Friday, September 11, 2015

Bonus Scene - Restorer's Journey - Mark


After chapter 6


Dust floated uncaring from the rafters. I reached my arm toward the empty space where my son had stood seconds before. Gone. 

My heart pounded, sending a jarring pulse against my broken ribs. I grabbed the nearest portal stone, shifted its position, and realigned it with the others. No subtle vibration, no tingling tug of the portal, no hint of life. I picked up the others. The stones were dead weight in my hands.

I’d been ready to die in the effort to reach Susan—but I hadn’t been ready for this. Shut out, facing horrible emptiness. And now Jake was gone, too.

“No!” The cry tore open my cut lip and I tasted blood. I crumpled to the plywood floor. Bones grated. Bruises throbbed. But the pain was nothing compared to the raw horror in my soul.

For weeks I’d contemplated destroying the portal stones, and then worked on ways to alter or control them. Anything to keep Cameron and Medea from returning to harm the clans. Even after Cameron and Medea invaded our house, I thought by purposely misaligning the stones I could hinder them. After they surprised me and dragged Susan with them, Jake had to snap me out of my shock. We formed another new plan. And now I faced another disaster.

Jake was gone, too. Lost, unreachable. In danger. Like Susan.

Susan’s journal rested on the chair we’d set up for her quiet refuge. It seemed years ago that she’d smiled at me, thanking me again and again for building this space, for finding some tangible way to help her with her inner pain. I inched toward it. My Council tunic caught on a nail head, and I tugged it free. I’d love to tear the entire thing apart, along with all the choices that had led to this moment. Instead I picked up her journal and hugged it against my chest. “Lord, bring her back to me.” The longing was so deep, I could only whisper the words.

I gently set the journal back on her chair. Time to find a solution.

First, I tried every improbable trick I could think of to activate the portal. Placing the old plastic sword between the stones produced no reaction. Tossing a ball across the space triggered nothing. Stepping in and out of the space and re-positioning the portal stones again and again did nothing.
Next, I brought the stones down to my basement workbench and pulled out my tools. I tinkered for hours, looking for clues in the hidden mechanisms that could bring them back to life. My worries swung between Susan and Jake. At least when Jake went through the portal, the stones weren’t misaligned. And he wasn’t in the company of Cameron and Medea. What was Susan going through?

Hours later, I rubbed my eyes, as my tools and the workbench slipped in and out of focus. My whole body was one throbbing ache, and now I was swaying on my feet from exhaustion.

I took the stones and a sleeping bag back up to the attic. In the past, our sojourns through the portal had taken little time in this world. Susan and Jake could return at any moment. Or perhaps they’d be able to send a message somehow. Until they did, I needed to stay close. I unrolled the sleeping bag and curled up, ears straining for any hopeful sound. If I couldn’t sleep beside my wife, at least I’d sleep beside this fragile link that I had to her.

As the darkness settled around me, my desperate hope provided cold comfort.

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