Click here for the first series (Seeing is Becoming).Click here for the previous installment...
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Saga and Vearden worked together to drag the set of instructions for the replica of the Colosseum out of the cave, along with the chest itself. There was no apparent time constraint to their mission, so they decided to wait and start work in the morning. They were losing daylight, and needed to build some kind of camp. Saga suggested they just stay in the cave, but it was just too dangerous. Their boss liked movies, and too many movies were about people being trapped underground. Remaining in wide open spaces was their best option. They found a box of other supplies under the ramp to the stargate: a compass, two flashlights, a few tools, four bottles of water, and five towels of varying sizes. On top of everything was a note from Makarion, Don’t forget to bring a towel. What a strange little man.
Vearden was tasked with constructing the shelter while Saga went about getting a fire going. They chose to make it a contest to see who could finish first. Just before she had the fire raging well enough to be left alone, he had placed the final leaf on their new home and was mocking her loss playfully. “What the hell is that?” she asked of him.
“It’s our shelter. They call it a lean-to, I’m sure of it.” A line of sticks were leaning against a tree. Leaves filled in some, but not all, of the gaps between them.
“That’s only big enough for one person!” She chided him, adding, “who doesn’t mind getting rained on.”
“What are talking about? It’s fine,” he disagreed.
“It’s absolute rubbish,” she said in a feigned British accent. “I’ll have to do it again.”
“That’s ridiculous,” he responded with a laugh. “There’s plenty of room. We’ll just have to cuddle. We’ll need body warmth anyway.”
Saga took a deep breath and exhaled melodramatically.
“Oh, I see what’s happened here,” he finally said. “You’re looking at this pile of random sticks and leaves I put up against the tree. That’s not the shelter.”
“What are you goin’ on about?” Her British kick came from having thought about Pirates of the Caribbean. It was this assimilation thing she did when exposed to other cultures.
Vearden took her by the hand and led her down the tree line. Hidden behind some brush and tall trees was a completely finished cottage. He opened the door and waved her inside. She widened her eyes with interest while two beds were gradually growing out of the floor. He smiled and watched as well. “Okay, I guess you won the game since the beds aren’t quite done.”
“How did you know how to do this? We barely scratched the surface of the instructions.”
“It didn’t take much work on my end. I really just opened the cottage kit at a good location and let it go to work. It’s using the wood from nearby trees. I also found directions to another cache, this one of necessities that apparently can’t be manufactured like sleeping bags and toiletries. It’s evidently buried near a source of fresh water. I didn’t go off looking for it because I didn’t want to be too far from you.”
“And you wanted to spend time making me think that crap out there was our actual shelter.”
“Well yeah, that too.”
“Why did you let me build the fire so far from the cottage?”
“Oo, I didn’t think of that.”
Soon thereafter, they went off amidst the twilight to find what else Makarion had left for them, taking the small shovel and trowel along with them. They found the trunk sticking out of the ground. Either Makarion didn’t have time to bury it all the way, or didn’t think it was necessary. They wrestled it up and broke the lock with a few swift swings of the mini-shovel. Inside were sleeping bags, a water purification system, and several other helpful survival items. But there were two other things in the corner. “What does he want us to do with these?”
“I doubt I could come up with a possibility worse than what he might actually have in store for us,” Vearden replied.
“I’ve never used a gun before, Vearden.”
“Wha—you think I have?”
“I didn’t say that. Maybe they’re just for hunting, or they’re not even real.”
Vearden picked up one of the revolvers. “It’s real.”
“I thought you didn’t have any experience with them.”
“Toy guns aren’t so heavy!” he yelled back defensively. “It’s probably for a future one of his games.”
“Yeah,” she said solemnly. “I imagine a Clint Eastwood movie.”
They stopped, and again spoke at the same time, “Back to the Future Part III”.
“We are time travelers,” Vearden pointed out.
Saga took the gun from Vearden’s hand and put it back in the trunk before removing all other other supplies and cradling them in her shirt. “We don’t open that back up until we have no other choice.”
They followed the trail back down to the beach, both thinking that the other knew where they were going. It was getting darker by the second, so that was definitely a mistake. They did make it to a beach, though, where they found another collection of items scattered around. It looked like they had been abandoned there for years. “What is all this stuff doing here? It doesn’t look like it’s for us.”
“No, it belongs to someone else, for sure.”
She picked up some packages sticking out of the sand. The food was far past expiration date. “Whoever was here, they didn’t use any of this stuff.”
“Maybe they crashed here but were rescued before too long.” He was examining an inflatable raft, and noticing a hole in it.
“Or maybe they were killed,” she suggested. “Perhaps by Makarion.”
“We can’t think like that.”
He dropped the raft and and took a look at the compass. “We can’t be far from the cottage and the stargate. Grab what you can, leave the food if it’s gone bad. I’m starting to think Makarion owns this island, and is using it for other games, with other people.”
They quickly walked back to camp and stuffed all of their new belongings in the cottage. But they left the trunk of guns under the stargate ramp, safe and as far away from them as possible. Click here for the next installment...