My head throbbed painfully. I couldn’t really feel anything else, or see, or hear for that matter. It was just the throbbing pain. I hadn’t felt this bad since I had finished reading Breaking Dawn. The next sensation to come back was the hearing. Noises flooded in; the sound of birds and wind. My eyes snapped open next. I was on the ground, looking up into the sky. It was blue and bright. Wasn’t it supposed to be night?
Finally, I moved with a groan. What had happened? Was I abducted by aliens or something? The thought was an idle one, but then the realization dawned on me. The crop circles, a flashing white light, now some loss of time. I must have been abducted by aliens. That was absolutely the most logical conclusion I could come up with at the moment.
I grabbed my butt; it wasn’t particularly sore. Samantha had informed me that after you were abducted by aliens you’d have a sore butt. She seemed to say it with a certain degree of personal experience. The weird thing is, I was just asking her to pass the ketchup when that little nugget of truth came out. I stood up. While my butt was safe, the rest of me was fairly beaten up. My body felt like it had been tossed down a cliff, hitting every rock on the way.
The sound of a cracking twig behind me caused me to turn. There was a person nearby. Whoever it was appeared to have been standing there, watching me. The sun blazed through the cracks of the trees, obscuring the person’s features. They had on some kind of strange silver suit. It looked like what an alien might wear. Oh God, I was abducted by aliens! The creature took a step forward, its hand reaching out towards me. That was all the provocation I needed. The alien was back to finish me off. I took my ass and ran. I’m not going to be probed today, thank you very much.
“Wait,” the voice cried in a rather human voice.
That was a trick. It wanted to lure me in. I’d survived angels and demons, seen the undead walk the earth, and been propositioned by a werewolf. There was no way I was going to be violated by an alien.
My steps propelled me forward in a steady rhythm. Despite the change in time, I still felt exhausted. Apparently, whatever the alien did to me did not provide me with any rest during my abduction. That did not make me feel any better. I kept running anyway. It was stupid for me to come out into the forest by myself. You’d think I’d have learned by now. I thought I was meeting my friends, but it was still stupid. Why did I always do that to myself?
I was lost in thought as I ran. That is how I ended up running head-first into someone. I ran into them, or rather, I tripped over them, careening headfirst into a ditch of foliage. I flipped over as I lost my equilibrium. My body rolled down a steep hill, hitting every branch and thorn along the way. I was stuck in a ditch; just perfect.
“What the heck is your problem?” the voice of an irritated sounding young boy shouted down to me.
“I’m fine,” I muttered, spitting out some leaves, ignoring the impoliteness in his voice.
I twisted, trying to stand up. Two vines seemed to be wrapped around my neck and a third tangled up my legs. After some effort, I managed to unstick my head. I stood up, causing another vine to tug, and I stumbled down face-first into another bush.
“Don’t help or anything,” I growled at the boy over me, looking up at him.
He was a young boy with blue eyes and blond hair. He looked oddly familiar to me, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. He wore a pair of khaki shorts and a polo t-shirt. It seemed kind of an insufficient dress for this time of year, which caused me to realize that it was a particularly warm day for some reason. The boy stood, looking down at me with strangely cold and unforgiving eyes. I gave him a reassuring smile to take the edge off of my words. Maybe I had offended him.
“You’re kind of stupid, aren’t you?” The boy asked, his face completely straight.
The smile slipped from my face. I looked down, tearing off the last few vines before grabbing the side of the path and pulling myself back up. The boy took a step back, allowing me to climb up, but otherwise made no attempt to assist me.
Maybe I was just becoming too used to teenage boys fawning over me. The kid’s dismissal of me was particularly irritating. He was only about eight years old, but I already decided I hated him; the snot-nosed little brat.
“Hey, there you are. I thought I smelled garbage,” another voice came out from the woods.
I knew that voice. There was no one else I knew that spoke with that kind of sneer. However, when I turned to greet Rune, my mouth dropped open. A small boy, no older than the one with the blond hair, stepped out onto the path. He had Rune’s fiery red hair. No, he had all of Rune’s traits. He might as well have been Rune’s little brother. Did Rune have a brother? He now had some serious explaining to do.
“Rune!” The voice came out from the forest.
A small girl jumped out behind him. This seemed to cause the boy’s back to grow stiff with agitation. The girl wore a cute green dress and had a little flower in her hair. She held a small basket in her arms that made it seem like she was ready for a picnic. When she went to grab Rune’s hand, he twisted away and took a few steps forward, completely ignoring her.
“This is demon territory, no angels allowed,” the boy said, looking in my direction.
It took me a second to realize he was talking to the blonde boy. When I glanced down at the boy next to me, his familiarities suddenly came crashing home. He looked exactly like a young Andrew. I hadn’t noticed before because Andrew never had a face that looked so cold and hard. Andrew’s face was usually kind and sweet.
The boy who looked like Andrew shrugged, rolling his eyes with a complete lack of empathy. This seemed to annoy the young Rune. Purple fire sprung from his hand and he flung it at Andrew. The boy waved his hand and the fire turned towards my direction. I screamed as fire exploded inches from my face.
When the blinding light of the purple blaze faded, Rune had turned to the young girl with anger on his face.
“Why did you stop my fire? You’re not supposed to use your demon powers around me; dad said so.”
The girl had her eyes downcast and was blushing, “But you almost hit the human.”
“What human?” Rune asked turning.
His eyes met my own and, for the first time, he seemed to realize I was there. He gasped in shock and his face went completely white. Then his jaw dropped as he took a second look at me.
“You’re so pretty,” he said.
I stood aghast, not exactly sure how to respond to an eight-year-old telling me that. The girl standing next to him slugged Rune hard in the arm.
“Ow, Alex, what the hell was that for?” Rune broke his attention from me.
“So that’s the kind of girl you’re into?” the girl named Alex demanded with a huff.
She turned her eyes to me and stared. I was about ready to break the silence when suddenly her body began to shimmer. When she was finished, my jaw dropped once again. She now looked like me. Well, what I kind of looked like when I was eight. It looked like Alex’s ability to transform was dependent on her age a little bit.
With that, I realized something. These were Alex and Rune’s powers, my Alex and Rune. Oh, my God, the aliens must have turned them into midgets. No, that was stupid, but then again, this whole situation was stupid.
“It looks like I have to deal with another couple of idiots,” Andrew sighed.
“Why don’t you say that to my fist!”
Rune leaped at Andrew with reckless abandon. Andrew pulled back. I could tell he was about to bring out his fire sword. I saw the night he chopped that demon in half flashing through my head. I moved first, shoving the boy. His hand went sprawling. The sword appeared, although it was more like a knife than a sword, weak and piddling compared to what I remembered, before disappearing as Andrew hit the ground.
I turned and Rune ran face first into my chest. I took a step back, but he seemed to stop his attack just in time.
“What are you doing?” Andrew snapped angrily.
“You were going to hurt him; I don’t want to see anyone hurt.” I stroked Rune’s head softly.
“I was just sending him back to hell,” Andrew growled. “He would have been fine. Besides, he’s a demon; why do you care?”
Alex was looking over at us, tears welling in her eyes, “R-r-r-rune! What are you doing? Get away from th-that human!”
Rune seemed to realize he was in my arms as he suddenly pulled away and turned to me. I seemed to have embarrassed him, as his face was completely red and he was puffing out his chest as if to compensate for me previously protecting him. Rune was about to say something else as he looked up at me with strangely bright eyes.
“Rune, where are you?” a shout interrupted whatever he was going to say.
“Oh crap!” Rune snapped. “If he catches me out here like this, I’ll be in a hell of a lot of trouble.”
Rune glanced over at Andrew, who was standing up and patting himself off angrily.
“The next time we meet, I won’t let you off so easily,” Rune declared and then turned to me. “Beautiful girl, I will see you again!”
Rune bounded back into the forest with a jump. Alex blushed, bowing and apologizing a few times before turning and running after him. I shook my head. That had to be perhaps one of the weirdest confrontations I had ever experienced and, given the last week or so, that was saying something.
I turned back to Andrew. He was already gone, walking down the pathway in the opposite direction. I let out a cry of surprise, then turned and ran after him. He wasn’t going to abandon me here in the middle of nowhere. Not with aliens out trying to probe me.
“Stop following me,” Andrew said once I joined up with him.
“Someone needs to keep you safe; you’re just a little kid and out here all alone by yourself.”
A flash of anger and annoyance danced across Andrew’s face. He stopped and turned toward me.
“I can take care of myself.”
“What about your family? A boy your age shouldn’t be out by himself,” I demanded sternly.
“My family doesn’t care about me; that’s why I ran away,” Andrew replied angrily.
He stopped and turned, realizing he had said too much. Before I could say another word, he was walking away from me again at full speed.
“Wait, I still can’t just let you walk through the forest alone.”
I wasn’t about to lose the last person whom I recognized in this place. Well, I kind of recognized him. What was going on in this place? It was like I woke up in the twilight zone or something. I took a few steps forward and tripped, landing hard on the ground. I looked up at Andrew. He didn’t look back to check on me. Instead, he turned, moving off down a side path.
I growled in frustration, patting the dirt off my knees and standing. I followed after him. As soon as I made it to the intersection, I turned to move in the direction he had gone. The path in front of me was completely empty. I had to take a second look. Andrew was not there. Where did he go? He left me alone. I looked around the forest a little nervously.
For the first time, I realized that things looked different. I was standing on a gravel path instead of the paved paths I was used to. I didn’t really know what part of the forest I was standing in. I typically knew the paths of the park pretty well, but this place felt unrecognizable to me. The trees seemed different somehow.
There was a crack of a branch in the woods behind me once again. I swear the people in this forest were stepping on twigs like freaking bubble wrap. If Andrew was playing a trick on me, I had every intention of making him pay for it. Then I remembered I was still on the run from the alien. Now I was alone in the forest once again.
I turned to run. The park wasn’t that large. If I took off in any direction, I’d eventually find my way out.
“Wait!” A squeaky voice came out from the bush behind me.
This caused me to pause after my first step. My foot twisted and I ended up stumbling once again. For the second time, I found myself on the ground as the gravel path dug into my back. I turned towards the source of the voice. There was a large tree in front of me. Then a head peaked out from the side of the trunk. It was a boy a few years younger than me. He had short brown hair, dazzling hazel eyes, and a frightened look on his face.
“A boy?” I looked on in surprise.
He shook and hid back behind the tree. What in the world? I stood up, brushing off the dust from my pants again. Then, I looked back at the tree. The boy hadn’t moved an inch from behind the tree. Steadily, I began sidestepping around the tree to see him press up against it like he was frightened of his own shadow. When he saw me, he squeaked, then moved to the other side of the tree, once again hiding from my view. This was getting ridiculous.
“Why are you following me if you’re not even going to talk to me? If you don’t come out from behind that tree, I’m coming in there after you.”
Another squeak, and then the boy sheepishly leaned out from behind the tree. He looked like a kid who had just been caught stealing candy. He took a few steps forward but kept a hand on the tree as if he was ready to jump behind it again at a moment’s notice. I realized he was wearing the silver clothing. So, this was the alien? He looked pretty harmless, I supposed.
“Good,” I put on the most reassuring smile I could. “Now, why have you been following me?”
The boy lowered his head, “I’m the one who brought you here. I am sorry. I just get nervous around you and it was easier to just do it before you could say no.”
“That’s… a really a bad policy. Like, seriously; you’re going to get in a lot of trouble one of these days doing things like that. Like, prison time.”
The boy blushed, “I just thought it was okay because it was you.”
“Why me?” I asked confused.
The boy lowered his head shyly. “Well, I mean, we’re family.”
“I’m sorry, let me introduce myself. My name is Daltom.”
“So why are you saying we’re… wait… your name is Daltom?” I asked.
“That is like, the worst name I’ve ever heard.”
Daltom winced. “Well, you see, my parents decided to take the name of each of their fathers and combine them to make my name.”
“That is a stupid thing to do.”
“No, seriously, who would do that? That is the worst idea I have ever heard of. You’d have to really hate your kid to come up with such a stupid way of naming them.”
“You’re laying it a little thick.” He gave a wry smile. “I get it already, but their dads were named Dalton and Tom, and so it ended up Daltom.”
I pinched the bridge of my nose. “That’s odd; my dad’s name is Dalton.”
I looked at Daltom. He looked at me. I didn’t want to talk about his family life anymore.
“Alright, so you’re family or you’re not family,” I threw up my hands. “What did you do to me?”
“I’m from the future. I came to take you back in time.”
“I was time traveling?”
“Yes, I used this device.” Daltom displayed a band on his arm. “I traveled to your present to take you back here; to sometime in the 1950s.”
“And why would you… wait, the 1950s? Great Scott….”
“I just saw Rune and Andrew. They are eight; this can’t be more than ten years ago. No… don’t tell me they are in their 50s? All my male friends are old guys?”
“Not necessarily.” Daltom shook his hands. “I learned a lot about supernatural stuff from all of my uncles. The Demon world and the Angel world have time move differently than here. If they grew up there, then it could have taken fifty years for eight or so to pass.
“So, what are they doing here now?”
“It’s the reason I brought you here. The Demons and Angels are having a summit right now. They are discussing a peace treaty. A certain dangerous faction against angel and demon cooperation is threatening to plunge them into war. A time traveler like me is trying to help the faction succeed.”
“Two time travelers!” I shook my head, trying to process the information. “And just who is this time traveler?”
“I knew it! I knew it was aliens!” I laughed, throwing my arm in the air. Daltom flinched back a bit. “Sorry, I got excited. What do the aliens want?”
“War. Well, more specifically, they want the fallout of the war. Demons and Angels have the ability to make horrifically powerful weapons. They are warriors with access to both the magic of their realm and the technology of Earth. If they were to go to war, they would begin to invent and manufacture increasingly more dangerous weapons. The aliens predict they will destroy each other in the conflict, and then the aliens can come in and recover all of their weapon advances and market them across the galaxy,” Daltom explained, seeming more comfortable explaining things than looking people in the eye or socializing.
“Yes, I agree; we need to stop them.”
“What would happen to Earth?”
“It would inevitably be caught in the crossfire and destroyed.”
“We need to stop them.”
So, I was brought into the past by a family member from the future to stop an interdimensional war started by a group of aliens. Still wasn’t the strangest thing I had done this week. After all, I had read Samantha’s most recent fan fiction. It was a cross between Harry Potter, Twilight, and the Mortal Instruments. I still woke up in cold sweats from that one.
“What is the first step we need to do?” I asked, preparing myself mentally for whatever came next.
“We need to meet up with Uncle Victor. We’ll need a vampire’s help.”
About freaking time.