Sometimes you have some amazing adventures you just have to tell everyone about. Read the rest of this account here.
Synopsis: I was hiking in the mountains of Korea when I found myself in another world. I met a young woman there named Ain-Mai. We eventually got captured, along with her brother Sing-ga, by a sorceress named Hengfel, who took us to her world. We got away from her and hid in the air tunnels of her fortress. Sing-ga died after being attacked by small spider-like creatures. Ain-Mai and I came in contact with a woman named Klista, who explained to us that she was part of the royal family of a race that used to own the tower where Hengfel was now living, but had been driven into exile by the invaders. She agreed to help us and with her followers, went with us back into the tower to find the key to get back to Ain-Mai’s world, and then to mine. There was a battle with Hengfel’s dragons, but we defeated them and used the stone circle to go back to Ain-Mai’s world.
Home at Last
We will standing once more on the stone circle in the forest clearing where I had first met Ain-Mai. It had only been about a week before, but it seemed like months. It was early evening and the clearing was deserted, which was just as well. Anyone who had seen us appear—especially Chirik in his current blood-soaked condition—would have been scared out of their senses.
“Is this your world?” Klista asked, and Ain-Mai nodded. “This is the only way for those such as Hengfel to come here, and I will take it with me and destroy it.” She held up the medallion. “When we leave, I would suggest you destroy this stone circle.”
“There are servants of Hengfel that are still here,” Ain-Mai said. “They will try to stop us.”
“They are now stranded here with no help from their own world. They will not be too hard to deal with, I think.”
I gave Ain-Mai a hug, not knowing the proper etiquette in her world. “I won’t forget you,” I said. “I am sorry for everything you went through.”
She kissed my hand. “Thank you again for saving me, in the room with the dragons and the cages,” she said. “I will remember you always.” She took off the bracelet that allowed us to talk and gave it to Klista, Then, with a final bow, she turned and walked away into the trees.
“Now I will bring you home and I can get back to more important matters,” Klista said to me in English. I said good-bye to Chirik and Bruce, and to the weird ghilzhi creature too, since he was there. Then Klista touched me on the shoulder and the world went black.
A moment later, there were trees all around, very much like in Ain-Mai’s world, although there was something familiar in the scent of the plants.
“Where are we?” I asked.
“I don’t know; somewhere in your world,” Klista said. “I just brought you to the area of your world that was closest to that last one. It’s probably near where you left. Will you be okay from here?” I nodded. “So,” she continued, “are you going to tell people about this?”
“I’m not sure,” I said, although I was already mentally planning how I would write the story.
She smiled. “That’s okay; yours is a skeptical time. No one would believe you anyway.” She held up her hand in farewell and then disappeared in a small flash of light.
It’s odd how you can get used to living in fantastic circumstances. Now that I was back, the sheer banality of my life seemed to come crashing down on me and I felt a bit depressed. I had gotten my original clothes before I had left Klista’s mansion and now I changed back into them. All except the boots, one of which was wrecked beyond repair. I was on a path and I limped slowly down it until I came to a Buddhist temple. I was hoping to sit down for a bit and relax before asking where I was, but my appearance caused quite a stir.
“Are you the foreigner that has been missing in the mountains for over a week?” one of the monks asked me. Once they found that I was, they asked all kinds of questions, most of which I could not answer without sounding insane, such as “Where were you this whole time?” Still, they brought me in and gave me food and drink. A while later, the police came and asked me most of the same questions, plus more. It seems that the owner of the lodge where I had left my pack had reported me missing. I put off their questions as best as I could or gave such incoherent answers that they eventually gave up and attributed my condition to shock. They offered to drive me to the nearest city to buy more shoes and catch a bus back home.
Just as I was leaving the temple, I noticed that the base of the stupa in the main courtyard looked familiar. It was an old carved stone circle about a foot high. With a thrill of excitement, I realized it looked very much like the one in Ain-Mai’s world. I pointed it out to the senior monk who was walking with us.
“That is very old,” he said. “It comes from before this temple was built. Why do you ask?”
“I think I have seen one like it before,” I said.
“Ah, then you are fortunate,” he said with a strange smile and bowed deeply. I left not knowing what to make of it.
Three hours later, I was sitting at a bus terminal, wearing new shoes in the biggest size they could find, which were still horribly tight on me, and thinking about my life: my normal, day-to-day life. I missed my wife and wanted to get home to her as soon as I could. She had sobbed when I called to tell her I was okay, something very uncharacteristic for her. I wanted to be there, to be able to put my arms around her and comfort her.
I needed to go home—wanted to too, of course, but still, part of me wanted to be back there. Back where I could flit to another world on a stone circle, where there was uncommon dangers and I had rescued a girl from dragons, even if I had paid for it later with pain and injury. No one might believe my story, but I know the truth of it, and I knew that it had changed me.