The janitor06 Jun 2017 | Danny Rocket
Once Danny had the key, story arcs began to fall into place. A talking mailbox gave him directions to an old abandoned house in the foothills, and he gathered his team to road-trip once more.
As they drove, Danny recounted the story of finding the key in the Tolkien inspired dream, Benny told a story about finding a tiny square river filled with fish–and how he spent an afternoon sitting in it and eating them as they swam by, Jimmy explained a couple spells that he had figured out, and Candy occasionally popped her gum but never seemed to look up from her phone.
Jenny sat quietly, listening and laughing as social cues required while holding a long duffel bag in her lap.
When they arrived at the old house, they tried knocking. The door creaked in on its hinges, so they entered. They spread out and wandered through the whole house (which wasn’t much) until they had explored all the rooms except a locked door on the upper level. Danny tried the key in the lock, and the door opened with a hiss as the atmospheres equalized.
It was dark and smelled like a garden, so they stepped in. Behind them the door swung shut silently then disappeared. The five of them staggered around in the dark for a few minutes feeling along the hedges and fountains in their immediate vicinity. Then Jimmy started muttering something and it sounded like he was jumping up and down–but no one could see how ridiculous he looked.
Jimmy’s dance looked like a cross between a river dance and the water sprinkler move as performed by someone with no dancing lessons or talent. The words he said during the dance, however, seemed to do the trick. After a few minutes of his ridiculousness, his hair glowed a bright blue. Not just the hair on his head either, his eyebrows, a handful of hairs he missed shaving, and even his thin arm hair glowed like a high powered LED was under every inch of his body. He grinned proudly and breathed hard.
They were in fact inside a garden or maze of garden, but there were small bits of colored paper all over the ground. After they spent a few minutes congratulating Jimmy for being useful and looking around at the maze they stood in, the overhead lights started to warm up.
At first, just a faint grid of orange balls, but in a few minutes, the ambient light grew so that Jimmy’s hair wasn’t the primary source anymore. They saw now, that they were in a massive stadium.
A huge boom echoed across the stadium and a small cloud of birds and paper lifted up on the far side of the stadium.
“Get ready everyone, I think we’re in the right place.” Danny smiled and drew his sword.
Jenny opened the duffel and pulled out two swords: one that looked like a copy of Danny’s and one that looked like teal glass. They didn’t have time to gawk. An explosion destroyed the hedge in front of them and a short man stood in the crater.
Age and magic had creased his face with an otherworldly glow, which was only offset by the staff of power in his hand–topped by a mop.
“Who are you?” asked Danny.
“I’m Allen. The janitor, Allen.”
They all stood rather dumbstruck for a few seconds as the reality of their situation sunk in. A janitor cleaning up a stadium covered in confetti.
Just to be certain, Danny asked, “Are you getting the arena ready for the High Wizard tournament by chance?” But he already knew the answer as his heart sunk ever deeper in his chest.
The janitor, Allen, who had not fully read the situation, threw his head back and laughed.
His laughter was deep and fatherly and if it weren’t for the present situation, his laugh may have even been described as infectious–in a good way, not at all like a real infection. He continued laughing until he bent over holding his stomach, where he found it within himself the power to hold back the tides of humor. Standing back up, he wiped the tears from his eyes.
Still wiping his eyes and chuckling every third word, he said, “Ah, good one, the Wizard Tournament. Hm, hm, hm, preparing for it.” A suspicious mask replaced the laughing face, “Why are you sneaking in here after hours?”
Jenny took a step forward and spoke, “We’re here to enter in the Wizard Tournament, we were invited.” She held up the sword for the janitor, Allen, to see.
“Well, you’ll have a hard time at that. The tournament’s been over for 4 days, and it lasted for two weeks before that. The High Wizard’s already been on a world tour by now.” The janitor, Allen, scratched his chin. “And you can’t be in here after hours.”
With that, the janitor, Allen, pointed his mop at them, and they were sucked into a whirlpool of soapy water.