Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2038688-Solaris
by mik
Rated: E · Fiction · Supernatural · #2038688
A woman retrieves some magical crystals only to find her life completely changed.
Chapter 1
          I awoke face-down and sputtering sea-water, my head felt doubled in size.  Scanning my surroundings, I saw endless beach.  Where is everyone, I wondered rolling onto my back with a grunt? 

The searing sun filled me with panic, as fear unfurled like a wave racing for shore and acid burned down my throat.  Jerking upright, instantly alert, and apprehensive, I’m terrified with no memory of why…something to do with the sky. 

There’s nothing worse than being soaked in fear and unable to remember why.

My eyes dart in every direction, like the spray of waves slamming against a rocky shoreline. How’d I get here, what happened?  The memory was on the tip of my tongue, but out of reach.  Swallowing I reel to my feet fighting the dizziness that threatens to topple me.  I lurch toward my jeep, the sun scorched sand cooking my feet.  Where are my shoes? I ponder plucking the sweat stained blouse from my chest, and how long have I been lying here?

        Stiffness and aches radiate from my joints.  I haven’t felt this bad, since I had the flu, but the flu doesn't erase memories.  I gaze at the sky...and wispy images convalesce…something happened.  Something in the sky…but the image fades like an over-exposed picture.  My insides twist with remembered fear, and I fall to my knees, cradling my dizzy head while I heave.

What the hell did I eat; I wonder wiping my mouth.  And where have I been? Too weak to stand, I crawl on hands and knees, to my vehicle. 

Dallas. I was returning from Dallas, I vaguely recall.  Heath sent me to pick up- using the bumper, I stand and stumble down the side of the vehicle- “Tell me I didn't get jacked.  Please, let it be here.”  A black briefcase rested in the passenger seat.  Snatching up the case, I open the back section.  Inside sat 12 stacks of banded hundred dollar bills.  I push pass those, grabbing the velvet bag, I squeeze the hard irregular shapes encased by the bag, giving a sigh of relief to find everything intact.

Falling into the driver’s seat, I glance at the rear-view mirror.  Steely gray eyes stare back at me.  Startled, I scrutinize my image closer.  Gray…how did I get gray eyes?  Eye color doesn't change, at least mine doesn't.  My eyes should be brown? The wild tangle of auburn frizz was defiantly mine.  Why couldn't that change?  If anything about my appearance was going to change, why couldn't it be the hair?  I sigh and sink into the seat, staring at the road ahead.

No other cars are visible, sending a shiver down my spine.  This is a beach; on a hot cloudless day…the place should be swarming with people.  My eyes drift skyward.  I was driving home…it was night and something in the sky-

A seagull swoops down, scattering my thoughts, as I stare in open-mouthed shock.  The bird disintegrated, evaporated, disappeared...something, I don’t know what. 

I ran to where the bird disappeared, all my weariness and pain vanishing.  Something’s not right…hell, nothing’s right, I thought turning in a slow circle, looking for anything that might give a clue. What happened last night?  Was it last night?  What if I’d been out for days? 
“Clay and Cy-Cy,” I exclaim.

A new knot forms in my stomach, tightening my chest.  My kids we’re expecting me before sunrise.  I hadn't arranged for anyone to check on them…  How frightened they must be.

I found my keys in the ignition.  Great!  I’d left the jeep running.  Damn, not only am I out of gas, but the battery is drained.  “I need to check on my kids.” 
I reach for my phone relieved to see it had a full charge, only to have that relief vanish as swiftly as the bird, NO SERVICE, but it was the date on the phone which froze me in horror.

“Two days!”  I’d lost two days.  Resolve replaced panic…I had to get to my kids.

        They’re alone in a small house outside Orlando.  I have no idea the extent of this phenomenon.  I only know something happened…I can’t remember what, but I need to know they’re safe.  I need to reach them, as soon as I can.

I remove my work issued 9mm handgun, slipping it in my waistband, and slinging the briefcase over my shoulder.  Several years on the job, and I’ve never had to use this gun, unlike the others in my line of work.  I hope that doesn’t change.  The nausea twisting my stomach subsides as I walk the empty road. 

Where are the vehicles and people, I wonder with unease.  Every house and building appears abandoned.  It’s going to be hard to appropriate a car, with none in sight. 


        After twenty minutes of walking, I spot a gray Tahoe angled across the far lane.  Slowly…I approach, careful to check for signs of movement. 

Stopping a few feet out, I draw my gun and crouch low crossing the median calling; “Hello,” and listening.  I heard only wind and buzzing insects.

        Still crouching, I move to the driver's door, but see nothing through the fogged windows, slowly I yank the handle.  Nausea slammed me again, staggering back, I cover my nose, and mouth as death and decay bring me to one knee, gulping for fresh air.

        What the hell? I wonder, gaze drifting to the sky.  An image fluttered, like a desert-mirage, shimmering in the distance.
I tried not to look at the charred family inside the Tahoe, the smell told me all I needed to know, nothing good happened here.  Getting my nausea under control, I circle around the front, only to freeze in place.

        The passenger side was missing…melted.  I tried to imagine the heat necessary to melt a SUV, but couldn’t, a slag of liquidized metal and plastic pooled beneath the Tahoe.  Bending down, I lightly touch the cooled ooze, my gaze following a rivulet, down the shoulder of the road.  What could have done this, I wonder.  It must be hours old, to be cooled. 

More importantly why hasn’t anyone cleaned this up?  Where are the police and rescue teams or at least a corner?  This poor family left to the scavengers and elements…it’s not right.  Shaking off my concerns, I push ahead. 

        At the back hatch, I shout “Eureka,” finding an old 2 liter bottle and setting it next to the gas tank, and proceeding to pop the hood.  I breathe a sigh of relief; the battery’s on the non-melted side.  A quick scan of the engine provided a tube long enough for my purposes.

I tuck the velvet bag into my bra, and the hundred dollar stacks into a money belt secured beneath my clothes.  Removing my pocket knife, I cut halfway through the leather sides of the briefcase, the battery fit snugly within.  I lay a limb across my shoulders, hooking the 2 liter, with my belt to one end, and the battery toting briefcase, on the other.


Using the gas and battery to revive my jeep, I return to the melted Tahoe and siphon the remaining gas.  Heading for home, I turn off highway A1A, and several vehicles surround me.  “Military police,” I mutter.  “Great…the melted Tahoe they ignore but me they surround, can anything else go wrong?”

“What are you doing in a restricted zone?”  The biggest of the soldiers demands.

Chapter 2
The Crystal

“I don’t know,” I reply, “Didn’t know this was a restricted zone,” I added.  “Guess that explains why no one was about.”

A shorter more squat soldier steps forward.  Despite being smaller he was somehow more intimidating, his eyes we're cold with verily contained anger smoldering in their depths. Flipping through pages on a clip-board he grumbled.  “You’ll find this process goes easier, when you cooperate. This zone was closed two nights ago.  How did you get inside, and what were you doing there?”

Two nights ago, I lost two nights...could I have been lying on that beach unconscious the whole time?  “I’m not trying to be difficult; I don’t know why I’m here.  I don’t remember.  I woke two hours ago on the beach.  Don’t know how I got there, the last thing I remember, is taking a business trip to Dallas.”

Clip-board sneered as he and friends jerk me from of my vehicle and begin searching the interior.

The velvet bag…they’re looking for the bag.  It’s still in my bra, not sure if I’m happy about that or not.

I stood in the jeep headlights and scrutinized the G. I. Joe want-a-be’s.  Clip-board while cold and calculating, wasn't clever enough to be dangerous.  The other two…we're obvious followers, waiting for him to decide what they think.

I’m used to dealing with powerful and wealthy people.  In my line of work…one has to be.  These three didn't fall into either category, they’re grunts.

Normally I wouldn't be freaked at the Military's involvement, they’re one of my biggest clients, but I’m not working for them right now.  Heath hired me and he’s a wildcard.  I don’t like wildcards.  If I hadn't been desperate for cash, I never would've accepted this job.

        Heath is one of central Florida’s wealthiest.  Well not just one, he’s the leader of the pack.  If he, or the package he sent me after has anything to do with what happened…I’ll…I’ll.  I don’t know what I’ll do.

Damn, I knew better than to trust him.  He’s too smooth, and if I've learned anything over the years...smooth men aren't to be trusted, not in business and especially not in romance.  I sigh, accepting this delay in getting home. 
Turning from the car search, clip-board asks me to empty my pockets on the hood of the jeep. 

         I dump my cell phone, chap-stick, and pocket knife, for his inspection. 
The nondescript third guy rose from the side compartment, with my handgun saying, “What, do we have here?”

“It’s registered.”  I say shrugging.  “It’s a job issued permit.”

“And just what kind of job would that be?”  Clip-board asks.
“Top tier Procurement and Currier service.”
“What’s that,” the big guy questions, scrutinizing my permit.

I smile, (he’s obviously not the brass buttons on the uniform.)  “I discreetly obtain and transport sensitive items; for certain…ahhh, shall we say; well placed individuals.”

“Really,” clip-board replies.  I could see the wheels turning, and his cold eyes began to gleam.
“Mainly your bosses,” I clarify.
He nods in a dismissive way.  “Sooo, where’s this sensitive item you’re transporting, it’s not in the car?”
“I’m not transporting, I’m heading home.  I delivered my package to Dallas before everything got crazy.”
“You expect me to believe that?”

Having had enough, I leaned against my jeep, crossing my feet at the ankles.  “I don’t expect anything from you.  Either charge me…or let me go, I’m exhausted.  And I’d really like to get home, and forget the last couple days ever happened.”

Clip board glances at his cohorts and snickers.  “Oh, you’re not going home…at least not tonight.”


I saw the scattering of pill box buildings a head, the base.  Clip-board tries hustling me through the maze of corridors before anyone could question or stop him.  After several right turns down boring plain gray halls, we enter the hall leading to the holding cells.  A door opens and Lt. Geoffrey steps out.
“Private Hall, aren’t you suppose to be on perimeter detail,” Geoffrey demands.
“Yes sir.”  Private Hall or clip-board says slapping a smart salute to his superior. 

Lt. Geoffrey stares, waiting for an explanation. 

I step forward, “Lt...sir, I’m Tess Temples; I handle sensitive procurement needs for the military.”

“Haaa yes, Ms Temples…I’m aware of your services.”

“There seems to be some misunderstanding, this man is trying to arrest me.”
Private Hall came to life. 
“Sir there is no misunderstanding.  She was in a restricted zone with no explanation.”
“Sir, my mission was beyond his clearance level.  If I may speak with you, I’m sure we can clear this up and I can finally be on my way home.”

Lt. Geoffrey opens the door; he’d stepped through only moments ago.  “Yes of course, step into my office.  Private Hall, return to your post.”

I couldn’t help turning a satisfied smirk on clip-board before he stomped away.

Lt. Geoffrey's office resembled him in a lot of ways.  Sparse practical furnishing, devoid of any personal touches. His desk, book-shelf, and chairs had obvious signs use, dented and banged but still useful.
“Please have a seat Ms Temples.  Lt. Geoffrey said moving behind his desk and easing into a chair.  “What, may I ask were you sent to retrieve from a restricted zone?”

“I’m sorry sir, but your security level doesn’t reach that high either.  I can only tell you, I was sent to determine if an artifact is connected to the anomalies.”

“Sent by whom?”
“The president sir,” I blatantly lied.  “It’s a top level operation, need to know bases only.”

“Excuse me…but I have to ask, why would the president send a Currier on a fact finding mission?”

“Because only three people know about this…uh artifact, the president, the vice and myself, as I procured the item for them.”
“I see,” Geoffrey replied.  “So was the artifact responsible?”
“Inconclusive sir, more investigation needs to be done.  I have sent my findings to the president and await his approval for further action.”
Leaning forward and placing his hands on either side of the desk he said.  “Frankly Ms Temples I find your explanation to be wild and fantastical…”

I scoot to edge of my chair ready to argue. 

“However,” he interrupted.  “I have spontaneous vortexes and heat rays appearing all over the blasted area…so wild and fantastical stories are over-running the base." He said with worry creasing his brow. 
"I’m inclined to believe you’re story.”  He acquiesced with a sigh, only because I’m aware of the strange and rare artifacts, you find and curry for the government." Dropping back into his chair he sighs and the faintest trace of hope lightens the lines on his brow, "I don’t need to tell you, I hope you’re able to discover and neutralize the threat.”

My cocky bravado was effectively deflated by the Lt.’s casually mentioned disturbances.  I walk away from his office questioning my decision to lie.  I have no idea what’s going on out there, or what triggered it…but my gut is telling me, I’m at the center of the phenomenon.

My phone started vibrating the minute I reached the city limits of the small town hosting the military base, it finally went still outside Lt Geoffrey's office.  I hadn't taken four steps back through the labyrinth of the main building before it was buzzing my pocket again. Heath…I wanted to talk to him …but I wanted off this base first.

The view of town was picturesque in it's simplicity from the base, and only a short fifteen minute drive.  Pulling into what passed as a park, if the sign was any indication, I slipped into a parking spot, scanning the area.  I saw a bench and some flowers centered in a patch of grass…some park, I thought…the place was deserted.

         With buzzing phone in hand, I stared at the display assembling my thoughts.  "Someone’s anxious to talk to me,"  I mumble before hitting the talk button.
         “Where the hell have you been," Heath bellowed.  "I’ve been calling for TWO days.”
         “Awww, I’ve missed you too,” I replied sarcastically.  “Would you like to explain now or later?”
         “Funny, I was going to say the same thing…only not as a request.”  He growled into the phone.  “I thought you were a professional…that’s why I hired you.  I was told you knew how to handle sensitive items.”

         Taking a deep breath, I responded in a calm voice of authority.  “Oh no, you do not get to turn this on me.  I followed your instructions to the letter…and I’m sure you’re aware of the results.”  At least his smooth charade has fallen away, revealing his true character, I thought.

         “Please, don’t even try to pretend the crystals are still in the box.”  He snarled sarcastically.

         “Box…what box.  You never said anything about a box.  I was given a velvet bag containing the crystals…no box.”  Blowing out my breath I allowed the first signs of strain to enter my voice, “This is why I like to procure the item from its original resting place myself.”
         “Those bastards…they kept the box.  You have to go back.”
         “Go back!”  I shouted.  “Are you crazy…I’m not going back.  I need to check on my kids.”

         “Your kids are fine…for now.”
         “What the hell is that suppose to mean, are you threatening my children?”
         “Hell no, you are.  The vortex and heat-rays are going to follow you, until you put the crystals back in the box.”

         “What!  But what about my kids, they were expecting me two days ago.”
         “I know, I called your house when you didn’t show, they said they were alone so I called your friend Madeline to stay with them until your return.”

         “You what,” I questioned, trying to wrap my head around him invading my private life.  While I was glad my kids weren’t alone.  I didn’t like him mucking around in my life.  “How do you know my friend Madeline?”

         “Don’t be absurd, I don’t know your friend.  Cy-Cy said Madeline usually stays with them when you’re away…so I called her.”

         My stomach felt queasy again at my daughter’s name coming from his mouth.
         “Now that we’ve established, your children are fine, can we get back to the important issue?  You will leave a swath of destruction everywhere you go, until the crystals are back in the box.  Since you’ve already gone from Texas to wherever you’re at, that swath has already been cut…you simply need to return the same way you came.”

         “But I have no idea how I got here.”

         “What do you mean?”

         “I woke up on the beach about four hours ago with no memory of how I got there.”

         “Think real hard…what was the last thought you remember before you woke up, on that beach?”

         “I don’t know.”  I said with impatiens.

         “Try…this is very important.”

         “I was leaving Dallas, it was hot…real hot, and the air-conditioning on my car quit working.  I remember thinking…I wish I was on the beach.

“No…tell me you’re joking,” he whispered.

         “Yes, I always joke while the world is being destroyed by unknown powers gone a muck.”

         “The crystals chose you!”  He whined in a verily audible voice.

         “What the hell are you talking about?”

         “I’ll explain later,” he said with more volume.  “Right now there isn't time; you need to get the box.”

         “How the hell am I supposed to do that?”

         “Think about Dallas…are you thinking about it?”

         “Thinking what exactly,” I said questioning his sanity.

         “Envision the path you took there and wish to return the same way.”

         “You’re joking, right?  You want me to wish my way to Dallas?”

         Heath’s voice sounded tight with pent up emotions.  “I know it sounds crazy, but the crystals will take you wherever you wish.”

         “What the hell have you gotten me into,” I yelled into the phone.

         “It wasn't supposed to be this way, I never meant for you to learn about the crystals power, and now that you have, your life is forever changed.  I’m truly sorry.  accepting what’s happening...it won’t be easy.”

         “Will you stop being cryptic and explain what’s happening?”

         “Once you’ve retrieved the box, I’ll tell you everything, help you make the transition…but first you must return to Dallas, get the box, and place the crystals within.

         “And I’m supposed to wish my way to Dallas, is that right?”

         Heath expelled a heavy sigh.  “I know this is hard to accept…but the crystals are raw power, and they have chosen you.  Granting your wishes is the smallest part of what they can do.  Call me back once you've returned the crystals to their resting box.”

         I sat and stared at my cell phone, disbelieving he’d hung up.  There is destruction all around me, he says the crystals caused this destruction...giving me some lame ass instructions about wishing and hangs up…what the hell!
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