Portal Trip - Journey of Van Helsing
There are many great evils in the world. How great depends on which portal you’re in. In the simple portal that Van Helsing resided in these days, the evil was definitely the dog that came barking down the path every time he made his way to 12 Hooch Crescent.
In the previous portal he had lived in, Van Helsing had been a monster hunter slaving away for the Cardinal at the Vatican. Van Helsing had figured that was a pretty tough job. That was until Carl had invented the portal tripping device.
But nothing. Nothing compares to the job of a postman.
“Easy, Fluffy,” Van Helsing soothed, holding out the measly letter he was risking his life for.
Fluffy probably wasn’t the German Shepherd’s name, but it reminded him of a three headed monster in a popular children’s book. Van Helsing and Carl both preferred to call it an “all age” book.
The dog snarled and pounced. Van Helsing’s fast reflexes allowed him to dodge, perform a roll and squash the letter into the tiny box placed too far down the path. Sneering at the dog, Van Helsing leapt over it and ran to his motorbike. He gunned the motor and sped away, performing a hand gesture Carl had taken great pains to teach him.
Van Helsing had faced gargoyles, vampires and warlocks. The only thing worse than that huge dog was definitely the Cardinal.
“Did you get it?” Carl demanded as soon as he stepped in the door.
Carl was an amusing sight. He was wearing a dressing gown and looked like he’d just got out of bed. “Sleeping in” was an idea that the ex-friar had immediately loved and stayed up well past dawn tinkering in his shed to do just that. He still didn’t have a job, but mostly the neighbours paid him some money to come around and fix things.
Most places people would ring a repairman. Broome was not most places. It was fairly laid back for a place on the map.
Van Helsing rolled his eyes and threw the DVD (Someone Like You – Carl seemed to find it funny seeing the former monster hunter in a romantic comedy) at him. Carl cradled it, deliberately ignoring his flatmate after the exchange. Since portal tripping, both had become close friends. But a recent rift had come to the household.
“You’re not still angry about that damn book are you?” Van Helsing asked, fed up. “For God’s sake, I said sorry.”
Van Helsing paused and cringed. Carl was rubbing off on him more than he thought. His friend glanced up, unable to resist responding, “That ‘damn book’ happened to be my diary. I only let you read it because I thought you kept one too.”
“Me, keep a diary? You should have known better. You never told me about those crazy bananas.”
“You never asked.”
“Fine,” Van Helsing said and walked out of the room.
He counted to ten and, sure enough, Carl yelled, “Wait just a smegging minute!”
“You said smeg again, Carl.”
“Damn! Just come back here.”
Trying hard not to smile, Van Helsing re-entered the room. He kicked off his boots and sat down on a rather ragged arm chair. Carl took a deep breath and said, “Just don’t read it again.”
“Done. Now that wasn’t so hard was it?” Van Helsing asked sweetly.
Carl threw a tissue box at him. He barely managed to cover a yawn that then swamped him. He rubbed his eyes and yawned again. Van Helsing smirked. “Maybe you should go back to sleep.”
“Hm, it seems a bit early. What time is it?”
“Horrendously early – four in the afternoon. If you want to come along, I’m heading off to Cable Beach.”
“Swim! I have no time to swim!” Carl exclaimed.
“You could learn how to swim,” suggested Van Helsing. “It’s not that hard.”
“I know how to swim! I just choose not to.”
Van Helsing rolled his eyes. “Well get back to whatever you were doing last night. I’ll come back late.”
When Van Helsing returned home, it was dark. He was wet and feeling like the walking dead. He was further unimpressed to discover that there were no lights on in the small house. Even though Carl usually forgot, it was still a nasty shock to come home to. He had trouble opening the gate and spent a few moments cursing.
He headed around the back to Carl’s shed, intending to get back at him – by threats or damaging a few pieces of junk. Whichever felt more appealing. If possible, it was even darker in the backyard. The shed was dark also. With growing concern, Van Helsing noticed that the roof had blown clean off.
“Carl?” he called loudly.
The door fell off the hinges as he pulled on it. Inside, Carl’s lair was a mess. Broken instruments and torn papers littered the floor. As Van Helsing gingerly stepped through the debris, he noticed a very familiar looking object sitting on the table – the only thing that looked intact.
Van Helsing groaned.
“You told me you destroyed it,” he muttered irritably.
It was the portal device. It didn’t make sense – the device went with the user into the other portal. Van Helsing, contrary to Carl’s belief, had been listening through that lecture. But Carl had been tinkering more the past few nights than usual and had been muttering about “fixing” something.
Van Helsing searched around a bit more and found the remote control to the device. It was in a satchel that had been buried under a pile of refuse. The satchel also contained a couple of bottles of wine and a Discman, which contained a Spice Girls CD.
Carl never went anywhere without that CD. He seemed to think it was fashionable. Van Helsing figured this was why he was still unable to get past a first date.
He frowned as he realised that Carl had planned the trip.
“Git.” Van Helsing shook his head. “You could have taken me along. I needed to get that gun I left behind.”
He glanced down at the remote control in his hand. Carl had also said that return was virtually impossible without the device or control…
Van Helsing swore and added for no particular reason, “Smeghead!”
He knew what he had to do. If Carl was somehow in a portal without a DVD player, he’d go insane. Van Helsing sighed with dismay. He really did not want to touch the device and a couple of months ago he wouldn’t have gone after Carl anyway.
Van Helsing half expected Barney the Dinosaur to spring out and croon some cheesy jingle about friendship.
If the dinosaur had, he would have been pummelled and then, when Van Helsing had retrieved various items, sliced to bits. Barney ranked up there with the Teletubbies. The mere thought of such creatures was enough to make the former monster hunter shudder.
There was nothing else to do.
He would have to portal trip, find Carl and save the day.
“Some people have all the luck,” grumbled Van Helsing.