We arrived at the museum

World of the Element Demons

We arrived at the museum. The reflective panels copied the sky, making the building blue with black holes where some of the panels were still to be placed. Chris, Cerasi and I walked up to the large shining doors. They swung open as we neared, showing a dim interior. We entered slowly and nervously, as we weren't sure what exactly would be inside.

Builders, with the classic blue dungarees, checked shirt and yellow hardhat, all with the same face, rushed past us but ignored us. Looking around we saw wooden planks and sawdust littered over the grey concrete floor. No sign of any exhibitions, but if we looked around, maybe we could find something.

A platform lowered down from a higher floor, and a builder walked off. No one went on, so, with Chris leading the way, we went on to see if there was more interesting things upstairs.

It did use a pulley, but as soon as all three of us were on, it moved up by itself. We saw across the empty building many different platforms were floating with no obvious way to get to them. On a few of them, builders were working. On what, I couldn't tell.

The platform we were on, stopped at more floating platforms. We walked off, following the path created by them. Looking down, I saw a very long drop, and the thought that there was nothing holding the platform up caused my fear of heights to appear. I started feeling dizzy and felt I might fall off. My friends (well, frienenemies) paid no attention to me and walked on. I tried to follow without stumbling over my own feet.

There didn't seem to be anything of interest in this building. It all seemed pretty boring. We all believed that the floating platforms and exactly identical builders were perfectly normal. We were about to head back (and this pleased me greatly) when another builder carrying a plank walked along the adjoining platforms to the one we were on.

He totally ignored us, so much so that he continued walking along the middle of the platforms, forcing us to the side. As he passed, we wobbled on the edge. My dizziness increased as I felt no solid ground below my heels. I heard the tapping of a hammer far below me. The building seemed to get darker. The sun, I think, had set or just gone behind a very dark cloud. Only blackness was behind me and around me and above me. I was alone on the edge of a platform in a black hole.

Now the builder had gone, I tried to reach for something to pull me back on to safer ground, but there was nothing. Chris and Cerasi had disappeared into the blackness and it was closing around me. I could barely see the platform below my toes, and I could have sworn I could feel it disappearing.

I finally lost my balance (or the platform really had disappeared), and I fell backwards. Fear gripped me and my head felt as if it was being crushed. I clenched my hands and waited for the hard ground to hit me and end this huge fall.

Suddenly there was a blinding flash. I screwed my eyes shut to protect them from the hard, white light, leaving colours on my eyelids. My eyes were dazed and my mind confused. I could feel something beneath my feet again. My dizziness caused me to fall backwards. I felt soft grass and sandy earth between my fingers.

This isn't the museum anymore, I realised. I opened my eyes and looked out over a calm blue sea under a clear blue sky. A few hundred metres ahead of me was a beautiful yellow beach beyond small dunes with patches of dry grass. The shore curved away from the sea for a little way before turning back out. What I could see of that part of the shore was a steep cliff edge. There seemed to be a gap under it where the water disappeared for a moment. Where I was, there were gentle bumps and dips in the landscape covered in the same soft, light green grass. Above me stood Chris and Cerasi looking about them with confused looks on their faces. I wasn't surprised. I was confused too.

Although, as we looked around, something familiar about the place was awakened in our memories and somehow what had happened didn't seem so strange. At least that's what I felt like, but although Chris and Cerasi didn't speak, the confused look faded and they seemed less restless.

I stood on hearing a sharp cry. We all looked in the direction it had come from and noticed a gold boat anchored near the cliff. It glowed in the bright light, showing the dark shapes of people and creatures moving about on the deck. There was lots of commotion, but the dark shapes merged with each other making identification impossible. There seemed to be something glowing, if anything, brighter than the shining boat.

We heard another cry. We all knew who it was. Memories came flooding back from when we were last here. She had rescued us from some evil creature and helped us get back home. That was her battle cry. She was in trouble. I believe she had said her name was Kellye.

We all ran forward. We had to help her. We couldn't just leave her in danger. We dived into the warm, sparkling seawater and swam as fast as we could; the only thoughts in our minds were we had to do something to save her.

Reaching the bow of the golden boat, we looked up. I felt so insignificant below the high prow. A glowing yellow face leaned over the edge and saw us. I wanted to hide from that face; the beauty hid the want to kill and destroy, to control everything. Flames seemed to reach from her flowing golden hair. She was the Sun Goddess, a purely evil creature.

The boat above us started to sway, creating waves. The water turned cold. The sea around us rose and fell as we bobbed around, trying to keep out heads above the surface. We heard the shrill laugh of the golden head, mocking us, just waiting for us to drown.

The laughter stopped as a gold slab flew off the deck, splashing into the water. "The key!" came Kellye's voice. "Get the key to free me." Then she screamed in pain and there was only the rough laughter of the Sun Goddess's pirates.

Cerasi dived down after the key, which was drifting along the seabed towards the cliff. Chris and I followed with our heads in the sea air.

Seeing we were going for the key and weren't showing any sign of drowning soon, the Sun Goddess let out a cry that pierced the sky, creating lightning and thunder, and the waves roared higher. My head kept going under as the waves fell over me from behind. I spluttered out water, trying to get my breath. I heard coughing near me. Chris was having problems too.

We saw the head of Cerasi come to the surface a little way off. She signalled towards the cliff. Underneath it, we saw the gap where the key had obviously gone. Maybe there would be safety there too. Chris and Cerasi were already swimming towards it. I followed as best I could in the freezing water. My legs would hardly kick and my body shivered violently. It was almost impossible to keep up with Chris and Cerasi who didn't seem hindered by the cold water.

Hiding under the solid rock, we felt relatively safe. We started looking around below our feet to see the glinting shape of the key. We could just make it out moving across the bottom. I tried to catch it with my feet as it went below me, but it was just out of reach.

The water was rising as it got stormier. We were running out of air to breathe. We were about to try and get back out from under the cliff, but turning we saw that the overhang meant there was no way out without going under the water. Looking down again, we watched as the key disappeared down a small hole. We had to follow it. We all dived after it and pulled ourselves along the passage it had gone down, searching for it and air to breathe.

We broke the surface of the water in a cave, gasping at the suddenly abundant oxygen. The key had disappeared out of our sights somewhere back down the narrow passageway. I crawled to the rocky land, spitting out the water that had accumulated in my lungs. I heard Cerasi choking behind and saw Chris just sitting in the water gasping.

I collapsed onto the rocks, not caring how uncomfortable it was, just caring about stopping my chest from hurting. Chris climbed out of the water, seeming to have slightly recovered. Cerasi spluttered a little more, then silently breathed.

Chris walked across the cave floor, looking around her. Then I heard her shout. Looking up, I saw her staring at what had to be the way out. But strange waves shook what looked completely clear. Then I realised that water was filling the doorway, but nothing seemed to be stopping it from flowing through.

Chris put her hand through the water, bringing her hand back soaking wet. She shivered slightly, so obviously it was cold. She turned back to us and concluded, "We're stuck!"

We were trapped in a cave with water blocking our escape. The air was stuffy and the sounds of dripping water echoing off the walls send shivers down my spine.

Suddenly a deep voice reverberated around the cave. "Intruders!" We looked around for a source but saw none. "How dare you invade my shrine!"

I mentally laughed slightly. How could this cave possibly be referred to as a shrine?

"You will pay the penalty!" At this the water started rising from the pool we had come out of and flowed through the doorway at the other side. It started to collect around our feet. "Unless" The water stopped for a moment as the voice paused to think. "Unless you can complete the challenge I set you."

I saw Cerasi nod and I nodded too. Chris didn't seem to be paying much attention. As the water flowed away again, a glass filled with water appeared on top off a rock. We walked over to it and stared at it in confusion.

"You must empty this glass of water without touching it in any way." Then the voice laughed and faded away.

I tried to think of a solution. It seemed such an easy task, but I couldn't think of any way to solve it.

"You know, I'm kinda thirsty," said Chris, reaching for the glass.

I hit her hand away and glared at her angrily. "We can't touch it!"

"Why not?" she complained.

"Weren't you listening?" She looked at me with a blank expression on her face. "If we touch it, we'll never get out of here. If we touch it, we're dead."

"Since when?"

"Aghh!" I threw my arms up in the air in desperation and walked away from her. I just heard her laughing at me.

"Hey," called Cerasi. "Maybe we can blow it over!" She crouched by it and started blowing at it.

I stared at her, eyebrows raised. Then I shrugged and joined her. Now Chris was laughing at both of us. I guess we did look pretty stupid. But I didn't have any better ideas and I doubted Chris had either.

But after a few minutes I came to realise that the glass wasn't moving, not even slightly. "Give up, it's hopeless," I said, standing up.

"No, it'll work," she insisted between blows.

I left her to it and started pacing the cave, trying to think of another inspiration. What causes movement? Forces! What causes forces? Objects! What objects are here? Us, and the glass we can't touch. My shoulders sagged. This was getting me nowhere.

I heard Cerasi finally giving up and, being herself, she started taking a tantrum at the glass. Chris started laughing at how pathetic she was. Then, as the only solution she could think of, Cerasi kicked the stone the glass was sitting on.

The glass wobbled, tipping from one side to the other. We watched it anxiously, holding our collective breath. Water fell over the sides in ever increasing amounts. Cerasi got back down on her knees and continued blowing.

The glass fell and smashed. The sound bounced off the walls making it louder that it was. The glass, now in pieces, lay across the floor of the cave, empty of water.

"I meant to do that!" cried Cerasi triumphantly. Chris responded by hitting her across the head saying she could have done it too.

A grumbling sounded out of the walls as the voice returned. It said in a tired and irritated voice:

"I am the Water God
And you have defeated me
As my Oath demands
I must set you free."

The water flowed away from the doorway to wherever it had come from, leaving a damp tunnel for us to walk along.

We found ourselves now in what looked like a renovated cave. The floor and walls had been cemented up, smoothing the surface, giving a more pleasing look. On one of the walls a shelf had been made. Upon that we saw piles of salt of varying sizes. Imbedded in another wall was what looked like a sarcophagus. It was designed with swirling patterns made from salt glued to the surface. In front of the sarcophagus in a slight dip in the ground we saw the gold key.

"This is easy," said Chris as she went to pick it up.

Too easy, I thought to myself.

She lifted it up and we were about to turn and walk out when we heard a grating noise. Looking up we saw the sarcophagus had opened, revealing the Salt God. Red eyes glowed in the snake-like head as the forked tongue flicked in and out. The only thing stopping it from getting to us was the thin casing of gold that was wrapped around it.

"You shall not escape me!" the voice of the Salt God cried evilly. A slab of rock that had come from the ceiling suddenly blocked the way out. "The only way you can get out is if you can force the key through my neck." It cackled menacingly, obviously thinking it impossible.

I saw what we had to do. There was a gap in the gold casing where the key was to go. I thought I could manage. I turned to Chris to get the key. Cerasi was cowering away from the cruel face. Chris looked at her, smirked slightly then stepped forward herself to put the key through the Salt God's neck.

Just as her hand reached the hole however, the forked tongue flicked out again, slicing her skin and making it bleed. She dropped the key in surprise and backed off slightly, holding her bleeding hand.

I picked up the key. It looked like it was left to me. I moved towards the Salt God. It grinned warningly. I moved quickly so I didn't end up like Chris, forcing the key through the hole. The Salt God screamed but didn't die. I tried to push the key in more, but it wouldn't move. The head hissed and I jumped back as I saw the gold casing start to unravel away from the Salt God.

We all backed towards the rock blocking the way out. The Salt God slithered towards us on its snake-like body. Its arms were covered in scales, reaching out towards us. It's evil grin spread across its face made me even more afraid for my life. There was nothing we could do to get away from it. We had failed the task and we were going to pay.

But to my surprise, and I'm sure Chris and Cerasi's too, it stopped coming closer. Instead it started to move towards the adjacent wall. For only a second I thought we were going to be safe, but the thought did not linger for long. Something in the expression of the face of the thing made me realise it had not given up on us.

Its long fingers reached for a panel in the wall. Touching it, a grating sound echoed around the shrine. We looked at each other, trying to figure out what was happening through our expressions.

But we did not have to wonder for long. The solution presented itself to us as the floor below our feet swung down. I felt almost paused in air for a second before I fell. My mind found it almost impossible to comprehend the suddenness of it all. As the world passed by my eyes, I thought it really was moving up. As it continued to rise above me, I saw the gears that had moved to create the grating noise and drop the floor.

However, when I hit the water below me, I quickly realised I had been falling rather than the world had been climbing. I was soon lost in the frothy white of the water, my eyes blinking rapidly as if to clear the water away from them. My arms and legs kicked out to reach the air above. My head broke the surface of the water, and I took deep breaths to ease the sudden pain in my lungs.

I continued to kick to keep afloat while I used my arms to spin me around to get a better view of where we were now. I saw Chris and Cerasi doing similarly, but the light was dim and I saw little else. The walls of this new room were lost far off in the darkness. I looked up to see the hovering face of the Salt God in the only light source. It's continual evil smirk that it seemed to carry everywhere made me even more afraid. Then it held out a black control for us to see and pressed a button, saying, "Goodbye!" in anything but a pleasant voice.

More gears turned in the darkness and a square of light appeared ahead of us. At first I could see nothing through the yellow light, but then I saw the shapes. One was long and crawled low. Its jaws were open slightly as it came towards us and I saw its sharp teeth. Its spread feet lumbered its body in a swaying motion into the water. Then its speed increased and came towards us steadily. The other stood above the first on four paws. Its angular head held high. Its fur was dark and hung slightly off its muscular frame. It crouched a little then pounced into the water after the first.

A crocodile and an alsatian. Each swimming towards us at a disturbing speed, each wanting our flesh and blood. Quickly realising there was nothing else we could do, we turned simultaneously and swam as fast as we could away from the angry predators. I heard the strange hissing and cackling laugh of the Salt God chasing after and moving ahead of us, mocking us with its speed. As the laugh quietened down, I heard the splash of our pursuers close behind, getting nearer.

This knowledge only made me go faster, but evidently not fast enough as the sounds behind me kept getting louder. I looked ahead of me and saw the heads of Chris and Cerasi ahead of me and the distance between us was getting larger. I had never been a good swimmer and I had never really liked the water enough to try and improve. Now I really wish I had as I tried again to go faster without much success. I thought I felt the paws of the alsatian on my heel, making me jump forward in the water.

But the sounds behind me, although they were close, were not close enough for them to touch me - yet. My stressed-out mind was imagining things.

Just when my lungs were giving out from lack of oxygen because I couldn't breathe fast enough to fill them and my limbs felt ready to drop off, I felt with one of my final kicks, ground below me, close enough for me to walk on. I stood on it, sprinting forward as fast as I could with the water pushing against my chest. I started to catch up with Chris and Cerasi again, but our pursuers were still closing in.

The ground started to rise and the amount of water I was fighting against lowered until it was just above my knees. I could now nearly run at full speed, and finally came to where Chris and Cerasi had come to a stop.

Netting was left across our path. Looking up we saw it climbed up to another passage. Sunlight shown down that passage, glistening on the wet walls. Hearing the splashing of our followers in the shallowing water, we leapt at the netting, clinging to it as it swayed with out weight. I just hoped that whatever it was that was holding the net up would hold while we climbed.

My heart raced as I looked behind and below to see the snapping jaws of the crocodile and the bared teeth of the alsatian. I sped up my climbing. I tried to co-ordinate my hands and feet so that I did not struggle for holds in the sagging rope net.

I nearly died of shock when I felt the net being tugged from below. Looking down, I saw the crocodile pulling on the base of the net. Running up after it was the alsatian, looking ready to jump. I pulled my foot up another rung.

But I couldn't. It was stuck. I tugged harder, but it was caught in a knot. I was out of reach of the crocodile, but the alsatian came and pounced, dripping wet, flying out of the water, jaws open and ready to grab the trapped foot to pull me back down.

It snapped, an inch below my foot, and fell back to the ground. It jumped again, but didn't get nearly high enough. I breathed out the breath I hadn't realised I had been holding. Reaching down with one hand, keeping a firm, hold with the other, I untied the knot from my lace and the net and continued the climb unhindered, even with a slight smile on my face.

In the passage above we saw the welcome sight of sunlight and safety on land. Running, slipping and sliding on the rocks, we came out into the open.

Then, as I surveyed the landscape – we had come out further inland than where we had appeared, but over the grassy hillocks we could still make out the sea lapping on the shore – I suddenly remembered why we were there in the first place. "Kellye!" I cried out loud. "And we lost the key!"

Chris swore and Cerasi looked back down the cave and whimpered slightly, voicing my thoughts exactly.

Then, to our amazement, I heard Kellye's voice from above us. "It's alright guys! I managed without the key!" She jumped down from the above the opening in the hillside to stand next to us and smiled.

She meant that we didn't have to go after the key. We didn't have to do all those things. We had been tested, attacked and chased for no reason.

But still, I couldn't help but be happy to see her alive.

Okay... I know, this isn't finished. But this was a dream and it never did finish. If I get enough feedback on this then I might consider making up an ending to it. But I won't write it if no one wants me to... This is the only time I am likely to be writing for the feedback (anything else I have written, the feedback is a nice luxury) so review if you want a proper ending! Also I'm not too keen on the title. I just had to come up with something other than my working one... which was just 'Dream'... original, don't you think!? So in other words, since I made it up in ten seconds,... I don't like it, but I can't be bothered thinking harder for something better. And it doesn't help when I don't know where this story is going... so anyone got any suggestions for titles, plot continuations, anything... or just review and say it sucked. I just want you to write in the little box below...