Myla Vegas strode down the crowded sidewalk, her unzipped coat fluttering behind her. Her bag thumped against her leg with every step she took, but she barely noticed it as she dodged other pedestrians, a delivery bike, tourists, runners, and a very confused hippie.
“God walks among us! His angels of death are reaping our souls as we speak. Hey lady, you wanna see?”
He leaned very close to her face, and his onion breath wafted over her. She almost choked at the pungent scent.
“Get off me, I don’t want your weed,” she snapped, whacking his bracelet-heavy hand away from her coat pockets. His face fell, and his tangled beard twitched before he hitched his Hawaiian shirt higher over his spindly frame and turned away, muttering something about do-gooders ruining his sales. As Myla hurried away, she heard his booming cries as he accosted yet another unfortunate pedestrian.
She groaned as she got to the crosswalk just as it blinked red, and stopped along the curb, along with about a hundred other people.
Rubbing her hands together to warm her frozen fingers, her gaze drifted along the busy intersection as taxi-cabs honked, taxi-drivers swore at each other, and people yelled, screamed, shouted, and cried.
The soundtrack of The Big Apple.
She turned back as the crosswalk blinked green and started forward, almost carried off her feet by the crowd. Finally extracting herself from the throng of people, she hurried up the steps of the over-priced apartment building she had been living in for the past two years and into the wonderful heat.
Dusting her shoes off on the doormat, she waved hello to Mrs. Cankir who was rocking back and forth in the old chair by the fireplace.
Her voice was rusty from misuse and her filmy blue eyes looked over Myla’s left shoulder.
“No, Mrs. Cankir, it’s Myla. Your daughter should be home in about two hours.”
Myla couldn’t help the twinge of pity tugging at her gut at the sight of Mrs. Cankir’s crestfallen expression.
“Just…stay warm, okay?”
Mrs. Cankir mumbled something as Myla continued up the four flights of stairs to her apartment, unlocking 4B and shutting the door behind her.
Dumping her bag on the kitchen table, she locked all four deadbolts and the safety chain, and swept around her small home, locking all the windows and lowering their shades. Ducking into her bedroom, she kicked off her boots and shoved them under her unmade bed before closing the door. She shut the bathroom door and the second bedroom door which was her makeshift office.
Once all the doors were closed, she surveyed the living room space, and swept all the loose papers off the coffee table, shoving them under the couch and covering them up with a throw rug.
Opening her fridge door, she pulled out the only two items: a mason jar with a piece of paper in it, and a circular copper disk about fist-sized, setting them down on the now-clear coffee table. Shrugging her coat off, she pulled out the piece of paper wrapped around a key that Andy had slipped in when he had offered her weed. She set it next to the mason jar, reading the words scribbled on it.
You owe me.
Andy was so predictable sometimes. She mentally planned the next bag of Hawaiian shirts she would have to buy in order to placate her oldest confidant with. Myla was about to sit down when she remembered her bag, and jumped back up, slinging it onto the seat cushion next to her.
Unzipping the pouch, she pulled out her laptop and unlocked it, pulling up a document.
Taking a deep breath, she surveyed the coffee table.
“I did it. I actually did it.”
Leaning back against the cushions, she stared at the mason jar, the copper disk, the piece of paper around the key, and her laptop.
“I did it,” she said again, and then squealed, actually squealed, kicking her feet in enthusiasm. Pumping her fist in the air, she pressed her fingers to her mouth, unable to fully comprehend what she had worked for her entire life was about to bear fruit. She looked at the photo on the mantle above the electric fireplace, a picture of her parents holding up baby Myla. Her father’s ruddy face glowed even from where she was sitting, and his hands were clasped on her mother’s shoulders.
“We’ve done it, Dad,” she whispered, heart heavy that he wouldn’t be here to see his work completed.
Taking a deep breath, she unscrewed the top of the mason jar, pulling out the yellowed piece of paper, and flattening it against the table. Unfolding the paper around the key, she held it up to the light, marveling at the jagged design around the metal. Pulling the copper disk towards her, she placed the key in the disk, smiling at the satisfying click as they settled together. Rotating the key counterclockwise, she scrolled through the document on her laptop, reading through the instructions her father had noted down.
“Daq’ akkor bakqouhma. Gorud’da uuma, douhara.”
Roughly translated to: The heavy water smells of blood and leaves the earth desolate.
Myla had no idea what it meant, but as soon as she finished speaking the words, her apartment rumbled around her and the papers around her started to flap in the sudden wind. She blinked.
As soon as she spoke, the pressure in the room bottomed out, dropping so quickly Myla’s ears popped. Wincing as she plugged them, she stared around her in disbelief as something akin to a wind gust began swirling around her coffee table, concentrating around the copper disk and the key.
She dove behind the couch as the wind increased in intensity, howling around her with the suppressed force of a tornado. Flattening herself to the ground, she squeezed her eyes shut as the doors rattled and the picture frames on the wall fell off. Opening her eyes at the sound of a screeching wail, she gasped at the sight of the tornado turning a light purple. The purple mist pulsed and Myla thought she could see a face within the wind, mouth open in an agonizing scream, before it dissolved.
Closing her eyes once more as the wind whipped around even faster, the sound rising in pitch until she had to reach up to see if her ears were bleeding. With an ear-splittingly loud shriek, the wind concentrated into a single funnel, slamming into the fireplace with a boom that shook the entire building.
Gasping for breath in the sudden quiet, Myla popped up from behind the couch, eyes wide as she surveyed the destruction of her living room. A huge hole was all that remained of the fireplace and she gasped in relief when she saw the picture of her family teetering on the mantle. She staggered to her feet and hopped over broken glass and shattered bricks, lunging to catch it just before the cold breeze took it out of her new hole.
Clutching it to her chest, she shivered in the sudden cold as she stared out at New York, the pedestrians beginning to gape at her from the street. Looking up, she could see the remnants of that purple haze settling into the sky.
“Holy mackerel,” she breathed, ears still ringing from the tornado.
“Just what have you done?”
Shrieking, she whipped around and saw a man standing in her destroyed living room, his face livid as he stared at her.
“Who are you?” she asked, teeth clattering as she pointed the picture shakily at him. “How did you get in here?”
The man waved his hand and the cold suddenly disappeared. Forgetting about him for a moment, she turned, agog, to see the hole in her wall miraculously replaced, and the fireplace back where it had once been.
“I’m going to ask you again, human. What. Have. You. Done?”
She backed up a few steps as he stalked towards her, eyes cold.
“Y-you’re not of this world,” she stammered as her back hit the mantle.
“I’m going to ignore how hurtful that was because I’ve been around longer than all of you, but whatever.” The man rolled his eyes. “The point is. Who are you, and how did you create a portal to my world?”
“No, to Vulcan. Yes, my world.”
Myla blinked at him.
“So, what you’re saying is, that I opened a portal to another world with a key and some nonsensical words?”
The man’s gaze lit up.
“A key? Where is this key?”
“Not so fast, bozo. Who are you, why are you here, and how in the world did you get here?” Myla propped her hands on her hips, scowling at him. “My door was deadbolted shut.”
“In case you didn’t notice me repairing your hole with a wave of my hand, it wasn’t that hard to get in. Anyway, my magic responded to whatever you just did and called me here.”
Myla eyed him skeptically, noting for the first time his disheveled appearance. His suit was expensive-looking, although wrinkles creased the fancy fabric, and his jacket was unbuttoned, his tie loosened haphazardly. His brown hair was half smoothed down, and half standing up on end, giving the impression that he’d been awakened from a nap. Stubble dotted his jaw and his mouth was set in a thin line.
“Now, tell me. Where is the key?”
Myla turned around, walking over to the coffee table, trying to ignore the man standing right behind her, but drew up short.
“It-it was right here.”
Her laptop screen was shattered, half the keys missing, the mason jar was a pile of glass shards, and the copper disk and key were nowhere to be found.
“I promise, it was right here,” she said, turning to him desperately. “The wind must have taken it.” She mentally slapped herself at how foolish she sounded. The wind taking a key?
The man stared at her, his eyes…fearful? Myla shuddered at the sight.
“Then pray for your life, human, because if my world gets wind of a portal to Earth, then then this little planet will be reduced to nothing but dust and rock.”
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Hey, Nainika! Love the Part 2 :)