother and her little daughter hiding behind a book case. Matt catches on and clears his throat.
“Cesar… I’m-”
“Get out.” And he does.
I lean against the wall for support. Turns out the woman had called the police. They’re definitely tired of me by now.

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The Book of Gateways Installment 23

Latest installment of The Book of Gateways! Please comment and like! There is more to come! I actually have a plan this time around… 🙂

After a quick slip through the portal we drop into my shed in my backyard.
“Ow” I say as my knees buckle. Piers rests his head on the wall.
“Didn’t you say something about getting used to the shock?”
“Oh zip it. I’m not a portal scientist.” Piers gags.
The rest of the night seemed like it would be uneventful until we entered my house. All of my book cases were turned over, my couch was slashed, lamps were overturned, and my bedroom was torn apart. Panic rose to my ears as I looked to Piers.
“Stay here, and call the police.” Piers grabbed my wrist and stood me by the door then disappeared into the house. I do as I’m told and call the police. Piers returns shortly after I get off the phone with the police.
“No one is here anymore. Maybe we should look for anything missing.” He rubs his neck in frustration.
“I doubt anything is missing.” I say feeling nauseous. “Matt said I should be careful. I never thought something like this would happen.”
“You don’t know if they were after the book.”
“And if nothing is missing?”
Silence.
We look around and nothing is missing. My gut tells me they were after the Book of Gateways. The police finally come and take notes and pick around. Then we are left to clean up the mess.

“I don’t want you staying here alone.” Piers says grabbing a bedding set out of my hall closet.
“Well where are you going to stay?” I say grabbing the bedding from him.
“I don’t know I’ll stay downstairs. Or in the hallway.” He pauses for a while. “Bathroom?”
“You’re useless downstairs if someone comes back, I guess just stay in my room.” I put the bedding in the corner. Far far away. I shouldn’t really be nervous around him since we’ve spent so much time around each other. Especially when Milo first died.
The night goes on and I have jitters the whole time but I make myself tea and force myself to bed. I snuggle myself in to my soft blankets, give a few wriggles, and make a few squeaks. Then I roll over and realize that Piers is snickering in his stupid sleeping bag which makes me shrink under my blankets.
“Goodnight!” Piers says laughing. Then sleep overtakes me.

My eyes open for some unknown reason and my hairs stand on end. An eerie feeling is clutching my stomach and I’m still unsure for what reason. CRASH! Something down stairs slams into a wall.
“Piers!” I whisper. “Piers!”…No reply. I flick on my bedside lamp to reveal his empty bedding. Oh no.
I slip quietly out of my bed and pull out a safe box from underneath my bed. Push a few numbers and pull out a nine-millimeter handgun. My hands tremble as I load it. I never thought I would actually have to use it this way. I creep down the stairs with my hands clenching my gun. I peek my head around the corner of the hall to see a man in black pinning Piers to the ground. Piers’ face pressed into the carpet. All I can see is his muscles tensed and his shirt soaked with sweat. At this point my heart is beating against my chest so hard I think I’ll throw up. Just do it. My muscles tighten and I launch myself out in the open.
“DON’T MOVE!” I scream aiming the gun at the intruder’s chest. He shoves his foot into Piers more firmly and draws a gun and points it at his head.
“I WILL PUT A FREAKING BULLET IN YOUR CHEST!” I cock the gun. He doesn’t move. “Lay down on the floor and put your hands behind your head and cross your ankles!” Still no movement. “DO IT!” as I scream Piers pulls his arm free and slams his elbow into his attacker’s crotch. The man crumples to the floor. Piers yanks the gun from his hand. Piers immediately stands reversing his position. I crumple into the chair next to me and place my gun in my lap.
“Who are you working for?” Piers says through his teeth. “Cesar call the cops.” I oblige hands still shaking.
“What are you doing here?”
“You have no idea what you’ve gotten yourself into.” The man says into the floor.
“What are you talking about?” Piers yells. “What are you talking about?!” He kicks the man.
“Piers!” I stand from my chair. “Don’t be like this.”
Then the man quickly grabbed Piers’ ankle, twisted it and shoved him to the side. Piers fell to the floor in a disheveled heap. He made a quick getaway after he shoved me into the wall knocking the gun from my hand.

The police arrived shortly after.

Book of Gateways Installment 20

So I just forced myself out of a slump! Please like and comment! 🙂

“Hello there.” I hear his accent ring true.

“Hi, Matt.” I say smiling from my desk. “Can I help you find something?”

“You know I actually came to ask you to eat again. I figured it would be a more convenient time. It seems like you’ve been busy though.” He says leaning casually against my desk. For some reason I feel like he’s asking some underlying question. Something more than what is on the surface.

“Uh, not really I guess.” I say fidgeting with my hair.

“So how about it?”

“How about what?” I ask wrapping my hair into a messy bun.

“Food? Me? You?”

“I really can’t there’s no one here to watch the store and-.”

“I’ll bring it here then. You have to eat sometime don’t you?” He smiles effortlessly at me.

And like that he suckered my food order out of me and disappeared just as quickly as he had come in.

One customer comes in and moseys around the store while Matt sets down the food.

“You’re very determined…” Is all I say unwilling to eat. “How much do I owe you?” I pull out my wallet.

“No, no don’t worry about it, it’s my treat. Isn’t that what you are supposed to do for a date?” I almost spit out my Coke at the word “date”.

“Oh, is that what this is?…A date.” I say quietly.

“Not an ideal one for sure, but it is somewhere to start.” Matt chuckles. “At least you’re eating with me.”

“I suppose but I feel like you have a hidden agenda.” I say pushing the fried rice around in my to-go carton.

“Not at all… However, did you happen to get any books in on portals, like I had asked a while back?” He stuffs a large dumpling in his mouth.

“Not anything more than usual, it’s not really a popular subject around here I guess. I can make you a special order. I guess I was supposed to do that a while ago, huh? I forgot, sorry about that.”

“That’s alright…So, how have you been lately? I know it must’ve been difficult for you.” He says picking up a dumpling with his chopsticks. I swallow hard.

“I’ve been managing. Sometimes it’s easy to forgot, as if he’s just late to work. But most of the time it just feels like a pang of angst.” I shove a large bite of food into my mouth.

“I’m sorry to hear that, truly, I am.” He pauses for a long time looking down at his food almost as if he feels guilty. I feel icky all over. Then suddenly he looks up at me, smile as bright as ever, “You seemed to of just, disappeared in the beginning. Where did you go?” He drinks casually. I get a chill down my spine.

“I was mostly at home, or with Piers… Why do you ask?”

“I was just, worried. That’s all.” Do strangers usually worry like this? I feel a tingling at the base of my head.

“Matt, I don’t know what you’re trying to get at. You’re kind of unsettling me.” I say no longer hungry. Am I just being paranoid?…

“Listen, if you keep doing what I think you’re doing, then you should stop. That’s the only warning I can give you.” He smiles nicely again and continues to eat as if nothing was said. I shrink into my seat, a cold sweat drenching my neck. After that for the next half hour or so, Matt continues small talk that I try to involve myself in, I mostly nod and say yes or no.

Then the front door bell chimes its familiar sound as Piers saunters in. I sigh realizing I’ve been holding my breath. I look up and see a moment of hesitation on Piers’ face, and then return to normalcy.

“Are you ok? You look pale.” He says putting his shoulder bag down. I nod.

“Matt, stopped by for dinner.”

“A dinner date.” He adds and I swear I could die.

“That sounds nice.” Piers says with a genuine smile. “I’m just gunna grab my stuff and go up to the loft. Just let me know if you need me.” He says picking up his bag again.

“Matt was just about to leave.” I say. Matt smiles and stands.

“Have a nice night Cesar. Thank you for indulging me.” I smile and nod.

“Piers.” He nods again. Piers doesn’t respond.

Matt waves one last time as he opens the door and then disappears.

            “Are there anymore patrons here?” I shake my head no. Piers walks over to the door and locks it and turns the “open” sign off.

            “You need to be careful of that guy. He seems like a creep.” He sits down next to me. “Are you ok?”

            “Yes, I’m just a little shaken up… I think Matt knows we have the book.”

            “You told him?” Piers exclaims. I shake my head no.

            “He said he noticed I ‘disappeared’ a lot recently, and that if I’m doing what he thinks I’m doing then I should stop.” I look down at my sweating hands. Out of the corner of my eye I see Piers wipe his face with both of his hands as if to release stress.

            “What are we going to do?” I say just above a whisper.

            “I don’t know…But I don’t want to give that book up.”

            “But we could die.” But I don’t want to give it up either.

            We both sigh.

            “What was my uncle thinking?” We sit in silence.

Finally after about five minutes of thinking to ourselves Piers stands up.

            “Come on we’re going to my house. Last thing I need is creepy Artful Dodger coming and attacking you.” He says grabbing my bag. I can’t help but laugh. I follow him out, turn on the alarm, turn off the lights, and lock the door. Then I put my hand on the door of the book store and say a little prayer:

Lord, please protect this place. It’s one of the few things I have. Please protect that book. And please protect me and Piers. ~Amen.

I look up and see Piers looking at me with big swimming pool eyes.

            “What?” I say a little embarrassed.

            “Were you praying just now?”

            “Yes?” He smiles. “Why?”

            “I like that you are you.”

“Who else would I be?”

“Probably some punk.” He laughs and walks towards the bike. I think you’re the punk. I think as I scrunch my nose and follow him anyways.

The Book of Gateways (Installment 17)

Hey guys don’t forget to like and comment! Thanks! 🙂

We leave the shop and turn the corner down the alley and to the back of the shop. A little emergency exit and square window adorn the back.

            “What are we doing?” I feel very confused.

            “We’re going back to the office.” Piers says matter-of-factly. I give him a strange look. “I unlocked the window after I used the restroom so we could get back in without being seen. I roll my eyes. “What? We don’t know how this thing works yet. We need to get back in there.” He says and pitches the window open. The window is smaller and I’m wondering how Piers is going to manage to shimmy his way through. I pull myself up and through the window and manage to somehow quietly “fall” into the room. Piers does the same except his hips get caught slightly and I lose the battle of stopping myself from pinching his side. He swats my hand away.

            “Get away from me you meanie.” He scrunches his nose. He shifts himself around a bit and proceeds to slip into the room. He pulls out the book and I feel a tremor violently run through me. My heart starts to pound and my hands begin to feel clammy. I swallow the lump in my throat and nod to Piers. He opens the leather book and leafs through the pictures until he finds the one labeled: “Oakland Book Store”. I start to feel light headed and make myself take a breath relieving the sensation. He looks up at me and I see the excitement and anticipation in his eyes. I feel afraid but then I realize I must be mirroring the same expression as him because he smiles and squeezes my hand. I take another deep breath. He nods to me and I nod back. Then I see his pointer finger hover over to the little oval and my reflexes cause me to grab his forearm. He looks at me questioningly. I take another breath and hug his arm and give him a nod. He smiles at me reassuringly and presses his finger to the oval and I see him grow uncomfortable as the page heats up. The same shimmering icy colored blue lighting up the page. I force myself to take in deep steady breathes to cope with the dizziness. The room starts to swirl and I start to feel the pressure like last time. It’s getting harder to breathe. Black patches start to barrage my sight and I try to blink them out. I feel like I’m about to pass out but I manage to suck in a big gulp of air. My body feels like it’s being sucked in by the energy of the book. I feel the pressure double and that’s the most I can stand. Everything goes dark.

 

            “Cesar.” I hear the steady voice from the dark. My head is spinning. “Cesar.” My eyes roll around in my head as my muscles work overtime to open my eyelids. The light is harsh and causes me to flinch. Piers is hovering over me. The color is still drained from his face. I start to laugh. His brow furrows. “Do you have a concussion?” He asks with concern as he pries my eyelids open to look for dilated pupils. I shake my head and manage to poke my eye on his finger.

            “Ow!” I huff and slap his hand away. I hear him mumble an apology. “Did we make it?” I look around and see that we’re in the backroom of our shop. No kittens with “x’d” out eyes. I smile and start to laugh. “We did it! We did it!” I can’t control my laughter and throw my arms around Piers’ neck and give him a squeeze. “Ah we did it!”.  I lay myself down on my back taking in deep satisfied breaths. Piers lays next to me, and I can tell he is just as happy. I turn my head and we both smile widely.

This adventure is just beginning.

The Book of Gateways (Installment 15)

Hey guys! Don’t forget to leave comments telling me what you think about the characters and what you like and don’t like! Thanks so much! 🙂

We finish breakfast and head back to the store. On the way back I hang behind Piers a little to make sure the book is still tucked into his waistline. As he walks I can see the corner of the book make a crease in his shirt with every stride. Then suddenly Piers looks behind him and gives me a weird look. I look back at him my eyebrows in a high arch. Ah, no! I’m not checking you out! I think to myself and hurry to his side.

            Listen I know that seemed weird but I was just making sure the… you know, was there. I wanted to make sure it didn’t fall out.” I say in hushed tones.

            “Sure, sure, Cesar. I know what you were really doing.” He puts on a look of scrutiny. My face must contort because he starts to laugh. “I’m just kidding calm down.” He laughs some more.

            “Hello good friend!” Desimae backs up between us and throws her arm around each of our shoulders. “New friend!” She looks to me. “I need to get out of this sun child! I do not need a tan! Although black don’t crack honey so I don’t know what I’m worried about!” She nonchalantly pushes off of us and frolics to Lannah and throws her arm around her shoulder bubbling with other weird things to say. Piers’ has such bizarre friends.

            “How long are we going to stay here?” I ask Piers as we continue to walk to the shop.

            “We can stay as long or as short as we like! Don’t you see? This is how my uncle went to England for two days or to China for just a day and came back! He used the book and was fine!” Piers grabs my bicep and squeeze a little to show his excitement.

            “Yes, but then things got out of control and someone hunted him down till they found him and killed him.” I say as fear starts to creep in.

            “No one has to know we have it. If we are careful and make it look like we actually flew everywhere we’ll be fine.” Piers says confidently “It’s all how we play this out.”

            “Piers, this is not a game. We can’t ‘play out’ being murdered. There was no trace of evidence to help Milo, and there will be no trace of us if we keep doing this.” I try to appeal to his logic.

            “Cesar… please. This is the closes we will get to being with my uncle. He left me his legacy. Almost all of it. No one else is eligible to take it. He knew I could handle it. That you could handle it.” He says stopping me for a second on the sidewalk.

            “What are you talking about Piers?” I’m now confused and frustrated.

            “Milo left you the Maryland location of the book store. It’s yours.” Piers quiets down to let that sink in. “I didn’t want to say anything in front of the other girls, but her left you that location. He also left a note saying he wanted you to help me in my future endeavors to keep Milo’s business alive…Cesar, Milo wrote his will a month before he passed.” We both sit there quietly. “He knew what was eventually going to happen and he wanted us to take care of the remaining.” What if I don’t want to ‘take care of the remaining’? I think to myself. I feel a little bit of anger flood my mind. Why would he eternally tie me to the shops? The work, Piers, the danger. Why would he do this?

            “Why?” I feel tension in my voice.

            “Don’t be angry.” Piers moves towards me but thinks better of it and backs up. “Milo was getting older, he wanted younger people he loved to do what he loved. You and I both know we love it too.” He says softly. A car with a loud engine goes by distracting my attention.

            “I don’t think I can handle this ‘adventurous’ lifestyle.” I put my fingers in quotes.

            “You don’t know that yet.” Piers smiles. “Come on.” He says and holds out his hand.

            “Come on what, Piers?” I say thoroughly exasperated.

            “Do you trust me?”

            “I waiver.” I say dryly

            “Will you trust me?” He rephrases the question. I nod ‘yes’.

            “Then let’s go on an adventure.” He holds out his hand again. For a second I feel the anxiety come back rushing through my veins and I feel the “fight or flight” response kick in, but I swallow it. I press it deep down and realize the nagging sensation in the bottom of my stomach.

The urge to go through the portal again.

 

The Book of Gateways (Installment 13)

We step out the door of “Milo’s Book Store San Diego”. Lannah locks the front door with a familiar “click.” We walk down a block or two on the sidewalk while cars zip back and forth and horns blare. I see large palm trees and Indie coffee shops. The smells of a different place all overwhelming me. I have never been to California before. It’s so different. My gaze gradually locks on the ground. I feel anxiety start to wash over me. My fingertips are going numb. I can’t seem to do anything but watch the three sets of feet walk ahead of me. Before I realize it we’re sitting down in a café booth. Sounds are starting to dull as if I’m being held under the water. I feel my foot tap to shake off the anxiety. I still can’t believe we’re here.

“Cesar.” I feel my shoulder being shaken.

“Hmm? Ah I just need a- I need to go outside.” I jump up and race to the back exit near the bathrooms. I spring through the exit that opens into a back parking lot. I sit down against the building. I’m starting to hyperventilate as a loud high pitched noise starts to ring in my ears. I clamp my hands to my head to muffle the noise. It doesn’t help. Then I feel warmth on my hands and I see Piers. Everything but the squealing noise is still muffled. He pulls my hands away from my ears.

“What are you doing?” He’s crouched in front of me. His voice is still far away. I shake my head. “Are you feeling sick?” I nod yes, but I don’t know why. I was fine not too long ago.

“I know all of this is weird, ok?” He looks at me sincerely. I nod again. He starts to rub my shoulder. I still feel tremors running down my spine. I look into his eyes and they’re strong and confident, but an excitement is being held at bay. I feel my hair stand on end. He’s enjoying all of this. I feel the nausea come back.

“I think I’m gunna- oh no!” I shove Piers back and heave to my right. A nasty mix of bile and remaining food presents itself on the asphalt floor. I pull myself onto all fours and continue to spew what’s left inside my stomach. I can’t do this. I wipe the crap from my lips with the back of my hand and plop back down on my butt and spit out the sour saliva in my mouth.  I see Piers’ face quickly go from disgusted to neutral again. Great.

“I can’t do this Piers. I can’t go through a black hole or whatever it is! Maybe Milo could live like that but I can’t! I’m not going to either! It sounds great in the books and everything but portals are terrible.” I choke out the last bit and feel the anxiety start spreading through me again. I was not made for adventures like this clearly.

“Do you have five hundred dollars for a plane ticket home?” He grabs my shoulders again to bring me back to attention.

“So you mean you want to go home through the book?” My mouth is suspended open.

“I told you my Uncle had something going on. Something secret, and I want to know how and what he was doing. I’m determined. There has to be a way to use the book easier without the sickness and uneasiness.” I’m in shock.

“This isn’t like the movies Piers. You can’t just go and figure things out! This book could kill us! Now we know why Milo was murdered. They wanted the book and once they know we have it they will come and find us and kill us.” I grab Piers’ wrist.

“It’ll work out. No one will know and we will avoid getting killed. There has to be a way to easily navigate that book.” I’m sick of his logical reasoning. “Besides you and I both can’t afford plane tickets home. For now we have to take a deep breath and have breakfast.” I now he’s right. I feel my stomach growl, now emptied from its earlier discharge. I suck in a few deep breaths and stand up. Piers helps steady me as my legs shake from my vomiting ordeal. I hate throwing up. Piers nods to me, I nod in response and we both enter the café.