Mystery Girl (1)

The Lake Incident

12. The Lake Incident

Joe woke up on his bedroom floor with a sharp pain in his lower back. "Ow!" He yelped in pain.

"You're a really heavy sleeper you know that?" A familiar voice joked.

Joe glanced up to see Sydney standing over him, looking down with amusement written all over her features. He hadn't seen her since they had left her training session this afternoon. As soon as they had gotten back to their room, Sydney claimed she needed to take a nap. Joe didn't argue, remembering her rough dream the night before.

"Why did you push me off my bed?" He pulled himself off the floor and onto his bed. He began to rub his back to soothe the pain.

"Like I said, you're a heavy sleeper." Sydney said with a shrug, but she couldn't hide the smirk on her mouth. "I tried waking you up by shaking you and shouting your name, but you didn't respond. So, I decided to push you off. Which I did enjoy doing by the way."

"Why did you need to wake me up at all?" Joe wished he had some cold water to splash on his face to help wake himself up. What time was it anyway?

"I found something cool, and I think you'll enjoy it." Sydney grabbed Joe's arm and pulled him to his feet. "I couldn't sleep after everything that happened today so I decided to do a little bit of exploring."

"And this thing you want to show me couldn't wait until morning?"

"Definitely not." Sydney winked at him and led him out the door. "Come on, you have to see this for yourself. I swear you won't be disappointed."

They headed down a long hallway and took numerous turns. Joe had no idea where they were and he hoped Sydney could remember the way back. Every hall looked the same to him and he couldn't remember if they had just taken a right or a left. This continued on for a while, and just when Joe was about to ask Sydney if they were lost, they arrived at their apparent destination.

"A door?" Joe tilted his head at Sydney. She had dragged him in front of a small wooden door. There didn't seem to be anything remarkable about it. Joe was beginning to wonder why this had been so important that Sydney had to wake him up and pull him all the way here.

"Yes, it's a door." Sydney rolled her eyes. "It's a door that leads outside, and that's where I want to take you. You need to close your eyes though."

Joe raised an eyebrow at that. "Why?"

"Just trust me, okay?" Sydney gave him an encouraging smile and placed her hand on the door knob. "Keep your eyes closed until I tell you to open them. You won't have to keep them closed for too long."

Joe did as he was told. He felt a sudden rush of cool air as Sydney opened the door. Her soft hand grasped onto his, sending a jolt of warmth through him, and the next thing Joe knew, he was being led outdoors. He stumbled a little at first, not used to walking without seeing, but soon realized they were going downhill and he was able to readjust his balance.

As they got closer to wherever Sydney was leading him, Joe began to pick up the faint sound of water washing up against the shore. He thought back to the view from their window in their suite. Was she taking him to the lake? What was so special about the lake that she couldn't just show him from their living room?

"Almost there. Just hold on for little longer."

The ground under Joe's feet became unexpectedly hard and he picked up the unmistakable sound of creaking. Were they on a dock now? Joe's patience was waning. "Can I open my eyes yet?"

He heard Sydney laugh. "Yes."

Joe peeled his eyes open and blinked a couple times to let his vision get accustomed to the night. They were definitely standing on a dock that reached out about ten feet over the lake. The lake itself was much larger than it had looked through their window. The reflection of the moonlight stretched out and rippled across the surface. Streaks of green danced around in the water. At first, Joe thought the water was green, but he came to realize that it was just another reflection.

Confused, he turned his head up to the sky, and what he saw made his face go slack. "Whoa," he said breathlessly.

"See?" Joe could practically hear the pride in Sydney's voice. "Told you it was cool. Are you disappointed?"

"No, not at all." Joe couldn't tear his eyes away from the beautiful scene above him. Neon green streaks waved across the sky. They swirled and danced like they were carefree and had nothing holding them down. It reminded Joe of the northern lights, but he knew this wasn't the same. This was time energy fluttering free in the sky.

"It gets better." Sydney smirked. "Watch this." She lifted her arms toward the sky and her eyes slowly began to glow green. Any traces of blue or white vanished as they turned solid green.

The time currents in the air responded to her presence. Their dance patterns changed and as Sydney gracefully swept her arms toward the sky like a conductor leading an orchestra, the green strokes followed her movements and formed a new routine. The wisps curled around one another and raced across the night. Sydney rolled her hands over top of each other and the green streaks turned into shapes and faceless people. The people soared and tumbled around in the air, leaping off of the shapes and into the sky.

"I've never seen anything so incredible." Joe's eyes darted down to Sydney and watched as she continued to control and manipulate the time energy around them. The corner of his mouth twitched up in a small smile. The fact that she was a dancer was obvious in her movements. She swayed her arms deliberately and emitted a commanding presence that made it hard to look away.

Sydney glanced at Joe and noticed him staring. Her arms dropped, the green glow faded from her eyes, and she matched his warm smile with one of her own. She gestured to the end of the dock. "Want to sit?"

Joe nodded and walked with her to the end of the short dock. They sat down side by side, their feet dangling over the edge just barely above the surface of the water. The green waves above them had resumed their original movements, creating a serene glow over the land.

"So what do you think about this whole prophecy thing?" Sydney began.

Joe lifted his shoulder in a half shrug. "It's kind of cool I guess. I've never been part of a prophecy before. I didn't even know prophecies were real."

"I don't know why Nicole and Kayla are unsure if it's us or not. The boy of the book and the girl of time? Sounds like a pretty accurate description to me. Who else would it be?" Sydney turned her face to Joe. "A librarian and a clock smith?"

Joe snorted. "Yeah, I'd say it's definitely about us. But the other three lines make no sense. I get that prophecies are supposed to be cryptic, but it only makes everything more complicated and harder to decipher."

"The beach of refuge is the prime

The boy of the book, and the girl of time

An internal feud to be decided

A kiss of death to be confided."

Sydney pursed her lips and analyzed the lines individually. "Well, the boy and the girl it mentions has to be us. No one else fits that description that we know of. The beach it refers to could be Corfu. In Greek mythology, Corfu was supposed to be where the Argonauts found refuge after they captured the Golden Fleece, and it is where Kayla found us. It's possible that it's the beginning, or 'the prime' as the prophecy calls it."

"Even if that's true, what about the other two lines? An internal feud? A kiss of death? Neither of those things sound enjoyable or good for us." Joe's brows furrowed. "Do you think someone's supposed to die?"

"Let's hope not." Sydney shook her head, not wanting to think about death. "I honestly have no idea what the kiss of death part means, and there's too many option for the internal feud. Internal could imply that it's within one person or it could be within a larger entity, like a family or an entire country."

"Family?" The word caught Joe's attention and gave him a sudden idea. Could the internal feud be a reference to his future showdown with Mad Jack? Joe had had plenty of run-ins with his crazy uncle since Jodie and Freddi told him he was destined for an apocalyptic confrontation with him, but every time it hadn't been the showdown. He had always wondered when it was actually going to happen. "I think I might know what the internal feud is."

Sydney raised her eyebrows in surprise. "Really? What?"

Joe hesitated. How should he phrase this? "Remember how I told you my friends and I had met our own great-granddaughters on a warp?" He paused and waited for Sydney to nod so he could continue. "What if internal does mean family? They once told me that I was destined to fight in an apocalyptic confrontation with my insane uncle and that the fate of the universe would hang in the balance. The one that you and I dealt with in Greece, Mad Jack. That's all they told me though. I don't when it's supposed to happen."

"And you think that fight you're supposed to have with your uncle is the internal feud?" Sydney studied him, the slight part of her lips the only indication of shock from his words.

Joe bobbed his head. "It would make sense right?"

"I guess." Sydney conceded. "But I don't feel ready to be a part of something where the fate of the entire universe hangs in the balance. Are you your great-granddaughters had all the correct information? Maybe it's not even your uncle you're supposed to fight."

Joe scratched his head. "Well, they were wrong about the original date, but they did seem certain that I was fated to be in this huge fight with my uncle. There's a chance they could be wrong though. I just don't think that's true unfortunately."

"I don't suppose we could be wrong about this whole thing? Maybe it isn't about us. Somewhere out there a librarian and a clock smith are preparing to fight."

Joe laughed and shook his head at her foolishness. "Sounds like a dream to me."

"If you're going to dream, might as well dream big, right?"

"Your mind works in strange ways."

"You say that like it's a bad thing." Sydney sighed and drooped her head. "Life wasn't meant to be easy, but ever since we got here, it's almost become too much to handle."

Joe smirked at her. "You can get in front of hundreds of people you don't even know and sing your heart out? But you can't handle all this? It doesn't seem like this should be that hard for you."

Sydney smiled at his teasing, making Joe smile too. "I guess it's not all bad. There's been a few benefits."

"Like what?" Joe inclined his head.

Sydney leaned her face closer to Joe, a coy grin playing along her lips and an amused spark in her eyes. "I met you."

Joe's face flushed at her unexpected closeness and the flirtatious look on her face, but he found himself enjoying it. His eyes flashed down to her soft pink lips and wasn't surprised when he shifted his head forward, closer to her face.

Joe and Sydney's lips were only half-an-inch apart, their eyes had closed, and the air around them had taken on a sudden warmth. Without warning, an object splashed down into the lake, splashing water on their faces, and causing them to jerk apart with abrupt velocity.

They turned their faces away from each other, hiding the fact that they were both as red as a tomato. They spoke at the same time, their voices wavering with embarrassment, "We should head back to the room."

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