Chapter 10

They began their climb up British Landing Rd, quick with their pace and cautious with their surroundings. There were so many of them down at the water that it seemed possible that they wouldn’t encounter any more islanders anytime soon, but this was not a time to throw caution to the wind. Heather, Ric and Mila ran covered  by trees on that winding road, then through open fields, then through a thick forest of trees again before reaching the part of road just behind the airport. Heather wondered why they had run past the crack in the island, the location of Ric’s hideaway, but she didn’t think asking about it would get her any answer, so she kept running.

Ric turned right at the intersection and Heather and Mila followed suit. They continued running on, their pace slowing a bit, instead finding more of a steady beat between the three of them, somehow all three understanding that this run would take them longer than expected. The weather hadn’t changed since leaving the water, which was also a plus. They ran past the airport entrance and continued straight through towards what Heather remembered as West Bluff, and before they could see the water, Ric took another right instead of leading them towards town. He had a destination in mind…

They continued on the road, passing a few homes that they assumed were at this point empty, and every once in awhile, Heather looked over the bushes to catch a glimpse of Lake Huron on her left. They could certainly make a signal to someone on the mainland from here, couldn’t they? she wondered. They kept running.

Ric finally threw up a hand and slowed down his pace. They wandered off to the left, towards the cliffside, and finally saw what Ric was leading them to. It was a small cliffside building, a tiny, one-room building with large windows that made it almost look as though the entire thing was made of glass. A small ramp encircled the building and led them towards a door where they entered. Inside was just a small, circular room, surrounded with cushioned chairs and a coffee table in the center that held books and games from its previous owners. Everyone sat down, still huffing from the long run.

Heather glanced down at the items on the coffee table. There was a home decor magazine dating back over a decade. Has it even been read through yet? she wondered, and began to imagine herself in the dazed predicament that the islanders have been enslaved under for all these years. Would she be aware of what was happening to her? Would she remember anything that was going on, or would her memory be under complete control, too? It must take a truly insane person to create technology like this, she thought.

A glimmer of light flashed past her eyes. Blinded for a second, Heather held her hand over her face and looked towards the light, but couldn’t quite find the source. Something in the air was reflecting towards her. She stood up, looking out each window and almost completing a 360 trying to find the source of the reflection, unable to figure it out, when Ric grabbed her by the arm.

“It’s hard to see it, but it’s there.” Ric stood up and gazed out toward the lake. “When the sun catches it at just the right angle, there’s a glare. It’s a real pain when it happens, but it don’t affect you much when you’ve got a kickass pair of sunglasses.” Ric knocked his goggles back over his eyes, then pointed out into the sky. “There’s a nearly invisible barrier around this island. I say nearly because you can tell that it’s there by its reflection. We can see out, but everyone else can’t see in.”

“That doesn’t make any sense,” Heather replied, “when I was on the boat coming over here I could see the island just fine. When I was crossing the bridge, I could see the island from there, too.”

“The barrier must make everything on the outside look all fine and dandy over here, because I’ve done all kinds of things to make contact with others. Smoke signals, flares, hell I even once found an old firework and set it off… still, no one came.”

Heather turned to Mila. “What about extending the waterway. With the three of us now, for manpower, can we make it to St. Ignace?”

“I won’t say it’s impossible but, it took me and my crew over a year to get around Mackinac Island. I’m doubting you’ll want to stay here for several months for that kind of project…”

Heather thought again.”So we’re trapped. We’re trapped inside here until we can find a way to break this ‘spell,’ to defeat whoever is causing all of this, to break this strange force field, to break it all and bring everything back to normal.”

Mila chimed in. “If there is some kind of invisible force field here, then that has to mean that there is a source somewhere creating that force field. If there was a way for us to see this force field under a different light, like a different screen, to see it’s radio waves, then we could possible be able to pinpoint the location of its source.”

“That’s it! You’re a genius!” Ric said to Mila, a light clearly turning on in his head. “The gazebo.” Ric turned and faced north. “I know where this all started, somewhere north east of here. And I don’t know the exact location on the island, but I know how we can find out… in the gazebo! Now that I’ve got you two we can work together to get to that point safely, and I’ll bet ya that’s where the source is. But we need to get back to the gazebo!”

Suddenly, white noise filled the inside of Heather’s pocket. Her walkie talkie started spewing out garbled noise, and she pulled it out to hear it more clearly. We’re definitely clear enough to catch a signal with Scott, we must be! she thought, and waited for the noise of the walkie talkie to cease before trying to send her own message over.

Mila and Ric’s eyes peaked a little bit at the new sound, and all three tried to make out what words were coming through, even though the signal still wasn’t completely clear.

“…. island.….”

“That’s his voice! It’s Scott,” Heather said, explaining to Mila that he was her connection to reach Mackinac Island in the first place.

“…. problem…”

“Oh no, what kind of problem…” Heather thought out loud, hoping for the least horrible possible explanation.

“… three...”

Heather’s brow furrowed. She looked over to the other two, Ric looking even more furrowed and Mila looking concerned. They were only able to make out three words so far, but the last word started to trouble them. At this point they were staring at the walkie talkie, straining silently to make out more words. Unfortunately, the next voice they heard wasn’t Scott’s, but someone else’s…

“… You’re right, this has become a problem. They’re becoming too strong now, and they’ve survived longer than I had expected… It is time to put an end to them.”

And at that point, the walkie talkie abruptly went silent.

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To start at Chapter 1, click HERE and scroll to the bottom.

 

 

Chapter 9

“You’re kidding me,” Ric muttered under his breath, looking on with a smirk on his lips.

As Heather, Ric and Mila watched, the swirling wall of water finally cleared and through its opening rested a bright red Thunderbird. The fanciest car Heather had ever driven was her dad’s hand-me-down minivan, so to see any kind of sportscar up close was somewhat of a thrill for her. Ric, on the other hand, started to chuckle.

“Out of all the cars you could be driving down here, this is what you chose?”

“Well I thought it’d be ironic having a Thunderbird underwater,” Mila replied, “plus, I look super cute in it. Besides, it’s got all the newest upgrades and everything… well, all the upgrades that I could get from, oh, how many years ago? Hehe, I guess I’ve been down here too long.” She pulled a set of keys out of her back pocket and with the click of a button the car revved its engine, the headlights turned on and the doors opened up. She walked towards the car, motioning with her hand for Ric and Heather to follow, and as they all climbed inside, Heather wondered how Mila could be hidden under here this entire time without knowing her dear friend Ric was alive. Did she even try to look for him? Or was Ric’s strong affection for her really only one-sided? There was a part of Mila’s story that Heather needed to find out, and fast, if she was truly going to trust her.

“Like I said, this road will take us around the entire island, but there are two entry points up onto the island itself. The first is located where the old dock can be found further north on the island, close to British Landing, and we’ll head there now. I also have extra protection for us in the trunk if we need it… guns, ammunition, and a few ~ ”

“No! No guns,” Ric interrupted. “We have no need to kill. What we need to do is find out how this is all happening, who’s responsible, and find whatever antidote we need to help the people on this island. The last thing we need is to have people die.”

Mila nodded in understanding, and with a slight tone of relief replied, “Okay then. In the trunk they’ll stay. I’m a little relieved that I haven’t felt the need to actually use any of that stuff.” She stepped on the gas and started driving on her underwater road. There wasn’t much to see around the car as the currents along both sides of the car were still moving at a pace too fast for anything clear to be seen through it. Heather wondered what else could be created to connect the island to the mainland… or how this underwater technology could connect islands, peninsulas, countries, even continents to each other. She also wondered how quickly this mind-controlling disease, or whatever it was, that had taken over the Mackinac Island community could spread all over the world in a short amount of time, in a matter of months, possibly even days. “Mila, you said there were two entry points onto the island. Where is the second one?”

“It caved in. I lost the manpower to fix it… my construction team was on the island and overcome by that crazy smoke before they could get back down here… and I don’t have enough electrical power to start up my tunneling machine. If there was some way that I could find a generator or extra power on the island, I could start it up, and with both of your help I could reopen the tunnel.”

“I think I can help you with that, Mila,” Ric replied, “both of us can, with both things.”

Mila slowed down and made a right turn to drive into another tunnel, one that slowly started to incline onto the beach. She stopped before the car could be exposed to the land, and shut off the vehicle. “I think this is as far as we drive. This is about as far as I’ve ever gotten, actually.” She opened up her car door and stepped out, and Ric and Heather followed suit. Mila stepped forward several feet and reached her hand up towards the surface of the water, where she could just reach one finger through into the air. She started to swirl her hand in a clockwise motion until the water above her head began to spin apart, creating a hole like that which they had first jumped through by the marina. All three looked up through the opening, but since they were still below land they couldn’t see anything. “Heather, why don’t you get up on Ric’s shoulders and you can see what I’m talking about.” Mila pointed to Ric, who offered out a hand for Heather to step on, and he lifted her up onto his shoulders. Her head poked out up enough from the water for her to see the beach ahead of her, and what the beach was covered with as well, as her eyes widened in disbelief at the scene before her.

*                                      *                                       *                                       *

The beach was dense with people… people roaming the beach, the street, walking slowly with their heads down, bumping into each other and continuing on as though they were sleepwalking. Heather squinted as reflections of light shone in her eyes, realizing that there were reflections coming from all different directions, the silver in their pupils catching the sun. Surely walking through this hoard of island zombies would be a death sentence, she thought.

Heather tapped Ric on the top of his head and he knelt down low enough for her to step down. “It looks bad. It’s congested with people up there.”

“It’s why I’ve never driven up onto land,” said Mila, “just watching these people and how they act, so viciously but so sporadically, I was afraid I’d run someone over. We’ll need one heck of a good game plan to get past them.”

“Oh we’ve got one.” Ric pulled out his taser. “I know that all three of us are capable of maneuvering through tight spots, but we need to do the same thing up there, just faster. I’ve got a taser just in case someone gets too close to me, Heather you’ve got yours, and Mila…?”

She nodded at Ric and pulled out her own taser from her belt. “When we’re ready,” Ric continued, “we’re gonna spread out. They won’t have a chance to gang up on us all in one place. It’ll seem like every man for himself, but trust me, this is how we’ll work together.”

Mila stepped back up to the watery opening and swirled her hand around its edge until the hole extended to the shore. “We have about ten seconds before this opening disappears. Here we go!”

Heather took in a deep breath as she watched Ric run out in front of her and onto the beach first. She follows right behind him knowing that Mila is right behind her, and Heather takes a sharp left with her eye on the tree line, shoving people out of her way before they even have a chance to register what’s happening. She had just reached the trees when the first pair of silver eyes connected with hers. Oh boy, she thought ,and grabbed her taser just in time to use it, but she threw her hand out too high. The taser makes contact with the islander’s face, shocking him right between the eyes, and knocks him out. Heather stumbles backward, thinking that her mishap may have caused more harm to this man than necessary, or that she may have cost him his life. But her eyes focused back towards the new pairs of silver eyes gravitating her way, and she knew she had to go.

Heather ran through the trees, searching left and right for another running human being, when she sees Mila and Ric escaping up British Landing Road. Mila looks over her shoulder and catches Heather’s eye, throwing her hand in Heather’s direction indicating her to catch up, and Heather sprints up the road to meet them. The three then disappear up the road knowing that they have a long run ahead of them before they reach Ric’s underground sanctuary, but Heather secretly hopes that he’ll lead them instead to a location closer by…

 

Have an idea of where you’d like the story to go next? Feel free to share your ideas in the comments section: To start at Chapter 1, click HERE and scroll to the bottom.

Chapter 8

Heather looked up at the water opening she had just jumped through, and stared amazingly as the water swirled back together in a whirlpool. This place is becoming more magical than I could have ever imagined as a kid, she thought, thinking back at all the times she would play imaginary games with her siblings as a child. She turned her attention back to Ric and their new third party, and took a look around.

Although they were surrounded by a solid wall of water, that wasn’t the most amazing part of the scene. Heather realized that she was actually standing on a sidewalk. A sidewalk! Next to it was a street, that stretched as far as she could see. And across the street was a wall of water, the underwater scene on the other side of the wall muddled as the currents were moving. Heather didn’t know how this could all be possible, but with all that she had experienced with her short time back on Mackinac Island, nothing seemed impossible anymore.

There was a dark mass on the other side of the wall, and Heather wondered if there was some kind of deep abyss. “What IS all of this?”

“It’s another project from the government. Something that had been worked on for decades, but never revealed to anyone. I headed this project, and unfortunately I’m the only one here to oversee it.” The woman who had just a moment ago given Ric one long embrace reached a hand out to Heather in peace. “My name is Mila. I thought I was all alone here, but I see that I’m wrong.” She broke a little smile as she looked back at Ric.

“We’re long time work colleagues, and I have a lot of respect for this woman,” Ric said. “She’s the reason I came to Mackinac Island. She’s also saved my life plenty times…”

“… so you owe me big time,” Mila interjected with a teasing voice, then punched Ric square in the shoulder. “We were both here working on separate projects but with the same goal: to create a technological world here on this island that would be usable in any place in the world. I had just finished up with this,” she waved a hand towards the water walls and road, “when the event occurred. That kinda threw a wrench in the works, and I thought everyone was gone, even this guy.”

Ric was staring at Mila with a longing look on his face, soaking in every word she spoke. He really wasn’t kidding about his respect for her. “So,” Heather started,” you created this underground road?”

“A waterway, if you will. If successful, we would take this project and apply it to larger areas, even expand it to connect continents. But we needed a place to test it so, here it is. And it works, too! This waterway is like an underground M-185, goes all the way around the island. Wanna see?”

“Well I don’t know if we really have time for a long bike ride right now…”

“Don’t worry, we’re not technically ON Mackinac Island, so I’ve got another means of transportation for us…” Mila walked over to the waterwall and stuck her hand through it, grabbed something on the other side, and pushed it down. To her left, the water started to swirl in a huge vortex that expanded eight feet on every side. The dark mass on the other side of the water wall was about to be revealed, and as the opening to started to get bigger, Heather and Ric could see the car that was waiting for them on the other side…

What car do you think Mila has behind the wall of water? Have an idea of where you’d like the story to go next? Feel free to share your ideas in the comments section: To start at Chapter 1, click HERE and scroll to the bottom.