Hello everyone! Sorry, I took Saturday off from posting, but I’m back today with a brand new chapter from Maelstrom. The story is almost wrapped up, and it’s only going to get weirder from here.
There’s also still time to contribute to the campaign for my first novel, Whiteout. If you can donate and if not, share the link below to help us get our names out there!
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 Little Black Book
“Alright Dr. Ventner, our time is up.” Good Cop rose from his chair, shaking the stiffness from his limbs. “It’s been a long night of bullshit, and I’ll commend you, you kept my interest. But it’s six in the god damned morning, and I’ve got to get some sleep because I’ve got another shift in eight hours.” He rubbed at his eyes which had grown bloodshot over the course of the evening.
Nick remained silent, incredibly frustrated at being interrupted again. He almost remembered everything, even the boat was beginning to come back to him. “After the fight, we were taken to Poseidon’s private suite for a celebration of sorts,” he began, trying desperately not to lose his train of thought.
“And that was the fight with the giant eels right?” Good Cop gave a round-up gesture to the mirror on the wall and seconds later, Murphy came bursting through the door.
“Well, well Doctor, it looks like it’s my turn again.” Murphy walked behind Nick and roughly grabbed his wrists. “If you try to escape, I’m legally allowed to use force. So I’d suggest you don’t.” He unclipped the handcuffs briefly, removing Nick from the table and then reclipped them once the chain was free.
“He gave Lopsang his powers back, reluctantly albeit, but he did it.” It was almost like a mantra, something he had to repeat or he would forget it.
“Don’t worry,” said Murphy, grabbing Nick roughly by the back of his collar, “the boys downtown are going to love your stories.”
“Downtown?” asked Nick, brought out of his stupor for a moment.
“Yeah, call just came through. Mayor is real pissed about your stunt on top of city hall. Wants you transferred to maximum security.”
“I told you, Nick, you really should have given me something we could use.” Good Cop seemed genuinely sorry about it. “I wanted to help you, but it’s out of my hands now.”
Nick ignored him and instead returned his attention to Murphy. “How far away is downtown?”
“What, you got a hot date or something?” Murphy shook his head and began to lead Nick out of the room. “Usually twenty minutes, but we’re going to hit the early morning commute, and we’re going to take it nice and slow. Wouldn’t want anything giving you an early out, scumbag.”
“Plenty of time,” said Nick, and then launched back into his story again. “You know, I thought something was weird when Poseidon had the technology to give James his hand back.”
“Jesus Christ man, give it up!” shouted Good Cop, exasperated. Several police officers came into the hallway to see the commotion as Nick was being led by.
He continued to talk like a man in a trance, desperately trying to get the important parts back. He wasn’t sure why, but a part of him knew that if he could finish the story, there was a way out of everything. The awkward stares of the police officers and the frustrated breath of Murphy were nothing. As far as Nick knew, he was still an operative of the CIA, and that had to count for something.
“Anyways, the technology Poseidon possessed didn’t exactly seem Atlantean. There were no glowing rods, no carved stones, really nothing that would have pegged it as godlike. In fact, the smooth metal surfaces looked like something out of a science fiction film…” As he said it, everything clicked. God damnit. James is going to give me so much shit…
After a ceremony with far too much hand waving, secret rooms full of alien technology, and far too few medals, Poseidon left us in his private suite for the evening. Initially he had been pretty raw about the loss of his pets, but confessed that it was probably a good thing for revitalizing the arena which had slumped due to low ticket sales.
I think at this point it’s a given to say that after our victory, the loss and subsequent regrowth of James’s hand, and Lopsang’s powers being returned, we drank heavily. The suite was furnished in much the same style as Poseidon’s sporting box. The carpets were red, everything was covered in gold, and there were more liquors than I could count. The suite itself had several couches, and one large round bed that was likely used for… well, what everyone uses beds in private suites for.
“Anyone else think it was weird they were just able to regrow my hand?” James was slumped on one of the couches, holding his left hand up to the light, examining it in great detail.
“First of all,” I burped, “wrong hand.”
James switched them quickly and then continued gaping.
“Second, it looks fine. Now, the real question is: Where is Poseidon with that refill?” It seemed that in our exuberance we had drunk the suite dry. Granted, Poseidon had contributed to more than half of that, but still, it was impressive. He had left only fifteen minutes earlier in search of further refreshments.
Not wanting to wait, I began poking around the sweet, knocking on walls, sliding my hands delicately over the liquor cabinet, you know, looking for secret places people tend to hide their liquor. All I can say, is things probably would have been a hell of a lot easier if I hadn’t. The plan was for us to leave the following morning, completely intact, and Poseidon would stop sending sea monsters so long as the CIA stopped sending ships meant to find Atlantis. Simple enough, I figured, and convincing the CIA was a bridge to cross at a later date.
In any case, through my various drunken meanderings, I stumbled upon a picture of a tall thin man. His eyes were solid black, and his body was longer than most humanoids. “Hey Lopsang, you ever see anything like this?”
Lopsang was standing across the room, but in a puff of blue smoke reappeared right next to me. He stumbled upon landing, which might have been the drink, or lack of using his powers. He looked at the picture, cocking his head to one side. “That’s an alien, Nick.”
“Aliens?!” James jumped up from the couch, nearly tripping over a glass table as he went. “I knew it Nick! Ha!”
“It’s a god damned picture James.” Although I had to admit, it looked quite odd, and very similar to something one would see on X-Files. Reaching a hand out to touch the picture, I stumbled, knocking it sideways. Rather than swinging back and forth, or falling off the wall entirely, the picture stuck at an angle, refusing to move. “Lopsang, come on. Aren’t you bored of using your powers for party tricks yet?”
“That’s not me, Nick.”
A series of clicking noises echoed from behind the wall, followed by a dull sliding as a large section of it sunk inward and then slid aside. There was a soft hiss as mist hissed from beneath the door.
Instantly I jumped away, fearing I had activated some sort of booby trap, but what was revealed was no massive boulder or spikes, it was a simple room furnished only by a small desk with a tape recorder. The walls however, were a different story. Hundreds of images of tall men, pyramids, and flying saucers had been pasted to the walls. Some of the aliens were in various poses that could have been interpreted as lewd, but it was difficult to tell given their androgynous anatomical structure. In short, it was a conspiracy theorist’s wet dream.
“Holy shit.” My jaw dropped and my mind spun. In my drunken state, none of the dots connected, but it was very clear that we had stumbled upon something far larger than any of us intended.
Without prompting, James went up to the tape recorder and picked it up. Visible through the clear clasp was the label: Confessions for my Love. “We’re listening to this,” he said.
“Why in the hell would we do that?” I asked. “We should close that door, and pretend we never found any of this.” Poseidon was going to be back any minute, and there was nothing good that could come of a tape with such an angsty label.
Ignoring me, James pressed play. A hoarse voice played in the small room. It was scratchy and morose, but also very clearly Poseidon. “My love, this is likely the fiftieth time I’ve beamed out this message. I’m starting to get a little worried that you aren’t coming back from us. I get it, you didn’t want my brother, lightning-headed bastard, to hurt anyone, but we’ve been down here a long time. If he doesn’t think we’ve rolled over and died at this point, then he really is paranoid.”
The voice stopped and sighed heavily. “Anyways, if you could just give us a sign that you’re coming back, that’d be great. The dipshits at the CIA are getting really close to finding us down here. Lucky for us the gates you built are temperamental to say the least, but I don’t think it’s going to be long.
“Alright, well, that’s all for now. Signing off, your little sea horse.” The taped clicked off.
“Well that’s embarrassing,” I said, confused, ashamed, and aggravated all at the same time.
“You weren’t supposed to see that,” came a deep voice from behind us.
“James, remember what I said about going through other people’s property?” I turned around slowly.
Poseidon was standing in the doorway to the suite, arms filled snack trays and a few huge bottles of liquid so dark it might as well have been black. Lightning flashed in his eyes and the muscles in his neck tensed. “It’s a shame, I was really starting to like you…”