Leo gave a thorough look of his surroundings : he wasn't obviously in his world anymore. Only the faint glow of the faraway stars was noticeable. Darkness engulfed everything behind him, on his left, on his right, above him... Even below him if it weren't for the faintly glowing path that lead to this weird little house.
The boy considered his options : either he could stand there, do nothing and never know what was happening, or he could go back, but what would be the point ? There was obviously nothing there to see ! The only thing worth doing was to follow the path and go inside the house.
And why not jump ? He was in what seemed to be some sort of space-ey interdimensional hole, so maybe the gravity differed and he could be able to do a moonjump. Could be fun and worth a shot. He jumped. Nothing. No variation in the height of the jump, nor its length. Just the good ol' Earthly gravity. Tsss... No fun.
Leo finally decided to move towards the strange house. It seemed to him that it came from a faraway time... Or the countryside at least. Leo has rarely had the opportunity to leave the town in the past fifteen years and thus never had seen a house quite like it. Its wattle and daub walls were heavily reinforced by a strong wooden structure. Coupled wih a thatched roof, the house had a really charming look and a nice feel to it.
Was that someone counting down ? It seemed to the boy that ever since he arrived he heard something. And as he was standing in front of this little wooden door, there was no more room for doubt : someone was counting down. But why ? The only thing left to do was to go inside despite the growing doubt and fear taking hold of him... And as he was about to lay hand on it, he noticed the small round doorknob : made out of what seemed like pure gold and carefully engraved, it had nothing to be ashamed of when compared to the most luxurious of palaces. But here it didn't blend well with the rest of the buidling and even kinda ruined the overall vibe the place was trying to convey. Putting such a knob on such a common and old door truly was a waste and showed that the owner evidently had some questionable tastes... Or maybe that he was an excentric kind of guy.
But now wasn't the time to go full art critic. Leo had to open this door and see what was on the other side after all ! Gathering his courage, the boy got hold of the door knob, turned it and pushed the door open.
The moment the door reached its midpoint, a hand reached out, grabbed the young man by the collar and forced him to go to the center of the room. “You ! How dare you do this to me !?” The man seemed angr... Furious.
“Um... Yes ? No ? Um... Hi ?” the boy, confused by the sudden change of atmosphere, didn't know how to react. It seemed to him that this bloke had something against him.
“You've been gone for less than a minute and you come back here already !? Who do you think I am ? Some sort of... God ? One who has only this to do in his spare time ? Get lost !”
Waiwaiwaiwaiwait... Wait. One minute ? But I've never seen you before ! Leo thought, though he obviously didn't want to say it out loud as it would further anger his already furious host.
The man carried on : “It's not that I don't mind seeing you die from time to time. But twice in a row ? For foxes' sakes, be careful ! How many times do I have to tell y... Oh.” He stopped, as if seeing the boy's clueless, yet terrified face reminded him of something important. His angry stare turned into an annoyed one “Oh yeah... You don't remember a thing, don't you ?”
Leo didn't have a choice. He had to give out an answer. Unfortunately, he was so shocked that the only thing he could do was nod.
“Damn rules...” The man released the boy's collar from his grasp and stepped back. Leo could finally have a clear look at his assaillant : in his mid-thirties, he had semi-long black hair and a nicely trimmed goatee. He wore a perfectly tailored black sleeveless vest with a white shirt underneath and black trousers. His black leather shoes also looked perfect and from one of his pockets came out the silver chain of what was presumably a pocket watch. He looked like a twentieth century gentleman. The boy admired the man's style and started regretting wearing such simple yet worn out jeans, a questionnably old coat and ragged sneakers. Leo was also ashamed of his current neglected hairstyle and his unshaven baby mustache. If he had known he'd meet such a classy gentleman, he would've taken care of his own style...
Finally regaining his confidence, Leo managed to ask ; “Soooo... Where am I ? And who are you ?
The boy sat on the chair and saw his host fetch a glass bottle and two glasses from behind his seat. He put both on the small table that separated both men. “I imagine you are thirsty. You didn't hesitate to ask last time.”
The man was right. Leo hadn't had a drink since lunch and his little run had left him dry. “Eum... Yes, please.”
The host didn't waste any time granting the boy's wish and the glass was emptied in a matter of seconds. It was when Leo put the glass back on the table that his host decided to bluntly say : “I am Stan and you are dead.”
1 March 2014 at 05:01:00 MST
Come here, come all to read and wonder at the fate of Leo Davis, the boy who... Died ? Wha- ?
Sorry for the delay between parts, I've been mainly working on the French version and got the third chapter done ^^' I'll try to not let this deliberate cliffhanger go unresolved for too long though !