Portal-Walker

I screeched at him furiously. Had I been sober, I may have chosen discretion. However, rage mixed with ethanol coursed through my young veins. “You! I have a bone to pick with you!” I shouted at him. He looked up in shock and surprise. He said “As clearly stipulated in terms and conditions of sale, there are no refunds.” I stalked up to him, as he turned at a slight angle towards me. I could see his hand dipping down into his pocket. I felt sure he had a magic wand but my rash, young, alcohol-addled mind didn’t care. I said “You ruined my life!” He pouted at me curiously. I had already drawn quite a crowd with my story and they largely stayed to watch it out to its end.

He asked “Do I know you?” I stamped my foot and shouted “Yes, we met in the Betwixt where you told me to abandon my friend and chase after a boy.” A look of recognition came across Mythrysia’s face and he said “Ah, yes, the little girl who likes to leave her backpack lying around between dimensions as a tripping hazard. Jane, I believe was your name.” I growled back “My name is Julie!” Vilga spoke up saying “of Ohio.” Mythrysia nodded and said “Yes, quite, the girl who wanted to dance with JTT yet had to face a blonde-haired buxom dragon in order to get him. Are you angry at me that the Stacey-dragon struck you? I scarcely imagine that came as a surprise.”

My face flushed and I said “After one, terrible, dance, Stacey got Jeremy and now the whole school says I’m a climber, using other girls to get boys out of my league. My life is ruined!” Mythrysia’s eyes narrowed and he replied “Is it now? How is your breath? Are your lungs still working?” I squinted at him angrily not wanting to answer. He continued “And about your heart, I trust it is still beating? With all that anger I feel confident in assessing that your mind is quite a flutter with electrical impulses.” I snorted angrily and replied “So?” He said “Then your life is not over and therefore cannot be ruined. For anyone whose heart is still beating and whose mind is still pulsing may still have hope. No matter how terrible their fate may seem, as long as these functions work there is always some hope. So, in this manner, I can safely assume that your life is not yet completely ruined.”

It’s strange how powerful that phrase feels to me now, after all I have been through. But such was not the case back then. I was a teenager and I thought I knew everything. Also, I was drunk.

To my brash young mind, I felt I needed more than some cheap words. I said “But my reputation is ruined, my best girlfriend hates me, and I’ve lost the boy of my dreams!” Mythrysia’s eyes twinkled and a smile played upon his lips. He replied, loudly for all to hear, “Reputation, a so-called friend, and some teenage boy? You are angry at the loss of these things? I dare say you lost nothing for what you received in return.” He pulled out his hand from his pocket. I braced myself for whatever hell he could conjure from his wand. Instead he withdrew his empty hand and pointed at me saying “I can see it in your eyes, Julie of Ohio, that you have fought with a dragon.” The man with the pet dragon riding on his shoulder shot Mythrysia an insulted look as his dragon whimpered piteously. Mythrysia replied to the man and his pet saying “Oh, Horace, it’s just an expression and you know it.”

He continued, loudly for all to hear, “When I met Julie of Ohio she was nothing more than a whimpering little girl crying to herself in the dark. Now look at her. I bet if we fed her coal diamonds would plop out from the fire which broils through her veins. I’ve seen men of less ferocity on the field of battle than this young Julie.” I replied bitterly “But, I lost everything.” Mythrysia spoke to me softly saying “Julie, in ten years-time this boy of yours will have met his wife-to-be in the cubicle next to his at a job in another country. Your so-called friend will be attending college in another state and you won’t ever speak to her again. No one from your school will even remember your name, much less the gossip that fluttered about you in junior high.” He stepped in close and put his finger square on my chest saying “But you, you will remember that you stood up to your dragon and you fought it. It doesn’t matter how the fight ended. What matters is that you had the courage to fight at all. That, Julie of Ohio, is why I advised you to say ‘yes’ to the boy. Not because your dance with him would mean anything. But, because the courage you found to do so will serve you well for the rest of your life.”

I pushed his finger away and said “But…”

My mind could conjure no retort.

A small tear started to come down my cheek. In my mind, I knew he was right. Really, none of it mattered. Nothing that happens in junior high matters. But my heart couldn’t accept it. I said “Tonight was supposed to be magical and romantic. Not the worst night of my life.” Mythrysia took a step back and spoke up “Ahhh, yes, there you have me.” He raised his hands to the crowd and said “Indeed, I have not ruined her life. However, my brash advice, has ruined something for which I intend to make amends.” He gestured towards me and said “For I have ruined her dance. I have ruined her evening. For this, I shall make amends. For we shall host, this very night, a do-over dance for young Julie of Ohio.”

He shuffled in his pocket and started to draw forth some coins. He spoke first to Jessica Thoroughgoblin “Madame Jessica, perchance you know any songs which would be popular for a Junior High dance in Ohio?” Jessica shrugged and said “I don’t know. I’ve never been to Ohio.” Mythrysia replied “ah, yes, and you should never go there for obvious reasons. Earth’s much too dangerous, what with the landmines and such though I can’t quite recall if they are more common in Ohio or the Congo... Hold on, for I might have something for you.” Mythrysia shuffled around in his backpack and pulled up some sheet music “Here’s a bit I picked up on my last trip. A few pieces from this quaint little group named Boyz II Men. Quite popular on Earth these days.”

Jessica scoffed and replied “Dumb name, but I guess we can make this work.” Mythrysia gave her some coins and she reviewed the sheet music with her magician-musician. Beth piped up “What do they drink at a junior-high dance in Ohio?” Mythrysia nodded and said “Punch, indeed. Make up a bowl full and scoop some out for our dancers with a ladle into small, clear glasses. On earth they use glasses constructed of polyethylene.” Beth asked “Of polyethylene? But that is so expensive,” Mythrysia waved a hand and said “You can just use the cheap quartz crystal-wear for it instead.” Beth asked me “How many bottles of tequila do they normally put in the punch in Ohio?” I blanched, and she looked at me queerly for a second. She corrected herself saying “Oh, yes, Earth’s too dangerous of a place to get drunk.” She patted me gently on the shoulder and said “Don’t worry, Julie of Ohio, I’ll only put in three bottles of Tequila for the punch-bowl.”

A few coins from Mythrysia later and Beth set about this task. Mythrysia announced loudly “Let’s make a dance.” The other bar denizens, of their own accord, began shoo-ing the tables away from the dance floor to make more room. As they flapped and clapped at the tables, the tables walked away on their tentacles. Mythrysia directed them “For a proper junior high dance, we must have all the men on one side and all the women on the other.” Vilga asked “What do we do then?” Mythrysia responded “The separate genders eye each other awkwardly for two hours while you drink punch and nervously talk with your same gender.” Vilga continued “But, when do we dance with the women?” Mythrysia responded “You don’t, or if you do it is rarely and only the brave…” He paused and looked at me. He smiled and said “Only the brave cross to the middle and dance.”

Mythrysia pulled out his magic wand and pointed it at the ceiling. With the speaking of a magical incantation, the house-lights went down, and a disco-ball descended and begun twirling casting sprinkling lights about the room. Either out of good-sportsmanship, or just for the fun of it, the bar denizens followed Mythrysia’s advice and soon the room looked slightly nothing at all like a conventional Junior high dance.

Yes, I know they were trying their best, but I have never been to a junior high dance where some of the attendees had three-inch canines jutting out from their lower jaws, others had purple skin and still others had four hooves instead of legs. I looked down and another detail stuck out at me sadly.

I still wore a nightgown.

Regardless how concealing it may have been, it scarcely passed for fancy clothing.

Mythrysia chuckled at me as I looked up at him piteously “My dear, it seems you have nothing to wear to the ball.” He said. I replied “It’s not funny and this isn’t a real junior high dance. I don’t care how much you…” Before I could finish the sentence, he pointed his magic wand at me and spoke an incantation. I gasped and held out my hands defensively, but it was too late. A magic bolt struck me square in the chest and a flash of heat passed around my body followed by a deathly chill. I couldn’t imagine that after all of this, he decided to kill me in the end.

My heart beat on, though.

I looked down and my nightgown had transformed into a ballgown.

He chuckled and said “Bippity-boppity-boo.” I reviewed the dress, half expecting it to be fifteen layers of satin petticoats each one more delicate than the last, but such was not the case.

Mythrysia was well versed in the fashion of the 90’s.

I wore a neon-blue polyester affair with sewn-on sequins decorating the abdominal section. The sweet-heart cut bust-line ended on the sides with high shoulder-pads that stuck out in slight angles. The dress itself was sleeveless, but my left arm was partially covered by an over-sized polyester flower stitched across my chest. The dress terminated below the sequin paneling and boasted an over-stuffed mermaid’s tale that cut off just below my knees.

“And what is a girl without good hair?” Mythrysia asked. He raised his wand again and I said “Whoa, whoa, don’t….”

Bippity-boppity-bo

My hair felt briefly hot and then cold again. Mythrysia gestured for me to follow him to a side corner next to the bar where a full-length mirror stood. Here, I saw my hair for the first time

My banes exploded straight up into a teased-out bouffant that rose several inches over my actual scalp. The rest of my hair sprung into tight curls which scattered in all directions away from my head as if they had a mind of their own. Whatever magic Mythrysia used on my hair clearly had dialed the volume up to eleven.

Looking back on it now, it makes laugh. That hideous dress and my hair couldn’t have been more garishly dated if Mythrysia had tried. It looked like the culmination of every cheap prom-gown and bridesmaid’s-enforced-wardrobe crammed together into one unruly pile of fabric. If it had not been magical I would have half-expected to see a ‘Made in China’ tag in the back next to a resume for the designer since he would be looking for a new job upon creating such a monstrosity. My hair appeared as though it had been teased to the brink of death. At the time, however, I loved it. It was cool. It was hip. It was…

…everything that I wasn’t.

Genre

Synopsis
Julie's unique ability to transition between worlds once wreaked havoc with her life as her attempts to live in other worlds had failed miserably. Now, back on Earth, it has landed her a lucrative, yet demanding, career helping celebrities and others of means reach destinations off-world where they can kick-back and relax without the hassle of demanding schedules, paparazzi, or screaming fans. This odd-hour career, however, pulls Julie away from her baby, Lucas, and her husband, Jason, straining her family bonds and forcing her to make hard decisions about what she should do with her life and her powers.
I keep a pretty simple rule on writing. I only write it if its fun to write and interesting to read