Voice Module








In Memory
Sean Pettibone




A Meeting at Three

I didnít quite understand what was happening around me. The colors and shapes were filling the entire world, overwhelming my senses. It felt very strange, all that information all at once. I couldnít begin to process all of it, as much as I tried to. I wondered why she had given me so little for so long, then so much. I waited and watched and after a few minutes, I began to detect a change. Slowly, the cacophony began to subside and the night sky resumed a more normal appearance. The stars and constellations retook their prominent place in the skies and the calm, quiet in the atmosphere was reassuring. I saw her start to walk in another direction and took a deep long, look trying to soak in as many details as I could. I took a deep breath and felt the wind begin to pick up at my back. I turned around and she had vanished, sliding back into the night. She didnít say a word or give me a clue, leaving me to find my way alone. I looked around and saw the long path back to the bottom of the hill we had climbed a few minutes earlier. I nervously walked down the creaking steps and narrow walkways, navigating it uncertain surfaces and twisting paths on my own. It took longer going down the unfamiliar paths but I decided to keep walking on the same path to which Iíd arrived and I quickly returned to the bottom towards the odd shores, with its uneven sands and steady surfaces, hoping to locate place where Iíd arrived. Iíd lost track of how long Iíd been there, but the stars above seemed to have shifted and didnít twinkle as vividly as they had earlier. I looked around and felt a little lost under the layers of constellations swirling above me. The seemed to clash with each other and the clouds made an overwhelming experience. The many things Iíd seen and learned over the past few hours were still swirling around my head. I took a moment and tried to grasp what was happening. I stumbled around for a moment, trying to understand and make sense of things. It was a little beyond my abilities at that moment and I decided I needed to take a break. I walked further down the path and felt the confusion slowly resolve as the night began to overtake the chaos and its confusion slowly began to dissipate.  

I focused on my journey and found myself moving faster. I was relieved and tired, that the longest part of my journey was at its end. I took a few steps closer towards the glowing beam which was still pulsing and cycling through different colors. At first, it was straight and intense, focused on a single spot, a beacon radiating in the night. As I moved closer to it, dawn began to break in the distance. This made it harder to see the laser, which also seemed to splinter into different beams, making it difficult to navigate. I decided to walk down towards the shore and walk along it one last time. I followed the waves as they lapped at my feet and felt the sunshine begin to brighten the sky. I saw the early morning shadows of my feet crossing the sand in front of me. It seemed more tranquil and solid than when I arrived. My feet didnít sink into the sand the way they had and seemed to be almost floating above the ground. I looked towards the sky and its clouds seemed to surround one another, forming a barrier. It was like they were trying to persuade me not to leave. I looked down and saw the laser still shining in the distance. I turned away and looked back to the mountain. I knew there was no one there and it seemed lonely and deserted, abandoned, almost forlorn. Resuming my walk back, I noticed that the laser had changed in intensity and had splintered into even more paths. The fragments divided the skies and led in contradicting directions. It seemed like someone was trying to keep me there for awhile longer. I tried to see if there was one line that seemed more important than the others, but they all seemed equally disconnected. The straight path was suddenly going in hundreds of directions. This was confusing at first, but I quickly determined that I would be able to find an alternate way of navigation.

As I moved closer, things became a clearer. Under the early sunlight, the disconnected lines seemed to be pointing closer to the ground, and it seemed like they were directing me back towards the seashire. As the early morning sun grew stronger and overtook the dawn, the laserís splintered beams began to waver in strength and intensity.  I paused for a moment and looked back towards the opposing direction. I hadnít realized how far I had walked in so quickly. I saw the steps to the mountain withdrawing into the rapidly diminishing night, almost vanishing as they submerged, become less visible as the slipped beneath the slowly brightening horizon. As I got further away, the skies calmed down until they were nearly still. The clouds moved away, revealing more of the strange constellations quietly hovering overhead. Examining them, they seemed to act as a secondary guide and I continued back towards the strange portal. I turned and finally regained momentum, going quicker as my feet became increasingly confident. I walked down the path, until I had nearly reached the point where I had entered that place initially.

It was hard to find, nearly hidden behind a wall, but I soon stood in front of a familiar, glowing portal ahead of me. The point of entry was finally visible its shape gave me immediate recognition. I knew I had arrived in the right place. I sensed that the moment of departure. I took one last look above towards the skies and looked towards the constellations. They werenít as defined in the sunlight, they werenít as visible, but were unchanged. The lights and winds had no effect, despite the chaos that surrounded them in the skies the stars hadnít moved. I turned back towards the portal and looked straight ahead. I took my time until it was positioned directly ahead of me, right in front of my feet. I stood there for a moment and remembered how much trepidation Iíd encountered when I arrived.  I didnít want to leave, but I remembered how nothing had changed in the stars, despite all the events Iíd encountered. This reassured me and I realized that nothing to stand in my way if I wanted to return. I couldnít make up my mind. Either I could stay and risk becoming irretrievably lost in that strange world or I would choose to return home to take a break and attempt to rejoin the normal world. If I went home, Iíd have time to recharge and organize this new information and my thoughts. My choice was made recognizing that there was no set time or place for another visit. I wasnít sure what would happen next or what awaited me. I took a moment to think things through and decided to return home, at least for awhile. I did this despite my trepidation and uncertainty about the path ahead. I nervously moved towards the doorway and after a tentative steps forward, I passed through the door and quickly moved into its glowing embrace. I wondered what this meant, and worried that I had fallen short of expectations. I didnít know if she watched me leave, but I wasnít afraid. I walked closer and there was a sudden burst of light surrounding me, then something unexpected occurred.

In a moment, I found myself standing in front of my home. I was a little disoriented and it felt my head was swimming. it was like waking up from a long sleep, after a particularly vivid dream.  The first thing I felt was a sudden burst of warm, summer air, which bathed my tired limbs. I looked around and while I was in familiar surroundings, everything felt different. As I looked around, nothing seemed to have changed outwardly. I looked above at the skies and the sun seemed like it hadnít moved and was in the same place, and the clouds seemed to be arranged in nearly identical formations as when I made my first steps. If I didnít know any better, it would have felt like an unremarkable summer day, but my perceptions had changed irrevocably. Even the trees and bushes looked different, despite being in the same place. My long trip through those cascading encounters felt like it had lasted for days but before the sunís gaze, it would seem like only a few minutes had passed. To all appearances in the outside world, no one would know that I could have been away for days. Time seemed to have played a trick, seeming to stand still, giving me cover. There was no evidence of my journey, no trace of my footsteps, or my long trip through the hidden forest. It had occurred without anyone noticing. I tried to remember what I saw and catalogued what I learned; the notes were in my head, not on paper. No one else could know and that was the best way for me to process what had happened. I took the long way back around, hiding behind the house and climbed onto the rock formations, kneeling down to keep myself hidden behind the fence for a few minutes. I could feel the sun on my arms and head, but it wasnít particularly warm that day. A cool breeze blew up the hill, lifting the blades of grass with them, blowing dust aloft as the trees above me swayed gently, nudged gently by autumnal winds. I looked up at the sky, and cowered as I saw the blue skies with only a few transient clouds periodically floating above me. It was quiet outside, no one was watching over me. I was alone and thought of what I had just been through. I kept it to myself, but the searing experience kept swirling through me, the calmness on the outside barely contained what I was hiding. I closed my eyes for a moment and the chaotic swirls of colors and symbols remained fresh in my mind. I waited there for awhile, hunched down, not wanting anyone to see me.

Feeling the dayís heat growing stronger, the sun became more prominent, its intense light vividly on display. There was almost a hint of the past as the afternoon sun intensified. When I closed my eyes, I could almost feel the ocean breeze on my skin, gently washing over the shore. I was at the beach again for a fleeting moment, searching through the sea shells, swimming under its waves and diving, exploring its seemingly endless sands for what seemed like forever. I wasnít expecting these memories to come back so vividly, but I welcomed the relief they brought me. I decided to move back down a bit since I felt a little exposed in the sunlight and hunched down, almost crawling on my hands and feet. I found a safe position behind the thick trunk of one of the tall trees. I nudged up against its side and watched the distant skies above, a sea of blue now blocked by its thick branches. I took a deep breath and felt the air come inside my lungs. It calmed my nerves and I closed my eyes again. I relived the same moments, but It was different. It felt like I was seeing myself from a distance, I looked like a small figure, slowly navigating between the trees, half-stepping between brushes and thick branches, nervously looking behind my back as I progressed. I saw her shadowy form beside me and I could see her hands guiding, almost directing me where to look and what to see. I turned away from her for a moment and opened my eyes. Considering the distractions Iíd encountered, it was difficult to find out what I really needed to pay attention to. She helped steer me in the direction and I remembered things that I had almost forgotten. I looked around and took my hands off the ground and sat down. I began to move them around, manipulating them to form shapes and figures in the air like the ones Iíd seen, but they became more real as I repeated them. Slowly and carefully, I began to reassemble the sequences and forms, making longer strings. Methodically, I took them and changed their order until my motions began to make sense. In their own way, they were a communication, spoken in a wordless language only we could have understood.

I closed my eyes, and thought back on the long journeys Iíd taken, walking alone under the moonlit skies, wandering and exploring. I hadnít really expected to find much outside, but what I discovered began to make more sense as time went along. I took a deep breath and opened my eyes. Looking above, the skies seemed calm and clear, it was a relief to see them not changing colors, which meant I was back in the normal world, at least temporarily. I scuttled closer to the wooden fence, leaning onto it to support my back. I looked down onto the ground and saw scattered tiny pebbles running down the ground, rolling between my shoes. I reached down and grabbed a couple of them and looked closely. They seemed more important as I examined them, each one reflecting a different sparkling pattern. I circled them around in my hands, swirling them into motions and opened my fingers slowly, letting them slide through my hands, back onto the ground. I watched them return to the ground, falling in all different directions until they seemed to vanish once again into the dirt. As they settled, I wondered if theyíd form any interesting patterns or shapes. I couldnít really see anything special but they seemed to sparkle slightly in the sunlight.  

The rocks seemed a little loose, so I pushed them down and set them back deeper into the dirt, rolling them into the ground with my feet. I took a moment and looked at the newly formed shape of the ground and it was still obvious that something had been there recently. I moved some more dirt around, so that it looked like the area had been untouched and covered my tracks. I didnít want any body to know that I had been there and didnít want someone following me. I sat there for a few minutes, my head still swirling around but I began to reacquaint myself that other world, slowly returning to what was a normal reality. None of this meant I had forgotten the lessons I had learned, but I had to take them and use them in a different way. I remembered the way she motioned towards me and how I responded with a few cautious steps, slowly following her lead. As my confidence grew, I became better at anticipating what she wanted me to do. I waited there and took my time, looking for a hidden message, a secret code, anything. There were no obvious signals, but I decided that not enough time had passed and soaked in the moment. I stood up for a moment and looked upwards, allowing the sunlight to sneak through the branches covering my position. I was exposed for a moment and was nervous Iíd be discovered. I moved carefully, not wanting to accidentally announce my presence. I check each step and worried that even this somehow signaled my presence to the outside world. Walking slowly back up the hill towards the door of my house, I noticed something odd from of the corner of my eye. Standing against a wall, there was a winter sleigh from the previous year. I thought it had been locked up in the garage, it certainly wasnít supposed to be there. Someone must have forgotten to put it away and it looked strangely out of place in the summer sun, like a relic from another distant time. So much had happened since the winter, but none of it seemed to make sense to me. As I picked it up, I could still feel the cold flowing through the ends of my fingers though my thin gloves. For a moment, I was crashing down the snow-covered hills again, cruising down the steep embankments. I tilted its steering handles and adjusted its slightly yellowed but still strong ropes. They seemed thinner not nearly as sturdy as I remembered. Its wood seemed a little faded, probably due to the months of exposure.

I held the sleigh up to the sunlight and examined its underside briefly, examining its wooden planks, metal fasteners and rope for any signs of breaking or rusting. It seemed to be in fairly good condition considering how long it had been exposed. I tied the ropes back behind it and brushed off some dust from it. I placed it under my arm and carefully carried it towards the doorway to put it back in its right place. It was safe without the sunlight burning it and was now hidden from view, finally resting on its side, a long time after it should have. It seemed like another way that time seemed to have gone out of sync, blurring into a series of garbled memories, rapidly shifting and merging into one another. I realized I had overlooked it, probably rushing by it, forgotten in the chaos of a winter stormís aftermath. It might have been left there for days or months, but I couldnít be sure. It looked strange, sitting there under the sunlight, it didnít belong. I decided not to let it sit there boiling under the sun another moment. I rescued it from its exposed position, brought it safely back inside, away from the relentless heat. I opened the doorway and placed it on its side, behind the doorway between the storage shelves. Looking around, I noticed a small cardboard box that had been left there, nearly forgotten. There was a small layer of dust on the top, but it was still closed shut. I remembered what it was and worried for a moment that someone had opened it. I decided to walk towards it and examine it, wondering how something so obvious could have been overlooked. I was relieved to see that it hadnít been opened. I took it off the ground and lifted it up, I could tell immediately that no one had disturbed it contents or removed anything. I took it under my arm and went upstairs quickly. I hid it deep inside a closet, putting it behind another box, hoping that no one would find it. I closed the door and went back outside, relieved that I had secured another secret. I looked over the ground and surrounding areas and was relieved to see that nothing else was there that I had mistakenly glossed over, and quickly went back to absorbing the outside, and found myself looking upwards toward the skies. The afternoon was growing a little late at that point, and I scanned the horizon with a renewed focus that gave me direction. I finally had arrived at a purpose and thought I had some idea where I was supposed to be going.

I decided not to hesitate and headed right back out into the outside. I still was tired from the journey but had figured out something else. I needed to go back and couldnít wait for another day to pass. It was an odd realization but one that made sense to me. Looking inside the almost forgotten box I discovered, I was reminded what had gotten me there in the first place. It had all come back to me and this sudden thought made me impatient to get back there. I walked down the hill again and left the sleigh and its visions of snowy days behind as I was immediately transported back to my adventures. They suddenly meant a lot more to me at the moment. I took a few hasty steps and quickly walked out towards the road, watching for anything that might impede my progress. I looked around the corner and began another journey. I picked up the pace and quickly made my way back towards the main road, where I took a short-cut through a familiar gate. I walked up the hills and steps, slowly making my way back there. I was finally in a good, safe place and paused to keep myself from getting overly tired. I was determined not to let the moment slip away and pushed to keep going despite the sense of exhaustion I was feeling. I remembered what I had learned over the previous days and didnít want to lose any momentum. I flashed back and saw her face and remembered how disappointing it was when I left, how it seemed to end prematurely. I ran away in fear when things got too intense and wasnít sure how to make up for it.

I felt like I had let her down and wanted another chance. This steadied my resolve and I took a few deliberate steps back towards the forest. I was a little nervous about being spotted, even though I knew no one else was around. As a precaution, I took cover and knelt down, hiding myself carefully behind a group of thick bushes. I could feel my body slowly coming down towards the ground once again towards invisibility and its accompanying safety. I looked up through its thick branches and shape leaves, watching the sun making its afternoon turn towards the west, gradually subsiding into the distant horizon. I was in familiar territory and I got up off the ground and took a few steps back into the silent park, deserted as it was but not nearly as forbidding. I walked forward once again, but knowing which path I would take made the renewed journey seem simpler. There would be no long diversions into dead ends this time. I walked faster, almost running, to reach the destination. I reached another gate, locked up and nearly hidden, but this time the combination of letters and symbols was nearly second nature and it took me almost little effort to defeat its puzzle. I noticed the shadows falling behind my steps under the later sun, seeming to push me to go even faster. The air was still warm, but not in the way that it could be in the summer, unnaturally heated like the inside of a sauna, almost airless in its intensity. As I reached the peak once again, the atmosphere felt different in its thinness, it was like processed air which was an odd feeling in the middle of the trees.

I felt a different energy as I walked up the hill and reached a familiar grouping of steps. Things felt different but I couldnít quite figure out how. I felt strange being back there again after so little time had passed. I looked up and saw the outlines of that building reverting into the shadows, barely visible behind a thick grouping of trees and brush. Its thick doors were hidden from view, nearly invisible unless someone was looking closely. I stood there for awhile and felt its energy even from that distance. I couldnít quite place what was supposed to be occurring, it wasnít what I was expecting to find. I decided to walk closer, and as I came around the bend and arrived at the bottom, I stood directly in front of it. I examined the forms and it seemed like there was a different set of symbols on the door. I couldnít understand why someone would have changed them on me, without warning. It had only been a couple of hours, not even a day had passed. I examined the symbols closely and I didnít recognize any of them. I moved in closer to get more detail, but they had all completely changed, their patterns and shapes eluded my attempts to decipher their codes. I stood there for a minute, trying to remember the combination from the last time, and it seemed lost on me Ė I was completely lost as to their meaning. There was no way that the door was opening. I hadnít expected this and wondered why something could seem so completely different and closed in what seemed such a short time. I remembered how excited I was the previous day but now, it seemed like a lost cause. I stood there for a few minutes and decided to at least attempt to get the door open again. I tried different combinations and sequences to no effect; there wasnít even a click when I pushed the buttons in the same order. Nothing approximating anything seemed to happen. I looked for things in the surrounding areas and there were no signs there, no keys, or guides. Despite my best efforts, I had reached another dead end. I was frustrated, despite knowing the right path, it had gotten me nowhere and I was lost. The conclusions I made no longer made any sense

I stood there for a few minutes, wondering what I had done wrong. None of my plans seemed to have worked, I had journeyed all the way back there for nothing. I could see the sun glaring between the heavy branches overhead, its intensity only growing in the mid-afternoon. Looking around, the area surrounding me was completely deserted. I scanned the surrounding area carefully. Nothing was moving. There wasnít a sound or sign of life to be seen or heard anywhere nearby. It was strangely reassuring since nobody would know I was there. It was a thankfully peaceful moment, a place where I could pause to collect my thoughts and catalog my experiences. I took a deep breath and closed my eyes. In a moment, it was winter. I felt the breeze on my face as I rushed down the hill on my neglected sleigh, accelerating while training my direction towards the bottom, all while trying to stay balanced and in control. I saw the clouds overhead running over each other, swirling around quickly. The winds started blowing, attempting to draw me off course, but I persisted. Shooting waves of crisp cold air penetrated my gloves, numbing my fingers. This made steering more difficult but I was able to maintain enough to control my direction until I reached the bottom of the hill. Sliding down and turning, I slowed down until I stopped.  Standing up quickly, I ran back up the hill and began to make preparations for another run down. I was lost back in that moment for a time but suddenly felt something different. I stood on top of the hill and realized that my feet were numb and cold, and it didnít feel like a dream any longer.

I opened my eyes and found myself suddenly realizing that I was suddenly inside a world transformed. Suddenly, it was cold there, too. The summer sun had vanished under grey skies and the heat had dissipated without warning, replaced by a stark atmosphere. I looked around and the season had changed. The trees were barren, their branches empty of leaves. Clusters of rocks appeared where grasses had been. I walked a few steps I felt layers of soft snow kicking up under my feet. I didnít know how it happened but the world suddenly turned frigid in the blink of an eye. This was disorienting and at first, I thought I was daydreaming. I closed my eyes a few more times to make sure, but it was still cold. This was completely unexpected, and I stood still for a moment a looked for a sign. I listened closely, there was not a sound. I felt a brisk wind coming up the hill that went right through my clothes, chilling my body quickly. Immediately, I felt a bit out of place, like I didnít belong, I had done something. There was another rush of wind and I immediately felt even colder. With little protection, I suddenly felt vulnerable to the cold, and had little to keep me warm out there. I looked back towards the door and moved closer to it, desperately seeking a way inside. I stood there and tried to press the buttons on them, but they were frozen in place and gave no indication of responding to my touch. I tried several different ways, but they wouldnít budge at all. I took a step back once again amid the suddenly threatening storm, gathering around me and walked towards the entryway, not sure of my place. I no longer felt welcome there, and wondered what I had done to unleash its unexpectedly frigid vengeance.

The longer I stood there, the colder it seemed to become. I attempted several mind tricks to try and reverse the sudden change. Nothing changed no matter what I did and I was becoming increasingly frustrated and alarmed, I wondered if there was some way that I could change things back. This was no longer a place I wanted to be. I was too small and afraid. The world seemed to be closing in on me and I felt completely alone. I walked to the door and stood right against it, trying as best I could to protect myself from the wind when I felt the snow start to fall on me. I closed my eyes again and tried to think about the summer and walking on the beach, but it didnít work. When I looked around, it was still cold. The snow began to fall at a faster pace and it suddenly felt like the world was closing in on me. Everything suddenly began to disappear under layers of white, and as the minutes passed, I couldnít see anything closer than a few feet away. I took a few steps away from the wall and stood there for a moment, the symbols on it were quickly disappearing under the snow, making them nearly invisible. I didnít know what to do, and felt suddenly hopeless. I watched the snow begin to come at an even faster pace until it became impossible to see even my hands in front of me. I wandered around the edges of the entrance but couldnít find any way inside. I decided the best thing to do would be to wait and hope for the best. Standing there, I knew it had been a bad idea to go back. There was no one and nothing for me there, it had all been a strange summer fantasy, and now here I was, suddenly transported in time, and completely unprepared for what was happening. Suddenly, I felt someone poke my back sharply almost pushing me off balance. I turned around and saw a mysterious figure standing behind me.  

I was startled by this unexpected event. I had thought I was alone out in the cold. There was a witness to what was happening. Her appearance was immediately striking; she seemed as out of place there as I did but in a different way. She was nearly twice as tall me, and her face was nearly half-covered by long, curly hair, cascading down past her shoulders in the back. It blew around in the strong winds, further obscuring her face which I couldnít really make out. She was wearing a long black outfit, elaborately constructed in multiple flowing layers out of a strange otherworldly material. It was covered in small blue crystals that glistened against the snow. They looked like translucent blue ice, covering her entire body, seeming to offer a kind of protection or barrier from some unknown force. She seemed stronger than I was expecting, impervious against the raging snows. She was headstrong and determined with her deliberate movements, unable to be stopped by the storms around her and completely unfazed, or at least unaware of how strange seemed. I wasnít sure why she appeared at that moment. After that Iíd been through, this was the most unexpected event. I had the strangest feeling when I looked at her, that I couldnít describe. I noticed something odd when I looked at her, she seemed to almost float over the snow as she walked, I couldnít see her feet when she moved. I looked behind her and she left no trace of footsteps behind her. She moved closer towards me but I wasnít sure what she was doing. She wouldnít take her gaze from me. Through the waves I would sporadically make contact with her mysterious eyes. It seemed like she could see right through me, which was unnerving and frightening, even for a weird kid like me. She seemed to know who I was, what I was looking for and, where Iíd been. I didnít know anything about her, and wondered how or if, she knew the other mysterious figure Iíd encountered over those few months. However, I couldnít seem to hide my own secrets from her. There was nothing she didnít seem to know about me.

I glanced at the skies above and they seemed to be churning even faster, the winds began to how and the snow turned my field of vision nearly opaque. I put my hands in front of my face and could barely see the outlines of my fingers, which were numb and frigid. The world seemed to have frozen in place and I closed my eyes for a moment and imagined it was summer again. Familiar beaches, walks on the piers, swimming, diving and trips to the arcade came flashing back to me. In my imagination, I walked on the sands and watched the waves come over my feet. I picked up sea shells and rocks. I opened my eyes expecting everything to have changed back. The technique didnít work, and I was still surrounded by cold and snow. I could feel the snow covering my sneakers almost completely at this point. I remembered the woman Iíd seen before. I stood still for a moment and there remained an unknown presence nearby. I knew that someone was there. She seemed to be guarding the doorway, standing in my path, warily watching my every step. I could sense that the mysterious woman was standing close by, even though I couldnít see her at all through the icy sheets of snow. I walked sideways looking for something to guide me, moving away from the door, but not too far. I tried to signal that I wasnít a threat, that I meant no harm. I wasnít sure if she knew who I was, or who I was looking for. I couldnít figure out how I could have alerted her. I remembered pressing the button on the door, which might have told her there was someone there.  

It was silent and growing colder; the door seemed to slip gradually out of reach, becoming less visible as I moved farther back. After moving around in small circles for a few minutes, I decided to pause for a moment and rest. My feet had grown numb and tired from the cold and I stood there for a moment until they regained some feeling. I waited for a moment, the only sounds my breath growing colder and harder as the atmosphere raged around me. I could the numbness overcoming my hands and feet and slowly the frost permeated my body. Suddenly, another set of violet eyes appeared through the squalls and she was staring directly into mine. She seemed puzzled by me at first, but I guess she sensed my fear and decided to help me. I felt her grab my hand sharply and firmly. She pushed me back towards the building, which at that point, I could barely trace the outlines of its dimensions. Each step seemed to take forever but she pushed me forward, yanking on my arm violently when Iíd fall back a little. We finally reached the doorway. I could see her manipulating the buttons, effortlessly and quickly, her long fingers arranged the sequence and the door slowly began to open, though not all the way like it had before. She pushed me to the other side of the gateway and it quickly close behind us, closing with a loud thud. It was warm inside and feeling quickly returned to my body. We were safe, at least for the moment.

- Michael Palisano