Hollow Moon Part 31
- Hollow Moon Part 1
- Hollow Moon Part 2
- Hollow Moon Part 3
- Hollow Moon Part 4
- Hollow Moon Part 5
- Hollow Moon Part 6
- Hollow Moon Part 7
- Hollow Moon Part 8
- Hollow Moon Part 9
- Hollow Moon Part 10
- Hollow Moon Part 11
- Hollow Moon Part 12
- Hollow Moon Part 13
- Hollow Moon Part 14
- Hollow Moon Part 15
- Hollow Moon Part 16
- Hollow Moon Part 17
- Hollow Moon Part 18
- Hollow Moon Part 19
- Hollow Moon Part 20
- Hollow Moon Part 21
- Hollow Moon Part 22
- Hollow Moon Part 23
- Hollow Moon Part 24
- Hollow Moon Part 25
- Hollow Moon Part 26
- Hollow Moon Part 27
- Hollow Moon Part 28
- Hollow Moon Part 29
- Hollow Moon Part 30
- Hollow Moon Part 31
- Hollow Moon Part 32
- Hollow Moon Part 33
- Hollow Moon Part 34
- Hollow Moon Part 35
As Esk translated himself to the moon, he felt a familiar tug at his neural connections. His thoughts were not his own. The Eskerektul Council! The collective consciousness had returned! Esk could not control his excitement at having the Council back until he remembered why he was in such a rush to get to the moon in the first place. The collective consciousness would not be pleased with the presence of humans living inside the moon—or rather, they were already displeased. Well, at least I will not have to explain anything. The collective consciousness knows my mind already. Unless they need to make an example of me. Then it will be ugly and very uncomfortable.
The Eskerektul Council occupied its usual chamber inside the moon when Esk arrived. He, in his pajamas and human form, entered with caution.
“Esk,” the consciousness messaged through his neurons. “Why have the baby sea turtles hatched already? They are not in season to hatch yet.”
“Um, about that, yes,” Esk stalled a bit, “It will be explained in good time, but may I ask first where you have been imprisoned and by whom?”
The Council laughed. “We have not been captive. We merely went on a short vacation to Io. Long-time friends there invited us to stay for an eon, but we declined the offer and stayed only a short time. From the looks of things here, it seems this was a wise decision on our part.” Negative vibrations reverberated through Esk’s skull. “Now, about the sea turtles hatching…”
“Council, I was under the impression that you had been kidnapped and were being held prisoner by Lod. I have been interrogating the suspect while you have been away; not knowing that you were gone of your own volition.”
“And this has what to do with the sea turtles?”
“I sense you are angry with my management of this planet while you were away.” Esk did not know what else to say to the collective consciousness.
“We have not been able to access your thoughts, Esk.”
“Nor I yours.”
“Strange. We have given you clearance to know our mind. Something has blocked access both ways. Do you have any idea what that might be?”
They do not know about the Reverend and Lod! They do not know anything about what has transpired except that the baby sea turtles hatched out of season. I must keep them at bay while I figure out what to do. Do I tell them? Do I attempt to take care of this myself without their knowledge? I could fix this entire thing without them questioning anything else. It must be the poison that Lod injected me with. It has been impeding the signals between my mind and theirs. They cannot know my thoughts—not now!
“I thought perhaps the sea turtles would fare better in the ocean if they hatched a bit sooner,” Esk communicated to the Council. Keep them focused on the sea turtles, keep them focused on the sea turtles….
“Ah, a brilliant thought, Esk.”
“Thank you, Council. I must check on their progress immediately, as a matter of fact. Please excuse me from your presence.”
Esk backed out of the collective consciousness’ chamber. Once around the corner, he sprinted to Lod’s living quarters. Bursting in through the invisible shield, he told Lod to get himself together. “We are going back to the prison. NOW.” Before Severius could answer or process the statements, Esk disappeared.
Esk’s next stop was to retrieve the Reverend Bandersnatch. He grabbed the Reverend by the arm and dragged him down the slick hallway to Lod’s chamber. Severius looked at the minister, confused, and they then found themselves in the forest outside Fletcher in the cool night air, staring at each other. Alone. Together. In the distance, they heard Esk shout as he fumbled amongst the trees, “Just stay there and do not talk!” Esk rushed to locate the psychopath before anything else could go wrong.
Jean Bandersnatch was searching, too. She was looking for the angel in town. It did not immediately occur to her that she had come face-to-face with the psychopath and survived. As she prowled around the town’s sidewalks on her way to Sam Wilkins’ cabin down the gravel road, she realized that her husband had never kissed her that way. As she walked, she thought more about it. The Reverend was a painfully proper man when it came to romance. He would never have kissed her that way—not even while on the “arousal” prescriptions. The lights were dimmed…. She really had not gotten a good look at the man in her house. She assumed it was the Reverend because he had a key. Who had kissed her, if not her husband? “The psy-cho-path!” The woman screamed it over and over in the streets all the way to the police station.
“I seen ‘im! He assaulted me! In ma’ own house! That psy-cho-path tried ta’… ta’… oh, it’s too awful ta’ even describe!” One of the officers escorted the preacher’s wife to an interview room to take her official statement. That would be if they ever got her to calm down enough to make sense instead of sensationalizing.
News of the Chief Gossip’s encounter with the escaped convict travelled faster than fire around town. The bars were open until dawn and beyond, alive with excitement and renewed interest in the status of the psychopath. The alcohol flowed freely and conspiracy theories flew.
Sam heard about the events of the last 18 hours at the diner from Julian. Not too many folks were at the diner, giving the young cook time to talk to Sam. Julian was nervous for some reason, and Sam took notice of his squirming.
“Ya’ upset ‘bout this psycho runnin’ around? Like I told Esk, they’ll catch ‘im. No big deal. I’m sure Jean Bandersnatch scared ‘im inta’ believin’ in a higher power, anyways.”
“About Esk… an’ whatcha’ told me ‘bout ‘im bein’ a angel an’ all that, ya’ know. Um….”
Sam lowered his fork and made eye contact with the frightened young cook. “What’s goin’ on?”
“Mrs. Bandersnatch, well, she….”
“I didn’t have no choice, Sam. She almost lost me ma’ job early the other mornin’. Ms. Jean wouldn’t let me go ‘til I told ‘er ‘bout Esk. She stalked me, even.”
“Ah, well. Let ‘er stew on how she’s been a’treatin’ ‘im. Maybe do ‘er some good. It’s okay, boy. Jist don’t tell nobody else, okay? If they come askin’, send ‘em ta’ me.”
Just then, the psychopath, dressed in the Reverend Bandersnatch’s clothing, wandered up to the counter and sat down next to Sam. He waved the juvenile away, pointing to a random menu item. Sam got a strong feeling that he was in grave danger. When he tried to excuse himself to use the men’s room, the stranger motioned for him to sit back down with the blade of the kitchen knife he held in his lap. He put his finger to his lips and grinned. Sam was now a hostage.