Tales Of The Apocalypse: Book II - The Rift
Than-Natuk stood and faced the pool. The reflections were still the same, with only an occasional ripple from a stray breeze.
"Monty, you cannot enter the pool. The way is barred to you. If you were to enter it now, you would end up somewhere else from where your sister, Andy is, and be stranded there until your death. Yog-Sothoth did this as he passed thru the pool-gate, as that is what it is, a gate to his perilous home. I however, have no such limitations, and I will pursue him and bind him there, returning your sister to you if possible."
I stammered out a thanks, and then he begin striding into the pool. When he was about waist deep, he looked at me and said "Go wait at your dwelling, for it may be a bit before all is accomplished. Farewell!" with that he took 2 more steps and vanished. There was naught but a small ripple which quickly subsided to mark his passage.
I stood there for a few moments, deciding whether to wait for a bit hoping Andy would show up, or take him at his word and wait back at the cabin. I really wished to speak more with him, to learn more about his history and hear more about his people, but I had no idea if I would ever see him again. I retrieved Andy’s AK and vest, which I stumbled over while tending to a nature call. Eventually, I returned to the cabin and found busy work to keep me distracted: filling the wood box to overflowing and stacking more on the front deck, chopping more wood, building raised gardening beds from the lumber found in the woodshed, filling the beds with soil, etc...
That night as I ate my dinner a plan formed. I was going to find Dad's cache and begin transferring it to the new locations Andy and I had picked out. I knew I needed to keep myself busy or I would probably lose it. There was just so much to process since my normal life had come crashing to a halt. I fell asleep in my chair and awoke late that night to the silence of the woods.
No more drumming or humming.
That nasty green orb was still peeking thru some breaks in the clouds though, making sure I didn't forget about it.
I spent 3 days moving everything once I had located and retrieved the cached items. I divided the food up into four groups, because we had decided on 3 separate locations at different compass points and distances from the cabin. None were more than several hours away from the cabin and were located in places where few would choose to go or wander by chance. The largest group went into the cabin, along with half the garden seeds and other assorted gear. There were several large 20mm ammo cans, and I wondered what they held. There was a detailed list of all the contents but I had not located it yet. I had one more trip to make and then I was finished for the time being.
I spent every evening up until dark sitting on the porch and listening for Andy, waiting for her to return, but I was losing hope, and was resigning myself to being alone. On the fourth day, I rose as usual and had my hot breakfast before braving the chill of fall in the mountains. I had yet to retrieve the hoop house kit and the garden wagon that was cached with it. Being a larger sized group of items, it was situated in a different location from the food and other supplies. I resolved I would bring it all in and endeavor to assemble it, also, to get a jump on my food production for the coming year and to keep my focus on something besides my woes.
Excavating the cache and assembling the cart took much longer than anticipated, and it was late when I got the fully loaded cart back to the cabin. As I was approaching, I saw what appeared to be a woman standing on the porch, gently rocking from side to side as one does when waiting for something to happen. Judging by her height and build, I would say she was several years older than me. She had long light blonde hair, like she was out in the sun for a long time. I dropped the wagon where I stood and warily began to approach, looking for signs of a trap or ambush.
When I got close enough I greeted her but she did not respond. Since I was coming from her rear, I could not see what she looked like, and so I grasped her shoulder. She did not respond to touch so I stepped in front of her.
I staggered and almost fell down as I was not prepared for what I saw.
It was Andy. But it wasn't the Andy that was taken from me. She had aged perhaps three or more years in the time that she was gone.
And her hair!
Andy had left with dark brunette hair.
And then a whisper escaped her lips.
"Monty? The shadows have gone and he lights the darkness. Thank you for the rescue."
She then fell silent.
I was flabbergasted!
How had this happened?
What had caused these changes?
Relief flooded away any other feelings for the moment and I gently led her into the cabin and put her to bed. I stayed by her side until she fell asleep and then had to pry myself away to take care of the hoop house and wagon.
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