The sound of the window opening behind him made the old man’s head jerk around. He stood up, a towering figure in the small room and glared at the young man who had just dropped lightly through the window, throwing up a cloud of dust as he landed on the unswept floor. The boy looked around, his brown eyes curious and his sandy brown hair a little unkempt from the long climb and the winds near the top of the tower.
“What are you doing in my tower?” The old man’s voice filled up the room and Grayden looked up, his eyes widening in shock.
“Do you… do you live up here?”
“You have not answered my question,” the old man raised up his cane and pointed it at the boy’s chest threateningly. “Now, tell me truly, how did you get in and why are you here?”
“I’m s-sorry, sir. I didn’t know anyone lived up here. How… how do you get food?”
“ANSWER MY QUESTION!”
“Oh, right. I… uh… well, I climbed up the tower.”
The old man strode over to the window and looked down, then he looked at the boy, disbelief in his sharp blue eyes. “You could see the tower?”
Grayden frowned in confusion, “Uh… yes. The tower has been standing on the border of our village for as long as anyone can remember.”
“That’s not possible,” the old man muttered. He looked out the window again. “Is that your friend down there?”
“And he can see the tower too?”
“Sir, everyone I know can see the tower. Why?”
The old man stared about frantically, at a loss for words. Grayden gave a small shake of his head and looked around the room. Something in front of him caught his eye and he moved towards it.
“What is that?” He asked quietly, stretching out his hand towards the glowing blue orb on the table.
“DO NOT TOUCH THAT.”
Grayden snatched his hand back and stared at the old man, wide-eyed. The old man strode to the table and stared into the orb. Then he straightened and his voice was suddenly quiet and terrible.
“What have you done?”
“I… I’m not sure I know what you mean, sir.” Grayden was beginning to wish he had never climbed the tower wall.
“Look at it!” The man pointed at the orb.
Grayden approached cautiously and bent towards the table, peering at the orb. It was mostly blue, but thin lines of red swirled within the glass like tiny, hairline fractures on its surface.
“Please, sir, I don’t understand.”
“Those red lines should not be there. What have you done?”
“I didn’t do anything! I didn’t even touch it, I just climbed your tower, I’m sorry for intruding, I’ll leave now.”
“Oh no you don’t,” the old man’s voice was stern, but gentler now. “It may not be your fault, but you’re caught up in it now. I must find out what is happening,” he paused and shuddered, “out there.”
Title for this book coming soon!