Rating/Warnings: PG-13 for mild cursing
Summary: Gray and Tan run from Blue’s group and straight into the City of Trees… where she meets and old friend. Sort of.
NOTE: This is a very rough draft with no editing at all (per National Novel Wiriting Month rules) and is presented for amusement value only. Think of it as a periscope into my writing process rather than a coherent story!
There will most likely be spelling and grammatical errors afoot as well as flat out bad writing, info dumps, plot holes, contradictions/retcons, uneven characterization and pacing. These snippits are also posted out of order, so please refer to the Outline to figure out where it’s supposed to fit.
This Way To Neverland
The corridors twist and turn in front of them, melding in and out like kaleidoscopes, but the voices behind them never get any further away.
“Should we stop and fight?” Gray gasped between breaths as they leapt over small walls that grew and shrunk behind them.
“No,” said Tan. “Just run.”
And they did, until they got to a fork and Gray went right and the corridor turned into a tunnel turned into a dead-end with the thin blue line of a door.
“Not again,” snapped Gray, but the voices were coming and they had no place else to go. “Dammit, dammit, dammit,” she put her hand against the door and pushed. “Open.”
The door responded so quickly she almost feel through and she hopped through with Tan on her wheels. She spun as soon as she was out, putting her hand to the trunk beside the door. “Close, close, close, stay closed.” She chanted and the door sealed with a flash of blue light than dulled to a faint dark blue.
Hopefully the people chasing them would assume it was a dead end.
“I hope the city didn’t think you meant stay closed forever.” Tan said with a worried snort.
“Do you really want to go back in?” Asked Gray, ruefully. “That’s the second time they’ve chased us out.”
“Interesting.” said a voice from behind them and both of them spun around to face a man in flowing red robes. He had short dark hair, blue eyes, and an impish smile. “This was not the way I thought you’d come through.”
Gray realized that the tree they had come out of was not in a forest but in a giant stone courtyard surrounded on all sides with giant stone walls and in the background giant stone pyramids.
There are other people in the courtyard, but they seem unconcerned at their arrival.
“Wait, how did you know we were coming?” asked Gray. “Did the city tell you?”
“In a way,” said the man in Red, “come, walk with me and I’ll try and explain.”
“Try?” asked Tan.
“It’s a bit complicated said the man in red. “I might have to pass you on to people who understand a bit more detail than I do, I’m more of a theory sort of person.”
“Ah.” said Gray, although she didn’t really understand at all. But she was out of the city and that was a good thing, at least to her. She was tired of people chasing them around. “Lead on then, we follow.”
“First of all,” said the man in red, “let me welcome you to the city of trees.”
Gray and Tan looked around as they walked out of the courtyard. They saw lots of stone and giant stone pyramids with massive stone walkways lined with crops and flowers, but no trees beyond the one in the courtyard they had just left.
“What trees?” Gray asked.
“Ah, yes, not those sorts of trees.” Said the man with a grin. “I’m talking fractal trees, not cellulose. This place is a city, just like your city is a city.”
“Wait,” said Tan, “that can’t be, there’s only one city.”
“Ah, no,” said the man, “you /thought/ there was only one city and that’s not quite the same thing. By the way my name is Jon, which is an important plot point, but you won’t know that until the end of Red’s story or Blue’s story, so I suppose it’s okay to sneak it in here to see if the readers remember it later.”
“But the city exists outside of the timelines,” said Tan, “so how can there be another one? And how can there be a door in our city that leads to your city?”
“It’s here because your city reached out to us and we answered.” said John. “Both of these places exist in the space between realities and there are other cities out there as well. Not all of them are as pleasant to be in.” he said with the tone of someone who has been in quite a few bad places.
“So, um, why are we here?” Asked Gray, who was now thoroughly confused. “Did the city send us here?”
“In a way,” said Jon, “she led you here, but you’re the one who opened the door.”
“How did you know we would be coming?” asked Tan.
“The city told us,” said John, “but she’s hazy on the fourth dimension, so the when of everything is a bit confused. She’s a young city yet and if we can save her she’ll learn in time.”
“Save her?” said Gray, “what’s wrong with her?”
“Well, for starters she’s insane,” said John, “but that’s not her fault.”
“That’s not a good starting point.” objected Tan.
“The truth is rarely a pleasant place to be,” said John mildly, “but that doesn’t change it. She’s going to kill herself, if you let her keep going the way she is, but now that you’re here maybe we can put things right.”
“How?” asked Gray.
“That,” said John, arriving at a door. “Is what we’re here to explain.” He opened the door and gestured for Gray and Tan to enter. They could see the edge of a long conference table and a set of comfy chairs that disappeared around the corner. “Grab a seat and we’ll get things started.”
They did so, but Gray came to an abrupt halt as she recognized the older woman sitting across the table from her. “You.” she snapped and Tan growled.
“Just sit down,” said White with a tired sigh, “we’ve still got a lot of explaining left to do.”