The Prophet of Starfall: Episode 17

Nathan bent down to check Stafford’s pulse. He was dead.

“I’m so sorry, John,” he said with remorse. He had stopped Stafford from releasing the virus but couldn’t save his life. Without looking back, Charlene Reynolds walked out of the room, yelling at someone on her phone as she left. Nathan saw no point in stopping her. Besides, he was far too focused on Elisabeth, her injuries. He stood up and walked over to the ladder that would take him down to her. At the last step, he paused then slowly moved past Horton’s dead body and an unconscious Morton, slumped against the wall where Elisabeth had flung him.

“You had no choice, Nathan,” Elisabeth insisted. “You had to shoot Horton.”

“I know,” Nathan said walking over to where Elisabeth was sitting against a wall.

When he extended a hand, Elisabeth took it and pulled him down beside her.

“I was really hoping I could make it through this without anyone dying,” Nathan said.

“I’m afraid that was a bit unrealistic,” Elisabeth pointed out. “If you’re going to keep doing this, sometimes you’ll have to play by their rules to win.”

“I know,” he nodded his agreement.

Exhausted, Elisabeth let her headrest on Nathan’s shoulder.

“What’s Starfall?” she asked.

“What?” Nathan responded with surprise.

“Back there when I was talking you up to face Stafford, you said ‘before I came to Starfall.’ So what’s Starfall?” Elisabeth asked again.

Nathan took a deep breath and leaned against the wall.

 

“Where I come from, they have a name for this world, this universe.”

“It’s not Crescent Bay?” Elisabeth asked.

“Crescent Bay is the name of the city. Where I come from, the universe is called Starfall,” Nathan answered.

Elisabeth let this sink in then said,

“Well wherever you come from, your people are weird.”

“How’s that?”

“For one thing, we don’t name everything here.”

Nathan laughed and said,

“You’ve been injured. We need to get you some help.”

“Just five more minutes, Daddy,” Elisabeth wearily laughed.

“Come on, young lady,” Nathan insisted.

He stood, scooped up Elisabeth in his arms, and slowly carried her toward the building’s exit.

By the time he got her outside, she was unconscious.

When Jericho spotted them, he hurried over.

“She’s been shot,” Nathan said.

Jericho took Elisabeth from Nathan’s arms and ran over to the nearest waiting ambulance.

Just then 4 21 appeared and walked over to Nathan.

“Thank you for your help, Prophet,” he said.

4 21 watched as the police arrested Garrison and his goons, clearing the way for the EMT’s to move forward and tend to the injured.

“Stafford was the guilty party after all. Perhaps I was mistaken about Ms. Reynolds,” 4 21 added.

Suddenly Nathan’s vision blurred and in a flash of white, he was standing in Reynolds’ office the next morning. A knock sounded at the door, and without waiting for an invitation, someone walked in.

“I don’t wish to be disturbed,” Reynolds ordered, her back to the door.

“Your wishes are of no concern to me,” an older man with a German accent said.

Reynolds spun around and when she saw who it was, she immediately lowered her head in respect.

“Sir, I am sorry for what happened,” Reynolds apologized.

“Your repentance is as worthless as you. You would be dead if I had no further use for you,” Dr. Heinrich Ghislain sneered.

Ghislian’s tone and coldness gave Reynolds no hint as to what was next.

“I had to sacrifice a pawn to clean up your mess. It would have been easier to replace you!” Ghislain pointed out.

“I am so sorry, sir,” Reynolds repeated.

“If you fail me again, you will discover that the dead have no remorse,” Ghislain warned as he turned and left the office.

Once the door closed behind him, Reynolds fell to her knees and began to sob.

 

*          *          *

 

When Nathan’s vision cleared, 4 21’s remarks came back to him.

“Stafford was a lost man,” Nathan said. “Shame we didn’t get to him sooner.”

“Take care, Prophet,” 4 21 said as he lifted into the air.

Nathan watched 4 21 disappear into the clouds then he closed his eyes and shook his head clear.

He saw Jericho standing by one of the ambulances waving to him. Before he could respond, Ethan Evermore walked up behind him and said,

“You must be careful, Nathan.”

Nathan turned around to face him.

“How so?” he asked.

“The timeline seems to be secure after the changes you made, but death is a sore loser,” Ethan explained. “Elisabeth was supposed to die this night, but you saved her. Death is not pleased by your interference. He may seek to reclaim Elisabeth or whoever was near her at the appointed time of her death. Either you or Jericho may die.”

“Why us?” Nathan asked.

“Life here is about balance,” Ethan explained. “Saving a life may cause another life to be lost.”

“John Stafford and Joseph Horton died,” Nathan explained.

“Hopefully, their lives will be enough,” Ethan said. “But if death is dissatisfied, you must be on your guard. Your fight may not be over.”

“Well if it helps, I’ll probably be leaving soon,” Nathan announced.

“You’re going back?” Ethan asked.

“I think so,” Nathan said. “This all started when I was struck by lightning. I figure this is all just an elaborate dream. I’m probably lying in a hospital bed somewhere.”

“If that is true, then I wish you safe passage,” Ethan said.

“Thanks,” Nathan replied.

When he heard approaching footsteps, he turned to see Jericho running up to him.

By the time he reached Nathan, Ethan was gone.

“They’re taking Elisabeth to Evergreen Medical,” Jericho informed. “We need to take your motorcycle back to its owner and get over to the hospital.”

“It’s my bike,” Nathan said absently, his mind turning over and over what Ethan had said.

“I’m not sure how things work where you come from, but here you can’t just take something and claim it’s yours,” Jericho laughed.

“I know,” Nathan said, giving Jericho his full attention. “What I mean is, it really is mine. Whatever force brought me here apparently felt I needed transportation.”

Jericho considered Nathan for a moment then shrugged his shoulders and said,

“Okay. If you say so.”

 

*          *          *

 

In the waiting room of Evergreen Medical Hospital, the first rays of the sun were just peeking through the mini blinds of the frosted windows. Nathan had been up all night, drinking hospital coffee as he struggled to stay awake. He waited with Jericho and Elisabeth’s father Ryan Hayes for news of Elisabeth.

Finally, the doctor came out with an update.

“She’ll be fine,” he reassured.

“Thank you, doctor,” Mr. Hayes said.

“The bullet to her right wing went straight through. She’s already on the mend and should be able to use the wing again within a few days. Other than some minor bruising, she will be good as new in no time,” the surgeon said.

With a big smile, Mr. Hayes looked at Nathan and Jericho.

“She’s always been a fast healer.”

“Thanks again, doctor. May we see her now?” Mr. Hayes asked.

“Yes but better not to stay too long. She needs rest,” the surgeon said.

 

*          *          *

 

Still groggy from the anesthesia, Elisabeth weakly smiled when her father entered the room.

“Hi, Daddy,” she mumbled.

“Hey, Princess. How you feeling?” Mr. Hayes asked.

Nathan and Jericho stood back by the door while Elisabeth and her father talked.

“So where are you going to stay?” Jericho asked.

“I don’t know,” Nathan said. “I haven’t given it much thought.”

“I know some people who would be willing to put you up till you find your own place,” Jericho offered.

“That won’t be necessary. But thanks anyway,” Nathan said.

“You sure?” Jericho asked.

“You can sleep at my place,” Elisabeth broke in.

“Nah,” Nathan responded.

“I insist,” Mr. Hayes said, walking up and hugging Nathan.

“It’s the least I can do for the man who saved my little girl’s life.”

With his arm still around Nathan, Hayes turned back to Elisabeth and said,

“Since Elisabeth will be staying with me till she’s completely healed, you’ll have her apartment in Sandy Grotto all to yourself until you find your own place.”

Sandy Grotto was an island just off the coast of Crescent Bay. It was part of the crescent shaped coastline that gave Crescent Bay its name.

“Daddy, I’ll need to get my stuff,” Elisabeth said.

“Of course, dear,” Mr. Hayes said, releasing Nathan and moving closer to Elisabeth’s side.

“That’s fast work,” Jericho whispered. “Just got here and already you’re crashing at her place.”

“Shut it!” Nathan returned as Jericho stifled a laugh.

Mr. Hayes looked back at Nathan and said, “Let me finish up here, and I’ll show you how to get to my Lizzie’s apartment.”

“No need,” Jericho said.

“Why not?” Mr. Hayes asked in confusion.

“Because he already knows. After all,” Jericho smiled, “he is the Prophet.”

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The Prophet of Starfall: Episode 2

As Nathan Nichols came to, he felt the rough grade of asphalt under his head and heard the faint echo of voices. His head ached, and when he raised his hand to his forehead, he discovered that his entire upper body was sore.

“What happened?” he wondered.

Struggling to remember was like slogging through mud to reach a clear thought. When he opened his eyes, he watched as the clouds parted to unveil a clear, star-filled sky. Then slowly he sat up and looked around. He saw that he was surrounded by city buildings of metal and glass, and people had gathered close to him, some to help and others to satisfy their curiosity. A man stepped forward and bent over him, a worried look on his face.

“Are you okay, mister?” he asked.

Although his voice sounded a bit muffled, Nathan was able to make out what he was saying.

“I think so. Thanks. Is the woman safe?” Nathan questioned him.

When he tried to stand up, he found that his wobbly legs refused to cooperate and buckled under his weight. Just before he went down, the man reached out and caught him, holding him up.

“Careful there. Take it slow,” the man said.

“Who is he?” someone in the crowd asked.

“I don’t know. It’s like he just fell out of the sky and landed on the street,” another person said.

Nathan held onto the man’s arm until his legs found their strength and he was able to stand on his own.

Slowly as his mind began to clear and his vision return, he saw the man whose arms were supporting him. Nathan knew the face looking back at him, but logic said his eyes were playing a trick. The man wore the face of Jericho, one of the heroes of Starfall. Nathan stared at him then turned and let his eyes slowly sweep the crowd. Everyone seemed concerned, even fearful. He saw a large banner stretched across the street announcing the Crescent Bay Founders Day Picnic to be held at the soon-to-open Pearson Plasma Park.

“Am I losing my mind?” Nathan wondered.

Suddenly a wave of nausea washed over him, his vision blurred, and the voices around him faded into far away. Everything went black and Nathan felt his legs crumple beneath him.

 

 

*          *          *

 

When Nathan awoke, he was standing on a black polished marble floor. In the background, he could hear music and the vibration of the bass drum working its way into the floor. Two men dressed in silk suits passed by, their voices low as they walked with deliberation toward the edge of an open balcony. Nathan knew this place. It was the Crescent Bay Queen, the two-story club that crowned the Crescent Bay Hotel.

He heard approaching footsteps clicking on the tile floor and turned to see a group led by a large man of considerable height. Over his shoulder, he carried a woman wrapped in chains with a gag stuffed in her mouth. His muscular arms lifted her as though her weight were of no consequence. As she fought against the chains, her golden hair whipping back and forth, she saw that her struggle was of no use. The brawny man walked toward the open balcony that overlooked the pool eight hundred feet below.

“Elisabeth!” Nathan gasped.

He remembered telling his friend about Elisabeth Heather Hayes, the hero Scorpio, who dies at the beginning of the Starfall series.

When the brute reached the edge of the balcony, he sneered,

“Goodbye little bird.”

Then he lifted her higher in his arms and tossed her over the side to her death.

As he stared in horror, Nathan felt a sharp pain in the back of his head just before his vision blurred and he lost consciousness.

 

*          *          *

 

 

As quickly as it struck, the pain disappeared and Nathan awoke back in the street, Jericho  holding his arm with the crowd still pressing in close.

“You must have hit the pavement hard. You almost fainted. Maybe you need to sit down, buddy,” Jericho suggested.

Nathan looked up at Jericho and said,

“Elisabeth. They’re going to kill her.”

Before Jericho could respond, Nathan felt instinct take over and he suddenly broke through the crowd. A thunder black 2016 Indian Chief Dark Horse was parked a few yards away. Bolting for the motorcycle, he straddled the bike and pressed the ignition. With a rumble, the majestic black beast came to life and Nathan quickly pulled out into the busy street.

Weaving through traffic, Nathan could only think of Elisabeth. He had to get to the hotel before they tossed her off the building. In his dream, he had seen her go over, but something told him there was time to save her.

As he raced through the streets, his mind screamed,

“What’s happening to me?”

Then after a moment, he grew calm and decided he would figure that out later. Right now, he had to reach Elisabeth before it was too late.

 

 

*          *          *

 

 

Nathan pulled up to the front entrance of The Crescent Bay Hotel, turned off the bike and ran inside, pushing past the startled doorman.

“Okay. There are eight regular elevators and two express. The express are for elite guests only and each has a simple number pad for access,” he thought. “Wait. How do I know this?”

“I’ll figure that out later!” he said, refocusing.

Hurrying over to the first of the express elevators, Nathan punched four digits. When the doors opened, he entered the car and pressed the button for the 71st floor, the first floor of the Crescent Bay Queen.

After a few moments, the elevator doors opened and Nathan stepped out and crossed the floor. The club looked empty, but Nathan knew there were eight men on the floor above plus the goon carrying Elisabeth. Near the elevators, a spiral staircase, guarded by two giant bodyguards, led up to the top floor. How to get past them was the problem at hand.

“Excuse me,” Nathan said in as friendly a voice as he could muster. He knew what their response would be.

Neither man budged, but one of them said,

“Sorry. The VIP section’s closed for a private party. Guests only. You got an invitation on you?”

Nathan tilted his head to one side as information about the man flooded his mind.

“Fredrick Kirkland. Age 38. Arrested for attempted murder, assault, robbery and rape. In your free time, you frequent conspiracy websites and watch animated movies and musicals.”

In surprise, the man took a step back while the other guy laughed,

“You like musicals?”

Nathan turned his gaze to the second man and said,

“Darren Gibbs. You’ll be 30 in three weeks. Arrested for car theft, vehicular manslaughter, and bank robbery. You still sleep with a special blanket your mother gave you. By the way, your girlfriend’s pregnant only she doesn’t know yet. Tomorrow at the doctor, she’ll get the happy news. Sorry but you’re not the father.”

Kirkland laughed at Gibbs’ look of horror, and when Gibbs reached into his jacket, Nathan knew he was going for his gun, a Desert Eagle fifty caliber with nickel plating and a rubber grip. Nathan Nichols had exactly two and a half seconds before Gibbs shot him twice in the head.