Beyond the Parchment: Part 8

Welcome to the next installment of my serial story, Beyond the Parchment

So far we learned that a dysfunctional portal, invented by a weary writer, May Ann, actually begins to work, bringing characters to our world. And herself into their world.

Anyway, you can read the first parts of the story here. You could just read the short blurbs about them, of course, but you’ll probably miss some important details. The blurbs are there for those of you who have read the story and are trying to keep track of all the names, more than anything else. You’re welcome. *bows*

Part 1: It Just had to be Lord Jerinthreo Kraven Balstin the Second: in which a writer, May Ann, wakes up to find a portal she’d designed in her book has become operational and two brothers, Jerinthreo and Daraton have come through and engaged in a bitter fight.

Part 2: All brothers fight sometimes, right?: May Ann tries to keep the brothers from killing each other. Grabs Jerin and pulls him into a secret passage, only to discover she has Daraton instead (they are identical twins). Break out of the passage into May Ann’s kitchen only to discover Varizan, a villain May Ann created, waiting for them.

Part 3: My kitchen will never be the same: Another fight between Daraton and Varizan breaks out in May Ann’s kitchen and May Ann saves Daraton’s life by shoving them both through the portal (which so happens to be the fridge).

Part 4: I am never doing that again: May Ann and Daraton arrive in Braceaon, Daraton is wounded and Varizan’s soldiers have taken over Daraton’s former home. May Ann helps Daraton away and they find Ethred, a lady both Jerin and Daraton seem to respect, and her daughter, Adella, who happens to be Lord Daraton’s wife.

Part 5: Well, that complicates things:: May Ann confers with Ethred and Adella and discovers they are both wordsmiths, chosen from their generations to record what happens in other realms (with some creative license). With Daraton resting, May Ann finally tries to get some sleep. But her eyes have barely closed when she finds herself wide awake. And captive in her own world.

Part 6: Why can’t this just be a dream: May Ann is a Varizan’s prisoner in this world. She (and he) realize that she is now in both worlds, though only awake in one. Varizan cryptically questions her, wanting to use her power as a wordsmith, then knocks her out.

Part 7: Not my prefered mode of travel: May Ann meets Thrayton, Varizan’s second-in-command and discovers that, to get a cure for Daraton, she must fall asleep and confront Varizan. But when she wakes up in our world, she discovers Jerin has escaped.

Terrors of the Modern World

Jerinthreo… succeeded in rescuing himself. The words replay themselves through my mind twice before I make sense of them, then I jolt upright. “Jerin escaped!”

Varizan leans one elbow against the doorframe. “It would appear so.”

I blink at him. “And you expect me to find him?”

He shrugs. “Your world is a big enough place. It has its advantages, but I’m not sending my men out when you’ll go and be more successful bring him back.”

I choke out a laugh as I scramble to my feet. Why haven’t they tied— Oh. I catch the cut rope as it slips from my wrist, then glance toward the corner where Jerin had been held. “I’m not about—”

“You want us to stay here?” Varizan peers at me.

I snap my mouth shut.

He shakes his head. “An argument will waste more time than we have. Think, now. You’ve walking in my world for a few hours. I suppose you’ve learned things there, including the fact that no one really has any clue how to open the portal from that end.”

I scowl. “Let me guess, Jerin is the only one on this end who can do it?”

“I’d not say that.” He crosses his arms. “I’ve a feeling Jerin’s success was more accident than otherwise. But he may have a few clues.”

“Hmmm.” I brushed a strand of hair from my face. “I’ve learned other things there. Such as the fact that Daraton is dying from poison and you’re the only one who knows the cure.”

“Ah, you’ve spoken with Trayton, then? Though I don’t think…” Varizan traces the daggers at his belt, then pauses. “Never mind, that one was poisoned. More’s the pity. Although the cure is quite close by for any over there who know how to use it.”

I narrow my eyes. “I suppose you want a price before you tell me what it is?”

“I suppose you know what my price will be.”

I press my lips tight, then exhale forcefully. “Fine.” I can’t very well let Jerin wander into town, whatever the situation here. Freedom for myself and an ally… Who knows what good we can do before we end up back in Varizan’s clutches? “Which way did he go?”

Varizan retreats a step, then and pivots on his heel in my room. I try not to look at the strewn books or tattered maps. A number of them are spread over a desk, black markings across their surfaces.

“That way, if the tracks lead right.” Varizan points out the wind. “Toward the lights.”

“Wonderful.” I press back against the desk, staring out into the faint glow reflected off low hanging clouds. He would head toward the one place I’d have him avoid. Not that there’d be much chance of finding him if he took to the woods, I supposed.

My fingers brush the edges of the maps and I roll those I can feel into a tight scroll. “I’ve one condition. You’re not to follow me.”

Varizan’s eyebrows rise. “You think I have any intention of following you? That’s why we’re sending you out in the first place. If Daraton dies in Braceaon, you’ll have enough trouble there that you’ll be begging for my help.”

I suppress a smirk. That is doubtful. I shove myself upright and tuck the maps up my sleeve. Where… there it is. I sweep up a black cloak, folded on my bookshelf. My fingers close around a dagger hidden in its thick layers and I tuck the bundle against my chest. “Later then.” I spin away.

“You’ve until two hours after dawn.” Varizan calls after me. “Make sure you’re back.”

“Like I plan on you leave you in my house any longer than necessary,” I mutter.

Several of Varizan’s men glance up as I pass through the kitchen. One of them is carving a loaf of bread. Another has an apple at the end of his dagger while a third is preparing to shovel a spoonful of ground coffee into his mouth.

I pause. “You are going to clean this all up, are you not?”

Three pairs of dark eyes turn in my direction.

I cross my arms. “Portals and poison I understand, but you really don’t have to leave my house a disaster. You understand that, right? I’m tracking down your prisoner. The least you could it is clean up some of this mess.”

The soldiers glance uncertainly over their shoulders and I spin away before they can reply.

In the direction of the light… I sweep up a long stick lying in the yard—one of my brother’s swords or staffs, no doubt. Right. They’re coming home tomorrow. No, tonight. It’s today by now, probably. Dawn is only a few hours off. Less, maybe. Why hadn’t I thought to check a clock before leaving?

I draw a deep breath and hurry past the empty driveway. I’ll be fine without a vehicle, I’d said. It will be wonderful and relaxing home alone, I said. I shook my head at myself. Though if the portal opened and no one was here to take charge of things…

Like you are really taking charge, my dear?

Oh, shut up.

As soon as the shadows of a small wood cloak me from the house, I pause and pull the rolled papers from my sleeve. Folding them, I stuff them into a pocket, then fasten the dagger at my waist and the cloak about my shoulders. Shifting my grip on my staff, I take a deep breath and plunge forward.

Perhaps it is just as well I don’t have a car. The headlines would probably send Jerin deeper into shadows. That, or he’d attack. How long has he been gone? Why hadn’t I thought to ask Varizan a sensible question or two while I was back at the house? I rub one hand over my eyes, pausing once to lean against a tree. Tired… I’m so tired. How much has this body slept? Or is it just my mind that is worn to frayed wires? Why did I ever write up that portal anyway?

You think not writing it would have done any good? It was Jerin who got them here, not you.

Right. Jerin. I straighten and stride through the shadows. Branches crack loudly at each step and I wince. How many characters have I blessed with silent moving and this is what I get in return. Of course Jerin is one of the best. Can almost see in the dark too. I scowl. Then again, maybe not. I’m not everything Ethred made me out to be. Or any of it, probably.

I trip over a log. Muffling a grunt, I shove myself back up. Night. In the forest. It’s so dark I can’t see my hand. Even Jerin couldn’t have made it far in here. Not as if anyone in books ever has a problem with the night, unless they use its shadows like a convenient cloak to hide in, then fling off the moment they need to silently pick their way through some patch of forest or see more than a few inches from their face.

I’m… no. This is enough. I crash through the underbrush, forcing my way back out into the open. Anyone listening will already know I’m coming. Anyone not listening will know too.

I stumble into the open and brush tangled leaves off my dress. Well now…

If Jerin left any tracks, I’ve probably ruined them. No… I need to figure out where he’d go. Think like him. Think like… A small smile quirks my lip.

People… he’d try to find other people. Which means finding lights. Which means… I start off at a quick pace toward town. A very little town, hardly deserving the name. People. Clothes, probably. Maybe food. Or a weapon. Yes, he might want a weapon. I bite my lip. Jerin in a small country town. This is not going to be good.

The first few houses are quiet enough. He’s no fool. He knows he’s in a new land and he probably knows that they know nothing about other worlds. A public place then…

A yellow sign gleams in the darkness. Dollar General. I pause, my fingers closing over the edge of my cloak. Well, there’s nothing for it…

I sprint across the parking lot, gray in the haze of a rising dawn. There’s only two other cars parked. I ignore them, almost slamming into the automatic doors as they hesitate before sliding open. One of them moves jerkily, half off its runner… whatever those things are called. It’s a good sign. Or a sign, at least.

A lady peers up from emptying egg cartons into a refrigerated section as I hurry through the inner doors. Her eyebrows raise. Right. My cloak. Though if Jerin is here, it’s not like I’ll be that conspicuous. I grin and give the lady a small wave as I hurry by. Nothing down the cereal aisle. Nothing down the home decorating aisle. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe… I freeze. There is my quarry.

He stands in the center of the aisle, his tattered cloak almost sweeping the tiled floor, a tiny furrow wrinkling his brow as he holds a butcher’s knife to the light.

I cross my arms under my own cloak. “Find what you were looking for?”

He jolts, his empty scabbard knocking a row of tins to the floor with a raucous clatter. “Doesn’t your world have any better weapons than this?” He traces one finger along the blade. “It’s not sharp, is inconveniently shaped—”

“It’s for the kitchen,” I interrupt.

He scowls. “Yes, I guessed that. No one else would make use of such things. But they don’t have a weapon section here.” He tosses the blade to the shelf with a clatter. “Or maybe there’s an underground level? A cavern of some kind?”

I swallow back a smile. “I’m afraid those are the best you’ll find here.”

“In which case I’ll spend my coins on items that will do some good. They didn’t find all my daggers.” Jerin’s frown deepens as his gaze skims me again. “They sent you after me, didn’t they?” His hand drifts behind his back.

I incline my head. “That doesn’t mean I intend to work for them, though.”

“Humppp.” Jerin taps his fingers on his belt, then turns and sweeps up a small pile of… what has he collected? A loaf of bread. Several washcloths. Spoons. A bag of fish rocks and… is that a batman hoodie? “And… Daraton?”

My amusement fades. “Not good. Varizan says he’s a cure but…” I motion towards him.

“My freedom for the brother he tried to get me to kill.” Jerin snorts. “He doesn’t waste any time, does he? Not that I’m about—”

“May Ann!”

I stiffen at the jolly voice behind me. Please… not now.

A hand claps my shoulder. “I know you like the whole costume thing, but isn’t it a bit early for you to be up?”

“Isn’t it a bit early for you to be back?” I spin and scowl at my older brother. Heat clenches my stomach. “Everyone isn’t back yet, are they?”

Leinad shakes his head. “Relax, you’ll still get a day of quiet. I’ve classes and… things.” He gestures vaguely. “Just stopped for some breakfast. How did you get him to dress up for you?” He nods toward Jerin. “It looks great by the way,” he smiles at the second son of the Earl of Braceaon. “Even has the beat up and worn look that May likes—”

“Leinad!” I hiss.


I press my lips tight and shake my head. “It’s not what you think. I just… You need to… stop.”

“Stop what? I’m not doing anything. May, are you all right?” He catches my shoulder as I suddenly sway.

“Yes… I…” I blink. No, I can’t go back. Not yet. Not… A wave of sleepiness washes over me.

Jerin springs forward. “They’re waking her up! Over on the other side.”

Leinad’s hand tightens about my shoulder. “Are you—”

“Listen to him.” I grit out. “It’s… something happened.” I met Jerin’s eyes. “Tell him. And you…” I drag my gaze back to Leinad as my head begins to droop forward. “Listen to him, if you can. And… and don’t go back to the house.”

My knees buckle. Dimly I can hear exclaiming voices and feel strong hands catching me. Then darkness, wrapped in blue strands, twists me away.


Well, what do you think will happen next? And… do you think I should follow May Ann in the next section or should I begin by switching to Jerin’s POV? 😀

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  1. My reactions in the order they occurred:
    ‘Ha. Like he keeps track of the weapons he’s poisoned. Oh. He does.’
    ‘Ground coffee! ugh… *dies laughing*’
    ‘*smirks* Yeah… seeing in the dark is a fictional convenience my dear…’
    ‘BATMAN HOODIE!!!??? *headdesk**groans*’
    ‘Oh cool a brother! Maybe he’ll really help her out of this mess and whatever happens please please please don’t let Jerin kill him.’

  2. Yes, you have to do Jerin’s POV!! YESSSSSSS!!

  3. This is awesome! 🙂

    I don’t think you should switch to Jerin’s point of view. As much as I like him, I think it would make more sense to stay in May Ann’s POV. Keep it consistent. But I’m sure I’ll continue to really enjoy this story, no matter what you choose! 🙂

  4. Haha LOVE Jerin in the store!!! 😉 Ooooh and a brother!!! Haha what he says to Jerin about his ‘costume’ is hilarious!!!! Is Jerin based off anyone May knows in her world???!!! That would make sense because we all base our characters even just a teeny bit off people we know…
    Please please please do this next section in Jerin’s POV!!! But I guess only if Jerin becomes a secondary main character… or Leinad (which sounds like a name May Ann would make up btw. Uh oh. Is he her younger brother? ;P )…Otherwise it would be just too many POVs.
    The brother sounds like a fun/annoying character especially as a sort of “thrown together because of the circumstances” type of sidekick for Jerin! And they can be dragging May Ann around unconscious with them! Oooh do that PUULLEASE!!!
    Hm…that would be interesting! The brother having to figure everything out and being spy/detective sort of dude sneaking around their own house trying to figure things out just from Jerin’s confusing-ness and May Ann’s last few, sleepy words without getting caught. Of course, he’d have to get over his skepticalness (tada it’s a new word!) of May’s writing etc. And you’d have a nice character arc for him and a built in ticking clock (in addition to the super important one of the rest of the family returning) because of his college classes etc. Um… and what’s “and…things” Leinad so vaguely refers to? I have a feeling he’s not saying something….
    Also, it might be interesting for Jerin to struggle with wondering if he should wake May up or if she was maybe helping with something in the other world and it would be better to leave her there? Like, idk what you have planned for him and his brother’s relationship, but I get the idea Jerin doesn’t really want Daraton to die now that Jerin knows he wasn’t the murderer so…. Jerin could be thinking about the bad dude’s (can’t remember his name 😛 ) offer of the cure for his freedom (if I got that right…?). That would be cool… OH! But don’t make Jerin die!!!!!!! That’s not what I meant at all!! Aaah don’t listen to me!!
    I would love more time with/back story on/description of the ladies over in the other world. I’m still not sure what to think of them and their allegiance. 😉
    Okay, so I think you can tell that I’m gobbling this story up! Can’t wait for the next installment!! Keep writing!!!

    • Oooh yeah… and what’s with the Batman hoodie??!! ROFL Did Jerin just think Batman was kinda cool looking or what?! Heehee

    • The story is steadily growing more complicated… I’m going to have fun going over this when I’m done and filling in arcs and characters and plot holes. I’m not sure how much of a character arc Leinad will have because of the focus on May Ann in this draft, but he’ll definitely be playing a bigger role when I assemble it later on. 😀

      • Oooh more complicated is fun!!! Can’t wait to read the final product and see how it changes and everything!
        Twas a brilliant idea to have May’s haunting fear all along of the family returning partially come true! Were you planning the brother coming back early from the beginning?
        You’ll be publishing this someday and will be in need of advanced readers, right? 😉

        • I’ve had plans for her brother to come back for a bit now… I don’t have this outlined as much as I normally do. 😉 But I’ve wanted to write a book like this for awhile, so once the serial story is over, I’ll have a working base for expanding it into a longer story. 😀 It will be a bit before I need advanced readers though… 😉

          • Ah cool! A working base will be nice and a much easier, fun way to write a story!
            Well, let me know when you need advanced readers!! Or beta readers… 😉 Though, I’m not sure I’d be able to find things in the story to pick apart enough to earn the ‘beta reader’ title. ;P

        • It’s going to be so much fun though… *rubs hands and grins*

  5. I approve of the batman hoodie. ;D also, I love how he’s like “… I don’t think that one was poison-oh wait. Yea, yea it was. Whoops.”

  6. This was THE BEST PART YET! The Dollar General is hilarious. I had to control my laughter so I wouldn’t have to answer “What’s so funny?” and explain the whole story. 😉
    This is getting quite interesting. What on earth (or not on earth) is going to happen!?!? Serial stories are wonderful because you get so excited when you see the next part posted, but agonizing because you are usually let dangling mercilessly off a cliff. . .

  7. Yes! Jerin needs his own part! He is almost my favorite character, btw. 🙂 And seeing May Ann from someone elses point of view would be fun too.
    This, was the funniest part yet. It was so great!!!

  8. Pingback: Beyond the Parchment: Part 9 | Writing in the Light

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