As the young men stepped through the portal, Herald in close proximity behind them, they started to feel a true tingling sensation. A rush of anxiety and excitement was flooding them as they traversed throughout the unknown.
Without warning, and as quickly as they had stepped into it, the two were dropped a couple of feet onto a cold concrete floor. Herald came through the port easily, taking another knee as Edgar and Ian were picking themselves up.
“Heh, noobs,” he chuckled. His three piece suit had been replace in a pretty drastic way.
Now, he was wearing a tattered, elbow-patched olive green overcoat over a cream colored button up that had a brown bow tie neatly affixed at the collar. He wore slacks that were brown that looked as drab as the overcoat, his well held loafers a well worn distressed brown leather. Atop his head was a brown newsboy cap that had matched his pants and bow tie.
“Hey man, there’s first time for everyth–” Edgar had started grunt, stopping when he saw Herald’s new look. “What happened to the agent forty-seven look, man? I was digging the provado.”
“Things are a bit different for me in the warehouse. Not as much room for being that interesting,” he said, speaking plainly.
“What happened to the accent,” Ian asked, brushing himself off. Herald sighed, “I’m really not all that cool. I just work for the boss.”
“What are you talking about,” Edgar asked.
“I’ll explain on the way to the office, just need to find the light switch first,” he said, fumbling out and into the dark.
Edgar and Ian hadn’t noticed before, but they had been illuminated by nothing but the purple hue of the portal. It vanished soon after. Ian gave a yipp, “I’m not scared, I’m not scared.” Edgar gave an audible gulp and Herald began laughing maniacally in the distance.
“I think we messed up man,” Edgar said, looking over in what he thought was Ian’s direction. An electrically charge hum started channeling around them as dozens of lights that were hung very high began to flick on, showing nothing but racks upon racks of entrances and exits. Some were doors while others were stained windows. Some even looked like impassable stone archways, but all of them were held in groups that seemed to fan themselves out as if someone would be interested in buying them.
“It looks like some sort of warehouse,” Ian said, peering around.
“Precisely,” Herald had said cynically, whispering closely behind him.
“Agghh,” Ian yelled, stepping backwards into Edgar. The echo of his voice had repeated several times over and in all directions. The lights were still stretching outward in the distance. Ian and Edgar both began to peer around at this, not caring much about their companion.
“How big is this place,” Edgar asked, still craning his neck to hear the sounds of Ian’s yelp.
“Interesting question, and I assure you it has an equally interesting answer. You boys pushed that red button not even knowing what it could do, but I’m here to tell you that I’m glad you did. Do you know how many people just stare at the damned thing,” Herald asked.
Ian gasped, “does this mean we’re special?”
“Not if you keep jumping up and down like that. That kinda crap won’t get you far in the days to come” Herald said, glaring his eyes. Ian stopped. “Good, now let’s get to the office,” Herald said walking idly in one direction.”
“Where exactly is this office,” Edgar asked, feeling a bit unconvinced that even Herald knew where they were. It must have shown in his voice.
“If you don’t believe me, it’s okay,” Herald said. “You will soon. What I’m trying to find first,” his voice began to string out, “Aha–this will get us there a lot quicker,” he said, tugging a sheet.
What it reveal was a motorcycle with a sidecars on both sides, matted to a dull and dark green with imitation wood on the side panels. The paint and panels must’ve been purposeful, even if they looked as worn as Herald’s shoes, because the spokes of the rims glistened and the brown leather seats looked as though they had been oiled regularly in the past.
“Wanna go for a ride, boys,” Herald said with so much enthusiasm that it almost sounded seductive.
“Okay,” Edgar said stepping forward first, “But I ain’t ridin’ bitch if that’s what you want. I’ll take the sidecar.” Herald was about to explain himself, but he had been interrupted by Ian before he could say anything.
“Dito,” Ian said. Herald gave a groaning sigh and continued to the bike.
When Herald swung his leg over the bike, Ian gasped, “Whoa, ass outta the face, man.”
Herald sighed again.
They started down one of the main isles going well over sixty miles per hour, slinging dust and loose concrete as they pressed onward into what seemed like an oblivion.
“So, why are we here again,” Edgar asked.
“Well, there’s the button you both pushed with hardly any hesitation,” Herald said loudly so they could hear him over the motorcycle. “Aside from that, our creator has been giving you increasingly interesting adventures to go on in order to test you both.”
“Test us,” Edgar asked. “Is that why all that crazy stuff has been happening? If it is you do realize we could have died or been left to rot in jail.”
“What do you mean,” Ian asked, “I did die.”
“But you really didn’t,” Herald yelled pleasantly, turning his head back to Edgar now, “and you weren’t. The gypsy brought you back, the aliens were saved, your trials were all null and void once you help catch the bad guys, and so on and so forth. The point is, I curated those things to happen in order to test you. Where we’re going now, you’ll be interviewed and placed accordingly to whatever adventures await.”
“That still doesn’t explain where we are,” Edgar said, noticing a tan light in the distance.
“Hold that thought. We’re almost there,” Herald said.
Herald slowed the pace and the motorcycle idled up to the back of what looked like a tattered office with several long tubes stretching above it. From the outside, even though it had several old books atop t that looked as if they had been thumbed through but ever read, it had held its original cubicle look, but the inside look very disorganized and scrambled.
“What is this place,” Ian awed. Herald was fumbling his pocket for the keys. “This,” he said, finding the key and inserting it into the lock, “is our creator’s idea warehouse.” He turned the key and with a bit of effort, had finally pushed the door open.
As Edgar and Ian walked in, they noticed a stack of weathered looking documents in file folders had been blocking the door. The more they peered around, the more they began to understand why Herald had called himself the curator. He was keeping track of the endless amounts of the entrances and exits they had seen on their way there.
Herald took off his overcoat and and cap, hanging them both up and knocking over a stack of documents as he did so. He cursed under his breath, noticing the two young men still standing as if scared to knock something over themselves. “Make yourselves at home,” he stated as if they should’ve known it from the start.
Edgar and Ian looked at each other, shrugged their shoulders, and sat in the two leather interviewee chairs in front of Herald’s desk. Herald took a seat in a much more worn leather chair an fumbled through a cabinet of his wooden desk.
After a minute or two of groaning, he popped back up after having looked through both sides. He now held two large envelopes in his hand.
“These are your files. Now, awhile back, Edgar, you were given the question of what you would say to someone if you were to send them a message in a bottle. Do you remember?”
“Yeah, it was around Christmas time.”
“Correct,” Herald said satisfied, “Now, when you explained that your receiver of this message would need to undergo a great adventure in order to please his creator as well as the audience of the creator, it got our own creator wondering if a connection could be made to all these misspent ideas he’s had in his mind all these years. This is where the real proposition lies, boys. Our creator is very busy with other stories and adventures, but you two are his little side project so the better of these spare ideas aren’t lost to oblivion. As you can see, it’s getting more and more difficult to keep up with it myself,” Herald said, looking around at all the papers in his office. “So, how about it boys, want to help me file a few of them away for good?”
“One Question,” Edgar asked, looking at Ian with a grin.
“Mhm,” Herald acknowledged.
“Do we get to keep the bike,” Ian finished.
“I’m sure I can arrange something,” Herald said, extending both his hands in a goofy criss cross.
Edgar and Ian shook his hands at the same time.
“Good,” Herald said, “now let’s see if we can find you boys an adventure.”