Disclaimer: Everything and anything related to the Twilight saga belongs to Stephenie Meyer. This is just a work of fiction based on her writings. No harm is meant by it.
Life in Technicolor
There was no use.
The more the two men struggled, the more it hurt. The chains that bound their hands to the wall were made of thick, silver steel. Ordinarily, the binding wouldn't be so terribly painful. However, these chains bit into their skin, pinching it tightly at where the two ends of the cuff met around their wrists. What made it worst was the searing heat.
The cuffs had been enchanted to burn them.
They were hot, glowing red against their skin. Anytime they tried to move, the metal just sunk in further. The thin skin of their wrists was blistering by the second. Whenever either tried to readjust their wrist to find a remotely comfortably position, they could see and smell the bubbling of their skin.
It was excruciating.
They had been getting takeout at their favorite Chinese food restaurant on Sacramento Street in Chinatown. They couldn't find parking anywhere close so they opted to park on Clay. From there it was less than a ten-minute walk to their favorite place. The two were tired and dragged their feet along the sidewalk the entire time.
They took the familiar shortcut through the alley. Both stopped as something skittered quickly behind a dumpster. Each turned to other and asked if they had seen what it was. Neither knew. It wasn't rare for either of them to see strange things flittering about in the city.
It felt like things were constantly walking in the shadows.
The men worked in the University of San Francisco's, Gleeson Library. Both of them had been part of the Work-Study Program and offered the positions as freshmen. There had been other places on campus they could have worked like the bookstore or even the biology labs. However, they had assumed that a job at the library would consist of some book stacking and sitting around with free time to study
They had been wrong.
Professors were constantly coming in, reserving specific areas of the library for presentations, which consisted of moving the heavy, ancient wooden tables from one end of the library to another. Students were constantly bugging them because their ID's never swiped properly at the entrance and they could never find the books they needed. It was also impossibly hot in the back room of the first floor and students –mostly the females – always complained about how chilly it was in the reading room.
To top it all off, their supervisor was a tyrant. He was a crotchety, old Italian man, who never had anything to say unless it was a complaint. He had a thick accent, hair the color of snow, and a limp that caused his right leg to drag a step behind him. The grinding of his foot along the carpet provided the two with a notification of when he was coming around. Usually, Aro berated the two men about how the world was a terrible place.
Most of the time, the two friends were exhausted by the time they left the library.
It was normal for the two to head into the city after work to get food. The student cafeteria closed by the time their shift ended, and even if it were open, the two refused to eat there after the rodent incident of 2007.
Thursday night was always Chinese food night.
They had ordered their food – spring rolls, shrimp lo mein, and General Tso's Chicken – and were waiting for it by the takeout table, when the two had gotten the urge to use the restroom.
It was the eldest– by two months – that had noticed the door first. It was bright red with a brass knob in the middle of it. There was something odd about the door. It was too bright, the red to vibrant. The brass knob was too clean and there was an engraving on it. From a distance, you couldn't see it, but up close it looked like the outline of some sort of jewel. Situated by the door was a small, barred window. It was no bigger than a foot wide.
When he asked if the door had always been there, the younger of the men shook his head, adding that he had never seen the door before or the window beside it. The elder then asked if he was being honest, and his friend nodded.
Always the curious one, the eldest tiptoed and looked out of the barred window and saw nothing but stone blocks. His need to know brought him toward the foreign door. He pulled on the doorknob, but the door wouldn't budge. He stepped back to rest his foot against the door. He was going to use it as leverage to pull the doorknob once more.
The moment he lifted his foot off the ground the door flung open and an incredible force pulled the man through the door. With a loud thud, the door slammed shut leaving the younger of the two in shock.
Immediately, he headed toward the bathroom entrance to get help for his friend, but a moment later, the red door swung open once more, and the rushing wind that had hauled his friend, now grabbed him by the shoulders and snatched him into the dark. He crashed into his friend and the two grunted as they hit the ground together.
It was pitch black and relatively silent. The only real sound was of their breathing in the cavernous dark. The two remained unmoving, not knowing exactly which direction they should turn or if there was even a way to walk.
As they began to walk, shoulder-to-shoulder, a light appeared from behind them. They turned around and began to walk toward it. The irony wasn't lost on either of them; neither knew if they'd make it out alive of what they assumed was a tunnel.
Slowly, they walked along the tunnel wondering what lay ahead. It was fifteen minutes before the light dimmed and they walked into an open, inhabited area.
There were wooden torches along the circular area with blazing, crackling fire that illuminated the room. Three figures, shrouded in black cloaks stood side-by-side in the center; their faces hidden by their hoods. They looked very much like the Grim Reaper.
Both men halted by the area they were just in, but suddenly the stone around them began to shift and chunks of it fell and trapped them into the area like area.
"Welcome gentleman," a deep, gravelly voice came from one of the cloaked figures. Neither of the men could tell which one of them said it. Both men remained silent after the greeting taking only a small step toward the mysterious characters. It didn't matter much. Moments later, two other shrouded figures appeared behind them and shoved them forward. The friends stared at each other wondering where the other two hooded characters had come from.
The two new figures pushed them along to the far right wall, where they proceeded to chain them. The friends attempted to fight, but the two characters were far stronger. The fight became one-sided quite quickly and before they knew it, the cloaked figures were pushing on the cuffs to secure them. In unison, all five, cloaked individuals shouted ardeo. The cuffs turned a metallic red and both men screamed as it burned into their skin.
Again, the unregistered voice resounded in the room.
"I believe I can sense a question. Is that right, Edward?"
Edward's eyes widened and beside him, Emmett gasped.
"How do you know my name?"
In unison, the figures answered. "We know everything."
"So, what do you want with us?" Emmett inquired through gritted teeth. He was trying not to show how badly the cuffs burned.
"We need you to find someone…something."
"And what does that have to do with us?" Edward asked. His tone was biting and it didn't go unnoticed. The cuffs around his wrist tightened and he yelped in pain. Emmett immediately surrendered. He couldn't see his best friend in pain.
"Who? And what do we have to find?"
Edward turned to look at his friend in bewilderment. Emmett was larger than he was, physically, and to be honest, far more valiant. It was odd to hear him sound so defeated, almost pitiful.
"I know that both of you have noticed the shadows that lurk in San Francisco. There are monsters that reside in the Umbra, things from your wildest fairy tales and scariest nightmares."
Edward and Emmet stared unbelievingly at the cloaked figures. However, it was true. Both had commented at seeing things running behind dumpsters and voices in the alleys, and the strange sense that they someone was watching.
"There is a whole other world out there and now that you truly know of it, you will reside in it. Things will seem normal, but you will know when you entered the Umbra. Things will look warped and the creatures will become visible."
"Alright," Emmett mumbled. "What do we have to do?"
"Are you nuts, Em? We're not doing anything for these…things."
"It's not a request, Edward. It's an order!" a feminine voice announced as a wall of water appeared in front of him. Suddenly, Edward was watching his parents gardening back in their home in Huntington Beach.
"You wouldn't want anything to happen to them. Now would you?" she taunted and Edward grinded his teeth.
"Same goes for you, Emmett." The image in the water rippled and slowly transformed to Emmett's younger brother chasing their dog, Holden, in their backyard. Emmett closed his eyes before opening them. His head hung low before he spoke.
"Who do we have to find?"
"Emmett!" Edward shouted. "Who are they to threaten us?"
"I am The One," the shrouded figure in the middle informed and stepped forward.
"The One, what?" Emmett asked innocently.
"The One rules us all," the four other figures chanted, startling both trapped men.
"And the rest of you?"
"We are The Order," they shouted proudly in unison.
"So, what do we have to do?"
"Addo mihi Isabella Swan," The One hissed.
"In English, please?" Edward asked.
"Bring me, Isabella Swan."
"Not to sound like an ass, but how we supposed to find one girl in a city with almost a million people?"
"You are a natural born hunter, Edward. You always look for answers. You will find her."
"Why her?" Emmett inquired and The One unexpectedly appeared a foot in front of him.
"Mei! She has something that belongs to me!"
Startled by the uproar, Emmett tried to move back, but the searing cuffs prevented it. He bobbed for a moment.
"Bring me the girl."
"Is there anything else?" Edward asked.
"Just bring me the girl. She has something that can mean the end of this world. The Umbra needs to stay where it is; she has the one thing that can cause the Umbra to rise. If the Umbra ascends, all hell will break loose. It will be the end of this world, as you know it. There are many in the Umbra who would literally slaughter everything in sight to be here in the Universitas. Some would greatly like that. We are trying to prevent such a catastrophe."
Emmett nodded numbly and Edward joined in. It was an acceptance to the request.
"We need the girl, preferably alive, but that is not necessary."
"Alright," Edward answered as Emmett responded meekly with "okay."
"We will be guiding you on this journey. You will hear from us again," The One announced. He waved his hand in a circular motion and he was standing back in between The Order.
Abruptly, a strong wind blew into the area and the force that had pulled Edward and Emmett there, reappeared. The shackles that held them fell to the ground with a loud, echoing, clang and before either man could flex their wrists, the force pulled and tugged them away from the lair.
Everything was once again black.
A/n: This is unbeta'd. Any and all mistakes are my own. My beta is currently swamped with schoolwork, and I refuse to add more work to that load. I have a small reprieve from my own schoolwork and before I have to knuckle down and get back to researching for term papers, I thought to post this.
This idea has been living in my head since July 2009, since I visited San Francisco. I'm a HUGE fantasy/sci-fi fan and thought why not incorporate that element into the already fantastical world that is the Twilight universe.
There will be many fantasy elements to this story. Hopefully, you all enjoy that sort of thing.
Thanks to TallulahBelle, spanglemaker9, and cevuplay who offered ideas for this story. Thank you ladies. :-)
Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed it.