Kaylie tugged on the ends of her newly cut hair with one hand while the other tapped away on her laptop. Her eyes were red from staring at a computer screen all day, making the blue irises look extra bright in the soft glow. It was past midnight, but the eighteen year old blond couldn't sleep. Always thoughts would swirl around in her mind into the ungodly hours of the night. Always she would find herself restless and unable to be at peace. Tonight it had proved too difficult to stay in bed, and she'd left her room to sit on the couch in the family room.
Tonight she was thinking about her new start. Cutting her hair had just been the beginning to reinventing who she was now that she had graduated from high school. Soon her family would be moving to a new location and no one would have to know where she lived unless she wanted them to. College was only a few months away and she was more than ready to begin.
Still, her mind refused to let her sleep. Questions and guilt plagued her mind as she thought about the past school year. She'd screwed up. So many people had been hurt and it was all her fault. The feeling of self loathing that she now had for herself was a terrible burden, and she was going to stop it.
Kaylie finished tapping out her last message to her friends and family on her computer. She read it over again, tears finally spilling over. This was not a shotgun decision. The option of suicide had crossed her mind many times before, and now, it was the only one. She was sure of it.
Thunder rolled along outside. With her laptop plugged in, the teen knew that it would be better to hurry and finish in case the storm interfered with anything. Having electronics plugged in during one of the summer lightning storms was not a smart idea, but her old laptop didn't work unless plugged in. She quickly tapped out the changes she wanted to make to the suicide note, then moved the mouse so it hovered over the save button. Kaylie took a deep breath, suddenly hesitating. This is what she wanted wasn't it? A quick glance over at the pill bottle beside her and the accompanying picture rekindled the desire inside her. Her finger fell on the mouse button.
At the same exact time, a bolt of lightning struck the roof of the house. Sparks flew from the electrical outlet and Kaylie stifled a scream. Her family would sleep right through the lightning, but not a shout of alarm. She quickly composed herself and went back to her laptop. The screen was black and it wouldn't turn back on. She sighed and stood up, turning to glance at the clock on the kitchen stove. It too was black. The power must have been cut off by the storm. The girl picked up the pill bottle and tossed it back in the medicine cupboard. She would have to wait another day to end the Hell she was living in.
Just as Kaylie turned to go downstairs to her room, a faint glow in the corner of her eye caught her attention. She slowly turned around to face the TV in the family room. The screen was full of static dancing back and forth, lighting the room up just a little. The teen furrowed her brow and reached for the light switch, eyes still trained on the TV. She flipped it into the on position. Nothing happened. Her eyes flickered back to the clock, which was still dark. How on Earth could the TV be on when the power was out. Her feet slowly moved forward even though her mind was screaming at her that this was how all the dumb people in horror movies died. She stared at it as she moved closer, then bent down. Nothing seemed to be amiss. She stared a little longer and then finally moved her hand up to hit the power button.
A searing pain shot through her fingertips and up her wrist. Her vision began to have static of its own as she tried to pull her hand away. Her thoughts began to fade as she turned to look behind her and see the family room disappearing, almost like she'd been pulled into the television. As her vision filled with black and white dots, Kaylie distantly wondered if she'd fallen asleep at her computer, then, everything went dark.
The blond teen winced as she opened her eyes, her whole body still tingling. She looked up and gave a shout of alarm as she came face to face with something she hadn't seen in six years. The blue elf looming over her smiled gently and held it's hand out. Kaylie slowly put her hand in the monster's hand and it lifted her up. "Mystical Elf... But that can't be right... Can it?"
The elf smiled again and nodded slightly. The teen glanced around the alley she had somehow landed in and then down at her hands. "This can't be real. I must have gotten an electric shock when I touched the TV and now that I'm passed out I'm having strange dreams." However, the girl couldn't shake the feeling that she'd never before dreamed this vividly. She looked back up at the elf, who shook her head slightly. "Not a dream?"
Suddenly, a scream sounded through the alley way as a person looked in, "There's another one! It's attacking that girl!" Mystical Elf looked back at Kaylie with wide blue eyes and disappeared in a flash of light.
"Wait!" Kaylie reached her hand out, but the monster was long gone. The person who had scared off the elf came running over, followed shortly by another person.
"Are you okay? Did it hurt you at all?" The random boy asked, his brown eyes full of concern. His friend also looked concerned, but his attention was mostly on her left arm.
"I'm fine..." Kaylie turned away, not in the mood to talk to actual people. She could hurt people and screw up their lives, and whether this was a dream or not, she couldn't take that chance.
"You don't have a duel disk," The other boy pointed out, holding his own up.
"I'm not a duelist," The blond stated flatly. "I haven't touched a duel monsters card in six years."
The two boys looked shocked. "But everyone around here is a duelist," The first boy mumbled.
"I have to go," Kaylie quickly started walking, then running as far away as she could. She had to figure out what was going on, and find a way to get back home.
One of the boys called after her, but she ignored him, letting her feet carry her who knows where. She turned around to look behind her to make sure the boys weren't following her when she ran into someone, falling to the ground. "I'm so sorry!" She quickly picked herself back up and brushed her clothes off, then looked at the person she'd run into. Or two people. The girl let out a small gasp and whispered, "No way..."
"The beast will swallow the sun..." Unphased by her little blunder, Rex Raptor continued the strange babbling he'd probably been doing for hours. Distantly Kaylie wondered if Yugi and his friends had already been by here, puzzled by the ramblings of the two duelists in front of her. She was just about to walk away when she turned and realized something. "Wait a minute..." She stood up next to Weevil, the other duelist who stood near her, then Rex. She stepped back. "That's so wrong." Despite being 5'8" in her own world, in this world, she was just as short as the two in front of her. "Why am I so short?" Slightly frustrated, she jabbed a finger into the side of Rex's head. He groaned slightly and fell over on top of Weevil, who also fell over. They remained comatose on the sidewalk. Well if Yugi hasn't already stopped by here, I may have just ruined an entire part of the story's plot...
Kaylie's thoughts were suddenly ripped apart by yet another scream sounding not too far away. She looked at the unconscious duelists, shrugged, then took off towards the sound. As she ran, she tried to piece together everything she knew was about to happen. It had been six years since she'd even thought about the TV show she'd watched as a child, but she hadn't missed a single episode. Her and her older sister had watched it diligently, without fail, every Saturday morning. Whether this was a dream or not, she was in it, and she had full control of what she was doing. She figured it would be best to try and not ruin things with her presence, and get out of here as fast as she could before people's souls started disappearing. That was the point they were at in this particular story. A season coined Waking the Dragons, easily distinguishable by the duel monsters around town and Rex and Weevil blubbering their heads off about the end of the world.
Finally, she arrived to the source of the screaming. She stopped, completely shocked. The thing about watching the show was that you never saw what all the characters were doing at once, and this was one character she hadn't expected to run into. Mokuba Kaiba stood a few feet away, surrounded by monsters he probably believed to be holograms until recently. He was clutching his arm, probably where he'd been attacked by one, trying to figure out how to get away. Kaylie looked around, trying to find a duelist who could help, but it seemed everyone had gone inside. The streets were empty. She looked back in time to see one of the monster's charging for another attack. The girl immediately started running, grabbed Mokuba by the arm, and pulled him along behind her as she pushed past one of the other monsters. She continued running down the street, hearing the explosion of the attack behind them.
Finally she stopped, breathing heavily, and turned to face the child prodigy, whom she also, was no taller than. "Are you okay?"
"I'm fine!" Mokuba immediately adopted an indignant attitude towards the girl who saved him. "You didn't need to run in like that. They're just holograms."
"Tell that to your arm," She noticed he was still clutching it in pain. "Whether they're holograms or not, you needed help. Let's get you..." She was about to say home, but then she realzied she had no idea if going home would do Mokuba any good. Did he live at home with his brother, and if so, wouldn't his brother be at work? Or was their house connected to their building? She just didn't know, so she changed what she was going to say, "Back to your brother."
Mokuba sighed, "I know the way and you don't have to come, but I suppose you'll be wanting some sort of reward..." He started walking away, and Kaylie followed, simply because she had no clue where she was in this city, or where she was going.
"No, I don't need any reward. You don't have anything I could possibly want," She stopped, knowing full well she had no money or clothing to change into, and they had practically everything she needed.
"Then why are you following me?" Mokuba snapped.
"I-" Kaylie stopped. Could she say anything about her situation without sounding totally crazy, and would it really help her any to say it? She looked at Mokuba, who was obviously used to him and his brother being used again and again for their money. She sighed. "I'm lost."
Mokuba's eyes softened, "What do you mean?"
"I... I was trying to get back home. I was really sick and not thinking clearly. I must have gotten off the wrong flight or something because I have no idea where anything is." She looked at the ground. She couldn't tell him the whole truth. The last thing she needed was to end up in a mental hospital. "I don't have any of my luggage or money. I don't know what I was thinking..."
Mokuba turned around and walked back towards her, "Here. You can come back to Kaiba Corp with me. Maybe my brother and I can help you out. Sorry about snapping. Sometimes people purposefully set us up to get money and they don't really need it."
"It's fine..." Kaylie started walking with Mokuba. "I understand."
"Where do you live?" Mokuba led the way, ocassionally looking back at the girl.
"I live in America..." Kaylie looked down at the sidewalk. "In the western states."
"And you somehow ended up in Domino Japan?" Mokuba frowned. "That's weird."
Kaylie laughed, "The circumstances were very strange. I wasn't thinking very clearly."
"Your parents should have known better than to let you fly alone when you're that sick..." Kaylie started laughing and Mokuba looked back at her, surprised. "That is what happened isn't it?"
The blond shook her head and looked at the poor confused boy, "I'm eighteen years old. I'm technically an adult, but still a teenager. My parents don't have custody over me anymore. I'm my own guardian now."
Mokuba blushed, embarrassed, "I'm so sorry! You just... You don't..."
"Don't look eighteen?" Kaylie smiled and shook her head. "It's okay." She mentally made note that she needed to find a reflective surface and see what her cartoon self looked like, because in her world, she looked eighteen, maybe older.
They walked the rest of the way in silence. Mokuba would look back every so often, but his looks were more puzzled than they had been before. Kaylie continued to stare at the ground, wondering what on Earth she was going to do when they got to Kaiba Corp. Kaiba couldn't help her out. He didn't believe in other worlds and she was not going to be the one to try and convince him she was from one. She reached into her pocket and pulled out her phone to check the time. She frowned when it said 00:00. It must not work here.
Mokuba turned and pointed to a super tall building in front of them, "We're almost there." He continued walking, and Kaylie followed. When they reached the front, he opened the door and they stepped inside. Mokuba led her to an elevator and they rode all the way up in silence. Mokuba stepped out when the doors opened and walked down the hall. Guards stood on either side of the walkway. Kaylie tentatively stepped out and started walking towards him. Suddenly, she found her arms pinned to her side and she was thrown to the ground. Mokuba turned, "Wait stop!" A sharp pain shot through her stomach and rib cage, then another. It took her a few seconds to register that the guards were beating her up. Mokuba kept screaming at them to stop, but they weren't listening. "Hold on! I'll get Seto!" He took off down the hall.
It was only a few seconds before Kaiba came running down the hall, but it seemed like forever to the girl as she was beat up for seemingly no reason. "Stop right now!" Kaiba's voice was extremely commanding and the beating instantly ceased. "What is going on here?"
"Mr. Kaiba!" One of the guards stood up straight. "You told us to take care of any suspicious people that ever return to Kaiba Corp with your brother."
Kaiba threw an icy glare at the guard, "I said if they looked like they were trying to get a reward for something. This is a little girl!"
"She's eighteen Seto," Mokuba mumbled under his breath. Kaiba looked over at Kaylie in shock.
"Sir..." One of the guards started to speak, but Kaiba quickly shut him down.
"You are all dismissed. Pack up your stuff and don't bother coming back," Kaiba turned to Kaylie and frowned. "Mokuba..."
"She really did save me Seto! It wasn't a set up. She didn't even want a reward!" Mokuba helped her into a sitting position and cupped his hand over hers, which were holding her bleeding nose.
"Then why is she here?" Kaiba sent one of his cold stares at the girl and she shivered.
"She's lost!" Mokuba looked at his brother, pleading. "She was sick and flying alone. She got off the wrong flight and now she's stranded here. Please let us help her Seto!"
Kaiba's gaze softened as he looked at his little brother, "I'll send someone to come help her get cleaned up. I've got to get back to figuring these holograms out." He turned on his heel and walked away. Kaylie watched him leave, her vision growing fuzzy.
"It's okay. My big brother's going to take care of you," Mokuba looked her in the eyes. "You're going to get home just fine okay? I'm sorry about that. Seto has taken security extremely seriously ever since Duelist Kingdom..."
"It's okay..." Kaylie winced. "It's not that bad..." Even as she spoke her vision went dark and she allowed herself to pass out.
"You don't know her name, but you brought her here anyway?" Kaiba's sharp voice cut through the nothingness Kaylie had been enjoying.
"She helped me out! I couldn't leave her on the street..." Mokuba's voice was very soft as he continued to argue with his older brother.
"By the looks of it, she would have been better off on the street. Three broken ribs! What were they thinking?" It was a female voice that Kaylie didn't recognize.
"You didn't even ask her name..." Kaiba's grumpy tone wasn't quite as harsh as it had been before.
"I didn't think it really mattered," Mokuba burst into tears. "I'm sorry Seto! I just wanted to help her!" Kaylie heard him get up and run from the room.
"Mokuba wait!" Kaiba's footsteps followed after, then whoever the other person was left shortly. Finally, Kaylie forced her eyes to open. She was in a room that was plainly decorated. There were a few medical tools her and there, but it didn't quite feel like a hospital room. She started to sit up, but stopped when a searing pain went through her chest. Three broken ribs... She thought. So this is what a broken bone feels like. She turned and looked at the bedside table. Her phone sat there, and to her surprise, a deck of duel monsters cards. She picked them up and started going through them. Shock ran through her body. These were her cards! They were the cards she used when she was twelve years old! That's right... She suddenly remembered finding them while she was packing her room and sticking them in her pocket because she was too busy to find a box to put them in. They've been with me all along... She turned and picked up her phone, and to her surprise, it read 8:00 pm. She quickly went into her contacts and dialed her dad's number. The phone started ringing, then cut off. She frowned and tried her mom's number. The phone did the same thing. She was about to throw it in frustration when something caught her eye. A text message. Curious, she opened it and froze when she saw the name of the sender. That couldn't be right. It said it was from Zac, but her and Zac hadn't spoken for months. He'd told her that they couldn't ever be friends a long time ago. Shaking, she read the message.
Where are you Kaylie? This isn't funny. Everyone is worried sick!
"How on earth..." She looked at the phone. "Why did your text message go through, of all people?" Then it hit her, I blocked his phone number! He kept sending those texts and I couldn't take it anymore because he said we weren't friends and I blocked his number! So now his messages are being sent out to random places in the cyber world, and my phone is now in one of those places, so it's picking them up! That's when she realized... If she were going to believe that theory, she'd have to believe this wasn't a dream, and somehow, the storm had thrown her into a different world. She stared at her phone. "I wonder..." She quickly dialed the number she'd memorized so long ago, and held the phone to her ear. It started to ring... Once... Twice... Three times. Her heart skipped a beat when a tired voice answered the phone.
"Zac! Oh my gosh it worked!" The teen girl winced as another sharp pain went through her body.
"Kaylie why are you calling? It's like... 3 in the morning... Go back to be- Kaylie!" Suddenly the tired voice sounded more awake. "Where are you! Wh- Ea- inking!"
Kaylie frowned. She didn't have a very good connection, and who knew how long the phone would last. She needed to act quickly. "Zac stop! Just listen for a minute okay? Can you hear me?"
"Yes, but barely..." The voice was soft now.
"Listen carefully. I need you to go to your TV, and turn it to a static channel. I don't care which one. Leave it there! I don't know if this is going to work, but I need you to place your phone by it, and wait. Do you understand?" Kaylie had no idea what she was saying, she just had a feeling this would work.
"Yes... But I don't understand what's goi-" The phone connection went dead. Kaylie sighed and set the phone down. Hopefully he wouldn't get all mad like he always did and ignore her request. Due to unforeseen circumstances, it seemed he was the only connection she had with her world. She slowly drifted off, hoping her plan would work. Otherwise, she may never get home...
Zachary stared at the phone in his hand. After everyone had heard about Kaylie's disappearance, he'd assumed it was for attention, and he'd sent her a quick text. They hadn't spoken in months since he'd told her they were no longer friends. It was now completely silent in his house again. He had tried calling back, but the phone would ring then stop calling. He wondered if he should try to do what she said, but it sounded so ridiculous. He rolled his eyes and started to go back to sleep. Kaylie was so dramatic sometimes. She'd probably just left home to get some attention.
Just as he was about to fall asleep again, Zac sat up. What if he was wrong? What if she had been kidnapped in the middle of the night, and she was trying to get him to see something the kidnappers were airing over a static channel? It seemed crazy, but he couldn't sleep until he'd figured it out. Sighing, the red headed boy rolled out of bed and trudged into his family room. He switched the TV on and made sure the volume was down low. He set his phone next to it, and watched the screen. It wavered, then slowly, an image started to come through. His heart started beating fast, and his phone went off. A message from Kaylie.
If you get this, keep watching the screen, no matter what.
Zac stared as a room came into focus. A blond girl sat in the bed, sleeping. Around her stood some cartoon characters from a show he used to watch when he was younger. He frowned. What was she getting at? He sighed and continued to watch.
Kaylie woke to Mokuba gently shaking her arm. She sat up slowly with his help, and found herself looking directly at Kaiba.
"So you live in the midwestern United States?" Kaiba's tone was way more calm now, and his eyes looked a little red, along with Mokuba's. Kaylie guessed they'd had a heart to heart discussion.
"Yes." She whispered.
"What is your name?" Kaiba folded his arms, waiting for her answer.
"My name is Kaylie..." She looked down at her hands, which were resting lightly on the blanket.
At first, Zac hadn't recognized the blond girl. Kaylie had always had really long hair, but this girl's hair was short. When she said her name, Zac almost threw the remote across the room. She'd called him just to show him she'd gotten herself on a kid's TV show? That was so utterly immature, he was about to turn the TV off when she spoke again...
"You fixed my phone didn't you?"
"You need it to get a hold of someone to come get you don't you?" Kaiba's mouth turned back to a hard line.
"I don't think anyone can come get me..." Kaylie felt tears stinging her eyes. She hadn't cried at all, but the thought of being completely lost suddenly hit her hard.
"Why not?" Kaiba demanded. "Don't have enough money?"
"There is no one else..." She whispered softly, the tears spilling over.
Kaiba stopped, surprised, "What do you mean?"
"My family... They're... Not here." She looked up at Mokuba. "I'm kind of on my own."
Mokuba looked at his older brother, and his older brother sighed, "We'll be right back." The two left the room, leaving her once again, alone. Suddenly, her phone went off. She picked it up.
What is going on Kaylie? This isn't funny.
She quickly tapped out a reply, relieved that her idea had actually worked.
I think you know what... I didn't believe it at first either...
Zac dropped his phone in shock. There was no way that could have just happened. He'd seen her receive his text, and shortly after she'd replied, his phone went of with the same reply. This couldn't be real...
"Hard to believe isn't it..." Kaylie's voice had a slight laugh to it. "That I'm stuck inside a TV... And you can hear everything I'm saying, but I can't hear or see you?"
Zac blinked. It seemed like she was talking to herself, but he knew she was talking to him. There had to be a reasonable explanation to this.
"There was a storm last night Zac... Remember?" She spoke softly, staring at the wall in front of her. This had to be the oddest thing that had ever happened to him. "It did something to my TV... And it sucked me in somehow. I'm stuck here. I need your help. Zac you're the only one my phone can communicate with in the real world... Please... Can we forget what happened in the past, just for a bit, until I can be home again?"
Zac stared at the screen, watching his once best friend cry silently. He picked up his phone and tapped out a reply.