“Hurry, Edric, we haven’t much time.”
“KeRon, once they close the portal, we’ll never be able to pass
KeRon’s coat tails flared as the two men raced through the stone maze.
Twisting around corners and through doors the long corridors seemed to
pulse. Lights appearing and disappearing in the wake of their hurried steps.
“I know Earth’s governing board ruled to close the portals immediately,
but what about the people? There isn’t time to get them all home. So many
will be trapped!”
KeRon raised his hand to halt Edric’s panicked pleas. “You know that
with the spread of the virus that wemust stop travel, immediately. The ruling
was made to protect the people. There is nothing ...”
“But you know there is no virus.” Edric said seeing his panting breath,
“The council falsified the evidence, it was all made up. They passed a vote
based on a made-up fear!”
“I know, but we haven’t the time for that right now. Just hurry!”
Slowing, they approached the end of a long hallway. KeRon slid his tall,
thin body along the wall to the end of the corridor. His dull gray skin blended
into the stone perfectly. A strand of dark hair swept across his long sweaty
face accenting his sharp jawline. KeRon raised his right hand and summoned
a ball of grayish black light. The small orb, the size of a baseball, hovered and
sizzled like a flame.
“Let’s see if anything is lurking in the shadows.” KeRon sent the glowing
ball flying. It buzzed and sparked as it expanded, illuminating the corridors
until it faded out in the darkness.
The two hurried in the direction of the flare. Moving more slowly than
before and keeping close to the walls.
“The older part of the palace is trickier to navigate. Stay close, Edric.”
A flare sped towards them, fizzling out before giving away their location.
“Quick!” KeRon growled. “They cannot find out about the jars. And
ready your sword, just in case.” KeRon proceeded with his hand outstretched.
Prepared to attack.
Ba-rum bum, bum. The hall rang with drumming footsteps ofMortifian
soldiers. More flares were sent down different corridors, fortunately none
quite close enough to reveal KeRon and Edric. Not yet, anyway.
A fewminutes and several turns later, KeRon halted outside a small door.
It was simple, constructed out of black wood. “Stay in the doorframe, right
to the wall,” KeRon instructed. “It might be the only thing that keeps us out
Kneeling in front of the wooden door, KeRon eyed the lock mechanism.
His fingers traced the cold metal workings that came together in the shape
of two dragon claws. The clawed fingers knotted tightly keeping the door secured.
“There is no handle. How do we get in?” Edric said.
“The trick is to get the claws to connect in a way that will release the
lock.” Lifting each finger and interlocking it with another, KeRon worked on
Themarching grew louder as it echoed down the hall. KeRon kept working.
“Stop tapping your feet, I can’t concentrate.”
“Sorry, I can’t help it,” Edric stiffened against the wall wrapping himself
in his jacket.
KeRon’s fingers worked as he tried to keep his mind from wandering to
the impending war he faced after the portals were closed.Up to this point the
people of the FiveWorlds had been able to move freely between them. Now
the people were being forced into isolation.
“Hurry, they are closer,” Edric said as he crunched further into the shadowed
Unphased by Edric, KeRon’s fingers worked tirelessly, continually
switching the position of each claw. The lock clicked. “There,” KeRon
2 KEVIN NIEHAUS
paused, “Dang it. I have to remember the exact placement.” Another click,
nothing happen, he shifted and change one other finger. “Maybe that one?
Shuum. An increasing glow caught KeRon’s attention. Shuum.Without
thinking, he stood and pressed himself and Edric tight against the door. The
shadow from the door’s frame washed over them. The flash of light zoomed
“They will see us soon. Can’t you get the lock to release?” Edric whispered
“It’s been a long time since I’ve had to open this door. Keep an eye out
will you, it’s easier when I don’t have to focus on being the lookout too.”
“Hey now. I’ve kept you safe many of times.” Edric appeared to smirk.
“Let’s just not make this another Amorian situation”
KeRon’s fingers stopped, “That was not my fault.” With a chuckle to
himself he completed the next configuration, “but I agree, I would not want
to repeat ...”
Shuummm, another flare flew past.
It was only a matter of moments before the soldiers would be close
enough that the doorway would no longer conceal them.
“You there! What are you doing?” A deep voice called from the end of
the hallway. “Identify yourselves!” Shuum. Shuum. Shuum. Flares illuminated
the hallway around them. One smashed into the wall next to them and
exploded. Sparks fizzled like fireworks on the ground around them.
More flares struck the wall near Edric’s head. “I don’t mean to rush you
KeRon, but the closer they get, the better their aim will be.”
“I know. I should want the soldiers to hit their target on the first try, but
I am oddly glad that they are not more accurate.” KeRon stayed focused on
The glow at the end of the passage grew brighter. The buzzing swooshes
from the flares intensified. “Present yourselves,” the soldier called again.
A relieving click and growl from the lock mechanism broke the tension.
The fingers released their grip and curled together becoming a doorknob.
KeRon opened the door and pushed his friend inside.
“We see you there! Reveal yourself.”
CLEVER TREVOR AND THE ZOMBIE PRINCESS 3
KeRon secured the door behind them and raised his hand to create a
flare, bringing light to the blackness surrounding them.He placed the orb in
a small container hanging next to the door. Like a floating lantern it rose and
hovered near the ceiling. The glow of the flare danced on the walls like light
passing through water.
Bang! Bang! Bang! “We know you’re in there, come out by orders of the
king ofMortifia.”Muffled voices called fromthe other side of the heavy door.
"It's ok, Edric.That door will hold them at bay long enough to complete
The room was small, circular, with no windows, and rough-cut stone
walls. Upon the table sat a small display of six different objects. Each was engraved
with a unique symbol and looked as if they were meant to contain
perfume or a potion.
“Are these the portals” Edric said reaching to touch the jars.
“Be careful, friend! As you know, one wrong touch could take you somewhere
you don’t want to go.”
Edric retracted his hand.
KeRon lifted a small white jar and showed it to his friend. The jar fit
perfectly in KeRon’s gray boney palm. The white container had a picture of
a prism carved onto the side. It, like the other containers, appeared to have
been crafted of clay and smoothed to a polished finish. The lid fit snugly, securing
whatever was inside.
Bam! The men jumped at the sound of something heavy ramming the
“Are you sure they can’t get through?”
“Don’t worry about them. I’ve been working on these miniature portals
for years. I knew something like this would happen if the larger portals were
“But they are so small.”
“... destroyed, we would have a way out. A way to help rescue those who
KeRon knew that he was sending Edric to deal with the conflict on Earth
alone. And KeRon would be stuck inMortifia forever.He was losing his closest
confidant and friend. All because of a ruling he didn’t agree with that was
built on fake science and blatant lies.
4 KEVIN NIEHAUS
Bam! The soldiers rammed the door again knocking KeRon back into
the moment. No more thinking about what might happen next, only what
needed to be done.
“Edric, it’s time. Take this,” KeRon handed Edric the small satchel containing
the five vials. “Please keep them safe, and hopefully one day we can
“There has to be another way,” Edric said. “Do you remember that time
“That time the council sent us to Infernia? Edric, my friend, with the
portals being cut off we have to be cautious.This journey is not like those exploratory
missions we went on. This is the start of something bigger. Once
you get to Earth, you have to stay there. Don’t use the portals until you know
“Your family? What about them? What about this world, and the others?
It is all in danger. You are in danger. Why don’t you use the portal jars to
escape? Come with me, bring your family.We can regroup on Earth and find
a solution to this problem.”
KeRon looked sadly at the floor. “This is one of those things I’mnot sure
we will ever agree on. I need to stay here. I can’t leave Mortifia.”
“We know you’re in there,” they heard called from the other side, once
more. Bam! The heavy ram hit the door again.
“Come, my friend, it’s your time to go.”
“I can’t leave you. We can ...”
KeRon placed the jar in Edric’s hand and clipped the bag on Edric’s belt.
Placing his hands on Edric’s shoulders and looking him in the eyes, he said,
“I’m not sure I can help you be okay with this. It’s time to go the portals are
closing here. You need to be there. Someone will come who will save us all. I
only hope it doesn’t take too long.”
Edric tried to mutter a response, but KeRon held up a hand to indicate
he had more to say. He dropped his tone and continued, “Earth needs you
Edric. It is your time. Please take care of those jars. They are our last hope.
Now remember the prophecy, my friend. If these fall into the wrong hands
the Jumper could bring an end to far more than Mortifia.”
Before Edric could mutter even a goodbye, KeRon triggered the portal
jar. Suddenly, where his friend once was, there was nothing. Edric was gone.
CLEVER TREVOR AND THE ZOMBIE PRINCESS 5
KeRon was alone. He knew had he asked, Edric would have given up his life
on Earth to fight by his side. But, KeRon could never have asked that of him.
This was the start of something bigger. KeRon knew that the fate ofMortifia
solely rested on him.Theother worlds would have to protect themselves.
This sad realization did not last long before his attention transitioned back
to the pounding at the door. He collected himself, wiped away the tear running
down his face, walked towards the commotion, and opened the door.
“Ah! Who’s in there!” demanded the soldiers. Charged hands met him,
but their forceful tones quickly diminished, and they froze upon KeRon’s
“Your Highness?” muttered a guard.
“What is the meaning of this commotion?”
“Sir, we didn’t know it was you,” explained another soldier quickly standing
at attention. “If we had ...”
“Enough! I’m needed in the council room.”
Then with that, KeRon, the king of Mortifia, readied himself for war.