Into the Realm: The Chronicles of Carter Blake, Book I (C1S5)

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Subchapter 5

After an hour of role-playing, and no battles, we had managed to ambush the boss of the area, a savage gold dragon. Unlike in Dungeons and Dragons, they weren’t aligned based on their colors. Anderson called for a recharge break. Mike and Stacy went into the living room, Meghan sat next to Lucas, talking with their heads together. Anderson scowled at them. I pushed a curtain aside to watch people walking by.
The sunshine filled day was gone. In its place, a nasty thunderstorm. Rain pounded the window, streaking the light from the street lamps. Lightning sheeted across the sky, drawing my attention upwards. Grey brume warred with blackish ones. Another flash of static electricity. An image flashed over the clouds in the afterglow of the fulmination. ‘I couldn’t have just seen a castle,’ I thought. ‘That’s crazy.’
Yet the vision stayed with me: A towering black edifice with massive fortifications and intimidating crenellations. The walls seemed like razor-sharp teeth. Dragons soared in the air around the thing and a horde of monsters spewed from the tremendous drawbridge.
“Hey, Carter!” Anderson’s voice broke into my contemplation. “You gonna rejoin us, or no?”
“Sure. I’ll be right over.”
I turned, and another flash of lightning froze me in place. A tall man in buckskin fought with what could only be a demon with ebony skin, a pair of forward-growing horns above its glowing red eyes and short ones growing upward from its forehead. The two moved in a blur. They seemed to be equal in skill, but then, the human thrust a pure white sword into the chest of his opponent. The demon crumpled to the ground, and the image faded from view. I shook my head, and returned the table. I vowed to stay away from the Keebler cookies and Pepsi. ‘They’ve got me hallucinating,’ I thought as I sat.
“What’s Drago gonna do?” Anderson asked.
“Huh?”
“Everyone else has decided to explore, or move. What is Drago going to do?”
I gave myself a mental shake and lifted the miniature. The pewter figure felt red-hot. I dropped it, and flapped my hand as pain bit into me. At the same time, I hissed in agony and cussed.
“Are you okay, Carter?” Meghan asked, touching my shoulder. “Did you cut yourself?”
“No,” I groaned. “This fucking thing is hot! Who’s the smartass?”
Hurt turned to anger. I glared around the table, but everyone appeared to be concerned. Mike poked my figurine with the tip of his finger and looked back at me.
“This is cool, Carter. You couldn’t have been burned.” He picked the little statue up. “See?”
While I stared in surprise, Meghan pulled my fingers open. She gasped and Stacy said, “Ohmigod.”
I glanced down. A nice outline of Drago’s features was seared into my flesh. I got up and hurried over to the sink. I ran cold water over the burn while the others whispered about what had happened. The stinging stopped and I held my hand up to the light. With the exception of the faint outline of Drago’s sword, the scald was gone.
“Hey, Carter! Wake up, man. What’s Drago gonna do?”
I blinked. I was seated next to Meghan and Stacy. Mike was next to his girlfriend and Lucas was on the other side of Meghan. Anderson stood with his hands on his hips, his eyes narrowed. I stared down at the battle grid. A Minotaur miniature was before Drago’s.
“Kill him, of course.”
“Roll for it.”
As the others played, I switched my attention to trying to figure out what had happened. I gave a surreptitious peek at the palm of my hand, the outline of Drago’s sword still visible. However, it had the appearance of an old wound. ‘What the hell?’ I wondered as I refocused on the game.
I wouldn’t find out for some time.

Continues here.

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