“There it is! The Sacred Tome of Ivos!” Annos points his bony index finger towards an ancient altar, out of place in the dead end of a large cavern system. A dusty brown book rests atop a granite pedestal.
“Do you think we were followed?” Hurst spins his agile body around and cocks a bow. “I’ll watch our backs, you go get the tome. Careful there may be traps!”
Annos smirks with confidence at his elven comrade. “Don’t worry, I practiced my lock picking and detect traps skills. I will be right back.” He perches his black hair behind his pointed ears to watch for any poison arrows or loose rocks in his periphery, and advances with a steady tiptoe. Hurst pivots back and forth, keeping an eye on his friend, as well as their escape route. A clicking sound comes from under Annos’ left foot. A whirring sound of an approaching airborne hatchet is getting louder, but suddenly ceases with an interfering clink of an iron arrowhead. Annos looks back to Hurst, “Nice shot, thanks!”
Hurst smiles, but his celebration is short lived. “Hurry we gotta go!”
Annos nods and steps up to the granite stand. The book before him is quite sturdy despite its frail appearance. Annos places the tome in a backpack and returns to Hurst, carefully sidestepping any other potentially clicking floor tiles. Hurst motions to examine the book, but Annos reminds him of the urgency to leave. They walk a score of steps before Hurst stops in his tracks.
“What is it?” Annos stares quizzically.
“Aw crap. I have to go.” Hurst walks over to the wall of the cavern and sits down. “Are you okay to get out of here?”
Annos frowns. “Bummer. Yeah I will be ok. I can sneak out no problem. Good grouping with you, see you tomorrow?”
Hurst agrees and within ten seconds he fades from existence.
“Chris your friend is here… aren’t you going to…”
“Yeah mom, I’m just logging out!” Chris takes a headset off and places it to the left of his keyboard. He jumps to his feet, and grabs his skateboard in one quick maneuver to leave the room. Brad waits in the living room, his red hair tucked under a colorful helmet. Mother looks on from the kitchen, “Chris, don’t forget your kneepads and helmet!”
“I know mom”, Chris has already retrieved her suggestions from a coat closet.
“Dinner is at 5. Be back for dinner.”
“I know mom”, Chris gears himself up.
“I KNOW MOM”, Chris blurts with a tone of a fourteen-year-old boy annoyed with his patronizing mother. Chris and Brad depart for the park with skateboards in hand.
“How did the game go?” Brad says in a cracking teenage voice.
“I grouped with my friend Annos from Ohio. We got this really cool Sacred Tome! It was great, I shot a hatchet out of the air!”
“Wow! That sounds like fun!” Brad is amazed, and a little jealous. “I can’t wait for my birthday, my parents are gonna buy me that game.”
The boys pick up the pace as soon as they are within sight of the skateboarding park. Chris is thankful to live just blocks from the best park in town; half-pipes, quarter pipes, ramps, pyramids, funboxes and handrails are all placed randomly in a fenced off area about the size of a baseball diamond. Brad hops on his board and skates to his favorite ramp. Chris kicks off the ground for some speed and soars into the half-pipe. Brad springs onto a handrails and rides it with ease, then lands to observe Chris. Chris turns abruptly into the incline of the half-pipe, propels into a one-handed handstand, and brings the board down into the half-pipe with uninterrupted speed.
“Whoa nice move!” Brad cheers in a pitch that is half-boy, half-man. Chris steps off his board and walks to a stop.
“What’s up?” Brad asks.
“I have to go. Are you ok to get home?”
“Yeah Chris, no problem. We can hang out later.”
Chris waves at Brad, then sits against the chain link fence on the boundary of the park. Within ten seconds, he fades from existence.