I sat wearily in the classroom listening to my professor's boring lecture, droning on and on like a robot programmed to annoy the hell out of anyone who would listen. It got so bad I couldn't listen to her anymore, an hour had been more then I was capable of without loosing my sanity. After all, there was only a half-hour to go. I thought about more constructive things to do. I thought of things not describable to anyone but me. Places that, without experiencing my life, would never mean anything to anybody. I thought of Amber; Amber... if only such a place could really exist. If only I could escape this shadow earth and go anywhere I wanted to and do anything I wished. I frequently thought of this and it made me sick to my stomach every time I did so because such a world cannot exist. I almost hated Amia for introducing me to this beautiful collection of extraordinary novels. Amber is something only explainable by experiencing it through Roger Zelazny's masterpiece: The Great Book of Amber.

Amia was a girl of eighteen, the same age as I. Her birthday was only fifteen days after my own. I had brown hair and brown eyes and was overweight while she had hair the color of the sun at sunset and blue eyes that shined like crystals and she was as skinny as a twig. We knew each other almost as well as we knew ourselves. As far as our relationship was concerned, we weren't dating, and had no reason to. If we were to date each other, it would ruin the relationship we had built for more then ten years as friends. I thought she was very beautiful but so did every other guy, but I saw her on a whole different level then anyone else. We were far from the popular crowd and had shifted through many hardships together including the deaths of some of our friends. We shared similar interests and had many similarities. We both knew exactly what we were going to be when we graduated college. Not what we wanted to be, but what we would be. We were just that way. I had always liked to consider ourselves as "enlightened".

I was always thinking about Amber and everything that occurs there. After I thought about it, I'd look at Amia and she'd look at me and we'd sigh. Then, I think without her knowledge, I would try to move through shadow, with no success. What would you expect? Of coarse I couldn't move through shadow, I wasn't related to anyone in the kingdom of Amber. I knew both of my parents and their parents and everything was as it should be, normal. I'd often wonder what if Amber really existed and The Great Book of Amber was meant to guide people to it. I WISH SHE'D JUST SHUT UP! I jumped, someone had just shouted out in the class. I turned and looked around the room and saw nothing out the ordinary, it seemed no one else had noticed it. I looked at the teacher still flailing her trap, and finally my eyes rested on Amia, her own eyes reflecting anger, then confusion, and then fear. I knew as well as she that those words had come from her, yet she had not spoken them. On her desk was a picture of me, from one of those yearly professional pictures we have to do in school every year. She had been looking at it and thinking about... what had she been thinking? We both looked at each other for a long time, perhaps we were trying to sort out what had just happened, but I came to no conclusion.

The bell rung to dismiss the class but neither Amia nor I budged from our desks. We continued looking at each other, confusion ran through my head. The professor had also left the classroom for her hall duty without noticing us, after all, it was a Friday. The silence was finally broken by Amia. "Hey, Vince, did you hear me a while ago, when I said, or at least I thought I said, I mean when... well, now I'm all mixed up. I didn't think I had said anything until you looked at me, but it was only you that seemed to hear me and the professor was right there. Then I realized that I really didn't say anything at all, yet you seemed to hear me anyway, and it was while I was staring at your picture." She stopped suddenly as if there was something else she was going to say and silence once again filled the empty classroom until I was finally able to find my voice. "You said or thought or whatever 'I wish she'd shut up', right?" She stared at me, smiled, and in one quick motion dragged me from my seat into the now empty hallway. "Do you realize what I did? Do you?" she asked me excited, "I must have gotten in touch with you, the way they do in Amber, you know like using your picture as a trump card!" If only this could be possible, yet I could not help but hope. "Amia," I said, "Try to move through shadow, come on, if you can use a picture to trump me then you can move through shadow." She concentrated hard on the hallway, her great effort visible by her face turning red, but the hallway made no change. Amia stopped and thought about it. "Of coarse, because I have not walked through the pattern, I cannot easily travel through shadow." Suddenly an idea came to me. "Amia, there is a picture of Amber on the cover of the book, lets both use that to try to trump to Amber directly." She nodded in agreement. We ran through the hallway together, out the door, and out of the school. She decided to drive me to her house, because it was closer, and I left my car parked in the school parking lot. On the way there I wondered if I also possessed any of these abilities, for it had been Amia only who had trumped me, I had taken no part of it and had not contributed to the process. Fifteen minutes later, we arrived at her house. My doubts were driven away by the excitement that overwhelmed me.

When we pulled up to her driveway we got out of the car and quite literally ran into the house. Her parents greeted her and looked at me with particular interest being as they had never seen me before and that I was running after their daughter into her bedroom. I closed the door behind me when I reached Amia's room and a great amount of noise followed: bumps, thuds, curses, and shouts, all caused by the frantic search for the book. I would have paid money to see the looks on her parent's faces, but I was far too concerned about the whereabouts of The Great Book of Amber. We tossed book after book off of the shelf and across the room. One of Amia's precious leather copies of her favorite book was torn in half while being tossed aside but she didn't even flinch. I finally cried out in triumph as I located the book. We both sat on her bed and looked at each other, making a silent agreement that we were both going to proceed, even if there was no going back. I concentrated on the cover, envisioning it as a real place allowing it to become three dimensional, then leaving my position and coming into this place, making sure to take Amia with me. It almost seemed as if I was in two places at once, staring into the mirror as the face, and then looking back on myself as the reflection. At first I was staring into the cover, seeing the real Amber, and then I was looking back into her room at what would have been behind me. I suddenly realized by coming through, that the book had dropped on the floor of her and I had a perfect view of the door to her room. It opened slowly and Amia's mother peered in. She threw the door open and it hit the wall, making a loud bang. She then let out a scream. I finally noticed Amia by my side, sitting on the ground and rocking back and forth cradling her head, it was bleeding. That was when I realized that it was I who was keeping this door between both worlds open. I panicked when I saw Amia's father enter the room. I closed my eyes and looked away, trying to break the door I had created. I closed off my mind, feeling nothing. When I opened my eyes again, Amia's parents were still there and I realized my attempts had failed. Then I noticed how close Amia's father was to me. He was holding the book staring with a hateful glare. He was looking directly at me. Suddenly I felt a heavy force hit me at the back of my head and I fell to the ground. The whole scene vanished as I felt myself loose consciousness.

Disclaimer: All characters excluding Vince, Amia, Raine, and Aaron belong to Roger Zelazny. I do not in anyway own any ties to the Great Book of Amber other than owning a copy of the beautiful book.

Please feel free to e-mail me with any comments regarding my story unless you intend to flame me.