The Shasta Caper
by John Pirillo
Samuel was the first to recover from the shock of the flood of water that washed over them. They had landed just shy of it striking them directly, but close enough for it to soak them through and through, and as the flood continued, it widened and swept them with it. They tumbled and turned, gasping for air, but somehow managing to hold onto each other as they shot along a meadow of pure green and golden grass that gradually went upwards. As it did, the force of the rampaging water beneath them lost momentum and eventually, they found themselves laying on a beach of white stone and huge sunflowers that rose into the sky almost fifteen feet tall.
"Can't disagree." Nanny said, sitting up between the two men. "I feel like I've rode a Broncho maniac for ten hours."
Jimbo swiped at his hair and beard, gathering as much moisture as he could and squeezing it away, as he examined his body for wounds.
Jimbo looked over and Samuel was a mess. He was sitting in a patch of sharp rock, many of which had cut his jeans in dozens of places. His legs were bleeding and then he noticed his own. "Ah hell!" He groaned as he realized he was cut as well.
Nanny was the only one to get home free. She managed to shrug out of her backpack, which had shrunk a few sizes to cling to her during the flood, and gather a small med kit.
"Thank God for smart women." Jimbo sighed, as she pressed soothing antiintefectant salve over his wounds.
"And thank God for dumb men who need them." Nanny responded, causing Samuel to chuckle until he realized his lungs hurt.
He suddenly threw up. Almost a pint of water spit out.
Jimbo gave him an alarmed look.
Samuel held up a hand. "Someones gotta donate skin to the cause. I just happen to donate it from the inside and out."
He looked at the blood in his hands, then at Nanny.
She shook her head. "You're fine."
"How can you tell?" Samuel asked.
"Because the bloods from the tears in your lips and your bleeding nose, silly."
Samuel felt his nose, then looked at the blood on his fingers. "Oh."
"Some big detective, you are." She scalded him.
Jimbo laughed. "Got you there, Sammie."
"You too, bearded wonder." She reminded him.
Jimbo looked down, abash at her mental thrashing of him.
Then he and Samuel both broke into laughter.
She gave Samuel a frustrated look. "Will you keep still so I can clean your wounds!"
Samuel stilled and she applied salve to his wounds too.
Jimbo stood up, and loosened his backpack. He looked into it. "Everything's fine. Man they weren't kidding when they said this pack was watertight."
Nanny finished working on Samuel, then got up and stretched. "I could eat a horse!" She exclaimed.
Samuel got up, then kicked off his sneakers. "Should have worn boots, Jimbo."
"Yeah. But do you ever?"
Samuel nodded. He looked over at Al, who was seated on a large boulder with M, who was knitting a blanket. Al smiled at him and waved. "I'm glad someone's enjoying all of this."
Jimbo gave Samuel a look.
"You need to ask."
"Oh." Jimbo sighed. "This invisible friend stuff sure can tax a cowboy's soul."
Nanny looked around. "There's cowboys here?"
Jimbo cackled. She grinned at him, then pointed to the horizon. "Am I imagining things or is that city closer than it was?"
They turned that way to look, ignoring the large body of water behind them that was gradually diminishing, revealing a path of devastation it had created.
"You're right." Jimbo agreed.
Samuel closed his eyes a moment. "The city is floating."
He opened his eyes. "Some kind of occult energy is motivating its movement. I can feel it with my third eye."
Jimbo growled. "Hell, Sammie, it don't take a damned Houdini to tell it's moving of its own accord, just look at its shadow.
Everyone looked and could see the shadow of the city passing over the land as it slowly moved in a Northeasterly direction.
"Well, one thing's for sure." Nanny said, interrupting their thoughts. "We're not getting up into that without a balloon or a rocket. It's gotta be at least a mile in the air."
"Who would have believed that such a thing existed inside Mount Shasta." Jimbo commented.
Samuel tapped him on his shoulder and pointed upwards.
Jimbo looked, then cursed. "Dear God in heaven!"
Nanny looked up too.
Above them was a sky filled with trees and forests, streams, rivers and a vast ocean.
"We're not in Kansas anymore." Samuel stated.
Jimbo grinned. "Good thing, because I forgot to bring my ruby slippers."
Nanny laughed. "Now that was funny."
"Really." Jimbo asked.
"No, but the image of you in slippers was." She laughed.
Jimbo looked over at Samuel, who was grinning. "Can I kill her now?"
"Be my guest." Samuel said.
They all three laughed.
Samuel turned back the way they had come.
There was a huge mountain that climbed upwards from that direction, but no sign of an exit or entrance. "Whatever we came down through, it's not there anymore."
"How can that be?" Jimbo asked. "Something that big just don't vanish."
"Jimbo, some laws are the same everywhere, and some aren't." Samuel said mysteriously.
Without further word he began walking towards the North East. Al and M were dancing in that direction, holding each other's hands like a grand waltzing couple.
Jimbo and Nanny fell into march behind him.
Nanny poked Jimbo in his ribs.
"Hey!" He growled. "Easy on the bacon."
"You mean pork, don't you?" She laughed.
She sobered and then said. "I'm glad I came with you guys, but is it always this crazy when you two hang out?"
"Remind me to visit you two when we get out of here."
Jimbo stopped and looked into her eyes. "I'd love that."
And for the first time, she looked down, blushing. He had meant it and she had seen it in his eyes.
She smiled coyly, the hurried up to catch up to Samuel. Jimbo smiled and caught up with them as they paused at the brink of a huge forest of golden barked trees whose leaves were all eat least ten feet across and ribbed like a cannon's innards.
Several of the leaves had fallen at the base of a tree and lay together like a teepee.
Samuel went to the pile and peeked under. "Clear." He looked back at them. "I think we should rest and eat some before we go further."
Nanny joined him as he went into the teepee of leaves, then smelled the aroma, like that of cinnamon and mint. "I could market this to all the gals back home."
"Yeah. But don't you have a small problem." Jimbo asked as he set his backpack down and dropped to a sit beside her.
"There's no way back."
She pondered that and remained silent. How would they get back and at that moment she felt her body shiver with a cold that was unfamiliar to her. The fear of being lost. Absolutely lost!