Worlds Collide is an eclectic shop that sells things like fantasy novels, many-sided dice, model spaceships, and other cool nerd loot. It also houses special gaming rooms, each decorated with a different theme, where friends can meet and play the games they love.
Turns out it’s also located at a weak point in the fabric of the universe, and people occasionally tumble through.
Ben Richards smiled and shook his head as he pulled into the parking lot at Worlds Collide, and saw Jamie’s sleek black Charger, John’s modest blue SUV, and the behemoth of a white pickup truck that Rob drove for work. Even though it was two in the morning, he hadn’t really expected Raven to be home when he finally got back from his network install. He knew that she’d want to make the most of the new gaming room, and would probably play into the wee hours.
He’d thought about just going to bed, figuring Rob would bring Raven home whenever the game wrapped up, but decided a few more minutes of driving was worth it to see what everybody thought of the place. As he got out of the car, he stretched and ran his hand through his thick black hair…probably causing it to stand on end in the way that made his wife sigh and attack him with a brush to make him look presentable again, he thought wryly, but it had been a long day and he was too tired to care.
A wave of pride swelled in him, as he unlocked the back door and progressed through the dimly lit store toward the stairs. They had talked about this place for years, never really thinking it could become a reality…and yet, here it was. More than just a collection of dice, books, and games, it was a place for people like them, who loved all things geeky. He’d helped to choose the merchandise, put together displays, installed all the tech; Raven had somehow put all those pieces together to make something greater than the sum of their parts…a place where misfits fit.
Humming to himself as he reached the top of the stairs, he smiled in anticipation of seeing his lovely wife, and of their friends’ teasing groans and cries of “Get a room!” that would inevitably follow.
But his thoughts came to a screeching halt when he opened the door to the gaming room.
Their cars were outside. Their stuff was here. Jamie’s laptop, which never left her side, was emitting its usual electronic glow. Their phones were all lying on the table, as if nothing was out of the ordinary.
But the room was empty. His friends, his brother-in-law, his wife…were gone.
Next Chapter (The Proverbial Tavern – Chapter Five) – Coming Soon!