Preserving Creata Part Two (Higher Education), Chapter Fourteen
*** Fourteen ***
The sound of voices drifted off the porch.
Panam’s higher pitch was distinctly recognizable.
Burying my sadness deeply within my heart, I locked it up with the rest of the feelings I could not afford to run free.
I found I was genuinely looking forward to joining civilization again and felt better by the time I walked around the corner of the cabin.
Racewater and Ray had their backs to me. The two other men that had accompanied Racewater to the cave were facing the river, so it was Panam who saw me first.
He gave such a whoop that he startled all of us.
Everyone’s attention turned to me. Panam gave me a bear hug, slapping me hard on the back.
“You do not look worse for wear?” It was a statement as much as a question.
Ray smiled at me. The others looked on expectantly.
Racewater sat back down, offering me the seat next to him.
“Are you well?” he inquired.
Typical Racewater, always the serious businessman.
“Yes, thank you” I replied.
“Did you learn what you needed to know from Ma-Mara?” Ray asked.
My throat constricted. I nodded, keeping emotion out of my face and eyes. It turned my heart to stone.
“You came here early. We only expected you tomorrow” Racewater commented.
“Timing is not always as we expect it” I replied.
I turned my attention to Panam. “How’s Julie?”
“She is good. Tucker looked after her very well. She did not need to do a lot. We are all missing him.”
Racewater gave Panam a look that could have killed.
“Yes, I miss him too” I answered.
There was a tense moment in the group and I realized that they were trying to figure out how I was handling Tucker’s death. I changed the subject.
Grinning, I asked Panam “So, do I get some coffee now, or must I suffer in silence from withdrawal symptoms. Help an addict out, please.”
Everyone visibly relaxed. Panam laughed out loud and disappeared into the cabin, relief flooding his aura.
I turned my attention to Racewater. “What happened in my absence?”
“After the shooting, Captain Truman knew immediately that the warehouse was a ruse to get you there. He ordered me to take you away to a safe place and not to let anyone know where you were.
Even if they knew where you were, there is no way to reach this place without being noticed. With you safely with Ma-Mara . . . ” (Another stab in my heart. I squashed it) “. . . I returned to the City. It turned out that you were noticed through the criminal investigations, creating attention in government circles.”
I just stared at him. Was this going to complicate matters, or maybe simplify them?
“The Captain was offered a deal for you that he could not really refuse. Especially in light of the threat to your life.”
I raised an eyebrow.
Racewater suddenly laughed out loud.
It was a startling sound.
I realized that I had never before heard him laugh.
“For a moment, you looked just like Tucker” he responded to my shocked face.
He turned serious again. “We have been reassigned to the Service of the Planetary Security Forces. You, Panam and I will form a separate unit to be used wherever and whenever needed.”
“Just how did Panam get involved in all of this?” I asked.
“I volunteered” Panam said as he came out with a tray of steaming mugs. He passed it around.
“How does this turn of events fit in with why I am here, right now?” I wanted to know from Racewater.
He shrugged. “I am not sure. The Clan’s elders are having a meeting tomorrow and then we will know how to proceed.”
It was already late and we dispersed after finishing our coffee. Panam and I were to take the upstairs bunks. Racewater said goodnight to his friends and took the couch. I was not feeling like sleeping and excused myself to the bathroom.
I was just starting to relax comfortably in the warm water when a golden orb appeared next to the tub.
It materialized into human form in almost identical way in which Sensaii appeared to me the first time. I sat up and took notice.
Recognition formed from Mara’s memories. This was her first husband, and Moira’s original father. He presented himself in the traditional dress of Racewater’s Clan. Long-sleeved tunic made of soft material over pants of a courser material, tied down with a belt.
My first thought was that I was in trouble. But the entity soothed my fears.
“When the time is right, I request your permission to speak for you, through you” he requested from me.
I answered him in a way that would not confuse either of us.
“I humbly ask an explanation of how you wish to proceed with this request?”
“I wish to use your body as an open channel” he replied.
There were many ways to do it. This entity was requesting that I totally relinquish my body in order for him to take it over. Yet, at the same time, I would be fully aware of what was happening.
“Is this part of my Universal Assignment?” I wanted to know from him.
As I spoke the question, I already knew the answer and it was portrayed to Zadkiel.
His name suddenly popped up from Mara’s memories.
“Until it is time” Zadkiel announced while fading away.
The whole episode did not feel as if it took a lot of Planet time, but the water in my bath was cooling. I hurried to finish and made my way back to the sleeping quarters past a snoring Racewater. Panam was already sleeping peacefully.
I lay down on my bunk, relaxing my body, willing myself to sleep.
It did not work.
The harder I tried, the more agitated I felt.
I was suddenly very restless and got up, dressed in the dark and made it to the porch without mishap.
I was pulling on the boots Mara had materialized for me when I realized that I have felt this way before . . . the day I went to the waterfront in the City and found the body of the dead boy in the water.
I allowed myself to be guided by whatever force was making me restless, curiosity uppermost in my mind.
This strange urge steered me in the direction of the river. It was a long way, but the feeling persisted and urged me on until I was running.
The movement was exhilarating. The air was crisp and I allowed my body to guide itself in the dark, the moon being behind the mountains already.
I ran with a joy of freedom I have never felt before in this lifetime, jumping over logs and sweeping branches out of my way.
On the rocky shore of the river, I stopped to regain my breath. I was glad to notice that my body was not as exhausted as I had expected it to be after the run.
My body recuperated easily. I was still restless, but not in such an urgent way anymore.
I checked the urge.
Where did this force within me want me?
I slowly turned downstream. The feeling diminished.
I turned towards the river and the urgency almost overwhelmed me.
I double-checked by turning my body upstream. It was definitely across the water.
Not wanting to get wet in the cool air, I started upstream towards the main body of cabins. Keeping to the shore until it made a sharp turn, I found a few canoes pulled onto the rocks. I borrowed the first one I came to, found the paddle inside and launched it into the water.
With the launching, the knowledge of how to handle the canoe came flooding back. This was, fortunately, mostly an unconscious happening and my body knew instinctively what to do.
I pulled the canoe high out of the water on the other side of the river and made my way up the slope to the trees.
By some luck (or was it guidance?) I found a path leading into the woods and followed it. Fairly soon I started passing rocky mounds with long grasses growing around it. I kept going, barely making the association of graves. I was starting to feel increasingly uncomfortable.
The pull to move uphill was even stronger here. I left the graves and the uneasy feeling behind as I entered another outcropping of trees.
It was a definite order. Not a telepathic one, or a voice. Just a knowing with my whole being.
Same thing. I followed the order.
There was a faint path leading to the mountainside wich I followed.
I was coming up to some boulders leading to a sheer cliff and started anticipating finding another cave.
I obeyed instantly, teetering on the brink of a wide crevice.
It was overgrown and even trees were growing out of it. It would have been a nasty fall if I had continued on.
The pressure to hasten was upon me again. The sky in the East was showing that dawn was imminent.
I carefully started to feel my way down the crevice, not having to search far before finding a wooden ladder. The feel of the wood told me that it was very old. The binding assured me that it was sturdy enough.
Carefully testing each rung before committing my full weight to it, I reached the bottom without incident.
The deeper black shadow of the opposite wall indicated my expected cave. I made it inside and felt around for a torch or some form of illumination I felt sure had to be somewhere.
My fingers touched wood a little way in and I followed the stem to an oily top.
Now for a light.
Following the torch down I felt it was tucked into a niche on a ledge. Careful exploration turned up a sparker. I flicked it closed and was rewarded by a spark.
Holding the torch near the sparker, I tried it again.
The torch took on the second try, erupting into flames.
Both sides of the entrance had torches. I lit those too, making my way into the belly of the mountain. The torches seemed to be spaced about every ten to twelve paces and I illuminated the whole passage as far as I went.
Entering a circular chamber, I lit all the torches I could see. There were creation scenes painted on the walls and ceilings. I did not linger long, the urgency to move was still with me.
The other side of the chamber had three passages leading from it. Stopping briefly in front of the middle one, I allowed myself to be guided as before.
The torches were now twenty to thirty paces apart, leaving just enough light to be guided by.
The tunnel seemed to go on forever. The walls and floor became more even, eventually turning into stone. Closer investigation showed chisel marks upon the walls.
I almost missed the first step leading down towards a cooler area. Following the stairs it became cold and a breeze came from the front. A sudden draft made my light splutter and I gave a sigh of relief when it was not extinguished by the wind.
When the stairs ended, I entered another passage with a channel of water flowing slowly on my one side.
The passage eventually opened up into a huge cavern with an underground lake at its far end. The light of my torch was unable to reach the roof or opposite walls. The channel of water originated from this underground reservoir.
I was drawn to the edge of this lake. There was movement inside the water for small ripples formed to make miniature waves lap at my feet.
Three lights were forming over the lake. Three orbs of golden light came floating down towards me.
I backed off from the water’s edge to make space for them.
They settled on the shore.
As before, the three orbs materialized into recognizable form. A woman was flanked by two male figures. They presented themselves in the same dress as Mara’s partner did.
One of the men spoke.
“We are the guardians of Gancor’s inter-planetary portal. We have awaited your coming for many years.
We herewith present you with the key we have been guarding for your return.
Your children’s children have possession of the other keys necessary to unlock the mechanism of the Planetary Portal.”
The woman floated forward, coming to a stop in front of me.
She carefully took, what looked like a golden medallion, and placed it around my neck.
It touched my skin and I felt a burning sensation.
She held her hand to my chest and pushed the metal into my body.
I tried to resist.
I could smell my flesh burning.
I wanted to scream from the agony it was causing.
I found no voice.
I found no response from my limbs.
I was paralyzed!
Maybe this was just another vision.
Maybe I am still safe in the cabin.
Just maybe . . .
Copyright © H Gibson Chronicles of Han Storm. All rights reserved. 2009-2016
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