Image text: “Mind the barrier. Children must be attended at all times,” the monotone voice blared through the speakers, echoing in the crowded holding chamber. The barrier, a grid of light, surrounded the platform where hundreds of people waited, pulsing in a soft blue light to alert passers of its proximity.Joy stared flatly as it swelled and dimmed in a relaxed cadence, taunting her with what lay beyond.They said it was emptiness, a void to hold the waypoints between worlds, that no one could survive beyond the light. But she heard them–keening, wailing–not with her ears, but with something more. The voices, like tragic, terrifying whale song, pulled at her with invisible string, dragging her toward the grid of pulsing light. She came here for the waypoint, but there was something in the dark outside, howling in the void.The emptiness beyond the barrier caller to her–she just didn’t know how to answer.