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The New Adventures of Jamie

by Jamie Mac

Chapter 4

A Whole New World

Kyle took the lead, Jamie following behind not knowing exactly where he was. They then walked several blocks after climbing out of the storm drains. They finally arrived at the agreed upon meeting place walking into the bus shelter and sat down to wait for Swift and Eric to arrive. While they waited a couple of police cars raced by with lights and sirens running full blast, followed shortly thereafter by an ambulance. Kyle and Jamie looked at each other and Kyle raised an eyebrow.

"I sure hope Swift and Eric got clear," Kyle said worrying about their two friends.

"I do too. As long as they ain't looking for us anymore, I'm good," Jamie stated with a sigh of relief. "How long do you think before they'll get here?"

Kyle thought for a moment and then answered, "If they got caught we need to head to the final planned meeting spot on our own. I can get us there without any help. Swift will get himself and Eric there as soon as he's able to."

Kyle really hoped that Swift would arrive with Eric. While he knew Swift's full meeting plan, he did not want to go there on his own with Jamie. He knew the fear that radiated around the second meeting spot was strong and he was not sure if Jamie could handle it on his own without Swift's help. If Swift and Eric did not make it to the bus stop on their own Kyle knew he would have to manage the situation himself regardless of the disturbing effects of the distraction spell.

Looking at Kyle puzzlingly, Jamie asked, "How do you know the final meeting spot? I only heard you say 'the normal bus stop' and then we were off."

Kyle began, "For the last year Swift and I have met here then gone to a secret location. You and Eric will be going there today with us, I don't wanna say too much more. The main reason is there are others who might be able to listen to us speaking without us knowing about it. I will say this, it's safer than here. Although some places where we're going can be dangerous, but we'll point those spots out for you."

Kyle paused for a moment to put his thoughts together before going on. He did not want to scare Jamie and he had noted a look of fear crossing his little buddy's face.

"Don't panic. It's not like the streets or back home. The dangerous areas are marked, and until you and Eric are familiar with everything we'll always be with you. Let's just say you wouldn't wanna go in there alone without any knowledge of what you are in for, or without a guide. Swift and I have had some run-ins with the law before so if we ever have to split up we always meet here. So try to remember this bus shelter. If for some reason, we can't meet here then as a fallback we meet at the secret location. This is just the transport spot to where that is," Kyle finished seeing the fear leave Jamie's face with some relief on his part.

Jamie sighed stating, "Okay, I think I understand it … Not well, but good enough. I'm getting the feeling that Eric and myself are about to enter this world you and Swift are a part of. I know there's a lot more, but if it really could be unsafe to speak about this place then I'll wait until you or Swift say it's Okay."

Kyle smiled "You do learn fast Jamie. Maybe you're the one who Swift has been looking for the last hundred years. I somehow have this feeling that we're all connected in this. It just feels like I've done this before. I just don't have all the answers; hopefully Swift does."

"So Swift is really two-hundred years old? He looks more like fourteen. I know he's Elvish, but wow!" Jamie said.

"He really is, but Swift is still considered a teenager by their standards since as you stated they live almost forever. He really is a teen like me, but with far more years under his belt. He can die just like anyone, but that's not a topic for now," said Kyle with a wink as he tapped his ear.

Jamie nodded that he understood and smiled back at Kyle. He had read enough to know quite a bit about elves, and therefore Swift, from what he had found at the library. It almost seemed like he knew more, but could not quite put his finger on the complete picture and he continued to consider the matter it while they sat waiting. Jamie huddled into himself and started to shiver while hoping that Swift and Eric would arrive soon.

A couple of buses had come and gone, and the rain had finally let up, but it was still wet and chilly and both boys were soaked to the skin. Even on the North Coast of the ocean and with milder weather than most places, this was a very unusual early spring storm. Not often did weather get so extreme here, but today was definitely an exception to that rule.

Kyle pulled Jamie closer noticing how badly he had begun shivering; he hoped that he could add some warmth to the smaller boy's body. Snuggling close they suddenly heard Swift and Eric's voices coming from behind them. Looking back, they could see the others coming up the street towards the corner across from the bus shelter. After crossing the street, they walked into the shelter, shook off the water as best they could from the rain, and finally sat down breathing heavily.

Swift spoke first concern showing clearly in his voice, "Did you guys make a clean break?"

"Not at first," said Kyle thinking back to the events earlier that morning. "We had to duck into the storm drains and then dodge several blocks before we got clear. They seemed pretty intent on finding us."

"I'm not sure why, but they never even gave chase on us. I wonder if it was because of the deal in the buffet," Swift replied.

"That's possible," Kyle responded, still trying to figure out why the police had been so intent on finding Jamie and himself. "I mean okay the guy had basically touched hot coals when he reached out and grabbed at us, but I don't think he really knew what happened."

"We did double back a bit," said Swift, once again thinking about the day's events. "I saw both ends of the street blocked off. So I think it's possible they might have put two and two together. After all, Fáfnir and Nidhogg joined in our little sortie back there making a full appearance in front of them. I was surprised by that move. I didn't think they would do that."

"Well, where are we going now?" asked Jamie as he sat there shivering and teeth chattering. "I'm cold, soaked, and need to get dry before I get real sick and get sent back home by some dopey doctor at the hospital."

Eric nodded in agreement. He certainly did not want to get sent back home, especially now. He was finding out something about a world he had dreamt of but thought was just that - a dream. He wondered what could be special about Jamie and himself. Just then a bus pulled up and shook him out of his daydreaming. The boys walked out of the bus shelter, getting on the bus quickly knowing it would be warmer. The bus was headed east, to the end of the line. From there they would walk, but for now a long ride was ahead of them.

The boys went straight to the back row of the bus and sat down. Being right over the engine meant that they were sitting on top of the heaters and this would help warm them up and dry their clothes somewhat.

Kyle slipped his headphones back on and he leant against the window and turned his CD player on. Jamie in his turn, still shivering, leant back against Kyle. Then in a protective manner Kyle put his arms around Jamie pulling him closer knowing it would help warm up the smaller boy. Neither of them gave the slightest thought to how this might appear to others as they snuggled against each other basking in the relative warmth of the bus.

Jamie reached up and clung onto Kyle's arms, the rare feeling of security comforting him. Kyle bent his head down a bit and laid it against Jamie's. Both of them could hear the sound of coins and cash registers accompanied by the downbeat of a bass guitar coming from Kyle's headphones as a new song started. The two boys soon drifted off together, both dreaming of what it might be like if they had a stash of cash themselves.

Jostled awake by a bump in the road, Kyle whispered into Jamie's ear, "So are you getting warmer little buddy?"

Jamie looked up and gave Kyle one of his million-dollar smiles that he reserved for very special people. It spoke louder then words to the older boy whose arms he was wrapped up in, getting nice and toasty warm. His bright blue eyes soft and happy as he slowly yawned feeling the fatigue setting in. Kyle returned the smile, which told the smaller boy he would be just fine.

Jamie dozed off again now that he was warm. Between the heat from the bus and Kyle right there keeping him both safe and sound Jamie felt totally contented. It was something he thought he would never feel in his life: safe and secure. Jamie had felt he would always be on the run, having to be ever watchful.

Next to Kyle and Jamie; Swift and Eric were sitting close together as well. They were having their own quiet conversation about the day's events, and were also snuggled together to warm up and dry out.

"I'm really glad I could share all this with you Eric," started Swift, "There's so much more, and I think you and Jamie are the two we have been looking for. It's been a long search and I can't explain it now, but I will once we can talk openly. I promise myself, along with the Elders we will soon meet, will answer all your questions."

Puzzled Eric asked, "What do you mean? I kinda get that Jamie has some sort of gift, but I don't seem to have anything? And who are these others?"

Trying to ease Eric's evident tension, in a voice suddenly very old and wise sounding that reminded the youngster of something he had heard in a movie, Swift said, "Ah my child, but you do have a gift, you can see things others cannot as well. The veil has been lifted from your eyes completely. I was surprised when you could still see my sword, there is more to you then meets the eye. As for the others, I really need to speak with some of the Elders, since they can answer these questions far better than me."

Swift paused, then continued, "For a long time we have been searching for people with special gifts. We find the rare street kid Like you guys, and we take them in. Yet about once every two-hundred years we find one such person or on rare occasions, sometimes persons, Who's gifts go far beyond the Gift of Sight."

"That makes sense, I guess. I need to start learning to be more like Kyle and you," Eric said with a sigh. "I mean I'm still all excited, but you, Kyle, and even Jamie seem to be taking this like it's just another day on the streets. The fight in the alley was wicked cool! Will I ever be as good as you with a sword?"

Swift smiled sincerely, truly meaning what he was about to say, "First thing, anything you do you will excel at. Don't put yourself down. You are smart, quick, and have a good sense of humour. Second, it's okay that you're a bit excitable, that is just youth. Even Jamie, as serious as he can be, still has a lot of growing up to do. Remember the bacon?"

This got both of them into a giggling fit and when it subsided they continued making small talk. Feeling the heat inside the bus soon had them feeling warm and their clothes started to dry out. As the warmth took over it also helped them to relax as the bus moved slowly along its route picking up or dropping people off.

"So where exactly are we heading?" Eric asked. "I know this bus ends in a quiet spot. There's not much around at the end of this line."

Swift replied, "For now I can't say, but you will see. And don't worry, it's much nicer than where we just came from."

Swift then added a final thought, "Remember the bus stop we left from? I'm sure Kyle has already told Jamie the same thing. That bus stop is our emergency meeting spot if we get chased like we did today. Hopefully never again, but it does happen. So if anything happens, that's where you head to. Don't ever forget that spot!"

"I can do that. I've been in this area before. It's a great spot to hide out in. Lots of alleyways and places to duck out of sight, until you reach the end of the line." Eric responded.

They all sat quietly at the back of the bus, each slowly becoming more contented, as it headed for the final stop on the route it was on. The music softly coming from Kyle's headphones had lulled him and his young companion into a light doze. Jamie wrapped in Kyle's arms slept against a napping Kyle. Next to them Eric and Swift were doing the same thing, with Eric using Swift as a pillow much like the younger Jamie was doing with Kyle. To look at the boys as they were, you would think they had been a family from the start.

After a good hour's ride they hit the final stop at the edge of the suburbs, just at the foothills of the mountains. The driver looked in his mirror towards the back of the bus and smiled at the four sleeping boys he could see there.

"Last stop boys, we're at the end of the line," He called out to them politely.

Roused from their naps, they gathered their gear up and shouldered their packs. Each thanking the driver, they climbed off the bus. The rain had stopped during the trip although the sky still threatened. Kyle put his headphones away and Swift adjusted the sword on his back. Eric and Jamie tightened the straps on their packs as they both suspected a long walk was ahead of them. With Kyle leading the way, they all started walking east along the highway out of town towards the mountains rising up in front of them. Soon they had passed the last few houses tucked away at the end of a cul-de-sac. The highway stretched out ahead of them and the mountains loomed as they continued to walk, following Kyle along a well-worn path.

They walked for about an hour and eventually came to a stretch of viaduct and went underneath it just as the rain started back up again. They sat listening to the traffic passing overhead for a couple of minutes and then Kyle looked at Swift who nodded back. Kyle un-shouldered his backpack, reached in, and was feeling around trying to find what he was looking for.

Eric looked on as Kyle searched what seemed to be a much deeper than normal backpack, his arm disappearing into the pack up to his armpit. Finally, Kyle found what he was looking for, pulling out a gauntlet that would be worn on the hand. The gauntlet was covered in blue jewels along the top while the rest was wrought in shiny copper and covered in scroll work that made it look like something a king of old would wear into battle.

Slipping it on his hand looking at the rest, Kyle said "Are you ready to go?"

Jamie and Eric just stood up from where they had been sitting, now looking at Kyle with puzzled expressions they were not sure what to think. Swift was smiling along with Kyle, for both of them knew that the younger boys were about to go places that very few have seen in the last several centuries.

Jamie and Eric looked on as Kyle held his hand up with the gauntlet now on it so that they could see it better. Both of their eyes lit up when the jewels began to glow a bright blue and the light surrounded the fingers of the gauntlet. They also heard a faint humming sound that clearly did not come from Kyle's headphones. Both Eric and Jamie could feel the energy radiating from the blue glow that came off of the gauntlet. It seemed to almost recharge them for the unknown adventure that lay ahead. Looking on with smiles on their faces Eric spoke up first.

"Whoa! What the heck is that?" Eric exclaimed, amazed by what he was seeing.

"That's wicked cool. What is it?" asked Jamie, with some excitement and astonishment.

Swift winked at Kyle who just smiled back while looking at the glowing piece of metal on his hand. It was Swift, who after letting the two smaller boys admire the gauntlet for a little bit, spoke first.

"Would you believe me if I told you we bought it at a toy store for five bucks and it runs on double-A batteries?" Swift asked with a huge grin on his face. "They're in the aisle next to where they have the dragons."

Both Jamie and Eric shook their heads and said in unison, "You're so full of crap!"

This had both Kyle and Swift doubled over laughing at the two younger boys and they were soon joined by Jamie and Eric over Swift's joke. After a couple of minutes passed the gauntlet's glow dimmed down and became very faint, but somehow it was clear that the gauntlet still retained its full power. What this power was however, had both Jamie and Eric totally perplexed.

"Okay, so quit the crap. What's it do?" said Eric getting a little impatient again.

"It opens doors," Swift replied nonchalantly. Then holding his hand up seeing a bit of anger flash across Eric's face added, "It does open a door, more like a portal. Do you know what that is?"

Eric looked at him slowly nodding his head, "I think I've got an idea, but I ain't too sure. If it's like what I saw on those T.V. shows, it's like a passage to another planet or something."

Jamie looked on a bit more confidently now, "I think I get it. It's like how I can see you as you are Swift. We'll still be here, but yet we'll slip into another world that is sort of hidden. Kinda like the cloaking thing in movies for spaceships that hides them from being seen."

"Not bad, you have been reading! Both of you are pretty much on the mark," Swift said, nodding his approval.

Eric chimed in, "So this glove thing, it opens a door to another place but we're still like right here?"

"Very good Eric. Yes, it does," stated Swift, hoping to boost Eric's confidence. "It opens a door to a world we keep hidden from men. I can explain more once we enter the preserve, to talk outside isn't safe. I can explain that as well once we enter."

Looking at Kyle, Swift once again nodded and they walked out from under the viaduct and headed for the woods beyond. They passed the last couple of run-down houses on a dirt road they had been following. Finally, the rain quit as they entered into the forest proper. Dim light filtered down through the dripping boughs as the branches hung low from the heavy rains that had fallen and were collected on them.

They followed an almost invisible path deeper into the forest, and it got even darker the further in that they went. Soon everything around the boys appeared to have a greyish tint to it. Not a sound could be heard, even the noise from the vehicles on the highway seemed to have disappeared. Although they had not gone very far into the forest the quiet started to become unsettling. It was a bit creepy and Jamie wrapped his arms about himself since it had gotten chillier as they kept walking.

The moss that covered most of the trees made them look old and decrepit, almost as if it were an integral part of them looking like so much hair. It made them seem like they had life, and might reach out and grab the boys with their finger-like branches.

Eric figured the quiet was due to the rain that had been falling, but the dimness of the woods still gave him a chill. Following right behind Jamie he did the same thing almost hugging himself, wondering if maybe they were being led to their deaths. Fear set in and he started to panic a bit. Swift immediately sensed it and turned back to the smaller boy giving him a reassuring smile that said all was well.

Nobody spoke, as it seemed like if they did that the whole of the woods might come crashing down upon them. It was not a natural fear the younger boys were feeling, it seemed to be much stronger and less rational. Swift's smile had calmed them both down, nevertheless they both stayed on guard because they both felt the unnatural sensation.

Soon they started seeing the path ahead get a bit brighter as a clearing appeared off in the distance. As they approached the area Kyle stopped and began looking around like he was lost, finally he looked at Swift.

"Are we at the right spot?" Kyle asked Swift, feeling suddenly like he had lost the trail. "It's much darker than usual and I'm not sure. I think I kept us on the trail."

Swift looked around, "Yeah we're close, it should be any time now. I can sense the passage is near. Go ahead and hold up the gauntlet it'll glow bright if we are on the right path, so follow that for now."

Kyle raising his arm in front of him watched as the gauntlet's glowing changed in intensity. Its blue colour got brighter as he took a few more steps forward towards the clearing and then it began to dim a bit the further along he walked. Moving back until it began to glow brighter again he stopped. Then turning to his left and then to the right while taking a few steps in each direction Kyle finally found the path they needed. It was barely a deer track, and it headed straight towards a large thicket several yards down the trail. The thicket looked completely impassable.

"This is it," said Kyle. "I can feel it in the gauntlet."

Kyle could feel the power surging like tingles in his hand and running up his arm. The sensation was odd, like when someone's foot falls asleep, and it prickles and tingles until it wakes up. The difference in this case however, was that the sensation did not stop.

As they approached the thicket an urge to run came and passed over all of the boys. Jamie felt it and realized that it was a false feeling since Swift had been standing with them, and had not reacted, even to smiling the whole time.

Eric looking at the impenetrable thicket and unable to see beyond it commented, "How is that thing going to get us through this? I can't even see a way around it."

"That's what the gauntlet is for," replied Swift. "It will open a portal in the thicket and we can pass right through. Now before we go in I have to let you know this is not a one hundred percent safe world we'll be entering. There are a few dangerous creatures who would kill you before you even had a chance to blink. Some of them can be far more dangerous than any bear or lion you've seen. Some areas can be more dangerous than the streets as well. So please stick with Kyle and myself, until you learn where it is safe to travel and not to travel. Also while it is safe to talk be careful what you say until I can fill you in a bit more. Kyle would you do the honours?"

Kyle raised the gauntlet, and in a strong confident voice said, "Annon Edhellen edro hi ammen."

As he spoke the words the gauntlet lit fully with a brilliant blue light and the thicket appeared to do the same. Looking ahead Jamie and Eric could now see a path that was not there at first. Swift led the way and entered the thicket and kept walking deeper and deeper, only to stop and turn to wave indicating that the boys should follow. Both of them looked on in wonder, they knew that this was far from a dream, and yet it felt like one nonetheless. Slowly walking forward with their hands held slightly up, they pressed on and also entered the thicket and found nothing blocking them as they continued on towards Swift.

The blue glow of light was all around them and the pathway glowed with the same eerie light. It was a strange sensation going through because the pathway they were following appeared to be full of branches and leaves, but they could see Swift standing clearly on the other side. Yet in spite of the apparent blockage as they walked through nothing touched either boy. Their eyes said that the pathway was blocked, but in spite of this they went straight through. Finally, after the boys had entered, Kyle then followed along behind them.

Once he had caught up to where they were standing he looked back, raised his arm, and said, "Hollen ï ven".

Immediately as he spoke the words the thicket reappeared as solid once more and the light and the gauntlet dimmed. Kyle then slipped it off his hand and returned it to his pack. After stowing the gauntlet, he shook his hand to get rid of the prickly sensation that remained in his arm and hand. A combination of shock, amazement, and wonder were plastered simultaneously on the faces of the two younger boys.

Eric and Jamie then looked around in awe as they suddenly realized that the sun was shining down on them. There was not a cloud in the sky, the air was warm, and they were standing in the middle of a field of flowers certain that they had gone insane. It was as if they walked into the most gorgeous botanical garden in the world, the only difference being that instead of bees flying about there were faeries everywhere.

Swift and Kyle looked at the two boys before them and then with a wave of their hands and a flourishing bow they smiled, both saying, "Welcome to The Preserve."

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