Elijah turned the knob on the dreamgate and opened the door, allowing a light mist to enter the room. “Are you ready?”
Matthew took a deep breath, excited to tackle this new and adventurous challenge. “Ready as I’ll ever be.”
Elijah was the first to step through. The mist persisted beyond the door, becoming thicker and darker until Matthew could hardly see passed the frame. Stanasia went next, followed closely by Stanford and Stanly. Their eager screams and laughter resonated through the entry way as they disappeared within the obscure mist.
Skye and Alex stood at the entrance waiting to escort Matthew through. However, Matthew wished to go through on his own.
“Your escorts are there for a reason,” explained Mr. Xoner. “Must you do everything on your own? As I have stated before – you must be capable of taking direction without question.”
“But it’s just a door,” contended Matthew. “What kind of direction do I need?”
“That is a dreamgate; much different than an ordinary door. You’ll find that the simplest of tasks are often the most difficult without the proper direction. Do you still prefer to walk through on your own?”
Chuckling incredulously, Matthew insisted, “Come on. It’s just a door.”
Skye looked to Mr. Xoner for his approval. With a disappointed nod he agreed, allowing Alex and her to walk on through. Matthew was now left to act on his own. Placing one foot out the door Matthew leaned slowly forward. He couldn’t see his own foot through the thickness of the mist.
“Why is it so foggy?” asked Matthew as he stepped forward through the door expecting to place his foot onto the floor of the next room.
“That isn’t fog, my dear boy.”
“What is this?”
Everything slowed significantly as Matthew realized there was no floor and began to fall past the point of no return. Mr. Xoner replied, “Those are very high clouds.”
Now worried, Matthew pivoted around and reached for the door frame. “What do you mean by very high?” But it was too late. The dreamgate was too far for him to reach as he fell backward through the door.
As Matthew fell he could hear Mr. Xoner’s voice echoing, “Welcome to Scapemaker! It would have been nice to instruct the son of Nicholas Namely - had he lived.”
As the seconds passed, the clouds began to thin. Matthew was able to distinguish a jagged rock face almost at his nose. The treacherous face seemed to be rising in contrast to his descent. Matthew was falling head first. But since he was falling in slow motion, he could not discern the speed at which he was falling or the force of the impact to come.
Matthew could hear faint voices in the closing distance below, the words of which did not register. “No! Matthew! Look out!” And then the unimaginable happened.