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Fantasticoe Spring 2011

The Unknown Land

Kelli Springer

"What is this!?" Sasha asked pulling a gun from their suitcase.

"Nothing," Peter replied, "I…"

"You what Peter? We've been over this before. You told them you were out; you were leaving. We are going to start a family and get away from all of this."

"I know it's just an old habit."

"Old habit? Last time you came back you looked like a bulldozer ran over you. And the time before that you had a broken arm and the time before that you…"

"Ok, ok I know. You know what just forget about it; there should be no reason at all that I would need a gun on a vacation. Pretend I never brought it, so just leave it alone and let's start our vacation."

"I still can't believe you brought your gun; this vacation to Australia is suppose to be our start at our new lives" Sasha said shaking her head in disbelief. "Let's go to the beach and forget this whole gun thing ever happened."

As the couple walked out from their hotel to the beach the sun shone beautifully as it rose in the morning sky; the reds and oranges playing across the water and across the tanned skin of Peter O'Rourke. As Sasha was walking behind Peter she couldn't take her eyes off of him; the morning sunrise seemed to make Peter even more handsome than ever before. In her mind Sasha took in all aspects of Peter. He looked so much like another Bond man as he walked in front of her to the beach. Sasha could not hide it; she was madly in love with this man.

They finished walking to the shore and set up two large beach towels in the sand, an umbrella behind the towels, scuba gear in mesh bags, and a picnic basket with food and drinks for later. Peter took Sasha by her hand and they lay down on the towels and watched the sunrise to the beginning of beautiful day. The smell of the ocean seemed ever so inviting to Peter, he had grown up near the ocean and it was his second love after Sasha. Peter looked over at Sasha as she closed her eyes enjoying the growing warmth of the morning sun on her face and body. Peter thought back to the conversation he had had with Sasha; how if they went to Italy she could get a modeling job with her beauty. He always said after that what he loved more than her body was her mind; a mind seeking adventures, new ideas, and always full of questions. He gazed down at her with love and affection.

            After the sun had fully risen Peter and Sasha opened the mesh bags and began to put on gear to go scuba diving along the reef. They had also brought along a couple underwater cameras to take pictures of all the bright colorful fish and coral that they came upon in their exploration. While they were wading in an older man was coming out with a bag of shells.

            "Are you two going out to the reef?" the older gentleman asked.

            "Yes we are," Peter replied, "do you suggest any good areas to go see?"

            "Why yes as a matter of fact I do. If you look due east and swim out about 200m there is a beautiful reef you can explore."

            "Thank you. Have a good rest of the day."

            "No worries. You two have a good one." The older gentleman winked at Sasha and then carried on towards the beach.

            " Well," Sasha said letting a small giggle escape as she blushed, "might as well give it a try."

            "Sounds fine to me" Peter replied, "So let's wade in a little farther and get going." They waded till they could stand no more and used their snorkels till they got to the reef and then switched to their full faced scuba masks so they could dive down.

They were having the best of time taking pictures of exotic fish and bright coral, along with each other in awkward poses trying to see new things. As they were exploring the coral seemed to move with a life of its own. The colors seemed to change from brilliant pinks to dark purples with splashes of greens, yellows, oranges, blues, and all other colors of the rainbow. They swam deeper to get closer to the coral for better pictures and as they did the coral seemed to open up and show them a whole new side to the ocean. Opening up to Peter and Sasha was what seemed to be a city made of moving coral living on its own. Amazed as they were the couple explored this underwater wonder taking as many pictures as they could.

Just as they were leaving with almost no memory left on their cameras something grabbed Sasha. It was a pair of hands! Sasha looked down and tried to pull the hands off of her, but they were like an iron grip. The hands were so large that they seemed to encase Sasha's entire midsection. Peter tried to swim over and help, but as he did another pair of hands grabbed him. The hands spun them around so the bodies attached to the hands could see who they had take hold of. What Peter and Sasha saw was not exactly human; they were close…but different. Merepeople? Their hands were gentle and soft but could hold an iron grip. They had thick muscles, but their skin seemed like it was skin colored chainmail and it too was soft but as tough as steel armor. Their hair seemed almost golden; one had gold weaved into his long brown hair, the other had silver braided into his soft blond hair. They looked to be eight feet tall with fins instead of feet.

"Who are you and where did you come from?" the words seemed to flow like a chorus of violins from the brown haired…person?

Terrified and confused Peter and Sasha looked at each other, wondering how to respond. It was Peter who spoke up first.

"We didn't come here to cause harm." There was a slight tremble in his voice as he said this. "We were just diving and taking pictures of the reef and ocean life. If this is restricted water we had no idea and no intention of intruding"

"I asked who you are," the blond one demanded.

"Ok, ok, my name is Peter and this is Sasha."

This time it was the brown haired one that spoke. "You have no business here. Leave us."

"Oh," Sasha whispered, "we just wanted to take pictures." A stubborn look appeared on her face.

"Sasha let's get out of here." Peter said. "Please sir, will you let us go and we will leave?"

The two giant mysterious beings looked at each other like they were having an entire conversation, but without any spoken words. Eventually the blonde one spoke, "We have decided to let you go. If you ever come back again there will be consequences. Now leave." And with that they let Peter and Sasha go.

 


Peter and Sasha finally got back to the surface and out of the water after their strange encounter. While they were walking to their towels they agreed to talk about this encounter over supper. When they got back to their towels on shore it was nearing noon; they put their gear back into the bags and got out food and drinks for lunch. While they were getting the food ready a shadow fell over them as the man they briefly met earlier walked up to their towels. The man apologized for not introducing himself earlier and introduced himself as Dieter Waltham.

 After introducing themselves Peter and Sasha invited Mr. Waltham to sit down for lunch with them; Dieter he asked them to call him, Mr. Waltham was too formal. Dieter declined the offer of food saying that he had already eaten. After talking their way through lunch Peter and Sasha told Mr. Waltham they would love to stay and talk some more but they were going to go clean up so they could go into town before the shops closed. Dieter said he didn't mind and that he had had a nice conversation with such an adventurous couple. He got up, dusted the sand off his shorts and started to walk away, but he suddenly turned around as if one last question had come to him.

"I don't mean to be intruding but what did you find on your dive down today?"

Sasha replied with a smile, "Oh we saw some beautiful coral and so many different types of fish. It was so beautiful and colorful and clear down there."

"But did you find anything else down there?"

"No, I don't think so. We just saw some colorful fish and coral." Sasha figured that until they knew what was going on they wouldn't speak about this underwater place to anyone else.

His expression had changed from casual and happy to a more serious darker look. "Are you sure you didn't find anything else???"

This time it was Peter who spoke. He stood up to face Dieter. "No, we didn't find anything else down there. Why are you asking?"

"This doesn't have to happen this way, if only they could understand," Dieter seemed to be talking with himself as if trying to decide what to do.

 "I know what you saw down there and you two are going to take me to it." Just by the tone of his voice Peter knew that Dieter meant business.

By then Sasha had stood up, trying to remain composed as this new acquaintance had become an enemy in a matter of a few words.  Peter stepped in front of Sasha as to protect her and confronted Dieter. "Like we said before all we saw down there was fish, coral and…" Sasha squeezed Peter's arm as if to say don't tell him about who we met. "…and other marine animals."

"Liars!!!" hissed Dieter. Dieter seemed enraged that the two young people in front of him wouldn't give him what he wanted. "Fine! I've tried asking nicely." And with this he drew from his waistband a M1911 .45 caliber pistol and aimed it at Peter.

"Let me ask you again. What did you find down there?"

"I already told you. There was nothing else down there."

"You lie again! This time you will pay for your lie." In a blur of speed Dieter swung his gun and brought the handle crashing down on Peter's head. "I will see you tomorrow and you better have the right answer for me!" Just as quick as the gun had appeared it was gone and Dieter disappeared.

"Peter! Are you ok?" Peter lay on the ground, his eyes half closed and blood gushing from his head.  As Sasha bent down she grabbed one of the towels; she gently picked up Peter's head and put it in her lap and then covered the wound with the towel.

"I'm ok. I'm ok. Are you hurt?"

"Peter I'm fine." Sasha said slightly irritated, " I'm concerned for you. I thought Dieter was a nice gentleman, well before he pulled that stunt at the end."

"I feel like I've seen him before. The way he acted seems familiar. He might be CIA."

"Peter, please don't go back to that. Remember what you said when you married me? You said that all of this stuff was going to be put behind us and we were going to have a new start. Don't go opening old wounds."

"But I know he definitely works for some government agency, his gun is standard issue. He may have possibly been in the military before too."

"How do you know?"

"I will explain later. For now let's get back to the hotel and figure out what we are going to do and stop the bleeding."

 


"Peter what happened back there?" Sasha asked as they were walking to their room, "You said there wasn't going to be any more of this kind of stuff happening anymore."

"I thought so too." He sighed, "Well I guess I should explain now." And he sat down in a chair.

"I believe you should explain what's going on too." She said still slightly angry.

"Ok. Well, I remember when I first joined the agency after they recruited me out of the marines; it was one of my first assignments. I had been working undercover to find a mole in one of the departments and one of my contacts I was supposed to be meeting never showed. We found him dead in his apartment with a note tucked in his shirt pocket signed, ‘Dieter W.' Back then I thought nothing of it, but now I think when we get back I'm going to have to do a little digging. There's no way we are going to get out of this alive if we play by his rules."

"What do we do Peter?"

Peter sat there for a while then got up and went into the bathroom, "Ok. I think I know what to do." He said turning around and picking up the clean shirt off the counter in the bathroom which Sasha had put there.

 "We are going to take a boat out. I know Dieter will follow us and when he does we will get him aboard our boat and question him. I know he'll come aboard; he won't miss the chance to try and force us to answer again. Once we know what we need to know, well we'll leave it till the time comes."

He walked over to their bag and took out his gun. He then unzipped another compartment and pulled out another gun. He handed it to Sasha.

 "It was just a precautionary action, looks like we need it this time."

"This time?" Sasha looked at the guns with disbelieve and a devious smile, which was quite the contradiction to what Peter was expecting.

Starting to defend himself from what he thought would be Sasha's disapproval of anything relating back to the CIA he said, "Well I always like to be prepared." He was surprised when he saw a devious smile come across her face.

Laughing Sasha replied, "oh alright, but let's go into town and get some supplies then and a snack and possibly dinner. We will have to get up early tomorrow."

 


The next morning Peter and Sasha got up extra early to make sure they had everything ready to go. This whole ordeal with Sasha's reaction and her decision to stay instead of leaving and forgetting the whole thing still surprised Peter. This time when they left they didn't look like an innocent couple, but rather, if one used their imagination, two undercover operatives ready to take down the bad guy.

They walked down to the beach where an old boat was at the edge of the shore, just as instructed. They put their packs into the boat and pushed it into the water. The ocean was calm; the sun had yet to peek above the horizon. A soft high pitched buzzing sound could be heard coming from shore. Sure enough it was a small fishing boat with, none other than, Dieter behind the wheel.  Peter slowed the boat and stopped approximately where the reef ended and where he and Sasha had stumbled upon this lost city. Within seconds, Dieter had pulled his small boat up next to the O'Rourke's and turned off his engine.

"Well," Dieter said with a satisfied smile on his face as he pulled out his gun again, "what is your decision? Will you tell me the truth? Or do I have to kill you and leave your bodies out in the ocean to never be found again?"

Peter stepped to the edge of his watercraft and confronted Dieter. "Dieter, we will not tell you what was down there. You will harm no one."

"Peter," Sasha whispered, "look at the gas tank. It's leaking into the boat." Dieter didn't seem to notice Sasha's whispering, or if he did he ignored it.

"Well…hahahahahahaha! You think me to be a fool? I've waited ten years for this, for someone to lead me to the lost city. So I can redeem myself. I was shunned from the CIA when my operation went south. I don't know how but someone found out and half my team was killed. They tortured me, yes they did, and it was awful. It lasted for two years and I finally escaped, but when I went back the agency believed me to be a broken mind, I had failed them. They lost millions. They said if it was so true, that there was some sort of lost civilization beneath the water and they could change the world, then I should prove it to them. So I came back down here to Australia looking for this place, but I never found it. And then you two show up and think you're all wonderful and won't tell me! I need to know where this place is! I will find it or die trying! No one will ever throw me aside again. Now tell me where to find it!"

"We won't tell you where it is. If we showed you where this supposed place is you will just shoot us when we get there." Peter said this and pulled out his gun.

"Oh, look the pretty boy brought his toy gun to play with." Dieter said with an evil grin on his face.

He has clearly lost his mind  thought Peter. "I am giving you one chance. Leave us now. Get out of our lives and continue on your warped exploit by yourself. I'm warning you I'm not afraid to pull the trigger." He reached down and cut Dieter's anchor line and pushed the smaller boat away.

"Fine, I take it that's your answer so," As Dieter Raised his gun, aiming for Sasha, so did Peter, and Sasha to Peter's amazement as he never thought she would be this into solving the problem. Before Dieter could fire Peter had fired and put three bullets in Dieter and at the same time Sasha fired at the small motor and gas tank. The boat exploded taking Dieter with it. Shock waves from the explosion rocked Peter and Sasha's boat as they watched the wreckage sink down in the ocean. As Peter looked out over the water the sun was just starting to rise from the east.

"Sasha," Peter said turning to her, "let's go back down there just one more time ."

"Peter. Remember what those people said, ‘never come back'."

"I know, but I want to see if what Dieter was saying is true. And we'll have these harpoon guns I found on the boat with us. Don't worry, I'll protect you."

"Well I suppose. I'll get the gear. But we're only going down there for ten minutes." Sasha said uneasily.

"Fine, they shouldn't come that soon I think."

Peter and Sasha put on the scuba gear and swam down to the moving coral and went through it again.

For the first five minutes nothing happened as they looked around. Nearing the ten minute mark the merepeople came just like the last time, but this time they were met with hostility. The merepeople ripped the harpoon guns from Peter and Sasha's hands with ease.

"We warned you to not come back here." The blonde one said.

"Now," the merman with brown hair said, "you will suffer the consequences. You're not the first ones to disobey our requests." And moving so Peter and Sasha could see was a bubble of air the size of a small prison with only a few living and several more dead men. Recognition came across Peter's face as he realized that these men were the missing men from Dieter's team that disappeared all those years ago.

"Welcome to your new home." With an evil laugh, the blonde one pulled Peter and Sasha to the edge of the bubble and pushed them in .