Eden tugged at the sides of the outfit and a cloud of dust fell to the ground. “I’m surprised these are still intact. You sure I have to wear this?”
Through the dirty helmet, she could almost make out Jade rolling her eyes. “Well, you’ve got two options,” said Jade. “Either you could wear the outfit and stop complaining, or you could risk being psychically influenced by an unstoppable semi-demonic force, the results of which would probably turn you into a raving, flesh eating giant monster. You choice.”
Eden pulled the rest of the suit on. “I’ll wear it, but I reserve the right to keep complaining.”
“Remember whose house you’re standing in.”
“Oh I’m so scared,” said Eden. “What are you going to do, forget to clean me?”
Jade pulled back the curtain on a window, revealing pure black. “Or I could just toss you out into the infinite void of nothingness.”
“Thus dooming the entire fabric of reality.”
“Eh, no one’s perfect.” Jade turned from the window. “Speaking of which, it’s time to see my wonderful son.”
The house only seemed to get more disheveled as they walked up the steps towards the top floor. Along the side of the wall, empty rectangles could be seen where framed photos used to hang. Eden felt slightly relieved, she couldn’t really imagine seeing Jade with a happy family. Speaking of which…
“So, I don’t mean to be rude,” said Eden, “But when you say, ‘your son’…”
“Uh huh,” said Jade.
“Well, it’s just…you’re a relatively normal person. Kind of.”
“This is you not being rude?”
Eden swallowed and tried to compose her thoughts. “No, I just mean…you are human, right?
“At the time my son was born, yes.”
Eden blinked. What did that mean? One mystery at a time. Don’t get sidetracked. “…Ok, so, what’s the deal with your son? Last I checked normal people don’t have children that are so dangerous they require psychic hazmat suits and need to be locked away in a cosmic quasi-prison.”
“What can I say,” Jade shrugged. “I went through a weird time in my life.”
“A weird time? Weird as in a ‘died your hair purple’ weird or weird as in ‘got knocked up by Satan and accidentally give birth to the antichrist’ weird? Because there’s a difference, you know.” Eden couldn’t remember completely, but she really hoped she had never died her hair purple. At least she was definitely sure she hadn’t done anything like the latter.
“Is now really the time to talk about this?” said Jade. “In case you didn’t notice the missing photos, or the general shit condition of the house, I don’t really like remembering this time of my life.”
“And in case you didn’t notice, I’ve spent the last day or so being dragged around a distorted logic-defying death dimension with no memory and an overtly cryptic guide who knows way more than she’s letting on. So, if you want me to save the world, or kill your son – which is totally messed up, by the way – then I’d say it’s time to clue me in a bit. You said yourself that I’m not going to remember you the next time we meet, so what’s the harm?”
Jade sighed. She had been doing a lot of sighing lately. Eden tended to have that effect on her. “Ok, let’s make a deal. For every order you follow without snarky comments, you get one question. I don’t have time to narrate my whole life.”
Eden considered it. “Fine. But we start with a question. You threw me down a pit, so I think that’s fair.”
They reached a door at the end of the hall. Unlike the rest of the doors, which were mainly wood (old and rotten, but still), this one was a high-security metal door, like something from a bank vault.
“One question,” said Jade. “One question, and then we’re going inside.”
Eden thought over the questions she had, which was…a lot. But considering what they were about to do… “Ok, fine. Here’s a good question. If your son is so deadly and awful and all that, why are we purposefully opening the door he’s locked behind? Cause, if you were thinking I could take him on now, I hate to tell you, but I’m not exactly in prime condition. And from everything you’ve told me, we should be getting as far away from this place as humanly possible.”
Jade placed her hand on the door. “We’re following Scoria’s trail. They dug too deep, they came here, and they found my son. And after, from what I’ve heard, they found themselves lying naked in a gigantic cave system with no memory.”
“And that’s good because?”
“It means they managed to escape death and return to the little messed up fantasy dimension that you died in. The one we need to get you back to. They succeeded…to a point.”
“To a point?”
“Well, they ripped opened up an unstable portal and let my son loose on the multiverse, which has been problematic, to say the least. Kind of had to spend my whole life mopping up after them, so I’d like to see if I can mend the tear, so to speak. Think of this as ground zero for everything that’s happened so far, and if I’m lucky, we can send you through the portal so you can grow big and strong and eventually meet me again and save the universe. But first, we need to get past my son at the height of his power.”
“You know, that didn’t clear things up anyway whatsoever,” said Eden. “I’d say this is the most confused I’ve been yet.”
“You asked. Let’s go.”
Eden tensed as the door swung open. She prepared to run, to avoid any horrible monster that lurked inside. She knew she was dead, but she had a feeling that even that wouldn’t protect her.
But inside, it was just a normal boy’s room. There was a small bed in the shape of a racecar and a few toys strewn across the floor. Whatever Eden had been expecting, this was as far from it as she could imagine.
“I must be missing something here,” said Eden. “There’s nothing-“ She turned to look at Jade, who had suddenly gone very still and very quiet.
“Eden,” said Jade. “I know that technically it’s your turn to ask a question, but I would prefer if you follow my next order without thinking about it.”
Eden felt a cold dread run down her body. “What’s the order?”