Kris studied the bag for a long while before she slowly knelt beside it.

“I’m inside, silly!” The voice said.

She hesitated before reaching in to pull out the book.

And set it down on the floor.

Her eyes widened as the leather skin rippled like water.

“Wh-who or what are you?” Her voice shook.

“The name’s Parley.” Its male voice rich with accent.

Her eyes glanced at the golden title.

Parley. Right.

“O-okay.” She replied unsure of what to say next.

“Consider me your source for information.” It answered.

She let out a sigh. “Information? I don’t even know where to begin with that.”

This was crazy! She was talking to a book!

“Let’s start with what to expect for the coming day.” It said.

“You mean, tomorrow?” She asked.

“Verum. Correct.” It replied.

“Alright, I’m all ears.”

There was a moment of silence.

“I only see two. Where are the others?”

Parley sounded so serious that she had to suppress a laugh.

“Um, never mind. Just a figure of speech.” She smiled.

 “Inepta humana.” Parley said. “Shall we discuss tomorrow then?”

She forced herself to not say anything and nodded instead.

“Magister Bark most likely did not tell you much, but tomorrow is the tenth day of the month of March, and your first day back to school after a short winter holiday.” It began. “A bus will pick you up and you will spend the day at Pine Knoll High.”

Great, a building full of obnoxious and know-it-all teens.

“Anya Brunswick is in the same year as you. Tag with her and you will catch up on the rest.”

“So, what year am I?” She asked wanting to know.

“Year ten.”

This meant she must be at least fifteen years old.

Fighting not to roll her eyes, thoughts of having to relive the teenage years caused her head to throb.

“What else?” She asked as she rubbed the temples with her fingers.

“What else do you wish to know?”

All at once questions bombarded her brain yet she couldn’t think of any to ask.

Shutting her eyes, Kris shook her head.

“Not a clue. I’m totally overwhelmed by everything.”

And feeling very much alone. She thought but didn’t say the words out loud.  

Homesickness filled her.

She missed Jake and Micah so much.

She missed her farm animals.

She missed her old life.

Darn that virus and darn that asteroid wherever the heck it came from.

Speaking of the where….

“Where am I?” She asked as her eyes wandered to the window by her bed.

Milky beams from the moon filtered through the curtains.

“Why, you are here.” Parley said.

Letting out a sigh of frustration she turned her attention back to the book. “Yes, I know I am here. But where is here?”

Silence.

“O-okay.” She was starting to wonder about this book’s ability to be of any use to her. “Where is Pine Knoll?”

“Pine Knoll is a village of approximately 3,000 in population located on the banks of Black River in the valley of the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York.”  His tone was that of an automated voice reader. “Was this information helpful to you?”

Kris cocked her head as she studied the ancient looking book, its cover now still.

What a strange, strange object!

“Yeah, it was helpful.” She replied.

And it really was.

She knew she was still in her own country albeit in a different realm.

It was something she could work with.

Another question came to mind.

“What can you tell me about Anya?”

“Anya Brunswick age fifteen, the only child of Stan and Moriah Brunswick. Both parents are members of the Anthropoid Gathering. She currently lives on 254 Argent Avenue—” Parley droned.

“Anthro what?” Kris interrupted.

“Anthropoid Gathering.” The book repeated.

“What is that?” She asked.

“According to the Dictionary, Anthropoid Gathering is a program of systematic local vigilance by human residents of a neighborhood to discourage any unsanctioned activities and any dwelling of unregistered nonperson in the local community.”

The book’s monotonous tone would have bored any normal and sane person to tears if it weren’t for certain words it had mentioned.

“What is a ‘nonperson’?” She asked.

“A nonperson is one who is not entirely human.” Parley answered.

Not entirely human?  

Kris laid down on the floor and stared up at the ceiling.

She crossed her arms over her head which throbbed even harder now.

This realm was growing weirder by the moment.

“I should have stayed on the farmstead.” She muttered.

Under Another Sky – Landing Page