WORLD’S AWAY. Marty scanned the worksheet on his computer again. He was so tired the words were beginning to swim before his eyes. His Boss had agreed to let him work late tonight to catch up, but he hadn’t had a break now for five hours. He was finding it hard to keep his eyes open, and his stomach was growling like a hungry lion. “Enough is enough!” he thought. “Time I went home to bed, there’s always tomorrow!” Marty packed some papers in his briefcase, threw on his alpaca-lined coat and headed towards the lift. It was only when he reached the ground floor that he noticed how cold it had got. Pulling his coat closer he did up all the buttons and pulled up the collar around his ears. Marty pushed the large, thick glass door. It didn’t open. He pushed it again, harder. It still didn’t open. Thinking there was a problem with the door mechanics he took out his cell phone and called maintenance. “Hi Jack, this is Marty. I’m at the front door of Cavern Company (developers), and can’t seem to get the front door to work. I was wondering if you could come over and give me a little help, thanks.” Ten minutes later Jack returned his call. “Hi Marty, guess you haven’t seen outside tonight. There is a blizzard raging. The reason you can’t open the door is because there is six feet of snow up against it. Can’t do anything until it gets light, sorry. Make yourself comfortable upstairs where it’s warmer and we’ll get there as soon as possible to help. Oh, and Marty make sure not to open any doors marked Cave Inc. they are restricted to employees.” Marty stood there with his mouth open. “A blizzard! Six feet of snow! You’re kidding me!” That was when he noticed the door, even though it was late at night, was white. Marty went back upstairs to the employees lounge which had an automatic heater/cooler whenever anyone entered and it immediately started to warm up. There were small lounges, cushions and rugs for late-night employees to make themselves comfortable. Even a tea/coffee station and sandwiches in a small fridge. Marty knew he would be quite comfortable until they arrived in the morning. He settled down on a couch and began to look at some of his accounts from his briefcase, but something Jack had said kept going over in the back of his head. “Make sure not to open any doors marked Cave Inc.” he had said. Marty had seen several doors marked Cave Inc. over the last few years, but he had never thought anything about it. He thought it was just another branch of the Cavern Company (developers), but he had never seen anyone go in or come out of any of the doors. His curiosity got to him. He had to have a look. He wouldn’t go inside, just open the door to see what was in there, that couldn’t hurt. Marty left the lounge and walked down the well-lit corridor. Right at the end was a glass door marked Cave Inc. There was no light coming from the room, so he put his ear against the door and listened. There was the slight tinkling sound of a woman laughing. The hairs stood up on marty’s neck and all down his arms. He was not alone in this building, tonight. His curiosity almost waned, but he wanted to know who was there or he would be wondering all night. With sweaty, shaking hands he slowly turned the knob on the door. At first, it was pitch black and he couldn’t see a thing. He moved his hand across to the light switch and turned it on. He will never forget what happened next. Suddenly he was outside, it was dark and there were fires lit here and there. He crouched down behind a rock as he heard someone approaching. “Master Gorge said someone has broken the seal, we have to find him before he learns too much. Take some troops and scout the area.” “Yes Sergeant!” “Margo, use your whiles on him if you see him, until we get there.” Margo giggled. A high tinkling sound which Marty had heard earlier. “Sure Sarge, he won’t get away from me!” Marty stayed where he was until they had dispersed. “What the hell is going on! Where am I?” he thought to himself. Unwittingly he had crossed into another world, when he had entered the room. He desperately needed to find the door again to get out. This was not just any world, it was dark and mysterious with fire erupting from the ground, no buildings of any sort and a lot of dark caves. He had got a quick look at the Sargeant who didn’t look at all human, more like a wild boar on two legs. The woman though, looked quite pretty, but had evil slanted eyes and long blue nails. “Who are these “things”, and how did I get here?” Marty slid inside the nearest cave. It was very dark except for the fires lighting up the gloom now and then. He came across a door in the cave. “It’s now or never, I have to try!” Marty turned the handle and pushed the door open. He fell onto the plush red carpet of the corridor in the building where he worked and the door slammed shut behind him. Now he started to think he must have fallen asleep and had a nightmare. Marty knew there was another door with Cave Inc. on the floor below. He hopped in the lift and got out at the ninth floor. Marty walked down the corridor past the offices until he came to the glass door. He pinched himself to make sure he was awake. “Ouch!” Marty put his ear to the door. He could hear the ocean! He slowly turned the knob, again it was pitch black so he slowly reached for the light switch. The door slammed shut and Marty found himself looking at an underground red sea. The sand where he stood was pink and blue and there was a forest of yellow palm trees behind him. As he stood there mesmerised he suddenly heard a loud sound coming towards him. Marty dashed into the yellow forest almost tripping over the vines trailing along the ground. He crouched down in the vines and waited to see what the sound was. A small vehicle pulled up on the sand, and a tall thin man with a beard got out. He was covered in feathers, no clothes of any kind, and had long talons. He spoke into some sort of phone in his claw. “Someone has been here I can just make out a footprint, but the waves have wiped out anything else. I will continue on down the key to see if I can find the intruder, Largo out.” He folded himself back into the hover craft and disappeared with a loud hum. Marty was starting to wish he had never opened that door as he looked up above him and saw enormous birds flying around, scouting the area. Marty looked around him, the door can’t be far away, he hadn’t gone far. There was one very large palm tree about a hundred metres away, much bigger than any of the others, so he made his way stealthily towards it. There was a large bird-like animal standing guard. Marty picked up a yellow fallen branch and tossed it as far as he could. The bird-like animal turned, raised his laser gun and headed slowly towards where the sound had come from. Marty dashed towards the large palm tree. Sure enough, there was a door. He turned the knob and raced inside. Again, he landed heavily on his side, on the plush red carpet of the corridor in the Cavern Company (developers). As he stood up he heard someone calling his name. “Marty, you there? We have cleared away the snow, you can go home now!” came over the PA. Marty realised he had been gone all night. He raced upstairs, grabbed his briefcase, then got the lift back down to the ground floor. As he came out of the lift, there was Jack beaming at him. It was then that Marty realised jack was very tall and thin with a black beard. “There you are, thought you must still be asleep! Well now you can go home and relax for the week-end. Hope you had a comfortable night, no interruptions or any mishaps?” “No, I was very tired, so I slept well. I’m looking forward to going home to a normal meal and a comfortable bed. Thank you for getting rid of that snow Jack!” “No trouble at all Marty, that’s what I do!” Jack shook hands with Marty and it was then Marty noticed the very small grey feathers clinging to Jack’s beard. “Bye Jack, see you next week!’ Marty had no intention of ever going back to his job at Cavern Company (developers). Whoever or whatever they were, he didn’t want to know.