An Unexpected Barrier

Timothy glanced left and right from her cover. None of the lights ahead revealed guards or motion. The arch glimmered in the center of a twenty-foot-high enclosure wall: the only way through. The only way out.
Drawing ragged, painful breaths of air, Timothy lunged forward, her feet crunching loudly as she bolted across the lot. Too open and exposed – anyone could hear her. Her head ached from the cold and the brightness of the gate. Almost there, so close.
“Timothy, stop.” The voice was suffused with warning. “The door is not open yet.”
Timothy skidded to a halt, sending a spray of gravel ahead. Stabs of pain lacerated her shins as the rocks were flung back at her. She bit back a scream. A mere hand’s breadth away, the arch produced luminescent crackles of static. The smell of ozone reached her nose.
“What do I do?” she gasped.
“One moment.”
A new, unexpected sensation flooded her fingers, as though they had fallen asleep.
“Reach forward,” prompted the voice.

Timothy plunged her hands into the field.

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