The Raptor yawned slightly and blinked at the glowing
computer screen. She hated doing work this late at night, but it was
just something that came as part of her job as leader of the Keepers.
On the other hand, she would not trade her job for anything. She loved
being where she was, though there were a few things she wished she could change.
She blinked again and then pushed back from the computer,
she needed a break. She stood up, pushed the chair under the desk, and
turned around, almost running into a young boy.
"Venus," she blurted out, surprised by his appears. "What
are you doing here?"
Venus was about thirteen years old. He was not
the youngest of the Keepers, but he was the newest. He physically had
nothing interesting about him and he was not very handsome, "I'm sorry,
Raptor, but I have a question."
The Raptor smiled at him softly, "Yes?"
"I have had another dream."
Her smile dropped from her face, "What about?"
"I'm not sure . . . But I remember watching all these
vines shot up from the ground and forming a wall before me. And when
I tried to break though, they would not let me pass. All they did was
laugh at me."
"Interesting. Before I tell you what I think, what
do you think it means?"
Venus thought a moment, "I think that it means that I
need to learn control or I will be over taken."
The Raptor smiled, "Just what I was thinking. I
think it is about time that we let Godlin have a bit of you. I think
you are ready for him."
Before Venus could utter a word, Mouse burst into the
room, "Raptor! The Whispers, they have found a way to earth!"
"What!?" The Raptor leapt toward him and almost
landed on him. "Show me."
Mouse flinched at the Raptor’s sudden movement.
After a moment’s worth of recovery, he moved over to her computer and sat
down at it. He began typing on it until the program he wanted appeared
on the screen, "We just received this. It happened about an hour ago.
It's a police report."
Mouse clicked a button on the screen and a recorded message
began to play.
A man's voice spoke first, "This is Deputy Jones.
Requesting backup at Carols BBQ."
A woman's voice then answered back, "What is it, Jones?"
"I don't know. Just send some . . . " The man's
voice was suddenly cut off.
The woman spoke again, "Jones . . . Jones!"
"Send someone down here now. There is something
very strange going on," The man's voice came back, but in the background of
it was a dark sound like hundreds of people whispering while the man talked.
The woman's voice came back in after a moment, "What
is that sound?"
The man does not respond.
"Jones . . . Jones! Jones!" The woman began to
Mouse clicked another button and the recording stopped
playing, "When they got there, they found the man, dead. The weird thing
was that he died of fright."
The Raptor turned a deathly pale, "That's exactly what
happened . . ."
Venus looked to her, "A Whisper killed him, didn't it?"
She nodded solemnly.
"What is a Whisper?" Venus asked, still watching
She sighed, "Let me think." The Raptor fell silent
a moment, in thought, and then spoke, "A Whisper is a creature from the Dark
Side. They are the central power of the area . . . Anyway, the rule
is this. If a mortal sees a Whisper in this dimension, the shock of
it alone will kill them. If an immortal sees one, then, over time, we
will become one. As for their dimension, it is near impossible to look
a Whisper in the face. The place is so dark that no matter how good
the eyesight, all that can be made out of them is a dark outline and their
Venus blinked once, "What do they want here?"
"To take it over," The Raptor said bluntly. "Because
they are the central power of a Dark Side, then they feed off the energy created
when a dimension is destroyed."
"That's not good . . . ," Venus's eyes went wide
"No, it isn't. We must put a stop to it, now.
Mouse, I want Alpha Blue ready in ten. I also want Beta Blue and Red
One ready to go incase something goes wrong," The Raptor said.
Mouse nodded to her and then left the room.
The Raptor then turned to Venus, "Go back to bed.
This is not a mission for you."
"Can't I . . . ?"
"No. Go," The Raptor cut Venus in sharply.
"But shouldn't I come? I am second in command here."
The Raptor sighed, she knew that this was true.
She also knew that Venus was much younger and inexperienced than the others
there as he had only come to the Keepers almost a year and a half ago.
This was a dangerous mission and she did not want Venus there getting in the
"Sorry Venus, maybe next time."
Venus turned and left, thinking to himself, "All ways
next time . . . I don't think there will ever be a this time."
The Raptor shook her head slowly as Venus vanished down
a hall. Though he did not know it, she had heard his thoughts.
She muttered to herself, "Really sorry kid, but I don't want to have to find
another replacement for your job . . . It's the hardest to fill."
She started out of the room just as Mouse appeared again,
"They are ready."
The Raptor nodded and followed Mouse to M.A.C. room.
There she found Gadget, Tech, and Godlin waiting patently for her. They
nodded to her as she entered, they were ready.
She looked to Mouse as she walked over to the small group,
"Four to transport when ready."
Mouse nodded and clicked a few buttons on the keyboard.
The group watched as the white wash room vanished and a small shell road that
ran between a small, wooded building and a cattle pasture appeared before
them. Two white police cars were sitting in the grass by the little
shack and blocking the sign that said Carols BBQ. It was a warm summer's
night and fireflies danced here and there under a clear sky.
The Raptor took a deep breath. She was glad to
have a change of environment after being cooped up so long at that computer.
Tech yawned and muttered to himself something about it
being too damned early for a gig like this.
The Raptor smirked at him, hearing most of it, and made
a motion to the cattle filed, "That's where they said it happened."
Tech laid a hand on one of the police car's hoods, "It's
cold. Either they are still out their cleaning up, or something else
Gadget nodded, "If they are out there, let's not scare
them too much."
"Good plan. We don't want to arouse suspicion,"
The Raptor nodded in agreement.
The four climbed over the fence and started to walk toward
the center of the field, but when they go there, all they found was a black
scar on the ground in the shape of a triangle.
"Come here, Raptor," Godlin's voice commanded as he moved
his foot though the tall grass just outside the triangle.
The Raptor walked over to where Godlin was. In
the grass was laying a decapitated cow's head. She walked over to it
and touched it. The blooded flowed readily, even under the slightest
touch. She knew that the Whispers had returned and taken out the cow
when they appeared, not knowing what it was. It also meant that they
were not far off.
The Raptor started to back away from the cow's head slowly
and hissed in a low voice, "They are here."
Tech started to draw his guns, but the Raptor stopped
him, "They are no use against them. We must wait for them to return
to their dimension and then close the portal for good." She looked around,
trying to find a plan. She knew that going back to heard quarters would
not do any good. They had to stay here. She looked to the tall
grass just outside the burned triangle as an idea came to her, "Everyone,
hide in the grass. We will listen for them."
Tech stepped to Raptor, "I think we would be better off
forcing them back into their dimension instead of waiting around for what
"I told you, it will do no good. Besides, how are
you going to shoot what you don't dare look at? Now get into the grass,"
The Raptor looked at him coldly, she was serious.
Tech went over to Gadget and the two of them stacked
out a dry place a few yards off.
The Raptor walked over to Godlin and the two of them
joined Tech and Gadget.
The Raptor strained her ears, trying to hear anything.
Finally, she came to something, "I can hear them breathing . . . They are
headed this way."
It was not long before the others could hear a series
of short raspy breaths as several some things came toward the triangle.
"Do not look . . . Just listen," The Raptor whispered
They heard a shifting sound as a portal opened right
where the triangle was. The creatures there did not enter the portal
though, instead, more of the creatures came pouring out.
"Godlin and Raptor, make a counter portal, I will hold
them back," Tech pulled out both his guns and stood up suddenly, opening fire
on the creatures. He looked to them, but he could not see them because
the portal around them was covering all but a sketchy outline.
"No Tech, you fool!" The Raptor said as she leapt
up. She grabbed hold of him by the collar and threw him to the ground.
The portal vanished suddenly and nearly three dozen of these creatures poured
out behind the Raptor.
Godlin started to pull his dagger out, but the Raptor
mouthed to him to get out of here, she would be fine.
Gadget obeyed quickly and the three of them vanished
in a matter of moments.
Once they were gone, the Raptor broke into a fast run,
but the creatures were faster than she was and one of them soon had her locked
in its arms. The Raptor struggled to get loss, the entire time
she kept her eyes shut. She could hear the portal open again and the
creatures step into it.
The Raptor opened her eyes slowly and looked around her,
but it was too dark to make out enough details. She knew where she was,
though. She was in the Dark Side and the Whispers had taken her prisoner.
That was little problem to her, she had escaped worse prisons in her life.
The only problem for her was the fact that she needed Godlin's black fire
to get out of here. The only other choice she had was to steal
it from the Whispers and that in it self was a dangerous feat.
She sat up weakly, trying to control her body temperature
and knowing that she has only a bit of time before the cold knocked her out.
She forced her eyes to adjust to the dim lighting and she gazed around her.
The Raptor saw that she is sitting on a rock slab of
some sort and that a line of bars surrounded her. She thought to herself
that it would be easy enough for her to escape once she regained her strength.
The Raptor looked out past the bars and saw a black flame glowing against
a black background. The fire flowed in an upward motion slowly, like
a sheet of ice that kept freezing over itself. Indeed, the fire was
doing just that, for it burned at a temperature below absolute zero and created
something like a miniature black hole that drew in all light and heat around
it. Something that could not exist on Earth, but in this dimension,
the laws were slightly different. The Raptor recognized it immediately
as the black fire.
A sudden rush of pain and cold penetrated the Raptor's
body to the very core. She could not stand it and fell back into a thoughtless
* * * * * * * * *
It was some time later before the Raptor awoke again,
finding herself in the same place but with no way of knowing how long she
had been there. She looked out into the darkness again, her eyes adjusting
to it much more quickly this time. She looked to the black fire again,
wondering if she had enough energy to reach it. She sat up and was about
to try, had not a large, dark shape moved before the fire. The Raptor
started and the dark mass came toward her. It was a Whisper. It
stood about twenty feet tall and was thickly built. The Raptor looked
up at it, knowing that it had to be a high-ranking whisper because it held
itself highly. Directly behind it stepped up two more of these creatures.
They were also twenty feet tall, but they looked smaller than the first Whisper,
for they bowed their heads and backs before former.
The higher-ranking Whisper walked over and opened the
top of the cage, looking down at the Raptor. She responded to the creature's
action with a low hiss. The Whisper stepped back and its two companies stepped
forward. They reached in and grabbed the Raptor forcefully. She
struggled briefly, but the Whispers' power was greater than she expected.
The two creatures carried away from the cage and toward an area lit by the
The Raptor smiled slightly, seeing the fire. She
knew that this might be her best and only chance to get out of here.
Occupied by this thought, she was surprised when she suddenly found herself
flying though the air and hitting the ground that was made of a fine, black
sand. The Raptor rolled over and stood up slowly. Before her stood
a Whisper no tall than fifteen feet, but it was very muscular. The
three Whispers behind her bow low, trying to keep lower than the smaller Whisper.
The Raptor started, knowing that this was the young emperor.
Though smaller than most of the other Whispers, he was the strongest and the
most clever. She has had conformation with him before, and though the
two hated one another deeply, they at least held some respect for each other.
The young emperor stepped toward her, so that he was
towering above her. He then spoke to her in a deep, though whispering,
language, "Where is the stone that you stole from us?"
The Raptor blinked up at him, trying to make out a few
of his features, but it was near impossible for her to do so. She held
her tongue as his impatience with her began to grow.
The young emperor reached down and grabbed her fiercely,
asking the question again.
The Raptor swallowed hard and answered him in the same
dark language, "Not here."
"Then you will get it for me!" He roared at her as he
gave her a violent shake.
"I cannot! I cannot! It is out of my power. I do
not know where it is," the Raptor pleased with him.
The emperor threw her down to the ground, causing her
to slide in a tree. The Raptor groaned in pain, rolled over, and sat
up near the tree slowly. Suddenly, the tree moved to reach down and
grab her. She tired to leap away, but the shock of having been thrown
made her reflexes unable to respond. The tree pulled her in close to
its trunk and bound her in an unbreakable bond.
The Raptor struggled again, but she found that she could
not move. She looked to the black fire, knowing that she could make
it to the fire, but that she would not have time to summon the white fire.
She sighed softly, surrendering to the tree.
The young emperor walked over to her, his eyes burning
in rage. He spoke to the tree, "Crush her."
The tree began to tighten its grip on the Raptor.
She closed her eyes in pain as she felt her bones being crushed.
"Stop," the emperor said and the tree stopped crushing
its prisoner. He looked down at her, "Were is it?"
The Raptor winced in pain, struggling to speak, "Gone
. . . There is nothing I can do . . ."
The emperor made a motion with his hand and the tree
again began to crush her. The Raptor struggled, the pain increasing.
She could not stand it any longer and morphed to a creature so small, that
it gave the appearance as though she had vanished. As this, she quickly
made her way to the nearest torch that burned with the black fire. She
morphed human again and grabbed hold of the torch, pulling it from the sand.
The Raptor ran as the emperor bellowed darkly and the
Whispers began to chase after her.
She spoke to herself as she began to summon the white
fire with her free hand, "Come on Raptor, don't lose it now . . ."
Just as the white fire appeared in her hand, she felt
a sharp pain enter her leg as she fell to the ground. The torch fell
from her hand and the black fire went out with a hiss in the sand. The
white fire went out as well, as the Raptor had lost her concentration.
The Raptor hit her fist on the ground, as she no longer
had the black fire. She then rolled over and looked to her leg.
A long spear was sticking all the way though it, covered in blood. The
Raptor cried out in pain as her brain suddenly registered it. She looked
up and saw the young emperor standing near her. He reached down and
grabbed the spear, pulling it from her leg.
The Raptor snarled and drew back from him. She
knew that if she sustained too much damage, she would be out for days in
a death like sleep. She also knew what the Whispers did to the bodies
of those they thought dead. The very thought of that was too horrible
for her to think about. This was her last stand, if she lost, she would
never leave this place.
The emperor drew near her, pulling the spear back behind
him. The Raptor tried to stand, but she felt the cold of the spear as
it penetrated her chest and heart. She roared in pain as the emperor
twisted it and then pulled it out again.
The Raptor lay on the ground, breathing hard, the blood
flowing readily to the ground. She could feel her energy dropping fast,
and she could do nothing to stop it. Again the emperor raised the spear
and the Raptor again felt it enter her body as she became unconscious.
* * * * * * * * *
The Raptor awoke suddenly in a cold sweet and found herself
still sitting in front of a computer screen. She blinked slowly at the
work she had been doing and suddenly realized her trip to the Dark Side was
nothing more than a dream. Even Venus's appearance had been a dream.
She stood up, a bit shaky, but all the better for it. If she got anything
out of this dream, it would be a sign that it was time for Venus to take his
place in the Keepers.