Blackness like a prison encompassing, and brutal cold insensate void.  I am adrift lifeless… thoughtless.  Yet, I am still here.  I can’t confess to know in hindsight where I am.  There is no pain, no feeling, no mind, and no sensation, yet a feeling of something ebbing.  ‘What am I’ beckons not in words but in soul felt meanings.  I begin to perceive ripples of light from behind me.  The ripples are like streaming gray shards in the blackness and moves like light shining through the surface of the ocean.  The shards glow brighter and brighter bringing in shades and hues of blue that I can perceive in my bodiless form.  Brighter and brighter I perceive as I float closer and closer to this strange blue watery light source.  I am beginning to perceive the sounds of metallic whale calls rolling and twanging.  The sounds are muffled but as the light grows brighter I hear sounds of activity, of which I can‘t discern.

Like sounds with a flange effect decreasing in intensity the sounds seem to be getting clearer.  The bluish rippling in the water now looks like moonlight shining into a lake from under it‘s surface, and I can hear murmured voices coming from somewhere, almost as if coming from outside the water.  Now, the light is at it’s peak and though it isn’t bright, it is beautiful.  I still feel like a formless mass of nothing.  Suddenly, I hear an intelligible line of speech from my watery locale, “Look, there is someone in the lake”.  It was quite muddled by the water, but suddenly I feel tugging and pulling though I can’t quite tell what it is.  I feel like something is moving me, but feel nothing touching me only the faint sensation of motion.  The flange goes away with the splash and dripping of water, and I can no longer see the ripples of moonlight, but the reflection of the moon off the rippling water although only faintly as if dreaming.

I am flipped over and lowered into a small wooden boat, and I can hear an old man and see the silhouette of a woman with a headdress both hovering over me, and I here them talking to each other.  “She’s not breathing”, the woman says.

“Well, that is blatantly obvious!”, he retorts while pressing down on me.
I see something clear welling up near my field of vague perception, and here the woman chime in again, “That isn’t going to help, besides I don’t like where you’re touching her.”  My field of perception is narrow and black bordered in a feathered way and rounded.  Everything near the edge of my field of vision is blurry and I can only see the things I am directly pointed at.

“THIS ISN’T THE TIME NOR PLACE FOR THAT PETTINESS!”, he shouts at her.  “Help me out here, damn it!”, he continues still pressing down and making ripples surge up near my field of view.  I know am perceiving a gurgling sensation that sounds like it’s internal.  The woman chimes back, “Sorry, what do you need me to do?”  “Lift up ‘er legs with the bucket, and start rubbing ‘er legs in the direction of ‘er heart!”, he continues more hurriedly pressing and further amplifying the gurgle.  I feel formless still, but a tingle begins from inside me.  “Why are her eyes still open, it’s scaring me”, says the woman’s voice as she is nearly in tears.  “Whatever hit this girl hit her fast, and it wasn’t long ago.  We can STILL save her!”, says the man beginning to get winded from pressing down over me.  I see my field of view begin to shake a little as I can sense an intensifying in the woman’s efforts.  The tingle in my chest is starting to spread, and intensify.  The woman stops for a moment and is quickly reprimanded by the man.

“Don’t stop, we’re going to lose her if you don’t help me”, he shouts with voice shaking.

The mans voice sounds firm and wise like a narrator from a famous movie.  He is older but youthful sounding.  His voice sounds to be in his fifties to sixties.

As the rubbing and pressing resumes I start feeling pressure, and my head starts to tingle and buzz.  I feel something pulsate in my chest once.   Then twice and at this the tingling turns into burning in my chest and the prickly sensation spreads like a cancer.  I am feeling pins and needles surging through out me, and they start to take shapes.  First my legs, as I start to feel faintly the pressure of the woman’s hands rubbing them.  Then the shape and size of the man’s hands on my chest.  The pulsation sends pain throughout me and picks up in pace first three, then six, and then on a normal and increasing rhythm.  My sight goes black for a second, then back to the real world.  I can feel a pulse and surges of pain throughout my body the pain now climbing from a dull hum to a blinding roar.  The man sees my eyes blink and stops pressing, while the women keeps going vigorously.

Reflex is coming back and the pain and discomfort of the gurgling in my chest is stirring me to move…. Pain surges and my reflex to cough overcomes me… I double over spewing only water in the first few moments, but on the third I begin gasping air.  My sensation begins to return to my skin and my field of view widens and grows more clear with every breath.  I now realize I am in a boat on my hands and knees coughing up water, and now just cough out of reflex.  The cough subsides after many moments and my sense of smell is detecting the presence of water, so I blow air through my nostrils to clear out the water twice.  I sit back, completely drenched, cold, with all my extremities tingling and pinching like they just woke from a blood deprived sleep, and my head is buzzing like a chainsaw.

“Well, well, welcome back to the land of the livin’ young lady!”, he smiles at me as I turn my head to his voice.  “You gave us quite a scare”, he continues, “An’ what warze you doin’ in that there lake anyways?”

“I don’t… (I trail off as I start to cough again)… know. I don’t know!”, I reply still struggling to catch my breath.

Then, it all comes rushing back to me… “The plane, I was on the plane”, I exclaim in a semi-shocked way.  “Plane?  What in the blue hell is a plane?”, he inquires with a puzzled look on his face.  “Daddy, it’s those flying craft that they’re always talking about, I think”, explains the woman proudly.  “Well, this here girl musta fallen out that plane!”, he retorts staring back at her.  “Daddy, what did I tell you about your grammar!”, she scolds him, “We are well-educated, and there is absolutely no reason to be talking like a freja.” (frayha)

“Look doll, I didn’t pay f’all dat dere money educatin’ ya so you could come home and bad mouth ya daddy!”, he responds with a look of rebellion in his eyes.  “Here is a blanket, now wrap it around you until we can get you some clean, dry clothes”, the woman says to me.  The old man picks up a still smoldering pipe sitting on the bench next to him and puts it in his mouth, puffs and pauses for a second.  Turning to me, he asks. “Well, who might ye be?”  The woman rolls her eyes at him.

I respond after a pause looking at the woman and return to his piercing gaze, “I… I… I’m Anna“, I stammer.  I hate it when I stutter like that, but unfortunately the hypothermia is starting to register in me.

My eyes are finally starting to adjust to my surroundings and I see the boat we are in is parked on a beautiful pond with cat tails and beautiful purple flowers glistening in the moonlight on the surface.  It’s in the middle of a marshy part of a rolling grassy plain with large rolling hills in the distance.  The moonlight is tinting the landscape blue-gray.  There is no city lights and you can see the stars nearly perfect, though they are strange and unfamiliar.  I can’t see a single constellation I can recognize, and even the patterns of the moon look unfamiliar.  My mind races as I contemplate what it going on.  Time travel perhaps?  Maybe the moon looked different back in the day?  Where I am… When am I?  All these questions floated about in my mind.

The old man chimes, “Well kiddos, it’s gettin’ late… Serpentine is risen, so we ought to getin’ our butts home”.  At this moment I am thinking aloud, “What is Serpentine?”  The man points over my should and says, “What planet you from? That’s Serpentine o’er there”.  I turn my head and see the most enormous astronomically object rising into the sky that I have never seen in my entire life.  An enormous ringed planetoid is filling the sky as it rises.  This stark realization sends shivers down my spine, and make every hair on my neck stand on end… “We’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto”, I murmur under my breath.  “What’s Kansas?”, the girl mutters.  “That’s a strange get up you got on ‘ere, woman”, the old man inquires.  “It’s quite normal where I come from”, I say in return.

“And where exactly would that be”, he asks more befuddled than before.  All I can say is, “I don’t know”.  “I can’t say where I am from because I don’t have a clue about where I am”, I add.  The old man says, “I’m Fitzgerald… Fitzgerald Prump.  And this here is my grandaughta, Aurelia Prump.”  He reaches for my hand and leans his head forward with eyebrows raised inquisitively, “And you are again?”  “Anna… Anna Crowley”, I cordially reply.  In the distance I can see a humble looking lakeside house nestled in the side of a hill among the waves and thistles and reeds rising from the shorelines.  This area is beautiful, covered in hilly landscapes and highly contoured vistas.  I wonder to myself what it looks like in the sunlight.  The old man rows silently while gazing out at the calm surface of the water as if in a trance.  I can hear the creaking of the wood of the boat as the ores put tension on the swivels they are mounted to.  The water laps up against the sides and I can here it resonate through the boat.  After being so close the death, I am amazingly calm.  I look around as if I was returning home though I am not sure why I feel so at home.  It’s all so much to take in and my heart is so full of amazement I feel it may just explode.

Aurelia reaches over to me to rub my shoulders to help me warm up a bit, and an eerily familiar chill rolls across me as my mind begins to wander.

“You have great timing, young woman.  We were just… (She is abruptly halted by an random hiccup) about prepared for dinner.  We were out here hoping to net some fish for dinner when you came floating up from the depths”, Aurelia chirps at me.  “Well, this’un doan look fit fer eatin’”, chuckles the old man announces.  The woman kicks the old man in the shin for being so rude.  “Now, now.  You shouldn’ be kickin’ ol’men like that”, he belches in pain, “Spect your elder young’un.”  She just sticks her tongue out at him.  You can’t help but burst into tears and laughter at such a sight.  “Now, look what you did, Daddy! You made her cry”, say says while patting me and wiping the tears from your eyes.  You don’t understand why you are crying and laughing but you can’t help it and the tears just keep flowing from your eyes as your laughter fades and you just keep crying…  She wraps her arms around you and the aching in your heart makes the tears overflow into whimpers.

“I still can’t figure out why I feel this way”, you think to yourself all the while knowing the cause deep inside.  Quickly your tears dry and she hoists you up and the old man grabs you around the waist and picks you up placing you on to the dock.  You remember hearing the boat bumping up against another solid object moments ago and the man getting out but you were too upset to pay attention the first time.  “Let’s get’er inside an’ warmt and dry.  You can lend’er som’in of yers till we can get’er som’in in town tomorrow”, the old man says sternly.  With her arm over my should and me still wrapped in a blanket the woman walks you up the creaky dock to the house.

The house is very much like a lakeside cabin should be, made of wood and rock with a very rustic style to it.  Inside you see the warm glow of artificial lighting that is made to look like natural lantern light.  The contrast of their clothing being something kind of “neo-Victorian” and technology seems rather jarring to you.  As you walk in the door the old man rubs his hands together causing his palms to glow blue.  He then reaches up and touches a metal plate on the wall by the door and turns the lights on.  The hand print glows blue for a moment after he touches it.

“How did you just do that”, you ask in amazement!?

“What you never seen a mimetic switch before?”, he chuckles in a jovial manner.  “You must’int be from round these parts’en, ‘ats fer certain”, he adds.  “Daddy, one of these days I’m going to make you sound civilized”, she says as she is quickly cut off by her grandfather, “Girl, how many times I tell ya.  It’ gives me character.”

“Why do you call him ‘daddy’ if he is your grandfather”, I ask.  “Well he raised me from the time I was little.  My father and mother died when I was young, and as for gran…”, she stops as the old man clasps an outreached finger over her lips.   “We don’t talk about granma”, he says with eyes turned to the floor, “No needin’ drudge up wha’ need not be mention’d”.  “Fine”, she says while slapping his hand away from her mouth.  She turns away and grabs and apron off the counter and walks across the dining area with a large, hand-made looking table to a large kettle cooker over the kettle style fireplace.  The wood is burning with blue flames, which catches you off guard.  “Propane or natural gas?”, you think to yourself, but it seems that it is the logs themselves burning blue.  “Blue Fire”, you mutter with bemusement.

“Yeah? What other color would it be?”, the old man says to you head cocked to the side with a hand on your shoulder.

“Reddish-orange last time I saw one”, you say with brows crinkled together.  “I ain’t seen no orange flames, well at least in any fire I ever made”, he responds as if to say this girl must be crazy to me.  As he says this you look around an notice the wood is all a blue-green toned as if it were stained with blue ink, or the coloring from urinal cakes.

The stones look like blue and white marble, and every “natural” part of their artificial structure appears to have shades and hues of blue as if that are also stained… There is streaks of browns, some warm auburns and blacks, but mostly blue.  Even the bark on the wood where there is still bark is a bluish tinge of brown.  The countertops are white stone, and all the fixtures and apparent appliances appear to be machine crafted, not hand.  The architecture of the house is very rustic Victorian, with many neo-Victorian and almost modern elements not including the lighting and technology.  The woman’s dress is very long, so long you can’t see her feet, and very flowy and ruffled with a corset/bustier built into the waistline that ties in the front.  The shoulders are cutaway, and it has long bloused sleeves.  It has a wide string cinched collar.

The man looks like an old Victorian bureaucrat, with cuffed sleeves, a tie, and a blazer over it.  The shirt has the ruffles down the front with almost boot cut slacks tailored with an elegant cuff at the bottom as well.  He has a pocket watch on a chain in his right breast pocket.  You look at the strange world around you with utter amazement, and your head begins to spin with your all too common dizzy spells.  You close your eyes and hope it passes, as you hear a kettle clunk down on the table.  “Are ya okay ‘eir  lass”, he asks tugging on your damp shirt sleeve.  The blanket has slipped down around your waistline.  You pause for a moment, “Sure, I’m fine”, as you blink your eyes trying to shrug it off.

“Come with me”, Aurelia chimes while leaning towards you over the table.

You go to get up and the dizziness gets worse and you plummet to the floor.  The woman rushes in to catch you, “Well, looks like we need to keep an eye on you for a bit, you are still weakened.”  Lifting you to your feet she wraps her arm around yours and begins to walk you upstairs.  “This will be only a moment Daddy”, she turns to him and says.  As you walk up the stairs, she shouts back at him with her face forward, “We can eat when we come back down, so drop it.”  You hear the clink of the kettle top plopping back has her grandfather was attempt to sneak a bite or drink before everyone was seated.  “Damn you girl, yer as bad as your mother”, you hear from down the stairs now while now at their summit.  There is a towel closet to your right, and two bedrooms as well as a steep attic stairwell going to the right of the closet and left of the bedroom door.
She leads you into the left bedroom and sits you down on the bed for a moment still draped in damp blankets.  She goes to a large sliding door closet and grabs what looks like an elegant nightgown/dress, and tossed it across the bed.  “This used to be my mother’s room, and I just couldn’t stand it at first”, she mumbles to you face deep in the closet.  “Your taller than me so I doubt anything of mine will fit you, but my mom was your size I believe.”   “So tomorrow we’ll get you something to borrow from the attic.  We keep all my mother’s old stuff up there and I sure we’ll find you something right fitting”, she adds.  You stand up, or attempt to do so and are unable and fall back against the bed slightly disheveled from your previous position.  “Hold on there sweetie, we don’t want you hurting yourself trying that now”, she says in a motherly voice.  She goes into the hall grabbing a towel from the cabinet and comes back in, “Let’s get you presentable for dinner”

“I’m just really dizzy at the moment”, you say as she retorts from the closet again, “Ya did almost die a moment or so ago.”  As she says that she slaps her hand over her mouth.  “Don’t tell my Daddy about that, you hear.”  You just nod your head in agreement.

She prances over to the bed an plops down a green gown, and places her left knee by your hip and half straddling you leaning against the bed whips your shirt up and over your head while you quickly clasp your arms over your breasts.  She throws your damp and moisture laden shirt on the floor with a dull flop, “Modest are we?  Then you should wear a brassiere.”  “Lift your arms… I am not going to take advantage of you.  I’d ask first”, she giggles.  You look at her shocked that she’d say that so casually.  The room is fairly dark, and only the light from the hallway light downstairs lights the room with the door halfway open.  She dries your chest arms and face with the towel when you finally comply by lifting your arms.  She then turns to an old style oil lamp looking device and snaps her fingers.  Then with an outstretched index finger she shoots a blue bolt of electricity out to a fingertip shaped and sized metal plate by the lamp and the light suddenly comes on.  You jump at the sound of the pop and the odd occurrence you just witnessed.

“How did you do that”, you exclaim as if you just saw a man walk on water.  “What, you can’t do that?”, she says looking at Anna thoroughly confused.

“I’ve never seen anything like that, from anyone in my entire life”, you retort trying to give normalcy to your expression.  “Most people can do that, unless of course you are a freja”, she says and continues, “You aren’t a freja are you?”  “Don’t even know what that is!”, you respond shocked and out of breath.  You close your eyes and try to stop your anxiety attack and hyperventilation because your dizziness is getting worse, bad enough for nausea.  You start to wobble as Aurelia clutches you by the shoulders, “Whoa, calm down now girl or you might pop.”  “Apparently where you’re from isn’t like where you are now, and all this must seem mighty strange to you.”  “Yeah, you could say that again”, you pant.

“Why would I want to say it again?”, she says quizzically, “Anyhow, there is a mineral here with peculiar properties versus the other elements and it’s rather abundant.  Though some varieties of the material are almost impossible to extract it from.  So even though it’s not rare, pure substance isn’t very common.  It’s strange energies makes it fairly reactive, but not as to make it impossible to harvest.  This element, so to speak is only less abundant than vitabon, which is what life in our world is made primarily of.  I studied biology for many years, and you appear very much like our race so you are also made of vitabon”, she explains.  “What is Vitabon?”, you ask with sort of a faint idea that it’s what they call carbon on this world.  “Okay, vitabon is K+6, N+6 with H-6… K is for Ka, N is for Ni, and H is for He.  K and N are at the center of the pratus and H orbits the pratus”, she concludes.  “Does this make sense”, she asks and you respond, “Yes, we call the element you speak of Carbon which has 6 protons, 6 – 8 neutrons, and 6 electrons in it’s ground state, and yes I am composed mainly of Carbon.”  “Wait, you know of K+6/N+8/H-6 Vitabon?  How is that even physically possible.  On element lower than K+10 it can not have more or less N than it’s equal sum otherwise it decays immediately.  What proof do you have of this?”, she speaks slightly louder than before with a preachy tone in her voice.

“Hmm, perhaps the properties of this place or time are different from the dimension, or time I came from”, you mutter under your voice but are heard unintentionally.  “Other universe”, with her eyebrows drawn, “What are you talking about?  Is that where you are from?  How can properties be different from where you come from to here?”, she continues more impatiently.  “What are you?”, she urges for answers, “Where do you come from?”

You halt her by putting your finger over her lips, but she quickly grabs your finger and twists it, “Answer my damned questions!”  You squeal with pain as you try to wriggle you finger from her clenched fist, “I DON’T KNOW!  But…. Ah… Oww, but…. But I have a theory”, you eek out.

“I’m listening”, she says letting go of your finger.

“I am not entirely sure, but either this is a different time though unlikely part of my history, so potentially distant future, or this is a parallel reality”, you input sort of guessing as you go, “And I am leaning towards the later, as there appears to either be information missing from your sciences, or the properties of matter differ slightly in yours from ours.”

“What is a parallel reality”, she asks while intently fixated on your words.

“A parallel reality is the theory that our scientist came up with, and under the concept of parallel reality is that there is other universes existing simultaneous but completely independent of our own.  There is likely other versions of yourself in other universes, but their histories, lives and even their personalities differ based on the individual continuities of their universe.  There is potentially an infinite number of alternate versions of your life and history out there.  Every time you make a decision there is a universe in which you did out there somewhere, leaving for an infinite amount of possible multiverses.”  You continue, “Scientist believe there is potentially a maximum value for the number of universes that can exist, and many believe that universe come in and out of existence all the time.  There is also the potential that if said universes exist that their properties may differ greatly from our own, and there may be no life in some, or more abundance of it in others.  It’s even possible that there will be material elements that don’t exist in one that exist in the other, or that vary in properties from one to the other.”

“We have a theory about that, but it’s never been tested”, she replies.

“Are you saying that you have tested it, and that you are from another world”, she adds with an excited and scared quiver in her voice.  “It is one possibility.  And there is evidence to support that conclusion though I have too little information to draw such a conclusion from it… First, fire is blue here.  Second Hydrogen through Neon have only one isotope, but they have many where I am from.  Third you and your father both exhibit abilities that aren’t humanly possible and an apparent form of technology that doesn’t exist where I am from, with properties that don‘t exist there.  All of these things could lead me to many conclusions.  One, that I have been in a simulated reality experiment experiencing a world that does not exist.  Or that perhaps I have traveled into the future where there have been changes to the properties of matter or addition of an exotic element, because it is unknown if that can at all change.  Or, most likely that I have traveled to a parallel world with different properties…”, you imply with a little more certainty.  There is other possible hypotheses but you can’t seem to draw any more at this point.

“Okay… in your terms, are you aware of an element with K+43?”, you ask gently hoping to appear helpful and non-confrontational.

She responds quickly, “Petavabon!”  “Okay, is that element a natural element or is it’s natural version unstable and subject to decay”, you add leaning toward her kneeling in front of you by the bed.  “No, Petavabon is a stable element that does not decay.”  “How many elements does your ‘Table of Elements’ have, and at what element do the decay rates start getting really short?”, you ask half knowing what her response will be.  “256 technically, although they haven’t fully verified it, and at 155 there is a few unstable elements but most of them are 180 and above.”

“I can’t say for sure, but a future version of my world seems a lot less plausible, unless there is an exotic element changing the known properties of matter, or augmenting the stability of matter beyond previously known limits”, you say intrigued by the possibilities.  “Ah, I think I know what you are talking about.  There is a metal that has multiple variable properties, that literally environmental changes or remains in a state of Extron flux.  It changes and affects the properties of other matter”, she proudly boasts believing she has solved the mystery, “It’s called Spiritabon, and it is what our technology is based on.”  “Wait, so that blue light was…”, and she interrupts you, “Yes, it’s just one of the properties of Spiritabon.  See the metal seems to react to sentience and produce fields and energies in correspondence to the input of that sentience.  It is limited to forming shapes, translating energy in to motion, projecting energy and a handful of other properties, but it is how we turn on the lights, grind our meat and vegetables, and how we store food.  It’s also how we fight unfortunately”, she responds solemnly.

“I’ve use it to fight myself, but only because the only other option is to be a Freja”, she says mournfully and with a sense of guilt in her voice.  “It’s the reason, I…  I…..  The reason…..  I’m sorry”, she says as she begins to whimper and cry.  The only thing you know to do at moments like this is wrap your arms around them and comfort them.  She cries slightly less when you hold her, but pushes you away falling back sitting on her feet.  “You don’t have a mark, you could be a freja”, she shouts at you as her tears turn to anger.  “I just don’t think I could deal with that, and I’d never forgive you if you were”, she whimpers again, “I just couldn’t get close to you knowing that.”

Suddenly and violently she grabs your hand and you topple off the bed on to the floor as she tugs your hand towards the light.  You are frightened but this display and your eyes begin to well up in tears and she tugs you so hard it begins to hurt.  “Stop, you’re hurting me”, you squeak through your pain.  Realizing what she is doing she stops and immediately slides across the floor towards the closet.  “Touch the contact on the light”, she says sternly and angrily as she snaps her fingers and shuts the light off again.  “Touch the light”, she murmurs more deeply and intensely pointing her finger at the lamp.  She almost seems like she’s still pouting a bit.  Afraid of her anger you reach for the light and touch it, and for a second nothing happens… A cold sweat overwhelms you when suddenly the light comes on dimly at first, but comes to full lighting.  Aurelia drops her arm as if she just gave up the ghost and falls against a shelf on the floor of her closet.  She sighs deeply, when something starts to change… you haven’t removed your hand from the contact of the light, and the light grows brighter and brighter until the room is filled with the brightness of a flash bulb.  She sits up and crawls ever forward in amazement, when suddenly there is a loud pop and the lights go back out as sparks shoot from the lamp.

You hear her snap her finger and see a faint blue orb in the darkness, then a bolt of light again, this time to the wall by the door and another overhead light comes on.  You can tell it’s as bright as the lamp she turned on earlier but the bright light you made has partially blinded both you and her.  She pops the top off of the shade, to find what looks like a burst amplifier tube.  She hit’s a notch on the side and it partially ejects the annihilated tube, and as she reaches for it, it pierces her fingertip ever so slightly.  A small bubble of blood comes out, but not red blood, it comes out glowing a faint blue color.
“Your blood, it’s blue!”, you stammer to her.

“Yes, if it turned red I’d be done for good”, she calmly replies.  “A spirit users blood is always blue until they are defeated or until their life force is drained from their body.  Only freja have red blood”, she adds with a condescending tone in her voice.  “You aren’t a freja, at least as far as I can tell, but you don’t have a marking so you’ll have to get one soon or be arrested.  Since your new here you have a compliance period but if it’s up you’ll be incarcerated on the freja reserve.  I’ll turn you in myself, because it hurts too much to lose friends like that, and I won’t let no outsider like yourself cause me more pain than I be deserving off”, she then mumbles something while trailing off.  Setting the bulb down, and grabbing a bandage from her night stand under the lamp she says, “Oh, right… My daddy will dry up and blow away if we don’t get you prepped right and ready.”

Her gentleness and calm composure returns to her face as she grabs a brush from the same drawer as the bandages and begins to dry your hair with the towel, and then starts brushing it for you.  “You have lovely hair Anna, and it’s an unusual color around this area”, she explains, “Brown is rare, much more so red, but the combination of the two is unheard of.”  “And it’s so soft like you come from a wealthy family and can afford those fancy hair products that make your hair look nice”, now her voice carrying a tone of envy in it.  But you think she has lovely hair, though it would seem your color is quite exotic there.  Her hair is long wavy and black, and her Grandfathers is nearly blue-gray with swirls of black in it still.  Her grandfather is apparently over 120 of their years old, and she is 35.  To your eyes, she looks to be maybe 20 something to 30 max.  However, your frame of reference for age is not going to be accurate as these people are different from wherever or whenever it is your are from, and you have no idea how long a year is, much less a day.

You continue to cover your chest as she finishes brushing your hair out.  You ask for the brush for some fine tuning while also contemplating the nature of this place you find yourself in.  Your mind swirls trying to take it all in and absorb the sheer unfathomable strangeness of it all.  It makes you more than just a little bit dizzy thinking about it.  “Stand up” she asks, and as you do she begins to unfasten your belt and you freak out a bit.

“Your clothes are wet, we have to get them off”, she says sternly grabbing your hips to stop you from moving away, “Hold still, I am not going to hurt you.”

She unbuckles and pulls down your blue jeans which give her quite a struggle trying to get their dampness unstuck from your thighs.  Wet jeans are never fun to take off.  She begins to reach for your panties as you gasp aloud.  “Really modest, what a shame”, she murmurs under her voice.  “What was that”, you ask with a tone of surprise.  “Nothing, your underwear will dry on their own”, and she stands up and grabs the white night-gown from the bed.  “Arms up again”, she says while priming the outfit and sliding it over you.  She slides it on but it’s a little tight around the bust.  “Good thing nighties are slightly over-sized”, she huffs while tugging it down into place.  She then grabs the much shorter gown and throws it over with your arms outwardly stretched and you ask, “Why two gowns for going to bed.”  “For one it’s winter time here, and while today was nice it won’t stay this way… And second, it’s not lady like to wear your night wear to dinner, so you wear over-gowns to be presentable, and well we don’t have anything else for you at the moment”, she explains with a tone of motherly frustration in her voice.

She pulls you up off the bed and whirls you around 180 degrees almost sending you toppling onto the bed again.  She grabs and begins lacing the back of the over-gown pulling it tight like a corset.  She flips you around, and looks at you.  Your eyes have fully recovered from the blinding blast of earlier, and she says to you, “That’ll do.  Just take it off before bed.”

With that, she grabs you arm in arm and begins to escort you down the stairs again.  You still feel wobbly and uneasy on your feet though you were able to forget it while you were sitting on the bed.  You feel a bit drained by the lamp in her room but otherwise fine.  It’s like you just donated 2 pints of blood.  “It’s about damn time”, the old man shouts impatiently.  “Is everything okay, Aurelia?”, he says much more calmly as she grunts helping you into your seat.  “Yes daddy, we were just talking”, she exclaims in an annoyed voice.

“I need a new cretz tube for my bedside lamp.  Speaking of which, is it possible to pop one of those lamps accidentally”, she inquires.
“Well I ‘pose it’s possible, but you’d have to give it a hella lotta juice to pop on those suckers”, he remarks while wincing his left eye.  “How’d you pop it darlin’”, he asks with enhanced intrigue.  “I didn’t pop it Daddy, Anna did”, she smirks while grabbing the still hot kettle with mitts to move it and remove the heavy lid.  “Two plates Daddy, do you have short-term memory problems or what”, she scoffs.  “Sorry, I wasn’t thinking’”, he apologizes all the while clutching his pipe with his left hand.  “Well you were up there so long, that I guess I was hoping I’d have two plates all to myself.  You could’ve consummated your marriage up there in that time for all I know”, he chuckles aloud while taking another puff of his pipe.  She walks up to his chair and kicks his shin so hard that the table hops up a little, and he grunts  in pain.  “You are getting about that age where you might jest want ta start looking for a husband, or a wife”, he adds still chuckling a little under his breath.

“DADDY!”, she shouts while glaring at him with intimidating form, both hands on her hips.  He chuckles and her and she rolls her eyes at him and resumes setting plates, and getting utensils.  The plates are in-between the shape of bowls and plates, and she hands you a utensil that looks like a pair of salad tongs only smaller like a regular utensil.  One side is a spoon, the other is a fork and there is multiple joints that look like it’s a universal utensil of sorts, good for soup, salad, or other solid foods as well.  You stare at it quizzically but it’s operation is rather simple and you figure it out rather quickly.  They are both watching you as if you were some sort of alien sitting at the dinner table.  You pull the spoon side forward the push the fork side back.  The handle looks a little like a pair of scissors.  They seem slightly less amused watching you now that you figured it out.

Aurelia begins scooping soup from the kettle that is about 1.5’ tall and 1’ in diameter.  The soup is odd… the broth is like a green color, and the vegetables in it are blue and black.  There appears to be something that looks like potatoes, but also stained blue, and some reddish purple berries in it.  You wince at this strange concoction with a look somewhere between shock and confusion on your face.  “Do you not like thrate soup?”, the woman asks concerned over your confounding look.  “I don’t know, I never ate anything that was blue and green before”, and as you say it you notice something eerily familiar in the broth.  Brownish, and coarse grain.  It appears to be meat, and your face transitions from disgust to pleasant as the vaguely familiar sight eases your confusion.  Aurelia and Fitzgerald both look relieved that your look of confusion and shock has subsided.  She plops the soup in your bowl and you can begin to smell the concoction from the steam wafting at your face.  You aren’t sure what to make of it.  It smells fruity, but also sort of musky, but somehow pleasant and well seasoned.  She turns back to the kitchen, and grabs a something wrapped in what looks like cloth with something bright blue in it.  You watch her intently to see what it is.  She sets it down and a bluish cheese like substance next to it, and as she does pulls the cloth back from the object.  It’s bread… it looks like a loaf of Italian bread but it is bright sky blue with a sort purple shading too it where normal bread would turn brown when baked.

You stop to think about it… “Blue flames, blue wood, blue rocks, blue bread, blue food”, you murmur while point at them and the light comes on.  “Spiritanium wouldn’t happen to produce a blue hue when introduced to other substances would it”, you inquire with great zeal.

“Yes, actually, Spiritabon is a fundamental mineral in most things, and types of soil, and yes, you consume certain amounts of Spiritabon in your food and water.  Why’d you call it ‘Spiritanium’?  No one uses that anymore”, she says very proudly.  “It’s how spirit users git ‘eir power, an’ how people a‘tain the ability ta use the teck an’ otha wurld uses”, her dad adds with that sort of “madman” look in his eyes.  “But ‘is substance is as wondrous as tis dangerous  an’ is the s’rce of war an’ greed”, he continues as if waiting for me to be frightened by what he is telling me.  “Som’en say it’ consume ya soul if ya le’it.  Rumor has’t ‘at men who wonders the wood, with spines if glowin’ met’ls growin’ out dere backs.  Turned animal, an’ll attack anyone who has spirit p’wers.  Them say theys capture ya and eat ya alive.  You’kin always tell when theys hungry, because they eyes’r glowin’.  ‘Eir eyes is always glowin’.”  He is now lurched over his plate of soup acting as though he is a monster, with a crazy look on his face.  Aurelia sits down while rolling her eyes at her grandfather.  “He tells that story to anyone who visits our home for dinner”, she shrugs while throwing a cloth napkin on her lap.  He stands up with that same crazy face and pretends he’s about to eat her, but she thwarts him but walloping him upside the head with the wooden ladle.  “Darnit!  Always got ta ruin a man’s fun”, he scoffs and sighs at her.  She then grabs a strangely barbaric pair of scissors and begins to cut the bread with it.  She does this three times, and grabs what looks like a mini spatula to scoop the cheese-like substance onto the bread.  It has the consistency of cream cheese and smells a little like ginger and rosemary a little when cut.

She divides it up as one slice for each person, and it seems we are set to eat.  “May Serpentine guide the souls of the living and hold up the sky”, they both say almost in unison with eyes closed.  “Oh, I guess that prolly sounds weird ta ya, an’ it’s prolly a lil’ ol’fashioned, but I made a promi…”, he is abruptly cut off by a stomp on the toes from Aurelia.  He is out of fight for the night and just huffs and winces at her.  She sticks her tongue out at him and says, “Well, we can eat now.”
The old man jumps up from his chair almost losing hold of his pipe… “I a’most jinxed da whole meal!”  He whirls around surely with a mischievous smirk all to familiar to Aurelia it seems, and goes to a elegantly designed gold-crested cabinet door with a stained glass patterned transparent front with a vaguely familiar silhouette behind it.  Aurelia can do nothing but shake her head shamefully.  He opens it and pulls a clear glass bottle out with a blue slightly syrupy looking substance in it.

“What are you doing daddy, or what do you thinking you’re doing?”, she inquires as though she knows the answer.

“C’mon woman, ya know it’s bad luck fer me ta leave out da private stock when we git guests at the lakeside manner!”, he chuckles with the grin growing ever more mischievous.

“Which bottle is that?” she sighs while gazing at him dejectedly but curiously.  “Batch 352-6 an’ it’s my reformula’id Paruha, prolly the best I made”, he proudly stomps with his chest puffed out.  Aurelia dips her bread into the soup, and says with a sigh, “Fine, this broad needs to lighten up anyhow.”  Your jaw drops open as she glares at you with a snide grin, and a snickers in a nonchalant manner.  “Oh dear”, you mutter to yourself and dip your head to the floor… ‘I just got sold up the river by my first sort of friend in a new world, time, universe already’, you think to yourself.  “I wish Vic was here”, you say wondering if she has realized you’re gone or not, or if she died thousands of year ago in this timeframe, or if you’ll ever see her again.  You laugh a disconcerted laugh to yourself as you hear the old man chuckle and the sound of a very large mug being filled with a mysterious substance that is supposed to do something about your “Uptightness” while you contemplate what the strange food in front of you may taste like.  You reach for your utensil and grab a bit of the potato looking substance and a piece of meat-like substance with some of the berries and veggies on it.

It tastes good, make that great… It’s bizarre but really good.  It tastes like what would happen if you barbecued potatoes, onions and pork together in aluminum foil over hickory logs with cranberries, sage, butter, beer, and turmeric and coated it with honey, and made a broth out of butter milk and brown sugar and put it all into a soup.  Aurelia’s face lit up when she saw my overwhelmingly positive response to the soup.  I reached for the bread next, and took a bite before dipping it into the broth.  The bread tasted like apple loaf, and the cheese like substance tasted like a bitter, but slightly salty version of provolone with a consistency more like butter.  I dipped it into the broth, and the combination of buttermilk, honey, smoky hickory, the apple-like, and slightly salty retort of the cheese was almost overwhelming…  It was zesty, and to be honest, it was the best thing I had ever eaten if not also the most bizarre meal I’d ever had.  Felt like the character in Dr. Seuss’s “Green Eggs and Ham” because that is what it looked like to me, in a vague sort of blue, green and turquoises sense.  I was pleasantly thrilled and I completely destroyed that savory slice of bread about 2 breaths after I tried it as she watch me intently grinning.

I turned my face up to her from across the table, and say “This is really, really good, like more than I could have ever imagined in my entire life.  I have never had anything like this before, nor anything so flavorful.”

Her eyes went wide, and I could almost see the face of remorse after a second… She sold me up the river to her granddad who was going to give me a beverage that was likely going to make for a fun night and a hellish morning.  Something on her face screamed, I got revenge for your odd looks, but now I regret it since you really loved what I cooked for you.  She repetitively looked at her granddad, and just shook her head and hung her head in shame over the chaos she’d let ensue over her premature offense to my response to her cooking.

Three glasses poured, and the old man sits down with that satisfied look of accomplishment on his face.  I look into the glass and the fluid is glowing, as is the remaining fluid in the bottle now that it’s been exposed to air.  “That ‘ere my lass is a brew made frum da finnes’ honey and grain made it ‘ese hills.  It’s fermentin by a process wer’ the high Spiritanium content is concentratin’ in a syrup.  The Paruha’s flav’r comes from uhara organizm that feeds in Spiritanium food stuffs”, he nudges Anna insistently… “Best drink ya money can buy”, he winks at her, “I bet your jumping to try some.”  He turns to Aurelia and says, “Com’on it’s truly my purest, best batch yet.”  She just shrugs, and lifts her mug as if she has finally consigned herself to the chaos she has wrought against me.  She takes a couple of chugs, and sets the mug down.  “Well, daddy, either you messed this up royal, or you made the best batch ever”, she says in a surprised tone, “I can’t taste the bitterness of the Paruha.”
I sign of relieve seems to cross her face for some reason… and then she looks toward me, and says “You ought to giv’it a try yerself.”  She stops for a moment greatly dismayed.  “I think I is underestimatin’ you Daddy!”, she says in a course of speech that sounds much more like her grandfather.  “Ya kno’ I only talk like ‘is when you make it too strong”, she says while sighing and shaking her head.  She seems baffled at how she could have underestimated this super sweet concoction.  At that, I figure I’d try a little bit, just to see what was up.  She went from sober to mildly intoxicated with too swigs, and a ire of dread creeps up my spine.  Her grandfather is cackling and laughing hysterically at her, and stomping his foot and slapping his hand against the table in victory for finally conquering his granddaughters rather finicky tastes in brew.

I take a sip from the glass, and it tastes a little like honey and maple syrup only much more like the consistency of a schnapps.  It tastes like a very beery mead, with a slight but not unpleasant bite to it.  It has a metallic zing to it, kind of like licking a penny, but is offset rather nicely with the sweet and bitter natural honey flavor.  Aurelia is now slouching, eating her food with slightly less decorum from before, while repetitively leering at the old man who simply bursts into laughter.  I can feel the gentle buzz of an alcohol like feeling going down my throat.

At this point I have drunk maybe 2 to 3 oz. of this fluid and I am already feeling a little buzzed.  My head feels kind of like it’s floating, and I feel like I did the time I was on Vicodin, but less medicine like more alcohol like.  It’s very weird, because I set it down, and I look around and I feel like the room is bigger than it was before.  Aurelia and the old man exchange taunts, but I am barely aware of what they are saying as I try to fully take in this experience.  The world is still pretty clear, in fact I’d say it’s more vivid than normal.  I resume eating and the flavors of the food seem more intense but slightly less sweet as before.  I feel very calm, so I take another drink of the blue glowing mead-like substance.  I start to feel warm, like on a warm spring day where there is a brisk breeze, but not cold.  The room seems to get bigger, so it seems that it colluded my depth perception.

At this point I have drunk less than half of the mug and I am positive that whatever this stuff is it’s more alcohol like than anything, and I am at the drunk, buzzed threshold.  I look up at Aurelia, and say, “This stuff is dangerous, it is so sweet but ridiculously potent”.  “See, look what you did now daddy”, she says smirking and the smirk turns to a giggle and then into all out laughter, as the effect of the paruha is in full swing.

It’s probably one of the most alert buzzes I have ever had, and I don’t feel dizzy, I don’t feel inebriated, I just feel really calm, warm and happy, like some big ol’mug’o’happy.  At this thought I say it, “It’s like a gib ol’mug-o-happy!”, and I burst into laughter, and Aurelia returns to laughing with me.  I laugh so hard, I start to see blue dust floating in the air.  I stop laughing for a moment to say, “Hey, whaz with some floatin’ specks of blue dust”, I ask with slurred speech.  “Ah, lass, ‘at is da Sp’ritab’n streams, or the particles of dust laden wit the mineral from a cer’ain type of flower that blooms only at night”, he exclaims while sipping from his mug.

“If ya kin see it, ya’s a spirit userr.  Sur’s day’ll rise”, he expounds confidently while beginning to show signs of intoxication himself.  You turn and cock your head, and suddenly everything disappears for a moment.

After that, the next this you see is the ceiling in the kitchen, and Aurelia standing over you.  She looks like she is 200 stories tall, and she is talking as if her voice dropped 3 octaves.  “Look dadda, ya broke da lass, sh’ain’t gitin up”, she slurs out.  “Ah, na, da gir’ be fine, jest tosser in bed”, he touts, “Sh’jus nee’s som’rest.”  “Ugh, dadda, n’er gin, ‘kay?”, she says while hoisting me up.  I don’t really remember the stairs, just the clunk of my feet as they hit the lips of them as if dreaming.  First you almost die then you get blitzed on some brew that will likely cost you in the morning.

You feel the thump of your body against a bed, and you feel a warm body crawl in next to you.  Everything just fades out now.