Categories > Original > Fantasy > Tradewinds 10 - "Reflection"


by shadesmaclean 0 reviews

breakfast brainstorming

Category: Fantasy - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Fantasy,Sci-fi - Published: 2009-11-25 - Updated: 2009-11-25 - 1601 words - Complete

They all slept in that morning. Even Max wasn’t up with the sun as usual. Justin crashed in his new room, dead to the world.

Shades was first awakened by the light that washed over him through the cabin windows. He was surprised such light could awaken him, as there was not much of it, just cloudy overcast. He rolled out of the couch and walked to the fridge for something cold to drink. Glanced at his watch, which had seen him through about five years of his life, entailed a lot of fond memories, seeing that it was a few minutes past midnight. Somewhere. Montana, perhaps.

“Man, I’d love to tell Einstein just how relative time really is…” And that’s to say nothing about this ship being from over a year in the future, yet somehow getting here ahead of us… It was still rather alien to him, how little time seemed to mean in the Sixth Dimension. Especially, it seemed, when things crossed over into it from other worlds, and presumably, other time-streams.

Thinking about it made him worry about John and Amy in a whole new way, wondering if they might have been hurled into the distant past or future in this world, and the only thing he could pin his hopes on was that they had all left their world from roughly the same time and place. And in a different manner than the Maximum.

A little carbonation perked him up, and after that he found some pancake mix and a bottle of maple syrup in the pantry, deciding a little breakfast was in order. Last night they concluded that most of the food onboard was safe, being dried or canned, but some of the perishables would have to go. It was hard to tell for sure, but the consensus of their judgment was that the ship had been derelict for anywhere from three weeks to a month by Shades’ reckoning.

Max wandered up from below, Bandit continuing to sleep now that he had the entire bed to himself, while Shades was still cooking, so he made some more pancakes for his friend.

“Max, you know Justin better than I do,” Shades began, deciding to take a page from his friend and go for the direct approach. “Do you think he’s gonna stick around? I can see that you’re worried, and he is your friend, so I want to help.”

“I don’t know,” Max replied. “I was hoping you might have some ideas. I mean, you told me about those two friends of yours, John and Tom, how they’re always arguing. How did you deal with it?”

“Very carefully,” Shades said, that line immediately popping into his head at the thought of his old friends. “Along the way I learned what the phrase ‘walking on eggshells’ means, and I don’t want for you to have to go through that. Unlike John and Tom, I’m tired of fighting with Justin. Never wanted to to begin with. I just don’t know how to tell him that.”

“I see.” Max suspected it probably wasn’t so simple, and now he regretted not asking Abu-Sharrah about it when he had the chance. “Well, I guess we should take stock of our new ship today. I sure hope we have enough safe food to last for while, since we don’t know when we’ll see dry land again.”

“You bastards are eating breakfast without me,” Justin declared quietly as he reached the top of the steps. Not that he was surprised; Max was an early-riser, and Shades didn’t seem to need much sleep. Still, it was the principle of the thing.

He was awakened several times last night by strange dreams. All involved that mansion, and his coin, of course. Some included running— in slo-mo, as in any good nightmare— from something he could not quite see when he looked back. Then something, something much bigger than an electrical cord, and ice-cold, would wrap itself around his neck, and he’d wake up.

In the other dream, he would wander into the sub-basement, seeing parts of the place Shades only described to him. The details a lot more vivid than in any of Shades’ stories, and somehow he knows this is what it’s really like. Knowing what’s behind each door, but not remembering much upon waking. As he makes this tour, somehow already knowing that something malevolent awaits him at the end, he walks slowly. As if there isn’t enough suspense as it is. At last he enters the chamber with the dais bearing the symbol of the Dragon of… Shii?.. Jii?… he can’t quite remember what. There are candles glowing in geometrical alignments around the dais, where he could see two people, what appeared to be a man and a woman. Or rather their silhouettes, against a blinding explosion of red light. He would feel an intense heatwave wash over him, and awaken in a cold sweat.

Thinking about it, Justin remembered Shades telling a story the other night. About a young woman whose family was terrorized by a malevolent presence, at last being driven out of their house by it. He ended his tale by telling how she happened to wander past the old house one day, and found it for sale. Finding the door unlocked, she decided to see what became of the place, tried the phone to see if it still worked. Just as she picked it up, she felt cold hands around her throat, shoving her all the way out the door…

Stupid bitch, going back… as far as he was concerned. Sounded like something Kato would do.

And so Justin joined them for breakfast. Like his companions, he too was sore and stiff from head to foot after yesterday’s misadventures. Fresh cuts and scrapes still stung, bruises were still raw and tender. In his case, after all that being tossed about on the roof, sitting down was a particularly delicate task for Justin this morning.

“No worries,” Shades said as he washed down the last of his meal and turned to the galley to make more while Justin stared into space. “There’s more where that came from. You had a busy day, so we thought we’d just let you sleep in.”

“Oh. Right.” Justin shook his head and sat down. Much like with Obscura Antiques, he decided not to tell them about his dreams, and give Shades another chance to dis his coin. As it was, he was afraid the guy was gonna suggest tossing it overboard, as they planned to do with the spoiled food. Likely saying it was cursed or something. Something else bothered him besides his dreams, so he changed the subject, asking, “Say Shades, what did you say you read about me in the Book of Fate?”

“Well, for one thing, it never says when or where,” Shades reminded him. “It just says simple things, like So-And-So— will die in a fiery accident… That sort of thing. It’s all pretty vague. As I recall, yours said you would be impaled, though it didn’t say on what… Why do you ask?”

All Justin could think of was that giant globe at the top of the mountain, the sharp, gleaming tip of the arrow piercing its axis piercing him, as well…

“Justin? You okay?” Max asked, concern written all over his face. “You look kinda pale.”

“You look like someone just walked all over your grave, man,” Shades remarked. “So what happened to you?”

“I think you saved my life,” Justin told him, then explained about getting knocked out and seeing that unsettling vision of himself hung out to dry on that arrow. “Then did I escape the prediction?”

“Yeah, we didn’t die, and neither did anyone else,” Max pondered aloud. I bet Kato and Chase probably got away from the fates written in there. If Bandit hadn’t found those keys, I’m afraid we all might have died. “What does this mean?”

“I think it means I changed our fates,” said Shades, trying to reason it out. “After all, I escaped eternity with that damn Flaming Ghost, and I think that set something in motion…” On his last day on Earth, Mr Doppler was lecturing about quantum physics. Thinking about that now brought to mind the Uncertainty Principle, how an observer changes the variables and probabilities of an event merely by observing it. What does this mean, indeed. “Like re-tossing the dice… I couldn’t tell you if the predictions in that book have any accuracy to begin with, but personally, I think we should act like we never heard those predictions in the first place.”

Though he couldn’t quite help wondering about the other names, how he may have inadvertently affected the lives of people he had never heard of.

“Creepy…” In spite of his original curiosity about the matter, Justin found he now wanted to just drop it.

There was a long pause, but eventually the conversation resumed, quickly shifting to matters concerning their new ship. In addition to weeding out spoiled food, they also needed to find out what they had in the way of equipment and supplies. According to Abu-Sharrah, you could sail for days or weeks at a time in these mysterious waters without finding a single square inch of dry land, so there was no telling what they might need in the meantime. Today was going to be a very busy day.
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