Day 288: Write a scene that begins: “Joe was the last person on Earth I expected to do that.”

 

Joe was the last person on Earth I expected to do that. When he called me here, to Vidaros, I never even began to think that he would have changed so much.

He met me on the runway, all smiles and the Joe I’d met at university all those years ago. He wrapped his arms around me in a bear hug, then kissed me on both cheeks.

“You’ve been spending too much time with all those Europeans.” I said, jokingly wiping my face. “You were never one for contact before.”

“Yes, well. People change, Eddie.” He grinned. “Now, come on. Time for you to see why I’ve called you here.” We walked toward a jeep by the side of the runway, all decked out in military green with a gunner on the back. “Don’t mind Aldo. He’s not one for talking much.”

“Okay, but why do you need a tail gunner?”

“We’ve had some issues with the wildlife.” He cut off, quickly, then told Aldo to be prepared.

I’ve never seen anyone drive like that. It was like he needed to be at the place he was going twenty minutes ago, or he was going to be shot. Running a gauntlet, but why? “Do you have to go so quickly?” i asked, but he never replied. He just sat, grimly staring ahead, a stark change from the man I’d met at the runway.

It was all explained later, when we got to The Forge.

Just a short one today. Need to get back into the swing of things (and catch up) but this is, in my head, the beginning of a classic adventure. Find the artifact, save the world. Etcetera. 

The Idiot in Tin Foil

 

Day 263: Find a world map or globe, close your eyes, pick a spot. Write about a person arriving there for the first time.

The awkward moment when you’ve been writing posts between two computers… Then accidentally restore an older draft without having backups. Still, take two. 

egypt-nile-aerial-view-land-87075

I told Francesca that searching for the Fountain of Youth was a fool’s errand, but she insisted on following the stories. Alexander crossed the Land of Darkness in his search for the Waters of Life. All those capitalisations and yet nothing concrete about its location. Just vague ideas and stories.

We followed the Alexander story as far as we could. His of course, had he found it prior to his death in 323 BC, well, he wouldn’t have died. So that ruled out most of Asia. But the legend states that he crossed the Land of Darkness to find it. What Francesca and I took this to mean is that it wasn’t a physical crossing.

The Land of Darkness refers to his death. The Waters lie in the lands he was working to conquer and explore, Arabia and Africa.

“So that’s where we go. Should we start with circumnavigating Africa or exploring Arabia?” She’d asked me. We’d had an argument about it. I figured that the reference to the Land of Darkness had a double meaning, that it was also talking about Africa. The Dark Continent.

Of course, Francesca being Francesca decided I was wrong. That it was too obvious to be referring to Africa. So we started by searching old Arabia.

You want to know what that came up with? Diddly squat, that’s what. We blew most of our savings on that disastrous trip that had us run out of Baghdad, shot at in Sana’a and nearly drowned on Failaka island. All without the slightest hint of the Fountain.

So we turned our eyes to Africa. With our limited funds, we managed to get passage into Egypt, but that’s where we ran out of cash. That’s when we needed to make things work.

That’s where this story really gets going. Cairo, in the summer of 2025.

The one and only thing that got to me as we got off the plane was how goddamn hot it was. Mercy was meeting us inside the airport, but I had no idea how I was going to be able to see through the sweat in my eyes.

Still, Mercy said she’d found something. An old scroll with a reference to Living Waters. So at least we had a start.

The Idiot in Tin Foil