I'm not sure where the inspiration for this one came from. Perhaps it was the fact that as I left the office today the sun had burned away the morning mist and left only beautiful blue sky with a brilliant sun shining down. Of course the fact that my music swelled at that exact moment could have also helped.
Regardless, the entire originating point of this story comes about midway through. See if you can find it!
Anyhow, as usual, gimme challenges and stuff. C'mon guys D=
Light streamed through the trees and dappled the rough soil with a menagerie of colours, had it been any other moment he would have stopped to savour the beauty of the moment. He would have removed the tough sneakers from his feet and allowed his skin to enjoy the moistness of the damp ground, he would have stretched his back up against the rough bark of a tree and basked in the marbled light that shone on the ground.
Instead he ran on, forcing his tired beyond its limits and being rewarded with the pain of aching muscles. He doubled over, gasping for breath and feeling the ragged jets of hot air blasting from his throat and into the cold, crisp air. He waited there for less than a minute, then ponderously moved his leaden muscles and forced himself deeper and deeper into the wood.
The young man’s name was Elliot, a sandy-haired youth full of exuberance and an adventurous spirit—which was what brought him to the woods bordering his town. Elliot was born in a small backwater town, so tiny and so relatively unknown that he thought it didn’t even deserve a name. In fact the boy refused to refer to his hometown by name, instead he derisively called it “Nowherever.” He picked his rather unique name because he felt the town was simply nowhere, not deserving of any particular title—and because he felt that despite all of his efforts, he would be trapped there forever.
Elliot had always been a dreamer and a creative spirit. He had a record of getting into trouble with various other residents of the town, because of his outspoken beliefs…or, to be more specific, his belief in things of old. In his youthful explorations Elliot had come across a multitude of strange and fascinating things, oddly shaped lines that bordered the town, strange lights that could be seen cresting the mountains all around, even mysterious writing on ancient stone. This things captured his imagination and drove his curiousity to its limit. It wasn’t long before the young Elliot had begun to find books dealing with mythology, with ancient and powerful magic…and the various disconnected events around the town finally made sense.
It was that epiphany that had him running full tilt through the woods, mindful of the many dips and ravines, not minding the swinging branches and nettles that brought tears to his eyes or cut him. It was that epiphany that had him force past all of these obstacles and distractions deeper and deeper into the woods, far deeper than he had ever been.
He passed the ruinous stones that he was certain had once been a tunnel, passed the borderlines that marked the edge of protected territory, and continued to run. The trees and shrubbery becoming nothing more than a mottled view in the corner of his vision, he was wholly focused on his end destination.
It was sudden, the way his foot suddenly felt resistance, the way his centre of balance gradually shifted from vertical to horizontal, the way one moment he was flying through the woods as though he were Hermes of the winged sandals…and the next he was lying face down in the dirt. He sneezed angrily and tried to force himself up, his arms shaking with the effort it took and his body protesting every moment. Finally, after various failed attempts, the young man was able to heave his tired body off of the ground and roll his body over, laying down flat on his back, unmindful of the dirt now clinging to his hair.
He breathed heavily, watching the slight cloud that formed, and attempted to move his foot. Pain shot through it, not terrible or unbeatable pain, but pain nonetheless. He sighed and propped himself into a sitting position to examine the damage. Elliot’s eyes widened as he looked down…he had tripped and twisted his ankle quite badly but that wasn’t what drew his attention, no, it was the piece of stone he had tripped on.
It was slightly larger than his fist, brilliant blue, and almost luminescent. However it was the ornate carvings in the stone that attracted him. Shifting himself into a more comfortable position he reached down to heave it from the earth and found it stuck fast. He grunted with frustration and tired again, using all of the effort that remained in him. Instead his hands slipped from the cold stone and he was sent to the ground, arms flailing.
Pushing himself rather angrily from the sodden earth, Elliot changed his tactics, grabbing a large dull grey stone from the earth he began to hack at the ground surrounding the stone. He didn’t care about the dirt and grime that was now smeared across his face and clothes, didn’t care about the large fragments of earth that he was displacing, all he cared about was the fact that the more he drove his stone into the earth the more of the blue stone he revealed.
“In fact” Elliot thought to himself “This is more than just a stone…” dropping his own stone-turned-tool he began to dig furiously through the loosened earth with his bare hands, his fingers scrabbling across the hard, smooth, and somewhat warm surface of the strange stone.
Moments later he was rewarded for his efforts when his fingers scraped painfully against more stone, this time lying flat. Removing his now bleeding hand from the hole he had dug, Elliot peered in. It was exactly as he had expected, the stone stretched out further…it wasn’t just a stone, it was either a complete layer of strata, or some sort of strange dais…and given all that Elliot had learned recently, he wouldn’t have been surprised by either.
He thought of taking out the small leather bound journal that was fit snugly in his breast pocket, but decided against it. He wouldn’t take it out until he had reached the end of the wood. Gingerly raising himself to his feet he hesitantly took a step forward, and discovered that while painful it was in fact livable. Smiling somewhat grimly to himself he set out deeper into the wood at a much decreased pace.
Finally he could see it, see the light glowing brightly behind the last few remaining trees. He could hear the tranquil sounds of the sea all around him, and could even smell the harsh smell of Salt Water…he was almost there. He was mindful of the border lines all about this area, making sure to step around their intricate designs rather than risk removing whatever power they contained.
Then, suddenly, the greenery vanished and he was standing at the edge of a peak that overlooked the ocean. He glanced down to check the colour of the rock and was unsurprised to find that while the stone itself was the standard dark grey, there were rivulets of crystalline blue running through it. He caught himself, although interesting, the stone wasn’t why he was here.
He moved his head slowly, a gentle incline upwards. His eyes strained for a moment, the brightness of the sun causing them to work harder than they had to previously in the dark wood—then he saw it, though it was miles and miles out to sea, he still saw it.
It must have been at least one hundred stories high, a massive silver apparatus that exited seamlessly from the waves below, golden light seeming to shine all around it. Elliot sat down slowly, breathlessly, and simply watched the waves roll in the ocean, and watched the monolithic tower stand as it had always stood. After a brief moment he found the journal in his pocket and slowly opened it, mindful of the symbol that had been etched into the front.
He had read it all before, his eyes pouring over the transcripts contained within, but somehow he had never grown tired of it, never grown accustomed to the strange truths that were written in its pages. He flipped to a page, which, like the rest of the journal, bore no date. On it was a rough pencil sketching of the very crag on which he stood, and a detailed and labeled diagram of the tower that stood in the distance.
The tower, so said the journal, was an enormous solar collector. The central spire being connected deep beneath the waves, and the golden light simply being the reflection of countless solar panels absorbing the light. In fact, Elliot thought it must have been the largest solar collector in the world, a genuine man-made wonder that the world over would be in awe of. However he knew before he flipped the page over why that would never be.
His eyes darted from the page to the tower and returned to the page, following the diagram of the incredibly massive central tower and its eventual connection to its place of origin. He read the word in his mind, finding his breath catching in his throat as he did so. He studied the architecture of the buildings, somehow so modern and yet so ancient all at once, then he closed the journal, placing it down upon the warm stone beside him.
His mind raced furiously as he sat there quietly; somehow within him he had always known there was truth to the words written in the journal, but he had never expected to witness it with his own eyes. To be staring at the solar collector that had been made hundreds-of-thousands of years ago, to be stumbling upon ruins of ancient technology and magic, both woven together intricately. It was unbelievable.
He began to piece together what pieces he had gleaned from the journal and from his own findings, fitting everything together in his mind and forming a picture of what had happened—and was still happening today.
It was centuries ago when they had decided that the peoples of the world were too deeply rooted in hatred and war. Centuries ago when the nation as a whole had decided that the world was not yet ready for the gifts they offered—yet to seal its borders and become isolated presented the risk of causing war to break out amongst the rest of the world.
Instead they had decided to mask their departure with a false calamity, a display that hubris topples even the mightiest mountain…but how to pull of such a ploy? They sent scouts into any location near them and at last they found it, a location that would allow them to set forth their plans. It was his very own “Nowherever.”
With the scouts called back they began sending in scientists, mages, and even a select few of the royal family who had chosen to stay behind. With their combined wealth and power they began to erect the temples and carve the runes and border lines that Elliot had become so accustomed to seeing. Then, with the task complete they destroyed the temples and left them as nothing more than ruins in the deep forest.
The runes were apparently to seal the town the forest, to make it impossible to enter. Somehow anyone entering would always find themselves feeling ill it they stayed too long, only those born of the proper heritage and marked would be able to make it inside without feeling the adverse effects. The border lines, on the other hand were for a completely different purpose, they, along with the magic that had once been contained in the temples managed to create a field that shielded the massive solar array from view. Anyone viewing this area from the air, or even from the ocean itself, would be unable to see anything but the rolling waves. Only someone who had crossed the border lines would be able to see the array—and only one set of border lines existed that could be crossed. The ones just prior to the ledge that Elliot was standing on.
With all those preparations made, the plan was finally set into motion and the great continent sunk beneath the waves never to be seen again. The gargantuan solar array collecting all the energy they needed to run their various life sustaining systems.
Elliot sighed leaned back against the warm stone. He had already pieced together the fact that he was born of proper lineage, otherwise he would have been unable to cross the forest barrier without incident. In fact he imagined that one day his mother would have taken him and shown him the jewel of the royal family as was described in the small leather bound journal.
He found it funny, though, how the scientists had been unable to let go of their proud traditions, even naming the new colony after the fallen homeland over which they kept silent vigil. He was certain that one day it would rise again, though whether it would be in his lifetime was unknown, all he knew is that it would rise again.
Atlantis would rise again.
Word Count: 2,169