DISCLAIMER: This is an original story and may not be reproduced in any manner although copies for personal enjoyment are allowed providing title, author, etc remains on the copy.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: my Beta Reader did this to me. I am in middle of writing 3 other works and she just mentions, 'What if ' and sends me off on another tangent. Send virtual shaking of finger at her and tsking at her at firstname.lastname@example.org or myself at SDerkins61@yahoo.com
WARNINGS: Some dark tones, f/f action, some bad language, all the typical things that may be offensive to individuals then avoid reading story.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
And a Door Opened
Story Idea by Golden_Ruhl
"Too bad your girl friend couldn't come along, Cierra."
"Yeah, I know, but she couldn't imagine taking time off from work, not when she is hoping for a promotion." Cierra sighed. Hallie's obsession with her job had caused more than one fight between them lately. They rarely went out anymore because Hallie was always bringing home work to do.
The brunette shrugged at her Internet buddy as they walked along the convention vending area. The sci-fi conventions always brought out a variety of small businesses that sold everything from photos to collectibles to the bizarre.
"Hey! How about buying a fetish?" Jenny asked, pointing to some cheap stone carvings on plastic strings.
"No thanks. If I wanted a real fetish I wouldn't buy one of those. Those are mass produced," Cierra informed her.
"Quite true young lady," an elderly voice said from the side of them. "But not many understand the value of such a piece so I only display these things," said the elderly man, waving his hand in the direction of the display table.
"Have any real ones for sale?" Jenny asked, doubting it or wondering if the man was conning them.
"None meant for you, but your friend, yes." He turned his faded brown eyes towards Cierra. "You are of the Raven Clan, are you not?"
"How?" her voice trailed off, stunned. Few knew of her Native American heritage, not even Hallie.
"Does it really matter? Here," he stood and took a box from under the table and unlocked it. He removed something from a leather wrap and handed it to her. She held out her hand weakly and a cold object settled onto her palm. She looked down and saw the stylized carving of the trickster raven into obsidian. It wasn't a new fetish. It showed wear from decades of ownership, perhaps even generations.
"Your grandmother would want you to have it," he whispered softly as he patted her shoulder awkwardly. She stood there for a long time, her eyes riveted to the object in her hand. She never noticed the man walk away.
"Cierra, what is it? You're pale as a ghost," the small blonde asked nervously.
"This belonged to my grandmother," Cierra answered although her mind wasn't truly there but reaching back into memories long forgotten. Of her grandmother who still held onto the old ways and had been considered a powerful female shaman. She had died when Cierra was eight.
"Do you know him?" Jenny watched her friend shake her head slightly. "This is too weird. If you never met then how did he know you?"
Cierra shrugged, her voice lost. She only heard Jenny on an unconscious level because she was too occupied with the images and impressions coming from the stone.
Like a slideshow flashing at tremendous speeds, images flashed inside her mind, voices, like whispers teased her. She was trying to block them but they were too strong. They were overwhelming her but just when she reached the point she felt her mind about to overload she heard a voice.
"Why do you deny who you are?" it asked, then faded blissfully away into silence.
"Oh shit! Cierra! Are you okay?"
Cierra opened her eyes and discovered she was on the floor.
Cierra repeated once again that she was fine and stepped onto the ramp leading to the ferry. Several people from the convention had arranged for the Alcatraz tour but were worried about her fainting spell. They stopped fussing but it didn't prevent the worried looks.
"Don't worry about me, I'm fine. It was just a fluke thing, I promise."
"Alright, but if you feel the littlest bit lightheaded, you tell someone, okay?" one of the women pleaded. The brunette agreed and took a seat, hoping their attention would now be on the trip and not her. The women settled down and looked around as the small group boarded the ferry. It was the last trip of the day to the former prison and they would return well after dark. They had chosen this late hour due to the fact no one had wanted to miss the convention's special events. Most of them had grabbed a quick meal along the way and were still eating their fast food as the ferry left the dock.
Cierra pulled her sweat jacket's hood over her head as the moist night air began cooling. She shivered slightly and wished Hallie had come along then she would have had someone to cuddle up next to.
"Almost there!" someone announced and all eyes turned towards the famous landmark. The dock lights lit up the area and voices took on an excited edge as they neared it. Once at the peer they were allowed to disembark and gather as a group. A pair of tour guides joined them and introduced themselves. The older man began his well-practiced speech before gradually leading them further into the prison's interior.
Cierra tried to concentrate on his words but found it more difficult by the minute.
'Damn, I was a fool to come here when my defenses were weak,' she thought. For too many years she kept the voices and images at bay, almost convinced she had merely imagined them as a child. Deep down Cierra knew it was real but after being told over and over again by her parents that it was her imagination she learned to block it outto pretend she was like the other kids. The childhood drugs given to her had helped as well.
Why now? Who was that man? She had sought him out later but the table and man had both disappeared and no one knew whom she had described. Her hand reached under her jacket and gripped the now warm stone resting between her breasts. The voices were quiet but not gone. They seemed to be waiting for something.
The tour group paused in the solitary confinement area and listened to the man explain the various reason men where locked in the tiny rooms. She wasn't looking at the people around her and was startled when one of the women bumped into her. Cierra stepped sideways from the light impact and her hand rested on the door of one cell, not hearing the woman mumble an apology as the group followed the man down the hallway.
Her hand was on the metal but its cold painted surface, long slumbering, released its memories at her touch. Voices, so many unhappy thoughts, hatred, fear, loneliness, and pain all rushed out along with images of men long gone from the former prison.
Once again she felt the overwhelming rush of the otherworld as it slammed into her without mercy or control.
"Please, just stop!" Cierra whimpered, tears running down her cheeks. She was alone in the cellblock, except for the ghostly echoes of the past.
She couldn't remove her hand from the wall, and her body seemed to be burning from a fever she couldn't control. Cierra felt a sob escape from her tortured lungs as she prayed to her ancestors to help her escape, to give her peace.
The brunette fell to her hands and knees and felt the cool ocean breeze against her sweat-soaked flesh. The voices were gone. She fell to her side in relief against the pebbled ground.
Ground? She opened her eyes and found herself outdoors and very much alone. She pushed herself up and looked around her. The ocean could be heard but she didn't see it. No lights other than the stars lit the night sky. Where was she? Shakily making her way to her feet the young woman peered into the darkness but didn't see any of the electric lights or even any buildings. That was odd because she would have sworn the tour map showed structures covering almost the entire rock of Alcatraz.
This wasn't a spirit vision either because her surroundings didn't have the shimmering haze of the otherworld. This was real but where was she?
"Grandmother, help me," she whispered under her breath. The dead woman wasn't going to answer of course and the only person who could help was herself. Cierra walked slowly towards the sound of the ocean, hoping to find a way to the docks. Several minutes later she was close but didn't dare move further. The ground under her was sloping steeply and without being able to see properly in the dark it would be foolish to even attempt it. The young woman went back the way she had came and settled down on the more level area. She would have to wait until daylight or until someone came looking for her. She pulled the thin sweat coat around her and shivered.
Sunlight woke her the next morning, well after sunrise. Cierra blinked in surprise, amazed she had even slept. "Guess no one bothered to look for me last night," she grumbled to herself. She stiffly got to her feet and stretched until she felt less ancient as she looked around. There was still no sight of any buildings. Alcatraz Island wasn't that large. She ought to be able to at least spot a tower or the lighthouse.
Cierra once again approached the ocean and looked down at the steep slope. That way was out of the question. Maybe further along the coast she'd find the docks. She glanced up and her eyes opened wide.
Across the span of water she could see the San Francisco Bay area but something was wrong. Where was the Golden Gate Bridge? She could see the bay's two landmasses where the bridge should be connecting, seeing the higher area to the right and its distinctive silhouette. Squinting against the morning sun she looked along the coastline but didn't even see so much as a boat on the water. Cierra shivered. It was like San Francisco had never been discovered by people. She felt the blood freeze in her veins.
Had she caused this somehow? Had her desire to be away from the echoes of past caused her to somehow separate her from them? Had she disappeared or had everyone else? Did it even matter? What was important now was that she was stuck on a rock outside of SFB and no boat to get there.
Where would she go even if she had a boat? If there were no people then Hallie was gone as well. What would be the point? She closed her eyes as tears slid down her cheeks as memories of her relationship washed over her, barely noticing the lightheaded feeling until she heard a fog horn. Her eyes snapped open and suddenly the world righted itself. The bridge was there once more and to her right she saw a pathway and guardrails leading off to the right.
"Cierra White! Where have you been!" Jenny squealed as she spotted the young woman entering the hotel lobby. She threw her arms around the still stunned woman and hugged her for all she was worth. "We had everyone looking for you all night!"
"I'm fine," Cierra told her shakily. "I just well, I woke up on the beach this morning and came back on the morning ferry."
The blonde pulled back and studied her face. "Did you pass out again?" she asked, determined to find out what had happened. Cierra saw the stubborn determination and decided to throw her a bone.
"Jenny, I, well, you may not understand but I have a slight problem. You see I'm a bit psychic and sometimes I have troubles controlling it. Last night I felt all those men from the prison and I couldn't take it so I ran for the beach. I'm sorry I scared everyone. I wasn't thinking."
Jenny's eyebrows lifted at the bizarre explanation. She didn't really believe in psychic powers and other bunk similar to it but didn't say anything. Cierra was entitled to her beliefs and she to her own.
"Well, next time you feel panicky, try to tell someone so they can help, okay?" Jenny asked reasonably. Cierra nodded in agreement, her dark eyes solemn.
"The petite woman patted Cierra's arm affectionately. "Good, eww, hon, go take a shower and change your clothes. You're all damp and gritty," Jenny suggested. After agreeing to meet for breakfast in an hour, Cierra returned to her room to shower and change.
The hot water felt good and she soaked for quite a while under the spray. She stepped out from the shower and grabbed a towel, first toweling her short dark hair. She opened the door leading to the sinks and mirror while drying off and studied her own image in the reflection, wondering why she didn't look any different after her experience.
She saw herself, slightly overweight, just over five and a half feet tall. Other than dark hair and eyes she didn't resemble her grandmother in any fashion. Fair skinned and oval faced. Nothing special but for some reason she felt her Native American heritage rushing closer to the surface. Where exactly had she gone?
The sensation of the floor disappearing under her feet made her gasp in shock then pain as her bare feet connected with the ground. 'Oh shit, not again!' was her first thought. Her second thought was now she was naked to boot.
Gone was the motel and everything else. She was standing on rough terrain in the middle of no where. She glanced around and noticed the skyline to the East. It was familiar to her but it now lacked the buildings and other trappings of civilization. As best she could judge she hadn't gone anywhere at all. She was exactly in the location of her hotel room only the building had vanished.
Was this some sort of alternative world? A parallel universe? The old sci-fi stories had suggested that different worlds existed for every possibility. Places where Hitler had won the war or where Ben Franklin never discovered electricity.
But how did she get here? Why now was this happening? Then it dawned on her. She reached for the stone fetish that hung from her neck. It had all started yesterday after the old man gave it to her. And how did she get back?
Her perspective shifted once more and she was again in her motel room.
"Oh fuck, this has gotta stop!" she exclaimed.
Was it her controlling it? Curious now, she grabbed some fresh clothing and quickly dressed. If she was indeed the one causing it then she wasn't going to bounce around naked.
"Okay, here goes nothing," she muttered at gripped the stone, thinking about the other place. She dropped and was once more in the spot she was before. In fact, she could see her footprints in the dirt a few feet away.
"Whoa, this is way cool." She could control it. She jumped from place to place, proving to herself she was convinced that she could jump at will. She jumped once more to the wilderness then yelped when a startled deer nearly leaped over her in surprise. Okay, note: wild animals. Perhaps coming here alone wasn't real smart unless she came armed. What if she ran across a mountain lion or something equally dangerous? Could she transport other things with her? Curious, she picked up a large rock and jumped to the motel.
It came with her. She set the large rock onto the counter and sighed. It was nearly time to meet the girls for breakfast.
"You should have grabbed me last night, Cierra. I would have protected you from all those nasty feelings," Cyd told her.
Cierra grinned. "You can't use those strong arms to block ghost impressions you silly lug," the brunette teased.
"Well, maybe not but it makes a great excuse to hug a pretty girl," Cyd grinned wolfishly. Several girls hooted and threatened to tattle to Hallie.
"Squealers," Cyd whined playfully. "Next time you feel like wandering off let me know. At least I know the area so you won't get lost."
"I just may take you up on that girl friend. I want to see if I can find a place again and maybe you can come along," Cierra mentioned mysteriously. 'Could it work?'
"Any time," the tall butch offered as she scooped up a heaping of hash browns.
"Okay, so where was this place you want to find?" Cyd asked once they were outside.
"Not yet, just come with me," Cierra asked as she looked around. If it worked she didn't want to disappear into thin air with witnesses around. She led the taller woman to the back end of the building where there were lots of trees and shrubbery. Satisfied they was out of sight she then took Cyd's hand and pulled her closer as her other hand wrapped around the stone carving.
"What's going on?" the woman asked, curious as hell.
"Something happened to me last night and this morning. Something really bizarre. Cyd, I want to see if it happens with other people too or if perhaps I've just lost my mind. I guess I need you as a guinea pig."
"You aren't making any sense, Cierra," the butch said with worry.
"I know, but trust me, okay?" Cyd nodded and wondered what Cierra had in mind. She watched the shorter woman as she closed her eyes then felt a wave of dizziness hit her.
She almost fell but Cierra grabbed her and held her upright until the sensation passed.
"Ugh, my stomach isn't happy at all," Cyd moaned and straightened. Her eyes suddenly noticed things were different.
"WHAT THE HELL!" she shouted.
"It's okay, let me explain!" Cierra pleaded.
"EXPLAIN? WHERE IN HELL ARE-" Cierra slapped her hand over the woman's mouth.
"Hush, it's okay. Just don't move, I need to mark this spot." Cierra grabbed a twig and drew a circle in the dirt. She didn't want to jump back and had no idea if she could from another location without running into walls or pavement.
"Where are we?" Cyd managed to ask without screaming.
"In an alternate universe, I think," she offered. "Somehow I found a way to jump from our world to this one last night. Look around you Cyd. This is San Francisco without people. There's no pollution, no traffic, no wall-to-wall people, just wilderness."
"This can't be possible," Cyd squeaked. She was considered unflappable but she was stunned now. The hotel was gone along with all the other nearby buildings. She looked to the West; much like Cierra had earlier and saw the skyline. This was indeed San Francisco but not the one she knew. She felt panic rising inside. Can they get back? What if they got stuck here?
"Can we go back now?" she asked with a trembling voice.
"Any time you want. I know how to control it now. Aren't you curious and want to look around a little? I promise to take us back when you want."
The fear faded only the smallest amount but enough to let her push away the panic inside. "I guess. Have you looked around much?"
"Nope, not yet. I scared a deer earlier though. When I woke up this morning I was on Alcatraz Island. The prison was gone and so was the Golden Gate Bridge."
"The bridge was gone?" Cyd managed to turn a shade paler.
"Um, yeah. Why don't we look around a bit before going back? We'll just make a small circle around this spot," she added.
Cyd followed her meekly in a slow circle, about 100 feet away from the spot they arrived. At the outer edge of their walk there was a steep slope to the east. She nervously glanced down and spotted an animal. Then she blinked and stared.
"Psst! Cierra, come here!" she hissed.
Cierra jogged back. "What is it?" Cyd just pointed down the slope. She looked down until she saw the dark furred bear. He looked a little odd, almost like a black bear but larger.
"Is he dangerous?"" Cierra asked.
"Yes, but that's not what has me excited. That's a California grizzly."
Cierra was ignorant about bears and didn't understand what Cyd was trying to point out. "So?" she prompted.
"They went extinct. That damned bear isn't supposed to exist!"
"Oh, then he-"
"Shit, after us! Run!" Cyd screamed. They bolted back towards their circle praying they were quick enough to escape the bear. They skidded to a halt at the drawn circle and Cierra grabbed at both her stone and Cyd at the same time. The bear was just a few yards away. Cierra closed her eyes in fright and 'jumped'.
They returned to the bushy area behind the parking lot, panting in fright from their narrow escape.
"That was too close," Cyd panted.
"Are you okay?"
"Yeah," Cyd replied and put her palms on her knees as she bent over and gasped for breath. "You know, I was pretty freaked out until we jumped back but suddenly I feel very much alive and excited. Can we go back again?"
Cierra chuckled. "Yeah, we can go back, but-"
"We take a rifle with us next time. I have a couple at my house. I can't wait to tell-"
"No! We can't go blabbing about this to anyone, Cyd! What if the Feds found out? I'd be considered a freak and a lab rat. Besides, I sure as hell don't want to ruin the other world with pollution and landfills like this one. It deserves to stay fresh and wild."
"Okay, I guess you're right. But damn, wouldn't it be something to colonize it?" Cyd chuckled with a leer. "I'd fill it full of women only and make a new Amazonia there if I could."
"Oh, sounds like a plan to me," Cierra grinned.
"You really think so? In a way I'm not joking. How often does a chance to do it differently do we have in this lifetime? Think about it. We could build a farming community and live simply. No damned cars or cell phones. We'd lose a few luxuries but we'd make up for it with no stress and the fear of not having enough money to pay the doctor bills and property taxes.'
"And what about doctors? Do you want to live there with no medicine or tampons or indoor plumbing? I sure don't."
"Hmm, well, I have a engineer friend who I bet can build simple plumbing that doesn't require miles of sewage pipes or copper fittings. As for doctors, what if we recruited a couple to join us? There won't be any fancy plastic surgery clinics but we can treat the basics."
Cierra wanted to argue against this imagined community because it was just too wild to conceive. "This area doesn't exactly look like prime farming land."
"True but just north of here is Napa Valley and some nice lush parkland. I bet, with the long growing seasons we could easily support ourselves. Maybe make things for trade and bring them back here and sell them so we can buy things we do need. We'd be like the ancient Greek Island of Lesbos. Most of the people who lived there were women craftsman and artists, poets and such. Hell, I'd be happy to sell my house and buy supplies to take with us if that's what is worrying you. We just need people to join us."
"This is the craziest idea! Do you think people would actually volunteer to leave everything behind for the chance to scrub out a living as farmers?"
"Yes, I do."
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