Monday, August 22, 2011

21: Trapped

Before I start, I just to mention a small change that I made in episode 20 toward the end.  Justin was to have kicked in the door to the warehouse, however, upon planning the next episode, I realized that I needed the door intact (you'll see why soon enough)!  So, just a few sentences have been changed on the 2nd to last paragraph.

Justin stood awkwardly next to the door as Sora and Witold had their reunion.  Sora was acutely aware of Justin's presence didn't know whether to question Witold, hug him... or kiss him.  As she approached him, her stomach fluttered with excitement.  Oddly enough, she had missed him over the last few weeks. That was a feeling she didn't expect to ever feel for him.

Heat spread over Sora's face, and after a brief hesitation, Sora closed the distance between them, and hugged Witold.  His embrace was strong; stronger than she thought it would be.  Being away from him since their new connection, Sora had forgotten that Witold had... changed... how he had, matured.  She pulled back and met his gaze.  The light from the door was dancing off his eyes.

"How did you find me?"  Sora whispered.  "Why are you here?"

Before Witold could answer, Justin tripped, knocking a metal wrack full of books to the floor.  "Sorry," he said, clearly embarrassed.  He wasn't sure what to do with himself and where he stood with Sora, and now she was in the arms of another man... er, Kiswan.  Justin stepped forward awkwardly, offering his hand to Witold.  "I'm Justin," he said. 

Witold merely glanced down at it, then back up at his face puzzled.  Instead, Sora reached out and shook Justin's hand to show him how to do it.

"How dare you touch her!"  Witold said.

"Witold!" Sora pleaded.  "Please!  He is my friend!"

"What is he trying to do?"  Witold seethed.  "Doesn't he know that you are promised to me?"

The door slammed shut interrupting Witold's rant, and through the little window toward the top of the door, Sora could see Cartwright peeking in.  She ran to the door and tried to open it, but it was locked. 

"What is going on?"  Witold seethed. 

"I don't know," Sora said as she walked back to him.  Justin began examining the steal door.  It was heavy, and well made.

Witold pulled Sora to the side and asked, "Who is this human?  Why are you with him?"

Sora knitted her eyebrows together.  "He is my friend, and and he is helping me!  Did you expect me to do this all by myself?"

"Well, that is why Leo sent me here, to help you."  Witold pulled away and walked toward a window at the opposite end of the building.  Sora followed.  The window was reinforced with bars. 

"I didn't know that you would be coming to help me Witold."  Sora reached for his arm, and turned Witold to face her.  "I was told that I would be on my own."

"Jess tricked me though.  How do you know that he isn't going to do the same?"  Witold asked.  "Jess knew so much about this... Justin."  The resentment was clear in his voice.  "She seemed to think that he was, courting you."  His jaw clenched together.

Embarrassed, Sora's face turned red again.  She reached for Witold's face and said, "He is not courting me, nor I him.  He has been my only ally here!  From day one, Jess was trying to find a way to take me away."

Witold pulled away, clearly hurt that I had bonded with another male.  "But how do you know for sure that he isn't in on the plan?"

"Because..." Witold was balling up his fists with his eyes narrowed in irritation.... "Witold!  Because, he is one of us!"

Witold snapped out of his emotion.  "What?  How can this be?"

"Can't you see the resemblance?" Sora asked.  "He told me all about his ancestors and how there is a legend that is passed down from generation to generation about another race called the Kiswan.  He is part of that line."

"What does this mean?"  Asked Witold.  "This would make him the closest to the true royal blood line."

Sora looked over at Justin and said quietly, "I do not know.  We need to take this before the counsel."

Witold seemed bothered by the situation.  Sora sensed that he was thinking about whether or not Justin was entitled to the throne.... would he be more eligible to partner Sora?  Butterflies fluttered in Sora's stomach at the thought.  She really had grown to like Justin.  She just wasn't sure in what way she likes him.

"Well, the counsel will have to wait."  Sora said, want to distract Witold from his thoughts.  "We have to finish this quest, or else there won't be a kingdom to rule."

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

20: Confusing Feelings

Witold sat in a small windowless room, on a flimsy metal chair with his hands patiently in his lap.  The walls were made of light stone blocks, which gave the room a cold feeling.  There was a metal door with a small window toward the top.  Witold was told that this was where he would be staying while in the human realm, all though there was no bed.

He stood up and walked to the door.  He reached for the door knob to ask Jess how long until Sora would be back, when he realized that there was not a handle.  The only thing there was a circular plate.  The door must have opened from the outside only.  Witold pressed his face up against the glass window to try and see Jess.  She was no where to be seen.

Witold had played off the stories about humans as a story to scare little Kiswan into doing what they were told.  If you didn't do what was expected, then the humans would come and get you.  Even Jess seemed to tiny and harmless, that he immediately put all thought of dangerous humans out of his mind... until now.  He began to pace the room looking for a way out.  He was not going to get this far and lay down.  If tiny little Jess could make him feel so comfortable, then turn around and lock him up, what might she have done to Sora?

That thought stopped him in his tracks.  He hadn't thought about that.  Was Sora alright?  He pulled the stone out of his pack and cradled it in his hand like it was a delicate flower that was beginning to wilt.  The glow that came from it was brighter than it had ever been.  Sora had to be close!  But what if something bad had happened to her, and the stone was left behind?

Picture Source
He marched over to the door and began to pound on it.  The sound echoed through the entire building, but no one seemed to be around.  Where had Jess gone?  What was she going to do with him?  She was so tiny that he could have lifted her with one hand and tossed her aside.

The turmoil inside was alarming to Witold.  He had never had such hostile feelings toward anything.  His heart was pounding in his chest.  He had to break free!  He began pacing again as he felt his adrenaline building up.  Unsure of what he was doing, Witold walked up to wall next to the door and kicked it with all of his might.


As they waited, Sora and Justin sat on the tailgate of his truck.  The wind had begun to pick up, and in the distance they could see a brown haze.  The trees put off a fragrance that permeated the air, showing off its lush healthy foliage.  Had it not been for an odd twist in events for the day, Justin would have been completely content.  He had never met a girl like Sora before.  She was so down to earth, and exotic.  Her drive alone was an intriguing feature about her.  She never seemed to stray from what she was supposed to be doing.  He admired that about her.  Ever since Sora had seen her friend Witold, she hadn't said much at all.  She seemed to be thousands of miles away, yet she sat right next to him.

Even her sweet aroma trumped that of the lush trees in whose shade they waited.  Justin leaned back in order to pull an apple from the ice chest.  His heart pounded with excitement as he sat back up.  In the split second it took to retrieve the apple, he acted upon impulse.  Justin quickly put his arm around Sora.

She removed her attention from the gravel road and looked Justin directly in the eyes.  They seemed to glow, with the flecks of gold adorning the beautiful brown eyes.  Before she could say anything, Justin leaned in, his cheeks flushing... the sun must have gotten hotter... He paused slightly...

Jess's voice could be heard shortly before it cut out completely, followed by the purr of her little car.  Sora hopped off of the tailgate and dashed through the trees only to see the tail lights of Jess's little blue car.

"Justin!"  Sora called back toward the truck, "She left!  Let's go get Witold!"

Justin slowly slid off of the tailgate and whispered to himself, "Right... Witold."  He wondered why he felt like Witold was more than just a friend to Sora.

Sora was apparently impatient, because she ran back toward the truck, nearly bumping into Justin.  "Let's go in!"

"Wait!  Hang on!"  Justin couldn't help but smile at Sora's percistence.  "We need to go in slowly and quietly to make sure no one else is in there.  The last thing we need is for the mayor to call the police on us for trespassing."

"Trespassing?  What's....." Sora was interrupted by Justin.

"Trespassing is when one person goes in another person's house our yard without asking first."  Justin crouched down next to a bush in order to observe the building.

Justin looked up at Sora, "Well, come on!  You don't want to be seen!"

Sora obediently crouched down as well.  "How long do we have to wait?"

"Well, we need to make sure that Jess is not coming back."  Justin took a bite of his apple and chewed then swallowed.  "We need to give it at least ten minutes."  Another bite..... "Then we'll go in."

Sora sighed and leaned against a tree.


Sitting across from Justin, Sora had time to reflect on what had just happened.  She knew that she liked Justin, but something about the feelings felt so wrong.  She absentmindedly picked the bark off of a stick.  She wanted nothing more than to choose a partner that she loved, not just the partner that she was told to partner with.  Something strange had happened just before Sore had left the Kiswone Nation.  It was unsettling, and she had tried as hard as she could to push it out of her mind.... until she actually saw Witold riding in Jess's car.

Needless to say, Sora was very grateful for the distraction that prevented Justin from kissing her.  She had to focus on her task at hand.  If she didn't succeed, it wouldn't be very long before no one would be able to fall in love.

Sora timidly said, "Justin, I..." she stopped, "I can't," was all she could get out.

"Why?"  Justin's voice sounded truly hurt.

"I don't know...I just have to focus on my quest."  Sora tossed the stick aside and stood up.

Justin remained squatting down, giving himself time to think.  "Well, I suppose, now that your friend is here, you won't be needing my help."

Sora was very confused at the change in Justin's tone.  Humans were very sensitive beings... even if Justin had Kiswan blood running through his veins.

Justin interrupted his thoughts, "Look, forget it...we can go now."

He climbed the fence and turned around expectantly waiting for Sora to follow.  Once she was over, Justin looked back and forth, and began to stealthily walk toward the building.  Before he could take two steps, they heard a loud crash come from within.  Both Sora and Justin forgot about being sneaky and sprinted, closing the distance between them and the building much faster.  Justin tried the doorknob, and oddly enough, it was unlocked!  He turned the knob, and pulled the door open, trying to see inside through the dim lighting.

Sora stepped through the doorway first, pausing to let her eyes adjust to the sudden darkness.  There was not one light on, and there were not any windows in the large room.  Sora glanced down each wall, and found a short hallway scattered with broken cinder blocks.  Emerging from the hallway was Witold, a fierce look in his eyes.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

19: Planning a Break Out

King Otto sat in his throne room patiently listening to the complaints and concerns of the villagers.  He had just finished listening to a Kiswan from the neighboring village of Dulder express his concerns about his crops.  The Kiswan's name was Nule.  He farmed tuber roots that the Kiswan called poppers.  The poppers were a staple in the Kiswone Nation.  Most meals that were fixed, were fixed with the poppers in mind.

Nule's dress was simple.  He wore a long pant and no shirt.  His coppery skin was smooth and well muscled from plowing and harvesting over the years.  His only sign of aging was in his face, where wrinkles garnished his face, and his eyes twinkled with years of wisdom.  He was worried about the earth soil, because it was dry and without nutrient.  Nule had tried to call on the earth core to replenish the earth soil, but nothing came.

Otto knew that if the nutrients were not replenished, then the poppers would not be able to grow.  He had promised to go and see for himself after mid day sup.

The problems throughout the kingdom were all the same.  It appeared that the Kiswan were losing their power, and Otto did not know how to fix the problem.


Justin and Sora stepped outside into the warm sun.  It was ten o'clock in the morning, and already, the temperature was nearing seventy degrees.  Sora closed here eyes and pointed her face at the sun.  The raise penetrated her skin, giving her goose bumps all over her arms and legs.  She smiled and headed down to Justin's truck.

Justin hurried ahead and opened the door for her.  She hesitated, but climbed into the truck.  "Thank you.  What do we need to do before we leave?"

Justin shut the truck door and walked around to his side, while getting in, he said, "We have to get gas in the truck... so it can run for a long time, and we have to get some food at the store," he paused, "so we don't have to stop very often."

Sora turned and looked out the back window.  There was a red box in the back right under the window.  Justin had dumped all of the ice from his freezer into it, forming a layer around the six cans of Coca-Cola inside.

"So if we put drinks and food into that little box, they will stay cold?.. even in this sun?"  Sora doubted the theory.  She smirked and sniggered at the thought.  "But the sun gets so hot here!"

"You'll see."  Said Justin.  "We will get even more ice at the store.  It should stay frozen in their for at least the day, and then some."

He put the truck into drive and headed toward the Farmer's Country Market.

Witold sat in the passenger seat of the tiny car while the human, Jess, talked non-stop.  She talked about her 'boyfriend,' and her 'job.'  She had an awful lot to say... about everything.

The one thing that kept Witold in his seat was the stone that he held in the palm of his hand.  Its glow began to brighten with each mile they drove, until finally they drove into a 'city,' and the stone was warm to the touch and growing even more brightly.

There were homes everywhere, with cars and humans walking along the 'road.'  Some huge buildings, nearly the size of the feasting hall were everywhere.  Witold wondered what important humans lived in those buildings.

Witold pointed at a store and asked, "Is that where one of your kings live?"

Jess laughed out loud, "No, that is a store.... where we buy things?"

Witold still looked puzzled.

She sighed, "When we need something, like food, we go into that store with money and exchange for the food."

"Oh!  Can we go in there?"  Witold was excited about going into a store and buying anything you need!

"No."  Jess glanced away, "We are going to go to Sora, remember?  We are almost there, we just have to go to the place she is staying."

Jess' instructions were to take Witold to a warehouse north of Roswell.  She wasn't to stop anywhere.  Cartwright was sure that if Sora knew that another one of her people were captured that she would come looking for him, and they could capture her too.  Jess' heart pounded with excitement as she passed a busy gas station.

Sora had been amazed at how ingenious the humans were with preserving food.  Some food was put in cans and sealed.  It would keep like that for years!  After they paid for the food, they made their way on to the next adventure... the gas station.

Justin wanted to show Sora how to fill his truck with gas.  He put a plastic card into a slot on the machine, and pushed a few buttons.  The machine beeped, and Justin opened the hole on the side of his truck, pulled off the nozzle, and inserted it into the hole.  He pulled the lever back and she could hear the liquid rushing into the gas tank.

"Its like feeding it!"  Sora had exclaimed.

"Kinda!"  Justin laughed.

Sora walked back around to the passenger side of the truck.  She leaned against the truck to watch the cars drive by while she waited.  Looking down the road, she saw a little blue car coming their way.  It had to have been Jess' car.  She watched as the car approached, and was shocked to see a human looking an awfully lot like Witold.  Sora's heart thumped, and her stomach fluttered uncontrollably.

"Justin!" She ran back around the truck to where Justin was putting the nozzle back on the machine.  "I just saw Jess drive by!"

"Okay," She's probably just going to work.

"No!  She had Witold in the passenger seat!"

"Who is Witold?"  Justin asked coolly.

"He is my... err, he is a Kiswan!" She looked down in thought.  "But how did he get here?" she said more to herself than to Justin.

"Someone came with you?"

"No!  I came alone," Sora said.  "I don't know why he would be here.... but we have to go and get him!  Who knows what Jess and Cartwright are planning to do with him!"

Justin grabbed his receipt and got back in the truck.  "Let's go then!  Let's see if I can catch up to her."

Sora hopped back into the truck, and Justin was pulling away before she even had the door shut!

He pulled onto the street and sped after Jess's car.  "If they have turned off onto another road, then we might not be able to find them."  Justin was leaning forward and weaving in and out of traffic, and after a few minutes said, "Hang on... is that her car?"

Ahead was the little blue car.  "Yeah!  It is!"  Sora sat up as if she could will the truck to catch up faster by leaning forward.

"Wait a second," Justin said.  "I wonder..."

Sora turned suddenly toward Justin, "Wonder what!"

"I have heard rumors, that Cartwright has some property north of town.  He keeps it chained off, with plenty of security.  I bet that is where she is taking him.  He most likely won't get away if they get him in there."

"Well what are we going to do?"  Sora asked.

After a few minute pause, Justin broke the silence.  "I think I have an idea."  He slowed way down, in order to back away from Jess' car.  Once her car went over a small hill, he turned off of the road, onto a road made of dirt.

Justin sped the truck down the road heading east.  A line of trees followed along the road on the left, and a farmer's crop spanned out to the right.  The line of trees began to get thicker the further Justin drove down the road.

"Where are we going?" Sora was anxious, and it was obvious.

Justin slowed down, and pulled into a group of trees on the left hand side of the road.  "Cartwright has a reputation of being somewhat erratic and crazy."

"Yeah, you mentioned that already."

"Well, he owns some property out here in the country.  Some friends of mine and I would sneak out here to spy on him."  Justin pointed through the trees.  "He has a warehouse in there.  He built it to house aliens when he would catch them."

"What?"  Sora jumped out of the truck and peered through the trees.

Sure enough, on the other side of the six foot chain link fence, was a giant building.  It stood about one fifty feet away from the fence, and sure enough, Jess' little blue car was pulling up at that moment.  Sora wanted a closer look, and she began to approach the fence.

"Sora, come back."  He grabbed her arm and pulled her back. "We don't want her to know that we are here, or else we won't be able to rescue him."

"I want to see him!"  Sora tried to pull her arm free, but Justin pulled her closer and wrapped his arms around her in order to contain her.

"Shhh!  Or they will hear you!" He knelt down with her and nodded toward a small opening between the trees.  "You can see through here."  Justin let go of her, and watched as she peered through the trees.

She watched as Witold got out of the car and stretched his long legs.  Justin noticed Sora's reaction as the Kiswan looked around and hesitated to follow Jess into the warehouse.  Sora's full attention was on him.  She seemed to have forgotten that Justin was there.  Her eyes followed him until he had disappeared into the warehouse.

She seemed to snap back to reality, because she stood up and began pacing back and forth.  "What are we going to do?"  She paused to look at Justin who was still kneeling on the ground.  "How are we going to get him out of there?"

Justin stood up and moved to the truck.  Leaning up against it, he said, "Well, my friends and I used to come out here to see if old Cartwright had anyone locked up in there.  Some of the younger kids thought that he performed experiments on regular humans that he accused of being an alien."

At that, Sora stopped pacing, and her cheeks paled.  "Experiments?  What kind of experiments?"

Justin opened the cooler that was full of the fruits and vegetables that they had bought for their trip east and pulled out two cans of coke.  "I don't believe he ever did any experiments.  I think he just tied them up and interrogated them."  He handed a can to Sora who cracked it open and took a long gulp.

Coughing because of the carbonation, Sora said, "So, do you have a plan?"

"Why yes, I do!"  Justin took a sip of his soda.  "We just have to wait for Jess to leave."

"You think she will leave him in there all alone?"

"I most certainly do.  She isn't one for sticking around."  Justin said.  "We just need to be patient."

Time passed slowly as they ate some snacks and waiting quietly in the shade of the trees.  Sora was to pensive to talk much.  She was thinking about all of the questions that she would ask Witold.  She even wondered how their reunion would be.  She felt somewhat guilty for befriending Justin, yet, at the same time, she felt guilty for thinking of Witold.  What a confusing day.

Monday, April 4, 2011

18: Interception

This is a story being told in chapters, or episodes.  If you are knew to the blog, then feel free to start at the beginning of the story!  Episode 1, An Introduction.
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"Jess, I have a job for you."  Whispered Jess' Uncle into the phone.

"What?  I can't hear you,"  Jess felt for the volume button on her phone and clicked it twice, "why are you whispering over the phone?"

"Don't worry about it... just listen Jess!"  Cartwright's tone was urgent and slightly crazed.  "I have a job for you!"

"But I'm already watching Sora.  If I go anywhere, I'll most likely lose her."  Jess hated to take orders from her uncle, because he always made her do the work. 

"Listen Jess, it's important."  He paused.  "Every time there have been alien sightings, they have been seen in multiples."

"Uh huh?"  Jess knew where this was headed.  She began pacing back and forth in front of her living room window.

"I really doubt that Sora came here all by her lonesome."  Cartwright cleared his throat and dropped his voice.  "If we are going to prove that we have made contact with extraterrestrial beings, then we need more than one of them for proof."

"You want me to go and see if there are any others lingering in Carlsbad, right?"

"Yes!  I love how you seem to be able to read my mind!  Good girl!  Now, where did you say that you found Sora?"  Cartwright asked in his southern drawl. 

Jess slumped down on the couch by the front window.  She sighed and said, "I found her at the Carlsbad Caverns.  She seemed to be on a tour there.... but to tell you the truth, she seemed like she had been sleeping in the caverns.  She had a bed roll and a backpack....."

"Good!"  Cartwright seemed to forget that he was trying to speak quietly.  "Now get down to Carlsbad and look for someone that looks like Sora.  I don't care if it takes you weeks, or even months!  There has to be another one!"

"Fine!"  Jess said, "but I'm sending you all of my receipts so you can reimburse me...gas included!"  And she hung up the phone.

Jess looked across the common area of her apartment complex one more time toward Justin's front door.  She sighed, then pulled herself off of the couch to get ready to head south to Carlsbad.

Witold walked along a black path wondering where he was, and how he was going to find Sora.  So far, his experience had not been very positive.  The humans were an odd sort of species.  He shook his head as he remembered what had happened in the cave.

Witold came out of the black tunnel and found himself in a large cave.  There was a walkway with railings going around the big room of the cave.  He was leaning next to one of the stalagmites when a human came rushing toward him looking extremely upset.

The human started yelling at Witold about how he would stunt the growth of the stalagmite by touching it with his bare skin.  Witold was so fascinated with the appearance of the human that he tuned the lecture out.  

This human had on a pair of tan colored pants... only the pants were short, leaving the bottom half of his legs bare.  He had a matching shirt, and a hat made of the same material.  On the bottom half of the human's legs was so much hair!  Witold nearly laughed at how odd it looked.  The human's skin was dull in comparison to what he was used to with the Kiswan, and as other humans gathered to watch the show, Witold noticed how many different colors of skin there was... and how short most of the humans were!  

Witold must have had a smirk on his face, because the (apparently male) human said, "You think this is funny do you?  Do you realize, that particular stalagmite will not get any bigger because you touched it?"

Witold brought his attention back to the situation.  He stood up, and looked at the stalagmite with a slight frown.  "Oh, no.  I'm sorry, I didn't realize..."

"Oh, you didn't realize eh?  Every tour group is instructed not to touch any of the formations!"  The human was beginning to gain confidence in himself.  "Do you think you are above the rules?  You can do whatever it is you want?"

Witold clambered over the railing.  "I'm sorry.  I didn't know... no one told me not to touch anything.  I just came through that opening."  Witold pointed to a smaller cave behind him.

"What?"  The human looked behind Witold.  "There isn't an opening back there.  Let me see your receipt."

"Receipt?"  Witold must have seemed crazy to the humans.  "What is a receipt?"

The human grabbed Witold by the arm and said, "Come with me.  We'll get this sorted out!" and he escorted Witold up the path and into a tiny room that moved upward, toward the top of the cave.  It was almost like that little room was flying.

The black path that Witold continued to follow wound down and around a mountain.  The land was an odd beauty.  It was dry, with interesting plants... some with poky spines on them (he found that out the hard way).

He pulled out his stone and noticed that it had a somewhat brighter glow!  His heart thumped in excitement!  That meant he was headed in the right direction!

As he was nearing the bottom of the mountain, a small blue contraption, that Witold had learned was called a 'car,' zoomed past him, heading up the mountain.  It skidded to a halt and whipped around, stopping next to him.

A tiny human got out of the 'car' and studied him for a few minutes.  She had white hair, and was very pale.  She was about the size of a very young Kiswan, maybe comparable to an eight year old.

The obvious female human approached and asked, "Are you Sora's friend?"

Witold couldn't believe it!  How easy!  "Yes!  Sora is to be my partner when we return to the Kiswone Nation!  You know her?"

"Your partner eh?"  The human seemed to be enjoying some private amusement.  "Well, she doesn't seem to know that.. especially how she has buddied up to Justin."

"Justin?"  Witold scrunched his eyebrows, "who is...?"

The human interrupted, "Oh, I'm sorry," she said, "I'm Jess.  I'm Sora's friend.  She has been staying at my place.  She wanted me to come and get you.  She is busy meeting with.... the... uh...leader of our nation.  What's your name?"

"I am Witold."  Something didn't completely seem right with this human, Jess, but he was not in a position to be picky about his help.  "But how did Sora know that I was coming?  She should not even know that I know where she is."

Jess seemed uncomfortable, like a baby Kiswan being handed to someone it doesn't know.  "Oh, she knows..."

Jess motioned toward the car.  "Well, shall we?  We have an hour and a half drive ahead of us, I'd really like to get back to Roswell."

Roswell? Witold had no idea where or what this Roswell was.  He hesitated momentarily as he eyed the car, then Jess, then the road.  "You will take me to Sora?"

"Yes, yes!  Get in."  Jess opened her door and got in.  She waved for him to go around, looking slightly annoyed.

Witold walked around the car, opened the door, and got in.  He had to cram his long legs in to shut the door, and off they sped.

Friday, April 1, 2011

17: Disturbance in the Force

Witold had never been this deep into the jungle before a few days ago.  It was semi-dark due to all of the trees towering up over his head.  The jungle was the one place where he truly felt small.  The green trees were covered in orange and green mosses, and the floor was littered with moist undergrowth.  The jungle sounds were both soothing and alarming.  He loved the sound of nature and the birds, but it startled him when he was so alone.

He was making his way toward the swimming hole, that Sora had used to learn to swim, for the last time before his escape into the human realm.  Agatha had been teaching Witold how to swim.  The water was so refreshing, and after he realized that he could float, Witold began to enjoy and embrace the water.  He now understood the mechanics of swimming, but his knowledge would have to due, since he was set to leave that very night.  He would have to swim up under the heavy waterfall and take the same path that Sora took through the cave.

It was midday.  Witold pulled the stone out of his pocket to look at it once more.  It did not have a hint of a glow.  Who knows how far away Sora is by now.  She has been gone for nearly three weeks.  She could be anywhere at this point.  He placed the stone back in his pocket as he arrived at the swimming hole.  He slipped off his shirt and shoes, and waded out into the cool clear water.  Little fish darted around Witold's legs as he eased himself into the water.  The swimming hole was not large, so the bottom of the body of water began to slope down quickly.  Today's swimming practice would consist of holding his breath.  Witold had swam out close to the waterfall, and he could feel the current push down around him.  He knew that it would not be easy to swim under that without being in the water for an extended period of time.

Looking across the water to the waterfall, Witold set his determination, took in an enormous breath, and dove under.


Sora awoke with a start.  She had trouble sleeping that night.  She sat up and listened into the darkness of Justin's bedroom.  His soft snores could be heard from the living room couch down the hall.  Sora got up and walked into the little bathroom to relieve herself.  She felt wide awake.  It couldn't have been much past midnight.  But the stirring she felt was part internal.  It almost felt like someone was watching her, which seemed silly.  It had to be the feeling of waking for no reason in the middle of the night.  Unsettling.

She walked back across the soft creme colored carpet and peered out the window.  The window looked out the front of the apartment.  Sora jumped.  She could see the blinds from Jess's apartment wide open.  She could have been mistaken, but Sora was sure that she saw Jess duck away from the window as soon as Sora looked out.

Something was very off about that human.  Sora didn't need Justin telling her that now.  No matter where she and Justin went, one of them caught a glimpse of Jess.  Unsure of how the humans do things, Sora gave Jess the benefit of the doubt, but when Justin went out without Sora, he instructed her to stay in the apartment and not to let anyone in.  She didn't have any issues following those directions.  She realized that humans could be very bazaar.

Sora left the window, walked to the bedroom door and quietly opened it.  Walking down the hall, she tip-toed past Justin and entered the kitchen.  She got herself a glass of water and sat down at the kitchen table.

There was something else that woke her, and now she was wide awake anticipating what it was... almost like it would knock on the door at any second.  Jess may be watching her and Justin, but that was not what woke her.  After all, little Jess was harmless really.

Justin must have heard Sora getting a drink in the kitchen because he came shuffling in looking bleary eyed.  The dim light above the stove was on, and it was casting its glow across the kitchen.  Justin sat down shirtless across from Sora.  She hadn't decided how she felt about Justin yet.  He was definitely easy to get along with.  He was obviously attractive.  She tried to keep her mind solely on the quest, but on occasions her mind would wander to Justin.  It was moments like these that she would freely take in his appearance.  She would think about how kind he had been to her.

"What are you doing up?" Justin interrupted her thoughts.

Sora's face grew hot with embarrassment over her lingering thoughts.  "I don't know.  I just woke up, and well, I don't feel like I can go back to sleep."

Justin locked eyes on Sora.  Her embarrassment not gone; her heart fluttered.  "Huh.  I woke up a while ago, and have only been able to doze off."

"I looked out the blinds of your bedroom, and I am positive that I saw Jess watching the apartment."

"Yeah, I saw her too."  Justin began rubbing his eyes.  "I don't have a good feeling about it.  She is getting weird.  It is almost like she has become obsessed with watching us."

"It must be why I can't go back to sleep."  Sora stood to refill her glass of water.  "I can't think of any other reason.  My senses must be on alert."

Justin stood as well and walked to where Sora stood peering out the back kitchen window.  "Hey."  He grabbed Sora's shoulders, making Sora look in his eyes.  "We'll get out of here tomorrow.  I've taken care of everything that I need to.  Soon, Jess will be just a funny story to tell."

In that moment, Sora realized her vulnerability.  She stood there looking at Justin and how willing he was to take care of her.  A small smile spread across her face.  She was grateful for his help.  She'd be lost or who knows what else without his help.

Sora looked at the clock.  "Well, it is only two in the morning.  I'm going to try and sleep."

Justin, broke his contact with Sora, hesitated, and said, "Yeah, me too.  See you in the am."

"G'nite."  Sora called down the hall as she entered the bedroom and closed the door.

16: A Side Story

I have been better now for nearly a week.  I have a lingering cough, but for the most part, I am doing great.  All of my sickness issues wound me up lagging behind in my class, so I have been spending extra time catching up.  I still have plenty to do, but I am seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.

Witold was hardly sleeping at night.  All he could think of was Sora.  Was she safe?  Where was she?  How long was she going to be gone?  He wondered the village wishing he could help her.  He performed his duties... or at least he thought he did.  Many of his tasks went by in a blur.

Agatha had been watching Witold.  She knew that he was fretting about Sora.  After planning with Leo, Agatha decided to bring Witold in to inform him on Sora's quest.  After all, in the end, he would be the only one able to help her.  After searching the entire village, Agatha finally found Witold sitting in the most obvious place.... right in front of his home.  She approached him quickly as to speak with him while he was alone.

"Witold."  Agatha whispered forcefully.  "Come with me, quickly."

Witold looked up at Agatha puzzled.  "What?  Why?"

Agatha sighed loudly.  "Just come with me, it's about Sora."

At the name, Witold perked up.  "Where are we going?"

"To the archives."  Agatha stepped back as Witold stood.  She then turned around and walked down the most deserted paths back to the royal home.  Witold followed close behind and wondered why Agatha was being so secretive and why she was in such a hurry.

As they entered the royal home, Agatha turned toward Witold and held her finger to her mouth prompting him to be quiet.  She scurried along the corridors, with Witold close behind.  Things were starting to get interesting.

As they entered the archives, Agatha slowed down.  For an old Kiswan, she could move pretty fast.  She walked straight to the back where the old man sat.

"Leo, we're here."  Agatha sat down in a soft chair and ushered Witold to sit next to her, while Leo slowly emerged from his private quarters.

"Excellent!  Witold, it is good to see you.  Thank you for coming."  He sat looking at Witold, which made Witold shift uncomfortably.

"We need your help Witold," said Leo.  "Sora needs your help."

"How can I help?  I have no idea where she is!"

"She is in the human realm."  Leo stopped to let Witold take in this information.

Witold was looking down at the floor.  He stood up from the chair next to Agatha's walked, around the back of it, and leaned on the high back.  He looked from Agatha to Leo, then back to Agatha.

"You are serious!  How did she get there?"  Witold's eyes were wide and filled with worry.  "Does her father know that she is there?"

"No.  No one knows where she is, except for Agatha and myself," stated Leo.  "Have a seat please, Witold, this might take a few minutes to explain."

Witold walked back around and sat next to Agatha in the soft chair.  Leo explained every little detail of the last few months to Witold.  How Sora's quest came to be, and how it was being prepared for.  Leo explained about the cave with the secret entrance.  The whole while, Witold just silently listened.

Leo ended his account.  "Sora needs your help to bring down the barrier.  She is not going to be able to get back through on her own.  You must go to her, and when the time is right, you will join the power that the two of you have together and bring down the barrier, thus restoring that energy to the earth's core."

"When do I need to leave?"  Witold asked.

"In two days time.  You will leave in the night, when the clouds are covering the sky from all heavenly light."  Leo paused..... "You are going to have to swim to get to the cave."

"Swim!?"  Witold's courage began to wain.  "I have never been in water higher than my knees!"

Agatha exchanged a glance with Leo then said, "Not to worry Witold, I can help you learn enough to get you into the cave.... but it has to be you Witold.  No one else will be able to get out of this realm and into the humans' world."

"How will I find her?  She could be anywhere!"  Witold was beginning to realize how difficult this task would be.

"I put a stone in Sora's pack.  It contains earth power in it.  Here is its sister."  Agatha pulled out from a pocket in her dress, a stone that fits perfectly in the palm of Witold's hand.  "This stone has the self same power as Sora's.  It will glow as you draw nearer the other stone."

Witold took the stone and examined it closely.  It looked like a regular bit of rock.  Leo interrupted his thoughts.  "We will get everything ready for your trip.  In the meantime, Agatha will take you to the small water hole and teach you how to swim.  You need to put a lot of effort into learning.  This will be your secret quest.  Tell no one where you are really going.  You may tell them that you are heading for a neighboring village, but do not be specific."

After receiving more instructions, Witold left the royal home for his own.  He had to get some supplies together in order to learn to swim.  If there was one thing that Witold enjoyed out of all of this was the fact that he got to find and be with Sora.  It took his mind off of the worry for the time being, and he set his mind to succeeding with his personal quest.

15: Just When You Think You Know Someone

Justin had just re-bolted his door, just in case Jess decided to try and storm in.  He did not like the way she left without a further argument or threat.  When he was dating her roommate, she was always lurking around and trying to squeeze her way in.  Her roommate ended up moving out because Jess claimed that Justin was really interested in her.  Justin was never really sure what kind of threat Jess gave her roommate, but Justin was sure that is what broke them up.  Ever since then, he had tried to steer clear of Jess Cartwright.

"Justin," Sora interrupted his thoughts.  "I didn't leave my nation without any kind of financial support.  It might not be the same as your currency, but it should help."

Justin took a seat next to her on the black leather couch.  Sora was pulling a little pouch out of her pack.  She pulled open the leather draw string and dumped out thick hunks of gold that were molded into uneven disks.

"Where did you get all of this!?"  Justin was running his thumb over the heavy coin.  "This has got to be worth a small fortune!"

"We mine them in one of the mountains in the Kiswone Nation," Sora waved her hand nonchallantly.  "We use them as currency to sell our goods to one another."

"There is one mountain that all of this comes from?"

"Yes, we have not even needed to start looking into other mountains," Sora picked up one of the soft coins to run her own thumb over the top.  "We recycle the same gold most of the time.  There is a large store of it in one of the chambers of the castle.  Some of it hasn't even left that room for centuries."

Justin was in awe.  "This could be a very large case in getting the President of the United States to listen to you.  My country is in so much debt that his ears will perk up at the sound of large nuggets of gold just sitting around in another nation."

Sora began to fill her pouch back up.  "Will someone one buy these do you think?"

"There are a lot of people who would buy these up in a heart beat."  Justin put the few coins that he was holding into the pouch.  "But you don't want to sell these.  We'll need these later on, as they are."

"Listen, you should stay here tonight.  You can sleep in my bed.  I'll sleep on the couch...." Justin hesitated.  "I don't think it would be wise to stay with Jess."  Justin got up quickly and walked down a hallway.  Sora thought she saw his cheeks go red.  Once she realized why he had blushed, she blushed herself.  Truth be told, Sora did feel a bit uncomfortable going back to Jess's apartment.  She just couldn't get over the sickening feeling that something was not right.
Justin had changed the sheets on his bed, and put some on the couch to finalize the arrangements.  Their plan was simple.  Justin would talk to his boss the next day telling him that he needed some time off, and his last few weeks of pay.  The old man would see reason, after Justin smoothed over how long he would be gone.  Luck was on Justin's side, since there was not much to be done until it was time to harvest the corn.

The old farmer should be able to get Justin his money by the next day.  They planned on leaving that night.  In the meantime, Justin and Sora would make preparations with food, and a route to get to Washington D.C.

With their plans finalized, Sora gave Justin a hug, thanking him for his help, and bidding him a good night.  She entered his room to retire for the night.  She was very grateful for his generous heart in helping her.  She would be stranded without his help.  As a female Kiswan, he could not help appreciating such a good human, or was it Kiswan... or both?  As she laid in his bed waiting for sleep to wash over her consciousness, Sora thought of how Justin's short hair reflected the sunlight through his highlights.  His dark eyes had the same flecks of sunlight in them as well.  He was clearly a handsome Kiswan.  Sleep enveloped Sora, and she dreamed of Witold, trying to get to her to help her.

The sun had just risen, and Sora heard a distant, yet urgent knock on a door.  Sora sat up in the bed.  She heard a few thumps which may have indicated that Justin had fallen off of the couch when the knock sounded.  She smiled at the image, but remained where she was.  Something told her that it was not a good idea to go out into the living room.

Sora heard muffled talking for a few minutes, and finally silence.

A few minutes after the muffled conversation ended, Justin walked down to his bedroom, where Sora was staying.  He knocked quietly, and when Sora invited him in, he entered looking extremely worried.

"That was the sheriff."  Justin sat down at the end of the enormous bed.

"The sheriff?" Sora had not heard of a sheriff before.

Justin gazed up at her.  "Oh right.  A sheriff is a chief enforcer of the laws of the town.  He basically answers to the higher government officials like the mayor."

"Oh, what did he want?"

"The sheriff was looking for you.  He says that you are wanted for robbery... He claims that you stole a map of the mayor's when you were with him yesterday.  The whole police force has been instructed to watch out for you."

"What?" Sora was shocked.  "I didn't steal anything!  I looked at his map, while he was comparing mine with his."

Sora took her map out of her pack and unrolled it.  She had just then realized that Justin was holding a piece of paper in his hands.

"That is the same map in this picture," Justin handed the photo over to Sora to examine.

"How did he get this!  Mayor Cartwright was taking pictures of it on his phone, but how did he get it printed out?"

Justin looked at Sora's map.  "I don't know, but he is claiming that your map is his.  He sent the mayor here, because Jess told him that she had seen you 'nearby.'"

"I think that you should keep that map well hidden.  If Cartwright has the police involved, they will be back later with a warrant to search my apartment..." Justin paused and said, before Sora could ask.  "A warrant is a piece of paper that says the police can search my apartment, no matter what."

Sora was surprised, "I can't believe the treatery that seems to be so common here!"

"Yeah, well that is how it is."  Justin said matter of fact.

"Oh, yeah, they asked if you were here.  I said no.  I told them that my mother was staying for a few days.  I don't know how long that will hold them off, but I suspect someone will be watching me."

Justin made breakfast for Sora, pancakes with syrup, which was utterly delicious.  He then got ready for the day to head over to his boss' house to discuss his pay.  The plan was for Sora to keep a low profile while he was gone.  If anyone came knocking on the door, she was to remain silent until they left.  If the person was starting to break in, she was to head out the back window and hide in the place he described to Sora.  It seemed easy enough.

Nothing happened for many hours.  Sora was just quietly making her way through the house.  She was looking at every picture that Justin had, and every detail of his belongings.  It was very interesting.  He seemed to be such a simple person.

Her musings were interrupted by some rustling around the front door.  Sora tip-toed up to the door to look out the peek-hole.  She could see the top of Jess' head.  The doorknob jiggled, as Jess tried to open the door.  The next thing Sora noticed was a piece of lined paper being slid through the crack in the door.  Sora waited until Jess was gone before removing the paper.  She sat down and read the disturbing note.


You are making a huge mistake!  My uncle is the only one around here that can help you.  He knows the president personally, and he ensures that you will be safe with us.  We are you friends, and want nothing more than to help you succeed!  Please let us help you.  If you don't come to us willingly, then we will have to come and get you.  My uncle can either be your greatest asset, or your worst enemy.  Chose carefully.


Jess xoxo"

The change in tone was enough to give Sora chills.  What were these humans planning to do to her?