The clouds parted and one could see a speck in the distance. In a short while, the plane would arrive at the City of Mysts.
A century ago, a massive earthquake displaced land masses all over the world. Small countries in the Pacific Ring of Fire sank to the ocean floor. However, a huge island – a continent resurfaced from the depths of the Pacific Ocean: Lemuria, an ancient land older than Atlantis.
Archibald Sebastian Roucan pioneered the exploration in Lemuria. Having found it rich in history and natural resources, he liquidated his assets and invested on the development of the land. He released his findings to the media, attracting tourists, explorers, archaeologists, and scientists to visit the area.
It was later believed that the land held many secrets for the passages were interwoven and intricate. The tunnels were endless and led deep into the Earth. Those who had ventured further than most had not returned. Others, who attempted to retrieve those who disappeared, spoke about shadows and the sense of being watched. The land forever shrouded in mystery, it was nicknamed the Mysts.
The stewardess tried to catch her sole passenger’s attention. The man had been charming and friendly when he boarded, even flirting a bit with her. The doctor was famous for his work – not to mention, handsome that she was flattered by the attention. However, he had grown taciturn as they neared their destination.
“Doctor,” she called again.
“Please don’t call me that,” he said. Fred placed a finger over his lips. His mouth curved into a conspiratorial smile.
“Oh.” The stewardess covered her mouth, remembering that he wanted to be an anonymous tourist in the Mysts. She smiled back. “The car is waiting for you, sir.”
“Thank you, Eliza.”
The stewardess’ smile widened, pleased he had remembered her name. Fred slung his bag on his shoulder and followed her to the platform. He extended a hand and said, “You’ve made this trip far more enjoyable than I imagined.”
“My pleasure, sir.” The stewardess shook his hand, slipping a piece of paper in his palm.
Their hands dropped. The paper secure in his hand, Fred descended the steps. He kept his head lowered until he entered the black sedan. He would have to thank Signor Santini for loaning the private jet in such short notice.
The billionaire would wave it off, of course. He had found it very amusing to see the doctor’s discomfort for asking such a small request.
Well, I don’t go around asking favors from my patients, he thought. Still, his pride was a little hurt when the signore guffawed after learning why he had wanted to leave as soon as possible.
A sneeze erupted in the car. From the rear view mirror, the chauffeur’s eyes were glassy and his nose and cheeks were scarlet.
“You have a cold,” Fred said. automatically pulling a flask from his jacket. He unscrewed the cap and poured the contents into it.
Electricity seemed to spark from Fred’s hand as he offered the dose to his new patient. The chauffeur shook his head, thinking he was hallucinating.
“What’s in it?” He eyed the swirling green liquid.
“Do you know who I am?” Fred asked.
“My boss said you’re a doc—” Realization dawned on the chauffeur. Frederick Williams sounded so generic. It hadn’t crossed his mind that the person behind the name to be anything but ordinary. Then again, he wouldn’t have made that mistake if he wasn’t running a fever.
“Bottom’s up,” Fred said, not unkindly.
The chauffeur gave the medicine a dubious look and drank.
“Very good.” Fred took the cap. “Now, I’ll answer your question. I put in eye of newt, a boar’s nose hair, lizard’s entrails, monkey’s balls…” The chauffeur paled. His eyes bulged and his jaw slackened. “I’m kidding. Its main components are oregano, mint and honey.”
The expression didn’t change.
Amused, Fred said: “Wipe that expression off your face. I’m a doctor slash herbalist, not a witch.”
“Warlock,” the chauffeur said. The quality of his voice was less hoarse. The color of his face had returned to normal.
“Warlock, sir. It’s the male version of a witch.” The chauffeur frowned. He had noticed the fever was gone.
Interesting, Fred thought. It had been a while since a stranger hadn’t look scared or impressed at him after a healing. The man even had the courage to correct him.
“What’s your name, chauffeur?”
“Tony Jones, sir.”
“Tony, drop the sir and call me Fred.”
“Sir?” Tony looked shocked. Surely, this doctor was making fun of him.
“Fred. Not sir. I mean it.” Fred stared at the tongue-tied chauffeur in the mirror. “For heaven’s sake! How old are you?”
“I’m neither thirty nor have I been knighted by royalty.”
“You’re making me feel old,” Fred grumbled; his arms folded across his chest.
Tony decided to change the subject: “The signor gave instructions to my employer to take you wherever you wish to go…sir.”
Fred glared daggers at him and said, “Fine. Take me to the Roucan Academy.”
Outside the airport, the ground didn’t lay flat. Roads, buildings and houses followed the lay of the land. Streets were lined by electrical posts which held solar panels and black boxes.
The black box was another one of the many secrets of the Mysts. The material was made of silverwood. It was supposedly indestructible. The etchings of overlapping circular symbols in its interior, however, meant that advanced equipment had been used. What baffled the scientists more was the fact that the box held nothing inside. Yet, it produced energy absorbed from the Earth’s frequency. The people of the Mysts had tried to explain how it worked, but the idea seemed to be beyond logical comprehension.
The car passed the residential area. The houses were curved and seemed to sprout from the ground. The roofs were covered with vines. The façade of each residence was vibrantly painted and grew garden in front. The overall effect made a quaint and colorful picture.
Gradually, boutiques, restaurants, delis, and buildings replaced houses. They had reached the commercial district. People in suits were leaving offices to lunch or to meet clients. It was a busy day but traffic was not heavy. In minutes, the car slowed to a stop across Roucan Academy. The school had older branches overseas but this one was special to him. Nothing had changed from what he could see. The sprawling grounds, lush with greenery; a path bordered with thick hedges; and a tree-line walkway leading to the park. Fred once considered it a gilded cage for rich children. He glanced at his chauffeur. A question burned in Tony’s eyes.
“I studied here years ago,” Fred said.
Tony’s ears perked up like a dog’s. Fred stifled his laughter. He didn’t want to offend his chauffeur’s feelings.
“What was it like?”
“It was just like any other school. You make new friends, new enemies. You meet good teachers and bad ones…” Fred’s smile didn’t quite reach his eyes.
“Made lots of good memories?”
“I bet you had a lot of admirers.”
“Were you fond of anyone in particular?”
Amber-colored eyes flashed in his mind. He looked away from the academy.
“Tell me, Tony. Are you always this familiar with your passengers?” Fred said coldly.
There was a heavy pause before Tony replied, “I’m – um, sorry, sir.”
“Drive me to Alexandria Hotel.”
The chauffeur studiously avoided making eye contact with the brooding figure in the mirror. Fred was the best passenger he has had until they came to the academy. Was it something I said? Tony recalled the last thing he had asked.
An hour later, they pulled over in front of the hotel. Fred looked at his downcast chauffeur and felt guilty. He wanted to make amends.
“Tony,” he began. The chauffeur met his gaze in the mirror. “Pick me up at ten tomorrow morning. Don’t be late.”
“Yes, sir,” Tony said. He had obviously thought he would get sacked for his impertinence. Celebrities were known for their quirks. Fred wasn’t Doc Fredenstein for nothing. He was famous for his rare but scary temper. “Thank you, sir.”
Fred smiled inwardly at how Tony’s eyes shone.
With his sunglasses in place, Fred alighted and entered the hotel lobby without being recognized.
Copyright © 2014-2016 Cecilia Beatriz. All rights reserved.
A/N: I added a little history and what it’s like in the Mysts. Would you say the place is scary or idyllic?
Fred has gone back to the Mysts as James predicted. But what is he up to? Stay tuned. 🙂
If you have suggestions, requests or simply have an opinion, please leave a comment. Comments and likes are always appreciated. I’d love both…