January 28, 2021
Any minute Ein Quin’s life would change forever, they believed. Outside the sun sank below the horizon, its faint glimmer was all that remained of the day.
Soon the full moon would rise, and Ein would… they tried to banish the thought from their mind. The banishment failed, and they opened their laptop and typed into the search engine, “When will I turn into a…”
No! It’s impossible, they shouldn’t even be entertaining the notion. They slammed the laptop shut and crawled under the covers of their bed.
Ein hoped their precautions would be enough. They sent their roommate and cats away, added several deadbolts to the front door, and even bought raw meat.
Someone, or something, knocked at the door. “Go away!” Ein said. The rapping only intensified. After several minutes of ignoring the visitor, Ein threw off the blanket and answered the door.
Ein Quin opened their front door and found a man waiting with his right hand extended.
“Good evening, I’m Walter Livingston.”
“Ein Quin. Can I help you?”
“I’m here to help you.”
Ein’s heart sank. Was he like them? The man pushed his hand closer to Ein’s.
“But first, I must insist we shake hands.”
Walter stared deep into Ein’s eyes; Ein did their best to match his gaze.
“What do you mean, people like us?”
“Just shake my hand, friend.”
Ein gave in and shook his hand.
“Delightful! Now you can see neither of us are concealing weapons. Can I interest you in my exotic wares?”
“Isn’t it late?” Ein asked, gesturing to the setting sun.
“Nonsense! It’s five past five! And when we’re done, we can celebrate with a drink!
“How long have you been outside? Your hands are ice cold.” Ein said, rubbing their hand on their chest to warm it up.
“My apologizes it is dead of winter after all.” Walter squeezed his hands to promote circulation.
“Perhaps if you would invite me in, I can show you what I’ve got in the comfort of your home.”
“No way!” Ein said, so defensively it sounded rude.
“All right, I understand. Now before we begin, why don’t you tell me a little about yourself so I can curate my demonstration?”
“I’m sorry I don’t mean to be impolite, but the sun’s setting and I would like to be alone. Can you move this along?”
“As you wish.”
Walter had with him several suitcases of various sizes. Each seemed to have a unique and unrecognizable language written on it. He opened the smallest, no larger than a briefcase, and it only contained dirt.
“Oops, your porch is dark.” Walter slammed the suitcase shut. “If only we could do this inside. I understand your suspicion, you don’t know me from Adam, but it would make it easier. At least we’ll have the wolf moon shining down on us in a moment.
Ein’s heartbeat so fast they were certain Walter heard it pounding through their chest. “I used to love full moons.”
“You used to? What has the moon done to you?”
“I suppose it’s more the circumstances around the moon that’s changed.”
“Ein, you have just told me something useful about yourself. I have just the product for you.”
Walter opened his largest suitcase covered in strange runes and removed a bag.
Walter Livingston reached far deeper into the bag than Ein thought would be possible.
“Did you know lunar light differs from sunlight? Sunlight is so harsh and corrosive, it’s unrefined. I hate it! But moonlight is a different beast. It captures the sunlight and filters it through fine radioactive dust and shines down upon us. It’s restorative, it’s cleansing, it’s the best.”
Walter found what he was looking for and pulled out a ray gun that may as well have been from a 1950s comic book.
“Lafayette’s Lunar Light! This bad boy shoots synthetic moonlight that will make you feel like a million bucks.”
Walter pointed it at Ein and pulled the trigger. The tip of the gun glowed bright white.
“No!” Ein said and slapped it out of Walter’s hand, shattering it against the wall.
“Okay, not the science fiction type.” Walter considered his next move for a moment, “I can tell you need something special.”
Walter opened another suitcase and reached in, this time finding the product instantly.
“Ein Quin, are you ready to rock-and-roll?”
“No, I need you to finish this.”
“You don’t know what you need, Ein. I do.”
Walter presented Ein with a talisman. The talisman was six colored crystals; red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet in a circle around a white crystal in the center. The seven crystals hung from a leather cord that seemed impossibly old.
“I’m sorry, but I’m just not the crystal type.”
Walter ignored Ein’s comment. “Are you familiar with the Septmevir’s?”
“They were seven men tasked with safeguarding our world.”
“Six of them had talisman with just one crystal. One of them had a talisman with seven crystals. Together, the six colors made up white light. The seventh crystal.”
“Doesn’t the rainbow have seven colors?”
“On full moons like tonight, the High Septemvir would bask in the lunar light wearing only this talisman. It would recharge him and keep the magical plane shut for another twenty-nine and a half days.”
The longer Ein stared at the talisman, the less they resisted Walter’s pitch. It swayed back and forth. Ein could hear a soothing hum emitted from the crystals like subconscious white noise machine.
“Don’t you want to try it on? Channel the full moon through your body. Save the world?”
“What about the High Septemvir? Doesn’t he need it?”
“He died a long time ago. It has been in my possession ever since. It’s been waiting for you.”
“What do you want?”
“I want to come inside and together we’ll unlock your full potential!”
Ein Quin held their hand out apprehensively. The talisman beckoned them to grab it. Ein lunged for it, but Walter yanked it away.
“If you want to touch it, you need to let me in.”
“You aren’t coming inside unless I can hold it. How do I know they’re not glass?”
Walter turned the talisman over and over. He’s never tried this. But needs must. Modern humans were getting so skeptical. Now you had to wine and dine everyone before they’d let you into their house. Gone were the days they would invite any passing stranger to spend the night.
Walter handed over the talisman. As soon as Ein’s skin came in contact with it, euphoria washed over them. Every molecule of their body resonated in harmony with the universe. The fabric of reality swaddled them.
The wave of euphoria crashed almost instantly, all the crystals glowed creating 170 quadrillion lumens of white light.
“What is happening?” Ein cried out.
The light was so bright, like the full moon was at Ein’s doorstep. The pair were blind. Walter spent a lot of time in the dark, unable to see. He groped for the talisman.
Ein staggered around like a wounded deer and fell beyond the threshold of their home. Walter took a step forward but found the entrance impenetrable to him. He reached as far into the household as possible.
“I can’t reach you” Walter said, still fighting against the laws of nature. “You need to invite me in!”
The talisman worked to drain every bit of energy from Ein’s body. In seconds they’d be only a lifeless husk.
Anything Ein feared they might turn into tonight couldn’t be worse than this. With the last breath they uttered, “Walter, come in!”
The barrier that blocked Walter immediately dissipated, and he strode into Ein’s home. Though the light blinded him, it didn’t give off any heat. Instead, he found it soothed his weary bones. His long dead muscles loosened up. He felt alive again.
His fumbling hands found the talisman clenched in Ein’s bony fingers. He ripped the talisman away from them and their metabolic function returned. Magic emitting from the talisman burned Walter’s hands, but he couldn’t let go.
The talisman didn’t drain Walter. He heard a familiar voice ringing in his ears.
“Hello, Walter. After five hundred year’s you’ve finally slipped. See you soon.”
Walter raised the talisman over his head and with everything he had smashed it into the floor, shattering it.
Walter Livingston sank to the floor, eyes fixed on the now seven separate crystals. The light from the crystal dissipated the moment it broke. The energy it consumed returned to Ein, and they were back to normal.
“What the heck was that?” Ein asked.
“I should ask you the same question.” Walter said, breathing hard.
“It was your magic crystal neckless.”
“That’s never happened before. Are you a…”
“What are you talking about? I am normal! Who was that voice?” Ein asked, desperate to avert blame.
“Oh, you could hear her too? I guess the best way to put it is she’s a witch. Part of the Triumvirate.”
“What? You’re trying to hock a witch’s relic?”
“It wasn’t hers. It belonged to the High Septemvir, like I said.”
On another January 28th centuries ago, Walter Livingston lived in Medieval England. When the magical still roamed the Earth’s surface. The magical we’re still separate clans who never mingled.
Walter walked alone past a bowling green. A woman played alone with a bright red bowling ball that seemed to magnify the moonlight.
“Hey! Want to play a game?”
Walter checked she meant him. He recognized her voice. Her name is Ruth, an up-and-coming witch from a prestigious lineage.
Walter hopped the gate into the bowling green and spirted up to her. She laughed at his enthusiasm.
Walter used his keen night vision to find a black bowling ball and threw the jack. Ruth strained her eyes to see where it ended up.
“Why are we playing in the dark?” She asked before muttering something under her breath. Ruth amplified the moonlight shining on them. For the first time in decades, Walter enjoyed the noonday sun.
Walter Livingston bowled several games with Ruth. Walter and Ruth talked while they played, and neither brought up the other’s supernatural proclivities.
During what would end up being their last game, a ball neither cast came to a stop beside the jack. Ruth threw her last ball and bested the mysterious ball. A man laughed from the bushes beside them.
“Your skill knows no bounds, your highness.”
The man bowed before Ruth.
“What strange company you keep.”
Walter hissed at the intruder.
“Careful your majesty, he’ll suck your blood!”
“Leave him alone, James. I invited him to play.”
“Sometimes it’s fun to get down and dirty with the undead.”
“Your brothers would never approve of this. I implore you leave with me at once.”
James extended his hand and Ruth accepted. As they passed Walter, she gave him a kiss on the cheek. When they left the bowling greens her enchantment faded, and they left Walter in the dark.
The magical world, though loath to admit it, learned from humans. They watched royal families like the Plantagenets work for centuries to conquer their peers and impose their will upon them. As England fought the War of the Roses. The magical world faced similar strife.
High Septemvir James used the war to shirk his royal duties. He disappeared and took over a village in Norfolk along the coast. They had appointed Walter to bring him back alive. Walter figured it would he’d be easier to manage dead.
During the twilight of a Tuesday night, Walter entered the town. The citizens threw a feast in honor of their Alderman. The new Alderman demanded everyone wear only white or black. They held the feast in a banquet hall with an open invitation.
Sept James sat at the head of the table with the crystal talisman hanging around his neck. He looked a thousand years old. His head hung low and his body curved inward. A far cry from the man James of old.
Walter wore an outfit befitting his appointment, entirely red with Ruth’s emblem on his shoulder. He snuck in to not cause a scene and hid in the shadows. He wondered if the stories were true. When his cupbearer walked by, Walter cut his arm so he wouldn’t immediately notice. A rivulet of blood poured down his arm as he presented the Alderman with his cup.
James inspected the fresh wound of his server. It had been years since he saw the color red. It still brought up the most pain.
“How dare you bleed in my presence!” Walter said.
No one dared breathe, let alone defend the cupbearer.
“I hate RED! I will not put up with it in my home!”
The servant screamed as their blood caught fire. The bloody fuse ran out, and the flame entered the cupbearer’s body. Walter winced, anticipating the bloody explosion, followed by the terrified screams of the townsfolk. Within seconds the ballroom emptied, and Walter stood before Sept James.
“Oh, it’s you.” James said. “I won’t be going back. Do you know what I’ve seen? You couldn’t comprehend the threats we face. The humans are learning new tricks. They need monitoring. Or they’ll wipe us all out.”
“I haven no idea what you’re talking about and I don’t care! I have my orders.”
James snarled and the two men clashed. Decades of anticipation and the battle ended in minutes. James crumpled into a ball on the floor, joining Walter in death. Walter set the town on fire and carried Sept James body out on horseback.
Walter rode several miles to a nearby creek. His horse drank, and Walter set up a camp. He perched James upright on a stump to look like he had company and dissuade would be bandits.
“You we’re supposed to bring me back alive, weren’t you?” James said.
“That hasn’t stopped you.”
“I died in a very specific way.”
“Why did you kill me?”
“I told you they ordered me to take you in tonight. You’ve gone mad. You’ve been mad for decades and we’ve been searching for you.”
“She acts like it wasn’t in her service. Like I didn’t do it for her. No matter what happens, Ruth prevails. I only have one request of you and then I’m off to the rainbow realm.”
“Lose my talisman. Its power is beyond anyone’s capability.”
Walter didn’t know why he should, but he believed James about the talisman. He buried it deep in the English countryside. He brought James body home.
“Why is he dead?”
“He still had some fight in him. I got carried away.”
Ruth glared daggers at Walter.
“And the talisman?”
“He didn’t have it.”
“And you still couldn’t take him in alive. This isn’t adding up.”
“He had a lot of tricks. He used magic I never even imagined.”
“This is bad, Walter. We need that that talisman to ordain a new High Septemvir. Since James went mad and fled to the human world, we have had no one perform the rites! I don’t know how much longer we can keep the fabrics of our reality stitched together.”
“This sounds above my station, your majesty.”
“It is. Leave me alone with the body. I have my own tricks.”
Ein Quin and Walter Livingston sat in Ein’s living room. Neither spoke for several minutes after Walter finished his story.
“So, you totally knew the talisman had a curse.” Ein said.
“I knew it was curse adjacent, but I did not know that would happen.”
“Then why were you trying to sell it to me?”
“I lied to get into your apartment.”
“What was that light? None of this is happening how I expected.”
“What were you expecting to happen? You just thought they were crystals.”
“Not the necklace the night. Tonight is not what I expected.”
“What are you talking about? Why were you trying to chase me away?”
“Because you’re a weird man trying to sell me things at night.”
“You don’t have any other secrets? Something you’re trying to hide?”
“I’m normal now! Something weird happened last week, but I think it was just a bad dream.”
“Normal people don’t scream they’re normal. There’s nothing wrong with being weird. I’ve been weird a hell of a long time.”
“It’s no surprise you’re abnormal you’re a traveling salesperson who works at night and carries around dirt! Who’s buying dirt, Walter?”
“The dirt isn’t for sale.”
“Because you’re a poor salesperson. I wouldn’t buy water from you in the desert.”
“I wasn’t sure about you, but now that I made my way inside, I’ve figured it out.”
Ein couldn’t keep up the act anymore.
“What have you figured out that I’m a werebear?! There I admit I think I might be a werebear. Are you happy now?”
Walter would never want to find himself trapped inside with a werebear. Let alone on a full moon.
“Whoa, kid! Calm down. I didn’t mean to get you upset.”
“I’ve tried getting rid of you all night, and then you put a cursed talisman in my hand and tell me some crazy story. What do you want with me?”
Walter searched for an acceptable answer to Ein’s question. What did he want? His entire life has been about survival. But he wondered how many decades he had left in him.
“You’re right. I came here with less than exemplary expectations. Why don’t you have a drink? Maybe it will calm you down.”
“I could use more coffee. I’ve been afraid to go back to sleep all week.”
Ein stepped away and entered the kitchen. Walter moved to a chair with his back to the entrance. In case what Ein thought was true.
“Can I get you something?”
A few minutes later, Ein returned with a cup of coffee and didn’t seem to notice Walter moved.
“Why do you think you’re a werebear?”
“Did you know, on average, bears in the wild only live for thirty years?”
“Is this part of the story?”
Ein Quin does their job well, but it isn’t their passion, it’s a paycheck. When they went to college, they only picked their major because it was their favorite class in high school. They never imagined they’d solve the world’s needs. College was the next step after high school. Chemistry seemed like as good a subject as any.
In the blink of an eye, they were thirty and settled into their life. Then one day they happened upon the fact that the average life span for a wild bear was thirty years. On January 19th, they would turn thirty-one. They would be older than every bear living on the planet.
Ein took the week off and planned to meet a bear.
“Enjoy your time off,” Robert, Ein’s manager, said the night before their vacation. “Are you doing anything exciting?”
“I’m going to meet a bear.” Ein said.
Robert checked his watch, which had the date and the time.
“In January?” Robert asked, leading Ein to the obvious conclusion.
Robert watched them leave and hoped he’d see Ein again.
Ein packed their bag before work and drove straight to the nearest National Park that allowed camping. Ein stopped at the gate to speak to a federal employee and pay their fare to enter the park.
“A little late to be entering the park, isn’t it?” Leon, the park ranger, asked.
“I came straight from work. Wanted to get an early start tomorrow, I’m searching for bears.”
“I’m legally required to tell you not interact with any bears during…”
“Just do what you gotta do to cover your ass.”
Leon looked bewildered and opened the gate. Ein drove deep into the park without a care in the world.
“That kid is going to be trouble.”
Days of searching led to no results. All the bears were dead, Ein assumed. The only sign of life was Ein’s pesky campsite mate, Frank.
Every time Ein looked up; Frank watched them like a hawk. Something weird was going on here.
On their last day, Ein found a den. They entered a thicket of dense forest and a ray of light shone through the trees and illuminated the cave.
Ein made their way to the entrance. A hand grabbed their own.
“You can’t go in there.” Frank said. “The bears are…”
Ein ripped their hand from Frank’s.
“I don’t know what you’re doing to the bears. I’m going to find out!”
Ein ran into the cave and disappeared into the darkness. Frank ran to tell on Leon.
“Hello!” Ein called but received no response. They rummaged through their bag and pulled out a torch and lighter. Fire in hand, Ein penetrated deeper into the cave. Soon the flickering orange flame shone on a bear. Ein searched for a pulse, but the bear passed. Ein leaned against the dead bear.
“January 19th, happy birthday to us, buddy!”
Ein dropped the torch.
Ein searched through their bag again and pulled out an apple and a knife to cut it. They intended to share with the bear.
Ein ate the apple while speaking to the dead bear.
“I’m sure I don’t need to bearsplain to you, but you played an important role in the world when you were alive. You fertilize forests, you clean up carcasses, you make sure dear and moose populations are in balance. You’re a superstar.
What am I? I check the quality of chemicals. At least if I worked in an environmental lab, I’d help man do a terrible job preserving nature. I don’t know what my function is. I don’t feel like I fit in in the world. I’ve always felt like I operated at a different frequency from the rest of my species. We’re speaking the same language, but we don’t understand each other. I thought you might understand.”
While Ein spilled their guts to the bear, Frank and Leon entered the cave.
“Within, lead, man, which way?” Leon asked.
Ein heard the guests and put the knife away.
“Yea, noise? Then I’ll be brief. O happy dagger, this is thy sheath.”
“This is the place, there where the torch doth burn.” Frank pointed his flashlight at Ein and the bear. The flashlight shone on Ein’s knife.
“He’s going to kill the bear!”
The sound of two bullets firing echoed through the bear’s den. Ein’s body hit the ground with a thud.
“You got him!” Frank said, shining the flashlight on Ein’s body.
A figure towered over Ein’s body. Frank’s hand trembled as he moved the flashlight to the left and illuminated the grizzly bear he had saved. The bear roared at Frank and Leon, practically blowing them out of the den.
Ein marveled as the bear protected its home. They wiped away a tear from their eye, smearing more blood on their face instead.
“You’re alive! You must have been… hibernating! I’m such an idiot. I ruined your winter.”
The bear snorted and growled at Ein, but deemed they weren’t a threat.
“I’m so happy you’re alive.”
The bear searched Ein’s wound and lapped up the blood.
“Drink your fill. It’s not use to me anymore, is it? I’m a goner.”
The bear seemed to agree and ripped the flesh from Ein’s chest.
Walter Livingston sat in stunned silence after hearing Ein Quin’s story.
“You think you got shot? Then eaten by a bear?” Walter asked.
“It felt so real.” Ein said.
“Do you have any evidence this happened?”
“No. But like if it made me into a werebear, maybe I healed supernaturally.”
Walter didn’t know. He didn’t last long in the magical world once they united. He had no clue what made were-creatures.
“Is the fact it’s a full moon tonight the reason you were so cagey earlier?”
“Yeah, it’s my first full moon since I’ve been anywhere near a bear”
Someone fumbled with the front door locks. Ein stepped past Walter to see what was going on. Raychel Faster, their roommate barged past them.
“Sorry, I forgot something. I’ll be in and out!”
Like something from a horror movie, the clouds parted and the unfiltered moon light shone upon Ein.
Ein stumbled away from the light into the living room. The light did the trick though, and the transformation began.
Walter sat frozen in place, forced to watch as they transformed into a werebear, and there was nothing he could do to stop it. Ein groaned and roared as their body tripled in size.
Raychel Faster ran out and shouted “bye!” without noticing the state of her roommate. Walter sighed; this was the last thing he wanted to do tonight.
“I guess you were right.” Walter said, craning his neck to keep eye contact with Ein.
Ein watched Walter speak and made no suggestion they could understand him. As a werebear, Ein’s eyes glowed white, and they had white fur splotched with shades of grey, like a tortious shell polar bear. They didn’t blink, their heavy breathing was the only sound in the room.
“I should have left you alone. I understand why you tried to chase me away. But a man has got to eat, and you seemed like easy prey. I won’t eat you, but I won’t you won’t eat me either.”
Walter raised his fists. Ein mirrored him and raised their monstrous paws. At the end of which were ten claws as sharp as razor blades.
“May the best creature win.” Walter said before striking. He moved so fast he looked like a black and red blur lunging across the living room.
Ein fell on to all fours as the blur flew around them, striking them all over their body. After a dozen or so wild swings one lucky swipe Ein made contact and sent Walter careening into the front door. The door snapped in half, falling from the hinges.
“I was ill prepared for this tonight.” Water said between wheezing coughs as he caught his breath.
“At least you’ve been kind enough to show me the door. I hope this is goodbye.”
Walter picked up his smallest suitcase and fled the house.
EIn stared at their demolished front door and the remnants of the crystal necklace Walter tried to sell them. In their state Ein’s thoughts were streamlined. The bare necessities to operate. The necklace featured prominently in their thoughts. This all began when they touched the necklace.
They needed something to make sense. If that meant a chase to the ends of the Earth. So be it.
Ein squeezed through the front door and ran to the street. They looked both ways before entering traffic. Walter limped down the street only a few hundred yards away.
Walter hoped Ein bought the ruse and was stuck inside until morning. When he saw Ein’s looming shadow he cursed and sprinted across town.
The creatures ran throughout Beacon down busy streets and down deserted alleys. Walter finally lost them after an hour’s long chase by hiding in an abandoned warehouse on the waterfront. Or so he thought.
Walter hid in the manager’s office while Ein rummaged through the debris searching for Walter’s scent. The first glimmers of sunrise peaked out over the horizon.
Walter had no good options. Behind him was a murderous werebear. In front was the rising sun. Both equally fatal but he could be punch one of them.
Walter stashed his suitcase and stepped out of the office to meet Ein on the factory floor.
Ein stood over 10 feet tall on their hind legs. Walter stood at his full height of 5’8″. He cracked his knuckles and extended his claws.
Ein roared and charged at the salesperson. Walter met the roar with an otherworldly shriek. Walter hovered above the ground. He summoned his remaining strength and flew at the charging werebear.
The two supernatural creatures collided, knocking each other back and sending a shock wave through the plant that damaged the reaming support beams.
They each shook it off and got ready for round three.
“If you want me, you’re gonna have to work for it kid.”
Ein raised their paws.
“You asked for it!”
Walter hadn’t been in a fight this serious in centuries. Living amongst humans so long made him soft.
If he survived until morning, Ein would change back to a human, but he’ll fry in the sunlight. He needed to end this now.
Walter ducked below a powerful swipe of Ein’s claws. While crouched he launched himself at Ein’s chest, toppling the ten-foot tall werebear.
Walter pinned back Ein’s claws and got in Ein’s face.
“Snap out of it! I know you’re still in there.”
Ein roared in Walter’s face he could barely hold on.
“Sure, this is a big change, but you can control it!”
Ein fought hard to break Walter’s grip.
“EIN!” Walter said before Ein broke his hold and knocked him across the factory.
“Ein’s gone! Ein? I’m Ein.”
Walter climbed out of a pile of rubble and saw Ein shaking their head.
“Ein?” the werebear repeated to theirself.
Walter seized on the confusion and smashed a chunk of concrete over the bear’s head. Ein collapsed to the floor.
“Ein you need to snap out of it. You’re in charge of your body. You can control it!” Ein shook their head again.
They rubbed their head with their massive paw.
“After all these millennia I’m free! There’s no way I’m giving up this body.” the werebear said.
“What? Ein! Ein you’ve got to take control of your body!”
Ein crashed through walls trying to seize control of their body.
“Walter?” the werebear cried out in a distinct voice than it had just used.
“Ein! That’s it. Fight it. Take control of your body.”
Ein shook as they tried to wrestle back control. They smashed through the wall and disappeared from sight.
Walter waited until the last trace of Ein disappeared over the horizon. He pumped a fist and collapsed onto the factory floor. He breathed a sigh of relief thankful he survived the night.
Walter has been at it for a long time. How much longer did he want to fight to survive? He needed to find some place dark to curl up for the day.
“You’re getting old. A baby werebear almost ate you.”
Walter sat up with a start.
Ruth sat down beside the broken and battered Walter.
“It’s been rough on the surface. I’m not at full strength. How did you find me?”
“Are you serious? A werebear chasing a vampire throughout Beacon draws a lot of attention.”
“I’m here to bring you back. It’s been too long.”
“It’s been so long.”
“Do you still have the talisman?”
“I think so… it should be in my suitcase. Let me go get it and we can leave.”
Walter grabbed his suitcase from the manager’s office.
“Can I see it?”
“Can we leave before the sun comes up?”
Ruth took a deep breath and put her palms together in front of her. She exhaled spread her hands out and the earth before them opened up. Steps formed in front of them and they entered the earth.