The Shasta Caper
by John Pirillo
Chapter Thirty Four
A door slid open in the side wall and they turned to see Seran enter, this time in a beautiful wrap of gold and white. He wore a kind of wreath about his hair that was dappled with glittering jewels of some kind. His face was more bronze and his eyes a deeper blue. He stood about seven feet tall. Intimidating to say the least to those in the room, who were not used to men of such gigantic stature.
Seran gave them a curt nod. "I was chosen because I am the shortest of my kind. I hope I am not dispositioning you too much with my stature. Normally, we have some of our friends from neighboring realms introduce us first so we are not such a shock to our visitors. The last ones....French, I believe...almost died when they saw my father and brothers. They all stand over nine feet tall."
"And there were giants in those days." Muttered Nanny.
Seran turned to look at her. "Your mother will be happy to see you."
Nanny almost fainted on the spot. "My mother! Here?"
"Have you never wondered how you came to have so much occult abilities by the mother you knew in this life?"
"Actually...no." Nanny squeaked, trying her best to maintain her spunky character, but somewhat failing in it. Her heart was pounding so loudly in her chest she feared everyone could hear it. Her mother alive and here!
Seran smiled gently, then turned to Samuel. "And you, young man, surely you have wondered what created such fantastic genetics in your own spiritual body?"
"Actually." Sam almost said more, but Al was shaking his head vigorously no.
"Actually, no as well."
Seran's face fell. "That is sorrowful."
He turned to Jimbo. "I'm sure you know where your genetics came from, so I won't bother to regale you with any falsehoods."
Jimbo made fists from his hands, but held his temper at the arrogance of Seran's words.
Suddenly, the old man's kindness seemed more and more a smokescreen for something darker and more malignant.
Samuel gave Jimbo a quick look and a secret signal with his right hand, which Seran saw, but did not comment on, but Jimbo, however, burst into a smile and relaxed. "No hard feelings about it. We Texans have enough pride in ourselves not to worry over such a simple thing as genetics."
"Too bad." Seran said with a tone of sadness. "Genetics are everything.
"Okay." Nanny broke in. "You obviously didn't come in here to give us a lecture on our fathers and mothers and gene code, so what are you really here for and why did you....beam us up?"
"Actually, we didn't beam you up. All three of you have been unconscious for about a week. It's a...."
"Say what?" Jimbo demanded. "Did you just say I've gone without double Whammies for a whole week?"
Seran gave Jimbo a blank look.
Samuel intervened. "Its a flat piece of meat made from cows and cooked in drizzles of barebecue sauce and flopped in a double layer on a toasted sesame seed bun."
Jimbo's mouth began to water. "Come to think of it, when do we eat?"
Seran half bowed to him. "I am being negligent as a host. We shall be landing soon and I shall make up for it with a full buffet."
"It better be big. A whole week is a long time on this fuel tank." Jimbo growled.
Seran laughed. "Oh, I suspect it will be more than enough."
"I must ask one thing of you before I leave."
"Anything." Samuel said calmly, even though he was getting bad vibes from Al and Marilyn who was making horns behind Seran's head.
"When we land, do not try to run away."
He motioned and the door opened again for him. He made it halway out, then looked back at them. His friendly eyes suddenly burned with a cold anger. "It might not turn out so well for you this time."
The door swished shut, cutting him from view of the others.
Samuel motioned to them to sit on the floor next to him. They did.
"What the hell was that all about?" Jimbo asked. "I've never heard so much polished bull in my whole life. That was enough crap to fill the Yankee Stadium and overflow into the Hudson River."
Nanny nodded. "Did you see his eyes at the last. What happened to the wise old man?"
Samuel took her hand in his right, then motioned for her to take Jimbo's left and he Samuel's right. They formed a tight circle.
"Close you eyes." He told them.
They did. The moment they did, Nanny let out a shriek and broke the circle, jumping up to muffle a scream she felt ready to explode.
Samuel and Jimbo looked at her, calmly.
"You two are freaks!" She declared, but when they said nothing, she dropped beside them and took their hands again. "This better be good." She warned Samuel with an angry glare.
Immediately she found herself seated in the middle of a kind of temple room, with incense burners all around them, and torches hanging from the ceiling in very ornate, bronzed dishes. Guards stood at four doors. The guards stood about eight feet tall and had dog faces and eagle wings. They each held a crystal spear between their hands.
"This is just..."
"Nuts." Jimbo said. He looked over at Samuel. "This time I know I've gone mad."
Samuel said nothing, his eyes were still closed.
Finally, Nanny nudged him with her knee.
Samuel opened his eyes. "Sorry, Al was telling me something."
"Who? Oh, him."
She saw Al standing behind Samuel with his arms crossed, giving her a stare of confidence.
"As long as we maintain this circle I'll be able to talk to you and we won't be overheard."
"Why should we worry about that?" Nanny asked.
Jimbo sighed. "Oh probably because we're in six hells worth of danger, and likely to die at any moment."
"Worse." Samuel admitted.
Jimbo sighed. "Some things never change."
Nanny almost let go, but Samuel grabbed her fast. "Hold tight. It's important."
"Okay. But don't get any ideas I like any of this, because I don't let go." She told him.
Samuel gave her a very stern look and she swallowed hard. The gentle, jovial spiritual guy she had come to know was replaced by an implacable warrior.
"These are not Mount Shasta inhabitants, and we are not going to the flying city. That city in fact does not even exist. It's an illusion they've cast to catch the unwary."
"You mean there's been more down here?"
"All those people you saw that came up the mountain and never returned. The ones you told us about in the restaurant. They ended up here. On this ship. They never left it. Alive."
Nanny almost shrieked again.
"But why would they want to harm us?" She demanded, like a petulant child, her lower lip quivering with anger. Her eyes squinted when she was mad and her cheeks turned red.
Jimbo moved closer to her, so his shoulder touched hers and she felt this sudden sense of well being and safety. She looked over at him and his eyes were filled with the need to be trusted. "It's not about why us, but why anyone?"
"Jimbo's right." Samuel agreed. "These people are not old. They are new to this inner realm. And they are shunned by the true inhabitants. The wise ones that live here."
"How do..." Nanny caught herself again as Al gave her the evil eye.
"All right. You know. But again, what do they have to gain by keeping us from leaving?"
"They're not ready to be exposed yet to the world." Samuel explained. "They have been hiding here since...."
Al looked over and held up two fingers. "World War Two."
"Oh my God!" Nanny said, suddenly realizing what he was getting at. The sybmols on this ship. "They're..."
"Yes." Samuel said. "They are."
"So what do we do next?" Nanny asked him.
Samuel looked at her. "Trust me."
"That's a hard sell." She said.
Jimbo looked at her sternly. "Nanny. This is no joke. Sammie and I have been in situations like this before and the ones we were helping...well, if they didn't listen..."
"They died." Samuel finished for him.
Nanny did freak this time.
She jumped up to scream and everything went blam and crazy!