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Mike and Carrie Saga
by Bradygirl
Part 40

© 1998 Aaron Walker. Kain, Kassandra, Joey and McCabe characters are copyrighted by Aaron Walker and used by permission.

Authors Note: This was a fun episode for me. My brother gave me permission to use his characters in the saga. Itís only for this one episode though. We had talked about doing this a long time ago but his characterís werenít fully developed then. I hope you enjoy this foray into the comic book world my brother created.

Eric broke free of Romanís grasp and ran as fast as he could back the way he had come. Romanís footsteps pounded evenly behind him closing in quickly. Once he reached the room behind the painting, instead of heading out and into the DiMera mansion, he darted into another passage with a strange spider-shaped symbol engraved into the keystone above the archway. Eric jumped up and slapped the symbol before he slipped through hoping it would bring him good luck. For a second, a blue haze passed before his eyes He shook off the unusual sensation and crouched in the darkness of the tunnel. Minutes ticked by, but after he had crossed through the door, the air was painfully silent.

"You might as well come out and show yourself. I know youíre there." The voice he heard was a feminine one but it wasnít Kristen. Who could have seen him come in here?

Eric tentatively approached the voice passing again through the same doorway. His gut instinct had told him to come this way, but today his instinct was wrong. Now he was caught for sure in Stefanoís web of deception. Eric stared in shock at the room around him. No longer were there three passageways in the small room. This room was large and made entirely of wood. He glanced up to see a huge tarnished bell, like ones heíd seen in church steeples. How could that be? The room that should have been here was gone, replaced by this dark, dank bell tower. He walked to the nearby window and looked down to the ground below. The yard appeared to be dotted with grave stones.

"Where am I?" He looked back into the room. No one seemed to be there. The only object that appeared to have been recently used was a lonely wheelchair. As he studied it further, he realized that there was a slim form dressed all in black sitting in the chair.

"Stop staring, itís not polite," said Kassandra. She briefly introduced herself to Eric and then returned to his previous question. "Youíre in Centralia."

"I canít be. Thatís twenty miles from here."

"And, my friend, where exactly do you think you are?" Kassandra rolled her wheelchair closer to Eric. He noticed her long brown hair with the two sections framing her face in a shocking white. It was unusual but on her it seemed appropriate.

"Salem," Eric replied.

"I donít think you realize youíre no longer in the reality you once were." Eric cast her a strange glance and Kassandra exhaled a frustrated breath. She hated explaining things to humans who werenít connected to the astral plane as she was.

"What are you talking about?"

Kassandra steered herself to a large monitor on the far wall. Within seconds, she had a schematic of the entire city limits of Centralia displayed on the screen. "See this area, here?" she indicated with a long metal pointer. "That is where Salem *use* to be." Then she circled the entire central portion of Illinois. "This is Centralia."

"It canít be! Centralia is not *that* big."

"Maybe in your dimension itís not, but here, Centralia is one of the largest cities in the United States.

"Youíre out of your mind. I was just in Centralia a few days ago. It was easily smaller than Salem."

"Humans!" Kassandra muttered. "You are not in the same reality. My Centralia and your Centralia are two totally different places. Donít you understand that?"

"Kassandra, who are you talking to? Did Joey come back from his trip already?" Kassandraís brother, Kain, appeared in the window of the bell tower. He was dressed in his usual gothic costume but to Eric, he looked to be totally clothed in black. As he approached, the costume slowly seemed to seep into his skin. A few moments later, a normal looking man with a shock of long white hair stood before him. Eric took a few steps backward not believing what heíd just witnessed.

"Let me guess, you have superheroes in this dimension too?"

Kain laughed. "Yeah, one or two."

"No, no. I know what this is. Youíre working for Stefano. You want me to forget that John is really my father." Eric was not convinced by their act.

"Who the hell is Stefano?" asked Kain, now as equally frustrated by this boy as his sister. "Is he a new Pidget Trooper working for McCabe?" Kain paused and turned to Kassandra. "Who is this boy anyway?"

"He came through one of the Central Gates. From what Iíve learned already, we need to seal that one off. I donít want another one of them accidentally walking through. You know how I hate visitors."

Kain nodded. "So, you came from another dimension? Interesting." He studied Eric up and down. "I didnít know the Gates were inter-dimensional. Thatís nice to know. What brings you to our world, stranger?"

"The name is Eric. Not stranger. Not boy. Eric. And I donít know what Iím doing here. I just wanted to get away from Stefano and Roman."

"The man you thought was your father was trying to kill you." It wasnít a question. It was a statement that Kassandra knew to be fact. She had successfully connected herself to his reality and knew much of what had recently transpired in his world. Eric looked at her in shock. Kain laughed.

"She does that all the time. After a while, you get use to it."

Kassandra ignored her brotherís attempt at humor and continued. "Your home is similar to ours. All is not as it seems there. Beware a man whose accent is not your own. Also it seemed the dead are alive and evil lurks in unexpected places. Is this true?"

"I guess you could say that." Eric didnít care about her warnings. "All I want is to go home and get out of here."

"Easier said than done, my friend. It was by chance you ended up here. We donít have the complete address to your world. That Gate must have been set up years ago before the new codes were established. It will take some doing to figure out how to send you back," said Kassandra.

"Great!" he muttered. "So, Iím stuck here with you two, forever?"

"I wouldnít talk to her like that. Sheís the only one in this dimension who could possibly get you home. And making her angry will just delay your exodus." Kain knew his sister and she could hold a grudge with the best of them. This boy would be lucky if sheíd assist him. Kassandra wasnít known for her charity.

"Okay, okay. Iím sorry. I apologize. Just please, get me home," Eric pleaded.

"I canít assure you youíd end up at the same porthole but your world, I assume, has more than one Central Gate. All the others do." Kassandra fiddled with the computer in front of her. It looked more complex than any machine heíd seen on Earth. He realized this dimension was obviously more advanced than his own."

"Whatever. Anywhere in Salem is fine. As long as itís *my* Salem."


A few hours later, Eric observed Kassandra as she searched her library of ancient texts. There must have been thousands of books lining the walls of the bell tower. One discovery soon led to another until she had the code completely deciphered.

"Iím ready whenever you are, Eric," said Kassandra slyly smiling knowing it was the first time sheíd addressed him by his name all evening.

As he glanced around, he realized that her brother, Kain had disappeared. During Kassandraís quest for the code, Eric wondered just what purpose brought him here.

"Do you think things happen for a reason?" he asked her.

"So, you have that saying on your world too?" Eric nodded. "Yes, I believe we all have reasons for what happens in our lives. Our creator has given us each a specific destiny and talents to help us make that destiny a reality. The rest, Iím afraid, is up to you."

"But do you think Iíve come *here* for a specific reason? To your world? Did I learn something that Iíll need when I get back home?" Kassandra tried to evade the question by rolling away but Eric was adamant.

"Iíve revealed much more than I should have already. You donít understand, the cosmos and dimensional travel are tricky things." She considered his request and swiftly changed her mind. "But this much I can say. You have a sister whose heart is torn between two men. Both good men. You believe her choice to have been made already but it has not. She is still confused about her feelings. One man has disappeared but she should not worry. He has not forsaken her. All will be uncovered soon, much more than even you suspected. But you, my friend, are on the right track, are on the right track. Seek the man with the double face and he shall lead you to your sisterís fate."

Kassandra typed out the message sheíd just spoken and gave the printout to Eric. "Keep this so you wonít forget. Now, all you have to do is walk through the porthole. It should take you back to your world." Eric slipped trough and a hazy blue light once more passed before his eyes. He found himself at the end of the dark tunnel and could hear Roman and Stefano talking. A few feet ahead was the rotten stairway. He could surprisingly understand their words from this distance and realized heíd already heard this conversation once. Had Kassandra sent him back to a time before Stefano had vowed to kill him? How did she know? Before he could contemplate on the question Roman stepped out an onto the rotten stairwell.

"Iíll keep up this charade for now, but I wonít pretend to be Roman forever. I have my own family to worry about. And itís only a matter of time before that happens," argued Roman.

"A few more weeks, Roman. And then you can go back to your *real* life on Smith Island," said Stefano in a convincing tone.

Eric plastered himself against the wall as Roman, or whoever he was, passed by him. It was over. Stefano didnít want to kill him." Relief flooded his body. He unfolded the paper and read her prophetic message. "Thank you, Kassandra," he whispered. "Thank you for this and thank you for saving my life."

As he made his way back to the DiMera mansion, he could swear Kassandraís voice answered him in a ghostly whisper, "Youíre welcome, stranger."


to be continued

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