Spectrum Shock: Rift Activity (Short Fiction)

"Pay attention, son," he whispered. "This might save your life someday."

The youth nodded, but his father's instruction was unnecessary. He was mesmerized. The two were perched in a tree hundreds of yards away, both watching the spectacle in the valley below through binoculars. If they were spotted, they would be hard pressed to make it back to the relative safety of New Syracuse.

In a clearing, dozens of green skinned humanoids gathered around an orb of pulsating white light. Most stood in a circle around the orb, but one was closer... dangerously close, as the boy's father had described. He was gesturing wildly, and occasionally it looked as if the orb reached out to him with an arm of pure white light to touch his waving arms.

"Portal, rift, gate, whatever you want to call it... he's opening one," the father whispered. He knew that he was far enough away that there was no way they could hear him, but the high powered binoculars made him feel as if he was much closer and he kept his voice low anyway. Even if the orks couldn't hear, there was no telling what else might be lurking in the shadows nearby.

"Why?" the son asked. He knew the stories of how monsters had flooded into the world through dimensional tears very similar to the one he was observing. "Won't he be killed?"

"Watch how the energy gathers," his father replied, not really paying attention to specific questions. He didn't know the answers, but he wanted his son to see firsthand what to avoid. "He's encouraging it, but it happens without encouragement sometimes. If you ever see energy gathering like this, turn and run as fast as you can."

Suddenly, the orb of light pulsed brilliantly and the orks threw up their arms to shield their eyes. Similarly, the father and son gasped in unison and pulled the binoculars from their faces as quickly as they could. It took a few moments before their eyes readjusted and they returned their gaze to the ork gathering. The orb was much bigger now, but only glowed dimly. A giant blue humanoid with long spindly arms hanging out of bulky black robes now towered over the orks.

Several bound humanoids were brought toward the blue giant, who looked to be appraising each prisoner before gesturing for the orks to lead it into the portal. Once all of the prisoners had disappeared, the orks who led them in returned. Each ork returned bearing a crate, and when all had returned, the blue giant strode through the portal. Almost instantly, it winked out of existence and the orks gathered so closely around the crates that neither of the two onlookers could determine their contents.

"We must leave, son. Their gathering will end soon and we want to be long gone before they scatter." The boy followed his father's direction and climbed down to follow him home, but he couldn't help but wonder if his father might be wrong about the portals.

If an ork can control the portals, I bet I can too...
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