Book FIVE: PRODIGAL Preview

~ Prologue ~

CLASH! CLANG!

As the two combatants continued to fight for their lives, they were greatly disappointed to see several more soldiers join in the fray. Appearing on the steps below them, they were outnumbered twenty-to-two.

“WHAT IS THEIR PROBLEM!!?” exclaimed the seventeen-year-old boy. “WHAT DID WE DO!!?”

“HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO KNOW!?” shouted the fifteen-year-old girl, parrying another thrust. “I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHERE WE ARE!”

“I TOLD YOU THIS WAS A BAD IDEA!!!” the boy shouted.

“REALLY!? SERIOUSLY!? YOU’RE GIVING ME AN ‘I TOLD YOU SO’!? NOW!!!?”

The boy grinned. “I’M SURE THIS WILL BE MY LAST ONE.”

“I DON’T THINK SO!” The girl laughed, as she spun around with a roundhouse kick and planted her foot in the groin on the first soldier. The soldier looked at her for a moment in shock, then began falling backwards directly into the soldiers behind him. Like bowling pins, the soldiers began knocking each other down the steps.

“Now why didn’t you do that before!?” the boy laughed.

“Just waitin’ for him to get into the right position.” she smirked.

The boy then surprised the girl with a brief kiss.

“What was THAT for!?” she exclaimed.

“I’m sure THAT will be my last one, too.” he grinned. “I don’t see how we’re getting’ out of here alive! Wherever here is … looks like we’re inside a fortress or something!”

The two teens smiled as they watched the soldiers continue falling down the stairs like dominoes. But their smiles were suddenly interrupted when they heard the shout of a woman’s voice from above.

“Menelaus είστε που βλάπτεστε!?”

Raising their swords once more, they spun around to face whatever forces would now be facing them from the top of the stairway. But they didn’t see anyone; the voice seemed to come from a nearby landing beyond the top of the stairs.

“Wait, that’s Greek!” said the boy. “And she just said…”

Suddenly the girl began bounding up the steps.

“WHERE ARE YOU GOING!!?”

“HIGH GROUND!!!” the girl shouted.

The boy looked down once more at the soldiers beginning to clamber to their feet.

“IF YOU SAY SO!” and he began running up the steps after her. Just before they reached the top, they heard one of the soldiers shout out from below.

“Helen! Παρακολουθούμε! Αυτά είναι προέρχονται προς εσάς!”

Suddenly the boy stopped in his tracks. “No way!!!”

The girl spun around again and grabbed his hand. “KEEP MOVING, YOU DORK!”

“Hey, I think I know where we are! Do you realize who that is!!?”

“I DON’T CARE! KEEP RUNNING, WE’VE GOT A CLEAR PATH AHEAD!!!”

“But that’s…”

The girl rolled her eyes and yanked up him up after her onto the top step.

“OUCH!! THAT HURT!!!”

Now on the second floor, they both turned and prepared to run in any direction that they could – anywhere that was away from the squad of armed soldiers behind them on the steps.

Only they couldn’t. For as they turned, they now found themselves facing a dozen more swords and shields.

The two teens were forced to stop in place. The only other direction they could run was back down the steps, but the soldiers were now quickly ascending the stairway.

“Okay, so now what!?”

“I … I … I don’t know!”

“We’re surrounded!”

“Ya think!!?”

The girl thought to herself for a moment, and then finally she sighed. She looked at the swords and spears that were staring them in the face and shrugged. “End of the road.” she grinned.

“It’s not funny, Sara!”

“Better drop your sword, Adrien.” she smiled. “I think they mean business.”

“WHAT ABOUT YOU!?”

“Yeah right.”

“I don’t believe this.” he groaned, dropping his sword. As it clanged onto the ground, it was her turn to surprise him with a kiss.

“The things I have to do just to get a kiss from you.” he grinned.

“Είμαι εντάξει, συζύγου. Έχουν συλληφθεί!” called out the woman’s voice.

“Δόξα τω Θεώ!” returned the soldier whom she had been addressing.

“No way!” said Adrien, shaking his head. “I just don’t freaking believe this!”

“What, Adrien!? What are they saying!? OUCH!!!”

By now the soldiers from below had reached them and were standing directly behind them; a dozen swords now thrust up against them – some of them beginning to draw blood.

The lead soldier barked an order to his men and then quickly pushed past them, as he strode towards the woman’s voice ahead of them. It was probably something about capturing them alive, as the soldiers slightly eased up; although they could still feel the points of the swords pressing against their skin.

Suddenly Adrien’s eyes widened. He gasped in astonishment and began pointing behind Sara. Turning around, she looked in the direction he was pointing. It was the woman whose voice they heard, as she stepped out from behind her personal guard.

Sara’s jaw dropped in surprise and hope, excitement and disappointment, and a multitude of many other conflicting emotions. Dizziness and queasiness began to set in. For the woman was beautiful. Very beautiful. And to Sara, she was the most beautiful woman in the entire world. The woman was small like Sara, with auburn hair and sapphire blue eyes.

“No way.” Sara sighed, sadly. “No way! How did my mom even find me!?”

Then the woman threw her arms around the soldier. “Menelaus!” the woman exclaimed.

“WHAT!?” Sara exclaimed, stunned.

“Sara, that’s not your mom. That’s Helen.”

“Huh?”

“Of Troy.”

“WHAT!? SERIOUSLY!?”

“Well at least we know where we are, now.” sighed Adrien.

“Oops.” Sara replied.


~ Journey’s Beginning ~

Chapter One

Four years earlier…

“Grandmother? Can I ask you a question?”

“Yes, dear. Anytime.”

“Would you care to explain to me … WHAT THIS IS!?”

Sara was scowling at Eddi, holding a book in her hands.

Eddi stopped her knitting and smiled. “That is a book, dear.”

“I KNOW it’s a book! It’s a MATH book! It’s a sixth grade MATH book! What’s it doing on the shelf!? Next to all the OTHER sixth grade textbooks!!?”

“It is for school, dear.”

“WHAT SCHOOL!?”

“In September; when we begin our school lessons.”

“Oh no. Oh no no no no! This was NOT part of the deal!”

“And what deal was that, dear?”

“You guys are supposed to help me find the sword! You never said anything about school!”

“What do you think all the tapes are for, kid?” chuckled George from the other sofa.

“What tapes!!?”

“The video tapes!” Kemuel answered, entering the room. “We’ve got everything we need for Grade Six. Got the whole year! Even got a 40% discount for paying for it all up front. Plus a nifty set of Ginsu knifes.”

“WHAT!?” Sara bolted over to the small television set and looked at the stack of video tapes. “But I thought…” She grabbed the one on top and held it up towards Kemuel. “This is ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark!’ The one underneath is ‘Star Wars – The Empire Strikes Back!”

“Certainly! I’m sure I’ve already told you that Episode Five is the best…”

“Look underneath those two movies, dear.” interrupted Eddi.

Sara pulled out the next tape and gasped in horror. And the next one. And the next one. “English Grammar!? World History!? Biology!?”

“Time to learn about the birds and the bees, cousin.” George teased.

“I already know about sex!” Sara exclaimed, angrily.

Eddi wasn’t the only one to raise her eyebrow.

Sara looked at everyone sheepishly. “I mean … my mom and I … we already … she’s already told me … never mind.” Sara began to turn bright red.

Eddi came to her rescue. “We ARE going to help you on your quest, child. Just as we promised. But that does NOT mean you are going to miss out on your education.”

“WHAT!? WHY!!? WHAT’S THE POINT!!!?”

George laughed. “There are only three things in life that are certain, cousin. “Death, taxes, and the sixth grade.”

“I think I’ve got the death part down!” Sara scowled. “So what’s the freakin’ point of going to school if…”

“Now, now, dear. That is enough.” scolded Eddi. “Watch your language and your tone.”

Sara crossed her arms and sulked. “It’s not a curse word.”

“You kiss your mother with that mouth!?” George teased.

“You too, Georgina. That is enough.”

“Georgina!!?” exclaimed Sara.

“Grandmother! I told you to stop calling me that!”

Eddi arched her eyebrow at George.

“Sorry, Grandmother.”

Kemuel chuckled. “Everybody starting to get on edge already!? We’ve only been together three days and we haven’t even left port yet! Ah well … you know what they say about fish and visitors…”

“But why do I have to go to school!? That’s the LAST thing I thought I would EVER have to…”

“Your journey is going to take quite some time, dear.” said Eddi. “As you already know, we do not know the location of the sword.”

“We only know where to start looking.” added George. “And even that is based solely on what you’ve told us, cousin.”

“It could take months.” said Kemuel. “Years. Centuries.”

“WHAT!”

“Just kidding about the centuries. I think.”

“I know that … but … SCHOOL!?”

“You still have three weeks before we begin our lessons.” said Eddi, returning to her knitting. “You have plenty of time to enjoy your freedom before then.”

Sara sat on the sofa, pouting. “This isn’t turning out at all right. I wonder if I can still catch that ocean liner.”

“The one that left three days ago? Sure, kid. How good of a swimmer are you?”

Sara sighed to herself and refused to answer.

Finally after a few quite silent minutes passed, she sighed once again. “I’m sorry, Grandmother.”

“Oh? And what are you sorry for?”

“I’m sorry for being so rude.”

Eddi smiled and rose to her feet. As she sat down next to Sara, she put her arm around her and hugged her.
“Apology accepted.”

“I guess I’ve been kinda cranky lately, haven’t I?”

“I understand, dear. You have a lot on your shoulders. More than any girl of any age should have to bear.”

“But could you at least tell me why I have to go to school? I’m serious. What’s the point if I’m just going to…”

“My dear, dear child. Do not think we are doing it to punish you.”

“I don’t think that. Much.”

“There are many reasons why we shall be continuing your education.”

“Name one.”

“You need a sense of normalcy, child. You need routine. You need to keep your mind occupied. Too much idle time will not be healthy for you. You will need to learn more about your world and your history and the places where we shall travel to. You shall need to learn different languages and cultures. You shall need to…”

“I just said “name one’. I didn’t need a whole list.”

Eddi chuckled. “My husband was right. You are a quite a fascinating young lady, Sara Davison.”

Sara looked away. “Sorry if I’ve been kinda …you know … crabby.”

“Oh, we’re letting you slide a little.” said Kemuel. “Considering the circumstances.”

“Thank you, Grandfather.”

“But just until September.” he winked. “Then it’s gonna be time to straighten up and fly right.”

“Great.” she rolled her eyes.

“I am very proud of you, daughter.” smiled Eddi.

Sara shrugged.

“You miss your family, don’t you?” asked George.

Sara nodded, with tears suddenly starting to form.

“I thought as much. Actually, I can kinda relate, kid.”

Sara buried her head into her grandmother.

“Wow.” George teased. “First you’re yelling at us. Then five minutes later you’re crying again. Then five minutes later you’re yelling at us. Then five minutes later you’re crying again. It’s just been a three day roller coaster ride with you.”

“I’m sorry, already! I said I’m sorry!”

“I’s okay, kid. I’m just teasing. You’ve got the right to do that.”

“Huh?”

“You’re turning into a woman, believe it or not.” George winked. “You’ve got the right to ride that roller coaster all you want.”

“What!? I’m not a woman! I’m only eleven!”

“But you may only ride that roller coaster a few days each month.” Eddi smiled.

Sara’s eyes widened. “Oh. That.”

Kemuel coughed. “I think I’ll just … uh … go … check on the freezer. Maybe find me something to freeze.”

“Dear, did you take your socks out like I asked you to?”

“Yeah, they should be thawed by now.” Kemuel began muttering to himself – loud enough for everyone to hear. “Can’t believe I’m gonna be stuck on a boat with three women for God-knows how long.”

Eddi smiled as Kemuel disappeared out the door.

*** *** ***

“ATTENTION ALL PASSENGERS!” came the voice over the loudspeaker.

George looked at Eddi and rolled her eyes. “I tell you, I am just about ready to go up there and rip out the plug on that thing.”

Eddi smiled. “Let him have his fun, dear. We have a very long journey ahead of us. I am sure he will tire of it, soon enough.”

“I find that very hard to believe.”

“PREPARE TO SET SAIL!”

George poked her head out the door and yelled. “This is a freakin’ fishing boat, old man! We don’t have sails!”

“Lord, have mercy.” Eddi sighed with her hand over her eyes.

“Really!?” exclaimed Sara. “But it’s nighttime! We’re leaving!!? Yeah, it’s about time!”

“It would seem that way, child.”

“Hurray! Finally some action!”

George laughed and stuck her head out the door once more. “Hey old man! We’re still tied to the dock!”

“ALL HANDS PREPARE FOR DEPARTURE!”

“I’ll take care of it.” George chuckled. “Hey Sara? Wanna meet me upstairs in the wheel house?”

“Yippee!” she shouted, jumping to her feet.

“Don’t run, dear. It’s dark out and I don’t want you to slip and fall overboard.”

“Yes, Grandmother.”

“ALL ABOARD!” came the voice from the speakers.

George rolled her eyes again.

*** *** ***

“I still can’t believe that after all this time you’ve never driven a boat before.”

“You don’t drive a boat, daughter. You can say ‘helm’ or “steer’ – but never ‘drive’.”

George and Sara looked at each other and grinned. “What’s the difference?” George asked, teasing.

“There’s really no difference.” Kemuel answered. “It just sounds more nautical.”

“Hey, cousin? Remember what I said about men the other day?”

Sara giggled.

“Now, now…” Kemuel said absently, as he was looking at the boat’s Operating Guide.

“You bought a brand new fishing boat and you’ve never even … “helmed’ one!? Are you sure you know what you’re doing?” George asked, somewhat dubiously.

“Certainly! What do you think I’ve been doing for the last three days?”

“Three days!?” exclaimed George. “You’ve had this boat for three months! You only just starting reading the manual three days ago!?”

“Oh, no. Make no mistake – I am NOT reading the manual. I’m just trying to look up to see what this here thing-a-ma-bober does.”

“WHAT!!?” exclaimed both Sara and George.

“It’s a reference manual. You only need to look at it for … reference.”

“You have GOT to be kidding me, Grandfather.”

“Who’s kidding!? How hard can it be?”

“Shouldn’t you have training first, Grandfather?” Sara asked. “Like Driver’s Ed. or something?”

“Oh, pish posh.”

“Let me tell you something else about men, kid…” George grinned.

“I know, I know.” Sara answered, rolling her eyes. “They never read the instructions.”

“Already knew that one, huh?” George chuckled.

“Duh! My dad! Uncle Michael!”

George started laughing.

“And you know what else I’ve learned? They don’t like to ask for directions, either.” Sara scowled at Kemuel.

“That’s because we have a great sense of direction, little lady.” answered Kemuel.

“Yeah, I’ve heard that one before.” Sara replied, shaking her head. “Wanna know how times we’ve gotten lost?”

“Uh … Grandfather … speaking of directions…” George reached over and grabbed a navigation map. “It’s still sealed in plastic!”

“Oh, pish posh.”

“You were supposed to be studying these!” George scolded.

Kemuel look at Sara and grinned. “Okinawa, right? Japan?”

Sara nodded, worriedly.

“It’s that way.” Kemuel pointed towards the west.

George rolled her eyes.

“I think.”

“We’re going to die.” George said, shaking her head. “I just know it.”

“So when are you going to turn it on?” asked Sara.

“You don’t turn a boat on, daughter. You “start her up’.”

“Her?”

“Certainly. All boats are female.”

“They are!?”

“Same with planes, trains and automobiles.”

“Why?”

“This should be good.” George smirked, crossing her arms.

Kemuel looked at George and grinned. “Because they are moody, temperamental and likely to break down without any prior warning.”

“Oh, you are SO going to get it, old man!”

“Well, I think this is the one.” said Kemuel, ignoring her. “This should start her up.”

Kemuel flipped the switch.

And all the lights on the entire boat suddenly went out.

It was several moments of quite solitude – sitting in pitch black – before Kemuel began to whistle the theme song from Gilligan’s Island.

“Somebody shoot me.”


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