Faint echoed whispers awakened me from my disarrayed unconsciousness. I slowly lifted my head to be met with a dark and scorched surface. The echoed whispers had escalated to shouted echoes. As I languidly turned my head to see the origin of these echoes, a bright light blinded me.
Slowly as my eyes adjusted, I began to discern the face of the professor. He seemed to be peering around, as if he was looking for a lost coin.
That was the first word that my ears perceived without a distorted sense.
I turned my head to the right in an effort to see if what I saw out of the corner of my eye was true. Indeed it was, for I had fallen ten meters from the house, unto this scorched land.
“I must have hit my head too hard.” I uttered to the professor, as I was gently rubbing the back of my head.
His face relaxed in a sense of relief, but just as quickly he replied.
“You don’t say?” The professor sarcastically inquired then turned to his crew, “I found him! Come on; lock your arms around me!” The professor commanded, as I slowly rose up and locked my arms around him. “Pull us up!” the professor shouted.
In an abrupt jerk, we were lifted into the air. My eyes were droopy and my legs ached, as if I had run a grand marathon with iron weights shackled to my feet.
We were approximately six meters from the ground when I saw a gigantic crater of scorched black land, stretching hundreds if meters in front of us.
It finally occurred to me what I had done, and a sense of dread inundated me. I felt small, yet grand and powerful. I should have felt powerful, with my head held high, and a haughty smile bearing my face, but I did not.
The unknown suppressed my ego. I was still to discover the reason for what had happened. The professor seemed quite unnerved, but this time his demeanor was different.
I had never seen the professor appear unnerved or insecure. He always seemed to know what he was doing, but this time was different. This time he seemed to not know what to do and worry was evident on his face. I could not bother but ask.
“What is it, professor?” I inquired.
The professor hesitated to answer. “You will see. Just keep your head down, and mouth shut. Understood?”
This time I meant what I said, for I had begun to see a pattern, and to fathom the extent of my predicament.
As we made it up to the decimated porch of the professor’s house, the faces of Bartholomew, Rahil and Amalia varied.
Amalia was in complete bewilderment, with a hint of anger and worry. Bartholomew’s countenance was quite unnerving. It was as if his emotions were drained by the suns heat.
Rahil was angered, and it was quite obvious. He was jittery and impatient to begin his assumptions.
“Up, up now.” The professor assisted me onto the porch and began to remove the rope from his thighs. “Go ahead and rest for a while.” The professor commanded.
“I don’t need-“
The professor was quick to interrupt me, as he once more repeated himself.
“Do I have to repeat my words once more, or are you able to reminisce upon my prior words and do as I told you? “
I hesitantly went into my room and lay upon my bed.
I contemplated the consequences of my actions as I faintly overheard the clashing of words between the professor and the rest of the crew.
“Where is Samuel?” The professor asked as he entered the house.
“Are you seriously going to ignore what had happened?” Rahil angrily inquired as he followed behind the professor.
“I am not ignoring a thing.” The professor calmly answered.
“Oh! So, you are not in the slightest bit ignoring the fact that your apprentice is anomalous! “
The professor kept on walking, as if the words had not fazed him. “Anomalous! Have you heard people! My apprentice is anomalous!” Jested the professor as he entered the storage room.
“Griffin, did you know? “ Bartholomew seriously asked, as the professor was searching around for his cookies.
“I am starving! Is anyone else hungry?” The professor started to nibble his cookies and offered them to the rest of the crew.
“You knew, didn’t you? “ Rahil raised his voice and stepped closer to the professor.
“Knew is such a harsh word.” The professors’ words angered Rahil and his ring began to glow a fiery luminescence.
“Rahil! Simmer down.” Amalia stepped in front of Rahil to calm him down.
“Of course, I didn’t know! And do you want to know how I didn’t know?” the professor sneered? “Because he isn’t! Shocking news is it not?”
Continuously the professor deflected their claims as they vigorously questioned him.
“So, you mean to tell us, that, that thing which he conjured was all human?” Amalia asked, her brow furrowing in worry.
“He is quite skilled and gifted. Why else would I take him in?”
Bartholomew was not convinced by the professor sarcastic deflections, Rahil even less.
“Then we shall test it.” Bartholomew suggested.
“No better way than to make him to speak!”
As Rahil uttered those words, he made his way towards the storage exit. The professor gazed at the door and it slammed shut into Rahil’s face.
“You must have forgotten in whose house you now reside in.”
The professor began to raise his voice, whilst slowly walking in Rahil’s direction. “For I can smite you now, here, right in front of me! The chairs you sit in and the bed in which you sleep, even the very floor on which you now stand could engulf you on my command and suffocate you as you scream for mercy. The walls could pierce through your skin, latching onto your bones. They could hold you captive until you rot, so, you do as I say, or there shall be consequences. Sounds fair, does it not? “
Rahil was in abject terror, and he cowered as the professor came within centimeters of his face, gazing at him, like a lion at his pray.
“I think that we should attempt to test him any way possible, since killing souls is not given to humans.“ Amalia stated.
“Samuel attacked him.” Rahil hesitantly uttered.
The professor faced Rahil, and in anger nearly exterminated him then and there.
“What?” Bartholomew asked in bewilderment, as Rahil continued to ramble.
“We saw him strangle Augustine, yelling something at him”
This gave reminiscence to the professor as dread filled his being.
“Where is Samuel?” The professor asked with worry in his voice.
When no one answered, he hastily ran out of the storage room and into the room which I resided. I was nowhere to be found.
He quickly grabbed the flint lock pistol which had lain next to my bed. Reloading it he proceeded to the porch.
Looking down, the professor spotted Samuel sliding down the anchor rope, and stepping out onto the dunes.
He was dragging something behind him in one hand and wielding a kitchen knife in the other. The professor quickly descended the anchor rope and hopped onto the sand.
Amalia, Bartholomew and Rahil hastily approached the porch, but as opposed to the professor, they were not distracted by the situation. As they lifted their gaze beyond the dune, they saw something that curdled their blood.
“Samuel!” The professor shouted.
“Griffin! Wait!” Amalia persistently called out to the professor, finally sliding down the anchor rope herself.
“Stay away from me!” Samuel called back as he quickly turned his gaze to the professor.
“Griffin!” Amalia called out to the professor as he pursued him.
“Where are you going?” The professor demanded as he came up behind Samuel.
“I need to finish my mission!” Replied Samuel, as he continued up the dune.
The professor attempted to calm the man, as my unconscious body was dragged through the sand.
“The mission!” Samuel was beginning to collapse as he approached the peak of the dune.
“Griffin! Stop!” Amalia persisted, but the professor continued to ignore her cries.
“I know it might seem hard, but just come down, and we can discuss proper measures to accomplish this mission. This sounds fair, does it not?”
The professor desperately but calmly attempted to reason with Samuel, yet with no success, Samuel now began to clutch his blade.
“This is the only way!” Samuel cried out as the professor bowed his head and reached behind his trousers. “You know that this-“
As Samuel turned his gaze towards the professor, Griffin pointed his pistol at Samuel, interrupting him with a shot to the head.
Amalia halted, lowered her shoulders in disappointment and stared at the professor as he climbed the dune.
Reaching the peak and looking out into the distance, the professors face was, at last, cognizant of the sandstorm that was approaching in the distance.
Another band of wrathful souls were on their way, coming to avenge their fellow perished ones, and they were much closer than he’d like it to be.
The professor closed his eyes. The symbol, which bore similarities to Samuels’, had reappeared, and when he opened his eyes, it began to glow crimson. He then hastily kneeled and picked up my unconscious body.
As the professor turned to Amalia, he stared down at her, with his crimson eyes nodding for her to go back to the house. Rahil and Bartholomew threw down the rope, which Amalia quickly tied around her waist, but as she gazed at the professor, running down the dune, she hastily untied the rope and grabbed a hold of it, pushing the house forward.
“What in God’s name are you doing Amalia?” Bartholomew called out to her as she persisted to drag the house forward.
“Pull the rope up when I tell you to!” Amalia commanded as she approached the professor.
The souls appeared over the dune, emitting sounds of terror. When Amalia finally came to the professor’s aid, she quickly began to tie the rope around the professor’s waist.
“What are you doing!?” The professor asked, anger lacing his every word.
“Saving two lives! “ Amalia replied as she tightened the rope. The souls where getting closer causing the ground to tremble with their approach.
“Just take a hold of me! I’m not leaving you here!” The professor pleaded.
“The rope won’t hold, besides someone must fend off the souls!“
The professor was arguing and attempting in vain to persuade Amalia.
“Anomalous or not, you saw something in him, and what I know, and always will know is that you always have the best interest at hand.”
As Amalia uttered those words, the professor crimson eyes widened in fluster. He stared at her, knowing this was the right choice, however much he hated it.
“Pull it up!” Amalia shouted as the professor and I were pulled up towards the house.
The professor was paralyzed by the situation, not knowing how to react. He simply stared down at her as Amalia calmly watched the professor ascend up to the house, holding me in his arms.
The souls came shy of thirty meters from the house, before Amalia turned her gaze toward them.
She took her bow in one hand, and arrows in the other. Fearlessly, she ran into the hoard of wrathful souls, shooting at them with her luminescent red arrows, pushing them slowly back, buying the crew time to exit this barren wasteland.
“Where is Amalia?” Bartholomew asked the professor as he arrived at the porch.
He wasted no time as he lay me down in the hall and swiftly headed toward the captain’s chamber.
“Griffin! Where is Amalia?“ Bartholomew raised his voice in worry as he and Rahil followed the professor.
“Bring the anchor up.” The professor commanded Rahil.
“What?” Rahil answered, perplexed.
“Bring the bloody anchor up!” The professor yelled with a harsh and raspy tone.
Rahil quickly headed to one of the gears and rotated it.
“What did you do with her?“ Bartholomew began to inquire angrily.
“It’s up!” Rahil called out to the professor.
The professor then took control of the house and ascended.
“What are you doing? Amalia is still down there!“
Bartholomew began to run toward the porch, only to be stopped by an energy pulse from the professor’s staff.
“Rahil! Take control!” The professor commanded as he quickly headed to the peregrination crystal. Hesitant to touch it, he finally reached out and grasped it in his hand.
While the crystal began to glow, the professor peered through the window of the room. Amalia was engulfed by the forgotten souls, as she engaged in a brave fight, shooting down any souls who attempted to get close to the house.
The professor moved his gaze from the window, slowly shutting his eyes and faintly whispering. “Athenaeum.”
Just as the house was about to leave, Amalia stared at it one last time, as she was swarmed by the wrathful souls, and with a gentle smile Amalia closed her eyes, and gave in.