“Are you sure it’s okay?” Margo asked. Her green eyes clouded with doubt and she bit her bottom lip in nervous hesitation. She did not know whether she wanted it to be okay or not. Her new friend, Rana, walked next to her as they headed home after school.
“Only if you can keep a secret,” Rana grinned at Margo.
“Can do,” she replied. Margo had not told Rana about all the rumors she heard from anyone that saw her talking to the short, green-haired girl. It was the end of Margo’s first week at the school. Despite dozens of students warning her about Rana’s “cult family”, none of them bothered to try getting to know Margo. At least Rana seemed interested in her friendship enough to invite her to a sleepover that night.
“Great! You can come over now unless you have to go home first.” Margo nodded and pulled out her cellphone. She cast a glance at Rana to gauge her reaction to the latest, best gadget. Her new friend did not seem interested in it. Margo followed Rana down a dirt road while she informed her mom about the sleepover.
“You like video games, right?” Rana asked once Margo hung up.
“Yeah! Which ones you got?” she asked. Rana’s question brightened margo’s hopes for the sleepover. All the rumors painted her as some sort of Amish hippie. No one ever saw her with a cell phone and she never talked about the internet or TV shows or games.
“It’s a secret,” Rana winked. Her playful smile disappeared in an instant. Her attention focused on something behind Margo. “Oh no…” Margo turned to see, but Rana grabbed her hand. “RUN!” The girl dashed forward pulling Margo behind her.
“What’s going on?” Margo asked as the quaint red farmhouse grew closer.
“End of the world,” Rana replied.
“What!?” Margo stopped in her tracks and yanked her hand free from Rana. “What are you talking about?” Rana stopped a few paces in front of Margo then turned around to face the girl.
“The world is screwed. Everyone will be dead in a few hours. If you come with me, you’ll be safe. If you’re quick we might have time to save your parents too.” Margo took a step back as all the rumors flooded her mind.
“You’re joking, right?” she still wanted to have some faith in her new friend. Rana shook her head with a somber expression, then she pointed at the sky behind Margo. The girl turned and saw a black hole in the distant sky. It seemed to be raining white things, but she could not make out what they were.
“Ballisea. Look.” Rana pointed at a different patch of sky with a second black hole. “There’ll be more soon. All over the world.”
“I..” Margo hesitated. Her mind whirled with confusion. She did not know what to do or how to process what she was seeing. “I’m scared,” she said simply, not knowing how else to react. Rana nodded and stepped forward to put a hand on her shoulder.
“You know all those rumors about my family?” she asked. Margo nodded while her eyes drifted upward toward the black hole. “Hey, look at me.” Rana gently pushed Margo’s cheek until their eyes met. “They’re true. Stick with me and you’ll be safe. Okay?” Margo nodded. “C’mon.” Rana grabbed Margo’s hand again and led her to the farmhouse.
“DAAAD!” Rana yelled as soon as they entered through the kitchen door. The girl ran to the basement door and flung it open. “DAAAAAAAAAAD!!”
“Yeah!?” A deep voice answered her.
“Ballisea’s here!” Rana called back. That was the second time Margo heard the name. She wanted to ask about it, but Rana’s father ran up the stairs with heavy, stomping footsteps and cursing the whole time.
“Shitshitshitshitshit,” a short, muscular man with a curly green mustache appeared at the basement door. “Alright,” he took a deep breath.“No sense waiting around. Are we ready?” he asked, then he noticed Margo. “Hi. You are?”
“That’s my friend, Margo,” Rana replied. “She’s coming with us, can we get her parents?”
“Where are we going?” Margo asked. She assumed the farmhouse was the safehouse.
“I’ll let Rana explain that, where are your parents?”
“My house, they just got home a few minutes ago,” Margo replied, thankful she’d called her mom.
“It’s a couple of blocks from-” Rana stepped forward and interrupted Margo’s explanation.
“Here,” she handed her father a small, clear rectangle. He nodded, then wiggled his fingers in the air. A black portal opened. Margo recognized it as similar to the ones in the sky, but Rana’s dad walked into it before she could react. Then, it disappeared.
“Is your dad a Ballisea?” Margo asked. She was trying to make sense of all the information she’d picked up in the last ten minutes.
“Nah, Ballisea’s a person.”
“Person? A person? Just one?” Margo asked. Rana nodded. “Strong enough to destroy the world?” Rana nodded again.
“So where are we going?”
“A different one,” Rana grinned. A black hole appeared in the kitchen and Rana’s father walked out carrying a man on one shoulder and a woman on the other; both unconscious.
“These your parents?” he asked. Margo nodded.
“I didn’t have time to explain it to them, but they’ll be glad to see you when they wake up.” The black portal closed behind him, and he wiggled his hand to open a different one in front. “Let’s go.”