A/N: I know, now, that there are several stories out there that deal with either the TMNT's merging with our world and then back again or one of us discovering ourselves in their world. I thought this one up on the fly at a time when I wasn't sure if such a topic had been dealt with before. I think my ending will be a tad different, but I apologize if the story line is similar to someone else's. I'm hoping that this will run about 10 chapters. No promises, though. As often happens, my characters sometimes have other ideas! If all goes well I will remain in control of this one! Enjoy.
Have you ever had one of those dreams that seem so real when you wake up, that you don't know if you are truly awake? It almost feels as if waking up is the dream, while the dream is real life?
Well, I've had such a dream, but it has been more like a nightmare and one from which I'm still trying wake up.
It all happened about five years ago. I had been driving on an overcrowded freeway in the San Fernando Valley. It was late and it was dark, since daylight savings time had ended three weeks earlier. It was raining, too, coming down in sheets practically, and the roads were slick. I didn't particularly enjoy driving during rush hour traffic - especially after dusk and even more so in the rain. I would try my best to avoid it whenever I could. However, earlier in the day, I had taken my car into the shop for servicing. It was supposed to be done long before the evening commute began, but the mechanic couldn't get to it until late afternoon. When I had a friend drop me off at the time I thought the car would be ready, it wasn't. This didn't sit well with me, since it meant a longer wait, which meant I would have to deal with going-home traffic.
As I said, I hate dealing with traffic.
Of course, the mech checked my records and found that my brakes were due for replacing and my tires were a bit threadbare. While I was there, he showed me - good for him that he didn't do the work before showing me - and sure enough, the pads on the brakes were indeed thinning out. My tires didn't look all that bad (I've driven on worse). Still, I didn't have that kind of money; my little part-time job after school waitressing tables at Robins paid for my gas, my insurance, but little else. I relied on my car's reliability and so, I had to tell the mechanic 'No'.
Naturally, Murray warned me that if my current brakes failed, a funeral would cost me a whole lot more.
"I don't plan on getting into an accident." I told him smugly.
"People rarely do, miss." the man replied evenly, maybe even a bit condescendingly.
I just love it when someone can make a person feel like a complete fool. Just makes my day, let me tell ya!
"Look," I sighed, "I simply can't afford to do it this week. Can I bring it in the next?"
"You can do whatever you want, but given the weather right now," he raised one eyebrow in warning, as the sound of rain in the background added weight to his words, "at least get your tires replaced, otherwise you're taking a big chance."
"Well, I really can't afford it this week. I'll bring it in next week. I promise!" I smiled wide.
Shrugging, he relented, "Fine, but you'll need to sign here on the receipt," and he handed me his pen, "stating that I warned you."
"No problem." I quickly scribbled my signature and then left to have a cup of coffee at the Starbucks down the street while he serviced my car.
An hour later and thirty minutes after sunset, I was back on the road again, traversing a rain-slicked freeway with bright red taillights glaring back at me. The Valley crawl was going at the break-neck speed of about five miles per hour, too. I was getting a head-rush with the acceleration. Still, knowing that my brakes and tires were not in the best of shape only added to my worries. More than anything, I wanted to be home and out of this traffic.
Suddenly, the backlog of cars sped up, spreading out like scattered debris as the freeway widened from four lanes to six. Thank goodness for CalTrans and their constant improvement of our highways! The half-dozen lanes were like a banner of achievement, justifying the one cent per dollar hike on our sales tax, and - if not for that - I think I would have moved to Oregon!
In any event, in no time we were all on our way at a good clip, and I cheered when my speedometer read sixty miles an hour. Despite the slickness of the road, I was elated! I knew I would be getting home earlier than I had originally planned, and so my mood lightened up. To celebrate, I slipped one of my favorite CD's into my car's player and began to sing along with the song. About half way through the first number, I thought about school and next week's midterm finals. Then I remembered the guy I had met the day before in bio lab - Chris - and thought about how nice he was.
"No, Alicia, you cannot get interested in guys, not yet!" I chided aloud to myself, stilling my singing for a moment. Seriously, I really didn't want a relationship right now. They had a nasty habit of distracting me from school. My goal was to wait until after graduation, after I found a job, before plunging back into the dating scene.
Another song had me singing once again, this time in full voice. I really got into it, too, moving my upper torso as I seat-danced. I was so into the song, I didn't notice that the traffic far ahead of me had slowed down.
Suddenly, the sharp sound of screeching tires brought me back to the present and my eyes snapped to attention. I found the taillights on the car in front of mine light up like beacons. They were blindingly bright against the evening dark and for a moment, I lost track of the car directly in front of mine. Just as my eyes adjusted, however, I saw that the car had slowed. Wait, no, it's not slowing! It's stopped all together!
Instinctively, I slammed on my brakes...but found to my horror that they had given out. Or, maybe it was my tires? Regardless, all I knew was that I was not slowing down!
As I watched the rear bumper of the car in front of mine approach faster than my mind could comprehend, I looked up and caught the driver's horrified expression staring back at me from his rearview mirror. I then looked in my own rearview mirror and, in contrast, the driver in the car behind mine didn't have a clue. He wasn't even looking my way! His car's winking right blinker told me that he was in the process of making a lane change. He was too engrossed with checking that side of the freeway, probably to get into a better moving lane. In doing so, he was oblivious to the impending accident happening just in front of him. I knew he would hit me before he could make the change. I wanted to shout for him to stop, but I knew he wouldn't hear me.
Nevertheless, in just a few seconds, it wouldn't matter, anyway, because I knew I was going to die. If not in the accident to come, most certainly from my dad! He had paid for the car, a gift to me for ace-ing my last semester. To end up totaling it in an accident would have me riding transit for the next ten years, an accident that I could have avoided had I given the okay to have my brakes - or my tires - fixed! In either case, my life would be over, at least in the way that I had lived it for the past year. My heart sank in premature despair.
For a nanosecond, I marveled at how indulgent my thoughts were, given the fact that I was hurtling at breakneck speed towards a stationary obstacle. It was almost like I was moving, existing, in slow motion. Every color, every sound seemed magnified, every prickle of my skin enhanced. The hair along my scalp rose as the skin there tightened with my increasing apprehension. I wondered, briefly, why I wasn't panicking. Then, just as I felt the first jolt of my front bumper crashing into the rear of the car in front of mine, just as I heard the squeal and groan of metal chaffing metal, with a million pieces of glass exploding violently all around me, the very instant I felt sharp, excruciating pain - I found myself in a room!
I was on my knees, my head bowed, and silence greeted me as I sat there.
I blinked. Several times, in fact.
It was the silence that seemed the most profound, though. A distinct contrast to the squeal and roar of crashing vehicles. As I became more aware of my surroundings, I heard an almost imperceptible sigh of someone breathing, someone apparently very close in proximity to me. With my head bowed - and my mind and body still in shock with the abrupt change in my environment - I strained my eyes to look as far forward as my posture would allow and still keep my bowed position. For some reason, I had this distinct feeling that to look up would not be a good idea, at least, not in that moment. I couldn't explain why, but I didn't challenge it, either.
I first saw the legs of what I perceived to be a chair, a rocking chair, to be exact. As I drew my line of sight inward, I saw a pair of legs draped in front, as if their owner was sitting in the aforementioned chair. I sucked in a startled breath. These legs were green!
As I allowed my eyes to travel down the legs to the feet and as I realized an amazing truth, I clenched my teeth tightly to keep from screaming. They were green, too, and scaly, and sporting only two toes. I hadn't seen anything like them before…but, wait, that's not correct. As I thought about it, I knew I had seen something like them. If my memory served me well, it was in cartoons and comic books. I stared hard at those feet, trying to remember to whom they belonged. What was it they called them? Teen mutant reptiles? No, no that wasn't it. Mutant shellback teens? Shoot. I used to know this stuff. In fact, I used to write stories about them when I was younger, but it all seemed so long ago.
What. Were. They. Called?
Before I could remember, I heard someone sigh deeply and then clear their throat and speak, their voice deep and resonating, "Well, I'm waiting."
Whoever it was, it was a male, a…man? Not with those green legs…said Sam I am. Oh, yes, I couldn't resist that one! I would have giggled, except for my present concern, and that was trying to figure out where in blazes I was and why Iwasn't in my car, and in an accident on a southern California freeway.
Ignoring the question and keeping my head bowed, because I was afraid to lift it up, I looked around to my right and left, allowing my eyes to do all the work. I saw lots of concrete, mostly along the floor where I kneeled. There were pieces of threadbare furniture, such as a sofa and a couple of chairs; a television, too, that had seen better days. There was a large assortment of items that I couldn't discern, all neatly piled along one wall to my right, and had I looked up I'm sure I would have seen more, but - I kept my head downcast.
"KIRA, answer me!" The legs directly in front of me stiffened, as if the person attached to it had leaned forward a bit.
Okay, was this voice talking to me? I licked my lips and swallowed hard. I hoped that whomever it was speaking might repeat their question or at least say something that would give me a bit more information to work with.
"Kira, I have asked you a question. I require an answer!" the voice stated and rather sternly, too.
Okay, so there had been a question. Even worse, I had the distinct impression that this voice was talking to me. Why he was talking to me and calling me 'Kira', I hadn't a clue. After all, it was only a moment ago that I was Alicia, sitting behind the wheel of my car, heading for an accident. Had I been dreaming about that experience and this was my reality, or was this the dream and I was currently unconscious from that accident?
Maybe I was dead and this was hell?
Nevertheless, I was both confused and frightened.
Deciding to explain this situation with the 'voice', I tried to look up, to see who was talking to me. Unfortunately, I found my head rapped hard with something like a stick. I almost lost my balance, in fact, but managed to stay on my knees. "OW!" I exclaimed out of reflex, "What was that for?" I complained indignantly.
In a flash, I felt someone grab my arm and hoist me up to a stand. I was now facing Mr. Two-toes and I almost lost it completely.
I knew who this person was. I recognized him…sort of. I knew that he was reptilian; I knew he was a turtle, but – oh, what was his name? This was getting quite annoying, but I could see quite clearly, despite the blue mask of material partially covered his face, his disdain for me. I could tell easily enough that whomever he believed me to be, he was quite irritated with her.
"Kira? Is that who I was to him?" Why and…how? For that matter, why am I even here…and where's my car?
I didn't have the luxury of furthering that thought though, as the blue-masked reptile began hollering at me.
"KIRA! YOU will answer me, NOW!" With my arm firm in his grasp, he shook me for emphasis and then smacked his stick – a walking stick, no less – against the concrete ground. Guess they couldn't afford carpeting.
Nevertheless, I noticed his well-muscled arms, legs, and chest – or what I learned in biology was a plastron where it concerned turtles. I recognized that he had a shell on his back, too, which confirmed his species.
Suddenly, a name, a title, popped into my mind. Teenage Mutant Turtles! That's what they were and there was something else about them, too. Presently, though, my mind was on other things more important. Important things, such as how do I answer a question that I hadn't even heard yet?
Deciding to be honest with him, I explained, "Quite frankly, I haven't a clue what you just asked me 'cause I sort of … " And then I thought about what I was going to say next and realized that as far as Mr. Two-Toes was concerned, I did not 'just arrive'. Whomever he believed me to be, I had been sitting on the ground, on my knees in front of him, and for quite some time, it seems. The tired ache in my legs said as much.
"Sort of…what, Kira?" he spat back, snarling, "Sort of, decided to be your stubborn self? Sort of, decided you were not going to obey me? Sort of what, Kira?" Once again, he smacked the walking stick hard against the ground. Personally, I preferred that to having it smacking my head, but it was getting quite annoying nonetheless. For one thing, the sound it made echoed and by now, I had a splitting headache from having been whacked with it!
Still, one has to understand that in my real life or the dream life – whatever it truly was – I did not take such confrontations very well. In fact, I never let anyone talk to me like that. It was all very demeaning. I had a boyfriend once who was quite intimidating and manipulative. From that experience, I vowed never to permit such abuse against me again.
So, I finally spoke up and in the only way I knew how.
"Look, a moment ago I was on my way to a traffic accident…" I snarled, balling my fists, "… and now here I am standing before – what? A turtle? Not to mention one who talks, no less? Give me a freakin' break for crying out loud!"
Okay, note to self: when in Rome, do as the Romans do! I should have just gone with the flow and meekly ask him to repeat his question. Feigning mental distraction would have been better in the long run, not shooting my mouth off!
In an instant, he grabbed my arm with one hand and pulled me forcibly to my feet. Before I could figure out how he had done it so quickly, I found him dragging me through the room we were in and into a hallway. In no time, I was in another much larger room. Along one wall, I saw a collection of weapons and at the opposite side of the room an assortment of apparatuses similar to what one would find in a gym. The middle of the room was bare, however, but the whole place reminded me of a fitness center. In contrast to the first room, though, this one had carpeting. For a moment, my feet felt a bit of relief, and I wondered about that, because I knew I had shoes on earlier, so how could I feel the floor, but Mr. Two Toes had released me and was now yelling, again, so my thoughts evaporated into nothing. All I could hear was his very loud and angry voice.
"Kira, I told you the last time you did this that I would not go easy on you. I can see now that I've been way too lenient." He glared at me sternly and then turned and went over to where the weapons were.
While he looked at the equipment to decide which one to use – I guess, at least I assumed that's what he was doing - I studied him. He stood just a bit taller than I did. He was also well built – at least for a turtle, that is. I was mildly impressed with him, but the fact that he was supposed to be a character in a cartoon and not something of flesh and blood was still fresh on my mind. I was certain that any minute now I would wake up and be back in my car – or the hospital, but preferably, in my bed at home. That would mean not only was this a dream, but the accident was, too. I felt a lot like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz.
Yet as I scanned the various weapons, something clicked in my brain. I raised one eyebrow suspiciously as my memory refreshed, and then…my eyes went wide. There were knives, swords, strange sickle type weapons on that wall that looked more like harvesting tools, and several long staffs – some more ornate than others. Then there were thick wooden sticks connected with short lengths of chain. There were two sets of fork-like weapons, too, all paired up, and neatly hanging on a double peg. There were other tools, too, but I didn't have the foggiest notion what they were.
Still, in that moment, it occurred to me what the other part was to their name, the part that I had forgotten.
Teenage Mutant NINJA Turtles.
Good Lord, what kind of world was this, anyway?
Just then, Mr. Two-toes picked up two of the staffs and threw one over to me. I managed to catch it without dropping it, as I was still in a state of shock. I hadn't a clue to his intentions, but I did notice my antagonist smirk at my clumsy catch.
Then, he stepped towards me and barked sharply, "Prepare yourself, Kira!"
Suddenly and without so much as a grunt, he lunged towards me; his staff raised high above his head, as if preparing to strike me down.
I went wide-eyed and screamed, dropping my staff. I scrambled for the exit as fast as my legs could carry me, only to suddenly find myself air-born. In the next moment, I slammed into the carpeted floor with a resounding and painful thud. I rolled along the ground like a discarded bundle, legs and arms flopping out of control, and as I came to a stop, I just laid flat on the floor, stunned.
What just happened? How did I end up here when I was running vertical only a second ago? A better question would have been why I was here in the first place and who was this Kira? I knew I was not her, but the one who had just tossed me like a rag doll thought I was.
Having enough of the whole thing, I cried out, face up and eyes shut tight in frustration, "Will someone please just tell me what in blazes is going on?" I opened my eyes again and found myself staring up at the ceiling, which was nothing more than a mish mash of concrete pipes and ducts, much like what one would find in a sewer. Hey, imagine that!
Nevertheless, I was near to hysteria, and becoming more and more convinced that this was not a dream at all. At the very least, the rug burn along my thigh screamed in support.
In an instant, a green face sporting the now all-too familiar blue mask stood over me. He scowled down at my prone form and, after a silent moment, Mr. Two Toes finally asked the golden question I so desperately wanted to hear.
"You went topside again, Kira, despite the rules about doing so during the day and, to make matters worse, you violated your time restrictions." He sighed wearily, "Kira, I want to know why? You know the rules about this and yet you continually break them." As he spread his arms outward in frustration, "I will ask you again; where were you?"
I felt mildly relieved to hear the mystery question. The only problem was I didn't have an answer, at least, an answer that was believable, anyway. To tell this large, over-grown turtle that, before finding myself here, in this place, in his presence, that I was on the 101 Freeway in southern California would not be a good thing. Nope, not at all. Still, he wanted – no, he DEMANDED an answer! I racked my little pea brain for one, too, but…truth be told, I came up empty.
So, I quickly reassessed my situation, to see if in all of this craziness I might find a reasonable answer to give. From what I had gathered since 'arriving', I learned that this Kira was stubborn and disobedient, at least according to Mr. Two Toes. On top of that, she was now guilty of going somewhere forbidden. Where? Who cares at this point; it was wrong and he was mad, which meant I – presently Kira – was in a whole lot of trouble. And despite the fact that I hadn't had a curfew since high school, it seems in this reality, I – Kira – had stayed out past whatever time restraints Mr. Two Toes had implemented. Still, the face looking down at me was not going to go away until it had an answer to the sixty-thousand dollar question. Thinking about Mr. Two Toes' posturing and the question, as well as his accusations, I realized he was an authority figure over this Kira. If I were she, then my answer should sound respectful, right? Although I said before that I don't take abuse very well, I know when to fight and when to submit. I decided that any reply I gave him would be an outright lie, where I didn't have any idea where his Kira had been all night.
So, I went straight to the truth of the matter.
"I really don't know, sir." I replied innocently and honestly. I gave my best, 'I'm innocent' look and swallowed nervously.
Mr. Two-toes pulled his head back sharply. He had a most puzzled expression. "When did 'sir' become part of your vocabulary?" he asked questioningly.
"Cuz – it's the respectable thing to say?" I answered slowly and unsure. Quite honestly, I didn't like my answer and I could tell that he didn't either. I wasn't sure if he was going to toss me like a rag doll again. He looked as if he was thinking about doing it, too!
Suddenly, he grabbed my hand and helped me back up to vertical just as swiftly as he had before in the other room. I noticed immediately that his expression had softened somewhat.
He sighed, then, and gave a subtle nod as he said, "Though I doubt very much you 'don't know' where you were, I recognize your attempt at showing me a little more respect." He gave a weak smile and seemed mildly pleased. That made me more relaxed, believe me.
Quickly, I assessed my situation. Aside from all the other attributes this Kira espoused, respect or showing such to others was not part of her personality makeup. It certainly matched her behavior, based on what Mr. Two Toes shared during his rant. To this end, I had an edge. I knew how to show respect. Considering the 'reward' for not doing so, I had the proper motivation! Therefore, I was certain I could survive my time here – wherever 'here' was.
As I looked down at my feet, though – a habit I had whenever I was thinking through a problem, I quickly discovered that I needed a rest room, if only to see what I looked like.
I had been so busy trying to make sense of my surroundings and my predicament, that I hadn't noticed my own self – until now. Looking down at my arms and legs, I noticed almost immediately that they were as green as Mr. Two Toes appendages, rather than the tawny gold of my sun-bathed California skin. Moreover, a distinctive lightness about my head told me that something else wasn't quite right and so I brought a hand up to caress it. Something was missing; namely my hair!
I began to panic.
"I think I need a restroom!" I declared wildly, the tremor in my voice betraying my crumbling composure.
I guess I sounded truly panicky to Mr. Two-toes, because he took a step back. The expression on his face changed to concern and he seemed to understand that to deny me would be a grievous mistake on his part. With a nod and pinched confused brow, he pointed towards the opened doorway and I immediately raced for it.
Once I was in the hall, however, I realized that I didn't know where the bathroom was.
Panicking, I asked loudly, my voice spiking anxiously, "Where is it? I - I – can't seem to remember where it is!"
Suddenly, another turtle like Mr. Two-toes (this one wearing a similar mask but orange in color) stepped out from one of the side rooms. "Hey, what yer look'n for, Kira?" He seemed nice enough.
"The rest room; where is it, please!" I begged, nearly hysterical.
"You're kidding, right? It where it's always been; right there!" and he pointed to an open doorway, just one down from his.
He seemed rather amused by my query, though, based on the grin he gave me. Personally, I wasn't the least bit entertained by my plight – not at all, in fact.
Without hesitating, I raced for the room, afraid that it would disappear if I didn't move fast enough. Once inside, I slammed the door closed and locked it behind me, but paused in turning around. I stood there, panting, my hand on the door handle. I suddenly sense someone on the other side.
"You alright, Kira? You sick or something?"
It was Mr. Orange Mask. His concern was quite considerate, but presently I didn't care.
Finally, I realized that I really wanted to see what I looked like. Once again, I studied my hands. Green – and scaly, just like Mr. Two Toes. Just like Mr. Orange Mask. That only meant one thing, of course. My mind made up, I slowly turned around and looked around the small room. I saw a mirror, situated over the one, lone wall-mounted sink. It looked as if it, like the television in the other room, had seen better days, but it still had enough silver on its backing for reflection. Beyond the mirror and sink was the toilet and beyond that, the tub, complete with a dog-eared shower curtain,. Towels hung over the top as if someone had recently showered and were now air-drying them. Yet, the mirror had all of my attention.
It wasn't very large or wide, but a standard size, and situated above the sink to allow adequate viewing. From where I stood, though, couldn't see anything, and I knew that in order to see what I looked like, I was going to have to move in front of it.
Mr. Two Toes!
"I'm…fine…I think. Give me a moment, please," I begged.
"Not sure, not yet, anyway."
Slowly and with much trepidation, I began to move over to the sink and the mirror.
The moment I saw my reflection, the moment reality settled in, I knew I had assumed correctly.
And so I did what came naturally.
I let out a blood-curdling scream!