Falling In Periphery - JD's Tale


Twyla Jane

Disclaimer is and always has been I don’t own ‘em and never made a plug nickel off ‘em. This is the opening story for a new AU, a rabid plot bunny that wouldn’t let go. A special thanks to Setcheti for inspiring this story, six more tales will follow. 5/27/02

The alarm was blaring when JD finally heard it. His bleary eyes squinted at the illuminated numbers 8:13 a.m. a feeling of dread came over him.

Oh No… late for class again “Shit… shit… shit…” The panicked oath came out almost like a mantra as he stumbled from bed and frantically tugged on the wrinkled clothes he had dumped on the dorm floor the night before. The young man awkwardly fumbled with the laces on his sneakers for several long moments before grabbing his backpack, darting out the door and down the hall towards the elevator.

“Come on…Come on…” Dunne quietly begged. If he didn’t hurry this would be the third time in a row that he would be late for class, something his economics teacher frowned upon. JD had exactly seven minutes to make it to the eight thirty course, and it didn’t ease his mind any that there was an exam today, the professor would be closing the door at the start of class no late comers allowed until after the test was over.

“Come on…” JD cursed the lighted digits as they slowly changed for each floor the elevator passed. All he thought about was making it to class on time that he couldn’t miss the test because he was a scholarship student. Good attendance and grades meant continued monetary assistance, and that he was late again because he had worked until three, scholarship and grants failed to cover everything he needed to survive on a daily basis. Finally JD heard the ping. The doors slid open. For a fraction of a second a blinding flash filled the elevator car then was gone. JD blinked twice not at sure what had just happened and stood there. Not until the doors began to close did he move and squeezed out. Looking around for the source of the light he found nothing the dormitory entry hall was barren, after shrugging off the experience due to little of sleep he jogged out of the building.


Almost out of breath JD Dunne arrive outside his classroom grasping for the handle he found the door firmly closed. Peering through the glass pane he saw his fellow students with their head down and studiously scribbling away with Professor Collins slowly walking through the aisle between the desks. Knowing there was nothing he could JD stayed there for a moment with his forehead press pressed against the cool glass before resigning himself to his fate and heading towards the cafeteria to try and choke down some breakfast.

8:45 a.m.

Standing across the serving warmer from the cafeteria worker he gazed at the meager leftovers before making his decision.

“Can I have a bacon egg and cheese sandwich?” The aide was an older plump woman with silver hair that had only a touch of its original ebony color. She didn’t seem to notice him as she busily wiped down the stainless steel surface so he asked again this time slightly louder but she took no notice. He thought maybe she was either very hard of hearing or just rude until another male student stepped up beside him asking for a breakfast sandwich promptly receiving the order. Dunne’s frayed nerves ate away at his normally pleasant demeanor and he was about to tell the woman off when the young made carrying a plastic tray with the lone sandwich aboard it, inexplicably stepped right through him. The resulting sensation for JD was nauseating and only heightened the fear that threatened to overwhelm him as he backed away.

In a blink of an eye the once empty lunchroom was now teeming with people their warbled, slightly distorted voices as the sudden rush of sound filled his ears. Slowly turning around as he took in this sudden chaos, an eerie awe struck wonder had the young man frozen in place as he desperately tried to understand what was happened. Jarred from his reverie as the school’s dean carrying a morning cup of tea walked through him as if he weren’t even there causing a bewildered JD to bolt from the room.

11:15 a.m.

The pace he moved along the sidewalks now was considerably slower. JD had left the college campus hours ago at full speed, trying to find a way to wake up from this nightmare with little success. No one could hear him scream let alone speak, they simply failed to see him or acknowledge his existence in any way. Even more disconcerting was that occasionally people would walk straight through him. The young began to seriously believe that maybe just maybe he was dead, but that didn’t seem possible everything was normal until the elevator. JD stopped mid stride as he considered the light and wondered if that had been the turning point. He sighed and started walking again being more conscious to avoid colliding with people and the accompanying unpleasant sensation, as he watched for the first noticing that they were slight out of focus almost out of sync with solid objects like the buildings, mailboxes and lampposts.

“Weird…” He muttered to himself before chuckling. “Why I am mumbling…. no one can hear me!” He snickered again just as he saw something out of the corner of his eye. A dark shadow cast itself his way.

“No way…” JD numbly uttered as a snarling creature charged after, the beast looked like a classically drawn werewolf straight from the pages of the comic books he read as a boy. Part of him wondered if it were real. Deciding not to tempt fate Dunne turned and ran.

Legs churning and lungs burning no longer able to keep up the furious pace JD could hear a loud snarl as the beast closed in behind him with nothing else to lose he charged into a busy intersection into the path of an on coming tractor trailer.

Sudden he was roughly jerked back onto the curb by a strong hand abruptly tumbling and landing a heap on the cement. Frantically twisting around to see just who his savior was a tall dark haired mustached man grinned back at him, the stranger’s blue eyes locked on to him as he scanned the streets looking for that thing. He was so preoccupied he hadn’t noticed the big man had crouched down next to him until the man was actually speaking. The proximity of the voice nearly caused JD to launch off the sidewalk back into oncoming traffic but a tight grip on his arm pulled him to safety again.

“Whoa kid… just because they can’t see you doesn’t mean you still can’t get flattened by a car…” This time the man securely wrapped an arm around his shoulder.

“You can see me!” A wide-eyed JD stared back almost slack jawed.

“Of course I can…” The stranger’s grin broadened.

“But they…” JD weakly waved at the people that passed them by oblivious to their presence.

“No they can’t… you’re new around here…”

“I thought something was… oh I’m not sure of anything any more…”

A uniformed police officer strode right through the hunched form of the young man.

“Let’s get out of here… that stuff still gives me the willies…”

Buck tugged JD back up, steadying the college student as he wobbled a bit.

“Well my name’s Buck Wilmington.” The big man reached out and shook the kid’s hand.

“JD Dunne…” And he managed to meekly smile.

“Well JD, let me be the first to welcome you to Periphery…”


“Well that’s what some folks call it… the others call it the Other side… the Astral Plain… ”

“Then we’re not dead?”

“No we’re not… It’s more like a dimensional slip.”

“You said the others… there are more people here… like us?”

“Yes…” Buck steered the younger man towards the downtown park after they patiently waited for the light to change and they both could cross the street safely.

“I can’t go home then can I?” A despondent JD asked already knowing the answer.

“No kid, but I have a few friends that I would like you to meet…then we’ll explain the rules…” Buck gave the young man a reassuring smile just as JD’s stomach loudly grumbled. “And get ya something to eat.”