You sprint away from the strange characters in the unfortunate car. Your feet fairly fly over the pavement as you try and get away. Each step sends you leaping over sidewalks, around corners, and finally down a narrow alleyway. A stone wall blocks any exit, but fortunately a ladder is leaning against it. You have no idea what is on the other side, but you are sure it is better than what will befall you if the odd fellows in the yellow car catch you.
Even as you reach the ladder you can hear tires squealing behind you. You risk a glance over your shoulder and see that the Prius is too large to continue driving down the lane. You smile at their predicament, but your relief soon turns to fear as the doors open and the three men get out. You run faster but the alleyway suddenly seems terribly long.
“Wait friend! You are one of us! Don’t run, we need you!”
You ignore their pleas, but a part of you feels torn at your decision. If only you hadn’t run in the first place, you might have been granted the wand, the robe, and the reward. Now it is too late, and you will always be remembered as the one who ran.
You reach the ladder, spare one last glance behind you, and then pull yourself up the wooden rungs. It wobbles and creaks below you, each step more precarious than the last. It hadn’t seemed so tall from far away, but soon you are looking down several stories to the ground below. The air becomes thin as you keep climbing, and soon you are pushing through clouds, and your visibility decreases to zero.
“Come back,” the faint cry comes from below.
You stop, it is getting hard to breath in the thin air. How did you get so high? And where is the top of this wall? The ladder suddenly shakes as the three men climb faster below you. It is only a matter of time till they catch you.
You climb upwards, but your arms are screaming in pain. Your head is spinning from the lack of oxygen, and you struggle to hang on.
Suddenly a face appears above you, it looks familiar, but you are unsure why.
“Are you okay?” the face whispers. It is a woman, with thick blond hair, and startling blue eyes. “Can you see me?”
“I… I… can,” you struggle to say.
“He answered,” the woman says in surprise. “He’s alive!”
The ladder shakes again and you slip down the ladder. You manage to grab on with one hand, and you dangle precariously over the clouds at your feet. Just as you pull your other hand back to the wooden rungs, your feet are suddenly seized by a heavy weight. You look below and see one of the Wizards glaring up at you angrily and holding both of your feet with his hands.
“You come with us now!” He screams.
“Come with me,” comes the voice from above. You look at the woman and now recognize it is your mother. She reaches down a hand to help you.
You try to reach her hand, but the ladder rattles and starts to shake violently. It will only be moments before you are plunged to your certain death. You make one last desperate leap and catch her hand…
Suddenly you are sitting upright in a white bed, in a white room, with several faces staring down at you. You struggle to recognize any of them, but they are all unfamiliar, except for that of your mother.
“Where am I?” you struggle to say. Everything is a blur, but somehow the strange wizards, and the yellow Prius seem very real.
“You were hit by a car,” a small voice says next to your elbow. You look down and somehow recognize your sister Carly. “You were hit while walking me to the park, you stopped to pick up an old letter from the ground and then the car hit you…” she starts to cry.
“We’ve been so worried about you,” your mother says, putting an arm around Carly. “But here you are! How do you feel?”
It is only now that you notice the throbbing pain at the back of your head. You touch it gingerly and wince.
“I think I am fine,” you say after a moment. And you do, except part of you wishes it had all been real, and that you could have been a wizard, or a paranormal, or a ping-pong phenomenon…. If only you could choose to go back in time, to start your adventure over once more…
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