The figure's conciliatory voice kept me calm and still as a chilling wind moved past my body. It felt as though we were in mid-air, flying through the outer atmosphere of misty clouds and below freezing temperatures. However, my eyes remained shut throughout the journey, not daring to peak at what mystical surroundings were speeding by us. There was no need to look, anyway, for even if we were gliding over rooftops there was no practical way for me to stop the figure and myself and return to the comforts of my cowardly bed. Thus, my eyelids were tightly squished together.
There was no "thunk" and drop as a landing, nor were there any signs that we had stopped apart from the fact that it no longer felt like my body was numb from the cold. The voice had spoken very few times since I had met him - what was it, minutes ago? hours? days? - and I could only suppose that he was feeling just a tiny ounce of humor coursing through his icy veins as he revealed his voice once more. "We're here."
My eyes slowly opened as I tilted my head up, gazing into the darkness inside his hood before giving up and looking to my right. It seemed as though it was still nighttime, but the setting was far more intriguing than my previous bedroom. We were on a path of mossy cobble surrounded by black soil with torches lining the earthy walls to the left. Above us was a dim sky that cradled the sparse stars scattered among the darkness. At this stage the only reason I had to believe this was a separate world was what looked like three different moons among those stars, the next larger than the previous. It was this staggering view that led me back to the ominous figure as I realized I was still grasping at his hand tightly. Immediately I released my grip, dropping my hand to my side and looking away, embarrassed by my own lack of manners. He didn't seem to mind my humanly incompetence or my awe at what was supposedly his every-day view.
I heard faint music and chattering voices in the distance as though an outdoor party was being held not too far from where we landed. Again I found myself looking away from the figure as I squinted to see hundreds of lights on the horizon. When I turned back to ask him a question, he was gone. A fear erupted inside of me as I glanced in all directions, trying to find my guide - my new safety. But he had disappeared.
My eyes closed once more, trying to recollect my thoughts and figure out what on earth was happening. Why would someone just leave me here in a random place? What possible use could that have been? I tried to swallow my fear and opened my eyes once more, turning to where the sound was coming from and starting the walk to civilization.
A lot of questions attempted to pass through my mind during this leisurely stroll, but I refrained from asking them because there would be no one to answer such inquiries, or rather no answer at all to them. Aside from pushing away unanswerable questions, I tried to take in the new atmosphere. The air was oddly clean and crisp, yet still breathable and by no means poisonous from what I could tell. Every time I heard the facts about other planets it was always something similar to having some kind of noxious air, so the fact that I wasn't dead yet intrigued me all the more. But again, there was no point in questioning.
After a good hour or so of walking barefoot and freezing down the earthy path, I noticed the voices getting louder and the lights becoming brighter. I'd finally reached the life forms I'd been looking for. Of course, that wasn't necessarily a good thing.
There was indeed some form of party in what seemed to be an outdoor club with pastel lanterns strung about over staggered tables and chairs. To my immediate left was a large sign that formed a kind of menu, written in plain human English to my surprise. However the names of the drinks that were being served were definitely other-worldly. Oh! Of course, and the "people" were other-worldly as well. Despite being an obviously different kind of species, it didn't feel as though I'd attracted much attention with my presence.
A bartender behind a dirt counter took the form of a very hairy human, with pointy ears on top of his head and eyes that closed vertically rather than horizontally. I did my best not to stare too long at any one person for fear of being considered rude, but from what I could gather these species weren't that far apart from humans, aside from a few differentiations. The general look was indeed humanoid, including clothes, which made it a little easier to stop myself from gawking. However, before I had enough time to absorb the new information, the bartender called me over.
"Ey, you! Doe-eyed freak!"
I was too confounded to be offended by the name, and quickly positioned myself behind the counter where the employee pointed to. His deep voice took on an almost Australian kind of accent with the words slurring slightly as he spoke again.
"Alright, here's the guide to making each drink. Table 41, the one over there-" he pointed somewhere off to the left "- with the girlie in the cerulean shirt, wants a Spradentious. You gotta make it. Competence test for newbies."
I could hardly think, this employee was asking a bystander unfamiliar with the entire planet let alone the drinks to make one for someone. I looked to where he said the guide was, and sure enough a little drawing on how to complete each drink was shown. However, unlike the colorful concoctions floating about around the page, I noticed that at the bottom was a very dark, purplish tinted glass. There were skulls and crossbones around the front of it.
"Ey! Get to work now!"
I jumped when I heard his voice again, and immediately turned my attention back to what I was supposed to be doing, my hands grabbing for the right colors and splashing them in a glass together along with the instructions. But my mind still wandered back to that drink.