Saved: Outside The Box
By: Kasey Winterborn
Date: 17th Sep 2021
”Right, right!” My voice sounded tinny to my ears. “Friend and boyfriend to save!” I still donít know what exactly happened, or why whatever affected Shawn and Betsy didnít affect me. “I donít even know where to start. Iíve never really been technically inclined, and I donít want to just start pressing random buttons and like, open some kind of rip in the time-space continuum or something.”Geez, you watch one season of Doctor Who and all of a sudden you think youíre some kind of expert.
”Well, itís pretty damn close, Iíd say! Besides, itís not like youíre coming up with any other ideas.” I folded my arms across my chest and huffed, blowing a strand of my bright red hair off my forehead.…alright, fair point. But we have to do something. I pressed my fingers against my temples, rubbing them in a clockwise direction. Am I seriously having a full-on conversation with myself? Maybe I was the one that needed medication. Problem for another time. Got something a little more pressing happening here.
”I know, I know!”I did a full circle of the console in front of me, hoping that something would jump out at me. A knob, a button, a lever…hell, Iíd settle for a big flashing neon sign that said “PUSH HERE STUPID”. I didnít even know what I was trying to do, exactly. Set off a big alarm clock? Dump a bucket of cold water on them? We need to figure out a way to pull them out of their dream state. Safely, of course.
”So, I guess the water is out of the question.”Letís save that for plan B.
”Right. So, what other options do we –”Oh, whatís this? A big, flashing green button (that I was pretty sure hadnít been there two seconds ago – or I really just wasnít paying attention) caught my eye. And for some reason, I had the innate feeling that I was supposed to push that button. My hand reached out slowly, hovering over it for a moment before I slammed it down into the console. I held my breath, waiting…waitingÖ Nothing.
”Are you kidding me right now?” I was so sure that had been it. But Betsy and Shawn were still on the floor, eyes closed and breathing deep. I ran a frustrated hand through my tangled hair, panic starting to set in now as I paced the floor. What happens if someone just happened to check Shawn and Iís room and sees Excellence parked casually inside? I was certain that we were still inside the tower, since Betsy hadnít had a chance to get to the console before…beforeÖ
”Whoa, why do I feel all woozy all of a sudden?” I shot a hand out to steady myself against the console, but my head was starting to feel foggy and my body was losing strength. I wasnít sure, but I thought I could see a fine mist drifting through the air. “Smells…like…cookiesÖ”Trust me, all part of the plan.
”Wait, what plan? There was a plan? I didnít think weÖ” My knees gave out from under me, and I landed on my butt right next to Shawn and Betsy. The last thing I remember, I was staring up at the roof, the lights getting hazy in my vision, and the feel of my hands landing on Shawn and Betsyís prone bodies.———– Most of my career, Iíve spent by myself. I had the odd team-up with my brother here and there, but for the most part I went it alone. Before you go breaking out the pity party, it wasnít a total loner-fest. I had friends, I had relationships. But when it came to my in-ring work, I tended to fly solo. That way, when I inevitably crashed and burned, I didnít have to drag anyone down with me. Sorry, old habits die hard. Trying to work on the whole Ďnegative self-talkí thing. But now, here I am. About to main-event a show with my boyfriend and my good friend. Not only that, but thereís some gold on the line to boot. I gotta say, Iím nervous as all hell. Even more so than usual. I mean, there is a lot riding on this match. My first main event in Fight, the first time teaming with Shawn and Betsy, and an opportunity for us to become the Islands champs. No pressure at all, right? I mean, itís bad enough when itís just me, myself and I. The anxiety is bad enough in those situations. But now Iíve got two other people relying on me. What if I screw up? What if I cause us to lose the match? What if… …no. No what if. Iím not doing that this time. Too many times before, Iíve let this mess with me. I get too into my own head, and I end up in some weird self-fulfilling prophecy crap. Well, itís not going to happen this time. Thereís too much at stake to let myself get psyched out. Betsy and Shawn are counting on me, and Iím not going to let them down. I know theyíve got my back, and Iíve got theirs. Weíre going to go to that ring on Saturday night, weíre going to stand toe-to-toe with the champs, and weíre going to give Ďem hell. Weíre gonna fight, and weíre gonna win. I donít know what kind of weird Jerry Seinfeld-esque drama is going on over in our opponentsí camp, but I gotta think thatís going to be a factor. How theyíve been the champs for this long without imploding, Iíll never know. And then, youíve got us. Shawn Warstein, a certified, bonafide legend in this business. Heís seen it all and won even more. The manís got an accomplishment list a mile long. Betsy Granger. Another legendary name in this (or any) galaxy. She may look sweet and adorable, but sheís got a killer instinct and the talent to back it up. AndÖwell, I may not be as well-known or accomplished as my teammates, but after Saturday night, Iíll be well on my way to becoming one of the biggest names in Fight. Iíve got so much more to fight for this time around. Itís not just for me, itís for my friends. And when itís all said and done, when that bell rings at the end of the match, youíre gonna be seeing some brand-new Islands champions. Bet. ————-
”Welcome to your new home.”The joy I felt at hearing those words filled my little heart until I felt like it was about to burst from my chest. I stared at the red brick bungalow with the bright yellow door and the neatly manicured lawn, hardly daring to believe that this was my home now. After almost a year spent in foster care, I had almost given up hope of ever being adopted. Then, the Winterborn family came into my life. Or rather, they accepted me into theirs. Tightening my grip on the straps of my backpack, I raced ahead of my new family to be the first one inside the house with a giddy laugh bubbling up from my throat. I burst through the door, skidding to a stop in the living roomÖ But I didnít recognize this place. I took a few more steps into the room, but nothing looked familiar to me. The furniture was wrong, the paint colour was wrong. Which was surprising to me, because this was the first time Iíd ever seen this house in my life. Right? I turned in a slow circle, staring at the unfamiliar art on the walls. A mirror caught my attention, and instead of seeing myself as a gap-toothed brunette six-year old, I was staring at the 33-year old flame-haired adult version of me.
”OK, starting to get a little freaked out here.” I backed up slowly towards the front door, but when I tried to pull on the handle it was locked tight. “And now weíre into full-blown panic mode. Great.” I could feel my chest tightening and my breaths were getting more and more shallow.Whoops, overshot the landing on this one. Didnít mean to go this far back. Also think I got it mixed up with that last horror movie you watched…
”Beg pardon? What the heck do you mean by that?”Well, short answer is weíre trying to break into a memory, but itís not your memories. Itís Betsyís.
”…the what now?”Ugh, just come on. I think Shawnís already there. My vision went black as night for a moment, and I got the vague sensation of being pulled by my midsection before I started seeing vague shapes and heard muffled voices. They started getting clearer and more distinct, and with a wave of relief I realized that I recognized two of the voices. But as I moved to step forward, I felt a weight in my hand that hadnít been there a moment ago. I glanced down, seeing a black cylinder in my hand. Strangely enough, I instantly knew what it was and how to wield it, as I clicked a button on the side and two twin beams of magenta light shot out of either end. As the scene before me came into clear view, it was indeed Shawn and Betsy I saw…along with some security guards who were in the middle of dragging Shawn out the door, and some shirtless weirdo in blue costume makeup. When the guardsí attention fell on me, they immediately rushed forward to subdue me, but I was ready. Twirling and slashing with the lightsaber, I easily made short work of the henchmen, and when they were all lying at my feet, I snapped the lightsaber off.
”Shawn… Betsy… Boy am I glad to see the two of you! This is some weird stuff going on!”
The two guards that had been holding Shawn started to advance on me, and I immediately reignited the lightsaber. “Oh, is THIS how itís going to be, then?” I smirked and got into a fighting stance, beckoning them on with a flick of my hand.Once again, I dispatched the two men to join the rest of their brethren on the floor. I had no idea where this newfound skill for sword fighting came from, but I was glad for it at the moment. I looked back up to see Shawn struggling with the strange blue-hued man. But before I could move to help him, Betsy rushed to pull Shawn off of him. But when the alien turned to look at her, I saw Betsy freeze up and a look of terror cross her face.
I was across the room in a few quick strides and I grabbed Betsy by the shoulders, whipping her around to look at me. “Look, I know you donít know who I am right now, but trust me when I say that Iím a friend. Shawn and I are here to save you from this guy. Heís not really James, heís just manipulating a memory to gain control of you.”
She just stared at me blankly, and I was worried that I wasnít going to get through to her. I wasnít as good a friend as Shawn was, as I hadnít known her that long, but I wasnít about to let her mind be controlled by some freaky alien psycho. “Betsy, please. Weíre here to help. Shawn is one of your dearest friends. So much so that you call him Brother Mine. And me…well, Iím kind of new to the group, but Iím not going to let you give up without a fight.”She slowly blinked at me, and I could see the fog lift from her mind and her bright green eyes became clear. She nodded at me, and I smiled as I put the lightsaber into her hand. Shawn had managed to subdue the alien, and was holding him with his arms behind his back. Betsy flicked on the lightsaber, and the alienís eyes got wide when he realized what was about to happen. She took a few steps towards him, but just as she readied herself to plunge the beam of light into his chest, he vanished in an instantÖ …and the light went right into Shawnís chest. I felt my eyes go wide, and Betsy looked horrified, but before any of us had a chance to properly react, the scene was plunged into darknessÖ ——— With a start, all three of us awoke on the floor of Excellence, Betsy and I letting out screams of terror while Shawn sat bolt upright and immediately looked down at his chest, running his hands along it. When we all came back to our senses, we stared at each other in shock for a few moments, trying to catch our breaths and calm our racing hearts.
”What the heck was all that?” I said, sitting up and leaning against the console. Shawn moved over closer to me and I nestled under his arm. “Who was that blue guy? How come whatever affected you two didnít affect me? And how the heck did I know how to use a lightsaber?”
Betsy ran a hand through her blonde hair, looking somewhat frazzled at the whole ordeal. Even more than she had when she first arrived in our suite. “The blue man is Admiral Thrawn, and itís a bit of a long story. I do have some theories as to what exactly we just went through.”
The three of us managed to get up off the floor, and aside from some residual dizziness, we were able to walk under our own power. When we exited Excellence, we found that we were still inside Shawn and Iís suite inside the tower, and the lockdown was still in full effect. “Well, it looks like weíve got some time,” Shawn said, collapsing onto the couch. “Might as well start from the beginning, Sister Mine.”