Andrew was finally home from a long day at the store with a million things on his mind, the foremost one he was about to re-examine tonight. He threw his coat and keys on the couch and went to the desk and picked up the letter again. He'd been corresponding with a mysterious person off and on for nearly a year now. Andrew owned a tiny bookstore and he sold used science fiction, fantasy books and some horror, though he was not a fan of those and after some of the things revealed to him recently horror now disturbed him. It was a weird "thing" with him, nothing personal against horror.
He barely kept the book store afloat but one day he had received a mysterious letter from a person named T telling him that his store was a portal to another place and then told him, showed him, exactly how this was so. It had shocked and intrigued Andrew but this was the truth. T had offered a felicitous arrangement. T would help keep the store afloat.
It really was a portal, a wormhole. He was warned that it needed to be protected from the others.
"What others?" He'd asked. He found out, to his fright that these "others" were all over the place, trying to overtake the world and that they had been here for a long time. They looked human. They seemed human but they were not human. He and T were now busy trying to fix the portal and improve it so that it would work reliably, because as of now it did not, and also to make sure it remained hidden from the others. The evil ones. T had seemed to know so much about these things. It was as if this was just out of one of the many books he sold in his store. So many of them had gotten here through portals like it but T had said that he and others he knew long ago had destroyed many of these portals or found a way to close them off but that was why so many others had gotten here in the first place. They were in a dash to hide any other found portals. Dangerous work. He had to admit he got a thrill from it all, even though he had a hard time sleeping now that he knew what he knew. T contacted him the old fashioned way. Through written letters. He rather liked letters by hand. No one ever did that. Except T. He often wondered if T was a time traveler. Or something else. He had never seen T before. The letter read:
You must take this most seriously. It is not a game. It is real and those of us who are rebelling against this are in danger of execution and all humans are in danger of extermination. Just because we have closed up the portals does not mean that humankind is safe. They cannot act directly because they are not as powerful as they thought they would be, yet, but the day is coming when they will become far more powerful than they are now. Then they will not have to use subterfuge. They are evil, Andrew. Make no mistake about it. They are poisonous and insidious. There were several times in history when they nearly succeeded in wiping humanity out. The World Wars were the most recent examples. They use your own weaknesses and imperfections to try to engineer the destruction of Man and Man has shown that if they only keep trying they may succeed. Evil, unlike Good, needs no one to champion its cause. It triumphs because of a universal truth: everyone has darkness within and it is inherent and its call is seductive. It is so easy to be wicked and men would rather be seduced by it than fight against it. I should know; I have been educated by the ultimate tempter and I have paid dearly for it. Remember this Andrew. Remember it. Do not tarry in your decision too long.
His heart beat quickly. Everything he looked at, smelled, touched could have been put there to seduce and blind him by the "others". Now was as good a time as any to put the monumental plan in motion. Andrew was not sure he was ready but T was pushing him and the things he had seen only begged the question: why did he continue to sit on his hands? The group had to be formed. He got out a piece of paper and a pen and wrote T back:
You were right all along. It is just that I have meager resources and I am nothing but a scared, confused bookseller with a bum leg. You are asking an underachiever who can barely run his own business in the black to help you save the world. Yet, it is my world. Let's do it. Let's get the group together. If you say there are others like me who know what is happening, we must get to know who we all are to stop them. My bookstore can be used as headquarters.
He slipped the paper in an envelope and wrote the letter: T on the front and he went to the backyard and stuck it in the little fake mailbox he used to communicate with T and then he made dinner, watched a little TV and drank some beer and went to bed.
. . .
The next morning he got up and went to the box in the back yard. His fingers trembled slightly. Sure enough, there was another letter from T. His letter was gone. He opened the new letter and read it.
I shall get the group of chosen ones together. It will be difficult work but I think I can convince them. One is seriously injured, in the hospital. In any case, in exactly three weeks, on Friday, we shall all meet each other for the first time at the bookstore. 8pm. If this time is inconvenient, let me know and I shall work out a better date and time. Time is of the essence.
"Well then. It begins." Andrew looked up at the sky. It was gray, foreboding and ready to drop a river of rain. He felt a few cold drops fall on his arm. "It begins." He sighed and went back into the house.