***It was late, and the dark dank air in Nightside made me feel uneasy. I groped my way through the darkness until I bumped into a wrought iron gate. “OW!” I exclaimed grabbing my nose. I rubbed it hard, and looked down at the ground. Through the fog, I could faintly see the glowing lights of a sigil. I stepped on. Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one! I counted. I felt air rushing past me and a bright kaleidoscope of colors in front of my eyes, and then suddenly I was in the dungeon. Before I had oriented myself I heard an evil cackle and I was jerked into a battle with three ghosts. I fumbled around in my pockets until I found my magic deck of cards and I started flipping through them wildly.
I cast a myth blade on myself, and while I was watching the ghosts cautiously I voice in my ear said, “Heather? Can you help me?” I sighed, “I’m a little busy now Nora.” I replied in whisper. “Oh… What are you doing?” I rolled my eyes as I cast a Spirit Blade on myself. “What part of ‘busy’ don’t you get Nora?” I was getting ready to summon a humongofrog and kill the ghosts, when a flash of green light, the sound of chimes tinkling in the wind and a smell like jasmine broke my concentration. “NORA!” I yelled as the presence of my sister lured another ghost into the dueling ring. “Oops,” she squeaked as the ghosts cast death blades on themselves. I looked in my hand of cards for my humongofrog but it wasn’t there. I must have dropped it when Nora startled me, I realized. I looked up and saw that I was too late, the ghosts had powered up and were about to strike. “Nora! Flee!” I yelled at her, but the ghosts had already struck and the powerful dark magic overwhelmed us. I heard Nora fall to the ground next to me. The world was spinning in my head, a thick darkness was closing in around me. Just when I felt like humongofrogging myself, the world stopped spinning and I fell to my hands and knees, soft twilight had replaced the dank darkness.
I gasped for breath. The sweet night air filled my lungs, and I looked around for Nora. She was lying in the grass next to me, out cold. “Nora.” I panted and crawled over to her. I looked around for something to revive her, I spied a pond a few feet away and I dragged myself to the shore. I dipped my hands into the cool water and splashed a handful onto my own face. It tingled and I shook my head to get the water out of my eyes. I grabbed an empty potion bottle from my rucksack and filled it to the top with the clear water. I turned back to Nora, and up ended the bottle full of water on her face. I replaced the bottle as she stirred then coughed and sputtered. She sat up and said, “Ugh... What—I’m all wet!” I stood up and looked around. We were back in the Commons area, safe. I looked up at the sky and saw the pin-points of light starting to appear. “Come on.” I said and reached out a hand to Nora, “we better get home.” She looked up at the sky too, she took my hand and I pulled her up off the grass. I held her hand and started walking towards a tall stone archway. We walked through into a wooded glen; there was a huge tree in the center of the glen, with a ring of buildings around the tree. We walked straight up to the tree and I pressed a small knot in the wood, and a door sprung open. I let go of Nora’s hand and stepped through the door, I let her through then shut the small door firmly, it clicked into place. Inside the tree there were people coming and going, they were all coming through a tall wooden door at the center of the tree. We walked up to the door and Nora opened it and walked through. I turned the golden doorknob and said “Home,” into the open doorway and walked through.
Suddenly I was standing on the front porch of my house; I opened the front door and walked in. The smell of casserole and toast met my nose. I dropped my rucksack on the bench in the font hallway, and walked down the hallway and into the back doorway, leading into the kitchen. My mother was pulling the casserole out of the oven. “Hi mom,” I said and reached for a piece of toast that was lying on the kitchen table. She said, “That’s for dinner.” I dropped the toast and grabbed a stack of plates and utensils and began setting the kitchen table. Mom put the casserole on a trivet in the middle of the table and then yelled “NORA, come and eat dinner!” Nora came running in and we all sat down at the kitchen table. Mom served up Nora then me and then dished out some for herself. I looked at the gooey pile of casserole on my plate, and reached for the piece of toast and started nibbling on that. Nora wrinkled her nose and said, “EW… what is this?” “It is cooked wraith, and you’ll eat it if you want to grow up to be a big strong Theurgist.” Nora dropped her fork and said quickly, “I’m not hungry.” Mom looked up from her plate, “Nora, do you know hard it is to provide for two growing girls?” Oh no, I thought, here comes the lecture. “You should be grateful that you have this much … ever since your father died…” “Mom, he’s not dead!” I cut in. I hated when she talked like this. “Well he’s as good as dead!” she snapped. “Ever since he wandered off and left us to defend for ourselves…” “I told you mom, he’s lost, and he’s trying to find his way back! He didn’t just abandon us!” “Heather you’re old enough to know better. You’re father is gone and that’s the end of it.” She looked angrily at both of us. “Now finish your dinner.” I sighed, picked up my fork and poked the baked wraith. It wiggled.