Chapter 12, building a bridge to X marks the spot!

poem

When... If we're tired and free, should someone bother save the day? Or should we just fall into a nightmarish sleep.

pookbear

I want you.

But don't you have me?

←Previously on Zack and Luke.

"I'm not allowed to do anything fun when Sammy's around…" Noah whispered to Luke.

"It changed?!" the boy yelled.

Luke came over to the boy and asked, "What's wrong?"

And Now→

"It changed…" The boy answered, "The maps different now, I know it was cheap but now I'm confused," then he looked at Luke and asked, "How could Lizzie move if they took her and put her somewhere, in such a short time…"

"What do you mean," Luke asked, then he noticed that the map had indeed changed and thought, 'How did it change?'

After studying it, he noticed that, 'The X is still in the center, but the whole area has changed, as if this isn't even the same park where Lizzie was anymore…' and as the rest of the group joined them, they agreed, "Yeah… The map… Changed."

"Map makers can make changing maps," Noah spoke up in Snow's arms as they came close to Luke and the boy, "They're kinda like our cell phones, but there like ink over here, folding up an-"

"I don't have much money so…" The boy started to walk off and mumbled, "Maybe it's faulty," then he looked up at the clouds and yelled up to them, "They usually work anyways!"

Zack looked around at the sandy area with crossing stones and X shaped shadows made by trees and said, "Well, let's dig it up anyways, Lizzie might be there." then, in the center of a X shaped shadow that he thought had been where the map showed an X, he started to dig.

"Anyways," Maki told the boy, "I don't think your diviner was very experienced."

"I don't have much money…" The boy explained, "But my pet is supposed to be there ON it." Then he looked down on the ground and in the trees and murmured, "These almost always work..."

As Luke studied the surroundings and thought, 'Maybe there's another X, since there seems to be a lot here…' then he asked the boy, "What kind of pet is it? A dog?"

The boy seemed to avoid looking at Luke as he walked away, then he turned around and with a funny smile, answered, "Kinda."

Noah came over and told Luke, "It's probably a Plushkin being in this park.

The boy glanced at Noah and asked, "Aren't you a Plushkin?."

"Yes," Noah walked up to the boy and yelled, "But I know where I'm from!"

Zack walked around and looked for some sign of where to look…' then as he saw a strange rock formation and noticing that the soil had recently been disturbed, laughed and said, "The X that's marks the spot."

Luke looked to see what Zack had laughed about, then smiled slightly as he noticed that the sand behind the X shaped stone was slightly raised, then as he pointed to it, announced, "And that looks like a freshly dug grave…"

Together, Zack and Luke got down on their knees and started moving dirt like puppies, and after only a moment, Zack said, "This sand is so loose and dry that even if we did have a shovel, it probably would run right off."

*DPunt*

They're hands lightly hit against a wooden surface and Luke announced, "Something buried down here."

Zack and Luke uncovered the edges of what appeared to be a cigar or wooden shoe box, then as they started to lift it out of the ground, Luke murmured, "If Lizzie's a lizard, she must be a small one…"

"So what's this, another clue?" Snow asked as he let Noah down as Zack and Luke set the box down, then sighed and added, "A wild goose chase, huh?"

"Whatever it is," Zack answered Snow, "it's in that box." then as he looked at the boy who stared blankly, he thought, 'He doesn't seem to be excited...'

"Hope Lizzy isn't in there…" Luke said, "She might have a hard time breathing…"

As Zack stood up, he looked around at his friends and asked Luke, "But Lizzy is a lizard right? They hibernate with little air! And people can be buried for hours at a time, I saw in movies."

Luke held the box, and as he watched the boy walk blankly toward him and reach over to open it, he thought, 'If she isn't, it's another clue at least.'

The boy took out a cloth and after he unwrapped it, he found a collar, then slowly became upset and explained, "This was Lizzie's collar… But Lizzy…"

"Humph." Maki interrupted and told the boy, "Would you really want Lizzy buried?"

The boy stared at the collar and slowly answered, "No, but where is he? I got his collar. And this cloth isn't his." Then he threw down the cloth, unfolded his map and wandered away as he sadly called, "Lizzy, Lizzy.."

Maki watched him go for a bit and said, "It probably has more on the map. He'll probably find who he's looking for."

Luke sighed as he got his legs moving and said, " I hope and pray so."

As Zack helped Luke fill in the hole they dug out, he put the cloth into the shoebox, then said, "Let's take the box and cloth."

'Yeah," Luke thought as he watched Zack pat down the ground, 'we get a souvenir… If it really can be brought out of this VR game, mayb-'

"So," Maki came over from the woods to ask Zack and Luke, "You ready to go? It's been awhile,"

Snow looked at his watch and answered, "3 hours.."

Luke looked at his watch and noticed it was 'Almost 5pm,' then thought, 'Is it really that late?'

Maki borrowed Snow's stone to look around, then smiled and started hanging her canvas ties up from a branch.

"I bet..." Noah started as she opened the box that Luke was holding, then took out the cloth and as she sat down to study it, she told him, "Maybe this cloth is one of those. Although it appears blank, doesn't mean that it really is you know."

"What do you mean?"

"Well," Noah started to answer Luke as Snow walked helped Maki hang up the canvas, "someone put Lizzie's collar in it right? And the boy said that some friends of his took Lizzie."

Luke looked at Noah as she sat down on the box that he was holding, then at Maki and Snow looking inside of the canvas and thought, 'This can't be real.' and as Maki started to show the group someone's backyard, he said, "So, we're out of the game now, huh."

"..Sure." Maki answered Luke without a glance.

Zack came over with a smile as he exclaimed. "Wasn't that fun!" then he looked through Maki's canvas and when he saw into the backyard, he gave Maki and Snow a hug and told them, "Thank you!"

As Maki held the canvas down for Snow to lead Zack and Luke out and into a random backyard, Maki gave him back the small iridescent stone, then Snow muttered to her, "Don't you have one already."

Maki sighed as she started to take her canvas off of the branch and answered, "Like you said, easy to lose and over priced."

"But they aren't!" Noah exclaimed, then tried to explain, "They are just rare is all."

"What do you mean," Luke asked as he heard cars driving down the street and 'We really are back home…'

"Well," Noah started, as the group walked out of the backyard onto a road and Snow checked his phone's GPS, then slowly explained, "these are just pieces, that grow between spectrums, so when you see Marybell's house you can pick them up as trash."

'Trash… That's what started this-' Luke thought as the group walked around the house and followed Snow down the street toward the closest bus stop.

"Sorry, I forgot my money..." Snow apologized, then he looked at the box that Luke was carrying and said, "But that is a nice souvenir."

'But it's fake,' Luke thought as he looked at the plain wooden box and wondered why it was still here, 'It has to be fake.'

As a few cars were passing by the bus stop bench, Zack smiled at Snow and told him, "Thank you very much." then when Luke started to sit down, a bus came slowing down for them.

Luke looked at his watch 5:23PM and thought, 'How convenient… Maybe we're still in the game…' then he sighed and as he walked inside of the bus and wondered, 'Does it even matter?'

"So…" Zack sat down and shyly asked Noah, "Who really is Mary bell?"

Snow glanced at Zack, "Like Jossi, Anna's keeper told you," then looked out the window and answered, "a troll who lives in a sunken house."

"They keep building it up you know," Noah added, "but it's fairly under water now..."

'Now I know they're crazy…' Luke thought as he imagined looking at the box and remembered all the days and last weeks' adventures. And he still came back… Then he watched Noah talk and thought, 'Or maybe it's not.'

"Anna's keeper?" Zack murmured and thought about his mom mentioning Anna as a nice woman that's a bit childish, "That's what happens when kids have children, they aren't fully grown themselves."

"Kah…" Maki scoffed as she sat beside Luke, and under her breath muttered, "I suppose every lost queen needs a servant to keep them confined."

Luke looked at his watch to see that 10 minutes had passed, and wanted to understand this as he added to the conversation, so he asked, "But I thought she was sick."

"Yeah… ..." Maki started slowly as if to think, "She just has some avoidance problems." then she told Luke, "But if you talk to her… Mediator, it will be fine."

"ANYWAYS." Noah started as she stood up and turned to look at Luke and Maki, "I'm sure you'll meet her properly soon, but... Luna is right, queen Annabella does act a little, odd at times," then smiled, "which is ta be 'spected of such a talented queen."

"Haa." Snow almost laughed, "Like Angel, we all have our so called flaws."

The bus stopped at Gaile St. and Maki took the box that Luke was holding and put it in her backpack, then told him, "It's getting dark and I'm sure our bikes'll be fine at your house."

"... Yeah." Luke answered, as he stood up, then received a hug from Zack and followed Snow and Noah out of the bus.

"See you tomorrow!" Noah shouted to Zack and Maki as the bus started moving again.

Luke looked ahead and wondered if he was late for something, 'Did it matter?' he thought as he glanced at Snow and Noah who walked happily down the road.

Then Noah took Luke's hand and asked him, "Are you just tired, or is something wrong?"

As Snow carried Noah up the pathway of 34 Gaile St, Luke thought about what Noah just asked, then carefully answered her, "I'm just tired."

Noah smiled and told Luke, "Guess we're back home, huh?"

"Hi." Kaitlin smiled from the porch door to greet Snow, Luke and Noah, then as they came up on the deck, she gave them hugs, then told her children, "Your aunt Izzi is back. it really is wonderful isn't it!?"

Before Luke walked to his door, he noticed Snow glance at him and around with big wandering eyes, and mumble as he followed Kaitlin and Noah through the open door, "Maybe we're not."

As Luke stood there, he listened to the friendly voices on the other side of his neighbor's window, then glanced at a laughing face and thought, 'It must be nice to feel safe.'

As he started to open his own screen door, he noticed Izzi smile at him from the window and listened as she said. "He looks so familiar."

Luke tried to concentrate his ears above the squeak of the screen door, then found that the door was locked and pulled down a note taped on and read.

"Luke, I know you're having fun and forget to charge your phone, but we had an emergency at the rental house. please call when you get home, love you."

Luke sat down on the porch stairs to turn his phone on, as he listened to Snow say, "Yeah I bet," then asked, "Why have you started to come here, anyways?"

"Kalais thought it'd be good practice," Izzi answered, "you know my stepdaughter might be coming back."

Soon after Luke's phone started booting up, Kaitlin came out of her door and asked him, "Have you had any dinner?"

"Mom and dad went somewhere," Luke answered as he looked back at Kaitlin and watched Izzi bend over toward him.

"What's that?" Izzi asked Luke with a smile, "One of Yuri's cool toys? Awesome."

Luke stood up, walked past the both of them, and with a wave said, "Bye."

Izzi gave Luke a hug, then held up a finger and said, "W, wait,"

"What?" Luke said as took a key from his pocket and started to unlock the door.

"I have something," Izzi told Luke with a smile, then as she headed inside, exclaimed, "Kalaise's grandfather won't lose it now!"

Luke opened the door and walked inside, then as he waited for his phone to finish rebooting, heard a knock on the door.

"Hi," Izzi greeted Luke, then explained, "Grampa Gaile can't seem to keep things around here, but I can! I can keep things forever!" Then handed Luke a picture of a house that someone drew.

"Thank you."

"This is the house!" Izzi told Luke, pointing toward the little circles that seemed to represent people. "And that's my friends, maybe if you hang it back up, things will go back to normal right?" then she gave Luke a hug and went back to HER family...

'Back to normal?' Luke thought as he closed the door and found his dad's name to call. it started ringing as he looked at the picture, then noticed that they had distinct, almost familiar faces and clothing, and thought, 'Where am I supposed to put it? The refrigerator?"

Then imagined "So you're drawing again?" His Mom, Heather would smile at him, 'She'd really wonder why it looks so crappy.' Luke thought, 'Maybe it is better, at least she'd think something.'

Luke stared at the picture that Izzi gave him while his dad didn't pick up and noticed that there was 2 angels in it too. 'I guess someone died?'

Then he rang his Mom.

Zack

Do you really think we should have taking that cloth?

Luke

Why?

Zack

I don't know… It might have been a clue.

Luke

Like what? Like Maki's? like it takes you right to where lizzie is?

Zack

Maybe… But I don't think he would have got it… maybe he would… I doubt if we'll find him again.

Luke

Well. If we do find lizzie maybe she'll find the kid.

"Izzi's weird" Luke started to write with a thought of building the conversation, then deleted it.