Hello All! As of yesterday I have reached my 50,000 word goal, making 12 days my new NanoWriMo completion record. With that word count, I just finished chapter two of Part III, meaning there’s likely still a bit left. I’ll do my best to finish it by the end of November, but at a more leisurely pace 🙂
If you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read so far, please check out my GoFundMe, donate/share if you can. Thanks so much!
Just a reminder, this is unedited, a rough draft, is the product of too much caffeine and CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR WHITEOUT AND DOWNPOUR. You have been warned!
Links to previous chapters: Prologue,
7. The Private Room
The decoration in the private upstairs bar was wholly at odds with the one we had left. Where the main establishment had opted for the classic pirate feel of a rowdy tavern, the private room above it was tastefully adorned with dark wood, plush armchairs and lit dimly by candles and electric chandeliers.
In the corner of the room, a tuxedoed man stood behind a bar that ran floor to ceiling with glass bottles. The usual fair was there, but there was much more that I was unfamiliar with and intrigued by. Not wanting to waste the opportunity, I finished the grog I had carried in, choking the sweet, citrusy flavors it was known for, and ignoring the heavy burn that followed them.
“Come, here, have a seat.” Ike motioned to a table set by a darkened window that looked out on the streets below. Heavy black curtains hung on either side, and he drew them. “Can’t be sure who’s watching in parts like these, eh?” He chuckled and sat down in one of four armchairs.
“Nothing’s convenient here,” whispered Ike as if telling some grand secret. “The walls, ceilings floors, hell the toilets, all have eyes and ears…” He trailed off, looking suspiciously around the room as if checking for informants.
I began to regret my decision more with each passing moment.
Ike turned back to me, meeting my gaze, and then burst out into a gale of drunken laughter, drawing sour looks from several of the parlor’s other guests. “I’m only joking,” he gasped, out of breath from the hilarity of his own joke. “If people were listening, they’d pay me no heed anyway. Most think I’m just a drunk.”
Amy sat down in the seat across from him. “So far I haven’t seen much evidence to the contrary.” The joke was playful, but honest.
“I know,” Ike straightened up a bit. “I’m in a right state right now.” He stifled a hiccup. “But, them’s the bricks when you’re thrown out of your university for touting theories that don’t quite agree with what the common collective might describe as intelligent.”
“I’m sorry to hear that,” said Amy, and motioned for us to sit down. James was quick to take the seat next to Amy and away from Ike.
“Ah, they’re all a bunch of prissed up wankers anyway. Couldn’t tell a giant squid from a cod even if the beak was nibbling on their cock!” This comment drew more attention from the guests that were quickly growing angry and a watchful eye from the tuxedoed man in the corner. Ike took notice and lowered his voice. “Anyways, that’s why I’m so interested in you lot.”
“Why, are your unpopular theories about the undead?” asked Amy.
“Not in the slightest, you I just find extremely interesting on an entirely different intellectual level.”
“Aye, it should be, but my main field of study revolved around the Bermuda Triangle, and what lies beneath it that’s been causing such a ruckus.”
James, who had been distracted by the splendor of the room quickly returned his focus and leaned in to listen.
I wanted to tell him to play it cool, but it was too late, and Ike had noted his behavior.
“So you are involved with the triangle as well!”
“We might be. Where’s that drink we were promised?”
“Oh, he’ll be around in a jiffy.” As he spoke the words, the tuxedoed man in the corner was beside them, almost as if by magic. I had only been served with such speed once before and it had ended with a gun at the back of my head. Still, that evening had worked out alright in the end.
“Four house specials please,” said Ike to the man, who bustled off, just as quick as he had come, and was behind the bar almost before I could blink.
“Now, bet the triangle was where you saw the kraken.”
James looked to me for affirmation. I nodded.
“Yes, that’s where we saw it.”
Ike slapped his knee excitedly. “Oh, I knew it! You know krakens haven’t been seen in—”
“Over four centuries, yes. I still can’t figure out what one was doing off the coast here.”
“Well that little bit comes back to what’s happening underneath The Triangle, and this almost proves it.” The excitement in Ike’s voice was palpable, his words forming to coherent sentences even through his stupor. The slur was gone.
“You might think I’m crazy.”
“It’s a little late for that,” said James.
“What would you say if I told you I thought the beast was sent by the gods? And not just any god, Poseidon himself, lord of the sea.”
The thought of another god beginning to meddle with earth’s business was a bit much, but more believable than most of the theories I’d been tossing around in my head. “I’d say it’s actually more believable than you’d think.”
James and I had met gods on two separate occasions, both outside of the mortal realms. One had been a friend, guiding us in the final fight against the yeti that cost James his life. The second had been guarding the gate when I stole that life back.
“We’ve met our fair share of gods,” said James. “Even traveled with a demi-god for a bit.”
The thought of Lopsang brought a bitter taste to my mouth. The same fight where we had got James’s life back, Lopsang had lost the powers that he had known his whole life. He had never been the same since.
“I knew you were the right people to talk to.” Ike hesitated for a moment. “But I’ve got one more thing to tell you.”
“Is it wilder than the gods?” I asked, truly thinking that there could be nothing else.
“Maybe not, but it certainly seems more ridiculous.”
“I think Poseidon is sending sea monsters up to stop the US Government from discovering Atlantis.” Ike turned bright red as he said it.
The bartender returned, setting our drinks on the wooden table between the set of chairs.
“Holy shit.” It was one of the most ridiculous theories I had heard, but when all else was eliminated, it made perfect sense.
“I know, it’s ridiculous.”
James’s eyes had begun to grow wide. “No, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, that actually makes sense.”
Amy looked between the three of us as if we were crazy. “Atlantis, really?”
“You’re dead and walking around the living,” prodded Ike. “I don’t think you’ve got much room for skepticism.”
“Fair point,” she said, and sipped her drink. A look of joy spread over her face. “Hot damn, that is some drink.”
“I told you!”
I took a sip of mine and felt elated at the variety of flavors contained in the small, cool chalice. I struggle to describe it even now as anything other than the perfect drink. “I’m going to need another one of these.” I savored the liquid, in case there was no more.
“Tell me why you’re poking around The Triangle and I might.”
If ever there was a time to keep the secrets of the CIA and the US Government, it was not in a pirate bar hidden beneath an island most thought to be a rural wasteland. I decided that honesty was the best policy. What were the CIA going to do? “We were hired by the CIA to get rid of the sea monsters that have been sinking their ships.”
Ike’s jaw dropped to the floor.
“I can’t confirm they were looking for Atlantis,” I continued, “they said they were simple trade vessels.”
Ike looked slightly crestfallen.
“But I can say that whatever it is, it’s the CIA and it’s likely suspicious as hell.”
It took a few minutes for Ike to speak again. “Taking down all the sea monsters in the Bermuda Triangle is quite the tall order. What kind of a madman are you to take a job like that?”
“One who was coerced.”
Ike nodded solemnly.
“On the bright side, the attacks only started recently, which means something’s changed. Sea monsters don’t just attack ships at random. A god that’s gotten to feeling threatened is starting to seem all the more likely.”
Ike looked to be in deep thought. “You were coerced you say?”
“Alright, fine, I’ll help you.”
“We didn’t ask for your help.” Ike was growing on me, but with Amy we already had one person too many. Working with an apprentice was enough and even that grew tiresome sometimes.
“No, you didn’t, but you’re going to need it. If you’re intending to go after the lost city, I know just the man to talk to about it.”
He was right, we weren’t exactly in a position to refuse help. My plan had mostly consisted of getting drunk for a few days, buying an obscene amount of weaponry on the CIA’s dime and hoping things just worked themselves out. It wasn’t much, but having goals is important.
Sensing the tension, Ike interrupted. “Look, at least meet with him. This guy knows a lot. He’s been researching the gods for years now, and if anyone knows how to get to Poseidon, or even has any ideas, it’s going to be him.”
“I thought you were supposed to be the expert?”
“Me? I just peddle wild theories and study the anatomy of sea monsters. So I can help by telling you how to kill them, but stopping them at the source is another problem entirely. One way or another, it looks like you’re going to need to find one of the most mysterious lost cities the world has ever known.”
“Anyone have any better ideas?” I asked.
James shook his head.
Amy bit her lip and set her drink down. “Look boys, I’m all for adventure, but I’ve got business trying to find a mystic who can do something about this.” She motioned to her face and general decaying state. “It’s been fun, but this all sounds like a bit much to me.”
James wore a look of disappointment. I suspect he had liked having the company of someone who wasn’t a caustic alcoholic, but in the end, he made that choice. I held him to no life debts and considered his training to be complete. For some reason he just kept following along.
For me, I had found Amy’s company pleasant, but always preferred to travel light. “I said there might be someone who can help here, and I intend on helping you find them.” I said, in a rare moment of sincerity.
“I might know someone who can help with that, and it’s in the same direction.”
“Well then there’s no time to waste,” I said. “However,” I took a longing look around the room.
“We should get a few before we hit the road,” said Ike, sensing my need.
“You’re a gentleman and a scholar, Ike.”