His brow furrowed. It should have been here.,he thought. He knew he had hastened away the chest in another time. He had been Vox Populi back then. Speaking for and before the entire village. It had been the first time he had put his school debate and public speaking skills to use. Fingers fumbled around the hard packed topsoil,slid over slightly sticky fungi. Having already thrown up from the exertion of just getting here,he was weary with his energy. He cursed around in a foreign language from the land he was in,just as his index fingernail scraped against earthen chilled wood and metal bracing. He traced his way until he could distinctly make out the feel of a brass tack head against the swollen pads of his fingers. “Yes!”,he exclaimed,under his breath in excitement.
The muscles in his back tightened as he pulled desperately on the box to free it from the mountaintop soil. He didn’t try to dig around it,just pulled at it;straining so hard it caused a vein in his temple to pulse visibly as sweat broke above his eyebrows. Off in the distance he heard a strange whine. It was melodic,and made his bones vibrate slightly. He managed to get the box finally free from the ground just as he heard the whine get louder. The dry air allowed the sound to carry in the valley below him,and he could smell the desert getting wet,a musky enticing smell. In his horror,he looked down into that valley and watched as a massive rectangle of sea water inhabited by a great grey whale and a few small schools of fish appear to float a foot or two above the ground. Gravity seemed to keep almost everything separate. The co-location had stopped before fully stacking the two environments. These ‘instances’ were happening more and more. He knew his time was quickly fading away,even as the water and sea life seemingly floated less than two feet from the valley floor. The whale’s crying becoming louder,the whale was complaining as the volume of water wasn’t enough to allow it to move freely due to its size. The box his grandfather had given him when he was seven sat mockingly before him,covered in hazy yellow dirt. He had buried it in this same site over 2500 years before. Surprisingly it had held up well,the rivets only barely rusted. The box itself was only about twenty years old,his grandfather had lovingly crafted it himself. No one had reason to believe it was here,and therefore;had been safe from curious minds and digging tools. He spoke quickly and quietly in the tongue necessary to invoke the unlock necessary to open the box. He heard a soft click,satisfying in its simpleness. He looked back down into the valley and watched as a few of the smaller fish erupted from the floating water cube above the desert floor,only to have gravity bring them quickly to their doom as they flopped around drowning on air.
“I know how that feels,” he remarked watching the small fish flop in their final dance. The whale croon seemed to cry at his remark as the sound bounced off of the deep limestone and shale walls. James had been a good student,quiet and unassuming. His school peers usually left him alone,he was kind of weird,they’d say. He never dressed too oddly,and while he learned at an exponential rate;he never acted out for attention. Outside of school,his ‘extra-curricular’ activities were simple,he was a sponge. He soaked up everything. After reading every book at his local libraries,he moved on to the Library of Congress;even though he lived almost two thousand miles from it. James had learned at an early age that he was gifted in ways he would never be able to understand. His parents were left to their own devices in life,and while they had done him right when they could,contemporary times didn’t allow them as much time with their children as they would have liked. His father was blind to most everything,just a man who lived to work,and forgot how to work to live. His mother had been somewhat clued in,she had walked in one morning to wake James for school,only to find him hovering five feet above his bed. He had been sleeping in earnest when the shrieks from mommy dearest woke him,causing him to burst through the roof and brownout the neighborhood. She sent him to live with his grandfather stating emphatically that ‘Gramps is the only one who could help’. James didn’t understand at first,and felt that he had done something so wrong his parents wanted to whisk him away. Grandfather had tried to explain those first few weeks that what was done,was done for his protection as much as theirs. His grandfather lived in the southwest,in the desert. The chores were rough and varied,the blistering sun and heat only refining reality with each passing day. After a month of being home taught and chores until the sun went down,James had had enough. He went for another of his ‘escapes’ and found himself in Moab Utah,at the Arches National Park. A picture from the Encyclopedia Britannica had led him there. He hiked the pristine park,painted in lush brush strokes by mother earth,and enjoyed the peace and tranquility. No one knew where was,or so he thought.
“It is beautiful isn’t it son?”,his grandfather spoke gently behind him as he watched the sunset. James nearly jumped out of his skin,shocked into silence. James learned that day that he wasn’t as alone in life as he had been led to believe. His real schooling began that day.
© Thomas E. Brewer 2013 all rights reserved ***[[[ TO BE CONTINUED ]]]***