Chapter 1-Broken Spell
"Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Emma, happy birthday to you!" everyone sang.
Emma Swan looked around Granny's Diner at all the smiling faces. It seemed like the whole town was packed in the diner. Mary Margaret Blanchard, the planner behind the party, was there of course. David Nolan was there as well. Emma figured that that was his futile attempt to catch Mary Margaret's attention. Among the others there were Ruby, Leroy, Astrid, and Ashley and Sean. Even Mr. Gold had come, though Emma wasn't quite sure why. He wasn't exactly the birthday party type.
Mary Margaret looked at the clock on the wall of the diner. "It's almost officially your birthday-down to the very minute," she said excitedly. "Have you made your wish yet?"
Emma frowned in mock disapproval. "I ought to lock you up for putting all those candles on the cake."
Mary Margaret grinned, "Twenty-eight isn't that old. Wait until you're seventy-eight, and you have to blow out all of those candles!"
"You wouldn't dare!" Emma laughed.
Emma turned to Henry, who stood beside her. "Wanna help me blow the candles out?" Henry nodded excitedly.
She looked at the clock again and then back at Henry. They both took deep breaths and blew out the candles. Cheers and clapping erupted from the party guests.
Then, Emma felt strange. The sight of the party inside Granny's flickered before her. In between seeing Granny's, she saw an enormous open field...
She shook her head. She hadn't slept well the past few nights. Surely she was just seeing things due to a lack of sleep.
Then, the ground shook under Emma's feet. She grabbed hold of a table and crouched down. This time, she knew she wasn't crazy. All the party guests had felt it too, and were murmuring frantically amongst themselves. Except for Mr. Gold. He was crouched down, still holding his cane, near the floor too like everyone else. But instead of a concerned look, a small smile played across his face.
Henry's face was white as a sheet. "Wha-what was that?"
Emma frowned and looked at Mary Margaret, who looked just as frightened.
The ground rocked again, this time, harder. Pots and pans could be heard falling in the kitchen, and several of the women shrieked.
Emma saw Mr. Gold slipping out the door in the midst of the chaos. She followed him. As she swung the door open and stepped outside, she stepped not onto a concrete sidewalk, but into the same lush green meadow she saw earlier. "What the..." she turned, and once again, she saw the streets of Storybrooke.
Emma chased after Gold. "Hey!" Gold ignored her and continued down the street, presumably to his pawnshop. "Hey! Where do you think you're going?"
As she caught up to Gold, another tremor shook the town. Emma and Gold both grabbed hold of a streetlight to steady themselves.
"Where am I goin'? I'm goin' back to my shop, dearie. I must check my merchandise in case there was damage."
"Oh, no, you're not! You know exactly what is going on here, don't you?"
"I have no idea what you mean, dearie." he said innocently. Emma saw right through his lie, and he knew it.
Gold sighed. "I'm surprised, to tell the truth. I would'a thought you'd figured out what was going on already. Don't you see?"
"See what?" Mary Margaret said behind Emma. Emma jumped, startled, and turned around to find all the guests from her birthday party had followed her outside and had crowded around her.
Henry shoved his way to where Emma and Gold stood, facing off. His eyes were wide. "Emma!" he cried. "It's the curse!"
"Not now, Henry." she said impatiently.
Gold leaned on his cane. "The child is right, dearie. It is your twenty-eighth birthday, and the curse is failing."
Emma looked at him in disbelief. "You knew about the curse?"
"What don't I know dearie?"
The town rocked and pitched. The sidewalk started to crack and buildings started to crumble. Everyone huddled down together to keep from falling over. Before their very eyes, the town began to sink into the ground. Buildings, streets, houses: they all disappeared. Before long, all that existed was a large meadow, the one Emma saw earlier.
A laugh that sent chills down Emma's spine came from behind Gold, or what used to be Gold. He had changed, somehow.
The laugh belonged to Regina, or whoever-or whatever-she was. She was dressed in an all-black gown, and she looked positively evil. She walked towards them, oozing confidence and magic. Emma shivered, despite the warmth of the sun.
"Dear, dear Rumpel, you didn't think the spell would be broken that easily, did you?"