Jeremiah and Leo had played Batman on the PlayStation for hours. Leo enjoyed it so much, that he almost forgot about what he needed to do that night. He looked up from the TV Screen and saw that it was getting dark outside. Fairly soon his friend would have to go home and he would call his dad. “Jump, Leo!”, he heard Jeremiah call, and focused back on the game. It was a very welcome distraction from everything he had been through the last couple of days.
Jeremiah got up and asked Leo “Do you want something to drink? I’ll get a water for myself.” “No, thanks”, came the reply. Leo paused the game and stretched his legs and arms. It felt like he had been sitting on the couch for along time. “What time is it , Jeremiah?”, he called after his friend. “Almost seven, I have to go home soon.” Jeremiah came back from the kitchen with a glass of water, Bucky was following him, wagging his tail. He seemed as excited as always when Jeremiah or his sister came over to play.
Bucky jumped up and tried to lick Jeremiah’s ears when they heard someone opening the main door, Bucky turned around and ran into the hallway. Leo was getting up to follow him. In the hallway he was surprised to see his dad closing the door, actually locking it, something he never did.
“What are you doing home, dad? I thought you wouldn’t come home until Friday. I just wanted to call you.”
His dad looked at him and then at Jeremiah, Bucky was running around him, jumping up and down. “Leo, we don’t have much time”, he made a serious face, “I saw what happened when you went down to the basement this morning.”
“How?”, Leo interrupted his dad. “I watched the video recording from my surveillance cameras at least twenty times on the flight home. You have to tell me everything that happened after you stepped into that light! I need to know every single detail.”, his dad continued. “But first, where is Mom?”, “she went to the store”, Leo replied, “should be back soon.”
His dad turned to Jeremiah: “I am sorry, Jeremiah. I didn’t want to get you into this mess, but it might be too dangerous for you to walk back home right now”. Jeremiah’s expression turned from surprise to curiosity. He wasn’t easily scared and this was getting interesting.
“I don’t understand, Dad, Why would it be dangerous for Jeremiah to walk home?”, Leo asked, feeling a little sick to his stomach. His dad looked at him, thinking, obviously searching for the right words. Finally he replied “Leo, we don’t know what you might have started when Bucky turned on that light in my lab. My assumption was always that this is some sort of Portal not just between different galaxies, but also between different points in time.”
Leo and Jeremiah looked at him nervously, “Am I right?”, his dad asked “or were you really only gone for the four minutes it seemed from what I saw on the camera feed? From the looks of you and Bucky when you returned, even in the low light of the basement, you have been on the other side for quite some time.” He turned to Bucky and looked at him “And you Bucky, it looked like you were talking to Leo when you both came back. You do understand every word I am saying, don’t you?”
Leo was in shock. He had thought about how to convince his dad of what had happened to him and Bucky all day long. And here he was, obviously knowing more about the Portal than he did himself. He thought about that, and of course his dad knew about it. Why didn’t he figure that out earlier? The Portal Stone was in his lab after all and he must have done something with it. “So you knew about the Portal all along, dad?” he asked him. “No, I didn’t know what the Portal Stone was supposed to do. I had some ideas what it might do, but didn’t really know anything until this morning. I found it years ago and have been playing around with it as a side project. Just a few weeks ago I connected it to a new light source I have been testing to see how it would react to it. That’s when it started to emit the low red light and the humming sound you might have heard.”
“Could anyone tell me what you are talking about?”, Jeremiah interrupted. “Everything I have heard so far sounds like a cool video game, but why are you acting so weird? What is a Portal, and since when can Bucky talk?” Bucky came up to him, and started barking at him. “And by the way, that’s not talking”, Jeremiah added, “so please, what is going on?”
Bucky looked at Leo “I guess he cannot understand me, makes sense - it’s only you and me because of the water.” “There we go, more barking, real funny.”, Jeremiah said. Leo walked over to him and stopped him right there. “I know it’s hard to believe, but he can understand you and I can understand everything that he says. It’s a long story.”
“Then let’s hear it, Leo”, his dad said, “I need to know everything to come up with a plan on what to do next. The Portal could be very dangerous!”