Doorways
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Somewhere far away, in a land suspended in the space between dreams and reality…

"Oi! Get back here, you little runt!"

Breathing heavily, a thin boy ran down a dark alley, clutching his payload to his chest. Today was his big day, and he wasn't going to let anyone ruin it! Not even the law, though they had tried time and time again to catch him.

He ducked around the corner swift as lightning, just as a group of men in the New World's standard police uniforms rushed past. Heh, he thought, they fell for the old cartoon trick! Works every time. Panting, he sat down against the wall of the alleyway and took a few minutes to catch his breath. Then, he unwrapped the package he had been holding onto for dear life, and observed his prize.

"It's prettier than I thought it would be…" he muttered aloud to no one in particular.

Sitting in his hands, atop an unwrapped sheet of oneiruminum foil, was the most beautiful cinnamon roll ever baked. It was the most vexing as well, for it seemed not to adhere to the normal laws of space, and folded inwards on itself in an ever-shifting mass of sweet dough, cinnamon paste, and glaze. It was a legendary Pure Cinnamon Roll.

One of the last remaining remnants of the Old World, a Pure Cinnamon Roll was said to be the most delicious and filling baked good one would ever eat in their life. It would fill you for at least a week, and the blissful taste would never truly leave your mouth. This, and many other semi-possible confectioneries were stored in the National Old World Museum here in Charmaline.

And it was this that this young boy had just stolen.

"Ah… all in all, I'd say this was a great success." he spoke aloud, as he began to dig into his sweet treat.

Unfortunately, he was interrupted by a police officer who had the brains to turn back and check the alleyway. A strong hand suddenly clasped him on the shoulder, causing the boy to freeze in shock. He slowly lowered the Pure Cinnamon Roll and shakily turned up towards the police officer who was gripping him in place.

"H-hello." he said, "N-nice weather we're having, eh?" He knew this attempt at small talk would do nothing, yet he couldn't help from trying to buy time. Time for what, he didn't know.

The police officer simply frowned down at him. "What's your name, son?" he asked, in a gruff voice.

"Ch-chirnov, sir. Chirnov Augardin." It wasn't his real name, but rather his go-to persona when caught in the eyes of the law. Years down the line, he would reflect on this moment and shake his head, wondering why he never thought to come up with more than one fake name.

"The same Chirnov Augardin who robbed the Charmaline Bank last week?" The officer queried.

"N-no, of course not, sir. I've no idea what you're talking about at all." lied Chirnov.

"Come with me."


The officer led him to his police car, handcuffed. The Pure Cinnamon Roll had been confiscated, and was now sitting on a platter in another officer's hands, a sheet of transparent possiblastic foil draped lightly over top. The office holding his Pure Cinnamon Roll was none other than the notorious Officer Vazarin, Chirnov's arch nemesis for the past few years.

Just need to find a doorway, thought Chirnov. Then I'm as good as free.

"Where are you taking me?" he asked, in an attempt to delay. As Officer Vazarin began to speak, he looked around.

"You're going to the Charmaline Police Department, kiddo. It's juvy for you." Officer Vazarin placed the Pure Cinnamon Roll into his partner's hands, and traded places. Now the villain had caught the hero.

None over there, he thought. None there either. Damn it!

He looked towards the car he was being lead to, as Officer Vazarin began to open the door. Would a car door suffice? He felt himself being strongly shoved into the car, and began to topple inwards. It looked like he would be finding out momentarily.


Somewhere far away, in a land that had been fully realized…

The Chronicler and Duoca sat in her office, draped over a large spread of papers. They had been drawing together for hours, after they had gotten bored of reading every book in The Chronicler's possession, and the full body of their work was already beginning to match the volume of some of the most famous artists in Existence, though who those were they did not know.

The Chronicler sat up from her drawing, and stretched her back.

"Oh man," she said, as she cracked her neck, "laying over the desk like this has to be unhealthy, somehow. I mean, did you hear how many times my neck just cracked, Duoca?"

Her friend nodded, not looking up from her drawing.

"It was at least five or six times," she commented, continuing to draw, "maybe when I'm done drawing this we should go out and get some exercise?"

BWOOOOMP!

The Chronicler shuddered, and lay exasperated back over the desk.

"No way…" she groaned, "The Festival of the Lost is today! I'm not going out there until it's over."

"Why not? It'd be fun." asked Duoca.

"Fun? Do you call being overwhelmed by more noise than you've ever heard in your life all at once 'fun?'" asked The Chronicler, incredulous.

"I don't quite know what you mean," said Duoca, as she wiped eraser shavings off of her paper, "I think that it's rather nice to see everyone out and happy. It isn't so loud."

"Maybe not to you." muttered The Chronicler.

"Look—" said Duoca, as she began to hold up her paper, "I drew you! Aren't you pretty?" she asked, beaming.

The Chronicler appraised the drawing with the demeanor of a professional art critic, and made over-exaggerated humming noises as she pretended to inspect every facet of the design of the drawing. Then, catching Duoca by surprise, she leaped towards her and hugged her friend.

"It looks great, Duoca. Good job!"

Smiling, Duoca stood up, bringing The Chronicler with her. "Did that cheer you up enough that you could get out of this craggy office?"

"Maybe a little bit… but I don't want to go anywhere near the parade, you hear?" The Chronicler conceded.

"Alright, then. No parade! For now." said Duoca with a mockingly menacing tone to her voice, as she let out an evil laugh.

Before The Chronicler could protest, the two of them suddenly found themselves laying on the ground, as something teenager-sized had just barreled through the door and into them. Rubbing their heads, the two found their bearings and stood up quickly to accost their attacker.

"Hey! What the hell was that for?!" shouted The Chronicler, looking down at her feet. There lay a teenage boy, his wrists shackled by some strange mechanism. He looked up sheepishly at the two girls.

"Sorry! Just passing through." he said, as he clambered to his feet, and turned around to leave. Suddenly, he stopped, as if he had forgotten and suddenly remembered something.

"Oh yeah, would you mind getting these off of me?" he asked, holding up his wrists and smiling.

The Chronicler looked down at the strange device around the boy's arms and back at him, with a face as though she thought he was stupid.

"How exactly do you propose I do that?"


Officer Vazarin swore loudly as the teenage boy he had just shoved into his car suddenly vanished into thin air.

"How in the hell?!" he yelled, as he pulled out his walkie-talkie and buzzed in to the CPD. "We've got a Code Sonic Blue!" he shouted into it, as he adjusted himself and looked around, bewildered.

The other officer looked just as confused as he was. "Where do you think he could have gone off to, boss?" he asked, sheepishly.

"Hell if I know!" spat Officer Vazarin, "How the fuck does he keep doing this! I've arrested that degenerate at least three times now, and every time! Every time!"

He threw off his hat, and stamped on it in a fit of pure unbridled fury.

"I'll get you next time, Chirnov! You better believe it!" he called into the heavens.

It is a little known fact that every doorway in all of Existence is inexplicably connected to one another. To superontological beings studying the cosmology of this Existence, it seemed to make no sense that the one in charge of running this place had seen fit to connect doorways, of all things. Other worlds made sense to connect, implemented through leylines that crossed through the Non-Space, analogies, allusions, and references, that intricately wove several narratives together in a manner that avoided plotholes, but why of all things would they have connected doors?!

Regardless of the why or how, the fact remained that every door could act as a gateway to another world. When one passes through a doorway, they pass not through thin air, but instead through an intangible threshold that facilitates safe travel from the "entry point" to the "exit point." In most cases, entry points and exit points were good enough at sorting themselves out and plopping you back in the correct universe without any awareness that you had, for only a split second, been Nowhere at all.

However, there was a very slim chance that the lines would get crossed, and a door would spit you out of the mouth of the wrong door, somewhere else. This slim chance was the reason why sometimes one would find themselves walking into a room, forgetting why they had come there, then suddenly remembering as they left back through the way they had come.

This slim chance was what Chirnov Augardin had learned to abuse to make his getaway. His abysmal luck happened to line up just so that when travelling through any gateway, he more often than not would find himself somewhere else. And it was somewhere else he had just gone to avoid the wrath of Officer Vazarin.


Chirnov flexed his hands and rubbed at his wrists. It had taken the better part of an hour, but the two girls he had crashed into upon entry into this world — The Chronicler and Duoca, as he had learned they were named — had led him to a place that they called The Council of Librarians.

There, The Chronicler had gotten the attention of an older woman with curly pink hair, who she called "Lorelei." The woman reminded Chirnov somewhat of his mother in the way she acted, and he found it quite nice to see her coddle him the instant she had recognized his existence and the existence of the handcuffs that bound his wrists together.

Quickly, Lorelei had led the three of them off, and with the help of another person, who Chirnov had learned was apparently also called "Chronicler," she had managed to procure a very sharp knife. While testing it, Chirnov observed it to cut through solid stone with little effort, and smiled maniacally. Here it was at last: freedom!

With one fell swoop, Lorelei had brought the knife down over his manacles and freed him, just like that. Though they were still attached at his wrists, at least he could move his hands freely. And plus, they looked rather stylish. Perhaps he would keep them after all.

"Thank you very much, ma'am!" he said, beaming.

"You're very welcome, kiddo. Now tell me, where did you come from? And why were you locked up like that?" asked Lorelei.

He looked around nervously. Oh no, he thought, perhaps this wasn't freedom after all.

Swiftly turning his head around, he looked back and saw that the door the four of them had just come through was not too far away. He could make it there in only a second or two if he sprinted.

"The girls told me that you seemingly appeared out of nowhere and crashed into both of them. That wasn't very nice, now was it?" continued the older woman. "If you don't tell me, I might have to punish you." she said, adding a little bit more malice than she had intended.

That was the cue Chirnov needed. In an instant, he whipped around and began to bolt for the door to the Chronicler (not The Chronicler)'s room, and leaped through it. Please work, please work, please work… the mantra repeated in his head.


In a different dark alleyway than the one this story began in, lay a cardboard box propped up against a dumpster. Inside the box were a number of stolen blankets, and a small storage of mostly non-perishable food tucked under a pillow. A stray cat came sniffing around the corner, enticed by the familiar smell of slightly rotten stolen meat.

It is important to note that in this back alleyway was a doorway to a nearby butcher's shop. For at that very same moment, it suddenly swung open, as out came crashing the form of a teenage-boy shaped object. The cat, which had only just rounded the corner, froze in place with every hair on its body sticking up taller than should have been physically possible, and it yowled and swiftly ran away back the way it had come.

Panting, Chirnov Augardin got to his knees, and clambered his way over to his cardboard hut. There, he was relieved to find that his store of food had been relatively untouched while he was gone. He pulled out a silver watch he had once gotten on a lucky pickpocket, and observed the time. While he'd been in what he now knew was called The Library for almost an hour, he had spent a full day away from the New World.

He had learned to keep track of the time when he made the hop from world to world, as he had found early on that time seemed to work in strange ways elsewhere. But that fact was not as important to him as the fact that he had once again successfully avoided arrest. Albeit, at the cost of his meal for the next week.


"Huh? Was it something I said?" asked Lorelei, tilting her head to the side.

"Don't know, don't care. All I know is the kid's gone now. Let's hope he doesn't come back." grumbled The Chronicler.

"Let's go, Duoca," she continued, as she grabbed her friend's arm and began to drag her along.

"Oh, okay." said Duoca. "Sorry for the trouble, Ms. Lorelei!"

"It's fine, girls! You two have fun now, okay? The Festival of The Lost is today!" Lorelei called back.

"Though it's rather strange…" Lorelei muttered to herself, "that boy looked just like the one I saw in the Realm of Possibility just the other day."

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