56. The Ancient Engines of Deimos, Part III   2 comments

Meanwhile in Space…

Episode 56: The Ancient Engines of Deimos, Part III: Cold Dinner

Timmy and Astralyn sat at the dinner table and made small talk while they waited for Sundance to return from the bathroom. They both tried eating a little bit more of their dinner, but it appeared that they had reached their limit.

In the silence, Astralyn could tell that something was bothering Timmy, but she didn’t know how to go about addressing her concern. Timmy was considerably more open and forthcoming with his feelings than Sundance, so it worried her that he hadn’t brought it up himself by now.

“So, what is the deal with you and the good captain?” Astralyn asked.

“You mean this evening?” Timmy had anticipated that Astralyn would come to him to explain their actions at the exhibit. He instinctively reached for his glass of champagne and sipped it. “I told you, I don’t really know what came over me. It was as if something was calling to me…”

Astralyn smiled and shook her head. “That’s not what I meant.” She looked back towards the bathroom to make sure that Sundance wasn’t on his way out. “I mean, ever since you got back from being possessed by Laertes, you and Sundance have been spending a lot of time together… without me.” She raised a suggestive eyebrow.

Timmy immediately blushed. He took a bigger sip of his champagne. “No! No! It’s nothing like that at all.” He avoided eye contact for fear his eyes would betray him. “I think the captain is being overprotective. It’s like he wants to be my bodyguard; he’s trying to keep me from being possessed again.” He stared at his glass. “It is starting to wear on me. But it’s not like I’m not grateful, because I am…”

He finally looked up at Astralyn and saw that she was now wearing her concerned face. He saw this as the perfect opportunity to get her back. “So, how about you and the captain? You two seem to bicker like an old married couple. Hmm?”

“Oh, please,” Astralyn said dismissively. “The man is a child.” She looked at her watch and realized that it had been fifteen minutes since Sundance had left for the bathroom. “Speaking of children, Sundance has been gone for a long time.”

Timmy looked at his watch as well and then up towards the bathrooms. “He sure has. Maybe he hasn’t been eating his bran flakes.”

“Toilet humor aside, I think you should go check on him.”

Timmy stood up and set his lap napkin on the table. He straightened his uniform and then headed to the bathroom. When he arrived, the bathroom door slid open. As he entered, he knew immediately that Sundance was not there. All of the stalls were empty. He knew this because the stalls were made of crystal, they were clear when unoccupied. It’s not until someone flicks the “Occupied” switch that the stalls turn stark black. There was no one standing at the urinals. No one was standing at the sink. He turned around and left the bathroom.

“He’s not in there,” Timmy reported when he returned to the table.

“Maybe he’s paying the bill?” Astralyn asked.

“He would have to walk by here.” Just to make sure, Timmy gazed in the direction of the front of the restaurant and didn’t see Sundance there.

Astralyn stood up from the table and sighed. “Looks like he’s not paying for dinner this time. I’ll take care of the bill. Check outside to see if maybe he’s there.” She grabbed her purse from the seat and headed towards the front.

Timmy exited the restaurant and stood in the chilly night air. Sundance didn’t appear to be out there. He started to wonder what had become of him. How did he get out of the restaurant without them seeing him? Why would he leave without them? Did he go back to the exhibit? Then that question got him thinking about the Engine Incident. What was that feeling he felt just before he touched it? Was something calling him to touch it? Did Sundance feel the same calling? Sundance… Something wasn’t right. Timmy’s stomach agreed.

———————

Sundance felt something cold and wet run down his cheek. He went to wipe it off when he realized that his hands were chained to something. When he woke up fully, head pounding, he saw that he was in some of sort of dark chamber somewhere. He was strapped to a long metallic slab. He really needed to stop waking up this way. How he wished that his hands were free. How he wished he could wipe the drool off his face.

“Hello?” he called into the emptiness. When he didn’t receive a reply he started to think about how he had gotten there. He remembered going to the engine exhibit. He remembered leaving and going to the restaurant. He went to the bathroom, it was there that someone chloroformed him. He thought it strange that someone would use chloroform in this day and age considering how many other chemicals that existed now for people to use. At least it wasn’t a poisoned dart, he thought.

“Hello? Is anyone there?” Sundance did his best to look around the room for someone. “I just want to know whose party I have the honor of attending.” He heard footsteps coming from outside of the chamber. He looked to his right and groaned when he saw three people wearing robes, two maroon, one white, enter the room. “Oh crap, it’s another cult.”

“I am glad that I find you in good spirits,” said the man in the white robe. He had his hands behind his back. Sundance knew that he was hiding something. The man stood next to the slab and stared down at his captive. “I would like to know what you were doing there tonight.”

“Doing what where?” Sundance replied. “Who the hell are you people? What cult are you from?”

“I beg your pardon. I have been rude. My name is Caretaker Dave.” He bowed. “We are Caretakers of the Engines of Deimos. We have looked after them for centuries, waiting for you to arrive.”

“How do you people always manage to find me?” Sundance bemoaned. “Everywhere I go, crazy cultists. What do I need to do to convince you that I am not your god?”

Caretaker Dave turned to look at the other Caretakers in the room. “How much did you use on him?”

They shrugged. “Just the normal amount, sir,” one of them said. Caretaker Dave shook his head and then turned back to Sundance. He gave him an eerie smile.

“I just need you to do one thing for me before we get started,” Caretaker Dave said. He saw that Sundance was beginning to fall asleep. He took one hand out from behind his back and gave Sundance a slap on his left cheek, thus waking Sundance right up. “I need you to activate this old music box.” He pulled his other hand out from behind his back and it held a small, rusted box. Inside were ancient gears that would turn and create music. “I need you to touch it.”

“You touch it,” Sundance spat. He clinched his hands into a fist.

“I’m already touching it. I need you to touch it.”

“I’m not touching anything. You had better get me out of here! My friends will be looking for me!”

“There is no time for silly games.” Caretaker Dave took a small knife out of his robe and pressed it against Sundance’s wrist, above the fist. He slowly dug into his arm. Blood started to flow. “Just touch it or I will bleed you out!”

Sundance slowly opened his fist.

Caretaker Dave eased back on the knife. He placed the music box in Sundance’s open palm and waited. Nothing happened. Nothing moved. No music sounded. Caretaker Dave growled. “It’s not him. It’s the other one.” Caretaker Dave frowned at Sundance. “Find him and bring him to me.”

“What about this one?” One of the Caretakers asked.

“Dispose of him.” Caretaker Dave gave Sundance a wicked smile. “Let his friends look for the corpse.”

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Posted June 11, 2012 by Xanto P. Jones in Flash Fiction

2 responses to “56. The Ancient Engines of Deimos, Part III

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  1. Hah, I was right! It *is* Timmy!

    Now how is Sundance going to survive this? *giggle*

    Loved several of the lines in this: “Maybe he hasn’t been eating his bran flakes.” “Oh crap, it’s another cult.”

  2. It’s always the same when you turn out not to be the god they want they just chuck you aside! ^_^ Run Timmy!

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