Day 2 and the writing isn’t getting any easier. But the writing is getting done. I seem to be able to hit a comfortable 1,000 words per sitting (I actually hit 999 today), so at that rate, I only need to sit down another 47 times this month to finish. One of my biggest questions for the revision is where to reveal Leon’s origin. But for now, it’s early on. I still have 2,000 words I’m supposed to write before the catalyst shows up. But I’m not sure I have that much more for the intro, so I may be a bit ahead of the beat sheet on that one. We’ll see. I’m hoping to have one, or two more sessions today to really get my word count up there. In the meantime, below is the next part. Enjoy!
I had never felt more alone. Those men in there, they were partners, friends. I was, even after all these years, a stranger among them. I watched their antics for a few more minutes, then turned away. It was not where I belonged. There was nowhere in the world that I belonged anymore.
I can taste ash in the air. The sky has been dark for days. A bad omen.
Grylos is beside me, as he has been the entire trip back. His head hangs down, his dark beard resting on his chest. His wrists are firmly fastened to each other. I, his dikastis, his judge, managed to bring him in finally. He will face the tribunal for his crimes, among them the murder of my wife. That is why I was dispatched to bring him to justice. I have been gone for weeks, and I can’t wait to set foot back home, among my people. The rest of the world is so primitive and backward.
Grylos stumbles and falls to one knee. I kick him. “Get up.”
He turns and glares at me. “I am exhausted. I must rest.”
I pick him up by the back of his collar. “We are almost there. You will have plenty of time to rest in prison.”
“Prison? Bah. Why don’t you just kill me now? You know you want to.”
It’s true. I have never wanted to kill someone as much as I want to right now. But I have been appointed to bring him to justice, not to administer it. But it would be so easy. Images of my wife flash through my mind. What he did to her, what he did to all of them, was monstrous. He deserves death. But, that is not for me to decide.
I shove him in the small of his back to get him moving again.
“It was thrilling taking the lives of all those women, but none were as enjoyable as Athanasia.”
I grab his arm and turn him towards me. “Never again let her name cross your lips, or I will rip out your tongue.” A smile is the only response I get, but he does not mention her again.
Athanasia. The most kind, the most beautiful woman I’d ever met. My wife and mother to the most precious flower in the world. The thought of seeing my daughter again lifts my spirits. But the dark sky is worrisome, and the ash is getting thicker.
I crest the hill, the last barrier between us and home and I stop, unbelieving the sight before me. My home is a smoking ruin. The ash and the dark sky now make sense. There was a volcanic eruption, and Atlantis is…gone. My friends. My family. My…daughter.
I stand in stunned silence on the hill, but not for long. A sharp blow to the back of my head sends me flying off the hill to the ground below. Darkness envelops me.
I woke up in my bed, gasping for air, and it took several moments to remember where I was. Even after all this time, my memories of that day are as clear as they were three thousand, six hundred years ago. Grylos had struck me from behind and by the time I regained consciousness, he was gone. Again. I swore I would bring him to justice again, and as one of the last two surviving Atlanteans, this time I would be his judge. No worldly prison would be good enough for him.
But it had been years since I’ve had a good lead on where Grylos, Jack, is. I tracked him through Europe, through Asia, and recently through the Americas, where I lost his trail. If he’s still out there, still killing, he’s become expert at hiding his crimes. But, more than likely, he is dead.
Atlanteans are–or were–immortal, to a certain extent. We had unlocked the secrets of mortality and were blessed with long life and health. No disease or aging. But we could still die with a deadly enough wound.
If Jack was dead, I had no purpose to continue my quest for justice. And without that purpose, I had no reason to continue. If I was truly the last of my kind, the best I could do was…well, follow Jack’s footsteps. And today would be the day.
It was still dark out as was usual when I awoke. Sleeping four hours gave me enough rest and was a habit I’d never broken since my days back home. Cat, on the other hand, was happy sleeping for much longer. He was barely visible at the foot of my bed, a dark shadow in a room full of shadows.
I gently got up from bed. Cat registered brief annoyance at being disturbed, but then went right back to sleep. I went to the kitchen and prepared myself a cup of coffee. This was one of the few things that humanity perfected, and that we’d never had on Atlantis. No need for artificial stimulants when you’re at peak efficiency. And, truth be told, I didn’t need coffee. I woke up completely alert. But I enjoyed the flavor. The aroma was exotic and exhilarating, and the taste lit up my taste buds as very few other items did.
After my coffee, I sat back down with the laptop, thinking I would do one more search. Maybe I was being too specific. Maybe he was in a remote part of the world that didn’t report on such murders. But I also knew him, who he was. After all these decades, centuries. Jack was an egotistical killer. He loved to let me know he was out there. Even after all these years, people talked about Jack the Ripper, and I knew that if he were out there right now, killing innocent women, he would be bragging about it, making a spectacle of himself. But no, there was nothing.
I closed the laptop and