“Are you too wired to get some rest, Will?”
Jessica’s question jolted Williric out of his thoughts.
“I guess so.” Will smiled. “I’ll probably regret not taking a nap later.”
“Probably.” Jessica grinned back. “We’ve still got a couple hours to go. We’re…somewhere over the Amazon jungle about now.” Jessica peered out the airplane window, as if she would be able to recognize landmarks from over 30,000 feet in the air.
“Well, if you’re not going to rest, let’s go over what we know again,” she said.
Will was so grateful for his only cousin’s help. Jessica’s love for a good mystery and enthusiasm helped him continue the search for his origins, no matter how many dead ends they encountered.
“I’ve been going over it in my head anyway, so I might as well say it out loud.” Will agreed, grabbing an old leather bag from under his seat.
“Alright, let’s start with when your dad found you in the jungles of the Amazon.” Jessica deepened her voice for dramatic effect.
“Right. Dad was on a tour in South America when a wounded man stumbled out of the jungle. He was holding me and carrying this leather bag. Before dying, he put the two stone necklaces around my neck.”
Will and Jessica pulled their identical necklaces out to compare. According to the story, they used to be ruby red, with an emerald green center. But when Will first found them in the bag, they were black. After he touched them, they turned emerald green. The stone he gifted Jessica also changed. The green faded to only the middle of the stone while the edges faded back to the original black.
“When we were younger, I thought these were mood rocks.” Jessica chuckled. “But they only turn the one color, no matter who touches them.”
Will nodded, again baffled by these strange stones. They were about a thumb’s length, thin, smooth and oblong. The emerald color glowed softly, but you could really only tell when you were in a dark space.
“And the only word the stranger said before taking his last breath was ‘Williric.'” Jessica breathed his name like she was dying. “Which is why Uncle Brock decided to make that your official name.”
Will rolled his eyes. Sometimes having a professional actress as your cousin added so much drama.
The question of his origins had always stayed tucked away in the back of his mind; but after the death of his adopted parents it changed from a slight tickle into a growing need to know.
Ever-curious Jessica had been the one to find a hidden compartment in the old leather bag that held a small notebook. The cousins had spent the last two years attempting to decipher the codes and diagrams found there. Now they were on their way to Peru, retracing Brock’s original trip.
Will opened the notebook until he was looking at the drawing of an island. This page in particular they had studied the most. No matches had been found on any maps they looked at. But then again, most of the Amazon was uncharted.
Jessica tapped the image. “Our hypothesis: the stranger who carried you was from this island. We find the island, we find some answers.”
Maybe where I came from, Will added to himself.
“I still think it could be a drawing of a territory, not necessarily an island,” Jessica mused, taking the notebook from Will.
“There’s a cove, right there.” Will pointed out.
“Sure. So at least part of this area touches water. But that doesn’t necessarily mean all of it does.” Jessica shook her head.
As they started bickering about this old point again, a bad spot of turbulence ended their argument. Will looked around at their fellow passengers. Most were watching a movie or reading something. A few were trying to sleep.
“Will?” Jessica pointed out her window. “Have you ever seen something like this?”
Will peered out into a thick, green fog surrounding their plane.
“Is that lightning?” Jessica asked worriedly as they saw bright crackling in the strange fog.
“Maybe I should put this away.” Will returned the notebook into their waterproof bag.
Before he could settle it back under his seat, the plane gave a terrific shudder, then took a sharp dive.
Screams filled the air as everyone realized what was happening.
“Will!” Jessica clenched his hand on top of their shared armrest.
Before they made impact, the plane started to level off.
The wailing subsided as their speed slowed.
“Are we ok?” Jessica asked through clenched teeth.
Will dared to glance out the window, only to watch them crash into turbulent waves that ripped the plane in two.
Will groaned as he slowly sat up straight. What remained of the plane was quickly filling with icy water.
“You okay?” Will struggled to bring his cousin into focus.
Jessica was slumped over, blood trickling down her face.
“Jess! Jessica, wake up!” Will scrambled to unbuckle their seat belts.
He worked with blinding speed to throw their life jackets on while the plane sank faster. The water nearly reached their necks when Will secured his bag and struggled them both out of the wreck and to the surface.
Will couldn’t see or hear anything over the raging storm. Not even his own screams for help. He pulled the still unresponsive Jessica close, trying to shield her from the rough waves.
It seemed an eternity to Will, floating in the cold storm, before he caught sight of something to their right during a flash of lightning.
Williric attached their life vests together using his belt, then tiredly started swimming.
Warm sunlight greeted Will as he opened his tired eyes.
“Ouch…!” he groaned, body stiff from sleeping on a stone cave floor.
Will glanced around in confusion. He honestly didn’t remember how they got here. Only being exhausted and cold from swimming. He took the few steps to the cave entrance and observed the large expanse of water. The ocean’s edge now camly lapping at the sand couldn’t be more than ten yards away.
Will could see nothing but rocks and water to his left. On his right, a thin sandy beach met with a grassy bluff.
He didn’t see any, but the call of birds joined the ocean’s smell on a light breeze. At least they weren’t the only life here. Wherever here was.
“Will?” Jessica’s sleepy voice cut through his musings.
“Jess?” Will ran back to her side. “Are you all right?”
“I think so. My head just hurts a bit.” Jessica gingerly touched the cut that had finally stopped bleeding.
“It doesn’t look too bad.” Will inspected it closer. “But it’s been a few years since I brushed up on my first aid,” he quipped.
“Where are we?” Jessica slowly turned her head to observe the darker surrounding of the cave.
The narrow stone enclosure wasn’t inviting, but it was dry in here. The walls yawned into bitch blackness, suggesting deeper caverns.
“I don’t know,” Will said. “My GPS was in my suitcase.”
“Hey, you managed to save the bag.” Jessica peered in. “And it looks like the notebook survived!” She held it up triumphantly.
“It can’t help us much at the moment,” Will reminded her. “We should probably search for any other survivors and then try to figure out where we are.”
“Agreed.” Jessica sobered.
After scouring the nearby beach proved fruitless, they decided turning their attention to the problem of provisions was prudent.
“I’ll search the cave.” Will volunteered. “There might be some fresh water further back.”
“And I’ll see if there’s anything edible on the bluff.” Jessica agreed.
After making sure Jessica was finding decent foot and handholds for her climb, Will headed back to the cave. He rummaged through his bag until he pulled a small penlight out. The narrow beam was weak, but still miraculously worked.
Just beyond the sunlight streaming in from the entrance, Will discovered a small river. He smiled as the fresh liquid refreshed his parched throat. At least they had water. He shone the beam of light in a wide arc, soon revealing a small path beyond the river.
“Will!” Jessica came streaking into the cave.
Not seeing his crouching form, she crashed into her cousin, sending them both flying. Jessica scrambled to her feet, dragging Will further into the darkness.
“I’m sorry,” she whispered. “But someone is coming after me!”
“What?” Will followed, the dropped penlight forgotten.
“Some strange guy in brown leather armor-type-stuff surprised me when I was checking out a grove of nearby trees. He saw my necklace, then pointed some long stick at me. He had a sword, and maybe a gun, so I got scared and ran here.” Jessica rushed her story as they stumbled along the pitch-black corridor.
“Maybe he could have helped us!” Will nearly turned back.
“I’m sorry, I panicked!” Jessica lamented.
“No, I probably would have done the same, had a stick wielding, sword carrying, maybe gun toting stranger appeared in front of me,” Will said, only half teasing.
Jessica huffed into the inky blackness. She took a step forward, and the wall they had been feeling their way along disappeared.
“Careful,” she called. “I think we might have entered a large chamber.”
Curious, she carefully felt her way forward.
“Jess?” Will called. “Don’t get too far away from me.”
“Shh!” Jessica whispered. “I think I heard someone coming down the passage behind us!”
Will pressed himself against the smooth stone; he held his breath, but heard nothing.
“Where are you?” he cautiously called. “We should stay together. Oh, there you are. I see you.”
They widened their eyes at each other.
“Wait, how can you see me?” Jessica waved her hand. “A minute ago, we couldn’t see a thing. Now there’s a greenish tint to the air.” She squinted her eyes at him. “It’s coming from behind you!”
Will glanced at the wall he was still pressed against. Emerald green light was emanating from where he touched.
“What in the world?” He leapt away.
There was now enough light in the room to make out a stone staircase leading to a ledge, about six meters high.
Jessica studied the walls as Will made his way toward the stairs.
A tall, muscular man carrying a long stick entered the cave. the sword by his side was sheathed, but that didn’t make him look any less dangerous. He looked around the room with wide eyes, eventually landing on the emerald green stone around Will’s neck.
“Jess, be careful!” Will scrambled up the steps, motioning for Jessica to join him.
Jessica hesitated, since the stranger was now closer to the ledge than she was. She carefully started edging her way along the wall, past the awestruck stranger.
Will search for anything to defend themselves with. Catching sight of an old suit of armor, Will grabbed the first thing he could lay his hands on: a sword. Not stopping to think about the fact that he had no weapons training whatsoever, Will charged down the steps, sword held in front of him.
“Who are you?” Will demanded of the still dumbstruck stranger.
“Will, the sword is glowing!” Jessica pointed, wide-eyed.
Giving a small shriek he was immediately embarrassed about, Will threw the sword away from him and jerked back. Unfortunately, he only remembered he was on slippery steps when he tripped and fell right over the edge.
“Will!” Jessica screamed.
The last thing Williric remembered before blacking out was the stranger leaping forward and crying out, “Your Highness!”
“Are you sure he will be alright?” Jessica asked for the tenth time. She paced back and forth in front of Will. They had come out into the bright sunshine to treat his wound.
“Quite sure,” Selwyn, their pursuer-turned-protector patiently restated.
“It’s just a little bump on the head,” Will reassured Jessica. “I’m fine now, thanks to…Selwyn, was it?”
“I was only doing my job, my Prince.” Selwyn bowed.
Jessica bit back a laugh as Will gawked at him. “Excuse me? Sorry, but I think you have us confused with…someone else.”
Selwyn squinted at Will. “I don’t think that is possible. Your name is Williric, is it not? The stone around your neck…and the cave…You don’t know anything?”
The cousins looked at him with confusion. Will reflexively grabbed the emerald green rock.
“Wait, how did you know his full name was Williric?” Jessica asked.
Instead of answering Jessica, Selwyn asked Will a question. “Who raised you?”
“My parents,” Will said shortly.
“Where did you get that bag?” Selwyn pointed to the leather bag that had managed to survive this whole adventure so far.
“Why do you want to know?” Will asked suspiciously.
“May I look at it?”
Will slowly handed it over. Selwyn’s fingers traced the faded crest worked into the bag’s top flap.
“If you don’t know, then that means…” Selwyn’s eyes momentarily filled with tears. “You know nothing of your origins?” He faced Will again.
Will perked up. “You know something about my past?”
“Um, guys?” Jessica pointed towards the nearby beach.
Two dozen well armed men were pouring out of small boats onto the sand.
Selwyn looked worried. “We have to go. There is much you need to know, your Highness; but for now, hide the stones. Both of you!”
Selwyn stuffed Will’s emerald green necklace under his shirt, then started dragging them both towards the nearby forest.
“Would you stop calling me that?” Will asked uneasily. “I’m no prince. I wouldn’t even know how to act like royalty.”
“One does not act royal.” Selwyn frowned.
“Guys, not the time!” Jessica glanced back at their pursuers.
“You’re right.” Selwyn shook off everything but his responsibility. “Once you’re safe, I can tell you everything.”
The three figures disappeared into the trees.
There are no reviews yet. Be the first one to write one.