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Apollo's Soldiers
by Margo Fallis
Chapter 32

     Professor Wilson filled up on food, patted his tummy and then downed three mugs of Atlantean ale. He stumbled over the bridge and headed around to the back of the temple mount. “I’m going to be a rich man. Today’s my last chance. Foolish Atlanteans.  You have no idea what’s going to happen to you. I’m not going to let all those gems, gold, and precious stones be lost forever.”

     When he reached the secret entrance, he pushed the button and the great door opened. He crept inside, though he was far from quiet. Being drunk, he decided to sing a song at the top of his lungs. It didn’t take long to alert the sleeping guards of his presence. Within a few minutes he was captured and dragged down to the prison, deep under the temple. He was thrown to the ground, but in a drunken state, he laughed and then passed out, unaware of the trouble he was in.

     Later that night, a clattering of metal upon metal woke Professor Wilson from a deep sleep. His head throbbed as he tried to stand. “Where am I?” He glanced around him. Three men sat on a wooden bench at the back of the cell. One man stood near the bars, clanging his tin cup against them “Would you please stop doing that!” The man turned and looked at the professor, not understanding a word he said.

     Professor Wilson opened his eyes wider and took in his surroundings. Cave walls, damp and mildewed, were lined with barred cells. Moans and guttural sounds floated towards him. A door opened at the end of the cave and a man stepped inside carrying a tray. The other prisoners pushed their way to the bars, holding tin cups out in eagerness. The professor found his around his neck and shoulders. He too held it out. A gray, slimy slop was spooned into each cup. Each man guzzled it down and then settled back on their bench.

     The others in his cell had long, greasy blond hair, all the way down their backs and matted with feces, maggots and food. The professor bent over and wretched, dropping his cup on the floor. The other prisoners ran over to the spilled food and licked it from the floor.

     “What have I gotten myself into?” He slid to the floor and sobbed, feeling his empty pockets and praying death would come quickly.

*  *  * 

            As the sun rose for the last time over Atlantis, Leith stretched and yawned. He nudged Sandy, Fraser and Duncan. “This is our last day. There’s a lot to do. Come on; get up.”

            The lads went on deck and glanced at the calm sea. “It’s hard to imagine these calm waves will soon turn into monsters and cover this entire island,” Duncan said.

     “Leith! Duncan!” Murray ran to the ship and scaled the rope ladder. He leaped onto the deck.

     A few seconds later Mr. Wallace appeared. “Father? What are you doing here? I don’t understand?” Leith grabbed hold of the railing, unsteady and confused.

     “Your dad has been here since we came. He saved our lives,” Murray said.

     Paisley’s and Millei’s heads poked over the edge. “We’re here too.” Millei smiled at the others.

     “Father? Why are you here? How did you get here?”

     Mr. Wallace walked over to his son. “Leith, I followed Professor Wilson and when he came through the time warp, I did too. Leith, we need to talk. I have to apologize for my behavior. All these wasted years…I’m so sorry, son.” He reached for Leith, who fell into his father’s arms. “You’re a brave lad and I’m proud of you.” The others turned away, allowing the father and son a few moments of privacy.

     “It’s all right, Father. We can talk later. Right now we have to get these boats loaded. Within twenty-four hours everything will die, or will be buried under the sea.” Leith pulled back and wiped a tear from his eyes.

     As they stood at the railing in silence, they spotted the same whale creatures that had swallowed them in Iona. “Look! It’s that squid whale. There’s more than one. There are a dozen of them,” Murray said, pointing to sea.

     “I hope they escape safely,” Fraser said.

     “Of course they will. They’re sea creatures,” Sandy said.

     “Sandy, why don’t you, Fraser and Duncan go and help Catt with the fish deliveries. We need money for food today,” Leith said. “Murray and I will warn as many of the fishermen to leave as soon as possible. Father, would you and Paisley stay here and help Zimon? Make sure they get as many books from the library as possible. Whatever you do, do not allow Norindal on these ships.”

“Who is Norindal?” Mr. Wallace’s eyes softened when he looked at his son.

“She’s my mother, but she’s evil and a murderess,” Millei said.

“Millei, you should go home and gather what things you’d like to keep and then come back here and help Paisley.”

     All agreed and ran off to do their assigned tasks. Leith and Murray headed toward the docks. Sandy, Fraser and Duncan had already started carrying the crates of fish to the temple mount.

     “So, it’s you,” Catt said, standing on his fishing boat. He watched as Leith approached. “Not helping with the fish deliveries?”

     “I need to talk to you.” Leith urged Catt to join him on the dock. Catt moved down the gangplank.

     “What’s so important, boy?” Catt adjusted the hat on his head.

     “You might not believe me, but it is important you leave here as soon as you’ve unloaded your catch,” Leith said.

     “Why is that?”

     “Please try to keep an open mind.” Leith cleared his throat and began. “My friends and I are from the future. We came to Atlantis to do a few things. By tomorrow morning at this time, Atlantis will cease to exist. A volcano will erupt somewhere nearby and send several huge tidal waves, so large that they will cover the whole island, up to the top of those mountains. Nobody will survive. You need to warn your friends to leave before nightfall and find a safe harbor far away from here as you can.”

“What is this nonsense you speak of? Atlantis, the greatest kingdom in the world destroyed?” Catt gazed into Leith’s eyes. Leith went on to explain the whole story from the start. Catt stared at Leith, trying to absorb his words. “It’s odd, but for some reason I believe you.”

     “Good. Don’t even worry about sending my friends with more fish. It won’t matter. Start preparing your boat to leave and warn others,” Leith said.

     “There’s gossip going around the docks about how some children broke into the temple, and a grown man too, and hung the royal princes from the sacred statue of Poseidon. Another rumor is that a man, who doesn’t speak Atlantean, was caught stealing from the royal treasury. He’s in prison. You don’t know anything about that, do you?” Catt grinned.

     “Actually I do. A few of my friends and my father, who I didn’t know was here, were in the temple last night. I hadn’t heard about the princes. As for the thief, that would be Professor Wilson and quite frankly, he deserves prison.”

     “He will die when the floods come.” Catt adjusted his balance.

     “That can’t be helped. You must leave. Tell everyone not to take on a woman named Norindal. She’ll be trying to get on a ship, any ship, to leave. She’s capable of lying and deceit. It is vital to the future of the world that she is not allowed to leave Atlantis. Can you do that for me?” Leith gazed at Catt.

     Catt studied the boy and his words or warning. “I shall. Will you do me one thing?”

     “What’s that?”

     “I can’t return to my family in time to save them. When you get back to the future, would you please honor them? Place a peacock feather in the woods, somewhere quiet, and say a few words for my wife and beautiful daughter.” Catt choked on his last words.

     “I’ll do that. I promise.” Leith put his hand on Catt’s arms. “Please, go.”

     Leith and Murray turned and walked away, heading back to the beach. “I’m going to miss this place. I wish we’d brought a camera and taken photos. I mean, look at it. This is the legendary city of Atlantis. It’s beautiful. In a few hours it will be gone and we will only have our memories.” Murray sighed.

     “At least we’ll have memories. All the people here will die.” Leith put his arm around Murray’s shoulder. “Take one last look, Murray. This is the last morning. It’s sad. I want to warn everyone, but we have to let things go as planned. There are reasons for everything. I don’t know if I should have warned Catt. His life may change the world in some way, but he’s a good man. It’s sad his family won’t make it, but at least he and a few others will. I’m still trying to figure out why we had to bring all those things from the ten places. I know why, to get through the time warp to come here, but I wonder what each thing symbolizes. I know they all interconnect. Maybe one day when people have gone through all the books in the library at Iona, we’ll understand more. Come on then. We need to help.” They ran off to join the others.

     Fraser, Sandy and Duncan returned a while later with bags of food for the others. Each kept a candol to take home. Murray picked up a few seashells and pocketed them. After eating, they helped load crates onto the ships under Zimon’s supervision. Mr. Wallace worked hard. His shirt was covered with sweat and filth, but he kept going.  As the afternoon passed Leith and the others stood near Uverlu Canal and watched Catt’s boat pass by. One boat after another followed him in a line, all eager to reach the sea and sail away to safety.

     “They listened to him,” Murray said to Leith. “They will all live; at least I hope so, if they don’t get caught in the tidal waves.”

     “They won’t. I know they’ll make it.” Leith took a deep breath. “It’s almost sunset. Everything is on board. Zimon and the others are ready to leave.

     A figure came walking towards them. “Oh no! It’s Norindal,” Paisley said. “Zimon, she can’t get on your ship. Weigh anchor now. If you leave she’ll be stuck here. Please go.”

     Leith nodded at Zimon and the ships weighed anchor and floated out to sea. Zimon waved goodbye. Leith waved back and then turned to Norindal. “You’re too late. They’re gone and so has every other ship. The navy ships left during the night for battle. You’re stuck here.”

     “I have a fortune. If you will get me on one of those ships, I will give it all to you. I know what is going to happen.” She glared at Leith and the others.

     “Sorry. You’re stuck here,” Paisley said.

     “You have a way to leave. I will come with you, into the future. I know all about you.” Her white hair glistened in the early moonlight.

     “No! Mother, you can’t go with us under any circumstances. You’re a murderer. You killed my father. None of us are going to let you leave this island.” Millei walked up to her mother and stood right in front of her. “You are going to die here.”

     Norindal waved her arms in fury. “Out of my way you worthless child. I’ll get away. I’m going to make a potion. I know a lot of spells. If I can’t go, you won’t either.” She pushed her daughter to the ground and stomped off, heading for Atlas.

     Leith pulled Millei up to her feet. “Ignore her. You’ve got us now. Let’s go. We have to get to the tunnel. I’ve got the missing piece of marble to fit into the pillar. Have any of you seen a pillar with a missing piece?” Leith held it up.

     “I know where that is. It’s in my house. We’d better follow my mother.” Millei and the others chased after the wizardress.

     “Leith, you have shown skills to me that most men don’t acquire in their entire lifetime. You’re a man now. I think I had to go through all of this to appreciate you.” His father sighed. “I’m so sorry for all the wasted years and my unkind words. Somehow fame and glory mean nothing any more. An entire civilization will be wiped off the face of the earth and I worry what my co-workers think. How shallow a man I’ve been.”

     “Don’t apologize any more. I’ve learned a lot too. We’ve got our lives to talk about this. Right now we need to finish up here.” Leith ran ahead.

     Leith and the others approached Millei’s house with caution. Lights were on and people went about their lives, oblivious to what was coming. “She’ll be in the basement. That’s where she keeps all her witch things. One of us needs to capture her while the rest of us take everything away and destroy them so she can’t use it. Mr. Wallace, you’ll have to be the one to do that. None of us is strong enough. We’ll help though. I’ll lure her into thinking I’m on her side.” They worked out a plan and Millei went into the house.

     They gave her a few minutes and then tiptoed inside. Mr. Wallace opened the door and crept down the stairs, thankful none of the wooden boards squeaked. He saw Norindal slap Millei across the face and throw her to the floor.

     “You’re not my daughter. You’re worthless. I hope you die, and you will, because I’m not taking you with me. I should have killed you like I did your father. You’ve been nothing but a burden and curse to me your whole life.”

     Mr. Wallace felt a twinge of guilt and pain, knowing he had treated his son the same. He stepped out of the shadow and confronted Norindal. “Keep your hands off that girl. If you lay one more finger on her, I’ll break every bone in your body.”  

“Do you think I fear you? I fear nothing. I have a thousand spells in this book that can turn you into a frog, or a snake. I warn you, do not interfere with me.” Norindal spat the words at him.

     Millei grabbed hold of her mother’s legs. She toppled to the ground, landing on her face. “Get her, Mr. Wallace. Grab her and don’t let go.”

     Mr. Wallace wrapped his arms around the wailing woman. She scratched, wriggled, and screamed. Leith, the lads and Paisley rushed into the house and into the basement. They helped Mr. Wallace tie her up. Once that was accomplished, they took everything from her workshop. Millei took great delight in pulling the book from her mother’s hands. “I’ll take this!” She laughed at her mother as she tore all the pages from it.

Norindal was in a rage. “I will kill you all! I will come to the future, find you and destroy you. You can’t stop me.”

Leith and Paisley walked over to her. “Oh yes we can. We already have.”

Murray and Fraser broke all of the glass vials of liquids. Sandy swept everything off the table and jumped up and down on them. The sound of broken glass crunched under his feet. Duncan tore her spell books in half. Once everything was destroyed they climbed the stairs and locked the door, leaving the screeching woman on the floor.

The ground shook, rattling things on the shelves and hanging from the walls. “It’s begun,” Leith said. “Millei, show us the pillar.”

She led them to another room. “Here it is. I’ve asked my mother, I mean Norindal, about this pillar and she always brushed me aside. I’ve wondered why she guarded it so well and hit me if I went anywhere near it. Now I understand.”

Leith took out the piece of marble. Just as he was about to place it in the right spot, the ground shook violently, rocking the house back and forth. A gaping hole opened up in the floor. Mr. Wallace fell in. When Leith looked down, he saw his father holding onto a ledge.

“Go, Leith. Save yourself and your friends. Go!” Mr. Wallace looked down. Lava was bubbling up from within the earth’s crust towards his feet. An explosion thundered across the island. “It’s the volcano. Leith, take your friends and go. Please, son.”

Leith handed the piece of marble to Paisley. “Put it in place and go. I’m saving my father. I won’t go without him.”

“Don’t be so foolish, boy. Save yourself.” Mr. Wallace pulled his legs up. The heat from the rising lava was horrendous.

“You all go. I’m staying until he’s safe. If I have to die, I’ll die with my father.” Leith wept as he reached for his father’s hands. “Give me your hands, Father.”

Paisley leaned over. “You’re not doing this alone. I’ll help you.”

The others went off to find a piece of rope, or something to pull him up with. “We go together, or not at all,” Sandy said.

A few moments later, Mr. Wallace was standing with the lads and girls. “How can I ever repay you all?”

“We’ll think of a way later. Let’s get out of here.” Sandy turned in time to see Norindal coming out of the basement. “She’s escaped. We’ve got to get out of here. Hurry.”

Leith put the piece of marble in the pillar. The time warp opened. Duncan and Murray leaped through. Paisley went next, followed by Sandy and Fraser. “You go next, Father.” Leith watched as his dad leaped through. “Your turn, Millei.”

She turned to her mother. “Help me, you useless girl. I’m your mother. Don’t leave me.” Millei turned from her mother to Leith and with no hesitation leaped through. Leith reached for her hand, but as he did, Norindal grabbed hold of his foot and pulled him back.

“Go. Close the portal. You can’t let her through.” Leith tried to wrench his foot free.

“Leith. Let me go! I must save my son.” Mr. Wallace pushed his way past the others but at that moment the portal closed. On the 8th of August, a mound of water swept across the island, drowning all the inhabitants and locking them forever in their watery tomb.

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