by Christine Nightstar
Last year, while visiting the clock room in the clock tower, Tim and Rick had found a nice little place through one of the portal worlds they were allowed to visit, where they could spend time just lounging around. Mr. Belmont, the curator of the clock tower, called it the picnic world, since the weather was sunny ninety percent of the time, the only threats were the occasional roaming dinosaur, such as raptors and the occasional triceratops, but they always steered clear of the portal, thanks to an enchantment spell placed there by Margo the Magician decades earlier. The best part was a pollen carried by the wind was there that had a relaxing effect on humans, making them feel good. Nobody had been able to figure out what it was, and possibly the only person who would have been able to find out, Miss Cable, had left the island after just over two months last year.
Time seemed to fly on the picnic world, but with a portal open, anyone nearby could tell when the clock tower went off. While in close enough proximity to the portal when closed, but being used as well, one could feel and hear the portal reverberate. Tim and Rick were close enough to hear it do so today.
But the portal’s reverberations weren’t the reason that the two boys were early to their three o’clock classes. At two-thirty, Tim had seen the figure in black again, this time walking toward him on the picnic world itself. He hadn’t seen or heard the portal open, either, so they ran to the portal and used the recall keys that they had been given by Mr. Belmont. This time there was something different about the figure, something scary and possibly sinister. It was also the first time that Rick himself had also seen the strange figure that Tim had been seeing all along.