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Rebellion: The Last Rebel
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Chapter 1: The end and the beginning.
The years went by and Angus and Xyzta lived happily in their creation-world, and as the years slowly passed, they grew closer and closer to each other. Xyzta, lonely after centuries of solitude, and Angus, dazzled by the beauty of Xyzta, made a nice couple, and after a while they even had a child together. They named him Jim.
Jim was now six years old, after the years that Xyzta had set the creation world to have. It was now May in the actual world, and six months had passed since Angus had entered the altar.
Angus was deep in sleep on a couch, resting under the shadow of a great oak tree in the middle of a great green field.
Jim was playing in the field with some Barqubas; some dog-like animals, which turned out to be great pets, but were too friendly to ever survive the real world. Xyzta was in her watching tower, looking over it all.
Life was good, and only the fact that the VoodooLady now had full control over the netherworld could dim that fact. These years had been the best years in Angus' life.
Ten glorious years had passed and Angus had experienced greater joy than anything he had felt before; before that, he had lived through what seemed like a century of misery and despair. The strange thing was that he had not aged a bit. You could guess that Angus after ten years of lazy and joyful living and uncounted years of misery and torment would start to get wrinkles and that his body would have passed its fullest capability, but no; he seemed just as young as he had been when he was eighteen and had entered the altar. Only the thin wrinkle-like scar between his eyes could give any appearance of age.
Angus would have believed that he was living in some time-hole or something if it had not been for young Jim. Jim had been growing like a normal child, something that seemed to be quite a mystery to his mother, and aged and learned as the days and years passed by. He was the only one of them who aged at all.
But the mystery of Jim’s aging didn’t concern Angus as much as it did Xyzta, Angus had long ago abandoned the hope of understanding Xyzta’s creation-world and he assumed that Jim’s aging, as well as their own halt in aging, was just a part of the many mysteries that he daily encountered in Xyzta’s world. Xyzta however, after years of wonder and study, seemed to let go of the mystery, and had now started to explain to Jim about the dream world she had created. He was on a daily basis tutored by Xyzta in the fine arts of creating new species and weather. He also got the opportunity to control the creation-world from time to time. Angus on the other hand wouldn't even dare to ask Xyzta for an opportunity such as this, he too clearly remembered the agony and despair of the worlds he had created for himself after entering the altar.
Angus turned in his sleep.
Lately he had had these strange dreams, and they were worrying him.
He had been dreaming about his old fellow crewmembers: Captain Marley, Young Lindy, Rap Scallion and Rum Rogers. He had a recurring dream where they were sitting around a table with a map of the Caribbean, and as Captain Marley pointed out points on the map (in each dream there was another location, it started with the major colonies: Port Royale, St.Kitts, Panama, Havana, San Juan... Then it went on to small unimportant colonies like Trinidad, Villa Hermosa, and Port au Prince, and lastly these few days he had been pointing at locations with no colonies at all.), the points would highlight in a dark-reddish colour and sparks would erupt and start to burn the paper. All the people around the table would then be very afraid, and as they watched, the complete map would burn and dissolve into ashes. Then a horrible mocking laughter would follow shortly after, and as they all turn, they would see the VoodooLady standing in a corner smiling. Then one of them would start to laugh too, as if to finally tell the others that he had been deceiving them, but his laughter would be nothing Angus had ever heard before, and Angus would always wake up before he could get in front of them, and see who was laughing...
Now, once again, Angus heard the menacing laughter; and it grew louder and louder. It grew all until the point when Angus realised who it was who was laughing.
An almost shrieking, rolling laughter mocked him in its deceit. Angus clearly recognised it now; it was his own son Jim’s laughter, almost mad with joy, and as he realised this, he saw that the back-head of the deceiver was his son’s. He sprang forward to see if it was true, and awoke shivering in Xyzta’s arms. He heard Jim laughing in the background, and as he turned towards him, he saw that one of the animals had managed to create a castle out of grass and dirt.
Angus breathed heavily, still with the fear from the dream roaming in his mind.
Xyzta pressed his head against her bosom and comforted him,
“My poor, poor Angus,” She soothed, while putting her head gently towards his. “The dreams won’t touch you anymore.”
Angus, when hearing this last comment, quickly got hold of his fear and forced himself out of the embarrassing grasp of his loved one. He was a man after all, not a little child.
“I know dear,” he said, as an excuse for his actions.
“It is time for your breakfast,” Xyzta answered, understanding, though not liking, Angus’ instincts for manner and pride.
Angus eagerly agreed to that and followed Xyzta gladly to a table filled with tropical vegetable delights.
“Jim ate a couple of hours ago,” Xyzta explained, “so it will be just us two today.”
Angus was glad for that. He always loved being alone with her; then he could allow himself to just marvel over her looks (still ten years after their first encounter he loved to just look at her).
Angus took a bite of a juicy squash and smiled as he watched Xyzta taking a bite out of a ripe apple.
A long silence followed.
“Was it the same dream as the others?” Xyzta finally asked.
“Yes,” Angus answered. He looking depressed at Xyzta, he hated the dream, and he hated it even more for the fact that it seemed to make Xyzta sad. He could endure it forever, if it didn’t hurt her so.
“I had this thought today,” Xyzta started. “And this feeling…” Angus looked up and understood that Xyzta was troubled. “And I think it has something to do with your dreams…”
“Well, you know that this realm of mine has a gate in the living world?” Xyzta was referring to the altar, and Angus told her that he understood what she was referring to. “And that the gate is situated on an island flying thousands of feet over the living world?” Angus again agreed in understanding. “Then think about this: What if your dream is in reality a prophecy? What if the dream shows that your mistrusting friends, who used to be rebels, now are working for the VoodooLady and against you and me? They never forgave you for the treason they claimed you did towards them, and they might have become mad enough to bargain with the VoodooLady. Even if they now are hiding away wherever they might find cover, they might accidentally bring both the recipe and map to the VoodooLady, and then the whole world will be in danger.”
Angus stared at her in disbelief. “You mean that you don’t know what they are doing?”
“The VoodooLady grows stronger every day that passes Angus,” Xyzta said in a stern, almost angry tone. It seemed that she almost took the question as an insult. But Angus could see that there was also another feeling there. Maybe doubt? “After you gave me back my powers, I haven’t been able to see anything except things over and beneath the cloud, with its island.”
“But why now?” Xyzta looked puzzled over this question from Angus, so he asked a more directly. “Why should my former crewmembers betray their cause now? Why should they wait ten years (possibly a lot more) before they turn to the VoodooLady?”
“You mean I have never told you?” Xyzta asked shocked. Angus did not know what she was talking about, so she had to explain to him. “Well, it really is strange that you have lived here for ten years without knowing this, but when I created this world, I did so in an effort to ease my problems with controlling the whole world; but that wasn’t enough, still things were going way too fast for me. So, I decided to slow down the time in my own creation-world.” Angus froze and silently tried to comprehend what she was saying. “In the living world, only six months have passed since you entered the altar.”
Angus sat silently, thinking hard about this time riddle.
“So there is a strong possibility that they haven’t turned to the VoodooLady yet.” Xyzta said so that Angus would again think about the serious issue they were talking about. “And as for the question of delay for my concern (after all, six months is a long time); I didn’t get this through before this morning. I was trying to look trough the deep dark red fumes of the tri-island area, while musing over you and your dreams. Then suddenly a ray of light went through the clouds, and I thought I could see the map over the cloud-island waved in the air by an unknown person. And I thought I could hear praises shouted for the VoodooLady.” Xyzta now looked upon Angus with a look, which seemed like guilt; it almost seemed to Angus that she felt guilty for seeing these things.
“So you fear that this world might be in danger?” Angus asked, and on the affirming nod from his dearest, he continued. “And you and Jim might die, if the treachery isn’t undone?”
“If they were to turn to the VoodooLady, and I couldn’t withstand her powers; then I, you and Jim would surely die. But that is not the worst.” Angus looked puzzled, almost angered at Xyzta, he could not possibly decipher what worse fate than the killing of Jim and Xyzta could be. “If the VoodooLady would enter this realm, and destroy the one controlling the powers in here, she could herself take control. Then the entire earth would be at stake if she learned enough of this world and its powers.”
Angus, now fully realising the horrible scenario, jumped up from his chair in pure shock.
“But how can we stop this from happening?” he asked, confused, though he was perfectly aware of the only possible answer.
“Well, it isn’t certain it will happen at all. It might.” Xyzta said before Angus interrupted her.
“But it might happen, right?” Angus asked, and after the sad affirming nod added, “Then I must go, right?” The last question was unnecessary and served only to hurt Xyzta. He was trying to force her to make his decision, even though they both knew that this was the only possible way.
“I could go, perhaps,” Xyzta tried, instantly understanding how pathetic it sounded. It almost sounded mocking.
Angus, on the other hand, was too moved to notice that, and seemed to believe that she meant it.
“No, no,” he started. “You must watch over the world and Jim.”
They finished their breakfast in silent remorse, both knowing that the joyful days were over. Ten blissful years they had lived together now, and it would all be over in a blink of an eye.
Angus was leaving that very evening. Both Xyzta and Angus understood too well the graveness of the situation to try to delay the departure, even though they wanted to.
Angus was now standing on the oak floor in his old imaginary Mêlée Island mansion guestroom. Jim was happily jumping up and down in the big bed, while Xyzta, moved to tears, stood in front of Angus. She tried to calm herself down by telling him information about arrangements she had made for him.
“When you leave the portal you will find a talking monkey who answers on the name Bobo,” she said in a blurry voice which was close to cracking due to her sorrow.
“Bobo?” Angus asked, in a merry, slightly amused tone. “A monkey named Bobo!” He said this in an expressed and joyful tone, which he used for the sole reason of trying to cheer her up.
At first, she fought against the bizarre voice that Angus had just used; she did not want to seem glad of him leaving, but in the end, she could not hold herself and laughed a low, chuckling laughter while giving Angus a wide smile.
“Yes,” she said, with laughter behind every syllable. “A cute little Caribbean monkey named Bobo.”
Angus could not handle his feelings either. “I wish Bobo could go on this adventure instead of me.” This made Xyzta chuckle even louder, misinterpreting the comment. Angus, however, continued more sadly than ever. “He won’t miss you two as much as I will.”
Angus stared blank eyed at his loved ones.
He called Jim to him.
“I will be leaving now,” he said.
“How long will you be gone?” the young boy asked, the new situation seemed strange to him, but he couldn’t grasp how.
“Oh, I guess I will be gone some time,” Angus answered kindly. “It will take a very long time before I will be back.”
“Oh,” Jim replied a bit sad, he had hoped that he and his father could play a game later on.
“Remember to listen to your mother when I’m gone now,” Angus said and gently stroked his son’s dark brown hair. He then, after realizing how much he would miss his little son, let go of his Scottish manner and pride, and bowed down and gave his son a great hug.
Angus slowly let go of Jim, who in turn sprang out of the door after a short and ignorant “Goodbye.” He was too young and lived in a world too separated from the true world to realise what was happening.
Angus looked a while at the empty door and slowly understood that he would not see his son again for months. The thought only made him miserable, so he turned and hoped to find comfort in Xyzta’s deep eyes. But what met Angus when he turned wasn’t comfort, nor joy. He stared at Xyzta’s pained face, with deep sorrow. Her forehead was wrinkled with numerous thin, long lines of concern. Her eyes were glassy and swollen. Her cheeks gleamed brightly red and her mouth quivered lightly. She was near a breakdown, and Angus knew he could not do anything to help her feel better. He bent over towards her and kissed her gently but passionately. Then as he retreated his head from hers, he let his right hand drift slowly through her soft silky hair, he let his hand follow the left side of her hand, and as he tenderly hold her right, slightly swollen, cheek, a tear from her endless deep eye ran into his palm. He slowly lowered his hand, holding a single tear filled with promise of longing.
He had to go; they both knew that.
Xyzta wiped away her tears and started to concentrate upon the task at hand; to send Angus back to the cloud island.
She took one last look at Angus and then sent him away. That last look was going to haunt her the coming months.
It was the face of her dearest, stiff as a log, with a slightly sad face, and two thin lines of salt water, flowing slowly over his checks, which now seemed to change colour.
When Angus woke up, he was in complete darkness; he could feel that his cheeks and eyes were wet. He had a hard lump in his throat, and there seemed to be a small biting sensation in his nasal cavity.
He lay down again and hoped to sleep it all off. He felt the warmth from other bodies, and was ready to sleep into the creation-world again.
He did not get the chance though; seconds later he heard a loud scream and an irritating voice cried out Angus’ name.
Angus tried to ignore it, but to no use. Soon someone had opened the lid of the altar, and a small monkey was sticking its head into the altar.
The monkey had a small brown face, with a white pattern of fur going across his nose.
“That can’t be,” he said, amazed, with his irritating monkey voice. “You’re floating in mid-air.”
Angus’ feelings had now turned from sorrow to a slight irritation; he was angered over the fact that he could not even have his emotions for himself.
“You’re Bobo, right?” Angus said, uninterested, in an attempt to reduce the monkey’s vocabulary to single words.
“Yes,” Bobo said, glad for the fact that someone knew his name. “Bobo is my name, and I’m a talking monkey. There ain-“
“Gee, a talking monkey, huh? “Angus said mockingly, already tired of this talkative animal. “I would never have guessed.”
Angus suddenly understood that Xyzta was probably watching him, and he calmed down.
He laid there silent a moment while the monkey stayed at a distance, not wanting to be near the mood sick human.
“I’m sorry,” Angus finally said, perfectly calm, while his depression started to come back again with the thought of Xyzta. “That was out of line.”
“Oh, that is perfectly all right,” Bobo said cheerfully, happy for the fact that the human seemed happier now. “I can completely underst-“
“How did you manage to open that lid?” Angus asked, before the monkey managed to finish talking.
“Well, with this!” Bobo now showed a chopped off tail end, which was bleeding vigorously.
Angus instantly froze with discomfort, and Bobo noted his concern.
“Oh, don’t worry Mr.McDow,” he said calmly. “Look, it is growing and healing as we speak. Angus could see that it was so. Xyzta is very kind towards us servants.” Angus nodded carefully, not understanding how making a monkey chop his tail off would be kind. “But now we must go, the day would soon decline,” Bobo said, and jumped away from the altar.
Angus arose slowly, and the temple-like clearing that he had remembered from six months ago had now the privilege to bath in the midday-sun’s rays. Angus got up and strode out of the altar, and as the lid closed itself, and he followed Bobo who strode comfortable a couple of feet ahead of him, he understood quickly that Bobo’s tail couldn’t hurt, since he constantly slammed into nearby trees and bushes with great confidence and joy. Angus then understood the necessity of the tail chopping and understood that it was not as horrible as he had first thought.
Angus and Bobo walked all that day and reached the shore at evening.
Xyzta seemed to have everything prepared for his trip. Just outside the island’s reef, a sturdy new sloop was rolling gently on top of the dull waves. Angus could only see a single rowboat along the beach, and in that, there sat four monster-monkeys. They were nearly human-size and had black hair all over their bodies. Bobo strode towards the boat and positioned himself at the stern with the tiller. Angus had to sit down in the bow; he was just a passenger after all.
After ten minutes of intensive rowing from the brutish monkeys, they had reached their destination, and Angus boarded the StarSailer, a beautiful sloop, manned with even more brutish monkeys. Angus was shocked; the animals were in fact so ugly that he could not bear staying on deck.
He demonstrated that he was tired and Bobo quickly showed him to his quarters.
Angus got the captain’s quarters; since he was a distinguished guest, this was the only fitting solution. On the other hand, during the entire trip Angus never saw anyone, neither human nor animal, that could even resemble a Captain. The Captain’s quarter was not something to brag of though; a small table accompanied by a fragile chair, and an even more fragile-looking bed was all the furniture he could find in the small cabin.
“This trip will surely be dull,” Angus thought as he undressed. Moments later, when Bobo came in and collected Angus’ clothes for washing, Angus was snoring heavily in the poor bed.
The next morning, a rapid tapping on the cabin door awoke Angus. He asked about the reason for the dreadful noises while getting out of his bed. When his feet had reached the deck, Angus noted that all his clothes where gone. He was horrified, and even more so when the door opened and Bobo came striding in, smiling. Bobo was holding a bundle of clothes over his left paw and gave them to Angus with the utmost respect. He even wanted to help Angus with putting on the clothes, something that seemed to make Angus angered.
“The breakfast is already ready,” Bobo announced as he carefully observed the way Angus put on his clothes.
“Just bring it in here,” Angus said, then added, “Now please.” He disliked those monkey-eyes staring at him while he was getting dressed. It was as if Bobo disapproved of Angus’ style of dressing. The situation was too bizarre for Angus to handle.
Moments later, when Angus was finished, the breakfast came in on the small table. Bobo stood beside the table and talked to Angus while he ate.
“We’ve been lucky; we haven’t encountered a single ship,” he started, as Angus hungrily ate a pineapple.
The breakfast continued slowly while Bobo was talking about their trip. At the end, however, he finally said something useful to Angus. “Well, since it could get kind of suspicious if a bunch of monkeys entered the Mêlée harbour, we are planning to give you a rowboat so that you can row to the harbour yourself.”
“Why Mêlée?” Angus asked; the answer did not really interest him, he only wanted to rebel a little against this trip where he had been unable to do anything other than sleep.
“Well,” Bobo started. “Mêlée was the closest island, and venturing further into the tri-island area would be reckless of us.”
Angus’ question now seemed foolish in its thoughtlessness, and he was tired of the game and Bobo.
“So, when do I leave?” Angus asked.
“Oh, as soon as you have finished your breakfast here,” Bobo answered him, as politely as ever.
Angus consumed his breakfast in seconds and his supplies were ready in his rowboat when he entered the deck.
Minutes later, he rowed away from the sloop filled with monkeys; he was heading for Mêlée to find out what had happened to his former rebel friends.
Later, when Angus could only see the white sails of the StarSailer, when his rowboat was on top of the waves, he remembered something:
He would never get back to Xyzta and Jim without the recipe and the map, and he did not have either of them. Angus suddenly understood that the only way he could ever get back to his family was through finding these items, whether they where amongst his former friends or in the hands of the VoodooLady.