22 June 2012

My "Secret" Journey: Prologue Part IV

Almost forgot to post the next segment for the week.  It's been one of "those" kind of days, but thankfully Friday is here and relief is in sight.  Enjoy the post and enjoy your weekend!

Transitions

Medina sobbed and huddled beneath the scorching rock face.  She could run no longer.  The abominations followed no matter where she choose to go, and each direction was the same as the others.  As far as the eye could see stretched a vast, barren plain.  There was nothing but blistering rocks, fiery prominences, and a foreboding empty sky.  It was to this sky that Medina turned her gaze, seeking something familiar, anything to steady herself, but there was nothing to be found.  Suddenly another roar erupted from the horde that was slowly surrounding her.  Again it was the four-winged demon, the beast that had been haunting her for days now, and the buzzing, the constant buzzing never stopped.  Medina lowered her head into her hands and squeezed her fingertips against her temples, trying anything to shut the noise out.  Maybe it would all just go away if the noise would stop...

Suddenly the buzzing coalesced into a voice, a soft, comforting whisper that echoed through Medina's mind.  You cannot run forever, child.  She opened her eyes and blinked frantically, looking around for the source of the voice.  You cannot outrun fate, and the fate of this world is about to be decided.  She looked out from behind the rock that was shielding her and saw the demon horde had stopped advancing.  It stood there, gathered beneath the wings of the massive demon, chattering ominously.  You have but a small role to play, but play it you must.  Suddenly Medina's limbs ignited in a bizarre otherworldly fire.  She screamed and bolted up from beneath the rock, flailing her arms to try and put out the indescribable flame.  You must face your fear.

The fire was a beacon to the demon horde and the grotesque four-winged beast bellowed, ordering its minions to snuff out the puny little blaze.  Medina began to backpedal as the voice dispersed back into the droning buzz from before, but the last few words lingered in her mind... face your fear.

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"Ladies and gentlemen, we are on our final approach to Heathrow.  If you would return your seats and tray tables to their full..."  Medina blinked and struggled to focus as the flight attendants went through the usual series of landing announcements.  She looked and saw Samantha packing up her laptop in the seat next to her.  Glancing around the cabin, she tried to determine if she had cried out in her sleep or made any other sort of scene.  No one seemed to be paying undue attention to her or otherwise taking any notice of her.  Medina sighed in relief and pushed her seat back up.

"Wow did I really sleep the whole way over here?" she asked her friend.  Samantha smiled back wryly.

"I think you could have slept through the apocalypse, Medina.  I even asked if you wanted to watch my movie with me and you didn't even blink."  Medina tried to suppress a shudder at Samantha's mention of the apocalypse.  The last thing she wanted was for her friend to know what exactly had been troubling her dreams, especially not on the verge of their vacation.  Medina already had a reputation for always finding a way to "spoil the fun" and she was determined not to be that person on this trip.

"Probably because it was one of those sappy romantic comedies you can't seem to get enough of," she replied, hoping the weak attempt at humor would conceal how shaky she was feeling inside.

"I'll have you know it was nothing of the sort," Samantha said indignantly.  "Ok, ok... so it was.  But it's not my fault that's all Jennifer Anniston has done since Friends ended!"  Samantha owned the entire series on DVD and practically worshiped Jennifer Anniston in particular.  "She's so much more talented than that.  Why doesn't she branch out?"  Medina smiled and clapped her friend on the shoulder as the plane's wheels hit the ground in London.

"These are life's questions that we will never have answers to."  Medina's mind was full of questions that had no answers.  And none of them had anything to do with Hollywood...

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It was 3 o'clock in the morning.  Medina fumbled with the key to the lock of their rented London flat.  It was difficult to work the mechanism with Samantha slouched over her shoulder.  Finally she fit the key in and gave it a turn.  Stumbling into the living room, they both collapsed on the couch.  Samantha's eyes fluttered softly and she began to chuckle.

"I told ya, Zee..." she slurred as she curled up on the faux leather sofa.  "We are gonna have... the time of our lives."  Barely one day into their London adventure and Samantha wasn't wasting any time.  She had already selected an upscale London nightclub for their first "adventure," and even Medina had to admit it was a good choice, much better than the college hangouts she was used to.  Several men had made "friendly overtures" to her, but none of the overaggressive "pawing" that had driven her from the club scene as an undergrad.  Medina pulled the tie from her hair and let her scarlet trusses loose.

"Yeah Sam, better rest up so we can have the 'time of our lives' again tomorrow."  She crossed over to the linen closet and pulled one of the spare blankets.  Draping it over her friend, she turned off the light and stepped into the bedroom.  The flat was a spacious one; two large bedrooms, a full kitchen, living and dining spaces, and stocked with amenities that had saved them considerable packing space.  Medina didn't really want to know what it had cost Samantha to reserve it.  She felt bad enough "tagging along" on this trip as it was.  She had a feeling she would feel even worse if she knew the full cost of it.

Medina dropped her purse on the nightstand and made her way to the bathroom.  Flipping on the light, she took a long, hard look at herself in the mirror.  At Samantha's insistence she had allowed her friend to "doll her up" a bit with more makeup than she was accustomed to wearing.  She had to admit that it had held up well under pressure.  Even after a full night on the dance floor, she still looked good.  You do have some talents after all, Sam, Medina thought to herself.  Too bad they just don't run to the academic.  She smiled at her reflection, tossed some water on her face, and began to scrub off the "war paint."  Turning back to the living room, she found Samantha sound asleep on the couch.  She double checked the front door locking it securely and then undressed for a shower.

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Feeling a bit more human after washing off the evening's exertions, Medina dressed herself for bed and found herself staring at the ceiling.  Sleep had become her enemy; the four-winged demon, the maddening buzz, and now this ethereal voice.  I AM facing my fears.  Why else would I even be here?  She had crossed her parents, stepped well out of her "comfort zone," and now even in her dreams she is faced with her insecurities.  Is that all it is?  My subconscious punishing me for doing this?  A sense of guilt?  Medina sighed with frustration and pulled the blankets up over her chest.  That would just be my luck.  Even my own brain won't forgive me for trying to have some fun.   She closed her eyes and quickly sleep found her.

But that was not all that found her.  One feature the flat they had rented did lack was air conditioning, so Medina had left the window of her bedroom open to allow more air to flow in.  London was far from the warmest place on earth, but the humidity could make things quite uncomfortable depending on the time of year.  And so as Medina drifted off to sleep, she thought she heard the buzzing yet again.  But this time it was not her mind playing tricks on her.  A small bee slipped through the opening of her bedroom window.  Alighting briefly on the frame, it then flew across the room to where Medina lay.  It danced across her lips, and as her mind shifted into deep sleep, it crawled into her mouth and insisted on being swallowed...

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