I open my eyes and smile. Adrian's bedroom is bathed in soft sunlight, a light breeze bellowing the canopy curtains through the open windows. Distant birdsong drifting in... dust particles dancing in the streams of sunlight.
It's so beautiful.
I stretch lazily spreading my arms and legs across the full length and width of the bed. Mmmm... It's just me in the bed, Adrian's probably already up and chasing the day with Inu at his heels. I'm alone in the room but I'm not alone. Not really. Not anymore. My fingers touch Adrian's pillow, I drag it to me and spoon it against my chest, mmmm...
What a heavenly scent. There isn't anything like it... it's smells like lilac's and running water. The bed is insanely comfortable, the sheets soft and warm. This here, right now, is a perfect moment. You don't get many of those in a lifetime. There is only one thing that can make me break it or one person to be precise.
I slip out of bed and into my discarded pajama bottoms. I splash my face some and brush my teeth in the bathroom. I look up and see my reflection.
I look like me again.
First time I saw my own reflection after the sands I didn't even recognize myself. I saw a stranger staring back at me. I almost touched the mirror to see if there was someone on the other side.
Now I look like me again. Jack Bernard Smythe.
Jack Bernard Smythe-Gray has a nicer ring to it.
Padding through the hallway to the conservatory, I note the French doors have been thrown wide open. That doesn't happen very often, Adrian mostly keeps those closed.
I step through into the courtyard. The sun is gentle and the skies are blue, such a beautiful day. A mild summers day can be so wonderful.
I spy Adrian standing in the middle of the yard, his back to me, arms crossed and staring up at the sky. The courtyard is paved with cobblestones giving my feet a free massage as I walk over to him. His blond curls golden in the sunlight. I admire his form as I near him. His dress is always simple but it's it simplicity that makes it sexy. Today it's a tan tank top and loose green sweats, his feet as bare as mine.
I slide my arms around his waist. I feel him relax into me as I kiss his neck. A small good morning kiss. He lowers his arms to rest on mine holding them in place as I rest my chin on his shoulder.
We stand there, not saying anything, not moving. Just holding each other. A slight whisper of a breeze plays with his curls for a second and a little bird flies by. I hear a bumblebee to my right near the Echinacea's
Another perfect moment.
"Something's wrong." Adrian says still staring up at clear blue sky.
For a split second I tense. Wrong? What's wrong? Are we wrong? Was last night wrong? Was our perfect moment wrong?
Last night was anything but wrong. Last night was right. We are right.
"I don't know..." Adrian frowns resting his head against my shoulder. He stares up at the sky for a little while longer before twisting around wrapping his arms around my neck.
"Hi." He smiles almost timidly.
"Hi." I slowly lean in and plant a very soft kiss on those very soft lips. It's one of those intimate gentle kisses. An exchange of dialogue all by itself. You don't get many of those in a lifetime.
"No regrets?" he asks still smiling.
"None at all" I reply squeezing him a little tighter.
"Good cause I don't think I could've come back from that if you'd wanted to forget it."
"Adrian..." I sigh bringing my hands up to his face, stroking his cheeks with my thumbs. His strong young man cheeks, smooth and taut. "I came to you remember? We may not be conventional. But I'm right where I belong with the person I belong with."
Adrian gulped staring up into my eyes, his own sparkling. "I love you too, mo Ghrá." He whispered pulling me down to kiss him again. An eager kiss this time, a hungry one. Just as hungry as his stomach by the sounds of it.
"You must be starving." I laugh dropping my hands to his waist enjoying the feel of his body under the fabric.
Adrian freezes. "That wasn't me."
"Baby I clearly heard a stomach growl and it wasn't mine."
Adrian released my neck slightly stepping away stretching out an arm watching it as if caressing none existing water currents.
"Something's wrong." Adrian frowned again. "There is a ripple in the bathwater."
"What do you mean a ripple?"
He takes my hand hooking the thumbs together and moves them both gently caressing the wind. At first it just feels silly until something touches my hand. Soft twirling denser air flows over my arm in rolling waves.
"You feel it?"
"Yeah." Tremors in the invisible bathwater running around my hand.
"You feel that?"
"Yeah, like a shockwave or something."
"Hm?" What a fascinating feeling, so it is what the bathwater feels like...
Cordon brushed the sweat from his brown smudging it with white chalk, hair dangling before his eyes. He sat on his hands and knees drawing an intricate design on the floor of the attic. The only room in the house relatively intact.
He mumbled incantations as he moved the chalk across the wooden floor. Intricate circles within circles overlapping circles within circles, patterns and lines connecting every symbol. It was large; almost dominated the whole attic floor.
As Cordon connected the last line to the last circle he righted himself stepping back throwing the chalk away. The design glowed momentarily indicating its alacrity.
"Cá bhfuil Jack Smythe?"... nothing
"Jack Bernard Smythe?" ... nothing
Either he's dead or something is masking his presents.
"Nuair a bhí Jack Smythe feiceáil deireanach?" When was Jack Smythe last seen?
Two small dots glowed in the pattern, the pulsed rhythmically. Cordon carefully walking around the design. One pulse indicated when Jack slipped out of the sands. The other where he reappeared.
Six months ago... in Paris, France? What?
"Cé chomh fada?" Cordon asked, symbol to Cordon left flashed three times.
Thirty seconds? This made no sense...
Cordon walking around his design slowly, staring hard at the lines, mind racing.
Who could have possibly helped him escape? How the hell did they manage to get him out? Who and why?
"We're not leaving Adrian." Jack steps away from Adrian's embrace.
"We should think about..."
"No." He lowered his head trying to hide his face. There's no way in Hell he's going anywhere.
"He'll find us ev-" Adrian tried again
Jack cuts him off again turning to holding his face is hands. Pleading. "I don't want to leave here Adrian. I don't want to drop everything on the off chance he'll find us."
"I don't want to run. If we run I'm imprisoned all over again. We have a good live here."
"Is my home now. Whether intentional or not I love it here."
Adrian looked deeply into Jacks eyes, pleading in equal terms. "Maybe you could just stay with Gill for a while until we're sure..."
"I am not going anywhere and most importantly not without you!" Not ever, not again.
"No buts!" Jack grunted grabbing Adrian to him calming his voice down to a whisper. "Baby, don't make me go... please. If you make me go you'd be taking my choice away from me."
"I just want you to be safe." Adrian sighed wrapping his arms around Jack in return.
"I want you to be safe too, you don't seem to care much about yourself." Jack mumbles into Adrian's shoulder. "I watch you just as much as you watch me... You told me that this is the safest place. Right?"
"..Well... yes." Adrian leans back fully facing Jack again.
"You created it just for us."
"He's probably gotten a lot stronger in the last nine years Jack."
"I don't doubt that." Jack concedes.
"Aren't you scared? After what he did to you?"
"No." he wasn't even holding up a brave face. Jack wasn't afraid.
"He doesn't know what I know." Jack smiled; it was a very nice warming smile.
"He doesn't know about you."
"You are fare more powerful than he'll ever be. You are capable of things he can't even imagine." Jack took Adrian's imprinted hand and placed it on his own ingrained amulet. "I know that this represents a hell of a lot more than just a protection spell and I know it makes me the safest man in the whole bathtub."
Adrian chuckled. "Yes it does."
"Last night only made this stronger."
"How could you...?"
"I feel it. I feel the metal sing when I'm around you." He pressed Adrian's hands harder into his chest. "You feel that?"
"It shouldn't be doing that you know." Adrian chewed the inside of his cheek; it really shouldn't be doing that at all.
"It's always done that but I never really realized it before."
"I mean it always reacts to you, to your emotions. It heats up when you do; it grows cold when your sad, it pulses when you're angry. Which only happened once with Lyceah and that was scary enough."
"Oh..." Adrian frowned leaning away from Jack.
"No Baby, I don't mean that I'm frightened of you. You only reacted when she threatened me. You'd never hurt me, ever. Unless it was in a way I wanted to be hurt." Jack grinned. "It's just you and me baby. If we have to make a stand we do it here on our turf."
Adrian gave in, though it looks like he never really had a chance to win this to begin with. "All right."
"Good now kiss me." It was a good kiss too and it kept on going. "Baby?"
"Don't we have work to do today?" Jack picked Adrian up and turned to the open French windows...
"...It can wait ..." Adrian mumbling against Jack's lips.
"My thoughts exactly."
The design on the attic floor shone vibrantly clear and functional. Cordon sat at its edge staring at the chalked lines. Staring silently.
He snatched Jack 23 years ago.
His family long gone, his friends long forgot...
Who could have possibly helped him escape?
Who could have known where he was?
How the hell did they manage to get him out?
What powerful being could have done this?
It shouldn't have been possible. As far as the world was concerned Jack just vanished one day. Cordon held the desert globe in his hands, turning it over and over.
Nothing but sand.
He remembered the very first time he saw Jack. He had the audacity to smile at other men, even though Cordon had been right there in the room. Cooing over that little shit as if he was an angel dropped from heaven...
Cordon's hands stopped moving.
Worthless little worm not an ounce of power in the creature. Delicious little thing though... But you don't fuck family. It didn't matter his cries of pain at the whip were just as sweet, if not sweeter. Little Adi... talentless to a fault.
Why did he even come here? Why did he want to learn from me just to be kicked out weeks later... He hadn't questioned it at the time... Cordon snapped up pacing the design again. Maybe he should have.
"Cá bhfuil Adrian Gray." Nothing "Cá bhfuil Adrian Gray!"
He's not anywhere. He's not dead. The family would have felt it but he hasn't shown his face in years... He's hiding.
Retrieving the knife from his back pocket Cordon stepped into the design careful not to smudge any lines. He slide he right wrist in once clean cut. He smeared his blood over his hand drenching it and slammed it down dead center of the design.
"Cá bhfuil Adrian Gray!" blood always finds blood. Yet no dots appeared only a single line of blood snaked itself through the design. Outside of any chalk circles and highways. This line created a path for itself and snake off the design fading.
Cordon carefully picked himself of the floor patting the dust from his tattered clothes. His waves the design into oblivion and slowly yet carefully he descended the stairs frowning at his devastated house.
Oh no this won't do at all...
"Good afternoon." A large hand clamped down on an unsuspecting shoulder. The man whom the shoulder belonged to jumped in his chair.
"Good Afternoon?" he ventured as a large body man in a tight cut black suit sat down next to him. They sat in a nice local brasserie out on the terrace watching the people go by. The large man with a mad eyes lay his hand on smaller mans.
"I've heard stories about you." he said, the small admission made the hairs on the smaller mans neck stand up, his body moved a fraction of a inch but the hand stayed firmly clamped on his shoulder. The smaller mans face drained.
"Ah that actually works! I thought you'd try and escape in that inconspicuous manner you've come accustomed to. I also heard this rumor you can't vanish when someone's holding you that doesn't want to go. Little bit of a design flaw there."
"Who are you?"
"It's quite fortunate actually. I'd been on your trail for some time and now I have the perfect excuse to recruit you."
"On my trail?"
"Oh certainly. All these delicious stories about a wanderer, a shifter between worlds, a drifter as it were. It that you call yourself. Drifter? Wanderer? It has to be something terribly misguided like that doesn't it?"
"I call myself Mark." he man growled. "Who are you?" he demanded.
"Oh my dear man." Cordon grinned that evil grin of his devoid of laughter and joy. "Not to sound overly dramatic in anyway but I really am your worse nightmare."
"Thanks for helping out Arta." Adrian smiled as they wove in tandem. Arta was only too happy to; it was quite an honour to help their isangoma in such a manner.
"My pleasure isangoma, truly. Lyceah has been a walking terror since you banned for from your home. Father was very displeased." Arta was secretly pleased he'd been asked to take over Lyceah's duties concerning the isangoma. Lyceah would always come back with stories of his beauty and strength. But Arta had found that there was far much more too Adrian than beauty, something Lyceah would have trouble seeing. Arta loved his sister as he does all his siblings but there was no discounting her vanity.
"I'm sorry to disappoint him I..."
"Not with you, with Lyceah! He knows you by now isangoma. Your patients is lore, she must have been very rude for you to lose your temper." Arta couldn't even imagine it.
"I may have overreacted..."
"Not possible, she needs a hard hand sometimes. Something my father seems to forget. She reminds him of mother and she uses it to get away with blue murder." He pales at the slip of tongue. "In a manner of speaking of course."
"Of course." Adrian laughs tightening the threads of the weave. Even assisting him Arta still couldn't figure out how he made the metal threads, how they were so pliable yet strong and only Adrian could cut he thread. Arta had tried everything in his power to destroy his own cloak. Mainly to see what would happen... But even an axe didn't tear the fabric... very impressive.
"If I may be so bold as to ask isangoma a personal question?"
"Arta please we're friends there is no need for formality when it's just us." Adrian spoke across the weave concentrating on his work.
"Your hand print. Does is mean what I think it means?"
"I don't know Arta. What do you think it means?" Ever the mysterious one...
"That you've bound someone to you?"
"I haven't bound anyone to me Arta, it doesn't work that way."
"But Mr. Jack's..."
"Let's just say... I protect him." Adrian nodded urging Arta back to work
"With your soul?"Arta asked incredulously
"If need be." He simply said.
"Because he's your lover?"
Adrian gave Arta an amused smirk, it made him uncomfortable but he rallied nonetheless. "Come now isangoma its no secret is it?"
"Well no... but it's not because he's my... lover." Adrian blushed it was the first time Arta had never seen their Isangoma blush before!
"Because he's my Jack." Adrian shrugged.
"And that's not the same thing?" Arta pressed on.
"He was my Jack long before he was my lover Arta. He'll always be my Jack long after."
"Blasphemy!" The yell startled both men disturbing their weave. Jack stomped through the atelier to their loom. He grabbed Adrian's surprised shoulder and spun him around on his stool staring hard into his eyes. "You get that?"
Adrian's stared back wide-eyed he gulped nodding very slowly.
"... What does he get?" Arta whispered after some silent staring.
"That he hurts me, hurts me with those words."
"I'm sorry..." Adrian breathed, eyes full of sorrow.
"Adrian I don't know why I have to keep telling you this... I'm not the Jack you dreamed up of me. I'm not something to be taken care of at all costs... I'm not worth more than you are!" Jack sank to his knees by Adrian's feet holding his hands. "There is no you and me anymore... there is us and it's been that way from the moment you freed me and you know it."
Arta listened enraptured, freed? Had Mr. Jack been held against his will?
"I embrace it Adrian. I don't care about the how's or the why's I never have. I thought you'd understand by now after all this time, how much I love you."
Adrian slipped of the stool onto Jack's kneeled legs. Leaning their forehead together.
"I'm sorry mo Ghrà, old habits die hard I guess."
There was a quiet 'Aaaaw' from Arta beside them, breaking the moment and putting smiles on everyone's face. Adrian gave Jack on last squeeze and returned to his loom. Arta watched Jack stand up kiss Adrian's head and walk out of the atelier. Jack was right they are equally matched. Arta too turned back to their work and they managed to complete the piece of cloth for the cloaks on order.
It was a good days work.
Then the world shook.
"Arta you can't come back until I send for you understand." Adrian gripped his arms painfully. Arta just kept staring at the sky...
"Yes, yes of course isangsoma." Arta mumbled trying to focus on the man gripping him.
"Good now go!" Adrian pushed him through the gate and closed it behind him.
There was a crack in the sky.
Jack came running across the yard. "I've sent out all the messages no one will come until we tell them to."
"Good. We should get inside before he cuts anymore ropes."
"What's happening Adrian?"
"He's searching for us. We need to get inside Jack now!"
He grabbed Jacks hand and pulled him into the cabin. Right on time it seemed for the yard vanished behind them. Adrian stared at the empty grass meadow where the distillery had been before closing the French windows clocking them firmly.
"What's he doing?" Jack asked pacing the floor.
"Cutting the ropes. He's cutting down our spider wed to find the it's center; where we are."
"How is he even doing that?"
"I'm not sure. But it won't take him long not at the rate he's going. He must have found a way I haven't though of..." Adrian chewed the inside of his cheek leaning against the wall noticing all the clocks above the conservatory door were flashing. He's cutting them all.
"Where's Inu?" Jack panic spinning around looking for his dog.
"He ran inside first thing he's fine J-" The conservatory rattled, the glass panes cracking in their place the sky darkened a storm raged. Though there was no rain nor wind nor sleet outside.
Adrian quickly took Jacks hand and led him down the hallway, through the kitchen, across the living room, stopping in front of the large bookcases. Still holding Jacks hand he tugged at the middle bookcase, which smoothly swung open revealing a staircase behind it.
"We have a secret passage?"
"I've always wanted a secret passage." Adrian grinned as the world around them trembled. "When I created the place I couldn't resist." He tugged Jack along but Jack pulled back whipping his head around searching the room.
"He's fine Jack. He's trained for this... trust me."
The staircase lead to a small octagonal room, the walls lined with red marble sheets every surface smooth and untouched. Yet the room glowed in a soft pulsing illumination.
"What is this?"
"This is the heart." Adrian explained closing the door behind them, where the lines smoothed into the wall sealing every crack. "The heart of the cabin where all the ropes meet and form a center."
"It's where you're the strongest isn't it?"
"Yes, I wasn't lying when I said he can't get in without my permission. But I'm going to have to let him soon. If I don't we're stuck here."
Jack hands started shaking looking around the room. "Locked up?"
"No we can leave here, I can blitz you to anywhere you want."
Jack spun around facing him."...Without you?"
Adrian didn't reply he just stared at Jack, when he did speak it was slow and calm. "I can't leave Jack. You were right about that. This place isn't just the crux of ropes, it isn't just a small place in space. It's me." He took a deep breath before continuing. "You knew that didn't you? That's why you refused to go before. This is my home. If he destroys this place he destroys me. I am my straw and the bathwater all at once remember?"
"You know I don't really understand any of that."
"I know. I can't really explain it any other way. But for you Jack there is a way out. I can send you anywhere you want. You could live with Gill's people, Arta's family, in Migal's mountains or even Zart's village. Or anywhere else. I can do that."
"Zart's? Please I'd rather be one of Gill's husbands." Jack rolled his eyes.
"You could be if you wanted to. That's my point."
Jack's eyes narrowed pushing his shirt aside exposing the melted amulet. "What about this?"
"What about it?"
"I know what it means Adrian. I know you bound me to you and now you want to send me away? How does that work?" he raised his voice angrily.
"No, I never bound you to me Jack. I'd never do that to you, especially not after Cordon." Adrian's voice remained calm and even.
"I bound me to you."
"What's the difference?"
"Everything. I can send you away cause that would be in protection of you."
"Would he find me?" Jack asked tensely
"I can't say for sure. I don't think so but the fact he's found this place makes it an uncertainty. Maybe one day he will find you or he could never find you. I don't know."
"So you're giving me a choice... a choice to chance it?" Jack gritted his teeth.
"Yes I am."
"You just don't get it do you? You still don't understand?" He sighed slumping his shoulders. "It was never a choice. I'd never leave."
"I know." Adrian smiled stepping up to Jack. "But I had to give you the option."
The room vibrated echoing loud knocks on the walls. Adrian's face scrunched up in pain. "He's trying to get in. He's cut all the ropes and he's banging on the door."
"Are we ready?"
"I need to collect himself first." Adrian's stepped back holding out his arms as if in prayer. "Don't be frightened." He whispered. Jack's arm lifted pulled up by the tugging of his bracelet from the sands. It slipped off Jacks wrist and flew towards Adrian dematerializing before it fully reached him. Jack clutched his chest sinking to his knees as the metal of the amulet left his body following the same trajectory as the bracelet had, leaving a sore imprint behind. Adrian glowed yellow as he absorbed everything he'd distributed before. The red marble walls disintegrated leaving darkness and the floor behind.
Jack sat panting holding his chest as Inu licked his ears. Where..? Inu nudged Jack's arm lovingly before trotting over to Adrian rubbing up against his legs twirling between them... and disappearing...
Adrian lowered his arms, walked up to Jack and held him close.
"Even Inu?" Jack asks burying his head in Adrian's shoulder.
A slow clap echoed from behind them. "Aaaww! What a heart warming sight!" The two men slowly disengaged and turned to face the sardonic voice.
"Here I am thinking romance had died along Romeo and Juliette."
"Cordon." Adrian voice flat and emotionless a stark contrast to Cordon's light and sunny manner.
"Little Adi... my my my.... I'd never have thought of you, you know. Quite remarkable what you've accomplished here. I guess your mother was right after all! Such power!" Cordon held up his finger wagging it. "But you've been very naughty my dear nephew... You took something that didn't belong to you."
"I never belonged to you Cordon." Jack managed to say.
"Oh my dear pet." Cordon's light voice dropped a few degrees. "Of course you did!" he growled. Then his face cleared once again smiling brightly, his whimsical mood shifting instantly. "I took such good care of you. I've missed our little visits you know." His eyes traveling up and down Jacks body. "Oh how I missed them. Such fond memories..."
Jack stepped closed to Adrian grasping his hand. Adrian was... distracted."What's that noise?"
Cordon clapped his hands joyfully dancing around on the stop. "Oh you hear it? Oh how wonderful!" He thrilled producing a hence unnoticed cane from about his body. The cane had been mounted with a white pulsing orb. He held it up to his ear affectionately, listening tenderly. "A masterpiece don't you think?"
Jack's ears prickled, he turned his head to listened but there was no one there. Of course there was no one there... He could feel Adrian trembling where he stood, not in fear but anger. "What is?" Jack asked.
"Listen!" Cordon waved the cane around with a flourish and the sounds it contained wailed through the void. Agonizing screams, tortured cries, uncontrollable sobbing...
A chill ran down Jacks spine, the sound cut through him wrenching his heart. "Ohmygod." Adrian gasped tears running down his cheeks.
"Beautiful isn't it? I soothes my soul it truly does"
"Mark?" Adrian's voice trembling as the tears rolled down.
"Very good my dear nephew! How perfective! I found him a few months ago. I tried everything to strip his power away from him but nothing worked!" Cordon threw his arms up exasperatingly. "Even bleeding him dry didn't due the trick which it usually does..; so you know... next best thing!" he sang waving the orb around.
"You encased him?" Adrian stared at the cane willing it to be untrue.
"The ability is apparently connected to the soul itself. So if I control it, I control the power." The glint in his eyes grew black. "But what am I saying you knew this of course!"
Jack's ears prickled again, whispers...whispers in the void surrounding them. Whispers everywhere...
"Enough chitchat. It's time to go my pet." Cordon reached out his hand to Jack offering it to him.
"You can't take him Cordon." Adrian stepped forward.
"Who's going to stop me! You? It doesn't matter how powerful you are now little Adi, not anymore!" Cordon bellowed. "I've the strength of two sorcerers now!" He strode over to Adrian gripping his shirt and throwing him across the floor.
"I should have whipped you harder as a boy... better yet I should have fucked you!" His voice dark, hard and unrelenting as he held Adrian down and thrust the cane orb first into Adrian's belly. "Maybe I will yet, maybe I'll fuck your dead and lifeless body!" He screamed rising above Adrian's screams of pain. Trying everything he could to stop the crippling pain the globe was pulsing through him. He glowed bright as he lay withering on the floor. Fighting a losing battle as all his strength and every thing he'd worked so hard for seeped out of him. The orb extracted ever ounce of power it could find...
Jack ran towards them but a hand stopped him. The hand clasping his arm was ashen and cold. Terrified Jack turned to see a nice young man smiling down at him with a tabby cat perched on his shoulder... purring. He raised his ashen finger to his ashen lips.
Behind the young man with the tabby cat stood another young man and another and another and another.... All ashen faced as if stepping out of a black and white film reel.
The whispers traveled with them as they walked passed Jack. So... many... men ...
All beautiful handsome men, all...
Adrian's glow had diminished considerably, Cordon inhaled the power eagerly through the orb. He felt powerful! More powerful than he ever had before and it was exhilarating! Imagine the things he could do... the places he could go! The untouched worlds of the universe at his fingertips! All those pets just waiting... waiting for their master...
He could be a GOD!
A tap on his shoulder disturbed his thoughts but he ignored it he'll deal with the insolent Jack later... At the third tap Cordon spun around irate "WHAT!" he screamed spiting vile.
"Oh thank goodness." Adrian breathed lying drained on the floor. "I didn't have much time left."
Cordon stared at the faces surrounding him. They looked... familiar...
"What....?" He stepped back and for the first time in his entire life... a chill ran down his spine.
Whispers filled his ears drowning out all else.
You'll like it I promise. - I never said it wouldn't hurt - Your blood has such a beautiful colour my pet - Leave?... Oh my sweet no one leaves... no one ever leaves...- Don't you want to please me? Aren't you hungry? - You wanted it - Look what you made me do... you made me hurt you...- Cry, please cry I love it when you cry - Smile my pretty... smile for me...
"But that's - that's n-not possible" Cordon stammered staggering back.
Adrian slowly picked himself off the floor, his glow gradually returning.
"Cordon. It's all possible."
The mob of beautiful men swamped Cordon dragging him to the edge of the floor muffling his cries dropping the cane as they tore at him. Within a moment he was gone... they were all gone... only to leave behind a simple fading cry for help.
Cordon's cry for help. But there was one who could help him now...
Adrian's knees buckled and Jack scooped him up before he hit the floor.
"What the freak just happened!" Jack breathed rocking Adrian to him. Adrian slowly disengaged reaching for the discarded cane on the floor. He stood and pried the orb from wooden cane placing it on the floor. Jack watched him stamp down hard breaking the glass dispersing the white glow from within. The white glow rose forming the ashen image of Mark.
"I'm so sorry Mark I truly am." Adrian cried.
He was coming for me anyway and if it hadn't been me it would have been one of the others.
"I'm sorry it was you my friend."
I tried to warn him you know. He wouldn't listen.
Mark smiled and walked away into the void waving as he disappeared.
Adrian sank down to the floor again. Sitting opposite a very confused but patiently waiting Jack. They sat cross-legged facing each other until Adrian's tears dried and he could breath again without a hitch.
"Is Cordon gone?"
"Yes he is and I'm absolutely certain he'll never return again..." Adrian sighed taking ahold of Jacks hands between them.
"I don't underst-"
"I'm not the only one with an ability like mine. We're few and far between but are others... when you blitz for the first time it ripples through the bathwater."
"Like a disturbance in the force?"
Adrian's laughed loudly throwing his head back, rocking his body. It felt good to laugh. "Oh shit I've never actually thought of it like that! But it's exactly like that. I'm a Jedi! Ha!" When he'd calmed down from a laugh that was more a release than anything else Adrian continued. "The ripple or disturbance attracts the attention of others like me. We find the new Blitzer and kind of show him the ropes."
"So Mark was your tutor?"
"Yes. A true drifter, never settled anywhere always traveling. The bathwater is indeed like a force. We use it, we are apart of it and we safeguard it. But we're not the only ones..."
"All those men...-" Jacks eyes widen beginning to understand or at least comprehending as much as he could.
"Yes...all those men. Probably more... You see I can never harm another living being, I can never kill another person not that I'd even want to but if I did... " Adrian nodded toward the void. "That would happen to me."
"So you knew they'd come for him..."
"I hoped they'd arrive in time. But I wasn't sure... I've never seen it happen before. I could only hope. In any case you would have been free of him."
Jack understood. Jack understood that he would indeed have been freed of Cordon even if it had taken Adrian dying to buy the necessary time and Adrian would have giving his live freely. He let the thought sink is a minute. Trying to sort his feelings out while they sat here on the red marble floor surround by the void... the bathwater.
"So what happens now?"
"Anything." Adrian shrugged grinning.
"Yes. We can go anywhere we want. There are no restrictions anymore we're not in hiding or running or ... anything."
"What if I want to go back?"
"Of course we can, we could build up a life there. You could go back to teaching. Anything you want."
"No I mean home, our home. Not the juice box I was born in."
The void seeped away luscious green meadow of the valley fading into view. The distillery, atelier, conservatory and all the outer buildings constructed themselves around them. Brick by brick. Layer by layer. The cabin rebuilds itself and every single piece of furniture rematerialized. Adrian was restringing all the ropes anchoring them for good.
"Just the way it was?"
"Yes... just the way it was." Jack nodded "But could we add a water pool?"
"A water pool?" Adrian chuckled.
"Yes next to the yard behind the herb garden."
"I know the perfect one." Adrian smiled closing his eyes attaching a new rope.
When he reopened his eyes they stood in the yard, the same cobbled stoned yard it has always been. The same hills and mountains surrounded them and sunflowers filling a field next tot the new water pool.
They stood side-by-side arms around each other's waist and took a moment to absorb it all. Moments became hours and they stood there until the sun started to descend. Never again a timeless, sunless day for them.
"Yes mo Ghrà?"
Cordon woke up slowly and for a second there Cordon was relieved.... Relieved he woke up at all. He blinked taking in his surroundings feeling the sand under his fingers.... his relief soon faded...
Rolling white sands stretched across the vast expanse of the horizon. All around him nothing... nothing but the white unrelenting sands...
"NO!" Cordon scrambled up right "Oh nononono!." He spun around on his axis. No one, no sun, no wind, no rain... no one and nothing but him.
"NOOOOOOO!!!" he screamed a scream of mortal anguish running across the sands... running along an endless path... running.... running... forever running.
I hope you enjoyed the conclusion of White Sands. Let me know what you think if you have comments, suggestions and/or constructive criticism, comment below or email me. It makes writing here worth while.
I'v read through this chapter many times but if I've missed any mistakes I apologize. I try to catch em all!
This is a piece of fiction. My piece of fiction which may not be borrowed, altered, taken or copied without my explicit permission. These stories are registered under my name.