The Pandion Prophecy ... Part 3
Welcome, and thank you for visiting the continuing story of “The Pandion Prophecy.” There are eight chapters in all.
A link to the first chapter appears below.
The music videos at the end of each chapter are an integral part of the story.
Paul Kelsey laughed as he retrieved a digital camera from his field kit. “You are crazy, man.”
“You wish,” his brother replied. Opening the seal of an evidence bag, Doug carefully pulled the shovel blade from the sand and slid it into the bag. “Like it or not, Santana was better than Hendrix.”
“Are we talkin’ about the same Woodstock? You’ve heard the music. It was exactly the other way around. Stop embarrassing yourself.”
Doug swiped the air with a gloved hand. “You’re only saying that because Dad was there in ’69 and idolized Jimi Hendrix.”
“No, because I have an ear and a soul,” said Paul as he prepared his camera to take photos of the chest. He loved photography, how it captured his passion for curiosity while seizing a moment in time that would never come again. Kneeling in front of the box, he raised his right leg to steady his arm while he gripped the camera with the firmness of a tripod. The light sensor recorded various images until he focused on the metal strips hugging the corners at the base. “What the hell?” he muttered. Rather than waste time by switching to the macro in his kit, he zoomed in the attached lens for a higher resolution. Seconds later, he dropped the camera to his waist and sat back on his heels. “Hey. You need to take a look at this. Now.”
Doug recognized the urgency in his brother’s voice and hurried to his side. When he knelt down beside him, Paul stretched out his arm as a warning. “Don’t get too close. You see what I’m seein’?” he asked, pointing to the base.
The hard, slick surface of the metallic substance had begun to fragment into jagged layers of slender scales. Sand-colored particles moved with the skill of architects, sculpting and prodding the shapes into strange patterns.
“It looks like some form of oxi-reduction but the color’s off,” remarked Doug, frowning.
“You were the chem. major. What element or compound causes physical changes this fast without a burn-off -- or worse?”
“Prolonged exposure to the sun and moist air might’ve begun to catalyze something, along with the chemical residue left over from whatever burned the interior walls. Those agent compounds...they almost look like spores, but they can’t be organic, unless..." Doug shook his head with alarm and sprang to his feet. “Whatever that thing is, it's not made from wood. We shouldn't be anywhere near it without full protective gear.”
The Kelsey's stared at the chest in awe, unable to move. The scales suddenly stretched and multiplied, like living cells, and burrowed into the pocked walls of the chest. Rippling veins created in their paths were instantly absorbed. The charred lid leaning against the side of the box imitated the transformation, feeding on organisms that flowed from the copper-colored labyrinth lodged in its center, as if shedding and then consuming its own skin.
Stunned, Doug sank to his knees behind his brother who continued to shoot more images on sheer impulse. He grasped Paul’s arms and wrenched him backwards. “Get away from it!” he yelled.
Paul tossed the camera into his field kit and pulled the carrying strap over his shoulder. In a blind panic, the two men scrambled across the sand toward a large fieldstone retaining wall below the cottage. Reaching the barrier, they turned and sat with their backs pressed against the rocks. Paul grabbed the camera and took more photos until his arms dropped, limp at his sides.
Tiny moth-like shapes of pewter gray had exploded upward from the chest as if bursting forth from a cocoon. The chest and lid disintegrated into a cloud of living, vibrating symmetry. Within seconds, only the shadow of an outline remained in the sand. The once invisible breeze became textured with a thick, skittering dance that rode the air amid a deafening chorus of clicking sounds. The life forms stilled, then swirled into a funnel that arched toward the ocean to form an undulating canvass that hovered a foot above the water. Seeming to emit a sigh of release, the frenzied chameleons mirrored the movement and color of the waves before disappearing into the flow of the ocean tide.
The brothers gazed at the water in shocked silence. They waited for a sequel to emerge from the waves, but the phenomenon had ended. Moved to tears, they each grabbed the other’s shoulder like two euphoric kids who had just seen their first rainbow in four dimensions. Glancing upward, they hooted at the sky and wiped their eyes.
“Jesus. How the hell are we ever going to explain this?” asked Doug in a hoarse whisper.
Paul felt the oxygen returning to his lungs and held up his camera. “Can you imagine where we’d be without these photos to back us up?”
His brother nodded. “Probably in some psych ward, strapped to a Thorazine drip. Question is…what now?”
“We call this in to Baron right away and don’t do a thing until he gets here.”
“There’s one thing we have to do.” Doug got to his feet, ran over to where he’d left his sample kit and pulled out a fresh pair of gloves along with the containers he needed. He scooped a little of the sand from the chest’s outline into a powder box. Using a small fluid sampler, he harvested a few ounces of water from the incoming tide. He lifted his trophies up to the bright sunlight, then walked back to the rocks where Paul sat, brushing the sand from his camera.
Doug started to show his brother something in the samples when he spotted a black SUV slow to a stop on Ray’s driveway. Two men dressed in dark business suits jumped out of the vehicle. As they headed for the front entrance of the cottage, an unmarked van drove up and parked behind the SUV. “We’ve got company,” he said evenly. “They look like Feds.”
“Oh, sure -- like from Men in Black?” Checking the settings on his camera, Paul smirked at his joke.
“I’m not kidding. And they’ve brought a forensics unit.”
“Huh?” Paul turned his head in the direction of the cottage. Scowling, he faced the ocean and positioned his field kit directly in front of him to hide it from view. He opened a side flap on his camera and removed the memory card.
“What the…are you doing a hot swap?”
Paul glanced up at his brother, keeping his voice low. “They’re not here by accident. And no one told us they were coming. If they’re holdin’ a federal warrant, they can appropriate everything we have. We’ll give ‘em your camera and mine -- not my photos. No fuckin' way. This is Baron’s investigation and these shots are proof of what we saw. Listen to me...we were in the cottage, working. When we came back down to the beach a few minutes ago, the chest was gone. Got it?”
“No, I don’t. We’re not subordinate to them. They can’t show up here, cold, out of nowhere and commandeer an official inquiry.” Doug's eyes narrowed on the bare sand where the chest had disappeared. Holding back potential evidence in a federal investigation had serious consequences. Even so, his instincts warned him that the uninvited guests had their own agenda... and it didn’t involve helping the Kelsey’s or Raymond Stiegel. “Whatever you’re doing, do it quick,” he said quietly.
Using the heel of his shoe, Doug tilled a short, deep furrow in the dry sand at the base of the wall and dropped the small containers into the opening. He kicked the surrounding sand into the hole, taking a mental photograph of where he’d buried the samples. With a sidelong glare he watched one of the men from the SUV hurry down the narrow path leading to the beach. He pulled a cell phone from his belt clip to call his boss.
Special Agent Ethan Lynch didn’t hide his frustration. His unannounced visit with Raymond Stiegel at St. Johns had been waylaid by Jack, who was escorting him to the far end of the ward corridor when his cell phone rang. Twenty years with the Bureau had failed to temper the agent’s rogue tenacity. His thick brows stitched into a frown as he stared at the floor. I don’t have time for this, he thought. He listened to the detective wrap up his conversation with his field tech and yearned for the days when hospitals banned the use of mobile phones.
“You boys pack up everything and leave, Doug,” instructed Jack. “Without paper or a heads up, they get nothing. Understand? Good. I’ll talk to you later.” He ended the call and glared at the agent. “You sent a team in there with no warrant, no notice to the FPD or the Commissioner. What the hell’s going on?”
“We don’t have your pipeline to local judges. You secured your search warrant within what – an hour? And on a Saturday. Impressive.”
“You do realize that without our cooperation or a federal warrant, you’re sidelined – right? What brought you here?”
“I was recently assigned to the Boston Field Office…”
“That’s not what I asked.”
Lynch gave him a measured look. “A source I’m unable to discuss right now. We have reason to believe this may not be an isolated incident.”
“What are you talking about? Are you telling me Stiegel might be in danger?”
“No, I didn’t say that. But I need to speak with him immediately. No need to get all prickly about it, Lieutenant. To be candid, I didn’t expect to find you here.”
“Yeah…well, today’s your lucky day.” Sarcasm was unusual for Jack, but he had no tolerance for the man’s conduct. Despite popular myth, the FBI and police generally cooperated and worked well together. He knew intuitively that the agent was a maverick, incapable of taking offense. “You need to speak with him? Until you stop throwing your weight around and are more forthcoming, that’s not gonna happen.”
Lynch went silent. He wasn't above using his 6' 3" frame to intimidate, and began to square-off with the detective when Kate walked up behind them unexpectedly. Feeling the tension between the two men, she gently clutched her husband’s arm. “Excuse me, gentlemen. Ray’s still sleeping. His attending physician just gave orders that he’s to rest, undisturbed. No visitors.”
Jack’s eyes never left the agent. “If I have to park half a dozen uniforms outside his room, I’ll do it,” he snapped.
Annoyed, Lynch turned to leave, but not without a parting message. “We’ll be at your office with the appropriate warrants on Monday morning, Lieutenant. Early. Have everything available. I’m sure you know what I’m referring to,” he added, nodding at Kate.
The Barons watched him stride down the busy corridor toward the exit doors. They’d both been given a warning -- almost an ultimatum. Kate thought about Ray’s voice mail, photographs, and cell phone that had found its way into her shoulder bag before she left the cottage for the hospital. Lynch knew all of it…and more.
The shingle beach at Blackpool Sands in South Devon, England was nearly deserted. Although the sun had dropped below the horizon, the sky was not yet dark. The young man’s breathing began to labor while he lay, belly flat, on the rim of the hole he had dug in the sand, and pulled a small chest from its resting place. His tears merged with beads of cold sweat as he listened to the giant nimbus of exploding light and color that only he could see.
Lisa Gerrard is an Irish-Australian composer and artist who often sings in her own unique language she created as a child. The above video was created by fotoaugecom of YouTube. The final moments of the video are the most compelling as they relate to the story.
A link to the next installment appears below...
Written and copyrighted by Genna Eastman (Genna East) 2014; all rights reserved.
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