Awakening

Novel Excerpt: Space Gates & Lukas Shitting His Pants

Artwork by: Thomas Stoop

Above the fountain presented a blank image—shaped like an amorphous sphere, appearing fluid as if the space enclosed by metal brackets held a tiny fluctuating maelstrom leading into an everlasting void—emitting the eerie and sporadic bubbling tune from before.

“This one still works,” Alexandra confirmed.

“Here!” Lukas handed her an access card engraved with Andrastian symbols. “These will disappear after two uses, one to Hyperion and one back home.”

“Thanks.” The card activated at Alexandra’s will. It took a simple thought to trigger it, causing the card to shine and dissipate onto her wrist, activating a vertical align of numbers—or the set of islands Alexandra were allowed to travel to—adding “2” to the list.

“Okay let’s go.” Lukas led, performing the same action.

“Wait, I need to ask you something first.”

“Yes?”

“What do you think really happened to my brother? Was Andraste involved in the incident?”

“No,” Lukas denied. “Oracle Luther would never allow it. We’re still at war.”

“So, it’s not crazy to assume collusion?” Alexandra asked rhetorically, expecting Lukas not to answer. “I guess I’m alone on this hunch. Has anyone even met Luther? Why did Troy entrust him? What type of ruler leads from the shadows?”

“Our answers lie here,” Lukas promised, pointing at the Space Gate. “Alex,” he continued while gripping her shoulder, “Things will get better. Trust me.”

“What is it?” She scrutinized Lukas as he began to chuckle.

“Remember our first time accessing one of these?” He asked, waving one hand at the portal. “When we were like five.”

“Oh my god! When you shit your pants!”

“Hey!” Lukas shouted. His attempt to take Alexandra’s mind off the incident worked, even if it were just for a second. “I can’t help that it literally feels like all of my organs are pulled apart to be shoved back together again at the snap of a Gatekeeper’s fingers … I thought my ass got put back the wrong way.”

Alexandra couldn’t stop laughing. It’s not that bad. After a moment of silence, seeing Lukas smile back at her, she then watched him shrug and meander to the portal, scanning him with the intensity of a hawk. She waited until his body dissipated into thin air, her eyes following the particulate matter of his essence travel into the portal, into an image of Island Hyperion. It was a beautiful sight, but droning after a while, behind many travels.

She contemplated once no trace of Lukas remained on Hera: “My best friend, you may be wrong about this one. I’m sorry. I’m sorry for taking all of this out on you.”

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