Children of fate, p.12
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       Children Of Fate, p.12

           Daniel Veri
 
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  “At least you’ll always remember your first shave,” Roy said.

  Alicia chuckled, “That’s not all that got singed off your face. Look closer.”

  Joel swung his head in circles around the mirror piece, “AAAHHHH! My eyebrows, I look like a mannequin”

  Roy and Alicia laughed.

  “We can’t wait for you to nod off,” Roy said waving a permanent marker out in front of him.

  Joel sighed, “Even the nerd’s scoring off me.”

  “Ah, cheer up not everyone can say they brought down a warehouse and destroyed a mountain in two consecutive days,” Alicia said.

  A child like smile stretched across Joel’s face in satisfaction.

  ”So Joel,” Richard said. “How did you know to trust me back in the trailer?”

  “The tip of your little finger, it’s crushed.”

  Richard looked at him curiously.

  “I had a dream, no sorry a vision of some person holding a similar disk standing in a field of dinosaurs with the same crushed fingernail.”

  “What?” Richard shot up on to his feet. “You have used the disk?”

  Joel simply nodded like it was no big deal. “We all had experiences that night”

  Richard looked at each of the students then back to Joel, “You saw the creator of the disk?”

  Nah, I just saw he’s hands. I was looking out through his eyes.”

  “Nadia has used it twice,” Tony cut in with concern.

  “No. you shoul…”

  Nadia held up a hand and stopped Richard, “I had no choice and I know how it can consume us. I fell into like a waking dream. I saw an Aztec man repeatedly using it. At first it showed him a calendar, how time can be divided up into sections. Then it slowly started to drive him mad, vision that were beyond his comprehension. He must have seen a doctor performing surgery which he got someone to etch on to a stone. But in his state of madness he mistook it for butchery, sacrifice by mutilation.” Nadia massaged her temples once again. “And now I’ve got one hell of a headache.”

  Richard relaxed and returned to his sitting position by the object; still being careful not to touch it. “We’re not the first civilized creatures to have lived on this planet.” Richard shook his head, “how ignorant are people to think we were. The Earth is five billion years old and man about a hundred thousand. There are a lot of years to fill in the gaps. The story that was passed down to me goes something like this. There was an ancient intellectually advanced civilization that also lived at one with the Earth and watched over the animals that dwelled here. They came upon our…” Richard paused then corrected, “This planet when their world was threatened by some sort of malevolence.”

  “Aliens, I knew it,” Joel said excitedly.

  “It is believed that their own world was attacked by another race wishing to consume their knowledge and their technology, knowledge so incredible powerful that they were adopted the name The Great Race. Being a peaceful and non warring race they fled to avoid being exterminated. And to avoid this one incredibly powerful technology they possessed fall into the hands of their attackers which would leave this tremendous evil virtually unstoppable. Only a few hundred of them escaped. A hand full survived the journey and arrived here on this planet. The Great Race established a colony here. For a while they lived in peace, expanding, raising their young and watching over the animals that dwelled here. But one day they were found by their hunters.”

  “Found?” Roy gasped.

  Richard nodded. “They were all wiped out excepted for one. He ran and ran, which took him all over the planet and you could say he started a one man resistance group. He tried to muster the strength to fight back but was clearly outnumbered and had no experience in war. So he made several disks in which he placed stored telepathic thoughts from his mind. Thoughts that would help the next civilization to achieve the knowledge and advancement to one day stand up to the evil that has infected the galaxy.”

  “Sort of a Pandora’s box,” Alicia asked.

  Richard smiled, “exactly like Pandora’s box, fire the first gift to man. The evil leader scared that the next civilization could posses the power and knowledge to bring him down sent out his followers to destroy the disks. Our good friend hid them well at every corner of the planet. Mr. Evil found none until he caught up with Mr. Good trying to hide the last disk that would finally posses the knowledge that they desperately wanted to know and also hold the power to destroy them all. They fought. Mr. Evil went to smash the disk as Mr. Good held it tight in his left hand. The blow crushed his little finger. It is now the, mark we make to identify and remind ourselves that we are the Protectors of the disks.”

  “EEwww, you did that to yourself,” cried Alicia in disgust.

  Richard ignored Alicia and continued, “Mr. Good finally hid the last disk and etched clues to the location of the disks on flat pebbles written in their ancient language.”

  Roy jumped in, “You mean the clue we got with all the symbols was their ancient text.”

  Richard nodded. “In eighty BC someone found a disk that showed him visions of where all the etched pebbles were. He set out and collected them all, brought them back to his home country, Greece. Others with bad intent found out about the pebbles and the disks. He fled on a boat where he was attacked by Carthigans who did not know of the precious treasure he carried and the boat sunk. In the thirties a strange disk was found off the coast of Crete by divers as well as hundreds of pebbles with strange hieroglyphics on them. The majority of the world doesn’t know them for what they really are, apart from the protectors and the men who have been infected by the same evil that runs in the veins of the ones that exist by consuming and destroying worlds.

  “AAHH BULLSHIT!” Tony shot out.

  “Thank you Tony for your one worded review of my story but I assure you it is not.”

  “You mean that Mr. Evil is still alive today coaxing people into evil doings.”

  “In body no, but both of their influences are coded in all of us. Always fighting, always at war, good and evil.”

  Roy stepped closer to the object on the floor. “How many other disks have been found?”

  “Not many. You see you can’t reveal their hiding spots unless we have the appropriate technology to build whatever stored thought it holds.”

  “My mp4,” Alicia said. “I pressed the mp4 on the wall by accident and it opened.”

  “Ok! There you go. Also one other was found by accident in Poland. I don’t know what he was carrying to reveal the hiding spot. But in the mid thirty’s he stumbled into a cave where he found the disk. He boasted and raved about it. Word got around his village and then to the ears of a group obsessed with the occult; who were very curious about what destructive powers the disk may hold. They told their leader with the promise of a weapon that could help him rule the world. The leader invaded Poland shortly afterwards in 1939.”

  The group looked at each other in shock.

  “No way,” Joel said.

  “Yes way. Some German scientists used the disk but a group of protectors smuggled the disk out and into America.” Richard lowered his head and shook it slowly, “but they also saw the evil in it and used their new technology not to help but built two almighty bombs. The one scientist left behind in Germany went onto to develop rocket technology.”

  “Wow, any others,” asked Joel.

  “Egypt,” Richard said then chuckled. “There are hieroglyphics that show a picture of a helicopter, a submarine and a plane all one block of rock and nobody asked any questions. The Egyptians didn’t know what they were but drew what they saw. And it goes on, the Greeks, the Chinese, Romans and the English.”

  Roy cut in, “Sorry but they all seem to have the same theme. They all collapsed on themselves.”

  Richard smiled a sad smile, “yes that’s why we have to turn this one off.”

  Tony shot onto his feet, “Off! No we can’t!”

  Richard looked careful at Tony, “And why no
t Tony?”

  “I know what my vision was about but it was incomplete. I need to use it again.”

  Richard did not answer but stared at Tony for what seemed like an eternity telling them all without words about how easily the disk can drive anyone into greed. He then slowly turned his attention to Roy. “Roy what did you see?”

  Roy took out his drawing, thrust it at Richard and shrugged his shoulders.

  “The disk works by assessing the person’s brainwave as he touches it. Then it speaks to their subconscious, planting a hint to help them on what they desire most not a complete story or fact. We…” Richard stopped and then continued. “You now have to work out the rest for yourselves. Other hints will come to you in time to guide you along.”

  The others did not respond but thought about what they held permanently in their minds.

  “Alicia, how about you?”

  Alicia dug out her drawing and gave it to Richard. He studied it for a while then handed it back with no change of expression at all. “My colleague of mine will be here shortly with the key. The key by the way was found in California, embedded in a geode.” Richard stood rising to his full height and berth then changed his expression as he looked straight at Tony, “I will turn it off.”

  Tony mumbled quietly that Nadia herd as, “but it will be too late.” He then sat down dejected.

  Richard wrapped the disk up in the handkerchief then again in an old piece of tablecloth and tucked it into his jacket pocket.

  “What does my picture mean?” Alicia asked. “Is this going to happen if Mauritius Cushly gets hold of the disk or is it because of us?”

  Richard shrugged, “You guys maybe, Mauritius definitely.”

  Silence slowly accompanied them all as they sat waiting. Fifteen minutes on and a sound of knocking followed by footsteps awoke them. They all raised their heads and watched Richard glide to the window, wipe his hand across the yellow dust stained glass and peer out. Richard then made his way over to the stairs landing and motioned for the others to be silent with a finger pressed to his lips.

  The noise below became louder and clearer as the unknown person reached the first level. They all continued to watch Richard as he crouch by the stairs. The tense mood was released as Richard rose casually and waited to greet the shadowy figure dressed in a grey hoody as it came up the stairs. Richard turned his back on the stranger to face the others to tell them it’s ok. But his expression of relief contorted into a grimace of intense pain. His body shuddered then tipped over onto the floor like a felled hundred year old Redgum.

  The shadow man came into clear view, one arm extended holding a Taser the other removed his hood.

  “DAVE!” Alicia cried.

  “Stay back,” he ordered.

  Tony rose and ignored Dave’s demands. An anger of hatred and fear boiled in the pit of his soul, “too bad that’s a one shot Taser.”

  Tony with one arm behind his back dragged his wooden chair across the wooden floor boards as he slowly approached Dave. The back chilling grinding shriek the wood had on wood acted as a demonic back track to the bulky figure with burning eyes slowly shuffling with one inevitable intent.

  Dave drowned in panic and desperately called down the steps for help.

  The grinding stopped.

  The natural coloured chair rose and then came down under the full strength of Tony’s two handed grip across Dave’s chest. The chair crumbled and Dave was lifted off the ground and disappeared down the stairwell. Just as Dave vanished down the stairs three others charged up waving Tasers and shouting for the kids to get back. Before the team could assess their odds of escape three turned to six.

  The group were surrounded and they huddled together by the window.

  Silence ruled for a moment before a slow tap, step and shuffle was repeated over and over from down below.

  Mauritius pulled himself up onto the last step and awkwardly moved up to Richard on the floor. “The truth is I hate kids,” he said then found what he wanted in Richards’s jacket. He unwrapped it and held it up to the dull light that clawed its way in.

  “That’s ok they hate you and your stupid accent right back,” Joel sneered.

  The largest thug of the lot stepped forward and pointed a crooked finger a Tony, “YOU! Did you find your bird?” he said with a sarcastic smile.

  “Yeah I did. I got it right here.” Tony pulled out an extended middle finger from his pocket and aimed it at the thug.

  The thug huffed and one of the others sniggered.

  Curiosity got the better of Roy and he had to asked, “How did you find us?”

  “My friend Dave…” Mauritius said as he looked over his shoulder, paused, turned the other way and pointed down the flight of stairs, “my friend Dave planted a listening device on Richard as they grappled through the car window. Richard’s phone call to his accomplice gave away his position. Tit-for-tat, you bug me I bug you.”

  Richard came to and painfully pulled himself into a sitting position. “You found bug?”

  The kids all said together, “even we saw you plant it.”

  “My time is limited,” Mauritius said and poked his cane back into the floor. “Here is where I beg you goodbye.” He dropped a short sharp bow then left with two assistants.

  The other four remained.

  “I never knew why I liked the band Fire and Ice until now,” one said chuckling like a hyena and then he pulled out a bright red canister of lighter fluid. “Must be because of their cool name.”

  Chapter 25

  The cord bit into their wrists the more they struggled. The stinging cold shelf they were tied to sliced a streak of ice down their backs and the swirling mist numbed their cheeks. The walk in freezer was three meters by two, stacked with food and the door closed.

  Joel shivered as he spoke, “at least they left the light on.”

  “Not now Joel,” Tony grunted, struggling with his binds. “WAKE UP!” he yelled and kicked at Richard who lay on the floor with his hands tied to his feet behind his back.

  “Not now, not now,” Joel sneered. “Now is all we got because we’re going to die in here. Here’s a team name for Roy, how about The Ice Blocks, or better yet Roy Shivers and the Hypothermia’s. Unlike your loser self Tony, I got a life out there and it’s about to be taken away from me. I got my sporting career, girls I haven’t kissed. What have you got, your big mucho bully swagger? Beating up kids to make you feel like a hero?”

  Alicia jumped in, “Back off Joel. How can anyone take you seriously, you don’t even have any eyebrows.”

  Then Roy, “Alicia please don’t do your condescending thing.”

  “You did not just say that to me. You and misses mute over there have done nothing for this game.”

  Tony lunged forward against his tied hands, the shelf rattled and a box of frozen fish fell from the top and spilled over the floor. “Call her that again and I don’t care if you are a girl, I will hurt you.”

  “Please, please,” Roy begged. “We can’t do this, we’re wasting oxygen and we need to do this together if we are going to get out alive.”

  The group quieted down but that only reinforced their desperate situation, they could hear the crackling and creaking of the burning wood around them.

  “RICHARD!” Alicia yelled. “Some hero you turned out to be.”

  “It’s not over till the last breath leaves your mouth,” he mumbled then rolled onto his knees.

  “Cut that sergeant mucho talk and get us out of here,” Alicia shot back.

  Richard steadied himself, took a few deep breaths and studied their situation.

  Nadia bounced on her knees, her face contorted in pain but it did not stop her.

  Richard closed his eyes, “give me a minute. What's the scenario?”

  Joel obliged, “tied, building burning down around us while we’re in here making life sized ice sculptures of ourselves.”

  “Good.”

  The others looked at Richard in disbelief.

/>   He elaborated, “Good, in the fact that the fire will short-out the wiring and shut down the refrigeration unit. We won’t freeze to death, the burning building, a different story.”

  Alicia began to cry, “It’s hopeless. We’re going to die.”

  “Alicia, Alicia look at me,” Joel said with surprising confidence and strength. “I promise you we are not just going to get out of here but we will get the disk back and then win this stupid race.”

  To her surprise Alicia believed him and slowed her tears. “My painting, it depicts what will happen if Mr. Cushly uses the disk doesn’t it?”

  Richard thought for a happy answer, found none but answered with a sad nod. Nadia suddenly stepped away from the shelving and brought her free hands out in front of her and smiled, “I’m free.”

  The momentary image of hope flashed to black and the constant vibrating hum ceased.

  “Powers out,” Roy’s voice echoed from the blackness.

  There’s was ruffle of cloth then a small pale blue glow emanated from Richard’s hand. The light drew them all in like moths. Under the guidance of the meager light Nadia used her trembling numb fingers to untie Richard and Tony. They in turn untied the others.

  Richard and Tony threw their body’s against the door, but it only shuddered. The door stayed closed, solid and firm.

  “They’ve propped the handle with something,” Richard said.

  “Wait, wait,” Roy said. “I got it. Fire and ice equals crack.” Roy grabbed the cover of the refrigeration unit on the roof, “help me get this off.”

  With the help of Richard they not so delicately ripped the cover off exposing the copper piping, the fan and a black bulbous canister.

  Roy pointed to the black container. “Now that holds the Freon. Rip off the rubber seal around the door.”

  Tony obliged and peeled the white rubber trim off the inside of the door frame.

  Roy carefully bent a cooper pipe towards the door and then attached a rubber tube the rest of the way. He aimed the tube at one of the chrome hinges. The escaping Freon shaded the hinge white and the Freon gas stunk up the inside of the fridge.

  “Now we wait.”

  They waited and waited

  To their luck a blob of melted plastic dripped off the fluorescent light cover above and splat straight onto the hinge. The sudden change in temperature shattered the metal and it gave up all its support and clanked to the floor.

 
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