I’ve decided to do something I don’t do often, and that’s continue an existing flash fic story, but I think this photo prompt will do nicely. I’m hoping that you’ll be able just pick up here and read if you haven’t read the others. But, just in case, here are parts one, two, and three.
Eion’s muttered “fuck me” was still ringing in Hollis’ ears as she blinked, trying to make sense of what she was seeing. Somehow, in this room, in the sub-basement of the university’s library, was an entire forest. At least, it looked like there was an entire forest.
It not only looked like there was an entire forest, it smelled like it, too. The sharp fragrance of fallen leaves mingled with the more pungent scents of long decayed vegetation and dank earth.
Brilliant red oak leaves blanketed the forest floor, while mist slithered through the tree trunks and the bare, low-hanging branches. The sky was that odd greenish-gray color it only ever seemed to turn in autumn–right before an early snowstorm. A cool, damp breeze brushed her cheek, lifting her hair slightly and sending a chill down her spine. She pulled the sleeves of her oversized sweater over her suddenly cold hands. There’d better not be an early snowstorm while they were…wherever they were.
She glanced at Eion. His blue eyes were wide, and his lips were parted slightly as he looked around, seemingly taking in everything around them. “What the actual merciless fuck is this place?” His tone accusatory, he turned to face her.
“How the hell would I know?”
“You’re the one with the bloody key.”
“Well, I didn’t know it would lead here.”
He reached out, and his fingers brushed across her neck as he caught the cord the key hung on and pulled it from inside her sweater. She tried not to shiver again.
“Where did you get this, anyway?”
“My grandmother kind of willed it to me when she died.”
Standing far closer to her than was entirely comfortable, he turned the key over and over in his long fingers, inspecting it from every angle. “How does someone kind of will something?”
Hollis explained about her cousin and the trade they’d made in the lawyer’s office.
Eion frowned. “Who would have a tantrum about an inheritance?”
“Kylie Edgerton. Back row of the eight am session of History 101.”
Eion laughed. “You two share DNA?”
“Not willingly,” she muttered, snatching the key from his hand and turning away. She needed to put some space between them. He was even more attractive up close, and the last thing she needed was for her TA to realize yet another college freshman had a crush on him.
Glancing up, she realized that the mist had crept closer, swallowing the few evergreens that grew in amongst the oaks. “Eion?”
“I think it’s getting darker.”
He glanced around. “It’s definitely getting creepier.”
“Maybe…” she willed her voice not to shake, “we should come back during the day?”
“How do I know you won’t come back without me?”
“Really? You think I’m going to go to a spooky magical forest by my damn self?”
He looked at her as if she’d lost her mind. “I don’t recall anyone forcing you to sneak down to the sub-basement and open one of these doors, love.”
Okay, he wasn’t wrong about that. “Well, I don’t know that I would have gone in if not for you and whoever was coming down the elevator.”
Crossing his arm over his chest, he raised an eyebrow at her. “Right.”
“Fine,” she mutttered. “I promise I won’t come back without you.”
They turned back toward the door, and Hollis’ lurched forward, her head swimming violently. Eion caught her, tugging her into his side as they both stood there and stared. The door they’d come through was gone as if it had never been there.
The door was gone.
The wall was gone.
There was nothing but blood-red leaves and creeping fog all around them.