It was during the sweet spot of the day. That time between the evening and the night. The sun was mostly down and the moon was out. Not too far from the Southern Point of Little Harbor island. A lone fishing boat glided along the still water. Rachel, the Captain, stepped out of the cabin to assist her deck hand. A young woman of 27, she was both the only Female Captain on the island and the youngest to boot. She was dressed in a white sweater and a pair of dark blue coveralls. Her long brown hair was tied in a tight braid behind her head and a white baseball cap sat atop her head. It had a symbol of a fish in a net embroidered on it. Nate, her deck hand, was near the hauler. He sported a buzz cut most of the time and was somewhat taller than the average height Rachel. He wore basically the same thing as Rachel except his sweater was red and his hat had no embroidery on it.
The boat on which they stood was a Maine/PEI style lobster fishing boat. The front third was taken up with the hull and the cabin, both of which were painted a light blue. The side of the hull showed the name of the boat NEPTUNE'S TEAR. Rachel loved mythology and decided to name the boat as such. She frequently studied Norse, Roman, Greek and many others. None of the other fisherman understood why. Within the hull there was a helm and a fish-finder for tracking the reefs and the buoy locations on the right hand side. On the left there was a small table with boxes on either side for both sitting and storing objects. In the center there was a small entry way with two or three stairs leading to a few bunk-beds and a small bathroom on the left hand side. The other two thirds of the boat made up the platform. The center stood two very large blue bins filled with fish pans. Each one was filled with either smaller canner lobsters or the larger market lobsters. The back port side had the hauler in place.
Nate turned on the hydrological hauler and began to lift the traps out of the water one by one. Placing them on the washboard one by one.
“Easy with that Nate!” Rachel yelled. Nate didn't even question her. He knew why she said that. A few weeks ago he was at the hauler and he was running it way too fast. Rachel tried to slow him down, but he couldn't hear it. After the third trap there was a large booming sound. As well as the sound of Nate yelling profanity with tremendous vigor. Rachel ran over and nearly slipped in the pool of green hydraulic fluid which had been spilling all over the platform. Most Captains would have lost their temper over something like this, but Rachel being who she is. Simply laughed her head off for the rest of the day. After fixing the hauler of course.
Nate finished bringing up all the traps and Rachel slowed the throttle of the boat. She put her gloves on and joined him. They opened up all the traps one by one, grabbing the creepy crawly catch. Also Nate took out the bait bags, which were mostly empty by then, and flung the old useless decomposed fish into the water off the washboard. He would then replace them with a full bag. Both of them turned towards the cabin upon hearing a familiar sound. Three crackles in succession on the radio. Followed by a man imitating a small bogs howl.
“Awuooo?” The voice said.
“Morley's done,” Nate said with a smile. Rachel giggled and walked back into the cabin. She grabbed the white hand set off the radio and pressed the button.
“Morley?” She said.
“Rach...” He sounded a bit worried. “Where are you?”
“Just off the South Point, why?”
“Did you see that?”
“Out by the inlet,” He paused for a second as if he was looking at something. “I saw a light.”
“I didn't see anything.”
“I'm gonna check 'er out before I go in.”
“I have one more haul to make, then I'll meet you there?” Rachel looked out the cabin door towards Nate, who was sorting and banding the catch from the traps.
“Nate!” She yelled over the engine. “Throw 'em back in!”
“Gotcha Capn'!” He yelled back while giving her his customary lazy solute. He would just put two fingers on his forehead and then point them at her. Rachel smiled and increased the boats throttle again. She quickly turned the helm to the left and spun the boat in a large circle. Shouting “Go!” every now and them to indicate when Nate was meant to toss in a trap.
“We're swinging by the inlet before we head in!” She yelled just as they were finishing the turn.
“Why's that!?” Nate yelled back.
“Not sure,” She said quietly, though she realized he wouldn't have heard that. “Morley saw something!”
The two of them sailed another five minutes or so towards the final buoy of the day. The hauled it, cleared it, baited it and threw it back. By the time the sun was completely down, they had reached the inlet. Nate stood outside and pointed out Morley's floodlight on top of his boat. The inlet was right next to the Southern Point of Little Harbor. After a few minutes the floodlight on the roof of Neptune's Tear lit up the hull of Morley's boat. Which had it's name printed on the side as well. SLOSHED!
“Duuuudes!!!” Morley yelled from his cabin. This guy had the mind of a bratty teenager for the most part. He was in his late fifties. He would never wear a sweater no matter how cold it got out on the water. His hat was easily thirty years old at that point. And his hair was cut short and completely gray, despite his attempts to hide it. He also wore a set of green overalls. He waved at Rachel and Nate with one hand and held possible his eighth beer in his other hand.
“Hey!” Rachel shouted. The boat's slowly drifted next to each other. Rachel's faced the inlet and Morley's faced the other direction. Both boats were the same type and design for the most part. Except Sloshed was bit smaller in the hull. His was also painted a much darker blue.
“How ya doin' ya old bastard!?” Nate yelled between the boats. Fishing boys often talked to each other like that. Though most of them did not feel comfortable talking to Rachel that way.
“Better than yesterday!” He answered.
“How was the catch!?” Rachel asked.
“No worse than yesterday!” Morley answered.
“How's the beer!?” Nate asked with a smile.
“Warm cause it's from yesterday!” Morley laughed.
“Where did you see this light!?” Rachel asked.
“Comin' from just outside the cavern!” Morley answer as he jumped from his boat to Rachel's.
“I guess were taking my boat?” She observed.
“It's pointed the right way,” Morley smiled. He didn't spill even a drop of his beer on the jump over. Morley's deckhand came out of the cabin and looked over.
“Turn of the engine for now!” Morley ordered.
“Anchor!?” The deckhand yelled back.
“Assuming you want to survive!” Morley guffawed. Rachel reentered the cabin and increased the throttle lightly. Neptune's Tear advanced slowly into the tidal inlet. Towards a well known cavern entrance on the cliff side. Night had completely fallen by that point. Causing total darkness within the inlet. Nate carefully climbed to the roof of the boat and pointed the large floodlight to the water in front of the boat. He pointed it towards the cavern entrance. It lit up the sides, but the inside was far too deep and dark for the light to get through.
“This place creeps me out,” Nate said. Mostly just to himself.
“You see anything!?” Rachel yelled up to him.
“Not yet!” Both Nate and Morley answered.
“Maybe it was just a reflection or the lighthouse?” Rachel suggested. Nate continued to point the floodlight at various points within the cavern.
“Can't see the lighthouse this close to the inlet...” Morley said quietly.
“How deep does this cave go!?” Nate asked from the roof.
“No one knows for sure!” Rachel answered.
“Has no one explored it?”
“Yeah plenty, but they never find much. And no one has found where it ends yet.”
“I must have been seeing things,” Morley said. Rachel had lowered the throttle s they could hear each other. The boat stopped in the center of the inlet. The port faced the cavern directly.
“What exactly did you see?” She asked Morley.
“I thought I saw a white light flash from in here,” He answered.
“Wait!” Nate yelled from the roof. “You guys hear that!?”
He lowered himself as close to the edge of the roof as he could. The floodlight was pointed at the water below. The noise he was referring too took the form of a low rumbling. The water where Nate was looking was lightly rippling.
“What is it?” Rachel asked.
“Something's rumbling,” Nate said. He wasn't speaking very loud. Morley and Rachel could barely hear him. The two of them instinctively climbed up to the front of the boat and joined Nate on the roof. They all looked down into the water. Down very low in the depths, a small white light shined.
“There's something down there,” Rachel said. With each moment the light was growing closer and closer. Appearing to be getting larger.
“What the hell?” Morley said to himself. The rumbling noise had started to get louder with each passing moment. As the light came closer to the surface.
“We should get out of here,” Nate said with fear in his voice. All three of the sailors jumped down off of the roof. Rachel ran straight towards the helm and reversed the throttle. The engines roared but the boat did not move. The rumbling sound was getting louder. Even close to deafening.
“Are we caught on something!?” Rachel yelled. She and the others were starting to feel the pain of the noise in the air. Morley looked over the washboard to see if they were caught. Nate held his head tightly.
“My head feel like it's gonna explode!” He yelled in pain. All three began to cover their ears. Nate leaned against the washboard and looked out to the water below. It had started to spin, turning into a small maelstrom. The rumbling noise got louder and all three began to scream. After a few moments of the maelstrom getting faster, a large bright white light emerged from the center. Though the water was moving very quickly, the boat still did not move. All three fisherman had to cover their eyes as the light rose father into the air.
“What...” Rachel struggled to speak. “Is... Happening..?”
The rumbling had become a very high pitched and powerful sonic reverberation. The light grew bigger and engulfed the entire boat, then the entire inlet. The sound echoed through the air, drowning out the excessive screaming from the three. Morley had collapsed onto the floor. Rachel was still standing, just barely. Nate still leaned against the washboard. He watched as long as he could before the light became to bright to see much of anything. And then... Nothing.
The noise had died down instantly. The light was totally gone. And the water was completely still. Rachel, Nate and Morley weren't able to see or hear anything for quite awhile. As they recovered the floodlight, which had gone out during the event, turned itself back on. The three stared at each other in disbelief.
“WHAT WAS THAT!!?” Morley yelled. His ears were ringing louder than he had ever experience. Rachel had one finger in her right ear.
“LOOKED LIKE A MAELSTROM!!!” She yelled. “ONLY WAY SMALLER!!!”
“WHAT!!?” Nate yelled.
“A MAELSTROM!!!” She yelled.
“WHAT!!?” Morley and Nate yelled at the same time.
Rachel ignored them and walked back to the port side. She climbed onto the roof again to look at the water. She turned and grabbed the spotlight, aiming towards the water below. She scanned, looking for any evidence of what they all just saw. Then she stopped and let out a gasp. She stared for a moment as the ringing began to die down.
“What do you see!!?” Morley yelled. Not as loud that time.
“There's a man in the water!” Rachel yelled back. The two men ran to the side of the boat to look. A man floated face towards the sky in the water. He was dress in a white button shirt and brown pants. Nate hopped onto the washboard and dived into the water to grab him. They all helped haul him onto the boat. He was a young man, must have been early twenties. He had long shaggy brown hair and stubble on his face.
“Who is he?” Nate asked.
“Better question is... Where did he come from?” Morley asked.
The hallways of the hospital had finally grown quiet. Doctor Anna Stockwell walked down the now empty halls with a chart in her hand. She was a tall blond woman wearing a white lab coat. The rooms were lit with a pale blue. No one was left in the huge building except for a few nightly interns and the graveyard doctors for the emergency room. As well as some janitorial staff. Anna's footsteps echoed loudly as she ventured through the familiar hall towards room 234. When she reached it, she opened the door and went in. The light was off in this room as well. Anna, needing to see what she was doing, turned the light on. The room illuminated quickly under the fluorescent lights. Those always gave Anna a headache. Which sucked because she worked in a building which used them almost exclusively in every room. There were even some slightly unprofessional situations where she would wear a pair of sunglasses to her appointments.
She walked over to the bed, still looking at the chart. The person unconscious in the bed before her was brought in an hour or two ago. Some fisherman found him in the water near the inlet. It seemed at emergency at first, but it was found he was simply passed out. No water was found in his lungs. No trauma. No injuries, aside from some scratches and bruises. He was not in a coma. Just, by all accounts, sleeping. He was given to Anna's department just before the main hospital staff left. He was found with a white shirt and brown pants on. Neither of them had any tags or indications where they were made.
Anna leaned over the bed and shined her pen light into the man's pupil. She gasped when someone knocked on the door. When you've been alone in silence for any amount of time, even a sound you hear every day can scare you. Anna breathed for a moment as the door opened. Two men Anna recognized stood in the doorway. Another Doctor by the name of Brock Ryley. He was a short man. His large beard and stature had given him the nickname Gimli in college. Which he was still known by in some circles to this day. The other man always sent chills down her spine. He was a mid forties man, dressed in a black suit with a jet black button shirt and a chrome red tie.
"Queen..." Anna said under her breath. His name was Father Cale Queen. He ran the local church. He was also a high ranking member of the town council. Although he was known to be a nice man, something about him made Anna very uncomfortable.
"Doctor Stockwell," Brock greeted Anna with a head nod. She nodded back.
"You scared the hell out of me Brock!"
Brock gestured uncomfortably over to Father Queen, "Anna please..."
"My apologies Father Queen," She said. "But it's really late. The dark makes me edgy."
Anna put her pen light back in her coat. She took a breath, "What can I do for you?"
Father Queen looked at her with his piercing blue eyes. She always thought they clashed somewhat with his jet black hair. For a man as well known and holy as he was, she never understood his wardrobe. Anna shuddered slightly.
"Rachel told me about this poor young man." Queen's voice was calm and soothing. "I'm here to help."
"I appreciate that Father Queen," Anna said. "But he's going to be fine. His body must have gone into shock from the water."
"Did Rachel or Morley explain how they found him?" He asked. Never lifting his gaze from her's. Not muscle in his body was in motion. He stood almost perfectly still with his hands held behind his back. Brock spoke up.
"They told us he was just floating near the cavern."
"I see..." Father Queen stopped talking and looked down at the man in the bed.
"Is there something you know that we don't Father?" Anna asked.
"Let me just say that this boy has become of interest to the town council," Father Queen continued to stare at the bed. "I will be speaking with him when he awakens."
Before Anna could speak up, Brock cut in, "We'll let you know immediately when that's possible."
Father Queen slowly looked over at Brock, "Thank you very much Doctor Ryley."
"What are you going to ask him?" Asked Anna. As she asked, Father Queen turned around to leave the room.
"Doctor Stockwell," He enjoyed using people's formal names. "I'm afraid I cannot tell you that."
Father Queen started to walk out of the room. Anna stopped him and said, "Cale!"
He stopped in his tracks. Not many people in town felt comfortable using his first name. It seemed to bother him when it happened. Anna being who she is, had no problem using his name.
"Is the council trying to keep this quiet?" She asked. This wasn't the first time they tried to cover up an injury of some kind. Or an addiction.
"Of course not Doctor," Father Queen said without turning around. "We just have some questions."
In that moment, the man in the bed shot upright. He gasped very loudly. He looked around. His eyes filled with tears and intense fear. Father Queen stared calmly as the two Doctors quickly ran over to the bed to calm him down.
"Brock hold him!" Anna shouted. Brock grabbed hold of the man and lightly held him steady. Anne turned to Father Queen. "Cale, get out!"
"Anna!" Brock yelled. Either chastising her for being rude to the Father or asking for her help. The difference didn't matter to her at all in that moment.
"It's okay," Father Queen held out his arm as if either of them were looking anymore. "I will return later on."
Father Queen took one last look at the mysterious man's face and then turned around. He calmly exit the room and walked down the hospital halls with a sly smile on his face. Back in the room, both Doctors attempted to calm the man down as best they could.
"Calm down! You're safe!" Brock tried to sound soothing. His deep guttural voice didn't make the man feel any better. At least it didn't seem so. "You're safe."
Anna did her best to check all of his vital signs. She read the monitors and held his hand. After a few moments the man started to calm down and check his surroundings. His breathing started to slow and he began to blink. Both Doctors stared at him calmly for a few moments.
"Whe..." He began to talk, but his voice stopped. "Where..?"
He struggled to get the words out. His voice strained and cracked. "Where am I?"
"Little Harbor Hospital," Anna answered him. "You were found floating in an inlet on the South side of the island."
The man strained, "How did I get here?"
"Some fisherman found you and brought you here," Anna continued.
"My..." He stopped again. "My book."
"Your book?" Brock asked.
"He had a bag with a book in it," Anna said. She pointed over to the corner fo the small room, near a chair. A small brown leather bag sat on the seat. Brock walked over to it and opened the bag. He looked through it for a few moments and then looked up at the two of them.
"There's no book in here," Brock sounded as confused as Anna felt in that moment. It had been there when he was moved to this room. It was plain to her where the book wound up. She just couldn't bring herself to say it out loud. As she knew, Brock would have argued that point.
"What?" Anna asked. She walked over to the corner and took the bag from Brock. She fumbled with it for a few moments.
"No..." The man in the bed spoke up.
"What did you say?" Brock asked.
The man pointed up to the heart monitor, "What is that?"
Anna walked over to the bed, "It's a heart monitor."
Logan looked around the room. He saw the small hanging TV above him. The thing was about as old school as it gets for the average person. Even obsolete to some. Garbage to others. To this man staring at it now. It was a total mystery. The man looked around the room with a hurt confused look on his face. Anna had never seen anything like this. He looked as if he had never seen anything like this room before. She considered he may have memory issues as part of being unconscious. He looked directly at her. "What's the date?"
"June 3rd," Brock answered him. The man continued to stare at Anna. He gave her a look. Shifting his eyes back and fourth from Brock to her. She got the sense that Brock didn't really answer his question.
"2017," She spoke up. Brock looked at her as if she had lost her mind. The man leaned back into the pillow on the bed.
"Three hundred years..." He whispered. Only Anna heard him in that moment. She took in a breath. He whispered again. "This can't be true..."
A tear fell from his eye. Anna sat down on the edge of the bed and place her hand on his shoulder. "What's your name?"
"Logan," He said.
"Do you remember how you got here?" She asked.
"Kye..." He started to say. He stopped. Anna could tell he knew what he was about to say. Something about him though, he seemed intelligent. Intelligent enough to know he shouldn't say what he was about to say. He continued. "I don't remember."
In that same moment. Outside of the hospital window for the room in which they all sat. Father Queen, dressed in his standard black stood outside staring from afar. He stood on a brick walkway. The walkway was just alongside the street going both ways. He turned to leave the hospital area down the pathway to his left. This was part of the islands main street. Leaving the hospital and going that way lead one right down past the business district on the left and the housing on the right. Down to the road which contained the Church and a little while down, the School. The street was aptly named, Father st.
Father Queen walked calmly down the road with a small smile on his face. After several minutes of walking he reached his church. It was a large white building. Basically square around the main base. With three spires coming from it. Two smaller ones on the left and right and one very tall spire coming from the middle above the entrance. A sign stood on the outside. It was a changeable sign with the plastic letters. Queen himself would be the one who made the changes if need be. This particular night the sign read: THE LORD PROTECTS US ALL. Rather simple, Queen considered it powerful. He was a firm believe in less is more. He approached the doors of the church and pushed them open. Across the aisle, past the wooden pews and the red carpeting. Right underneath the wooden statue of Jesus stood Queen's expected company. Three older men stood waiting for him. A tall man in a business suit. He had dark hair and was clearly the youngest of the three. Early forties at best. He wore glasses and had a clean shaven face. This was Mayor Carter Broadbent. The second man was a Mr. Frost Sullivan. He was the oldest of the three. A man in a long black coat holding a black cane. His hair was thinning and gray and he sported a short beard. His large bifocal glasses usually reflected any light he was near towards those he spoke to. The third man was known as simply: The Lighthouse Keeper. Very few around the town knew his real name. He wore a blue button shirt and a pair of blue jeans. As well as a leather jacket. He hadn’t yet gone completely gray, but his hair was certainly getting there. He had a thick mustache.
"Who is he?" Mayor Carter said. His voice was deep and booming. It echoed in the church.
"We are about to find out," Father Queen said calmly. He reached into the side pocket of his suit jacket. He pulled out a small brown leather bound book.
"What's that?" The Lighthouse Keeper asked. His voice was strained and guttural.
"His journal," Queen responded. "We're about to get his whole story."
Wake me up inside
Wake me up inside
Call my name and save me from the dark
Bid my blood to run
Before I come undone
Save me from the nothing I've become
Now that I know what I'm without
You can't just leave me
Breathe into me and make me real
Bring me to life
- Evanescence (2003)
1 YEAR LATER.
Several hundred kilometers from the island of Little Harbor. Within and much larger city in a much larger province. A man named Star Richardson (yes that is his real name) stood in the back of a large screening room. The entire room was dark aside from the light emanating from the theater screen on the other side of the room.
Star was a small blonde man. He wore a blue leisure suit most of the time. He was jumpy and excitable and bit his nails when he was nervous. In the case of right that moment, his nails were almost entirely gone. He was a 35 year old agent. In particular in the film industry. One of his biggest clients was a hot commodity at this point. A new-to-the-big-time film director had a new movie in production. This was one of the most anticipated film for the studio in years. That night Star and a group of producers met in the screening room to view the latest footage of said film. The screen flickered off and on as the scenes progressed. Star was concerned because he knew someone was about to get yelled at. Sitting right in the center of the room was a man named Mason. He was the head Producer for the studio and the biggest support of the director.
On the screen the final scene of the screening played. Two men stood in a dimly lit room with futuristic guns pointed at each other. No dialogue and about five minutes of silence later, a blast rang from the speakers. A thud indicated a body hitting the floor as the screen turned to black. A credit appeared on the screen: Assembly by Alexander King. A male voice came from the speakers. Sounding mostly disinterested, "Cut! Good, let's move on."
The screen went black and the light slowly came back on. The four producers sat silently for a moment. Mason sat in the center. He was a man in his mid thirties. He wore a blue striped button shirt and a pair of black dress pants. He had combed back black hair and a clean goatee. The other three producers sat above him. Ryan, Marty and Patricia waited for Mason to speak before they did. He didn't speak, he simple leaned back in his chair and started rubbing his beard. After awhile one of them spoke up. Marty leaned forward, "Well... It looked good."
"All his stuff LOOKS good," Ryan pointed out.
"Let's be honest," Patricia sounded upset. "This was just plain depressing."
"He can't be losing his touch already," Marty added.
"Mason?" Patricia tried to get his attention. Mason simply sat forward and rubbed his temples for a few moment. Star remained where he was, as far from Mason as the rooms design would allow. He wasn't going to be happy. Alex had left the building.
"STAR!!!" Mason yelled at the top of his lungs. Star jumped out of fright and hastily ran over to Mason's chair.
"Yes!" He answered as if he was just called by his three star general. Normally he would never be intimidated by a producer like this. But his client just screwed a big time producer and put both their careers on the line. Nervous was all he could feel that day. Mason stood up, towered over Star.
"Where is he?" His voice was very quiet all of the sudden. Which was almost worse than when he yelled. Star began to sweat.
"He uhhh..." Star swallowed. "I saw him leave a little while ago. You know him and watching his own stuff."
Star's voice was wobbly and strained. He backed away after making that statement. Mason turned quickly and left the screening room in a panic. "Dammit!!!" His voice echoed through the entire building that day. A scream of wasted millions of dollars.
"Uh oh," Star said under his breath. The three other producers had gotten out of their seats and approached him. Patricia put her hand on Star's shoulder.
"Mr. Richardson," Star looked at her. "That was not good at all."
"Yeah I know," He said quietly.
"We can't release this," Ryan said while look up at the empty screen.
"We can't possibly release this!" Marty added. He waved his arms upwards. "It's nothing like the first one!"
"How did it get to be like this?" Patricia asked. Star wasn't sure if she was asking him or if it was rhetorical. Star simply turned away from them.
"He had no choice," He said quietly once again.
"What was that?" Patricia sounded angry. Star ignored her and walked out of the screening room to follow Mason. He didn't say another word.
On the corner of a dark street within walking distance of the studio. There stood a small diner. A neon sign at the top read: THE 24HR CAFE. As one would glean from the flashing old-school sign, it was open 24 hours a day. Though it wasn't always busy. Matter of fact, it very rarely had more than ten people at a time. Somehow it remained in business. It became a favorite of Alexander King after he went for a walk one night after leaving the studio on foot. He began to go there any chance he could. The old-time aesthetic made him feel more at home then his modern expensive apartment. When asked why he loved it so much he would tell you he loved the 50s style. The truth of the matter was is that it was one of the only spots left in the city which allowed smoking inside. There was some kind of city-related loophole the restaurant had. Within the establishment there was only three people that night. Alex, The Waiter behind the counter and a Girl sitting in the corner stool.
The inside of the diner contained a long counter with red stools every couple of feet. Some unused tables were set up in the open space behind it. Behind the counter there stood a couple of large cappuccino machines and the entrance to the kitchen. One section of the counter had a small container with ostensibly stale muffins inside. The whole place was painted yellowish white. I really could have been right out of the 1950s.
Alex sat on the stool on the right most side of the counter. The Girl sat on the left most stool closest to the wall. Alexander king sat with his head down and a classic style Fedora on his head. He wore a leather jacket, which was lightly reflecting the flickering fluorescent lights above him. He kept a rather unkempt beard which covered the entire bottom half of his face. His eyes were a hazel green. He sat with a warm cup of coffee and his third cigarette in a row in hand.
The waiter approached Alex with a pot of coffee, "Can I get you a refill Capone?"
Alex snickered slightly at the obvious joke regarding his choice of headgear. He glanced at the waiter. He was a tall thin man with an old looking face. He was probably much younger than he looked. Alex thought up a joke to respond with and spoke up, "I'm good for now LLOYD, but you're still a good man."
The waiter stared for a few moments, "I don't get that."
"Stanley and Stephen would be crushed," Alex joked cryptically. The waiter stared at him for w few moments.
"Okayyyyyy..." His voice trailed off as he walked towards the other side of the counter. The Girl in the corner giggled to herself and looked up at Alex. Who then looked over at her, still keeping his head down.
"I got it," She said with a smile. Alex did not raise his head.
"Glad to know it wasn't to vague," He said.
"It was just vague, I've seen that movie a million times."
"If only mine were that re-watchable..." Alex said quietly. Almost to himself.
"Your what?" The Girl said after just barely hearing him.
"If you don't recognize me," Alex said. "You'd be one of the few lately."
"Arrogant much?" The Girl asked sarcastically. Alex snickered to himself. He loved playing around with people like this ever since he got famous. It was a quick and unexpected fame, something he was not nearly used to yet. He slowly lifted his head and revealed his face to the Girl. She gasped quietly to herself upon seeing his face.
"I wish I was," Alex said with a sly smile. The Girl held her breath for a few moments. She was pretty clearly a movie fan. Alex held his hands up towards her as he had seen that look before. "Please don't freak out."
The Girl quickly got out of her stool. Leaving her cup of coffee behind, she scrambled over next to Alex, "Are you really...?"
"Yeah," Alex said. She didn't need to finish that question.
"Alexander King?" She finished anyway.
"That's me," Alex confirmed it once again.
"THE Alexander King?" She asked in disbelief.
"Hope so," He said calmly. The Girl smiled wide. Her eyes were also wide. Like scary wide. Alex was a little creeped out by it.
"I can't believe it's really you!" She was talking louder than Alex would have liked at that moment. "Starfighters was like my favorite movie of the year!"
Alex took a breath, "You and five million six hundred thousand three hundred and seven other people."
"That sounded really bitter..." She sounded disappointed. "And amazingly specific. Are you mad it was a success?"
"Yeah," Alex responded simply. It may have been harsh, but it was the truth.
She was baffled, "Why?"
"Success makes people want more," Alex said, lighting up another cigarette.
"Isn't that the whole point?" She asked.
"Only if the story isn't finished," Alex inhaled the deadly smoke very quickly. He was getting a bit aggravated. Everyone always thought the same thing. It was in that moment that the diner doors burst open. The bell attached the the top casing rang violently. "Here we go."
Mason entered the diner, stomping his feet erratically. He stood behind Alex and simply stared him down for a few moments. Breathing very loudly. The Girl felt an uncomfortable mix of fear and confusion. Alex eventually turned around to face him. Star entered the diner in that moment.
"Alex," Mason was holding back yelling. "What the hell WAS that!?"
His effort was pointless. His voice was just getting louder and louder. The Girl was the first the speak after that, "What the hell?"
"Meet my Producer," Alex said to her calmly while pointing at Mason.
"Who's she?" Star asked.
"From now on she'll simply be known as: The eyewitness to the murder of Alexander King at the hands of Mason," Alex joked.
"Do I look like I'm in the mood to be joked around with right now?" Mason asked. He pointed towards his very stern looking face. Alex thought he always looked hilarious when he was angry. It was like all of the hairs on his chin would vibrate at the same time.
"So we just finished watching the rough cut," Star tried to say calmly.
"What do you think you're doing Alex?" Mason asked loudly. Alex sat for a moment.
"Exactly what I was told," His demeanor was completely calm and unfazed. He had been through encounters like this one before. Eventually he seemed to gain an immunity to them.
"I did Not tell you to make that!" Mason yelled.
"I should probably go..." The Girl said.
"Can I come with you?" Star asked. Joking but at the same time desperate for it to be real.
"Shut up Star!" Mason yelled without turning around. The Girl turned towards Alex again.
"I'm Sophie by the way," She stuck out her hand. Alex took it and shook it.
"Thanks for almost making my night an interesting one," He said, agai nwith a joking smile. She smiled back and stood up. She walked over to the register, paid, and then left the diner. No one spoke until she was out the door.
"She was cute," Star observed.
"Not now!" Mason yelled, again not taking his gaze off of Alex.
"I gather you didn't care for the film?" Alex asked.
"What was it?" Mason asked.
"A sequel," Alex said as if it was a stupid question. "Just like you asked for."
"You KNOW this isn't what I wanted!" Mason was screaming. Alex stood up out of the stool and approached him.
"How exactly is that my problem?" He asked.
"You have a contract Alex!" Mason was swinging his arms furiously. "A responsibility to make something we can sell!"
"That!" Alex held up his finger and pointed at Mason. "That is exactly the problem Mason. It's nothing but a product to you."
Alex was still keeping a very calm composure. He knew this was coming.
"That's exactly what it is!" Mason was desperately trying to make his point. "You can't expect to keep making the things you want unless we make a profit!"
"I'm doing as I was told," Alex pointed out.
"It's unfit! The cursing! The darkness! The story!" Mason shouted. "We can't possibly release what you've turned in! I approved a script and you shot something else!"
"So! I could sue you, you know that?"
"I created the biggest hit of the year. How would it look on your part if you sued me immediately afterward?"
"You son of a..." Mason walked closer to Alex. Stopping mid sentence. Star stepped in between the two.
"Hold on!" He said, holding his hands between them. "Everybody just calm down! We can solve this."
"How do you propose to do that?" Alex asked.
"Tell him the real problem Alex," Star said calmly.
"Star, shut up!" Alex shouted, breaking his calmness.
"Tell him now!" Star ordered Alex. Mason looked at Star and then back at Alex.
"What's he talking about Alex?" He asked calmly. There was an intense pause between the two. Alex looked down to the floor of the diner. Shielding his face with his hat. He reached into his pocket and fished out his pack of cigarettes, put one in his mouth, lit it, and took a very large drag. It was several moments before he spoke.
"You betrayed me," He said quietly.
"What?" Mason looked confused.
"Black Light," Alex said looking him angrily in the eyes.
"What about it?"
"It was going to be my best one yet. And you and that other Hack!" Alex was starting to raise his voice. "Completely destroyed it!"
"You really believe that?" Mason asked.
"How could I not?"
"We made a deal. You sold the script to me! What happened after that was nothing to do with me!"
"Keep telling yourself that Mason. Lies beget lies in this racket," Alex said with derision. He honestly felt betrayed after Black Light. He was more proud of that script than anything else he had written yet. Star eventually spoke up.
"He's bitter about what happened with Black Light," He told Mason, in case he didn't catch on yet.
"That's no excuse and you know it!" Mason remained stern.
"Then you forced me to make this damned sequel!" Alex continued.
"It's part of your contract..." Mason started to say before Alex interrupted him.
"Contract contract contract," He said mockingly. "I didn't trust you with my career so you could attack me with that word whenever you please!"
Mason inched his was closer and started whispering, "You've wasted millions of dollars on this pile of crap."
"Consider it back pay on wasting my time," Alex whispered back.
"You are not going to weasel your way out of this!" Mason was speaking loud again. "Or blame me for what happened with Black Light!"
Alex backed away and sat back down in the stool. He dropped the cigarette in a half empty cup on the counter and quickly lit another one, "So what happens now? You fire me?"
"You'd love that wouldn't you?" Mason said. Alex looked up at him. His answer had surprised both him and Star.
"Mason?" Star asked after a few moments of silence.
"Star and I are going to discuss our plan from this point forward," Mason continued. "We have an agreement Alex, and you're going to hold up your end."
"Should I be afraid?" Alex asked, in a slightly joking tone.
"Let's just say I'll be making sure you're not gonna like it," Mason said firmly. He didn't say another word. He simply turned around and left the diner. The bell over the door rang twice as the door opened and then slammed shut. Star stood near Alex, "He's really mad about this Alex."
"I know," Alex took another drag.
"What were you thinking?" Star sounded very worried. "He could destroy your career because of this. You committed a crime."
"Maybe that was my intention," Alex said quietly. Star gave him a very confused look, as if to ask him why without speaking the words. Alex took a drag and began answering him. "If advancing my career means selling out, then maybe I'm in the wrong business."
"But you're so talented," Star pointed out. Alex smiled slightly.
"If they really cared about that," Alex stopped for a moment. Star would swear when telling this story that he saw a small tear in his right eye. "I would be doing interviews about Black Light right now. Critics would be hailing it as a masterpiece. The academy would be considering it for awards. I would be on the fast track to make the list of the greatest directors in history."
"Was it really that good?" Star asked.
"I could have made it that good."
"Why didn't you tell me you were planning to do that? I could have done something about the contract."
Alex looked up at him with rage in his eyes, "Do not ever... Use that word near me."
With that said, Alex dropped the cigarette into the cup and left the diner. Leaving Star behind. Star stood alone again.
Alex had no idea how long he had been walking since leaving the diner. He ambled aimlessly down the dark streets. Only stopping to light another cigarette every once in awhile. Almost all of the lights were off around him. All the buildings were dark except for a select few. In a city like this, it was unusual that most of the lights were out. The hustle and bustle was in short supply for a change. Alex turned a corner and found himself looking down a long narrow street. Every fifteen-ish feet stood a tall streetlight. One after another in perfect succession. A perfect pattern. He stared down the empty street for a few moments.
"It's too perfect," He said to himself. One or two groups of people were walking on the other side of the street, near the taller buildings. Alex came across a couple of benches after five minutes or so. One was empty. A homeless man lay sleeping on the other. His arms hung off the end, nearly touching the ground. Alex felt a twinge of sympathy. What could have happened to this man to cause him to sink so low? He stood more than five feet away and could still smell the vodka on his breath. Or maybe it was on his clothes. Despite the aroma Alex sat down on the clear bench.
“How did you get here?” Alex asked the passed out man, “I've always wondered how guys like you end up like this. I accidentally got famous overnight. Depressed me more than anything.”
Alex glanced over at the man. No movement.
“You'd give anything for that wouldn't you?” Alex has no idea what he was doing. He'd never say this stuff if the man was awake. “It's not pity, I really would trade lives with you right now. The world seems to chew us up and completely spit us out just when things are going well. Sob story after sob story. I can't even waste time feeling bad for you, too busy feeling sorry for myself.”
The man still didn't move. He was barely even breathing. Alex looked down at the mans arm. There was a large rip in the coat he wore. A coat in the summer. Why? Alex firgured out the answer to that question within seconds of it crossing his mind. Barely hidden by the coat. Exposed by the
“I wish I knew your story,” Alex continued. “It's probably pure gold. How can I even think like that?I have nothing my friend. Nothing left. I've told ever story I can think of worth telling. You probably not even seen them. Lucky guy.”
Alex leaned back and fished out his cigarettes. The area around him lit up slightly upon lighting it. He wouldn't notice at first. The moment the light from the lighter came on. The homeless man was sitting up. Alex looked over with a gasp. The man held his head high and his back straight. Not even slightly leaning forward or back. Alex stared for a few moments. The man was breathing easy. His head facing directly ahead.
“Your story...” The homeless man said quietly.
“What the...” Alex started to say under his breath.
“You will find it...” The man said. He slowly turned his head to look at Alex. His face was dirty and unkempt. He had a long beard and a large cut on his forehead. The dried blood ran down his face. Strange of all his eyes were closed. The man leaned forward and grabbed hold of Alex's arm. Squeezing it tightly.
“You WILL find it...” The man's voice was wheezy and he struggled with every word.
“You're crazy!” Alex grabbed the man's hand and tried to pry it loose from his arm. The grip was tighter than he expected. Damn near unbreakable. Alex looked back up at the man's face. His eyes were open. Staring directly at him. Alex stopped moving for a brief second. He must have been seeing things. He would go over the incident later in his head and try to convince himself he didn't see it.
“Your story has just begun,” The homeless man said. Alex continued to stare at his eyes. They were white around the irises as normal. His pupils were black as normal. The irises though. The irises were blood red. Not blood shot. A glowing blood red. A dull glow, but still glowing.
“Who are you?” Alex asked. The man let go of his arm and immediately passed out again. Onto the other bench, in the exact same position he was when Alex found him. “What the fu...”
Alex swallowed. He tried to catch his breath. His legs were frozen solid with fear. The homeless guy alone rattled him. The red eyes, scared him. “Nutcase...”
Alex caught his breath and stood up. He took one last look at the man on the bench before walking forward again. He continued to tread forward down the street. Into the dim misty darkness. Illumined by the streetlights every fifteen-ish feet.
Some time after the incident with the homeless guy. Alex entered his apartment. He flicked on the light switch near the door and the whole place came into view. He lived in a somewhat large apartment. It was very open for the most part. The kitchen and living room in the same open space. The kitchen are was just to the left of the entrance. Walking forward from the entrance would take one straight to the living room, which held a large flat-screen and a small couch. Most of the rest of the space was filled with shelves upon shelves of books, DVDs, VHS tapes and Blu-Rays. Other shelves contained games for just about every console ever released. All of the windows were shut tight with the blinds closed. Alex tilted his head down and lit another cigarette. He blew out the first puff with a deep sigh. The first puff was always his favorite. None of the others came close to being that satisfying. He sauntered over to the couch and fell down into it. He lifted the bottom of the left armrest to get into the small storage space. Several remote controls and game controllers lay haphazardly inside. Along with several candy wrappers and plastic wrapping from cigarette packs. He shuffled in the armrest for a moment, eventually finding the television remote control. He turned the TV on, closed the armrest and sat back. He flipped through the channels randomly. Before stopping at an entertainment news channel. Energetic music played as the camera pans over to show the attractive blond host. She stood in front of a large screen and wore a red dress.
“Welcome back,” She said with a smile big enough to make Alex's stomach turn. “Today we've been discussing the controversy recently involving famous writer director Alexander King...”
Alex sigh heavily again.
“Of course you are...” He said to himself. It seemed like every time he actually found a moment to watch TV lately, something about him would be on. He hated watching them, though he knew it would take a stronger person than he was to ignore it. The lady on the TV kept talking energetically.
“As we've all come to know, Mr. King is the indie director who rose to fame last year with his space epic Starfighters. Which went on the break the weekend domestic record and became the biggest moneymaker of the year. This lead to fan speculation and theory about what project he would follow it up with. As a young director, some say he may have struck gold too soon. Controversy arose when after Starfighters' release, Mr. King began to give several interviews as part of his contract. Several of which he claimed to be working on a script for his next project already. The script now known as Blacklight was released last week to a lukewarm reception at best...”
Alex shut off the TV and threw the remote on the floor. The impact opened the back and the batteries flew out.
“Damn!” Alex said. Not about the remote. Every time he heard the word Blacklight these days angered him. He stood up and walked directly over to the fridge. He opened it roughly, it made the familiar sound of all the glass objects knocking together. He bent forward and grabbed a bottle of wine from the bottom shelf. Slamming the fridge door immediately. He grabbed his used coffee cup from that morning still on the counter. Pouring the wine and chugging it down just as fast. He stopped for a moment.
“Don't let 'em get to you Alex,” He told himself. “They don't know the full story. He threw the mug in the sink and started drinking directly from the bottle. He thought about stopping after just this bottle. Why bother? They aren't stopping. Why should he?
The next thing Alex was consciously aware of was a loud knock on his apartment door. He opened his eyes and looked around in a state of confusion. He rubbed his eyes roughly and opened them again. It was daylight. He was laying on the couch and everything was spinning. He wore the same clothes as the night before. Another knock from the door forced Alex to stand up and attempt the long journey to opening it. About half was to the door Alex stopped to hold his head. Another knock echoed through the room.
“Whoever you are,” Alex yelled at the door. At least it felt like yelling. It may have just come out as quiet gibberish for all he knew. “You are very cruel.”
Alex hobbled his way over to the door and opened it. He couldn't help but gasp when he saw the party standing on the other side. “I thought this sick feeling was from the wine.”
A tall man stood before him with a sly smile on his face. He had long bright brown hair tied behind his head. The lights above reflect a couple of gray hairs in the mess. He was wearing a tie-dyed shirt and a pair of slightly ripped blue jeans. His facial features were covered over by a very long scraggly beard. Despite the covered face and unrecognizable appearance. Alex immediately knew who this man was without a doubt.
“Jason...” He said.
“Hi Alex,” Jason said with a smile.
“What...” Alex stopped and held his head. “The hell... are you doing here?”
Alex took a very large breath as if to hold something back.
“I got a phone call from a mutual friend of ours,” Jason said.
“Mason or Star?” Alex asked despite already knowing the answer.
“He must be crazy.”
“Can I come in?”
“I'd rather take a large baseball bat to the face.”
“Colorful as always.” Jason breezed past Alex and into the apartment. “I expected something bigger.”
“Any chance I'm still asleep and you're not really standing in my apartment?” Alex asked as he meandered away from the door.
“I certainly hope not,” Jason entered the kitchen and saw the three empty wine bottles on the counter. He picked them up and headed over to the sink. Turned on the faucet to hot and began rinsing them out one by one. “Don't want you to get fruit flies.”
“Gee thanks,” Alex said sarcastically. “When are you going to tell me why you're here?”
Alex leaned on the kitchen counter holding his head tightly. Groaning between sentences.
“Star and Mason came to a small agreement last night after what happened at the diner,” Jason informed him.
“How did you know about that?” Once again Alex knew the answer. Still had to hear it for himself for some reason.
“Mason's pretty upset with you man,” Jason finished the last bottle and set it on the counter. “Didn't take much pushing to get it out of him.”
“Why did he call you?” Alex asked with derision.
“Apparently Star managed to convince him to give you another shot,” Jason said happily.
“Worst news I've heard all day,” Alex said snidely.
“If I come in and contribute to the new script,” Jason added.
“Never mind...” Alex said. He wandered over to the sink. Rudely pushing Jason out of the way. Jason started to say something but before he could. Alex had stuck his head in the sink and turned on the cold side of the faucet. The water ran all over his head. Then he turned around and started to drink from the cascade of water. Chugging as much as he could while also breathing whenever possible. He stopped the water and stood upright. The water dripped haphazardly on the floor.
“So we're gonna work together again?” Alex asked. Feigning an interest.
“I guess so,” Jason answered. Still smiling. He always smiled when talking to Alex. It amused him how much Alex hated it.
“Mason and Star's idea?” Alex asked again. Not really caring about the answer.
“To write a sequel to Starfighters.”
“It'll be fun!”
“And neither of them care that I'd rather have no money and move back to the rats nest we grew up in to live out the rest of my days on the streets eating moldy pizza then every see you again?”
Jason continued to smile. “Seems that way.”
“God I hate that guy,” Alex looked him dead in the eye. “I thought you wanted out of screenwriting.”
“I did,” Jason said.
“Mason made an offer you couldn’t refuse?”
Alex thought for a moment. There's only one thing that could have convinced Jason to return to screenwriting, let alone to do it with me. “He has the rights to your books doesn't he?”
“Yeah...” Jason stopped smiling for a moment. “Despite my best intentions.”
“How did he con you into doing this with me?” Alex asked. He felt a moment of genuine concern for his old friend. For a moment.
“Script approval,” Jason said.
“Tell me about it.”
“I'm not gonna be fun to work with Jason.”
“So I've been told.”
Alex walked past Jason towards the other side of the apartment. Crossing to the other side of the apartment. Two doors stood on the opposite side of the living room. One lead to Alex's bedroom and the other leads to the bathroom. Alex opened the door to the bathroom and went in.
“Did you even like the first one!?” Alex asked Jason. Raising his voice so he could hear him. Alex opened the medicine cabinet.
“Not especially!” Jason answered from the kitchen. Alex could still hear him cleaning. He grabbed a small bottle of pills from the top shelf.
“Good to know!” Alex shouted back. He popped a pill into his mouth and tilted his head back.
“Clean yourself up Alex!” Jason said. “We're taking a little trip.”
“Where to?” Alex exited the bathroom. “One of your small town motels?”
“Exactly,” Jason said with excitement.
“You are the biggest cliché in the world you know that?” Alex said once again with derision. He wandered his way back towards the kitchen.
“Ah well,” Jason shrugged. “It works for me.”
“I don't know why I'm agreeing to this,” Alex shook his head.
“Cause you're not as big an arsehole as you make yourself out to be,” Jason said. Alex couldn't help but smile slightly. His general refusal to curse was always funny to him. It came from Jason's grandfather. A million different ways to curse without actually saying any bad words. It only lasted a moment before Alex stopped smiling again. Remember who this guy really was.
“You'll never prove that,” Alex said.
“Give me time,” Jason smiled. He was still trying to convince Alex he's better than he thinks he is. He had always been difficult, but they had been friends for a reason.
“I'm sick of getting screwed because of one damned signature,” Alex confessed.
“We're writers Jase, It's what we do.”
“You called me Jase.”
“Reflex. Don't read to much into that. I still detest you.”
“Can't say I blame you for that,” Jason gave Alex a knowing look.
Alex walked away from him, straight into the bathroom and slammed the door behind him. Jason stood by himself. Still in the kitchen of his former best friends apartment.
“Maybe someday you'll forgive me,” He said quietly to himself.
“Don't count on it!” Alex yelled from the bathroom. Jason was taken aback for a moment.
“Great hearing my man!” He yelled back.
Logan emerged from the water with a heavy gasp. The splashing sounds echoed all around him. He wiped the water away from his eyes with one hand. He attempted to open them and have a look around, but there was nothing. Just blackness.
“Hello!!!” He called out as loud as he could. Which lead him to start coughing wildly. Once he was able to stop he once again started to look around. His eyes adjusted to the darkness around him.
“Anyone!!!” He yelled again. His voice echoed back for a few moments. There was no reply. No one answered his cry. The only other sounds were the rippling water and the very faint echoes of his own voice. He closed he eyes for a moment. Internally telling himself to calm down. He opened his eyes again and looked up. A large crystalline ceiling came into his view. After a few moments he could see minor sparkling lights going for miles around. In the shape of an almost perfect dome. He was in a very large cavern. The crystals grow from the top, forming large stalactites. Drops of water fall from them, creating a small rain across the surface of the water.
Where am I? He thought to himself. Under the water below he could feel a pretense. Something was moving down there. Something was circling him below the surface. Staring at his treading silhouette. Logan gasped in shock when he felt something brush against his leg. He tried to stare down into the dark water. A feeling a panic swept over him as he was staring down. He started to hyperventilate before realizing the water was getting brighter. Rather the ceiling above him was lighting up the water. He looked up again. The crystal stalactites had started to glow brighter. Illuminating more of the cavern. Logan followed the light down to the crystal glowing the brightest. Far ahead of him. The crystal shone far brighter than the rest, lighting up a glimpse of what appeared to be ground. Gathering what strength he could, he took a very large breath and began to swim towards the bright crystal. As he swam and swam, his mind also started to wander. Images of water and bubbles and lights flashes in his mind. Memories of the boat and the crew crossed his mind. The more he thought about them the faster his journey seemed to be going. Logan had no way of knowing how far he swam. The rocky shore ahead was already close enough to grab. He pulled himself onto the rocks and immediately collapses to the ground. Lay on his back. He held there for a little while to catch his breath as best he could. The rain-like water coming from the crystals above fell on his face. He felt calm for a few moments. After becoming calm, he sat up. Wiped the water off his face. A whooshing sound filled the air. It sounded just like a very large wave. In that moment he felt something on his shoulder. It felt as if a person had placed their hand there and squeezed lightly. He quickly turned to try and see who it was. Once again he saw nothing. Just darkness.
“What's going on here..?” He whispered to himself. He stared out to the water. I just didn't feel right to him. He stood up finally and decided to walk further into the cavern. The rocky ground he had climbed onto lead into a deeper cave entrance. He walked through the entrance and into the darkness. Somehow the light seemed to be following him. As he walked ahead, the cavern looked no different. Just seemingly endless rock. Until he saw something different. Something he recognized. A small brown leather bag sat on the ground to his left. This was his from the boat.
“My bag!” He shouted as he picked it up. His voice echoed again. He started frantically searching through it. He found a small knife, a brown leather bound notebook, a ratty looking quill and a small vile of ink. He opened the notebook. All of his entries were gone. All the letters he had written. The pages were simply blank.
“Damn,” He said to himself. “The water must have ruined the pages.”
Logan quickly put everything back into the bag and flung it over his shoulder. He started walking again. Each wall looking the same as the last. Ava popped into his mind as he explored.
Awhile back. Before Logan took the job aboard the ship. It was the year 1716. Logan was near a small cabin next to a field. The sun was shining brightly. He was pushing a cart through of hay down towards the barn at the bottom of a hill. Behind the cabin. Showing off the beautiful green grass. As well as the even more beautiful young woman running towards him. She was blond and wearing a white dress. She smile warmly as she approached, holding a bunch of flowers in her hands. To him, the image was absolutely perfect.
“Logan!” She called to him.
“Ava!” He called back. “Hi.”
“Are you almost done?” She asked as she reached him. Slightly out of breath.
“Yeah,” He smiled. “I just need to get this into the barn, then I'm all yours.”
“Good,” She hugged him tightly. “I set us up a picnic.”
“Thank goodness, I'm starving!”
Ava smiled and ran back towards the field. Logan watched her for a little while. He noticed she stopped right in the middle of the grass. There was a small blanket and a basket sitting on the ground. Which made him smile. He ran the hay into the barn as quickly as he could. Within minutes he was walking down the field towards where Ava was sitting in wait. The sun was so bright it felt like a dream. The grass almost glowed underneath his feet. The trees around them did not move. There was not even a breath of wind. Not even a cloud in the sky. Ava was removing items from the basket one by one.
“Did you bring the entire farm with you?” Logan joked when he reached the blanket and sat down.
“Not quite,” She continued to place food on the blanket. “I only used half the chicken.”
The two shared a laugh together. There wasn't much chat between them as they shared the meal Ava prepared. Fresh fruits and vegetables along with her families delicious chicken. Her farm had been known to have some of the healthiest grown chickens around. Logan placed empty the empty plates on the grass as they finished each piece. Before too long it was all finished. Both of them lay down on the blanket holding their stomachs and smiling.
“I have not seen a cloud in days,” Ava pointed out.
“I have missed them,” Logan said.
“I have been enjoying the warmth this year.”
“Not me. A breeze would have been very nice these last few days. Do you ever miss the rain Ava?”
“Not as such. Do you?”
“All the time.”
“Why would you miss the rain?”
Logan turned his head to look her in the eye. They smile together. “Days like today mean a lot of work for me to do.”
“Yes?” She looked confused.
“Rain means I cannot do the work.”
“Which means I get to spend more time with you when it rains.”
Ava's smile grew upon hearing that. Logan always knew exactly what to say to make her feel good. “Did you read that someplace?”
“No,” Logan said confidently.
“How could I have been so lucky to trip over you that day?” Ava asked with a sly smile.
“You know that really did hurt...” Logan said.
“Was it not worth the pain?”
“Of course it was. Every day.” Logan took a calming breath. Staring into her eyes was too much for him. He couldn't hold it back any longer. “Ava?”
She continued to look at him, “Yes?”
“I....” Logan stopped. “I... Love you.”
This was the first time he had ever said those words to another person.
“I love you!” Ava said back very quickly. She grabbed hold of Logan's white collar shirt. He gasped as she lifted him over top of her body and embraced him in a passionate kiss. Logan eventually pulled away.
“Your Father is going to kill me,” He said.
“He cannot, if he is not your boss anymore,” She pointed out.
“What are you saying?”
“I want a promise from you.”
“What would that be?”
“Find work elsewhere if you can. He will not let me marry his own aid. Especially a good one.”
“He always liked me.”
“It wouldn't matter and you know that.”
Logan thought to himself for a few moments. She is right. It would not matter at all to him if I was a nice person or not. So what can I do? There is now way to be with her otherwise.
“I...” He stopped again. After what he just admitted to her. He could not give up now. “I promise.”
Logan got snapped out of his memories by a loud noise in the air. He was still walking down the long halls of the cavern. The sound of rushing wind filled the air. He couldn’t feel a thing. It got louder and louder. Surrounding him. The pockets of wind came together to form a new sound. Something like a whisper. Not male or female. Just a dull voice in the air.
Come forward... The whispering said to him.
“Who said that?” Logan asked out loud. The voice did not answer. The wind disappeared in an instant. Logan looked around and saw no indication that anyone had been near him. He took a moment and then started walking forward again. He didn't see much other choice. After walking for a little longer he began to notice changes in the cavern. He had reached a point where plant life was growing from the rocks. Small twigs and even small tree like plants of various types poked through the cracks. Logan shivered. The air had gotten much colder as he traveled deeper. He leaned forward and grabbed a twig from the ground. After a little while he had gathered enough to build a small pile for a fire. Using his knife, he was able to strike a rock for sparks. The fire started slowly. Logan sat near it for the warmth while eating some small leaves. He looked around as if waiting for something else to happen. Or perhaps to get a look at the source of the whispering he heard. The crystal light grew a little brighter for a moment. Long enough for Logan to spot something he was sure was not there before. A woman lay unconscious on the ground across from him and the small fire.