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Fiction Relay – Part 44

30 September, 2013

It’s my turn again! If you are new to the Relay, or just a bit cloudy on the 38k+ words that have brought us here, you can read the Summary here. To find out more about the Relay and the Relayers, click here for the Homepage. Right then, here we go…

 

Part Forty Four

Four pairs of feet settled unsteadily on an uneven, stony surface. Four pairs of hands separated as their teleport journey came to an end. Four pairs of eyes saw nothing but an infinite, all-absorbing blackness before them. Three pairs of eyes waited for an adjustment to what may low-level light there might be here, but one pair knew that the darkness surrounding them was absolute.

Jose took his phone from his pocket and used its weak glow to illuminate their surroundings. “So y’all can teleport but can’t see in the dark,” he said, “real useful.”

The others looked around them into the small light and the long shadows that Jose’s phone offered them. They had arrived in an excavated tunnel, the electrical cables and regularly-spaced lights attached to its walls showing it was once part of the mine system.

“Hold this,” Jose said to Ephraim, handing him the phone, and by its light he rummaged in his small leather pouch and found a ring of keys. “Up here,” he instructed, and as Ephraim lifted the beam of light in response to Jose’s direction, it fell onto a square, wall-mounted box which Jose unlocked.

“I’m not sure if this will still work,” he shrugged, “but it’s worth a try, right?” He flicked several of the switches and swore quietly when the lights stayed unlit. He flicked them again, tried each of the others in turn, but with the same result.

“The spirit of the mountain must be over-riding the power source,” Sam noted, concerned at the strength of the influences that may face them, may confront them, as they ventured further inside the mountain.

“No,” Jose said flatly, “Lectric’s off. No one’s been down here for years.”

“Oh, yes, of course,” Sam stuttered, kicking at the stones to cover his embarrassment.

“But we’ve got one of these,” Jose announced, and took an emergency light stick from the fuse box, and with a snap its green glow filled the tunnel.

“Okay,” he said, pointing the light stick ahead of him, “Who’s going first?”

***

While the four of them stepped their way carefully along the tunnel, Blue crossed the barren plain, following the barely visible track that the drivers she followed had taken. As she came nearer to the mountain she saw where the two SUVs were parked. The driver and passenger doors of each where wide open, and from a couple of them a leg extended casually to the ground, a wisp of cigarette smoke furled from inside. As the wind carried the sound of her bike engine towards the mountain, the legs stood, their colleagues joined them, and four brick walls unpacked themselves from inside the cars. Blue pulled up a few yards short of where they stood defensively, defiantly, in front of the cave entrance.

“Hi boys,” she smiled, lifting her leather-clad leg high over the bike as she dismounted. The walls did not speak, kept their eyes on her and their hands on whatever hardware they were concealing beneath their jackets. “So I’m looking for my…” Blue paused, considered how she should describe their relationship. “My targets,’ she settled on, “I assume they’re nearby?”

“Couldn’t say,” said one of the walls.

“Well I’ve just been tracking them,” she said, walking towards him, “and I know they must be around here somewhere because these are the SUVs they were in, right?”

“.”

“At least that’s how Sanderson told me they were travelling,” she said, looking around her, peering beyond the welcoming committee. If she was going to make up a story she might as well drop the boss’s name too.

“There’s no one here,” the wall said, presumably staring her down but it was hard to be sure when he was wearing those dark glasses, “and I don’t know anything about no targets. So you’d best move along. Little girl.”

In her imagination she punched the wall hard in the stomach whilst shouting an oedipal insult, but as far as he could see, her expression stayed perfectly still. These meatheads were obviously not giving anything away. Not intentionally anyway. But if she could bypass the speech and ask the brain directly, maybe they would give away more details about their charges than they realised. She held the gaze of the wall, shrugged her disappointed understanding that he could not help her, and reached out with her mind to enquire of his. But she met a mental brick wall as solid as the physical one containing it. She switched her gaze and her mind to the guard to the left, but with the same result. Of course, she realised, they work for Sanderson, he has personally selected them and trained them to resist the powers of anyone but him. They would offer her nothing but silence.

“Okay, thanks then,” she smiled sweetly, and walked back to her bike, allowing her steps and her hips to swing in that way she knew four meathead guys would appreciate.

She leant against her bike, kept her back to the mine and its impenetrable sentries, and closed her eyes. If they wouldn’t tell her where her mother was, she would just have to find out by herself. She took a breath and then reached out, searching for her mother, searching even for her fath… for Sam. There was a very faint signature coming from somewhere very close but it was hard to place. Another power was distorting her view, blocking her even – a power which Blue could feel was ancient, was all-conquering, a power she would not be able to bypass. This must be the spirit of the mountain, she realised, the timeless force of Tsoodzil.

They had to be inside the mine, there was no other explanation. The way the Four Stooges were guarding its entrance, the proximity of her mother, were a giveaway . Perhaps she could try to port inside, track them from there. But with no idea what dangers – physical and spiritual – she might face in a derelict mine inside this mountain, she decided this was not a sensible plan. And with that power so near and so strong, would her porting even work? Or would Tootsie the mountain fairy get in her way?

She sighed deeply, withdrew back to herself and opened her eyes. Across the plain, a cloud of dust signalled the arrival of another car, and as it came rapidly nearer, Blue recognised it as Spencer’s.

She watched it as it sped towards her, its wheels skidding on the dry ground as he applied the brakes hard in front of her. The driver’s window lowered and Spencer leant an arm outside the car

“What are you doing here?” he called to her. She threw a quick glance over her shoulder to the brickwalls, made sure they were far enough away for her to speak freely, if still quietly. “I’m looking for my mum,” she explained, “and the other two. I know they are all here somewhere. I can feel them.”

Spencer let out a short, knowing laugh. “That’s what the mountain wants you to think,” he said.

“Right,” Blue said with a sneer, “psychic mountain is it?”

“Trust me,” Spencer said, “This mountain has her own spirit, she gets into your head. I know, I grew up here.”

“Whatever.” She shrugged.

“It’s true,” Spencer insisted, “tell you what Blue, you should try smoking the pot from round here. I’ve seen some pretty serious shit.”

Blue glared at him for a few moments, her frustration at Spencer’s ramblings, at the obstinacy of Sanderson’s staff by the cave, at the power keeping her from her mother, all growing within her. “I’d love to stand here listening to someone else’s drug stories,” she said eventually, “but I’m trying to find my FUCKING MOTHER!”

Spencer waited for a second, knowing to let her flash of anger subside before he spoke. “I know you’re worried about her and you want to find her,” he said quietly, compassionately, “but you can’t do it here, you won’t find her. Tsoodzil won’t let you.”

“But…”

“Get in the car, I know places where her power is less, we can search together.”

“But Mom’s here, I can sense her.”

“Maybe she is, maybe she isn’t. Trust me, you can’t tell from here. Come with me.”

She approached the car, looked into his eyes. His honest eyes, his loving eyes. He allowed her to see deeper into him, to feel that what he was saying was true. With another quick backwards glance, she walked around to the passenger door.

***

At the end of the tunnel was a pale-painted wooden door, presumably white but it was hard to tell in the green glow. Sam tried the handle, rattled it, pushed the door, but it was securely locked. Ephraim told him to stand aside and with two quick, violent charges, he shouldered the door open.

The four of them stepped inside, Jose’s faltering light stick showing them the contents. It was a bare room, excavated roughly from the rock. In the centre sat a single wooden chair, leather buckle restraints on its arms. Beside it, a small table. On the far wall, a mirrored cupboard had been hung, but the mirror on its front was now broken and its door was hanging from its one remaining hinge – the other presumably ripped away by whoever stole what had been kept in there.

“This is the room,” Ephraim said quietly.

Meagan crossed the floor to the cupboard, examined it carefully before turning back to the others. “Then this must be where the box was,” she said.

“No,” Jose said with authority, “this isn’t the resting place of the relic.”

Sam turned to Ephraim. “So what do you mean by ‘this is the room’ Ephraim?”

“This is the room where it happens. The room in my vision.”

Jose’s light stick flickered once, twice, before fading quickly.

The four of them stood again in complete darkness, the after image of the table and chair hovering before their eyes.

 

 

Sadly, Cara has decided to step down from Relaying. Thanks for the part you played in building this story BT – you are always welcome to rejoin whenever you want to.

This means that next up is my favourite Buffista Joanne

 

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5 Comments
  1. (Okay, wasn’t ignoring this, but just now had the time to read.) Excellent! I love the way you nailed a southwestern US accent for Jose (which is southern, w/o going overboard on the drawl). Nicely done! This section really brought him to life. I also loved how Blue has translated “Tsoodzil” into “Tootsie.” Very Blue.

    But I can’t get over that there’s a chair w/ restraints in the room! What a nightmare for that crew, since three of them spent so much of their formative years in a room like that. (PTSD, anyone? 😉 ) You have a nice gift for psychological tension, TRG. Awesome.

    And now we’re there, in The Room from Ephraim’s vision. Oooohhh!!!!! (And I wonder where Spence is taking Blue?) Can’t wait for Joanne’s chapter….

    • Thanks for your kind comments as always Dawn 🙂

      I’m no expert on the fineries of US accents, but this is how I heard Jose speaking – it’s just lucky that I managed to get the right one! And i figured if he spends time around The Club but has no talents of his own (or has he?) he might be blase about those who have.

      It’s a sign of how well-defined Blue is that she made the Tootsie comment herself and I just wrote it down…

      Once I knew they would be in a room at the end of the tunnel, it HAD to be the room Ephraim had seen. And why not throw that chair in there, just to see what happens 🙂

      I have my own theories about Spencer’s plans but I’ll keep them to myself and see where that goes…

  2. “four brick walls unpacked themselves from inside the cars” this is brilliant!
    {runs back to write} 😀

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