Just what is Oblivion, anyway?
The pixie jumped ever upwards, leading the trio on a wild chase up the face of the Binding Gate until they reached a platform jutting out beneath the Pandora Lock.
“Now I got ya!” Deka exclaimed, cornering the pixie. The pixie shivered, then dropped the videotape and flew away into the darkness.
“Oh my gods, that was so close,” Pedro said, delicately picking up the tape.
“Dang. Almost had it,” Deka said, shaking her head. Sheridan’s shadow patted Deka’s shadow on the back.
“Okay. I think we’ve had enough fun for one day,” Pedro said.
“Speak for yourself,” Deka replied.
“I always do,” Pedro said.
“Seriously, look at that lock. It’s huge!” Deka said, looking up at the massive mechanism.
“Yeah, it’s a feat of craftsmanship, but I’m tired and I want to go to my room.”
“Don’t be such a stick in the mud, Pedro. We have to start getting used to this kind of life. The exciting life! It’s our destiny as heroes.”
“My destiny is to run my dad’s company after he steps down. This program is just baby-sitting as far as he’s concerned. Nothing exciting about it.”
“Oh right. Man, your life’s depressing.”
“Thanks.” Pedro looked around. “Hey, where’s the new guy?” he asked.
They both looked over the edge of the platform they were on. Esteban was far below, clinging to the face of the gate for dear life. Screaming.
“I got him,” Deka said. She jumped down, nabbed him, then jumped back up. Esteban continued to scream. “What a set of lungs he’s got on him,” she observed.
“Why’d you bring him up here? I thought we were leaving,” Pedro said.
“We are. Right after I get a closer look at this lock,” Deka replied. Pedro sighed. “You can see inside it! Look. Up there. It’s got all kinds of weird things turning in there. I wanna check it out.”
“I’m good. Go get your selfies and then let’s get out of here,” Pedro said.
“Your loss. Heeyup!” Deka grunted as she leapt up inside the house-sized lock. Sheridan’s shadow followed close behind.
“Dude, breathe,” Pedro said, shaking Esteban.
Esteban took a breath. Then he started screaming some more.
“Why is this happening? Who are you people? Are you superheroes? Are you mutants? Are you… are you cryptids?” Esteban asked, suddenly very interested.
“No to all of those,” Pedro replied. “What’s with the questions? Do you not know what’s going on here?”
“No, hence all the questions,” Esteban replied.
“Well… what do you think is going on here?” Pedro asked.
“I don’t know!”
“Relax man. Sheesh.”
“How is she jumping so high? How did you climb up here so fast without breaking a sweat? Where’d that pop-out binocular set come from?”
“Deka is super freaky strong because she’s a daughter of Mucamutara.”
“The Queen of the Amazon? Daughter of the Brazilian God of War?”
“Um…” Esteban shrugged.
“Okay, well, do you know who the Lord of the Mountain is?”
“Ah, he’s… no. I don’t know,” Esteban shrugged again.
“You’re lucky. Okay, who are your parents?”
“They’re just normal people.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes!” Esteban shrieked. He fell to his knees, his body shaking from trying not to sob.
“Hmm. Okay. I think… well, I think you being here is…”
“A huge mistake.”
“That’s what I’ve been saying, but… but the way you said it just now sounds… so mean.”
“I have that effect on people.”
Deka landed between the two of them.
“Guys! You gotta come see this!” she said, grabbing them and leaping back into the key hole of the lock.
They landed on an ancient locking mechanism the size of Esteban’s living room. The design was mind-bogglingly complex. Thousands of gears, axels, and springs comprised the inner workings of it.
“Whoa. Okay, this is actually pretty cool,” Pedro said.
“Right? Told ya,” Deka said, folding her arms. Sheridan’s shadow folded its arms too.
“This is a lock? How are you supposed to open a house-sized lock with spinning innards?” Pedro asked.
“With a spinning house-sized key?” Deka offered.
“Wow. Sometimes the obvious answer is the right one. Not bad,” Pedro said, nodding approvingly.
“Sweet!” Deka said, pumping her fist.
“Who built this thing?” Esteban wondered.
“No idea. Probably someone from the antediluvian age,” Pedro concluded.
“Pre-Flood,” Pedro explained.
“Oh, that’s what that word means,” Deka said.
“Pre-Flood?” Esteban gasped.
“What are you? A parrot? Yeah, Pre-Flood” Deka said.
“I… I’m sorry. This is just a lot to handle.”
“He doesn’t get out much, does he?” Deka side whispered to Pedro.
“It might be worse than that,” Pedro replied. “He might be a mundie.”
“A mundie? Oh dang,” Deka hissed.
“What’s a mundie? Is it bad?” Esteban asked.
“It’s not bad. A mundie is a mundane person. Someone who doesn’t know the truth of this world,” Pedro said.
“Which is what?” Esteban asked.
“That the gods are real,” Pedro began. “That the world doesn’t just run on science, but on magic and faith. That the worlds invisible affect everything we call reality.”
“That monsters exist. And neat relics too,” Deka chimed in.
“I…. I… wha? But…. Wha?” Esteban asked.
“Uh oh. You blue screened him,” Deka said.
“That’s not what that means,” Pedro snapped.
Sheridan’s shadow tapped Deka’s shoulder. Deka turned, saw the shadow pointing to something hidden far in the back of the lock room. Something that glowed green.
“What’s that?” Deka asked. Sheridan’s shadow made an unlocking and opening motion. “You want me to what?”
“Okay, we’ve officially stayed too long here. Let’s grab everyone’s stuff, or as much as we can, and head back to floor five,” Pedro said.
“Hold on. Sheri’s telling me something,” Deka said. The shadow made the same motions again, but more urgently this time. “Sheri wants me to open the lock.”
“Why?” Pedro asked.
“I don’t know. Why, Sheri?” Deka asked. Sheridan’s shadow replied with a flurry of hand motions and dance moves, but it’s message still wasn’t clear. “You’re not making sense, Sheri.”
The shadow pointed to a black sigil on the glowing green mechanism. The sigil was jagged and pointed and put Deka and Pedro on edge.
“Oblivion? What the heck is Oblivion?” Deka said.
“Whatever it is can wait until we get a responsible adult up here,” said Pedro.
“Yeah. Someone responsible. That’s a good idea, Pedro,” Deka said.
“Glad you think so,” he yawned.
“A mundie doesn’t know the truth of this world,” Esteban mumbled to himself. “So if I know the truth of the world now, does that make me not a mundie?”
“New kid,” Pedro said, snapping his fingers. “You ready to get out of here?”
“So, what am I?” Esteban wondered. “Am I a god too? Is dad a god? Gods are real. Ho man. Oh gosh.”
“Hey!” Pedro shouted.
“Yes. No. I don’t know.”
Sheridan’s shadow began to convulse and change shape.
“Um, is that normal?” Esteban asked.
“What do you think?” Pedro asked.
“I don’t know! I didn’t think shadows could run around on their own before today!”
“What?” Deka asked.
open the lock
“You guys hearing that?” Deka asked.
“Yeah?” Esteban replied.
“Yes,” Pedro said, narrowing his eyes.
open the lock
Oblivion is coming
let us in
OPEN THE LOCK
“Okay, I think it’s time to go,” Pedro said, grabbing onto Deka.
“Yup. Hold on tight,” Deka said, grabbing the two of them. She hopped back down to the platform. As she did, Sheridan’s shadow exploded into a wave of darkness.
open the lock
Open the Lock
OPEN THE LOCK
“Oh god! Run run run!” Esteban said, clinging onto Deka for dear life.
Leon didn’t like what he was seeing at all. Not one bit. If those youths messed around with the Pandora Lock anymore, it was liable to fall apart and release every monster locked behind the Binding Gate. But it was inevitable. It didn’t matter what Leon or Kavita or Pedro or Esteban or Deka or *&^&*&^&&^# did. IT WAS INEVITABLE. The Monsters were coming. The mOnsteRs were already here. Oblivion would not be stopped. It cannot be stopped. It will consume all.
It will consume AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL-LL-L—-%-%-^-%-&—$-$——–
Professor Salvador closed his well-worn copy of the first Urban Myths novel. He didn’t remember the story going that way. Reality was shifting. Changing. That could mean a lot of things. Mostly terrible things. He was running out of time. Phase Two would have to commence right away if the school had any hope of surviving.