CRACK!!!! I idly wondered why it was suddenly so dark. When I woke up, I saw a large, round rock next to my face. My head was splitting.
Putting two and two together, I deducted that the baseball sized rock had struck me on the head. Shaking off the dizziness, I checked that the pouch around my neck was still there and closed. I then went inside to clean up.
After seeing people disappear before my eyes, and having my room broken into and ransacked, I was ready to walk away from the whole mess. Especially if this proved to be an intentional attack.
But how can I do it without anyone else getting hurt? If I can't destroy or hide this thing, the only solution is to find a trustworthy caretaker for it. If such a person exists.
Removing the small leather pouch so I could take a shower, I noticed that it felt lighter. I emptied the contents into a large soap dish. "Oh no!!! It's GONE!" I shouted. Fortunately my parents were still out.
I rushed outside with a flashlight and combed the backyard, but I knew the dangerous object was gone. The pouch had been resealed properly, which meant it could not have fallen out. Someone had knocked me out and stolen it!!!
I have a strong feeling it has to be the old shopkeeper. Everything points to him. As much as I hate to admit it, I need Ella's help. I will just have to take a chance and trust her.
"You had it all along?!?!" Ella shouted, enraged.
"I told you why I kept it a secret. Your parents used it to make an unsuspecting person disappear!" I said, trying to remain calm and polite.
"That is strictly forbidden, Josh. If the Committee finds out, they will be stripped of their duties and titles. We are only allowed to work with willing volunteers. Shall you tell me exactly what they did, and I will tell you what's going on, then you can decide for yourself if you want to help me?"
"Thank you, Ella. How about we chat in the park, by the duck pond?"
"As you may have guessed, we are from another dimension. My parents and I are scientists, but we utilize both modern and ancient technology. Mom and Dad have been in this world for ten years. They had only planned to be gone for six months."
"Ella! They both left you when you were like... Nine?"
"Oh no! I was already an adult. We age much slower physically after our eighteenth year when in our own world. The theory is because our version of the sun emits some extra wavelengths on the color spectrum. I am fifty years old."
"Why were you sent to get the coin, Ella?"
"I came here to continue my parent's research. I will need the coin or another object when it's time for me to go back home with my findings. The coin and other objects of power have their counterparts in our world. Such objects can't travel between dimensions, unfortunately."
"Do you just leave them to be found by strangers when you go home?" I asked in disbelief.
"The normal procedure is for the object to be used in a secure place, and put into the care of someone responsible. I didn't get to see my parents except for a few minutes in the presence of some of our colleagues. Mom told me that the coin was in the house and gave me the address. But she scribbled on the note for me to look in the driveway, and also the address of where it was bought. I think she was hoping if it was found that it would be sold to the same place."
"How do they work, Ella? The coin looks like any other antique."
"They were made thousands of years ago, at the beginning of civilization. The technological knowledge required to create them is light years beyond anything we have now! They are fairly easy to operate, and utilize various aspects of the electromagnetic spectrum, as well as sound waves."
"That's a little beyond my basic grasp of science... What are you studying in this world?"
"Mostly the culture. Of course I will be taking back all of the environmental studies and other updated scientific knowledge too, so we can pool it with what we already know."
I then briefly told her about my experience with the elder Harris's. She was appalled at their actions.
"I will have a talk with them when I get home! I give you my word, they will have a sudden decision to retire. My parents will never enter this world again. If they refuse, I will have to report this to the Committee."
"You mentioned volunteers... What happened to the jogger, is he in your world? And do your volunteers end up here?"
"Unfortunately not, but we are certain that they are sent to a livable dimension. We have a means of sending simple messages between worlds, but it has to be done within a few minutes of leaving. The devices lose their connection to their home world quickly. They are tied to where they came from by energy from gamma rays. You do know about gamma rays, and that we can only sense a very small part of the color spectrum?"
I nodded yes, but explained that I really only knew the basics.
"The messages we received indicate a beautiful place. Most included the words paradise, staying, and other encouraging descriptions. Based on this, many people have volunteered to help us with our research. Nobody has ever returned. But we aren't sure if this is always by choice or there simply aren't any devices there."
"Why didn't you wait and get more details about what happened before you left?"
"Because of that scribbling about looking in the driveway! I don't understand why my parents didn't seek out someone willing to leave this dimension, as well as a trustworthy caretaker for the object. What you described is most unprofessional, and unlike them... I really do need to find out what made them act so strangely."
"First we need to get the coin back, Ella..."
This is a 100% power up post!
Artwork is my own