Denver Cereal Denver Cereal

Chapter Four Hundred and Ninety-eight: Think (part one)

CHAPTER FOUR HUNDRED AND FORTY-EIGHT

(part one)

“It says ‘Beware of the one who captures the souls for one who eats them whole’,” Gilfand translated without hesitation.

“What does that mean?” Jacob asked.

“Shadow and dark,” Gilfand said.

“Okay?” Jacob raised an eyebrow at him.

“Oh Jacob,” Gilfand said. “There are times when you are truly brilliant. This is not one of those times.”

Jacob grinned at him.

“Do not grin as you disappoint, child,” Gilfand said. “Think.

“It brings up a confusion I have,” Yvonne said.

Abi nodded to her.

“You’ve indicated that there are two creatures we will have to fight,” Yvonne said.

“The soul collector,” Jacob said.

“Shadow,” Gilfand said.

“So the one who eats the souls must be the dark,” Yvonne said.

“This warning seems to switch that,” Jacob said. “The soul collector may be the dark while the one who eats them is merely the grey.”

Gilfand and Abi nodded as if that was possible.

“The question is then — what is grey?” Jacob asked.

“A mixture of white and dark?” Yvonne said.

“A reflection of light through dark,” Jacob said.

Instead of responding to Jacob, Abi and Gilfand turned, in unison, to look down the tunnel in which the river flowed.

“We are not alone,” Abi said in a whisper.

For a moment, the only sound was the stream. Jacob gave Abi a questioning look. She nodded her head toward where the cave transition into a tunnel.

Footsteps.

Someone or something was leisurely walking in the gravel beside the creek. Someone or something was coming in their direction.

“We will find out soon enough,” Gilfand said in a low tone.

“What should we do?” Yvonne whispered.

Abi grabbed Yvonne’s arm. Together, they ran to where the cave wall next to the tunnel opening. Abi pulled out her spear at the same time she gestured for Yvonne to stand next to her. They pressed themselves against the wall to make themselves as flat as possible.

Jacob and Gilfand moved to the opposite side, where Jacob’s ancestor’s bones lay. They were mostly hidden from view as the person approached. To avoid the creature’s eyes, Jacob looked down into the pile of his ancestor’s bones. With his fairy-juice heightened senses, Jacob saw the glint of a Bowe knife blade in a rotten cover. He knelt down and pulled out a knife with a nine and a half inch clip point knife blade with a horn handle from his ancestor’s belt. Near the hilt, there was a “U” and then a star followed by an “S”. Jacob used his psychokinesis to quickly sharpen the knife.

Gilfand made a sound and Jacob looked up at him. Gilfand pointed to something sitting between the bones of the hand.

Jacob carefully extracted it from his ancestor’s hand. He held up a knife with a two and a half inch, blue diamond blade. He touched the blade. It was very sharp.

Gilfand touched Jacob’s shoulder. Gilfand was holding a leather cover for the Bowe knife and short hard leather blade shield for small diamond bladed knife. Jacob looked up at Gilfand to thank him, but Gilfand’s attention had returned to what was coming down the tunnel.

Jacob stood up, slipped the leather sleeve with the Bowe knife onto his belt, and stuck the shielded diamond bladed knife deep into his pocket. Gilfand looked at Jacob, and Jacob nodded that he was ready. Gilfand disappeared from where he was standing. While they couldn’t see him, they had the sense that he was flying down the tunnel. A few long minutes later, he reappeared at Jacob’s side.

“Did you see it?” Abi asked in a way that made no sound.

Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…


Chapter Four Hundred and Ninety-seven: The right heir (part six)

CHAPTER FOUR HUNDRED AND FORTY-SEVEN

(part six)

“How so?” Jacob asked.

“You could grow wings and a hard shell,” Abi nodded toward Gilfand. “Any of the features. I’ve seen it happen before.”

“What happens to Fin?” Jacob asked.

“He becomes more centered, stronger, more powerful in a kind of wild-man way,” Abi said with a nod. “You and he share similarities, but he is fairy-born, full blooded. His relation to Gilfand is more distant than yours. He uses his fairy skills and magic, where as you have innate abilities. And, it is possible that you will have the same response.”

“Or I could look like a gargoyle,” Jacob said looked over to where Gilfand was sitting by the stream.

“Exactly,” Abi said.

“How long does the effect last?” Jacob asked.

“A little more than a human day,” Abi said. “You would have to have more tomorrow. But …”

“But?” Jacob asked.

“You may awaken something inside you that would be permanent,” Abi said.

“Such as?” Jacob asked.

“Wings,” Abi said with a grin.

“Really?” Jacob squinted at Abi.

“I am joking,” Abi said. “My point is that the effects vary. I don’t want to give you something and not tell you the possible side effects.”

Jacob nodded.

“I’ll need this?” Jacob asked.

“If we are dealing with what I think we are — what I believe your ancestor is indicating — then you will need an energetic shield.”

Abi looked away, down the long circular tunnel that the stream disappeared into.

“We will all need as much luck as we can get,” Abi said. “

Jacob held out his hand and Abi gave him the flask.

“Take just one swallow,” Abi said. “No more.”

Jacob took a mouthful of the liquid. The moment it passed his lips, he could feel it begin to absorb into his body. Like swallowing an ice cube, he could feel the liquid move down his throat. He took a breath and then another.

“Bam,” Jacob said.

He stood up, stretched, and began jumping. Each leap into the air brought him higher and higher until he almost touched the ceiling of the cave.

“Why are you jumping?” Yvonne asked.

“I feel as if I must,” Jacob said.

“Try to fly,” Abi encouraged.

Gilfand appeared on the sand next to him.

“Jump up and forward,” Gilfand said.

Jacob did as he was told. Soon, he was flying about the cave without wings. This skill was something manifested out of his own abilities.

“Would you like to take a look?” Jacob asked.

Yvonne nodded. Jacob put is arm around Yvonne’s waist and they flew around the cave. He took her up, close to the carving so that she could see it. As her light approached the carving, they heard Gilfand mutter something to Abi, and Abi responded.

Jacob flew them to the bottom of the cave. He let go of Yvonne and she kissed his cheek.

“What is it?” Jacob asked.

“There is another message,” Abi said. “We couldn’t see it from where we were sitting.”

“What is it?” Jacob asked.

“It says ‘Beware of the one who captures the souls for one who eats them whole’,” Gilfand translated without hesitation.

“What does that mean?” Jacob asked.

Denver Cereal continues on Monday…


Chapter Four Hundred and Ninety-seven: The right heir (part five)

CHAPTER FOUR HUNDRED AND FORTY-SEVEN

(part five)

“It says …” Gilfand said.

“Look not here for riches, for here is only shadow and dark.

Do not worship the dark and shadow for it is only dark and shadow.

The depth you seek lives inside the walls of strength. Only.

True light of compassion will defeat the dark,

and the shadow will fade.

Only then will the treasure be yours.”

Jacob and Abi turned to look where Yvonne was resting. If ever there was a “true light” that defeated darkness, it would be Yvonne. They looked at each other.

“What do you think it means?” Jacob asked.

“I think that we are about to meet shadow and dark,” Abi said. “We are facing an energetic battle — a battle with the very nature of the magic that holds the universe together.”

“The very nature of the magic that holds the universe together,” Jacob said.

“It does sound dramatic, doesn’t it?” Abi asked.

“Makes me regret worrying so much about which shoes to bring on this trip,” Jacob said.

Abi grinned at him. She got up and walked away from him.

“Do you know what is here?” Jacob asked.

Abi turned back to look at him.

“Not exactly,” Abi said. “Come, I want to do something first, before we talk about what we may be up against.”

Jacob got up from he’d been sitting went back to where Yvonne was sitting. Their return woke Yvonne. She yawned and got up to move around a bit. Abi went to her pack and pulled out a silver colored steel bottle.

“I’d like you to take some of this,” Abi said.

“What is it?” Jacob asked.

“It is something I make for my warriors in the Fairy Corps,” Abi said. “It will heighten your senses and also shield you from energetic or magical intervention. It is a kind of alcohol, distilled from special herbs gathered around the world. But I must warn you.”

Jacob tipped his head to the side.

“You are of Gilfand’s line,” Abi said. “This drink can bring out the fairy in those of his line.”

“And Yvonne?” Jacob asked.

Abi shook her head.

“She is of my blood,” Abi said. “Very similar, but different. Yvonne?”

When Yvonne came over, Abi explained the liquid to her.

“Just a swallow, no more,” Abi said.

Yvonne nodded and took a drink of the clear liquid. She closed her eyes for a moment before opening them.

“I feel warm,” Yvonne said. “I feel like I’m in a hot tub or maybe Mexico in the late spring or with Rodney in bed under thick covers. I feel good, happy, almost joyous, but strong, too. Man, that’s awesome.”

Yvonne’s skin began to glow pure warm light.

“Oh look,” Yvonne said, holding up her forearm. “Isn’t it weird?”

“Beautiful,” Jacob said. “Will I glow like that?”

“The serum enhances what you are, what you have inside.” Abi’s hand pressed against her chest. “For you, it may give you greater strength and focus. It might also transform you physically.”

“How so?” Jacob asked.

Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…


Chapter Four Hundred and Ninety-seven: The right heir (part four)

CHAPTER FOUR HUNDRED AND FORTY-SEVEN

(part four)

After a time, Abi touched his leg.

“Come,” Abi said.

Jacob glanced over at Yvonne. She seemed to be asleep. Gilfand was flying near the top of the cave. Jacob got up and followed Abi to where the male human bones lay.

“Sit here,” Abi said.

“On the bones?” Jacob asked.

Abi made a sweeping motion with the bones and they shifted the side. Jacob sat down where the skeleton had been. Abi sat down next to him.

“Mimic his posture,” Abi said.

Jacob leaned against the wall and shot his legs out in front of him. Abi pointed to the ceiling. From where he was sitting, Jacob saw that there was something carved into the ceiling. Abi knocked into him and he slid an inch to his left. He gasped.

The ceiling had been painstakingly carved into a geometric sculpture. At the center was an ancient symbol of protection that Jacob had seen on the Isle of Mann. The stalactites marked the corners of each geometric design. Spiral etchings seemed to come out of the mountain while squares seemed to retreat into the stone.

“Unbelievable,” Jacob said.

“He must have sat here and created it,” Abi said. She pointed to the skeleton. “His spine is broken as are both of his legs. He would not have been able to move.”

“Did he fall?” Jacob asked.

“This looks more intentional,” Abi said. “Someone did this to him. I wonder …”

Abi touched the skeleton with her hand and then pulled her hand away. Putting her hand near her nose, she rubbed her finger and thumb together.

“He apparated here,” Abi said. She rubbed her fingers together again. “Likely by his own accord. That fits with one version of the story, doesn’t it? He was beaten and then disappeared. Unable to move, he was stuck here.”

She pointed to the ceiling.

“His last message to you, his heir,” Abi said.

“To me?” Jacob asked.

“You are the only person who could have gotten into this chamber,” Abi said.

“The right heir,” Jacob said, under his breath.

He looked up at the ceiling and tried to glean knowledge from the images. Wanting to document the sculpture, he took out his phone and took a series of pictures. His flash went off and Abi gasped with surprise.

“What?” Jacob asked.

Abi pointed to his phone. The bright light of the flash had uncovered a message on the ceiling.

“Is that Gaelic?” Jacob asked.

“Old Gaelic,” Abi said. “Gilfand, could you possible translate for us?”

Gilfand flew to the roof of the cave. Using his claw-like feet, he held onto a stalactite to read the ceiling.

“It says …” Gilfand said.

Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…


Chapter Four Hundred and Ninety-seven: The right heir (part three)

CHAPTER FOUR HUNDRED AND FORTY-SEVEN

(part three)

“Is there anything that is not a mammal living in this cave now?” Jacob asked.

“In the cave?” Gilfand asked. “No.”

“Whatever they thought was a God is likely to be around somewhere,” Abi said. “Can you access the Fire of Hell from here?”

“I didn’t leave the cave area,” Gilfand said, evenly. He paused for a moment. “But to answer your question — yes, I think we could follow this stream there.”

“And the soul collector?” Yvonne asked. “The one who wants Delphie’s soul?”

“They are both here,” Gilfand said.

Jacob gave him an irritated “What?” look, but Gilfand shook his head and said nothing more. Jacob scowled up at him. Gilfand simply shook his head.

Jacob continued down the ladder. His shoulder muscles had already begun to cramp. His feet ached through his boots. His hands hurt from hanging on to the metal rungs. He was wet head to toe with a combination of his sweat and the humidity. He wanted to stop or at least to complain. Whatever he was feeling, he knew that Yvonne must be feeling worse. She did not work with her hands every day. She wasn’t on her feet all the time.

Yvonne said nothing. She just kept taking the ladder one rung at a time. It didn’t look easy for her. She simply took each one as it came.

He would have been ashamed to complain when she had not. So he kept focused on the ladder. When he was finally six feet or so from the rock bottom of the cave, he jumped off the ladder. The moment he landed, his knees buckled with exhaustion. Gilfand fluttered down.

Yvonne took the ladder all the way to the ground. Stepping down, her legs wouldn’t hold her either. With Jacob and Gilfand’s help, she was able to make it to the wall to sit down. Abi deftly jumped down as Jacob had. Abi seemed to feel no ill effects of the long climb.

Abi walked around the cave for a moment before sitting down next to Yvonne along the wall of the cave next to the ladder. Gilfand flew around the cave again before sitting next to Abi against the cave wall. Jacob passed out water bottles and oranges. Abi gave them each a piece of dried salmon jerky. When everyone was settled Jacob sat down next to Gilfand.

“Is this the salmon you snagged last month?” Jacob asked.

“Mike took me,” Abi said. “I had never seen such a place where salmon could be plucked from the water. It is such a great thing to be able to use their valiant struggle for life to bring life to us. It is a reward for them as well as for us.”

“It’s very tasty,” Yvonne said, lightly.

“Yes,” Jacob said. “Surprises me.”

“You didn’t think it would be,” Abi looked at him and grinned.

“It smelled awful while you were drying it,” Jacob said.

“That was to keep the cats away,” Abi said.

Grinning at her ingenuity, Jacob nodded and ate his salmon jerky. By some fluke, the cave wall was gloriously cold. Jacob leaned back and closed his eyes. The combination of the warm, moist cave and his exhaustion cause him to drift into a kind of sleep. After a time, Abi touched his leg.

“Come,” Abi said.

Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…


For full chapters, visit Stories by Claudia