Allen followed on behind the girls as Lauren led them. He wasn't sure what was going to happen, didn't quite believe that this kid spoke the truth; but a wounded heart will believe anything.
The three of them stopped rather suddenly, in an alleyway at the side of the local theatre. It was a small establishment, well known for it's re-enactments of Shakespeare and the few brilliant comedians who had first preformed there. Down the side alley was a door behind a skip, the kind that you might use to sneak inside, and although he knew it was there he found his eyes kept sliding from it as though diverting his attention.
"Don't try to concentrate on it," Maggie advised him. "You'll only hurt yourself."
Lauren slipped a key into the lock, and the door swung open to reveal... nothing. There was nothing there but a huge blackness that the light did not penetrate, no sound, no wind, just nothingness. The emptiness was unnerving. Lauren pocketed the key somewhere in the folds of her clothing and took a step out of the world of the living. Maggie followed her with a small shudder, and Allen was left standing by the open door alone. He felt a little nauseous watching them; it wasn't that there was no light in that space, it just seemed that the light itself was black... He could see his companions clearly.
"Hurry up, I've got a tight schedule," Lauren called back to him, her voice sharp and unfriendly. With many second thoughts, Allen Marshall took his first steps out of the world he had been born in and into the Void. His knees almost gave way beneath him. Even though he could feel a solid floor beneath his feet his mind was telling him that nothing was there. He froze to the spot.
"Come one, Allen," Maggie said softly, taking his arm and leading him. She, like every other witch, knew how to believe in the impossible, but Allen - who at least thought he was human - did not.
Lauren led them again, through the timeless blackness, until a white square faded into existence.
"Blood-witch, Lone Angel, and Void-witch Lady Death request free passage in the Realms of the Mother," Lauren called out loudly, seemingly to no-one. Then two figures appeared. They were a little under seven feet tall, with heads bowed into their garments - or bodies. It was hard to tell what was what. Their faces were obscured, but clearly not human, and their hands were bound in insubstantial smoky chains.
"Passage not granted," they said suddenly, their voices one and sounding from every corner of the emptiness. Lauren cursed under her breath, and murmured that she had been afraid of this.
"By the hand of the Mother I command you to grant us passage!"
"Passage not granted."
Maggie looked from the tall beings to Lauren, and then she herself spoke. "Why not? Hey, I mean we're not that rude, are we? We're barely even armed! ....I think."
"There is trouble among the Souls. Someone betrayed those who should not be betrayed. Passage can not be granted."
The older girl sighed and scratched her head. Seemed there was nothing for it.
"Come on," she said brightly, pulling Allen along behind her and grabbing Lauren on her way past. Maggie powered along, straight through the square, much to the loud protest of the two guards.
"The Door has been breached! Passage not granted! The Door has been breached..."
"Oh shut up already..." Maggie groaned. Lauren struggled against her, and Allen was still frozen and a little pale looking. She had just gotten on the bad side of the Lost souls. That was just brilliant now, wasn't it?
"You idiot..." Allen said quietly, but he trusted that she had some kind of plan.
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