Archive for October, 2014

Ruins Thoughts

I wrote this based on a dream of the daises and the destroyed bones without the skin being hurt.


This was written while I was dating my last ex, who is a convicted sex offender. I believed that he didn’t do anything, but “The System” screwed him over. But now? Now, I’m not sure what to think, but I’m no longer with him because of his conviction. This was written with the intent of what I wanted to do while I dated him, to ‘save’ him from his conviction.

Ruins Epilogue

I ran into the library barefooted and ran passed the librarian. “If anyone asks, I ain’t here!”

The librarian smiled, “You promised!”

I slid to a halt and ran back to her. “I know, thanks for reminding me.” I pulled out a disc that would fit into the library’s holographic display case. “Thank you for everything.”

“It was lovely. Anyways, you have an office in the same building as everyone else, why do you hide in this one?”

“This is where I got my start… and… I found out I have a window that overlooks the display. The window was hiding behind a painting and when I moved the painting to clean it, I found the window.”

The librarian hid her grin behind her coffee cup. “I saw you on the television, you were beautiful and you spoke your knowledge well.”

“Apparently, I did. I couldn’t go thirty steps without some guy asking to dinner or someone ask to get free tickets into the Ruins. The Guardians had a wonderful idea to sell tickets to the Ruins, to donate into the restoration of some of them to what they looked like before my people left them.”

She ushered me on, “I have work to do and you look like you need peace and quiet.”

“I’ll go put this into the display case, so you can continue to drink your coffee and shush people.” I grinned as she waved me away.

I passed by many of the books I had been using for research and saw young scholars pouring over the same books. I was in my other home, second to the Ruins and before the house where my bed was. I strolled through the shelves, slowly making my way to the display case. I browsed books of fiction and found something that caught my eye. I pulled it off the shelf and read the summary, becoming enthralled. I held onto it as I reached the case.

I ran my hand along the glass remembering when I built it. It was a seven foot tall round case with a holographic model of the Ruins. When someone wanted to see a specific part, they would just need to speak the sector name and that sector would blow up to the person. They could chose any building and the case would explain what the building was for and it would even have a little movie of what the people would have done in it. Below the glass was a shelf full of books to purchase or borrow that only the librarian or I could open.

I put the disc in and watched it go through the opening sequences. The case started to run with ease and I turned to walk to my office, when I ran into someone. “I’m so sorry!” He was handsome and just looking at him made me blush. He looked like someone I used to know, but I could not quite find the memory.

He adjusted his shoulder bag and looked down at me, “You’ve grown since Iclia Bar.”

“Iclia Bar? Sorry, you must have the wrong girl. I’ve never been into a bar.”

He pulled out a pair of sunglasses and handed them to me. “You gave these to me six months ago and it took me until today to find you.” He set his bag on the ground as he pulled out one of my bots. “And this… missed you from what I could gather from the glasses.”

He handed it to me and I squealed, “Bot 13! I thought I lost you somewhere!” The bot purred in my arms as I held it tight. I looked to the stranger, “How did you find him?”

He smiled to me, “He found me, actually. And I renamed him Dawg.” His face sobered, “You really don’t remember?”

I shook my head, sadly, “Apparently not… But I’m glad you found him.” I smiled up at him. “My name is Sori.”

He leaned forward and kissed me. I took a step back and found myself against the case, “My name is Chris.”

“Chris… Tis a pleasure to meet you. If you come with me to my office, we can sit down and discuss it?” I asked hopeful that maybe it could go farther.

He looked thoughtful, “I have a better idea. Why don’t we drop off Dawg and the rest of your stuff and we can go on a date?” He put his arm out for me.

I blushed a deep red and linked my arm in his. “That sounds wonderful.”

Ruins Ch 05

Saslla caught my fall and we gently floated to the wooden dais. He set me on top of it, the pain disappearing from my body. “Did it work?” I asked them, eager to know if I did everything I could.

Illuminarium looked to his son and nodded once. Saslla smiled, “Yes. You stopped them from being jailed and you stopped the sacrificing.” Relief swept over me, but it quickly turned to pain. Saslla stepped onto the dais. “Sori! Fight it! It is the only way your soul can survive. Think of something that could bind you to your world!”

I fought against the pain using knowledge to disrupt it. I thought of Cassandra, Michael, Mahia and Ryan. I thought of James, Alex and Marcus. I thought of my parents, the librarian and the Guardians. Most of all, I thought of Chris and the joy I felt when he was near.

Saslla and Illuminarium faded from sight as I thought of the Ruins. It was my place to protect, to exist and most of all, it was my one true home. I remember when I first joined the team; there was a group picture in front of the Ruins. In my mind, I added everyone else I was fighting to keep a hold of. I held onto that image as I spiraled down into nothingness.


I woke up in my bed, at the house I rarely visited, except to sleep. I yawned and stretched my arms above my head. I looked at the calendar on my wall, “Six months since the professor was imprisoned for conspiracy to murder. Five months since I showed the other scientists the other side of the Ruins and showed them the Guardians. Two since the library started to fund the project and the team decided I should take the professor’s place.”

I smiled at the memories, as I hopped out of bed. “Today is a monumental day!” I laughed at myself as the computers whirled to life. I completed the model last night of the whole Ruins. It became easier when the Guardians started to assist us with the mapping. I pulled a disc out of my nightstand, the full history, use and model of the Ruins were on this and several other discs scattered through my house.

I saw a piece of paper under the disc and smiled softly to myself. I picked it up and read it as I did every day, Do not let the Guardians down in your promise and care for the Ruins your parents, your people and you have protected for thousands of years.

I set the note back into the nightstand, smiling to myself. One night, six months ago, I had a dream. I stood before the tribunal of Gods and they granted me access to time for one night. I went back and spoke to the Guardians about their wishes, learning that my mother was their mistress. I could not remember the rest of the dream, it being a blur. When I woke up, I found this note in my hands. “Crazy dreams…”

I grabbed my normal glasses, the sunglasses having been retired when I showed the other scientists my set of Ruins. I climbed out of bed and dressed in a lime green dress shirt, black pants, combat boots and my ankle length white coat. I looked at my reflection in the full-length mirror. I looked from my head to my black combat boots and said aloud, “I’m a damn sexy scientist. Now to show the world my sweet set of knowledge.” I smiled to my reflection, grabbed my clipboard, full of discs and walked out of the house.

I walked a little ways to the Ruins, where cameras had been set up the night before. I passed by the security gate and found the Guardians waiting for me. “Today is the day, loves.”

I felt their joy brush against me, as the leader lightly touched my arm. You swore that the wall would be torn down…

“We are doing it today.” I pointed to the construction equipment standing ready to tear down the wall and to start revealing the Ruins to the natural sunlight. “The model is done and I will keep my promise to show the world what your clan has been protecting for centuries.” I smiled to him and lightly touched one of his horns. “There is another set of equipment being used topside to help give you all the sunlight you crave…”

He bowed his head, Thank you, mistress. You are too kind, milady.

I pulled my hand back as he and his clan faded to invisible. I looked to my colleagues and smiled to them brightly, “Ready for this?” Cassandra gave me a warm smile as she placed her hand on Michael’s shoulder, showing off an engagement ring. My mouth dropped when I saw it.

“Are ye catchin’ flies, ‘ori?” Ryan came up behind me.

I whipped around, seeing Mahia and Ryan standing there grinning at me, “Did you know they got engaged?”

Mahia nodded, “Found out this morning.” He looked at my appearance, “You are going to wear that?”

I looked down at my clothes, “Yes, why not?”

Ryan and Mahia rolled their eyes as Cassandra and Michael joined us. “Because you would look beautiful if you dolled up a little. It is your first television interview and you should look your best.” Michael smiled, as Ryan and Mahia grabbed my arms and pulled me towards a bathroom. Cassandra and Michael followed close behind, Cassandra grabbing something from a shelf.

After fighting them for five minutes, I realized it was a fruitless venture and stopped. The men left and Cassandra quickly had me dressed in a lime green tube dress that hugged my body well. She did my make-up with only a tiny bit of artificial face. She then looked at my hair, curling it slightly, to give a wavy look and smiled, “You look better now. Time for the cameras.”

I watched Cassandra step out of the bathroom and I thought about maybe going back to change, when I remembered Ryan stealing my shirt, pants, and even my boots. I walked out of the bathroom barefoot, since I had no other shoes. I saw Mahia’s mouth drop when he saw me, but he easily schooled it well enough. Cassandra handed me a pair of black heels and helped me get into them.

“No going back now…” I walked towards the cameras to unveil the Ruins to the world.

Ruins Ch 04

I landed in the time when I remembered the professor taking McCall into custody. I had to avoid everyone, or else create a time paradox that I could not fix. I slipped through the wall and into my area of the Ruins. I called out to the Guardians, “Guardians of the Aspharrium Ruins!” I felt the cobwebs brush up against me, as I saw the Guardians appear. They surrounded me, their hunger pushing against me. “I have the power to give you a final rest, but to do it requires me to seal the Ruins forever. Is this what you want?”

I felt their thoughts brush up against me, as they started to back away slightly. A single Guardian stepped forward as a single voice came to me. I recognized it as the Guardian that saved me, his voice deep and rough, We wish to continue our existence. You may keep the Ruins open, but open all of it to the world. We will protect the Ruins and not harm the visitors, but only if you give us what we want.

“What do you want?” I asked the leader of the Guardians.

Become our mistress as your mother before you and her mother before her. Visit us everyday and open our eyes to the world outside of the Ruins. No harm shall come to you or those you allow in, but we will protect those we see frequently. Before you die, we ask that you break down the wall and let the natural sunlight in.

I smiled and put my hand out to him, “May I see your claws?” He lifted his long arm and set it in my hand. I lifted his claw up and slashed it across my hand. “I make this blood oath to you. I will do as you ask.”

The leader leaned forward towards my hand and I felt a rough tongue glide across the wound, sealing it. Your blood oath is accepted. What do you wish first, mistress?

I smiled, “There is a man named McCall roaming about the known Ruins. He is to be killed at once, his blood splattered as a warning on the sacrificial dais.”

He nodded and I watched the Guardians vanish, one by one to complete their duty. I went back into the known Ruins and could not help but smile when I heard a man scream.

I looked to my watch. Four hours left… I had to be fast to get to the next step of my plan. I ran through the known Ruins, knowing they were empty at this time of night, considering I was the last one who was supposed to be here. I walked through the security section of the Necropolis, making sure the cameras saw me leave, as I knew the other me was leaving through my area of the Ruins. I grabbed one of my bots, Bot 13, as it was on my way out.

I watched the shaken professor get into his car and speed off. I grabbed a taxi and followed him to his house. I found an open window on the first floor of the giant house. I set the bot down, “Tap his phone, record everything and do not be seen. Await my next set of orders.” The bot purred in answer and I smiled to it as it wheeled through the house to a dark area, where it began its work. I saw a drawer near the window and grinned when I found three hundred dollars in it.

I smiled as my sunglasses lit up with information, as I stuffed the money into my pocket. I went back to the cab and gave him my next destination. I looked at the criminal records and the accuseds’ testimonies. “Iclia Bar.” The taxi driver nodded as I looked at my watch, “Two hours left…” I looked up to the taxi driver, “Please hurry.” I handed him one of the hundreds and I noticed an increase in speed.

I sat back, thinking to what needed to happen next. I should have killed the professor too… I thought to myself, but knew I would not have had the guts to do it. The man gave me what none would, someone who listened and did help when my parents vanished. He helped the librarian get me set up and even gave me a job, thought he would regret it later.

The taxi stopped at the bar. “Thank you.” I looked at the fare and saw I had only used about twenty-five of the hundred. “Keep the change and have a nice night.” The cabbie bid me a good night. I yawned and thought about when the last time I was slept was. Oh well, when this is over, I will either be killed, have my soul ripped apart or sleeping. I wished and hoped that I would survive long enough to be able to get some sleep.

I walked into the Iclia Bar and sat down at a booth. A waitress walked up to me and explained that as long as I did not order anything alcoholic, they would allow me to stay. I pulled a twenty out of my pocket, “Just water please and some quiet.” The waitress nodded and went to get my drink.

I looked around the Bar and saw Chris sitting at the counter. He looked so damn sexy and I just wanted to run up and kiss him. Of course, I did not though. He did not know me at this time and he would not do as I asked if I did something like that. I saw James walk in, Alex sit at one of the tables and Marcus sitting in a booth like mine. “He made the call…” I spoke softly, “Bot 13, get all of the recently dialed numbers from the last week, then shut down the power in that house. Then find a way out without being seen, if I remember correctly, he has a dog. Meet the male with the second pair of sunglasses at the crime scene in an hour.”

I watched the bot give a visual affirmative as it went to finish its work. I looked to the men and they had all gathered at a table. I took a deep breath in and stood up, leaving the waitress the twenty. I walked over to them and tapped Chris on the shoulder, “May I talk to you guys for a second outside?”

He looked to his comrades, who all shrugged, “Eh, we were about to leave anyways.”

I held the folders tight in my hands, not wanting anything to fall out. James noticed them when we were outside. “Accountant?”

I shook my head, “Nope, scientist. My name is Sori and I have something very important to talk to you about. This is going to sound crazy.”

Alex spoke, “About as crazy as a woman wearing sunglasses in the dark.”

I pulled them off and was glad the neon Bar sign stopped the moonlight from hitting my skin. I handed them each a folder, “There is trouble up ahead for you all if you don’t listen to what I have to say.”

Chris shouted, “Is this some kind of joke?!” He dropped the folder on the ground.

I shook my head again, “It’s not. I know about the phone calls you each received from an anonymous man. I know who it is and I know why he did it. He wants to frame you for the crimes that are written before you. I know how to prevent this, but I need your cooperation for it.”

Chris looked directly into my eyes, searing my soul, “What are you talking about?”

“Up ahead there will be a crime that take place. A woman inside the house will be raped and killed and all of you framed for her murder and other crimes. James, I think that some of them will bash their friend’s heads into the walls to make your crime possible. I can’t tell you not to go in, but I want you to be prepared for it.”

“Why don’t you call the police on them?” Marcus asked.

“This is going to sound bad, but it’s because you were already the chosen targets. The one who orchestrated this is a scientist that planted your prints everywhere already. The police will get you either way, unless you do exactly what I ask.” I was desperate for them to listen and understand.

Chris looked to his new friends, “What do you need to do?”

James scoffed, “I can’t believe you’re doing it.”

“If she is right, then we will be safe. If she’s wrong, then it can’t be something that bad to try. Something is telling me to believe her, so I’m going to.” Chris looked directly into my eyes.

I pulled the second pair of sunglasses out of my pocket. “These sunglasses have a built in camera that will record everything you see and hear. There will also be a little roaming bot, which will meet you there, that has the evidence against the main guy. With these, you should be able to stay out of jail and put the real bad guys in it.” I held out the sunglasses to Chris.

He took them and put them on, as the computer kicked up. “What the?”

“I made these myself, they are linked to my home computer as well as have a chip inside with a terabyte of memory to capture all the evidence you need. Even if the glasses are destroyed, the uplink will make sure I get the video.”

He nodded, “Thank you…” He turned away from me and started walking away. The others followed him, already selected him their leader.

“Good luck…” I mumbled as I looked at my watch. “Five minutes.” I put my sunglasses back on, “All video for the secondary pair is to be routed to the police station in when they see the crime scene.”

The computer purred as it whirled at my command, before I took them off, setting them down on the sidewalk. I sat down on the sidewalk when I felt myself being ripped apart. I wrapped my arms around my body, but the pain increased immensely as I fell into the darkness.

Ruins Ch 03

I turned to face the professor and McCall floating in the darkness with me. I felt warmth dripping down my throat and knew I was going to bleed to death before I ever had the chance to stop them. I felt something touch my throat and when I looked down, it was a small wooden idol of the Medicine God, Bastill. It put its finger to its lips as it lightly touched the cut again and I felt the wound close. It smiled to me and vanished as the professor and McCall woke up.

“Where are we, McCall?” The professor demanded.

“I do not know…” McCall turned and saw me, “How did you-?”

I smiled, “A Guardian helped.” I looked around the darkness, “I know where we are… This is Judgment…”

As I named the place, a stone floor with three daises and a tribunal set of seats rose in front of us. The seat to the right the lowest at about two stories tall, followed by the left for a middle height and the center being the highest at three stories. I looked at the three daises and starting from the left, I noticed one was made of gold, another diamond and another of wood. The professor rushed to the gold, as McCall rushed to the diamond. They both looked at me with loathing in their eyes, as I took my place at the wooden dais.

I looked to the tribunal, as three beings appeared. Sitting on the left was the Goddess of Life and Queen of the Gods, Sadin, on the left was the God of Death and the Prince of the Gods, Saslla. I looked to the center at the God of All Things, the Gods’ King, Illuminarium. I bowed deeply to the tribunal of Gods, kneeling to the ground in their presence, before pressing my forehead to the dais.

Saslla spoke, his voice loud and booming, “You have been brought here to be judged for your deaths.”

“Deaths?” The professor asked loudly.

McCall spoke as well, “We were not supposed to die! We were supposed to be granted the power of control!”

I stayed silently kneeling to the Gods, as their gaze passed over me. Saslla continued when it became evident that I was not going to speak, “You are to be judged separately and by a simple test.” He looked to the professor, “You will be first.”

The tribunal vanished, as did the professor. I sat up on my knees and thought quickly of all of the knowledge I had gained in my life. There were things I wished I still could have done and dying tended to screw that up. I touched my throat and felt the scarred flesh. Bastill would not have healed me, just to die again. We were not here to be tested for death; this was a test of worth…

I looked to McCall as he spoke, “I knew we did not die. The stupid fool thought that he would control the world with his mind. I seek to control it with my might and with the power of time by my side, I will not be found wanting.” He looked to me and sneered, “You could never hope to stop me now. Once I gain the power of time, I’ll go back and kill you instead of just slashing your wrists.”

The professor reappeared, jolted by his experience. A single form stepped forward to him, and I knew who it was. The form spoke, his voice raspy, “I want you to take a step forward.” The judgment chamber fell away, leaving only the three daises and the form floating in the darkness.

The professor sought to fool the blind form, “I did.”

The form nodded, “How did it feel?”

“Like a normal step.”

The form smiled viciously as I saw a ring of light get bigger around the professor. The ring reached the outer edge of the golden dais when I heard the professor scream. He slumped to the ground, as the screams echoed in the darkness. The form picked up the professor, “You should have taken the step. Lies are not tolerated and because you lied, your bones, organs, muscles, everything within your skin shattered into an oil-like consistency.” The form turned to us, “Heed my words and let his mistake be your triumph.”

The form, the professor’s body and the golden dais vanished. McCall looked to me, “Who was that?”

I gulped down my stomach, “That was Temondin… He is the Devourer of Souls… He is blind to the world, except for what He sees in your heart…” I wrapped my arms around my body and shivered.

We waited in silence, sobered by the professor’s death as it weighed on our minds. I unwrapped my arms, not wanting to look weak to the Gods. The tribunal seats reappeared and the Gods took their places. I once again pressed my forehead to the ground before them. They looked to the place the golden dais used to be.

Saslla spoke, “He failed the test and Temondin found him wanting.” McCall gulped as Saslla pointed to him, “You are next…”

The tribunal vanished, along with the diamond dais. I sat up, but stayed on my knees. “Please let me survive this… I just wanted to help the others…” I felt a tear fall and hit the wooden dais.

It felt like ages that I was alone in the judgment chamber, before I realized that I was not alone. I looked to the side to see Temondin staring at me through his blind eyes. He was sitting not three feet away from me, yet I had no idea when he appeared there. He spoke softly, his voice more fatherly than what I could have expect of the Devourer of Souls, “I remember your parents…”

I felt my heart jump to my throat. “You… were there?”

He nodded solemnly, “Two scared people who both stood where you are now. They told the tribunal they were sent there by another spilling their daughter’s blood for a sacrifice. They wanted nothing but to go home and take care of their darling child.” He stood up and walked over to me, staying just off the dais. “The tribunal wanted to send them back, but something prevented that. The Gods learned later that the parents were meant to be sent to be judged, as commanded the Women of Fate.”

I felt my tears fall but I did not have the energy to wipe them away. “Where are they now?”

He smiled to me, “They were sent to Paradise. They had no want to control or rule, so the Gods sent them to the Paradise for their afterlife.” He reached his hand forward and cupped my cheek in his palm. “What are your wishes?”

I felt a cold comfort in his hand. “I want to prevent a group of four men from being framed, to prevent all of this. If could I stop that one incident, then they would be free to feel the sun on their faces. Then I could stop the professor and McCall from using the pit to be sent here. I don’t want to control the key to time, I just want to borrow it for this one mission… Then I want to return it to the Ruins, where it belongs and seal the Ruins I found so the Guardians can finally rest.”

“You believe you that saving James, Alex, Marcus and Chris from the human prison will prevent all of this?” He asked softly.

“With all of my heart, I believe it.” I closed my eyes and felt the belief fill me my heart and soul.

He pulled his hand away, as I opened my eyes. He and I turned back to the tribunal seats; I looked up to the three Gods and blushed as I figured out that they must have heard the entire thing.

They turned to one another and when I tried to bow, something prevented it. Sadin and Illuminarium looked to each other, knowing. Sadin spoke, her voice sweet honeyed wine, “Child, we wish to see the face of the girl who wants to do so much.”

I looked up at the tribunal and felt small, “I apologize, my Lady. I was just doing what my mother and father had always taught when greeting anyone above my class.”

Saslla smiled as he spoke, his voice no long booming, but a gently velvet touch, “You did not speak when the others did. Did you parents teach you that as well?”

I nodded, “Yes, my Lord.” I watched the tribunal seats vanish; the Gods became my height, as they walked towards the wooden dais. The first instinct was to run, but I fought against it with everything I was. Here were four beings that could destroy me without a second thought and there was nothing I could do about it.

Saslla stepped onto the wooden dais in front of me, but I knew better than to look into his eyes. He lifted my chin to meet his gaze and spoke softly, “The power of time is nothing you can mess with. You could completely alter history and end up destroying those you are trying to save. There is also the chance that by giving you this power, even temporarily, could rip your soul apart. Could you live with the consequences of your actions or with the idea of never seeing Paradise?”

I gulped hard and thought about his words. Even if I saved the accused, how would that stop everything else? I had my answer, I had to get rid of the professor and McCall, but when? Going too far back would really disrupt time, but not going far enough would make it all for naught.

My brain clicked in gear when I put all of the facts together and gasped. The day I found McCall in the Ruins was the same day the others were arrested. The professor had taken McCall into custody until the police arrived. Until then, I had no reason to suspect anything of the professor to do anything wrong, but now I did. I knew what needed to be done.

“Yes.” I was decisive in my answer. “But there is something I need first, I need their criminal records for this to work.”

I watched the wheels turn in Sasalla’s mind and I realized he reminded me of Chris… Who after this was over, I would never see again… If it worked, he would have no reason to work for the team and we would never meet… I mumbled to myself, “If such a price is to pay…”

Saslla leaned forward and kissed me gently. He pulled back, “You have the power to do as you need to for the next six human hours. When the time is up, no matter what you are doing, you will be sent back here to see what you changed. Understand?”

I felt the heat rise to my face when I realized what the Gods’ Prince just did. I did not trust my voice, so I nodded. He smiled at my reaction and everything around me vanished. I chose my time and date when I wanted to be to fulfill my plan. I felt four folders appear in my hands, giving me the strength to do what I needed to.

Ruins Ch 02

It was after dark when we reached the edge of the forest. Christopher helped me get the helmet off my head, “So this is it?”

I nodded, as I dropped my backpack next to the bike, “Yup, follow me!” I led him to a small shack a few hundred feet away from the road. I opened the door and slammed it shut behind me. I heard static on the communicator, knowing the shack was doing its job, “Listen!”

Christopher yanked the communicator out of his ear, “What the hell is with this place?!”

I grabbed his face with my hands, “Listen, I need you to strip down to sky clad before we can leave.”

“What’s the meaning of this?” He growled at me.

“I built this shack when I knew that he tagged me with a locator. The walls are made to prevent signals from entering and leaving. I know he put a locator on every piece of clothing you are wearing, along with a microphone. That’s why nothing electronic will work here.”

He seemed to understand, “That’s why he was so happy to give us these clothes…”

I pulled off my jacket and set it on the chair. My coat only had the locator and if it was seen that we both entered, we could fool him. I turned around when I heard him fumble with his clothes in the dark. I found a dresser full of normal clothes and pulled out everything a male could wear. I set them on top of the dresser. “Christopher, I’m going to be right outside. I left you clothes on the dresser that are safe. Keep your old clothes in this shack. Please understand, anything he gave you, you need to leave here.”

“I understand.” He mumbled irritably.

I nodded, though he could not see it. I opened the door and walked out of the small shack. I leaned against the wall, allowing myself to think, “Ok, I get into the Ruins, find the others, get them out and save the accused men of their fate of prison… How much will the professor have them do to get their freedom…?” I switched my glasses for the sunglasses and smiled as the list I said appeared on the screen.

I heard the door open and Christopher step out. His clothes looked the same, but were off a little from before. I knew he had done what I asked. He looked at me, as if he noticed me for the first time. “In the moonlight…” He shook his head.

“I know I look like the snot-nosed brat you saw this morning. Can we get going?” I knew he was talking about my glowing light skin, but I always denied it to anyone.

“Going? I thought it was here.”

I looked at the ground, “It’s not. I only said it for the microphone and so we could drop the locators. I’m sorry.”

“You swore not to lie!” He shouted at me.

I winced but stood my ground, “You just said when we got down there that I couldn’t lie. When we get down there, you will understand why I can’t have him find it. I swear it, you won’t be led on another goose chase.”

“This had better be good.” He growled, but he would not allow this to stop him helping me. He got on the bike and waited for me to get on.

I grabbed my backpack, put it on and then looked to the helmet. I set it on the ground; “I’m ready,” My voice was quiet, even to my ears.

“No helmet?” One of his eyebrows rose.

“No need. We are heading to just outside the city…” I settled down into the seat and he kicked it on. “Christophe-”

“Call me Chris.” He spoke automatically as he started to the drive back to the city.

“Chris… What did the professor offer in exchange for your freedom?”

Silence met me for most of the journey until we saw the lights of the city up ahead. We reached the edge of the city’s view park and I tapped him on the shoulder, pointing to the west.

He turned the bike towards the west. “How did you guess?” He did not sound too surprised at my question.

“You ask too many of the right questions and too few of the wrong ones. They were fed to you by him. And we have go the rest by foot.” I told him. I looked at my watch as it beeped, December twenty-first two thousand twelve… Midnight…

“In exchange, he wanted the location of the entrance and for me to hush you about your theories.”

“They aren’t theories…” I mumbled as he slowed to a stop. “It is the history passed down to me from my parents whenever we visited the Ruins.”

“Where am I going?”

I pulled the sunglasses off my face and handed them to him. “Follow the light.” I grabbed my normal glasses from my pocket and put them on, as he took the sunglasses from me.

“What the?!” I turned and saw the look of shock on his face.

“It’s getting used to you. Tell it to calm down and show you the light.” I smiled; I was glad to know I still had an upper hand in technology.

“I can’t believe I have to tell a pair of computerized sunglasses to chill…” I watched as his eyes adjusted to them, “Please calm down… I just need the light.”

I turned back to the path, knowing the journey by heart. We left the bike there as we walked across the manicured park landscape towards a small forest of trees. We weaved our way through the pines until I found an old gnarled poplar. I turned towards the south, went forward six paces, and stopped. “Here.”

“The light continues passed that.” He told me, reading what the computer was telling him.

“That one caved in years ago. There were a group of entrances here, but this one is the only one left.” I sat down on the ground and crawled through a small cave at the trees’ roots. “Follow me.” I crawled further into the cave, I heard him follow me. I reached an area that opened up to a space large enough to stand and walk in.

I helped Chris out the last few feet of the opening and he stood up with me. “This is…” His voice echoed through the cavern.

I put my finger to my lips and walked a few feet to the far wall. Carvings in the wall told me what I was taught by my mother and father. I sang small song softly, my voice echoing and creating a resonance with the door. The door lit up and the wall slid back into its porthole. I grabbed Chris’s hand, led him through the door, and sang the same song, but backwards. The door closed behind us, shutting us into the darkness. “Tell the computer to activate flashlight.” I let go of his hand, before I got too used to holding it and not wanting to let go.

The sunglasses heard my command and sang to life, the bright light illuminating the narrow walkway. “Thank you computer.”

I heard Chris scoff, “Did it just purr?”

I shook my head, “Nope.” I lied to him as we walked forward. After about a mile of walking down a gentle slope, the tunnel began to curve to the side. I saw light up ahead and turned to Chris, “We won’t be needing the light anymore. And do you have your sunglasses?”

“Yes. Why?”

“I want mine back.” I smiled as I took off my normal glasses into my pocket and put on the sunglasses. The sunglasses’ screen lit up with a welcome message for me. “Are they on?”

“No, it’s dark as shit in here, why would I want to make it worse.”

“Suit yourself, but remember, I’m warning you that you might wanna put them on.”

I heard him grumble, “Ready.”

We walked forward to the curve in the tunnel, when I felt something wrong. “Something is not right…” I ran forward to the other side of the curve, but nothing looked out of place.

He caught up to me easily, but I could hear him trying to catch his breath. When he looked up, he gasped at the sight of an artificial sun rising in the east, the dawn in the Ruins. “This is beautiful.” We were both standing on a hill that overlooked the Ruins

I turned to Chris, “Something isn’t right here, we need to get to where the other set of Ruins are.” I glided down the slope of the hill above the Ruins to reach the edge of the city.

Chris followed me as I ran into the city, keeping up with my pace. “Stop!” He yelled at me, and I stopped for him. “They checked the other set of Ruins for the others. They didn’t find them.”

“Then they didn’t look hard enough!” I faced him, “I know McCall is behind this and he has no idea about the dangers of the night in the Ruins! If we don’t get over there before the dawn in the surface, they will be dead!”

“What dangers?” He asked calmly.

I shook my head, “To speak of Them is to call Them. The others know that it’s dangerous to be down here at night, but they only think it is because of they wouldn’t be able to see. We tried to set up lights on the other side, where the artificial sun’s light doesn’t reach, but They tore them down when we weren’t looking. They allow me because of my mother, but They do not tolerate outsiders.” I looked at the input of one of my security robots that roamed the other set of Ruins for me. “I found the others! We have to hurry!”

He nodded and we both ran across the Ruins towards the wall where the sun was still rising. Despite how huge the Ruins were, it only took us thirty minutes of a hard run to reach the wall. Chris and I were breathing heavily when we reached it.

I felt a brush of cobwebs on my arm and I bolted up. “We need to keep moving.” I told him, though my lungs were on fire. We walked away from the cobwebby feeling towards the rising sun. I felt for the hole in the wall that would activate the door. I could feel the hairs on the back of my neck rising and knew the cobwebs were following us. I found the hole and pushed my hand into it, causing a section of wall to swing towards the other set of Ruins.

“Go!” I pushed him through, as the cobwebs caught up to me. I tore myself away from the webby feeling and jumped through. The door slammed shut and we were back into the known Ruins. I rubbed my head and realized that I had landed on Chris. I scrambled off him and apologized quickly. Thankfully, the darkness helped hide the heat that rose to my face.

“You said you knew where they were?” I helped him off the ground and turned away from him.

“Yes, follow me. Activate flashlight.” The sunglasses responded and the bright light led our way through the known Ruins. I mumbled to the computer in the sunglasses, “All bots assemble to sector 7-Q, building 12.” I heard a bot near us light up and start to move. “If we get separated, follow that bot to the others. They have been given the command to go to where the others are.”

“We better not get separated…” He mumbled.

I looked at the map on my screen and spoke, “We are in currently in sector 7-R near building 45. It’s about a hundred yards to where McCall has them.” The screen flashed red as the computer route me to Bot 13, the first bot who was on the scene. I caught a glimpse of the professor standing above the others, with McCall and twenty other men. I pulled my backpack off and rummaged through it. I grabbed another pair of sunglasses and handed them to him, “Put these on. You need to see what we are dealing with.”

He put them on and I waited until the glasses became used to him. We stood there, both watching Bot 13’s view to watch what was going on. Chris spoke, “They have everyone else… But why?”

“I don’t know. Do you recognize the other men?” I asked, hoping he would say no.

“Of course I recognize them…” He growled lowly, “Those were the scumbags who framed us.”

“Why is the professor working with them?”

“He knew…” Chris realized. “He set it up, the whole thing… He set up for us to meet at the bar, because I remember myself and the others getting a phone call to meet someone at that bar that night. The guy never showed, but we all met instead. He set up the crimes and how we were to get caught.”

“But why you all and why his own team?”

“That I don’t know…”

I watched as the professor pointed to the bot and said something I could not hear. “Bot 13, get out of there!” The bot tried to respond, but its wheels were caught in something. McCall picked it up and smiled maliciously into the camera. He pointed the camera into the pit that held the others. I recognized that pit instantly from the research I had done on the Aspharrium and from a long hated memory. “He thinks that is a slave holding pen…”

“What is it?”

I gulped, “That’s a sacrifice pit… See the runes around the sides? Blood causes those to activate and send the one standing on the dais to be sent somewhere else. But there had to be something about the blood that made it work… There were only four sacrifices in the time that the Ruins were created until now.”

“Where do they go?”

“I have no idea… The person never came back.”

“How do you know this?”

“Mum and dad were two of those who vanished. They disappeared right before my eyes.”

“Who’s blood did they use and why did they go?”

“They were forced by someone who knew somebody…” I tried to grab the memory, but it kept slipping through my fingers. “The blood was mine.” I showed his my wrists that had been cut open to fulfill the sacrifice, but not to kill me. The bot’s camera was then turned back to McCall and I knew the truth. “McCall knows what it is! He is going to sacrifice them all to send him to wherever the people go!”

Bot 13 was thrown into the pit, destroying the camera lens. “C’mon!”

We ran towards sector 7-Q, my mind racing to come up with a plan. We could not overpower them and I did not have anything that could protect the others…. Wait! I do! I stopped and grabbed something from my bag, “Chris, hang on!” He stopped but it was reluctantly. I grabbed out a bottle of lamb’s blood, and a pair of knives that my parents had always taught me to carry with me into the Ruins. I pulled out the stopper and pressed my thumb to the opening. I flipped the bottle over to get some of the blood on my thumb, without wasting any. “Chris, over here now!” I yelled to him, as I started to feel the cobwebs. He did as I asked and I placed a cross in lamb’s blood on his forehead. I then flipped it on my thumb again and put the mark on the back of my neck, under my hair.

“What is this stuff?” He reached to wipe it away.

I stopped him by grabbing his wrist, “It’s lamb’s blood. It’s the only thing that will keep you safe. Don’t remove it.” I dropped his wrist and put the stopped back in. “I have a plan, but it’s going to take using me as bait. I need you to make sure that everyone in that pit gets blood on them. It will make it so they cannot be sacrificed and it will protect them from the dangers.”

He nodded and took the bottle. He leaned in close to me, “Please be careful.” He gave me a quick kiss, before he gave me back the sunglasses. “I’ll take care of the others… Just promise me that you will not do anything too stupid.”

I smiled, “I promise.” I tucked the extra pair of sunglasses into my pocket and pulled off my backpack, “I won’t be needing it and if you can, get everyone out of that pit.” I handed him one of the knives, “That should be sharp enough to slice through their bindings.” I pointed to the left, “If you go that way, you should come up behind the pit. Stay low and find the hole near the pit that will activate a side door. Take that route when I have all eyes one me.”

He nodded and gave me another quick kiss. “Good luck, brat.” He smiled as I blushed a deep red. He went off to the left, as I went off to the right.

I easily climbed up a wall of an older building to above where they were. I took a deep breath in and shouted, “Hey!”

The professor and McCall whipped around, standing on a dais above everyone else, along with their twenty thugs. The professor shouted back, “Get down from there! You will break something!” I saw McCall say something to the professor, whose eyes widened. He turned back to me, “Her?! You need her?!”

I heard a tiny bit of what McCall was telling the professor. “She… last full blooded Aspharrium… Only her blood will do…”

I knew what he said, but I could not believe it. I could not be Aspharrium… Could I be…? They were not going to sacrifice the others… The others were bait for me… I threw caution into the wind as one of the thugs started to get bored and look away, “I know what you did, professor!” That snapped the thug’s attention back to me as I watched Chris activate the door and slide into the pit.

He laughed at me, “And what do you think I did, you little brat?”

I felt the cobwebs caress the back of my neck, “You set them up! You destroyed the lives of Chris, James, Alex and Marcus, as well as enslaved the minds of the rest of the team! What are you after?”

He laughed at me again, “You stupid girl! Did you ever think I cared for the Ruins? No, I want the power to control the world and I know how to get it! McCall told me of the legends of the Dreamscape. He told me all about the pit and how to activate it. He also told me about the Gods that will give me the power over time!”

I saw Chris finish putting the blood on the others and started to help them free of their bindings. The cobwebs behind me began to reach forward and I felt it hit me with a good amount of force. I fell from the building and landed on the dais between McCall and the professor. I heard screams from behind me as the twenty men were ripped to shreds around the dais.

I caught a glimpse of Them as They descended upon those climbing through the door and out of the pit. They had two long horns curling from the top of Their foreheads, muscular gray bodies, strong muscular arms that ended in claws, fur from the waist down, hooves for feet and a vicious set of teeth. They felt the blood and nodded at the omen of protection, before starting to devour the twenty thugs. “What are they?” The professor sounded horrified.

McCall grinned, “These are the Guardians. Lamb’s blood or the dais will protect us.” He looked down to me, “Why did They avoid you?”

I smiled, bluffing, “Because They are mine. They belong to me.” I felt satisfied that the twenty men were nothing more than blood splatters on the ground.

The professor turned to see the pit empty, “Where are the hostages?!”

I stood up, “Your game is over.”

McCall picked me up and threw me into the pit. “No, my dear, this is just the beginning.” He jumped down into the pit and held grabbed my hair. He pulled my head back and slashed my throat. Blood splattered on the walls of the pit, as he climbed out.

I watched through growing darkness the runes activate and glow the color of my blood. I felt something help me up as the professor and McCall stood on the dais. I looked to see it was a Guardian holding me up. I heard the soft whispers of this Guardian, You… I know you… You have the power to stop this… To stop this forever… I felt my hand touch the dais and the world fell away.

Ruins Ch 01

A man in an ankle length white coat over a blue suit spoke to the group of ten. “You all have been gathered here as a way to become approved to be released back into the normal world. I own you until you are given your freedom. You will be assisting some of my chosen team to help with their research. It has become too dangerous for my teams to go in without an escort and someone to help them with their explorations.”

The professor was a solemn man who never joked, but this could not have been real. He had to be joking. We were the best of his team, the ones who knew more about the Ruins than anyone else did. Yet, here he was, talking to a group of convicts about how they would be helping us.

I looked to my five colleagues, all dressed in varying lengths of white coats over their business best. I looked down at my hip length white coat, knowing it was shortest the others, due to my being the newest member of the team. I wore black slacks and a black shirt to offset the clean white coat. We all carried metal clipboards that flipped open up to a one-inch thick paper and supply holder. None of my colleagues looked happy about the combination of the convicts with our team.

The other woman, the twenty-five year old Cassandra, had her blonde hair tied up into a tight bun, accenting her high cheekbones. She was my height and slender, her clothes giving the hint of what feminine qualities the world have come to see as beauty. She wore very little make-up and I knew that if it came time to get down and dirty, she would be taking notes, instead of messing up her manicure and red heels. Her coat was almost as long as the professor’s was.

One man with shaved brown hair, the thirty-year-old Michael, was a military man, his stature telling us he was an officer in the army. He wore his military best, his light green shirt and dark green pants still held their military creases, and his shoes were always polished. He was one who was used to giving the orders for someone to handle the hard labor, putting him up with Cassandra on my list of people to avoid. His coat was ended at his mid-calf, making him the third person to join the team.

Another man, the twenty-seven year old Ryan, had shoulder length red hair roaming wild on his head. I liked Ryan; he was an Irishman with a fiery attitude. He wore a white dress shirt, under a green plaid sash, a green kilt, knee high white socks, held up with elastic and black ankle boots. He was one I could count on if I fell down a hole to actually get dirty to help. He was a jolly man with laughter in his eyes. His white coat was in the middle of Cassandra’s and mine, ending at his upper calf, just below the knees.

The last person in our team was the twenty-three year old, Native American Mahia. He had long black hair that went to the middle of his back. He wore a light brown shirt and black pants, but the softness of the material told me it was all leather. He had muscles that competed with Michael’s, but his looked more natural. His coat had the arms ripped off, showing off his muscular arms. He was the closest to my age and he and I were best of friends when we were working, always being put on a team along with Ryan.

I looked to the other group of five among us. They all wore street clothes the prison gave them, when the professor purchased them for the Ruins project. All five of them were men that gave off the aura of danger and intrigue. They were all chosen for their different abilities that should complement our own. Should is the key word, especially since I think the only thing that they would complement is a pair of handcuffs.

There was one prisoner with long black hair and beard which were both spiked in all sorts of different directions and even dyed random colors He wore the clothes of a punk, black with safety pins sticking out everywhere. I noticed the metal studs that pierced eyebrows, lips, and ears; all parts were pierced in multiple places.

One of the men would not stop looking at us with contempt, his dark eyes hidden behind a pair of thick black eyebrows. His dark brown skin was a mix of dirt and dark tan skin; his face contorted into a look of hate. He wore ragged prison garb, the black and white stripes so dirty, they could barely be distinguished from the ground. I recognized him as one of the men who was looting the Ruins, caught by Cassandra and I.

One tall, buff black man continued to stare forward, and through his light brown eyes, he knew what he was gaining by doing this. His chocolate colored skin was taunt across his arms, chest, shoulders, and legs, all bulging with muscles under a tight black shirt. I knew there were some places in the Ruins he would be unable to go, due to his sheer size.

There was a small skinny little white kid, maybe just turned eighteen in the middle of the group. He had light brown hair that clung to his head with sweat that seemed to show him terrified of something. Then again, the kid was smaller than I was, so he might even be afraid of me, even if no one else was. He wore a blue button up shirt and black slacks, and I figured he probably committed a white-collar crime to get here.

The last one held my eyes for the longest time. He had a slight tan to him, but his black shoulder length black hair glinted in the sunlight. His eyes were hidden behind a pair of sunglasses. His black baggy shirt had no sleeves, accenting his light muscles, putting him about where Mahia’s were. He wore blue jeans that were ripped in many places; they were old and well loved jeans.

I looked back at the professor, as he started handing out the assignments. I opened my clipboard to the pieces of electronic equipment I had built when I was younger. There a pair of gloves that would read my inputs as a keyboard type motion and if I touched something, it would use vibrations to measure the size, density and could accurately reconstruct the building on my home computer. I looked at the pair of sunglasses that would act as my computer screen, giving me the map I had constructed with our already gathered data. In the bridge of the sunglasses was a camera that would act as my note keeper.

I took off my glasses and placed them inside the clipboard. I set my clipboard down and put on the sunglasses and gloves, getting used to the feel of them on me. The professor waited until I had everything ready, before giving me my assignment. I picked my clipboard up and read the paper. I looked at the professor, and then back at the note, “There must have been a mistake, sir.”

The professor looked at me over his glasses, his white hair slicked back. “There was no mistake, Sori. You are to stay topside as a spotter, as your partner goes under ground.”

I looked at the others and I saw Cassandra and Michael smile. They did not think that I was valuable enough to be on a team with them. Only through the good graces of Mahia and Ryan, was I allowed to be on a team. The professor turned away from me and looked to the group of convicts, “You have your teams. Do not dally in the Ruins, do not steal from the Ruins, if I find out anyone does, we have been given permission to kill on sight. Above all, be out of the Ruins before nightfall, we cannot be sure of your safety if you are left in there.”

The convicts moved to their partners and I saw the look of anger on all sides when the black guy was chosen to be with Cassandra, the ruin robber with Michael, Ryan and the skinny kid and Mahia with the punk. That left one prisoner left and I had wished it would not be him. Out of all of them, I could feel that he was the most dangerous and would be the hardest to handle.

He took one look at me and moaned, “Why do I get stuck with the snot-nosed brat?”

I walked over to him and realized he must have been at least six and a half feet compared to my five foot eight. “I am not a snot-nosed brat. I’m twenty years old and damn it, I know these Ruins better than anyone else!”

Cassandra scoffed, “Yes, we know about your little pet project and why you are wearing gloves and the sunglasses. How far have you gotten on that, anyways? Maybe thirty feet, before you tripped and fell, breaking your last pair?” Michael and her laughed at my expense.

I looked at the ground, knowing that Mahia and Ryan could not come to my aid, or else they could be kicked from the team. I turned on my heel and stalked away from the others, keeping the earpiece communicator off. Michael shouted, “Do more research, while you are at it! You seem to hit the books almost as easily as you can hit the ground.”

I ran away from them and turned a corner to get away. I rounded another corner and saw the giant library looming before me. “At least here I don’t have to listen to the snide remarks…” I heard a motorcycle screech to a halt behind me. I turned and saw the convict I was assigned sitting on it. I growled, “Go away!” He just sat there staring at me. “Go into the Ruins and do your job!” He folded his hands under his chin. “Fine then…” I turned and ran up the steps of the library, but I heard the motorcycle rev and speed up. He used the side ramps to beat me to the large oak doors of my sanctuary.

He sat back and looked at me, annoyance in his eyes. I walked up to him and slammed the metal clipboard into his shoulder, before grabbing his shirt and pushing him off the motorcycle. He fell to the ground, the motorcycle, luckily, was still standing, leaning on the kickstand. I tried to sweep passed him to get to where I would not be found, but he grabbed my white coat. “Stop.”

I looked down at him, my sadness heating up to anger. “No. You already said how you didn’t want a snot-nosed brat as a partner; you will never look at me as a viable part of the team. Especially seeing how you pretty much agreed with Cassandra and Michael’s assessment of me, you are not worth my time. Go join another team.” I ripped my coat from his hands, “Go join another team, maybe you can join Cassandra’s, since she can’t help but bat her eyelashes at you.”

He stood up but still looked to the ground, “I don’t know where the entrance we have been assigned to is.” He pulled a paper from his pocket and handed it to me. “The others were told to go the Necropolis, Wraith, Leth and Auburn entrances to the Ruins. The professor told me there was another, but that you were the only one who knew about it. He hinted that in all of the research you have done for your little project, that you came across another entrance and told him about it. He could never find it, no matter that kind of directions you gave him.” His eyes met mine, “Since you are the only one who seems to know, he wasn’t going to get rid of you, despite how useless you really are.”

I smiled grimly, “Glad to know that I’m useless in his eyes.” I sneered at him, not knowing what else to do, “There is no other entrances. Those of us who are useless don’t carry information. He told you that to finally prove that there is no such entrance that I know about. You were just the bait to seal my fate and give him the reassurance that he can get rid of me without a second thought.”

“Then why not just have you take him there?” He asked, holding me in his gaze.

“Because let’s say it does exist, why haven’t I given him the location? Because let’s say it is true, then that will become another trophy on the shelf, another award on the wall. He would take the credit and leave me with nothing… Then he would get rid of me.” I turned away from him, “Now, leave me in peace. I have research to do and I have to be the spotter again…” I sighed and went into the library, leaving him and his smooth words out in the light.

I pulled off my sunglasses and put on my normal ones, placing the sunglasses in my pocket. I looked around the giant library and finally felt at home. Books were my family, the history my friends. They housed those who would not lie, cheat or steal my work. They were safe, timeless and the only ones worthy of my attentions outside of work. Mahia and Ryan may enjoy my company at work; they really did not outside of it. My work was my life, so there was no reason to get an outside interest. The books did not mind if I compared my notes to theirs, nor did they mind if I reread something many times to be sure I had it memorized.

I stepped up to the librarian’s desk, catching a glimpse of the date and time, December twentith, two thousand twelve… Almost four o’clock. I spoke to the librarian softly, “Back for more, milady.” I smiled as she looked up from her lists. “Anything new?”

She smiled back up to me, her English accent thickening her lovely words, “No, my dear. More research?”

“Yup, I was kicked to spotting again.” I felt more sad about not visiting the Ruins than I was angry about the jeers the other made at me.

She grabbed my hand lightly and squeezed, “At least you know more about these Ruins than your counterparts. I heard you are making a three-dimensional model of them using your computer. I expect that you will be adding your model to the library when you are done. I also expect that since you know another entrance, that you will be adding it to the model, proof that you found it.”

I nodded and smiled at the woman who had been like my second mother since I started playing in the library and Ruins. “Since they added five more people to the team, they won’t need me to spot for them.” I smiled sadly, “I guess I get to spend the rest of the day surrounded by those who might one day appreciate all of the research I have done.”

She clicked her tongue against the roof of her mouth in disapproval, “I heard about these five who have been added. Along with your normal materials, I added their records to your room.” She smiled again, “You know the drill; you stay here later than I do, you lock it up when you leave.” She let go of my hand, “Do not worry, child. All will become better for you if you continue your path as you are. Do not lose hope because a pair of idiots used nothing that had to do with intelligence to become members. You know more about the Ruins than anyone else, even if they do not know it yet.”

“Thank you, milady.” I smiled to her, before turning towards the stairs that led upstairs to the study rooms. The librarian had given me my own room there, since I spent more time at the library in that room than anyone else. I walked up the stairs, with only one place in mind where I wanted to be, not paying attention to anything else.

My room was the farthest from the stairs and the front doors downstairs. I stepped in front of the one-way glass and looked at my reflection. I had straight, little longer than shoulder length, dark blonde, light brown hair. My eyes drifted from my hair to my forehead, then to my bushy dark brown eyebrows. I looked into my reflection’s Irish hazel eyes that changed colors depending on my moods, but I knew no one would notice them behind my silver square framed glasses. My nose was proportional to my big lips, giving my face some balance. I had to admit that I was not pretty, but I was not ugly at the same time. I had sometimes been told that when I smiled, it brightened the room.

My eyes moved down to my too-board shoulders and skinny arms. I growled as I remembered the measurements the seamstress had shouted out when I was being fitted for my coat: forty-four and a half inch bust, thirty-six inch waist, forty-one inch stomach and forty-two and a half inch hips. I rushed passed the parts of me that I hated to below my twenty-seven inch around thighs.

My legs, below the knees were lovely. Since I was little, I have always had four times the strength in my legs than I did in my arms. Then I looked at my combat boots and grinned. The professor tried so many times to have me wear heels, until he saw that my feet were size eleven in women’s.

I looked back up to the one-way glass and smiled to myself, “I am freaking cute and smart! And damn it, I know more about the Ruins than anyone!” I told my reflection as I did everyday to counteract the jeers from my colleagues. I nodded to myself, reaffirming and hoping the words would stick this time.

I opened the door to my study room and found it was almost precisely as it was when I left the last night. One the left was a huge stack of books of the myths and cultures of the Dena tribe that roamed this area, whom the professor expected to have left our set of Ruins. On the right was a substantially smaller stack of books of another culture that I thought made the Ruins, the Aspharrium. In the center of the desk sat a laminated map with five folders carefully placed on top of it.

I sat down in the comfortable chair and leaned forward to the folders. “The librarian had said she gave me their records, but I didn’t think she really woulda.” I flipped open each of the folders, spreading it our across the desk. The black male is named was James, the punk was Alex, the kid was Marcus, and the Ruins thief was McCall. I closed them all, not wanting to know my ex-partner’s name. “This is stupid, I need to know it…” I could not bring myself to open his folder again.

I picked up McCall’s folder, already knowing what I was going to read. I had to testify to the court that he was there and when I found him, he had stolen items in his hands. There were things from the surface, like a bunch of keys that matched stolen cars; he also had things he stole from the Ruins we had yet to get to, like a gold necklace with a large ruby for a pendant. It was actually because of this necklace that I knew the Ruins were not Dena. He was taken into custody by the professor on July thirty-first two thousand twelve, almost five months ago.

I grabbed James’s folder and started to read. He was sent to jail for assault for smashing a group of males’ heads into a concrete wall during a fight. I set it down, knowing the basics of his case. It was an opened and closed case, since he did not have an alibi and his witnesses were Alex, Marcus and someone named Christopher. The group had twenty men in it, but the numbers did not add up. “Wait…” His was placed under arrest on the same day as McCall. “Must have been a busy day for police.”

I grabbed Alex’s folder and read it next. He was caught on the same day and in the same area as James. He was taken in for theft of over three thousand dollars in electrical equipment. His case was once again, open and shut because his witnesses were James, Marcus and Christopher. I was starting to see a pattern that I did not like.

I opened Marcus’s folder and I was right. He was taken in for identity theft after police found him in the same area with people’s credit and social security cards in his hands. Again, because police caught him with them in his hands, the case was open and shut. Again, his witnesses were Christopher, James and Alex.

I closed the folders and turned on my sunglasses. I started to type up all of the facts I had. They were all arrested the same night in the same area by the same police officers. The group of men had testified against James, Marcus and Alex, as well as the Christopher who defended the three men.

Each man in the group of twenty had the same story; they were walking by the alley, when they saw Marcus and Alex break into a house. They tried to stop Marcus and Alex, when they heard a woman scream from the upstairs. The group split up, some holding Marcus and Alex captive, while the rest went to find out about the scream. The Christopher guy came out of the main bedroom with blood on his hands. They grabbed him and held his captive as well, when the leader of the group went into the room and found a woman bound, gagged and murdered. When the group went outside, James then started his attack on the men. The men claimed they were overpowered by the giant black man, and that is how the night ended, as they each fell unconscious.

I stopped and looked at the last folder. “Please no…” I opened it and the name at the top was the Christopher who defended the others. “They were in on it together…” I sat back in my chair, leaning against the soft leather comfort. I pushed all of the facts together and came to a realization. Unless I asked them, I would not get both sides of the story, leaving me to my own thoughts.

James, Marcus, Christopher and Alex had all had the same story. They had all just met at a bar, and when they were walking towards another bar, they saw a gang of men. The gang of men broke into a house and when the accused heard a scream, they decided to take action. Alex and Marcus found some of the men downstairs stealing things, but they were two against eight and were easily taken down. James and Christopher went upstairs and found the master bedroom down open with the leader raping the woman. She tried to fight them, but in the end, when James and Christopher tried to help, the men retaliated. That sent James into a battle lust and he slammed some of the men into a wall. Christopher went to help the woman, but the leader slashed her throat to keep her from testifying. The men overpowered James and Christopher and were framed for their crimes.

I pushed those thoughts out form my head. “I am a scientist who was chosen to an elite group to study the Ruins… I can’t let my mind wander to this!” I wanted to help them, if they were innocent, but that was twenty men’s testimonies against theirs. They were caught red handed by the police, when the group of men was knocked out, one by one. “Unless somehow the gang called police on their own crimes, they…” I slammed my head against the desk. “Neighbors! The neighbors must have called police when the woman screamed! It all fits within favor of the accused! But… How to prove it…”

I looked at the stack of books on the table. I closed the folders and pushed them aside, “No… I can’t. I have this to take care of and if they all do fine in the Ruins, they will get their freedom back eventually… And I’m sure that if I did find a connection, this wouldn’t help them now…”

I laid my head down on my desk, using my arms as pillows. “I’m stuck… Nothing I say will help them nor the Ruins… I’m so lost… Why should I try…?” I felt a tear fall down the side of my cheek but I wiped it away, before it hit the map.

“Because you would not be able to work with a rapist and murderer, if you believed it.” I heard Christopher’s voice tell me. I looked up and saw him perched on the side of my desk. He was not wearing the sunglasses and I felt my heart pound as I looked into his hazel eyes. He looked around the room, allowing me to grasp my composure. “Lovely office you have, even if it is in a library.”

I growled, “I prefer this to anything everyone else has!”

He just smiled at me, “That’s the brat that threw me off the bike.” He hopped off the desk and came around to where I sat. I did not move when he knelt in front of me, “Listen, I know you know there’s another entrance. You want to help us, well, for that to happen, I need you to help me now. I need you to lead me into the Ruins using your way.”

I looked at him and knew he was right. “You’re right, Christopher. If I thought any of you had committed the crimes, I would have come to that conclusion after reading.” I sighed, “If I show you were the entrance is, please don’t tell the professor. I found it when I was little and piece by piece, I’ve been building a three-dimensional model of the Ruins. And I need you to promise not to tell him anything I tell you but if I do tell you to do something, you have to trust me.”

He stood up and thought about it for a second. He extended his hand out in front of him, “I agree, but you need to agree to my terms. You must not lie to me about things while we are done there and when I tell you to do something, you have to do it.”

I grabbed his hand and shook it, as he pulled me out of my chair. I could smell the exotic spices that gave him the dangerous aura. “You’re hiding something from me.” I mumbled as I backed away from him.

“Michael, Cassandra, James and McCall are missing. Didn’t you hear it on your communicator?” His face hardened.

I shook my head, “I never have it on after the snide remarks, because Michael, Cassandra and the professor will continue to make them throughout the whole search.”

“What are you all looking for?” He asked, as he moved towards the door.

“Ryan, Mahia and I are looking for knowledge. Cassandra and Michael are looking for fame and I know the professor is looking for something he hasn’t found in the areas we have searched.” I admitted, as he opened the door. “Hang on. I need to pack for this search.”

He sighed, “Women… I don’t think there’s an outlet you can plug your hair equipment into down there.”

I grinned, “Good thing I’m not packing a hairdryer.” I grabbed a backpack from one of the shelves in my room. It was heavy with supplies I always took with me when I went into the Ruins. I grabbed the clipboard and put it into the bag as well. “All done.”

“Well, that was fast for a girl.” He smiled as I put the backpack on and walked past him.

“And you’re patient for a male.” I grinned as he shut the door and followed me down the stairs. We walked passed the librarian and I waved her to, “Night!”

“Have a lovely night, love!” She shouted back as she turned to her intercom to announce the library closing.

Christopher looked to me, “Why did we start this so late today?”

I looked at them, then to my watch, “The professor said there was a break-in at the Necropolis entrance and they had to send teams into the Ruins. No one was found, so it was blamed on a false alarm. Apparently, it wasn’t… But they searched all of the Ruins we have mapped out, since the Professor doesn’t think the Ruins run any deeper than what we have found.”

“Why?” He was attentive to everything, as we walked towards his bike.

“There was a wall built around the Ruins that is a part of the Ruins, but since there is no way of getting passed it, he thinks there is nothing beyond it.” I smiled to myself.

He caught the smile, “What’s passed the wall?”

“More Ruins. That’s why I couldn’t show him my entrance. It drops us on the other side of the wall, and since he lies about what he is looking for, I lie about the entrance.”

“Then how is he so sure that you knew about this entrance?”

I grinned up at him, “He caught me when I was supposed to be spotting for the others. I had just climbed into the known Ruins, chasing a lead, when he found me. He went through the security and none of them had seen me go in. He figured either I was invisible or I had another entrance. He refused to believe I became invisible, but whenever he pressured me into telling him where the entrance was, I lied.”

He stopped walking, “You lied to him? That could have cost you your job. And from what I’ve seen and heard, you don’t have a life outside of it.”

“I don’t need this job to survive. I just do it because it was fun exploring the Ruins and learning the culture and it would have been awesome to be paid for it. But when he first sent me down there, I took my equipment with me. He didn’t believe me when I said I was going to create a model of it for the library and when Michael tripped me, the professor refused to let me down there. He claimed because I was a better researcher than an explorer.”

He started walking again and he helped me with the helmet, before asking, “What are the main cross streets?”

I scuffed my shoe at the ground, “We need to leave town to the forest with the crazy peep looking birds.”

He sighed, “Those are not ‘crazy peep looking birds’, they are Cavias. And that’s where it is? That’s a three hour ride.”

I nodded and I heard him sigh. He helped me figure out how to balance on his motorcycle. “Hold on!” He shouted as we darted off to the Cavias’s Forest.