Terribly sorry: I guess I forgot that I was a post behind. Anyway: here’s part 10. Enjoy! You get two for the price of one.
Justin woke up.
He was a plane. A small plane. A very small plane.
Amber was sitting across the narrow isle, sleeping. Justin sat up. He was alone. The last thing he had remembered was running through the kitchen…hearing the sounds of someone yelling…getting in a car…and Amber reaching for his face.
He winced and felt the bruise on his temple. She had knocked him out.
“So…you’re awake, eh?”
Justin started. A man, dressed in khaki pants and a dark green military style shirt was standing at the end of the narrow cabin, looking at him. He was Mexican or Latin American.
“Not much of a talker, are you?” The man walked with an easy grace. “I’m Francisco.”
“Last name?” Justin asked, trying not to look devious.
Francisco laughed. “Not yet. But I know yours, I think. Justin Kobe…what origin is that? Dutch?”
“I have no idea.”
Francisco’s cold eyes belied his easy shrug. “You’ll have plenty of time to figure it out. The rest of your life–however long that may be.”
He turned. “There are drinks in the cooler a few seats back. Don’t disturb Amber. If you need someone to talk to, I’ll be in the cockpit.” The he vanished behind the curtain to the front part of the plane.
The cabin was small–so the plane had to be private. Perhaps a Cessna.
It looked old. The curtains over the windows were dirty and the edges of the chairs were chipped and scratched. And it wasn’t American. The signs were in Spanish. Was that even legal?
Justin walked up the aisle. Now that he was not sitting, he could feel the bumps and jolts of the air current roiling outside the aircraft.
As he walked the ten steps to the cockpit, he walked the event of the past day in his mind. It was night now, late. He had been out for hours. Which meant he could be anywhere. His kidnappers were courteous, aside from knocking him out, and acted as though they were protecting him. From people who wanted what was in his mind.
The good fighters of old first put themselves beyond the possibility of defeat, and then waited for an opportunity of defeating the enemy.
Sun Tzu. A lot of good it did. He was as good as defeated. Amber had been enough to hold him–now there was this other man. Francisco.
To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.
That stopped him. He sat, a few rows away from the cockpit. He needed to know his enemy–or protectors. Whatever they were. And then he needed to let them provide his own way of escape.
What was the key? What was the turnpoint?
Thus the good fighter is able to secure himself against defeat, but cannot make certain of defeating the enemy.
He had to start somewhere. Somewhere with himself. Or with what was within him. The presence. The being inside him. It was there, on the fringe. Watching.
He didn’t know himself. This…thing…was a part of himself. He needed to know it.
He closed his eyes.
He was in the mist. Again. Like his dreams. His dreams that were unrelated.
He sighed mentally. How could he have known?
A creature was approaching him, a lean gray canine beast. It stopped, partially hidden by the mist that swirled like a solid curtain.
Justin knew the creature’s name. He had heard the name in his dreams.
The creature seemed to incline its head. “I am. You heard my voice?”
“In my dreams,” Justin said. “How long have you been with me? How long have you been watching?”
Daldion turned away. A flood of emotions flowed from the creature like a physical wave of thoughts. Sadness. Darkness. Death. “A year. A year–since you began having problems. Though I have never seen such strong effects of my presence before.”
Justin almost laughed. “Great. What do you want? What do your…friends want?”
Daldion stared into Justin’s eyes, as if gauging what he found there. Justin looked away, but it did no good. Daldion was in his mind. This all was in his mind. He had no control. It was ironic.
“Not yet,” the wolf said, drawing back into the shadows. Daldion’s dark eyes glinted in the gray light. “Not yet. Soon.”
Justin opened his eyes. The plane was shaking. Violently. Amber was still sleeping, strapped into her seat. So was he. He unbuckled. Francisco.
He pulled the curtain hiding the cockpit back. Francisco was sitting in the pilot’s chair. He had one hand on the yoke and the other to his ear, holding a cell phone. Justin wondered how he could possibly hear with such a racket.
The man noticed Justin and pulled the phone away. “Just a bit of turbu…turbulen…bumpiness. We’ll be landing shortly. Don’t worry.”
A heavy jolt knocked Justin off his feet. He clutched the edges of the cockpit doorway gamely, trying to make it back to his seat. Just a bit of bumpiness. Really.
Life was playing a really mean joke.