Categories > Original > Fantasy > Tradewinds 04 - "Tranz-D"

Tradewinds 04 - "Tranz-D"

by shadesmaclean 0 reviews

Wherein our castaway crew finally leave the Isle of Paradise. Just not the way they expected. Once some doors are opened…

Category: Fantasy - Rating: R - Genres: Fantasy,Sci-fi - Warnings: [V] - Published: 2008-10-09 - Updated: 2008-10-09 - 1186 words - Complete

Through the shadows of early morning, three figures sprinted among the trees.

In the lead, as always, was a black-and-white panther. Holding his own in second was the cat’s human companion, followed by a smaller figure close behind. Moments later, their interwoven shadows emerged from the forest with them as they raced across the clearing, making right for the pond.

Then it was into the water, splashing out into the middle and scaring away all the fish.

“Hey Justin!” Max laughed as he surfaced near the ribbon of waterfall, shaking water out of the shaggy mane he had accumulated over the years, customarily bound by his headband, “You’re getting faster! You were really keeping up with me for a while!”

As opposed to Max having to hold back so that his friend wouldn’t get left behind near the end. That silvery laugh, the like of which Justin had never heard before. Of course, it had been years since Justin Black had heard a laugh what wasn’t bitter or jaded or cruel and mocking. And Max’s was infectious; he found it made him want to laugh like that, too.

“Damn straight!” Justin replied. Over two months in Paradise had done him a world of good. Though Max’s training left him exhausted by nightfall most days, somehow when he woke up each day he felt more energy and vigor than he had in years. More healthy and alive. A hell of a way to start your day, a good reason wake up in the morning for a change.

After years of living underground, he was surprised while swimming the other morning to discover that he now had a tan.

Max had been training his ass off since he first agreed to the training, but he could tell his friend had slowed down his own routine to give him a chance to catch up. When they reached the water, he still ran to his waist and dove in while Max always took a long flying leap from the water’s edge— in moments like that, he could see how far he still had to go. He still couldn’t quite get over his new friend’s sheer strength. It was a raw, animal strength, forged from training in the wild all these years; just another creature of the jungle. Justin had seen people with bigger muscles, but he doubted most of them were actually stronger than Max. In spite of Justin’s being smaller and lighter than him, Max was also somehow faster, too, especially for such a big guy.

The only area in which Justin surpassed him in that department was that he was quicker on the draw.

“One of these days…” Justin promised himself, wondering if he was really considering competing with an athlete of Max’s caliber. Those words also made him think of their as-yet unfinished raft, the other thing he had vowed to do one of these days.

The other morning, he had had a dream about just jumping into the Ocean and swimming away from the Isle of Paradise to a jumble of places and people he could remember virtually nothing about upon waking. There had even been music, but he couldn’t place the tune. Music had been a rarity in his life, in the Triangle State in particular. I must be going crazy here… he had thought.

Though he kept his strange dream to himself, he and Max had talked of many things during his time here. It hadn’t taken him long to figure out that Max was overjoyed just to have someone to speak with after years of solitude. That, and Justin found, increasingly, that he loved to talk; his own years in the Triangle State had become more and more silent as the stakes got higher, and now that that sad, superimposed silence was broken, he refused to let it rear its ugly head ever again.

As far as he was concerned, escaping from the TSA was the best damn thing that ever happened to him. Speaking of escape, “Say Max?”


During Justin’s quiet reverie, Max had gone ashore and grabbed his gear. He now stood near the edge of the forest; it was his turn this morning to scare up some breakfast.

“I was thinkin’ about the raft last night.” So far, they had come to something of an impasse in their plan to build a seaworthy vessel with which to leave the island. “It might take some work, but maybe if we dragged my wreck over to yours, we could build something around that.”

“You mean to attach the Cyexian ship to the damaged part of yours?”

“Which damaged part? Max, you’re gonna have to be more— What the hell…

Max turned around at his friend’s abrupt change of tone to see both Justin and Bandit, who was still paddling around merrily a moment ago, drifting toward a growing whirlpool now forming in the middle of the pond. The second or two Justin had paused in confusion proved dangerous; even as he began to thrash away belatedly from the mysterious vortex, it was becoming increasingly obvious he was already trapped in its current. Bandit, having been closer to it even as it formed, was faring no better though he paddled mightily.

Both were slowly losing their battle against the pull.

“Max! Help!

Once again, Max’s life was about to take another dramatic change of course, in ways he could never have foreseen, and once again Max rushed off to meet his destiny head-on. If he had not made his move when he did, he may have passed out of this tale entirely, for what would happen to them below would prove to be far more interesting than anything that would take place on the Isle of Paradise any time soon.

Without hesitation, Max finished throwing on his pack absently, for he still had it in hand— taking with him the very tools with which he would enter the next phase of his life— and charged out into the water. Later, he would wonder what the hell he had been thinking, but for now he splashed after Justin with all his might. For no other reason than that he was closer than Bandit.

Justin hardly seemed to notice, struggling against the very boots his friend had suggested wearing in the water to enhance his training and were now dragging him down, as Max caught up with him and started hauling against the pull of the whirlpool. It was a noble idea, but of no avail. Max instead found himself twirled about, replacing his friend as the one closer to the vortex.

Max was a strong swimmer, but the pull of the whirlpool was stronger.

The last thing he remembered over his and Justin’s frantic cries, was seeing Bandit losing his own battle and sliding back into the current as he swirled into the gaping hole that had so recently appeared in the bottom of the pond.

The view into that void was almost hypnotizing.
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