Transcendence, p.39
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       Transcendence, p.39

           Shay Savage
Page 39

  Despite my lack of interest in the archaeological field, I do have to admit the people intrigue me. They are wrapped together in a tight embrace, legs intertwined and arms encompassing one another. You can almost feel the emotion coming from the slate of limestone in which they are embedded. They lie facing each other with their heads so close, giving the impression they have just shared their final kiss.

  “Do you think they did it doggy-style?” Sheila giggles again.

  I swear, I may be just as virginal as she is, but with her upbringing, she’s never even seen a soap opera love scene. She just found out last week that there are positions other than missionary. Regardless, she’s totally ruined the imagery for me, so I turn away.

  “Is it too early to head to the food court?” I ask. Between Mom’s digs and Dad’s lab, I’ve spent half my life in this museum. The rest of the displays are ones I’ve already seen.

  “We’re supposed to get through this exhibit,” Sheila looks down at the folded schedule in her hands, “as well as the two after it, then break for lunch. ”

  Two of the people behind me start talking about how my mother must be a fraud or at least employing the most unscrupulous of assistants in order to get herself better known in the archaeological world. I look over and vaguely recognize the guy as one of the other professors in her department. I scowl as he takes the lady he is with by the hand and leads her over to the life-sized model of a giant sloth. Sheila and Teresa start to head in the same direction.

  “I’ll meet you guys at lunch, mkay?” I call over my shoulder as I make my way to the back of the exhibit and my father’s office, not giving them a chance to reply.

  Dad’s not an archaeologist, like Mom, but he’s still in the science world—physics and the property of matter and all that crap. I would think of him like another Bill Nye the Science Guy, but Dad has no personality for TV. He’d bore the poor kids to death with his long-drawn-out explanations of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, Higgs boson particles, wormholes, or whatever. Anyway, he’s always trying to prove his theories. Something about Mom’s prehistoric find has him convinced that his theories regarding time travel are right and that string theory is a joke. I have no idea what he’s talking about, but I’m just now taking my first semester of physics. Most of what I’ve learned so far is the same stuff I’ve learned from old episodes of the Big Bang Theory.

  Dad’s not in his office, so I make my way around the desk and to the door behind it. I open it and call out for him, but he’s not in his lab, either. I hope I can at least interrupt him long enough to see if he wants to have lunch with me or something, but he is nowhere to be found.

  I give up, deciding I will have to face the masses again through the rest of the exhibit hall before I can eat. Being the energy conscious chick that I am, I flip off the light switch as I start to leave.

  There is something glowing green in the very back of the lab.

  Curious, I flip the light back on.

  The green glow is too dim to be noticeable with the lights on, but I move over to it anyway, feeling somewhat drawn. Ever since I was a kid, I liked poking around at the stuff in Dad’s lab, so I don’t really think much of it when I go to investigate a bit more. Besides, I really don’t want to join the rest of my class until it’s time to eat, and I have time to kill.

  Back behind a bit of a divider, kind of like the cube walls you see in office buildings, there is a long lab table in the corner of the room. Right in the center of it is a tall, cylindrical object, which is from where the light originates. There’s something rather blob-like in the center. The substance looks like it’s floating in a gooey liquid and reminds me of those old lava lamps.

  Along with one of those large car batteries and a couple of books, there is a stack of paper on the table next to the green thing, covered with my Dad’s scrawl. It’s Dad’s notes to himself, and I have to smile to see there isn’t a single bit that makes any sense on the whole page. Only Dad can tell what Dad is talking about most of the time, as Mom always says. This is just a bunch more of his chicken scratch.

  DNA subject 1(M) –unable to categorize -not H. sapiens. Brain differentiation. Broca’s area?

  DNA subject 2 (F)—H. sapiens - related to me?? (retest- use different control)

  Button– steel not aluminum—4. 23 meters from the remains

  Pottery dates match—164,230-164,235

  After that, there are a whole lot of—as far as I’m concerned—nonsensical equations. I look back to the green stuff, which seems to be sloshing around inside the cylinder a little faster but is otherwise pretty boring.

  I turn around to go. I figure I’ve probably screwed around in here long enough, and I need to get back to my group. Whatever Dad is doing, he obviously isn’t around for lunch. I hope he’ll be home in time to eat dinner with us tonight at least.

  As I turn to walk away, I stub my toe on the lab table, and the whole thing rocks for a second as my toe throbs in my shoe. I try not to fall on my face as I hop on one foot and rub at my toe. I quickly look over the contents of the lab table to make sure I haven’t screwed anything up.

  The green glow fades in and out, which it wasn’t doing before. I peer around it and see a slender wire in the back, which seems to be at least partially disconnected from its source. I reach behind and grasp the end and then shove it back into place.

  In an instant, my whole arm feels like it is vibrating, and I am nearly blinded by green light. The room seems to twist and turn itself inside out, transforming both the green cylinder and the rest of the table into a swirling cascade of color and light. Nausea and dizziness overwhelm me. My vision blurs as streaks of bright lights in red and gold flood my eyes until I have to close them. Blood pounds in my ears, and for a moment, I am sure I am being pulled to pieces.

  Then it all stops.

  With a shudder, I open my eyes.

  I see dirt.

  And some roots.

  For several minutes, I just sit there as my mind tries to make sense of what’s going on. It fails miserably, and I just stare in disbelief at the rough dirt walls around me and the clear sky, visible when I peer overhead.

  I’m in a hole.

  Still disoriented, I look around and try to get my bearings. It’s obvious I am no longer in Dad’s lab, but where am I? I glance down beside me, and I notice a large, dark patch of ground just a few inches away from my hip. I reach out to touch the dark stain, and my fingers come back sticky and red. There is blood on the ground next to me.

  Holy crap!

  My stomach roils, and for a moment, I think I am going to be sick. Somehow, I manage to keep from throwing up, but I make sure to breathe through my mouth and not look to the ground beside me again. I wipe my hand on the dirt wall, trying to clean off my fingers without really watching what I’m doing. It doesn’t work well.

  I have to get out of here.

  I stand, but I can barely reach the edge of the hole, and I can’t get enough leverage to pull myself up. When I try, the dirt crumbles in my fingers and rains down on my head. I run my fingers through my hair, and dirt flies all over the place. I shake my head again before slumping back to the bottom of the hole. I try to remember all the crap Dad tried to teach me about survival in the wilderness, but not much is coming to mind.

  Don’t panic.

  I make myself take slow, deep breaths and try to figure out what I should do. From down here, I don’t even know if I am in the wilderness! When I listen, I don’t hear anything except the sound of the wind, but that doesn’t necessarily mean there is no one within earshot.

  “Hey!” I cry out. I stand and cup my hands around my mouth. “Hey! Is there anybody out there? I’m stuck! Help!”

  When that doesn’t work, I let out a long, continuous scream as I jump up and down. By the time my throat is feeling raw, I try one last time to pull myself up, but the dirt gives way and I drop back to my rear end, leaning o
n my hands for support. I close my eyes for a moment, trying to get those deep breathing exercises to calm me, but they don’t. I shake my head, let out a long, slow breath, and look up again.

  I am met with a wild shock of long, reddish-brown hair that sticks out all over the head of a young man. His hair is long enough to hang past his shoulders, and his face is covered in a short, rough beard of the same color. Where he isn’t covered in hair, he’s covered in dirt. From the middle of the dirt and hair, he peers at me with the most beautiful, bright green eyes I have ever seen.

  I stare at him for a long, long time as he stares back at me, and images from Dad’s lab fly around helter-skelter in my head. The plan was to just stop and say hi and maybe grab some lunch with Dad. I was there only moments ago, but now…now, I definitely am not.

  Where am I?

  The man at the top of the hole has clear, intelligent eyes, but he’s wearing nothing except a scrap of leather around his waist, and he’s carrying an ancient-style, stabbing-type spear. Whoever he is, he’s not from twenty-first century Georgia.

  When am I?

  Finally, regardless of my current confusion, I realize my life is about to change in a very drastic way.


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