by C. M. Brown
A continuation of Jules Verne's classic adventure...
|Legends and true love are the stuff of fairy tales...
But I don't believe in fairy tales...
And yet some legends are real...
And true love is possible … I know because I just killed mine.
My heart and my soul swim in agony haven just written those few words and yet more thoughts swirl in my mind. Everything I thought I knew, everything I believed, even the man I love, are all gone. Lost in a moment and that was the end of what I believe now is only the first part of a very unexpected journey.
Some say when you take a long trip it changes you, sometimes subtly, sometimes very profoundly. Eight weeks ago I embarked on an odyssey that has brought me here and it has changed my life forever. I may even be the very wretched creature I have once feared and even thought impossible… but whatever I am, I love and have been truly loved in return… and I guess in the end that is all that really matters.
It is nearly midnight, December 31, 2039 and I am alone on some type of strange ultra-advanced plane flying autonomously, traveling to a destination as mysterious as the circumstances that have brought me here in the first place. The plane makes no sound and offers no sense of movement, yet below me rages a storm that’s only equal is the storm that rages inside of me. Flashes of lighting fill the cabin at almost a predictable rate. My emotions, like the ocean below me, are a swirling tempest. Half of me is lost in feelings of overwhelming loss and the other is fighting off a torrent rage and hatred for another man that forced me into murder. Either way I have never felt so much pain. Tears continue to flow from my eyes as if sourced from an unending sea. I am confused and in deep conflict between wanting to keep the faith that I am exactly where I am supposed to be vs that of hopeless loss and desperation. How can I live? But if I die then my true loves death would surely have been in vain.
I sit and stare at a bloody duffle bag on the chair before of me. This bag is the only proof that all I have experienced was not just some strange dream. But this bag itself seems to be a puzzle. Outside of the over $1billion in euro bearer bounds, money that was to be my ransom, it also contains a rolled painting and a post card. The painting was painted over a hundred years before I was born, painted by Monet yet he painted it for me. It bears my name in a message in his handwriting on the back. The image is of a small farm house and titled "Spring". A place I have only seen in a dream - and yet it was once my home... Then there is the postcard which I believe is some sort of key. The postcard is of a restaurant in Venice. A place I have never been and it includes a hand handwritten time and date- exactly one year from now. It also has a number which I believe is a longitude point along with some strange writing which predates ancient Greek. I believe these items were placed there by the man who paid my ransom, paying it instead with blood. He placed these things in this bag knowing I would be it's recipient. I now believe he knew exactly what was to happen and that this is all part of a much greater design. I believe he placed these things here for me, to guide me to the next part of my journey.
As I just wrote those words, I have so many unanswered questions. If this really was by design and intention, to what end? If he knew all this was to end like this, why wouldn't he change it? Why would he want to die by my own hand? My soul aches in boundless sorrow. I miss him so much yet I still feel him. If I try, I can still hear his words. He used to say "Listen to my heart." He also said there is no such thing as coincidence. If I try to focus on his words through the blur of confusion, desperation and sorrow, my heart says I am exactly where I am supposed to be.
180 years ago, my great, great, great, great, great grandfather had a remarkable experience and documented his incredible journey which gave birth to a legend and a tale of unimaginable wonder in his time. In that story he writes of a man, by his words, a strange man bent on revenge… a genius with a tortured soul and a master of technology beyond our comprehension. If I said his name, you would know him instantly. But I did not know him by that name, even-though it was me who gave it to him ... but I would share a much different description of that man. The man I knew was a humanitarian, driven by passion to make our world a better place, a kind gentle man, and one capable in making the impossible possible. The one thing we both would agree on was that he was a man capable of things that most would believe to be at the farthest end of the world of possibilities. He was a genius beyond all geniuses and had a mastery of science still beyond our wildest comprehension. But he was not just some fictional character in some story. He was a man, a real person… and that is indeed as fantastic as the original story itself.
How could I have met that same man? How could I have met a character from a story written nearly two hundred years ago? Then there is the painting...a home I never been to ... and so much more...and I know all this sounds utterly impossible, but that is why I am now putting my experience into words, pen to paper. I write this now not just for me, but for the world. You need to know that story you know did not end there nor was that even the beginning… and it is a story that is far, far from over.
At least that is what my heart says.
My name is Amanda Collins, and this is my story - My extraordinary journey... eight weeks and 20,000 leagues under the sea.