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Dimension Guardians: From Fear to Fortitude

Dimension Guardians #1: From Fear to Fortitude

By Barrett Meadows

 

Published By Darrin M. Bowers

 

Copyright 2017 Barrett Meadows

 

Shakespir Edition, License Notes

Thank you for downloading this eBook. This book remains the copyrighted property of the author, and may not be redistributed to others for commercial or non-commercial purposes. If you enjoyed this book, please encourage your friends to download their own copy from their favorite authorized retailer. Thank you for your support.

Table of Contents

Intro

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Post-script

Thank you

About the author

Intro

Camdyn Jones has had a fear of mirrors for as long as he can remember, which is most of his childhood years. He has always done everything he can to avoid them as much as possible. His mother used to tell him that mirrors were portals to other dimensions, her belief in that statement among other things is what eventually resulted in her being institutionalized. His mother always stressed that mirrors were particularly dangerous in rooms that were not properly lit. According to her, a mere glance from the corner of your eye at a mirror in the dark could be harmless, or it could result in one being pulled into some random dimension that they would more than likely never return from.

As a child Camdyn avoided fun houses as if they were as deadly as the plague, he simply felt that they featured too many mirrors to be worth the risk. He never learned to drive because it would have required looking into mirrors. Seeing his reflection in bodies of water or in windows has never bothered him since there seemed to be nothing dangerous about them. His mother’s warnings about mirrors on the contrary are why he has never actually used one. He only uses public restrooms when absolutely necessary and keeps his head down while washing his hands.

Life as he knows it is about to change for Camdyn Jones and he will have to face his fear, not only to save himself but to save others as well. In the process he will discover things he never thought possible, and do things he has only ever dreamed of. Camdyn Jones is about to be thrust into an extraordinary journey from fear to fortitude.

Camdyn Jones (age 5)

His parents were at it again, he could hear them arguing. While not a nightly occurrence, his parents arguing certainly wasn’t uncommon; and it was always about the same thing. Camdyn’s mother Allisyn has the sincere belief that mirrors are portals to other dimensions and doesn’t hold back when it comes to warning her son about the potential scenarios involved with them. She has warned him many times not to stare into mirrors for too long, and not to ever look at a mirror in a dark room. His father sometimes takes exception to this, but Camdyn doesn’t understand why his father is so obsessed with convincing his mother that she is wrong. What if she isn’t, what if it’s not her imagination? If everything Allysin Jones believes about mirrors is actually true then Camdyn has legitimate cause for concern (which is why he’s never used one), and his mother is just trying to protect him like she says. Don’t all parents do their best to protect their children? Rather than listen to the same argument again, Cam decides to put ear plugs in and get some sleep. Tomorrow is his first day of kindergarten and he knows well enough that this conversation may still be going in the morning.

“Dammit Allisyn, why do you constantly have to fill our son’s head with your magic mirror bullshit? It’s gonna give him nightmares, if it hasn’t already.” Allisyn Jones glares at her husband. “Really Nick, you think my feelings about mirrors are bullshit? After what you and I experienced ourselves before we got married, or have you conveniently forgotten that?” Nick Jones shakes his head. “How many times do I have to explain that was all just a bad trip? We hallucinated that whole situation.” Allisyn scoffs, “Just keep telling yourself that Nick, but I know better; I was sober the whole time remember? I never did LSD with you and your friends. Furthermore, I never did any drugs with you and your friends. I’ve never been willing to risk losing any clarity of mind due to my responsibilities.” “Here we go again with your responsibilities as a Guardian. Tell me Allisyn, how exactly do you perform your duties as a Guardian when we don’t own a single mirror?” Nick says while throwing his hands in the air. “Do not mock me Nick Jones! Just because we don’t have mirrors in this house, doesn’t mean I don’t have one in case duty calls.” Allisyn exclaims. “I’m not mocking you,” Nick sighs; “I need you to understand how it sounds when you start talking about other dimensions and being trusted as some sort of defender of justice or something like that between them. If you’re not careful, that talk is going to get you put away one of these days.” “Is that a threat?” Allisyn asks, shocked. “Of course not sweetheart, but it is something I’m afraid could eventually happen if you keep telling stories to Camdyn about mirrors being portals to other dimensions. He’s just a kid, what if he starts telling your stories to the kids at school? What if teachers hear him talking about it? Imagine what that could lead to for him, for you, hell even for me. The impact that could have on our lives, is it worth it?”

“Good morning Cam, you ready for your first day of school?” his mother greets him when he walks into the kitchen. Camdyn smiles, “As ready as I’m going to get, I guess.” “You’ll be fine dear,” his mother assures him, “You’re a bright young man and I’m sure you’ll make friends as easily as your father always has. You have that certain something, just like him. Now eat your breakfast and I’ll walk you to school.” Cam looks up from his cereal, “The school is only two blocks away Mom, I can make it there by myself. Besides, there will probably be plenty of other kids walking to school from our block.” After breakfast Camdyn heads out the door and sees that he was correct. There is already a group of kids on each side of his street, walking towards the school. He makes no attempt to catch up to them, just keeps them in view. There are some kids that appear to be his age among them, so he tries to commit their faces to memory in case any of them are in his kindergarten class. Cam can hear more kids behind him also; when he glances back he sees a few more that may be his age. He hopes his mom isn’t worrying about him, as she stands on their porch watching. He waves, and she waves back. Then Cam turns and continues on his way.

When class gets started, Cam’s teacher introduces herself as Miss Lynn (he’s not sure if that’s her first or last name). She then asks the class to stand up one at a time and introduce themselves. While he waits for his turn, Camdyn pays close attention to the names of the kids he recognizes from earlier when he was walking to school. The first child he recognizes to introduce themselves was Guillermo Nunez, a fourth generation Mexican-American. Next to introduce themselves were the Madden twins Ace and Jackie. Ace has dirty blond hair and brown eyes, while his sister has black hair and green eyes; however they have very similar facial features. The twins were followed by Vic (short for Victoria) Jordan, her skin is the color of mocha and her hair is in corn rows that end in beaded braids. After Vic is Devon Shields, her skin slightly lighter than Vic’s, she has brown hair and blue eyes. Finally it was his turn, “Hello everyone. My name is Camdyn Jones, but you can call me Cam if you want.” “Thank you Cam,” Miss Lynn said. “Now that we’ve all introduced ourselves, I’m going to place each of you at one of the four tables as your assigned seat for the start of each day. Assigned seats will allow me to quickly take attendance by determining who is here and who is absent based on empty chairs. The less time I spend taking attendance, the more time we will have for lessons and leisure activities.” The entire class seemed pleased with this idea. Miss Lynn continued, “At Table One I would like to have the Maddens, Vic Jordan, Cam Jones, Guillermo Nunez and Devon Shields. If the six of you would please choose your seats, you may then quietly talk amongst yourselves while I get your other classmates seated at Tables Two, Three, and Four.”

As Cam joins the others at Table One, Devon asks “Didn’t your family just move in a few weeks ago?” Before he could answer Devon, Vic chimed in “Oh yeah, you live right across the street from me; which puts you between the Maddens and Devon’s family.” Guillermo added, “I saw you walking to school this morning. I live a few houses down from Ace and Jackie. Your parents let you walk to school by yourself?” Cam smiled, “Yeah, I told my mom I’d be fine to walk two blocks. It was just the two of us this morning, my dad was at work.” “What does he do?” Devon asked. “He’s a police detective, so he doesn’t really work the same hours all the time.” Cooool,” said Jackie before asking if Cam’s dad had ever had to shoot anyone. “I don’t think so,” Cam replied, “but if I find out he has, I’ll let you know.”

After school, Cam and his new friends walked home together. They all said their good-byes in front of Devon’s house and went their separate ways. Cam went inside and found his mother in the kitchen already cooking dinner. “What smells so delicious?” he asked. “Oh Cam, I didn’t hear you come in; how was your first day of school? That delicious smell is the mac and cheese bake I have in the oven and the brussels sprouts cooking on the stove with butter, garlic salt and pepper” his mother responded. Camdyn beamed, “First day of school was great, and I made a bunch of new friends that I’ll be walking to and from school with every day now.” Allisyn smiled, “That’s wonderful honey, I’m glad I was right about you being able to make friends as easily as your father.” At that moment, Cam’s father also entered the kitchen and greeted his wife with a kiss before tussling Camdyn’s hair. “Glad you’re making friends champ, I think this neighborhood is going to be just what we need. It’s close enough to the school for Cam to walk and only a five to ten minute drive to the police station for me; it’s absolutely perfect.” Allisyn tries to keep her uneasy feeling away from her facial expression as she thinks, “I hope you’re right Nick, I really do; for all our sakes.” As she turns back to the meal she was preparing, she says “Well, go get washed up you two; dinner is almost ready.”

After dinner, Camdyn and his father clear the table and load the dinner dishes into the dishwasher. “Hey champ, I want to talk to you about what your mom has been telling you about mirrors.” Nick says as he closes the dishwasher. Cam sighs, “Look Dad, I’m five and I have a vivid imagination; so I know enough about make believe. I know you don’t believe her, but why would she lie to me? Everything she has ever told me about mirrors sounds real enough. She sounds different when she’s telling me a bed time story, which I know is make believe. You don’t have to believe her, I believe her enough for both of us. Can I go play now?” A shocked Nick tussles his son’s hair again, “Sure thing champ, if you go out just be sure to be back shortly after sunset.” “No problem Dad, all my friends live in this block.” Cam says before heading out the door.

Once outside, Camdyn sees his friends sitting in a circle in the Madden’s yard; he makes his way over to join them. “So what are we doing y’all, playing duck-duck-goose or something?” he asks as he joins them. Victoria Jordan answers, “Nah, that’s such a little kid game. We figured we’d just sit in a circle and talk about ourselves or whatever else; the next topic is what each of us is afraid of.” Cam raises an eyebrow, “Really? Is it any fun?” This time it’s Ace Madden with the answer, “It’s not really fun, but we have been learning stuff about each other.” “I guess that is a pretty good idea, since we’re going to be sitting at the same table all year.” Cam says. Jackie Madden volunteers to go first. “I don’t know if I’d say I’m afraid of them, but mirrors definitely give me the heebie-jeebies. Sometimes it almost feels like someone else is watching me from the other side of them.” Ace nudges his sister with his elbow, “Yeah, your reflection!” Jackie half-heartedly chuckles. “It doesn’t always feel like that’s all it is though, and it gives me a really weird feeling.” Cam speaks up, “I get it, mirrors can be weird sometimes; my mom doesn’t like them much either. We don’t even have any in our house, unless my dad has ‘em hidden somewhere.” Jackie glares at her brother, “See, it’s not just me!” This induces laughter from the group. Jackie looks around, “Who wants to go next?” Ace stands up, “Since you went first sis, I’ll go next. I’m not afraid of anything, but I don’t like bugs; especially flying ones. Over the summer a wasp flew into my left ear and stung me, my ear swelled shut and I had trouble hearing out of it for a few days.” No one seemed to have any problem accepting Ace’s disliking bugs, or at least the flying ones. As Ace sat back down, Vic stood up. “I’ll go next. I’m not really afraid of anything either, but I don’t like going to church on Sundays because my mom always makes me wear a frilly dress to church. I feel silly wearing dresses, but I feel even sillier wearing frilly ones. Whose turn is it now?” Guillermo stands up to take his turn. “Before I tell you what I’m afraid of, you all have to promise you won’t laugh.” Each of the other five nods in agreement. “Okay, I’m afraid of women with big boobs, apparently my mother once almost smothered me while breastfeeding.” At this the other five all burst out laughing and rolling on the ground. Staring at them, Guillermo says “Come on guys, you promised.” Once they have all settled down Devon takes her turn. “I’m actually terrified of mirrors, Jackie is right about them being weird; I’ve seen things behind me in reflections that weren’t actually behind me in the room. I’ve seen things move in reflections that shouldn’t be able to and when I turn around to look at what was in the room with me, nothing is out of place. I won’t use them anymore, they scare me too much.” Devon’s statement brings a silence over the group. Camdyn is lost in thought as he compares what Devon just said to what his mother has told him about mirrors. If Devon has experienced this stuff, rather than just imagining it; then that makes everything his mother has said true. “Camdyn?!” Devon says, snapping her fingers in front of his face. “Huh, oh sorry; I guess I got lost in thought.” Cam responds after realizing everyone was staring at him. Devon smiles, “Not a problem, but it’s your turn now. What are you afraid of?” Cam thinks for a moment, unsure if he wants to follow the mirror trend and perhaps add to it or go with something different. To be honest, he should say mirrors as they are the only thing he is remotely afraid of; but he thinks telling them what his mother claims to know about mirrors would be a bit too much for his friends to believe, or even consider possible; except for Devon, and maybe Jackie. Still, if these are going to be his friends; he should tell them at least part of the truth. “Funhouses creep me out. Too many mirrors, I refuse to go into one.” “Y’all are a bunch of pansies.” Ace says sarcastically. Jackie immediately elbows him in the ribs, “Damn bro, why you gotta be such a dick.” Vic, Guillermo, Devon and Cam all stare at Jackie shocked, as Ace takes off running towards the door to the Madden house. “I’m telling mom you were swearing at me!” Jackie scoffs, “Oh please, like she’s gonna give a shit. She’ll just blame dad for cussing around us so much. Maybe I won’t get dessert tomorrow, big deal.” She turns to the others, “Guess I should go in and face my punishment head on, see all of you in the morning.” They all exchange good-byes again and head for their respective homes as sunset gets closer. “Hey Devon, wanna watch the sunset from my porch?” Camdyn asks. Devon smiles, “Sure, I’d like that.” After the sun sets, Devon says goodnight, hugs Cam and returns home. Cam goes inside with a smile on his face. He feels good about his group of friends, and thinks Devon would be a great choice to be his best friend; there’s just something about her, though he can’t describe it. In time Cam will discover the connection, and the importance of it; but that is still a long ways away.

Camdyn Jones (age 8)

Cam is walking home from school with his friends, when suddenly Jackie Madden asks “Hey Cam, what the hell is going on at your house?” When Cam looks in that direction he sees an ambulance and two police cars parked on the street in front of his house. “Oh shit, I’ll see you guys in the morning” he says as he takes off running towards his house. As Camdyn reaches his yard a police officer stops him, “I’m sorry I can’t let you through, you’ll have to go around.” Camdyn glares at the officer, “Go around my ass, dick-munch; I live here and I want to know what the hell is going on.” From behind Cam comes his father’s voice, “Camdyn Everett Jones, watch your language!” Cam sighs, “Sorry Dad, but flat-foot here is trying to keep me out of our house.” “Sorry Detective Jones, I didn’t realize he was your son” the officer says apologetically. Cam looks at his father, “So what is going on here?” Nick Jones sighs, “I’m afraid your mother had one of her episodes, and it was pretty bad this time. The ambulance is about to take her to the hospital for a full psychological evaluation. She may not come home this time Cam.” Cam stares through his father, “I’m riding with her.” “Afraid not champ, it’s too dangerous right now. Your mother is still rambling about broken portals, dead dimension guardians, the coming darkness and all sorts of other nonsense. As far as I know, this is the worst episode she’s ever had.” Camdyn takes a step forward and looks up to meet his father’s eyes with his own. “I’m going with her, and you or anyone else that tries to stop me is going to get kicked in the balls.” Camdyn then stormed past his father, walked to the ambulance and climbed in the back with his mother. “It’ll be okay Mom; you can tell me all about it.” He says as he takes one of her hands between his. Meanwhile, the officer who had stopped him looked at Nick Jones “Your kid has one hell of a backbone, and a mouth on him.” Nick shakes his head, “Yeah, he’s too much like his parents for his own good sometimes. His passion and spunk are what make me so proud of him, even if it means being on the receiving end of something like that.”

At the hospital, Camdyn stays with his mother waiting to hear her side of things until he’s asked by a nurse to sit in the waiting room until after her evaluation. Allisyn Jones hasn’t said a word to Cam or to the psychiatrist performing her evaluation. In addition to his questions, the psychiatrist orders an MRI, checks Allisyn’s pupils, and requests blood tests. The psychiatrist enters the waiting room and approaches Camdyn, “Are you Mrs. Jones son?” Cam stands, “Yes sir. Is my mother going to be okay? When can I see her?” The psychiatrist places a hand on Cam’s shoulder, “She’s still undergoing some tests at the moment, but once she’s in a room you can visit her until she’s transferred. I won’t know for sure until I see the results of the MRI, but I believe your mother has fallen into a deep catatonic state. She appeared unable to answer my questions and her pupils were unresponsive to light. As soon as transportation is available, I’m going to have your mother transferred to the University Mental Health Facility so I can keep a close eye on her and determine the best course of action for her recovery. You’ll be able to visit her there as often as you like between the hours of 9 am and 9 pm.” Camdyn slumps his shoulders and hangs his head. “Okay doc, if you think it’s for the best; but do everyone a favor, don’t let her near any mirrors.” The psychiatrist looks confused, and is about to ask why but a nurse enters the waiting room to let Cam know that he can go see his mother. Camdyn follows the nurse to his mother’s room and says goodnight before calling his father for a ride home.

After getting in the car with his dad, Cam immediately says “I need to know as much of what Mom said to you as you can remember. It doesn’t matter how much of it either one of us believes, if I talk to her about it then maybe that will help speed up her recovery.” Nick shakes his head, “I told you Cam, it was just a bunch of nonsense about broken portals, dead dimension guardians, darkness coming and her needing to protect you until you’re ready.” “Wait, what? You didn’t say anything about me needing to be protected earlier. Why would she need to protect me? Until I’m ready for what?” Nick sighs, “Cam it was all just a bunch of nonsense. It’s nothing to worry about.” “Maybe it’s nothing for you to worry about, but Mom is going to be sitting in UMHF in a catatonic state because she’s worried about it. Whatever she thinks is going on, isn’t going to go away in her mind just because you want to ignore it. One of us has to talk to her about it; and since you’ll be busy at work, I’m gonna visit her for as long as I can every day and try to help her snap out of this and hopefully get some sort of information from her. Now please Dad, just tell me as much as you can remember about what she said to you before the ambulance came for her.” After considering his son’s words, Nick gives in and starts telling Camdyn everything he can remember Allisyn saying before the ambulance arrived. “That’s everything Cam, and I’m sure it doesn’t make any sense to you either.” Cam shakes his head, “It doesn’t have to make sense to me yet. If there’s anything to it, I’m hoping I can get Mom to open up about it and explain all of it to me.”

Every day after school Camdyn visits his mother and tries to get her to talk to him about everything she had said to his father. Every day his mother respnds with silence, but he doesn’t let it deter him. Sometimes his father accompanies him on weekends, his mother remains silent; she seems to just stare off into space. The psychiatrist apparently took Cam’s advice as there are no mirrors in Allisyn’s room. Cam’s friends do everything they can to keep Cam’s spirits up; unfortunately for Nick Jones his job doesn’t allow him the same luxury. His caseload keeps him busy, but doesn’t keep him from thinking about his wife’s current condition and how much she must resent him for never believing her. Nick begins to worry that even if he does start believing in what she has been saying for years, that it may already be too late. He thinks back to that college party the year before they go married and everything that he has always told her, as well as himself was only a bad trip. But he has to admit, she’s right about her not doing any drugs with him and his friends. She never drank either. Could all of that had really happened? Had she really turned to stone and saved him and his friends from some giant acid spitting worm thing? How could that be?

Camdyn Jones (age 12)

Allisyn Jones has been a patient of the University Mental Health Facility for four years, and she has spent the entirety of those four years in a catatonic state. Her son Camdyn visits her every day, and stays until visiting hours are over at 9 pm trying to get her to tell him anything about the broken portals, and everything else she was talking about before she was picked up by the ambulance. Today, Cam’s best friend Devon Shields is going with him to lend moral support. Cam and Devon could not possibly be prepared for what is going to happen during their visit with Allisyn Jones.

Cam and Devon enter Allisyn’s room together to find her sitting in a wheelchair looking out her window. It’s a beautiful day out, and Cam hopes his mother is able to enjoy the view. “Hey Mom, I have some extra company for you today. This is my best friend Devon Shields, she lives next door.” Allisyn’s hands fall from the arm rests to the wheels of the wheelchair, and she slowly turns around to face her son and his friend. Her eyes are filled with an alertness that Cam hasn’t seen in four years. “Did you say Devon Shields?” she asks. Cam’s mouth drops open, “I’ll go get a nurse.” Before Cam can even turn for the door his mother tells him to stay, and again asks “Did you say Devon Shields?” Devon steps forward and answers, “Yes ma’am, my name is Devon Marie Shields; my mother named me after my father, his name was Devon too.” Allisyn smiles, “And his middle name is Marcel, isn’t it?” Devon is shocked, “How did you know that? My father disappeared before I was born, my mother and I have never heard from him.” Allisyn shakes her head, “That’s not exactly true is it Devon? You’ve seen your father before, though not recently; isn’t that right?” Devon begins to cry, “How can you possibly know that?” Allisyn rolls over to the two pre-teens and responds with just one whispered word, “Mirrors.”

After Devon takes a few minutes to regain her composure, Camdyn looks at his mother. “That was creepy as hell Mom. What is going on, and how do you know so much about Devon’s dad?” Allisyn shakes her head, “I can’t say much right now, you’re not ready to hear it all yet. What I can tell you is that this began four years ago with the collapse of 2 dimension portals and the deaths of their respective Guardians. Devon honey, as far as I know your father is still alive so don’t fret. As of now, I’m fairly certain those are still the only portals to have collapsed and the only Guardians to have been killed. There’s a group from some other dimension calling themselves Darkness that is responsible for what’s happened thus far. None of the other Dimension Guardians are sure exactly what Darkness’ end goal is, but we’re sure they have something planned. Camdyn you, and apparently your friend Devon are likely members of the next generation of Guardians. I need you both to be careful around mirrors until I tell you otherwise. Camdyn, I also need you to not visit me as often for a while. I don’t know how dangerous it is for us to be in the same place at the same time. Come see me a few times a week, Devon you’re welcome to join him as often as Monica is willing to allow it. Most importantly Camdyn, under no circumstances are you to discuss this with your father or any doctors or nurses that work here. None of them would believe you, and I have no idea if any agents of Darkness are already on this side. There almost has to be, but I’ve no idea how to track them at the moment. Now, go ahead home and have some fun you two.” As Allisyn rolls back to the window there is a knock at the door, followed by a nurse entering the room. “Oh, I’m sorry” the nurse states, “I didn’t know you had company.” “That’s okay,” Camdyn says, “we were just leaving.” As he glances back at his mother, he sees that she is once again staring out her window as if she were still catatonic.

After leaving his mother’s room, Camdyn had Devon call her mom to come pick them up because his dad was at work. On the way home, Cam and Devon didn’t talk very much; they were both too deep in thought. When they got back to Devon’s house, she asked if she could stay outside with Cam for a while longer; her mother was fine with that until sunset. Camdyn and Devon went over to his house and sat on the porch steps in silence for a few minutes while everything Allisyn Jones had said sank in. Finally Devon spoke up, “I’m a little scared Cam. The stuff your mom said about my dad kind of creeped me out. How could she know all that?” Camdyn simply shook his head, “I don’t know Dev, but you didn’t say she was wrong about any of it. Have you seen your father?” “Yeah, in pictures of him and my mom before I was born.” Devon bit her bottom lip, before going on “And in mirrors a few times; it always seemed like he was trying to say something, but I could never hear what it was.” As she begins to cry again, Devon leans over and puts her head on Cam’s shoulder. Camdyn instinctively puts his arm around her and whispers, “It’s gonna be okay Dev, my mom will help us figure it all out; and I’m gonna be with you through all of this. You’re my best friend, I will stand by your side no matter who or what we’re facing.”

Over the next few weeks, Camdyn continued to visit his mother two or three times a week as she had requested. Devon was usually able to accompany him at least once a week; sometimes she was with him for every visit. Also during this time, Camdyn began to notice that his father was home more and more frequently; often Cam would discover Nick Jones searching for solace in a bottle of whiskey. More often Cam found his father passed out on the couch with an empty bottle nearby, after not finding solace in it. It was clear to Cam that his father was no longer dealing with the situation very well at all, but he couldn’t offer much in the way of help to his dad even though he wanted to. It was nearly impossible to talk to Nick about Allisyn when he was drinking, and utterly impossible to do so when he was passed out. Unfortunately, drinking and passed out were the only two states of being that Cam ever seemed to find his father in anymore.

This pattern of behavior continued for several months, until one night Cam returned from visiting his mother and found his father lying on the bathroom floor. The recently placed bathroom mirror was shattered, and the front of his father’s skull was caved in; there was blood everywhere. Cam immediately dialed 911, and waited for the ambulance and police officers to arrive.

The medical examiner was baffled; she could not come up with any scenario that would allow for Nick’s wounds to be self-inflicted. However, the doors were all locked when Cam got home and there were no signs of forced entry. Furthermore, it was almost impossible for Nick to inflict that type of injury on himself, unless he had been under the influence of PCP. Since the tox screen had come back clear, it seemed someone would have had to either push or pull him into the mirror; or hung the mirror after it was shattered (but no prints were found to back that theory up). As much as she hated to do so because she knew Nick Jones well, and considered him not only a good friend; but also one of the best detectives on the force. It appeared she was going to have to state the results of the autopsy were inconclusive. The medical examiner also struggled with the knowledge that there was no way for anyone associated with the police department to explain the circumstances of Nick’s death to his son Camdyn. The best course of action she could come up with was to let him read a copy of her autopsy report after she completed it. If the department wouldn’t approve it, she’d have to figure out a way to do it without anyone finding out.

“Excuse me,” said a voice from the doorway. “Are you Dr. Milton?” asked Camdyn. “I don’t mean to barge in, but no one answered when I knocked.” Dr. Milton folded her hands in her lap, “Yes, I’m Dr. Milton; you may call me Audrey if you’d like. I must have been too deep in thought, I didn’t hear you knock. Are you Detective Jones’ son?” Camdyn stepped into the room, “Yes ma’am, I am. Were you able to determine what happened to my dad?” Audrey sighed, “Not exactly, no. Nothing adds up, it just doesn’t make sense. Before you got home, the house was locked up tight. There were no signs of forced entry; and other than your father, you’re the only one with a key. Those factors would usually point to a self-inflicted wound, but there is no way your father could generate the velocity required to inflict that type of injury on his own with a single blow, in a room that small. I also don’t believe there is any other way that damage could have been self-inflicted. In order for your father’s skull to be caved in as it was, he would have to have had his head pushed into the mirror from behind or pulled into the mirror from the other side; which I can’t exactly include as an option in my official report as it’s impossible. Therefore, the results of my autopsy are inconclusive; I’m sorry, but I can’t tell you what killed your father. What I can tell you is that the toxicology report came back clear, your father was completely sober when he died.” Camdyn thought about Dr. Milton’s findings for a minute. “Thank you Audrey, you’ve told me everything I need to know,” he said before leaving. “You’re welcome.” she replied with a confused look on her face.

After his father’s funeral Camdyn had the house to himself, but he couldn’t bring himself to spend any time in it alone. His friends all told him their parents were okay with them having sleepovers at a different house every night, or with Cam spending as many nights as he needed to sleeping on their couch. The police department placed Nick’s pension in a trust fund for Cam until he reached the age of 18 and made sure that Nick’s life insurance policy would be paid out to Cam as he was the sole beneficiary. The pay-out was placed into an account in Cam’s name and he would have full access to it. About a week after the account was set up, Cam received an ATM debit card in the mail linked to the account since he had turned down the opportunity to have checks associated with the account. No one at the department had any idea what a 12 year old kid was going to do with a million dollars, but they hoped Cam was mature enough to be smart about it. As it turned out, they had nothing to worry about. Cam bought five new couches and tipped the delivery guys generously to arrange the new couches in the living room along with the couch that was already there. Other than that, he only spent what he needed to for food. Monica Shields would usually take him to the store when she was doing her own shopping for the week. Most nights Devon was the only one that slept over, but sometimes they were joined by the Maddens and/or Vic Jordan. Guillermo would visit for an hour or so a few times a week, for some reason he didn’t spend as much time with them as he used to. Once a week they all got together for movie and/or game night. Guillermo also doesn’t often participate in these.

Camdyn Jones (age 17)

Like many kids their age, Camdyn and a few of his friends tried out for various sports teams during high school. Dev had become the star of the girls’ basketball team by junior year. Jackie Madden and Vic Jordan spent time as shortstop or second baseman for the fast-pitch softball team during their sophomore and junior years and had solidified their spots as starters at those positions for their senior year. Camdyn went to all the girls’ sporting events to cheer his friends on, and also earned a spot in the starting rotation as a pitcher for the baseball team. While Guillermo and Ace didn’t share their friends’ love for participating in sports, they still attended games to cheer for their friends and Ace spent time pursuing dates with cheerleaders during football season their junior and senior years.

Also like many kids their age, personal relationships began to blur the thin line between friendship and dating for two-thirds of their group. Camdyn and Dev began to explore the depth of the chemistry and feelings between them, as did Vic Jordan and Jackie Madden; with both pairs trying to keep their developing private lives a secret from the rest of the group until they were sure of where the relationships stood. Ace on the other hand never had any problem talking about whichever cheerleader, or member of a girls’ team he was dating at the time. He was especially talkative when he started dating Lou-Ann, the Vice-President of the Science Club during their senior year

Camdyn has spent the majority of his life avoiding mirrors everywhere he goes; while not the easiest thing to do in school bathrooms, he’s managed pretty well so far. That’s all about to change. After a relatively sleepless night filled with tossing and turning on one of the couches with a few bad dreams sprinkled in, Cam ducks into the restroom to splash some cold water on his face. When he glances up for just a second to see how his eyes look, he gets much more than he expected. “You need to get your shit together Cam, you’re gonna be needed on this side soon” his reflection says to him. Camdyn shakes his head and splashes more water on his face, believing he is hallucinating due to lack of sleep. “You’re not hallucinating and I don’t need you to be looking in the mirror to speak to you. You need to talk to Mom, there isn’t much time” his reflection insists as he dries his face. Without looking back at the mirror, Cam leaves the room and heads towards his first class unsure of what just happened. After school he’ll visit his mother and hope she can explain it. Until then he’ll just have to do his best not to think about it. As he walks into his first class, which he shares with Dev and Guillermo he greets them both as if nothing out of the ordinary has happened. “Sup Dev? G-Nune, how’s things?” Dev raises an eyebrow, “You okay Cam? You look a little off.” Guillermo agrees, “Yeah Cam, you don’t quite sound like yourself.” Cam shrugs off their concern, “Of course I’m fine, and why wouldn’t I be fine? It’s not like my reflection just told me to get my shit together or anything.” Guillermo’s mouth drops open, while Dev just stares at Cam. “Your reflection just told you to get your shit together? Are you being serious right now?” Cam takes a moment to gather his thoughts. “Dev, I wouldn’t make this up. My reflection told me to get my shit together because I’ll be needed on that side soon, whatever that means. Also told me to talk to my mom, I’m planning on going to see her after school; you think your mom would be okay with you joining me? Whatever is going on, I think my mom is gonna want to see and talk to both of us.” Dev nods, “I’ll call my mom during lunch and get her permission. What the hell is going on though?” Camdyn shakes his head, “I have no idea, but I sure plan on finding out.” Guillermo finally seems to recover from Cam’s talk of reflections speaking, “I don’t need to know what you find out.” he says before turning his back to them and opening a book he has no intention of reading, he just doesn’t want them to know he’s listening. After Cam and Dev sit down themselves, Cam turns to Dev; “I’m not even sure I want to know.” Dev nods, “Agreed, but I get the feeling we don’t have much choice in the matter. There’s something happening or about to happen and it’s time we find out as much as possible about this situation we seem to be in.” “I agree,” Cam says; “but what matters is whether or not my mom agrees. You know she won’t tell us anything unless she believes we’re ready to hear it.” Dev nods. “I know that’s how she feels, but she may not have a choice at this point. What if this is a sign that Darkness is closer to doing something?” At the mention of Darkness, Guillermo tightens his grip on the book he is pretending to read.

It wasn’t difficult for Dev to get permission from her mother to accompany Cam to visit his mom, it didn’t matter how well they were hiding their budding relationship from their friends; Monica Shields could see how her daughter felt about Camdyn Jones, it was obvious any time the two of them were together in her presence. If they weren’t already, Monica believed the two would soon be falling in love. Seeing the way her daughter’s eyes lit up whenever Cam was around made Monica think of her own husband, she hoped wherever he was that he was safe. She still believed he would return to them one day.

As soon as Dev and Cam entered Allisyn’s room, they noticed something was different. She was staring at them as if she’d been expecting them. “It’s time I tell the two of you as much as I know. You should sit down though; this may be a bit much to handle standing.” After both Cam and Dev have made themselves comfortable, Allisyn continues. “I’ve been a Dimension Guardian since I was 17 years old. I took over for my father, as he had done for his uncle, as had been occurring for generations. Devon, I’m sure you’re father’s story is similar to mine. The Dimension Guardians can trace their lineage back to several different cultures; we are a very diverse group of people that are excellent at keeping secrets. There are an infinite number of dimensions out there, including the two in which the portals were destroyed. This Darkness group is seemingly bent on multi-dimensional conquest by any means necessary. If it means a war across every dimension they have members in, they will welcome the opportunity to annihilate anyone and everyone that is willing to stand against them. With two Guardian portals already destroyed, it’s safe to say they have more than likely taken full control of those two dimensions and have portals of their own in place. Though I would like to think that the portals were actually destroyed by Guardians in order to keep members of Darkness from leaving those two dimensions, I have no way to be sure. I fear that a war is coming; if I’m right, the Dimension Guardians need the next generation to step up as soon as possible to help fend off Darkness. Devon, your father is currently helping to train the next generation of Guardians from his assigned sector, as I will train the two of you and any others in my sector very soon. Camdyn, I believe that an agent of Darkness is responsible for your father’s death; though I am not certain your father’s death was part of the plan. Both of you will be needed on the other side, and there you will find you are capable of so much more than you ever dreamed possible. When you go home Cam, go to your bedroom, beneath the floorboards in your closet you will find a book. You and Devon need to read through it together before I begin training you. If your reflections speak you must consider carefully before trusting what they say. They could be more than just your reflection. They could be a Dimension Guardian, or they could be an agent of Darkness; so please be careful.” Camdyn interrupts his mother, “But Mom, it was my reflection that told me to come talk to you. It told me I’d be needed on that side soon and to get my stuff together. Should I have listened?” A momentary look of fear passes through Allisyn’s eyes, “I wish I could tell you for sure, but I simply don’t know. A Guardian may have contacted you and sent you to me for training because you will be needed soon. But an agent of Darkness may have reason to send you as well. There are ways to track people on this side while on the other side, especially if you have a contact here. As much as I don’t want to admit it, it is possible you were used as a means of finding me. Regardless of why you were sent here or who sent you, I needed to see you to tell you where to find the guide. Go home now and find it, read it; both of you, there’s no more time to wait.” Camdyn and Devon get up to leave immediately. “I love you Cam” is the last thing Cam hears his mother say as he and Dev exit the room.

Camdyn and Devon are both silent on the way to Cam’s house. Both are trying to consider all of the possibilities created by everything Allisyn has just told them. It is almost beyond overwhelming, but they have to focus on what is; rather than what could be. When they get to his place, Cam runs to his room to find the book his mother sent him in search of. What he finds is a leather-bound book wrapped in linen. When he unwraps it, he sees that it is entitled “Tome of the Guardian.” He rushes to the living room, where he and Dev sit on a couch and read through every paragraph, look closely at every diagram, and sit in awe of everything the tome says about Dimension Guardians (in general as well as others that seem more important/more powerful) and their duties to protect the multi-dimensional universe. They both begin to feel a sense of pride, and a sense of honor at the thought of being the next generation of Dimension Guardians. They decide together to re-read the book as many times as they can over the next few days before they return to Allisyn to begin training. But much like even the best laid plans, their plan will not go as intended.

Camdyn Jones (age 18)

“Cam, are you sure we’re ready for tomorrow? I know we’ve learned a lot from your mom, but I just don’t know if I’m ready for this initiation test she’s been talking about.” “Dev, if my mom thinks we’re ready then we’re probably as ready as we’re going to get. I understand how you feel though, I’m not entirely sure about trying to cross over to the other side yet myself. Let’s go through the guide one more time before we go see her.”

When Cam and Dev enter the University Mental Health Facility they are immediately greeted by the Director of Patient Affairs. After their initial greetings she informs them of Allisyn’s disappearance. Camdyn’s immediate reaction is emotional, quickly followed by strategic curiosity. “What the fuck do you mean she disappeared? My mom never leaves her damn room. Wait, did she by any chance request a mirror before her disappearance?” The director is clearly taken aback, “Yes, she did and the staff tells me that was an odd request. Is there anything you can tell me about that?” Before responding, Cam errs on the side of suspicion. “She had a fear of mirrors for most of my life, but we had recently been trying to help her overcome it. Perhaps she felt it was time to face her fear alone. Would it be okay for us to take a peek at her room, maybe she left a message that only we would understand.”

After receiving permission, Cam and Dev enter Allisyn’s room in an attempt to find any clue to her whereabouts. “Here’s the mirror Cam, it’s just a little handheld makeup mirror; how did she even use this to cross?” Cam examines the makeup mirror, “She has been telling us all through our training that ANY mirror or mirror fragment is enough if you concentrate on what you’re doing; but I didn’t believe it until now. I’m guessing that with the amount of experience she has, it wouldn’t have been that difficult for her. What’s this mark?” “What mark?” Dev responds. “This tiny one right here along the edge.” Dev looks closer, “I can’t tell; we need to take a look at it with a magnifying glass or microscope. I know the perfect place, Ace is hardcore into science type shit; his parents basically built an edition onto their house so Ace could have a lab and have bought him some amazing stuff.” Cam smiles, “Yeah, he keeps telling me I need to come over so he can show me all his ‘cool-ass science shit.’ I’ll give him a call to see if he’s available today.”

Cam calls Ace Madden and has a short conversation with him. “Good news Dev, he’s available right now so he’s going to meet us in his lab.” “Well then, let’s get out of here and go see what this little mirror can tell us.”

Upon arriving at Ace’s lab Dev and Cam are amazed at the amount of high-end equipment his parents have purchased for him. “Good grief man,” Cam exclaims; “how much money have your parents spent on all this stuff?” Ace just shakes his head, “Don’t ask me bro, I come in to find something new every day.” Looking around Dev asks, “What does Jackie think of all this?” This time Ace shrugs. “Haven’t a clue, she’s always busy with her motorcycle collection. My sister absolutely loves riding and working on motorcycles; so she pretty much discovers a new bike every week or so. Anyway, you wanna use a standard microscope or a super-cool badass electron microscope?” Dev and Cam both looked shocked before Cam answers, “I’m pretty sure standard will be fine.” Ace smiles and states, “Right this way folks” before escorting them over to the table that his microscope is on. Cam places the mirror under the microscope and peers through the lens. “Dev, take a look at this; I need a second opinion.” Cam says before stepping away from the microscope. As Dev peers through the microscope, Cam wonders if she’s seeing the same thing he saw. “Are you shitting me?” Dev exclaims. She removes the mirror from under the microscope and hands it back to Cam. “Well, I guess we know where we need to go next.” Camdyn nods, “Yep, but I think we should take some time to prepare ourselves first. We’re still not entirely sure what kind of situation we’ll be walking into or who else we’re up against.” “Ahem” Ace interrupts, “before you guys go off gallivanting; we should get the whole group together for a party to help you de-stress. How’s your place tonight at 7 Dev or would your place be better Cam?” After a quick, quiet discussion amongst themselves Ace gets an answer from Devon. “My place at 7, but you tell everyone else because I’m going to be a bit busy.” “No problem, check y’all later” Ace says before giving his friends high fives, fist bumps and hugs prior to their exit.

Outside Dev appears slightly anxious, “Are we really about to do this?” Cam places his hands on her shoulders and looks into her eyes, “We have to Dev, there’s too much riding on this to ignore our responsibilities; even though we haven’t always been aware of them and regardless of the fact that you and I have no idea what we’re going to be capable of once we cross.” Dev sighs, “You’re right, I know you’re right; let’s go prep ourselves for the potential battle we’re going to face and then hang out with our friends before we face it. You think they’ll all actually be there?” she asks. Cam smirks, “I certainly hope so, would make things easier for us.” Once again Camdyn and Devon had a wonderful plan, but again this plan would not unfold according to their intentions; except Devon was prepared for anything and left a message behind for Cam that he wouldn’t possibly be able to miss.

When Cam arrived at Dev’s house all he found in her room was her full-length mirror with the exact same name emblazoned on it as had been on the make-up mirror his mother had left behind. As Cam glared at the mirror he focused his rage on the task at hand, “If anything happens to any of our friends, I am going to fucking kill you Guillermo.” After a few minutes of concentration the mirror began to shimmer then it seemed as though there were ripples forming in the glass; just as his mother had described, when he was sure he was ready Cam closed his eyes, took a deep breath and stepped through to the other side on a mission to rescue his friends and his mother by any means necessary.

When he opened his eyes Cam was awe-struck by how there was nothing there that looked anything like Dev’s room. He almost felt like he was on another planet rather than just in another dimension. He quickly turned his thoughts to finding his friends, focusing on Devon until he pictured only her in his mind. At that point he began to see a trail of what he supposed was her aura, beautiful bright turquoise footsteps showed him the way, and they reminded him somewhat of ice crystals. As he followed the trail Dev had left for him, Cam kept his eyes open and made sure to be continuously looking around in an attempt to make sure he avoided being taken by surprise. Suddenly he heard Guillermo’s voice from the distance. “Ah Camdyn, so wonderful of you to join us; I’m so sorry that your arrival will only lead to the end of so many lives, actually no; I’m not sorry at all. It is high time that Darkness took its rightful place as the most powerful entity in all worlds. We have been denied for far too long, and I will soon take my place as the most powerful official of Darkness; it is my birthright, and all I have to do is help them destroy the Dimension Guardians.” An angry smirk slowly crept onto Cam’s face. “I’m only going to warn you once Guillermo, let them go; they have nothing to do with this.” Guillermo’s response comes from much closer, “On the contrary my friend, the others will each have a role to play; even in death, no matter which side wins. However, Darkness has no need for you or your lovely girlfriend; you both have to die.” Suddenly Guillermo is face-to-face with Cam and catches him off guard with a right hook to the jaw. Guillermo’s strike knocks Cam to one knee, as he wipes blood from his lip his rage begins to build again. Camdyn closes his eyes and focuses just as his mother had told him, waiting for the perfect moment to unleash whatever his power on this side of the mirror turned out to be. Guillermo mistakes it for cowardice. “Wow Cam, I didn’t realize this would be so easy. I would have never thought you to be such a pussy; when I’m through with you, I’ll reward myself by deflowering Devon.” At this point, Camdyn could feel his rage burning inside him like a white-hot flame. He slowly raised his head, “Trust me Guillermo when I’m done, you’ll be in no condition to do anything to anyone else ever again.” Guillermo began to laugh, but when Cam opened his eyes Guillermo burst into flames. Mere seconds later, there was nothing left of Guillermo except for a pile of ashes. In a voice not quite his own, Camdyn shouted to all who may be able to hear. “Darkness, let it be known that the Flame-bringer has emerged as the newest Dimension Guardian. Any who choose to play with fire will be reduced to ashes, now release my mother and my friends or I will find a way to make every last one of you appear before me and reduce you to ashes one at a time.” One by one his friends, his mother and Dev’s father appear before him. They all embrace each other one at a time, with Cam’s final hug coming from his mother. “I had no idea you would be the Flame-bringer, we’re going to have to talk about the responsibilities that entails; but that conversation is for another time, let’s get everyone home. Allysin and Dev’s father helped Cam get everyone back to Cam’s room in their dimension before telling them all that they would need to have a very important talk with them in the near future. Before Dev and her father headed home to surprise her mother, she gave Cam a quick kiss on the lips. “Thanks, love.” The rest of their friends went their respective ways soon after. Once Allysin was alone with her son, she hugged him tighter than she could ever remember hugging him before. “I am so proud of you for what you accomplished today, but this won’t be the end. Guillermo was right about one thing; your friends will all have a role to play going forward, but we can discuss that tomorrow after we have all gotten some much needed rest. Being on the other side takes a toll on one’s body but Devon and I can give you kids some pointers on how to deal with that, it will be harder on your friends than it is on you and Dev; though I’m not entirely sure about Jackie. Anyway the most important thing to do right now is rest, tomorrow is a new day; one that will be the beginning of a brand new forever in some form or another. Mr. Shields and I will have a great deal to discuss with you and Dev about you being the Flame-bringer in terms of what it means for you, as well as what it is going to mean for her, especially if she is the Ice-angel. I need to prepare you both for your new roles with the Dimension Guardians once you’re initiated. Enough about that though, I’m going to get some rest; you should do the same.” As his mother heads to her room, Camdyn is left alone with his thoughts and the full-length mirror he got in order to use for his initiation. He tries to shrug off thoughts of what just happened as he gets ready for bed. As Cam gets into bed he glances at his mirror and is still able to see the other side; it looks like Guillermo’s ashes are gone, but how could that be? He didn’t think there was a wind in that world. Had they been collected by some other member of Darkness since he’d returned with everyone, if so why? Or was he now looking into an entirely different dimension? But this would not be the time for answers to his questions as Cam would drift off to sleep and would wake in the morning with no recollection of falling asleep.

Post-script

Now that Camdyn Jones has his mother home with him and has Devon to assist him with any trips he may need to make to the other side of a mirror, he is prepared to take his place among the Dimension Guardians. With Devon also by his side in his personal life, he feels like he can face anything. Dev and her mother have Cam to thank for their ability to be a whole family again now that Devon Shields is finally able to return home for the time being. Allisyn Jones is preparing to assume a new role within the Dimension Guardians, one that she hopes will lead her and Camdyn to her husband’s killer. Darkness has been defeated this time, but Allisyn suspects that they will be back again stronger than before and sooner rather than later. The Dimension Guardians may have won this battle, but the war is only just beginning.

What threats lay ahead? Will Cam and Allisyn find justice for Nick Jones? Will Cam be able to handle his responsibilities and powers as the Flame-bringer? Will being Dimension Guardians interfere with Dev and Cam’s personal happiness? What roles await their friends? For these answers and more, keep an eye out for future stories about The Dimension Guardians.

Thank you for reading “From Fear to Fortitude.” If you’re thinking this is the first story in or prequel to a series about Camdyn Jones and the Dimension Guardians based on the post-script, then dear reader we are on the same page. Whether or not I will be able to follow through on my desire to write other stories featuring Cam and his friends remains to be seen; but I am certainly going to try my best. I don’t know for certain that “Dimension Guardians” will be the next writing project I work on, but I promise to return to it as soon as a new idea forms on that path. I would like to thank my friend Darrin for publishing this with his account on Shakespir.com, I appreciate that so much. I hope to continue working with him in the future.

About the author: Barrett Meadows is a self-proclaimed degenerate who spends all of his time trying to follow through on ideas for stories of varying lengths. He follows his creativity where it leads him, and tries to tell every story that comes to mind. Not all stories make it as far as others, but every story gets a chance (or 7…hundred).


Dimension Guardians: From Fear to Fortitude

"Dimension Guardians" will be an ongoing series of science-fiction works that explore the possibilities of a universe in which mirrors exist as portals to other dimensions for those capable of inter-dimensional travel. I hope you enjoy.

  • Author: Darrin M. Bowers
  • Published: 2017-08-06 23:05:08
  • Words: 10766
Dimension Guardians: From Fear to Fortitude Dimension Guardians: From Fear to Fortitude