My work gives out a monthly “newsletter” which includes jokes, job related notifications, and recipes. I wanted to see if maybe she would like to add a monthly story (whether it was on going or many different short stories) and she loved the idea. So every month I have been writing a few pages and I have been uploading them. This month is the third installment. If you just joined and haven’t read the first two you can find Part One & Part Two. I hope you like it & enjoy reading it.
The water bounced the boat back and forth, side to side, waking Zaire slightly. His head was groggy as he looked around and saw nothing but water. His stomach rumbled as his eyes spun around trying to take in the scenery without puking all over Quinn.
Quinn laughed, “I can see now why you stray away from boats.”
He scratched his nose, “Why is that?”
“Since the moment you got onto this thing you’ve done nothing but either vomit or sleep. That’s basically sea sickness.”
He snickered, “How would you know? You don’t get seasick.”
Quinn repositioned herself on the boat, “You don’t know that, do you?”
He glared at Quinn just long enough until he felt his stomach churn and pushed his head over the side of the boat letting out his contents into the water below them.
Quinn smiled out into the ocean as she watched the wave’s splash into others forming a large layer of blue. A light breeze blew across her skin forming goose pimples as excitement built up inside of her knowing that she’ll soon have everything she needs and wants.
Zaire smiled to himself as he watched her eyes twinkle in the sunlight and wanted to take note of how wonderful everything was. He unzipped a small messenger bag and pulled out a medium sized notebook, flipped it open and began scribbling in his horrible handwriting. He may not write much, but when he does he feels like he’s on a million types of drugs and they are rushing through his veins and it becomes the most beautiful thing he’s ever written – even if to everyone else it is udder crud.
He stopped writing for a brief moment and looked up at Quinn who was staring daggers into his forehead. “So, Quinn, tell me about your town.”
“First,” Quinn readjusted herself in the boat, “what are you writing?”
“Don’t sound so paranoid – You knew I was a writer and that I planned to document this trip.”
“Yes,” She shook her head, “I realize that, however, you never said you’d be writing about me.”
“Quinn, darling, you are a part of this trip.” He shrugged, “Plus, if it wasn’t for you and all of your nagging I wouldn’t be here in the first place. I would be at home, dying in my own bed with all of my belongings and a real bathroom. But no, here I am floating across water to a destination I don’t know what it is or where it is. So if nothing else, you owe me information about you and your town.”
“Sheesh, dude, you don’t have to be dramatic about it. However, I do see your writer side sticking out. I’ll tell you about anything you want to, I just have a request first.”
“What’s that?” Zaire figured he couldn’t lose much else.
“No matter what you see when we get to the Island, you cannot freak out and leave. You have to stay and help me – no matter what.”
He let the words sink in trying to figure out what would scare him off and why she was worried about him leaving so easily. What was he walking into? “I can only do my best. So, you – tell me about you – The real Quinn.”
She took in his posture. He sat straight with his left leg crossed over his right at the knee and had his notebook sitting gently only top of his thigh with his left hand gripping his pencil tightly. His eyes, emotionless, staring at her – waiting for words to be said. “I’m not sure what to say. There honestly isn’t much about me. I’m Quinn Fabre and I was born in Alaska to a great set of parents. After their death I decided to take off not sure where I was going to end up. I somehow managed to make it to Calypso, got a job, and rented a tiny house.”
“What made you end up in Calypso?” Zaire scribbled the question on the next empty line of his notebook and looked up at Quinn for her to answer.
She chuckled to herself, “Wrong turn. I was trying to get to San Francisco, I wanted to be a dancer, but somehow I ended up taking a wrong turn down a long road that took me over an ocean and you can’t quite turn around. So I kept going and ended up there. The town seemed nice when I finally stopped and asked someone where I was at.
The guy I spoke to said there was one house empty if I wanted to stay. I looked around for a couple days sleeping in the only bed and breakfast they have and ended up not leaving.”
“What job did you find in such a small town?”
“The town is known for grain – so I basically just took the only job the grain factory had – receptionist. I liked it a lot and didn’t see why I hadn’t gotten lost years before. I sat at a desk that was mine answering phone calls, taking orders on computers, and making sure everyone got their paychecks.”
“A grain town, huh – is that how everyone got the sickness?”
She shrugged, “That’s what they are thinking but I wasn’t there so I honestly have no idea. Plus, I’m not the doctor.”
“You seem to know a lot about this to not have been there or want the cure for yourself.”
“So you’re saying that a person cannot want to help other people?” Anger began to build and she began to speak quicker, “They took me in when I had nowhere else to go. I owe a lot to the people of that town.”
“Woah, dang girl, calm down. I didn’t mean it like that. I just mean that…” He sighed, “Let’s continue with your story.”
“I never saw myself leaving the grain factory until I received a call from my mother. She said my dad was sick and wasn’t going to last much longer so she asked if I might come home for a while. Basically to say good-bye and I love him, so I did and I was gone a while. “
Zaire scribbled words in his notebook attempting to keep all the important information together. “When you got back to Calypso, everyone was sick?”
“Basically – a few hadn’t gotten sickly, but yes, they were.” She sighed to herself and drifted off with memories. “I can still remember the children and the elderly. The ones around our age could get around fine and still go to work when I got back but the children and the elderly.”
He saw a twinkle underneath her eye and realized she was about to cry, “You don’t have to tell me anymore about that if you don’t want to.”
“No…” She trailed off waving her hand in the air in front of her face, “I just really want to find the cure.”
“Trust me, so do I – but a part of me feels as if you feel responsible for their illness and you cannot live like that. You need to realize that if you had been there you couldn’t have stopped it from happening but you’d be just as sick as everyone else. You should feel lucky.”
She glanced at his hand that now rested gently on her shoulder. She hadn’t noticed when he moved closer, almost ninja-like. She couldn’t remember the last time, since her dad’s funeral, where someone wanted to comfort her. Felt the need to make sure she was okay before running off to their busy day. Of course, however, she knows he cannot really leave – unless he can swim, and the vibe she gets, he can’t – but it seems as if he cares, nonetheless.
“I have tried to look from that perspective, but I can’t. I honestly feel as if I had been there we wouldn’t have gotten that shipment of grain and I could have stopped it. They even said the shipment looked funny but yet they accepted it anyway and made so much bread. There is no telling how many people have it and I feel as if it’s my fault.” Tears inched down her cheeks, “I shouldn’t have left and went to my parents’ house. How will I live without myself if I don’t find this cure?”
“Quinn this isn’t your fault – because in that sense me being sick is your fault.”
“How do you figure?” Quinn whipped the tears away with the back of her hand.
Zaire shrugged, “Because the bread that I consumed that made me sick was from Calypso.”
Her eyes widened, “What?”
“But,” He stopped and lifted his hand in the air to stop her, “I don’t blame you because YOU had nothing to do with it. You’re an innocent bystander who wasn’t even in Calypso when it happened.”
She decided to stay quiet and just not comment anymore. She had her feelings for all of this and knew he’d never understand. Sitting here and word-fighting with him isn’t going to get her anywhere. She knew exactly what she needed to do and how to do it, whether he was on board with it or not.
He shook his head and maneuvered himself back to his side of the boat and stared at Quinn for a couple minutes before the boat hit something and jerked him forcing him into the bottom of the boat.
Quinn jumped up cheering, a large smile plastered across her ordinary looking face, “Finally! Yes! We are here!”
He sat up, happy that they are finally off the water, and looked around. His eyes grew large as he scanned the island and slowly his lips parted and his jaw dropped. His words came out a lot slower than he thought they would have, “Whaaaaaaat thhhhhuuuuuuuhhhh….”
“You promise,” Quinn pointed her finger in his face, “You promised me that no matter what you saw you wouldn’t abandon me in this journey.”
“But…” His eyes watered from all of the electricity that was bouncing through the air from one tesla coil to the next. He counted mentally the number of tesla coil’s that lined this island – he counted approximately thirty-two and all he saw was bright lights of lightning flashing around him. “How do you expect us to walk through that?”
Quinn laughed to herself, “We’re going to shut it off, duh!”
“How do you expect us to do that?”
“There is always a shut off to anything that works, we just have to find it. Using common sense, which I don’t have much of but I have some, I can pretty much promise you it’s on the outside.”
His mind began playing scenarios over and over of things that could or might happen. His one thought surrounded one thing – he knew one thing for sure – the Tesla Coils were set up to keep people out or to keep something in. He heart pounded in his chest and felt the need to vomit. He looked around and Quinn had disappeared and in that moment he knew something bad had happened.
“Quinn?” The words were loud and shaky. “Quinn!” His voice was even louder than it was. His heart began to pound, normally, he thought, someone would have said something with the second yell. His head swung back and forth trying to make sure he wasn’t missing anything as his mouth dried up. His nervous tick began something he’s hated all of his life, and dropped his messenger bag onto the ground. He rubbed his face with his fingertips trying to control the facial tick that made the left side of his mouth lift along with his eye blinking.
He turned on his heels and sprinted back to where he remembered Quinn tying up the boat. He stood there at the edge of the island and felt his heart fall. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing – she left him there. Alone.
The hours passed slowly almost feeling like days. The sun was hot on his skin while he sat on his bottom in the tiny sand beach. He knew that he was more than likely already sunburned – his pasty white skin doesn’t hold up well to the UV Rays. That’s one thing he knows for sure – he has always been an inside person.
He inched his whole hand into the sand wiggling it side to side as he anger flared within him. He knew she wasn’t going to come back, but he also knew if he was to ever see her again he planned to rip her head off her shoulders. Not that he would actually do it but the urge was there. He has and never will be a violent person.
He shook his head and grunted inwardly. Sitting here isn’t going to help anyone or anything, but what could he possibly do? Try and swim back home and hope he doesn’t get eaten by some form of large fish that may be swimming within the waters? Even if that sounded like half of a decent plan, he had no idea which direction was home or how far it was. He knew they had traveled by a small boat with a motor and it seemed to be approximately one in the afternoon when they arrived after leaving a quarter to nine in the morning.
He decided to walk around Tesla Island, since it didn’t seem very large to him, to see if maybe someone actually lived out here. Looking at all of the coils, that were still slicing the sky with lightning bolts, he knew someone had to have put them up. He stood up and began his walk, walking toward what he thought was North, looking up through trees and bright flashes of light. He made a mental note of the fact that the coils made flashes of light that actually lit up the sky, even with the sun out. It was partly mesmerizing to him.
His pace started out strong, moving quickly through the sand, his feet dragging slightly, but as the sun began to set his pace slowed to almost turtle-human speed. His legs began to shake slightly as his body shivered from a cool breeze that came in from the water. He stopped and looked around, exasperated, when he realized he had been walking all day and has yet to see anything that resembles any form of life. He looked through the flashes and realized if someone does live on this island, they are going to be on the inside – in the middle of the lightning bolts that flew up and out. He sighed but remembered what Quinn had said, there is always a shut off to anything that works, we just have to find it. Using common sense, which I don’t have much of but I have some, I can pretty much promise you it’s on the outside.
Taking a deep breath he tried to remember, out of what he’s walked so far, did he see anything that looked anything remotely like an off switch or a lever. All he seemed to remember was a bunch of tree’s that looked like they were about to attack him, and small bushes that were probably hiding tiny animals that wanted to eat human flesh. He wasn’t really feeling the urge to be eaten by anything that is smaller than his foot.
He figured that since he hadn’t seen anything that looked remotely like an off switch while he walked – he would finish walking the rest of the way. He stood, stretched his leg muscles and began to walk finishing his way around the island. He sighed when he realized how slow he was moving – he was hoping after his rest that he’d be able to do this quickly. He looked out in front of him and noticed something that looked like a tall black brick wall. He approached it with caution, just in case, and gently pushed the tree branch that was covering it to the side and saw a large button. He stared at the button as if it were an animal about to attack. Next to the button had an engraving in it that, to him, looked Latin and almost talked himself out of pressing it, but he knew this was the only thing he has found that looks like it would shut off the coils.
He shut his eyes tightly, counted to ten and prayed silently to himself. Opening them quickly he pushed his hand forward and hit the button and braced for whatever was about to happen. He heard a noise that sounded like a large rock was being moved and a zip-zap just in time for the coils to stop sparking and it was quiet except for a ticking noise that sounded like a food timer spinning. That’s when he realized once it stops ticking the coils are going to turn back on. He quickly looked around him and sprinted to the inside of the coils where he wouldn’t have to really worry about it.
As soon as he passed the coils and was standing on the inside the hum of the electricity began and thanked everything that he was finally on the inside. But how, he thought to himself, will he get out? He wouldn’t think about that right now though, because the only thing he wanted to think about was finding someone to help him get home. That’s all he wanted more than anything was to just go home.
He walked around for what felt like hours and in circles. He passed a large oak three that he could swear he had passed multiple times. Aggravation began sitting in, a feeling he was getting tired of, as he realized this isn’t working. He could barely see what was around him or where he was going due to the fact that it was basically dark – the sun had set hours ago but he didn’t want to give up, he wanted to go home. But he began realizing that he should probably find somewhere to rest for the evening and start up again in the morning – but where?
Zaire wasn’t sure if anything was really “safe” enough for him to just settle in and sleep so he figured he would walk back toward the coils, they should give off enough light where he could see around, or maybe he will find something with a top.
Once he was close to the coils he noticed a large opening that looked like a darkened cave. He glanced around and realized this is where he entered into the coils. On the other side of this cave is the button he pressed to turn off the coils so he began betting himself, since no one else was around, that the button to turn it off again is inside of this cave. He decided, however, not to go too far into it looking for a button or lever to turn them off, the only thing on his mind at that moment was to sleep for a little bit. Exhaustion finally hit him when he decided to settle in for the night, yawns coming every couple of minutes.
He cautiously entered the extremely dark cave and stopped just inside. Not too far in but far enough in that if the clouds that were floating around above him decided to let go of its moisture, he wouldn’t get wet – that’s what he wanted from this. He tossed his messenger bag to the ground, and stretched forcing a yawn to the service. He rubbed his eyes and glanced around wanting to make a last ditch effort to see if someone, or something, was hiding in the dark shadows of this cave. Not seeing anything, he went to squat, finally to lie down just and felt the ground began to shake. His body tensed as he tried to keep his balance, but the shaking got worse, and attempting to keep his balance became harder and harder. At times it felt as if he was trying to stand on a board that was sitting on top of a rubber ball. He grabbed on to the sides of the cave and the sound of boulders forced his attention, he turned his head quickly to the left and saw the entrance close up.
His heart stopped, crap, he thought, I cannot get out.
The rumbling didn’t stop; his feet vibrating underneath making him do a small dance while he attempts to keep them in one spot. His fingers grasped at the side of the wall but with one strong tremor his fingers slipped, and he lost his balance, and his body tumbled to the ground slamming the side of his head into a large rock.
Zaire lifted his hand and touched the side of his head with as little pressure as he could muster. His head pounded and all he wanted to do is cry – cry for his mother or father to come hold him – cry in a way he hasn’t cried since he was a tiny child after falling off of his bike and skinning his poor knee. Of course, though, he’d never admit that he wanted to cry even if someone could prove it.
His whole face hurt – a pain he couldn’t remember having before. His mouth was parted and he slowly opened his eyes not wanting to scare his pupils with a light that was so bright he could feel it to his bones. As he let the light enter his eyes he realized he was no longer in the cave where he was but instead he sat in a wooden chair with no arm rests in a large white empty room. The only other thing besides him in it was a large wooden desk, papers covering the top, with a chair turned backwards. Fear was prominent in his mind, mostly from wanting answers, and then he tried to stand. He grunted as he felt himself fall backwards and hit his bottom on the chair. He looked down at his legs…
“Why are my legs tied together?” He asked into thin air knowing he wouldn’t get a response.
“Because Zaire, I don’t need you trying to escape.”
He knew that voice, or a part of that voice – he couldn’t place it. “Where am I? How did I get here?” His words came out in a hurry.
The chair at the large desk turned around toward him, “I brought you here.”
“But why – I don’t even know where this is.”
“In time my dear, all the answers will be unraveled.”
Zaire blinked a couple times attempting to focus on the figure that was sitting at the desk looking at him. When the cloudiness cleared he realized why he knew that voice. “Quinn? Why did you leave me on the island alone?”
“Because Zaire, I needed you to get here on your own. I needed to make sure you were the one I needed to find.”
“What? We were on a journey to find a cure for the illness we have. What are you talking about with all of this we needed to find?”
Quinn stood up not looking like the girl she was when he first met him. In town, when they first met, her clothes seemed drabby – dirty discolored khaki slacks with a long sleeve white shirt and a dirty old grandmother sweater draped over her that had to have been four sizes too large. Now, standing in front of the desk she is cleaned up. Her hair is pulled back into a nicely composed pony tail, a calf length pinstriped skirt, a form fitting button up long sleeve white shirt and a pair of black stilettos. A part of his man self was briefly attracted to her until he realized that she had him tied to a chair and actually had been stalking him.
He glared at her, “How long had you been stalking me?”
She chuckled to herself, “How long have you been sick?”
“Wait – what?”
“You didn’t get sick off of bread from Calypso and the whole town isn’t sick. In fact, last time I was there everyone looked pretty healthy if you ask me.” She took a couple steps around the desk to the front of it and seductively sat on the edge and crossed her arms in front of her chest.
“But why,” Zaire shook his head, “You still haven’t explained to me why.”
Her face relaxed and she moistened her lips with her tongue, “You were chosen for this and I had to make sure you could handle what we needed.”
He lifted an eyebrow, “Chosen for what?”
She tilted her head to the left and looked him up and down, “For the mission of your life.”
He chuckled, “My life? Psh, thanks to you I don’t have much of a life left.”
“That’s exactly why I had to poison you – you wouldn’t say yes if you had a full life ahead of you.”
“So what is so important for me to do that you have to kill me to do?”
She straightened herself and dropped her arms, “You, Zaire, are going to kill the evil dictator.”
He blinked a few times before responding, “What evil dictator?”
Quinn took a couple steps toward him and ran her finger down the side of his face. “You’re going to kill the evil dictator that shares a very, very strong resemblance to you.”
He jerked his face away from her touch, “What if I say no?”
“Then I kill you now.