Monday, October 25, 2010

The Lost Key - Part IV

I rushed to the spot where she lay.

"Lily? LILY?", I asked, shaking her frantically.

But she seemed too frail. Chris came over and helped carry her outside. Once we got into the safety of the car, I tried to wake Lily up again, refusing to believe my eyes.

As I sat beside her, holding her hands, I was lost in her memories. The day we first met. They way she smiled even though she didn't want to. Her laugh. There was something about the way she got angry, too. And the way she cried. But those moments were gone forever. Nothing could bring them back.

And then the millions of things I wished I'd told her when I still had the chance began rushing to my head.

In the meantime, the leader of the team in black tried to help our understanding of the situation. He introduced himself as Mike. He was an undercover agent who worked for Area 51. He went on to explain how Luke had hacked into the database of Project Sandstorm, thus giving him access to highly classified information about the Lost Key, as well as on me. And that was how he was able to trace my every move.

But I had lost interest by now. Nothing seemed to matter anymore --

And then Chris put his hand on my shoulder. The three of us had been through all of life's up's and down's. And he understood me well. Better than me, and almost as well as her.

As I drew myself away, my hands felt something in Lily's pocket. I took it out. It was the package. It was badly crumpled up now. On it, were written just two words, in Lily's handwriting-

For you.

I turned it over to see what was inside. The moment I opened it, I could see that it was a powdery substance. But due to my carelessness, it slipped from my hand, and the entire contents were spilt- upon Lily. I quickly tried to collect some of it back, but it was too late.

For, suddenly, all of it had disappeared magically. And the place where it was became aglow with fluorescence. Something was happening. Chris looked at me and I saw that we were equally clueless about the unnatural phenomenon taking place.

And then, unbelievably, Lily's hand twitched. I rubbed my eyes. I must have been hallucinating. And then it happened again. It was subtle yet noticeable. And slowly, Lily rose. Then she hugged me, and started crying. And for the first time in many years, so did I.

As she wiped a tear off her cheek, she managed a smile-

"So, what did I miss?", she asked jokingly.
"Nothing out of the ordinary", Chris grinned.

And she hugged him too, still sniffing.

"So what was in the package?", I asked.
"Well, it was a gift from my mother. It contains nothing. But has the ability to transform to whatever the bearer really wants, as long as he doesn't want to use it."

Mike and the others came over to witness the miracle, but at the exact same moment, Chris had a flash of insight-

"The riddle -- it's supposed to mean something. Mark as equal each and every sine. Of course! The Trinity Dunes. The angle each dune makes to the normal is equal. Now it seems so obvious."

"Yeah, except, not for 'normal' people like us", Lily said jokingly.
I chuckled too, but quickly tried to grasp the seriousness of the situation.

Apparently, it was not too distant, and our only hope was too head straight towards the place.

"Just a minute", Chris said. And he went back into the caves for some reason. When he came back, he had a flaskful of the red liquid with him. "This ought to come in handy for my experiments", he said.

Upon reaching the place, we realised that it was quite, um, deserted. We did a bit of digging around, and stumbled upon an ancient sundial. It bore Mayan characteristics, but seemed too advanced for its time (pun unintended).

"Do you notice anything special about it?", I asked.
"Nope. It seems pretty ordinary to me", Chris replied.
"Then it must have something to do with sundials in general"

"Thats it! The sundial reaches its peak at noon. And then it starts decreasing -- running out of sands of time. It makes sense now", Lily said.

And it did. So we ripped off the attachment on its 12 o' clock position, and saw a metallic disc underneath.

Having no clue as to how we were supposed to proceed, I looked at Chris, hoping he knew something I didn't. Apparently, he did. He opened his flask, and began gently pouring its contents on it. I watched as it effervesced. But that was it. Nothing happened after that.

"Hmm, that's strange. The Elixir is supposed to dissolve all metals. I guess its missing something", Chris said, perplexed.

Lily and I looked at him in silence. And then --

"What's with the grin?", he asked.

"By any chance, is it supposed to contain porcelain?", I asked.
"Let me check."

And he flipped open his PDA, looking for information on the web.
"By golly, it does! How did you know??", he exclaimed.

I just reached into my pockets. And there it was- the missing piece of the puzzle- the cup. I put a piece of it in the concoction, and watched as it turned from red to vermillion, and then to a beautiful crimson.

I decanted the liquid once again. And this time, the metal quickly vaporised.

"Nature's true form- sublime", Lily smiled.

And the ground beneath us split apart to reveal a staircase. We made our way slowly into its depths. Once we reached the bottom, we saw a chamber. And there it was -- adroitly crafted, ornately studded, and safely hidden among the rubble for centuries --

The Lost Key.

the end

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