“Scoria…Peter…he made all of this?” asked Eden as they walked through the desolate alleyways of the box city. “It’s so huge, I can’t even imagine how long it would have taken.”
“Thousands of years, more,” said Jade. “Good thing about being dead, time isn’t as much of a concern anymore. Not that “time” is even really a factor in a place like this. Heck, from your point of view he had already been dead for centuries here before you even met him in your world. Plus, he had help. Lots of help. Offer people a way to get a second chance and they’ll do just about anything.”
Eden ran her hand against the cold grey material of a building. From far away she had thought it was metal, but now she realized it had an almost elastic consistency, like slightly melted rubber. She pulled away and the material briefly came with, stuck to her hand, until it snapped back into place. “What exactly are these?” she asked.
Eden glanced at Jade in mock surprise. “I thought you knew everything.”
Jade shrugged. “I know as much as I’m told, plus some educated guesses. Remember, I am a detective. As for these, I’d say they were buildings, but it’s not like any of these people needed to sleep or eat.”
Eden hesitantly touched another building. “So what were they doing?”
“Digging. A lot of it.”
“You’d think there would be, you know, a giant hole or something.”
Jade stared at one of the buildings, then looked to the next. “Yes…or lots of smaller ones.” She reached an arm out and stuck it through the semi-solid wall. Then she stepped through completely, leaving Eden alone in the alley.
“I’m sensing a recurring theme here,” said Eden. “One that involves me blindly following you into places I really don’t want to go.”
“And you can’t hear me anymore, can you?” Reluctantly, she closed her eyes and stepped through the wall.
The whole world flipped. Eden’s stomach lurched as if she was falling from a great height, even though she could feel the ground beneath her feet. She hunched over and gagged.
“Oh come on,” came Jade’s voice beside her. “You’re dead, it’s not like you can vomit or anything. You’d think the savior of all worlds could deal with a little vertigo.”
“Future savior,” said Eden. “Supposedly.” She opened her eyes and almost had to close them again. The world had flipped. Or maybe it was just them. They were standing on the sky, while the ground loomed overhead. The buildings, though, had vanished and in their place were long hollow silver holes extending down into the sky, as if the “city” was suspended beneath them, while they stood at the top. Or the bottom, depending on your perspective.
“I don’t think I like this dimension,” said Eden as she tried not to look too long at the impossible sight.
“There’s a reason that an army of strangers spent thousands of years trying to get out. Good news is we found their tunnels.”
Eden peered over the edge of one of the holes, but it didn’t have any ending she could see, or way of getting down. “So, what’s down there?”
“Another portal between worlds. One that wasn’t supposed to be found.”
“And I’m assuming by your tone that it was.”
Jade grimaced. “Unfortunately, yes.”
“Well what’s so bad about that? ” asked Eden. “A bunch of dead people manage to come back to life, good for them.”
Jade whirled around to face Eden, and for the first time actually seemed concerned. “They didn’t just come back to life. The portal they found wasn’t hidden to keep people from leaving. It was hidden to lock something away. But they opened it, and in the process, they became corrupted and what they found back into reality.”
Eden realized she had goosebumps, and had a brief moment where she almost laughed at the absurdity of being dead and still having to deal with something like that. She composed herself. “What did they find?”
Jade frowned and stared down one of the holes. “The thing that almost destroyed all worlds. The thing that will destroy all worlds…my son.”