Two dozen sweaty field workers lined the picnic tables next to the one where Parker sat with Mrs. Childers, her daughter, Belinda, and Terrence. The men and women wore near-blank expressions on their faces and said nothing as they ate, seated beneath the shade of the of the grape vines and apple trees surrounding them. Not one of them made eye contact with Parker or anyone at his table, either. He noticed even the typically vocal Terrence had become unusually quiet himself.
"Terrence, is there something wrong?" Parker asked, swallowing the final bite of his new favorite food, something called a Fritz and Sauce sandwich. Either this was because he was extremely hungry, or like the meatpie, found one more local delicacy he enjoyed.
The man looked down at his half-eaten food. "No, I'm just not particularly hungry anymore."
Parker eyed the man's uneaten sandwich and shut his eyes before he asked if he could have it.
"You want it?" Terrence inquired, noting Parker's interest. He pushed the plate toward Parker.
Parker shrugged and lifted a hand.
"...well, time to go back to work, ladies and gentlemen!" Belinda said, unexpectedly removing the plates in front of Parker and Terrence from the table.
Parker opened his mouth to protest, but was cut off by a comment from Mrs. Childers directed toward Terrence. "Mr. Keane, you do not look very well. Maybe you should go inside and rest for a time? Belinda can show you to the guest quarters where you may lie down."
With the back of a hand, Terrence wiped away the beads of sweat beginning to form on his forehead and nodded. "That sounds like a good idea...I'm not sure what has come over me?"
"Come on, let me help you," Belinda said and draped the man's large arm over her much smaller shoulder. "Let's go."
Watching her daughter walk away assisting Terrence, the old woman said loudly, "I hope you feel better soon, Mr. Keane!"
"Strong young woman," Parker said and then took a sip of water. He sat back and rubbed his stomach. "You know, I find it odd Terrence became so ill so rapidly. It couldn't be the food...no offense, Mrs. Childers. Or we would all be..." Parker stopped speaking as his eyes fell on the old woman's face. "What the hell!?!!"
Parker stumbled away from the table in an attempt to distance himself from the woman only to find a pair of large, muscular workers securing him each by an arm. He looked up at the men. They bore the same stony, frightening expressions as Mrs. Childers, but it was their eyes...eyes of solid darkness, that brought the terror home for Parker.
"Please, have a seat Mr. Raymond," the thing that was once the kind old Mrs. Childers said as she swept a hand before her.
"Asshole! Get off me!" Parker exclaimed as one of the ebony-eyed men shoved him down forcefully on the bench once more.
"There is no need to be unpleasant, Mr. Raymond...or combative, for that matter. Your resistance is going to do you no good. My advice would be to relax and listen to reason. Ignore your need to fight and things will progress rather smoothly."
"Says the spooky old bat with black eyes! Let go of me 'roid junkies!"
"That is not going to happen, Mr. Raymond. You must now realize you are a prisoner of the Geniel Empire and upon the next full moon, will return with me to Ferramortium to stand before Emperor Geniel himself."
The old woman waved her hand dismissively. "Take him to the cellar; I desire a respite from these tiring emotions."
"Wait!" Parker shouted as the men violently lifted the struggling man from the bench. "Where's Ferramortium?!??"
"You will discover soon enough, Parker Raymond, and once there you will have all of your questions answered. This I promise."
The muscle bound duo shoved Parker into a dark, dungeon-like cellar, scraping his hands and knees up in the process. Then, without a word, they backed from the chamber, slamming the room's heavy wooden door behind them. It was the only way in or out of the room.
Taking a deep breath, Parker lifted his head to glance at the singular incandescent bulb floating overhead in the darkness. "Dammit!" Parker muttered, noting the men didn't even bother to take Horo from him. He, as well as those dark-eyed creatures, all must have realized he was going nowhere with only the power of a lightbulb to juice up his Horo.
"I see you met the Negexis," issued a familiar voice from the shadows. "What'd you think?"
Parker nodded. "Scary bastards, that's what I think! Hey, why are you in here, anyways, Terrence?" Don't you work with them?"
Terrence sat forward into the light. He still appeared a bit pale. "Well...not really. I don't work with them as much as we just happen to work for the same guy. Look Parker, we're not going anywhere for a while and I still feel like crap. I'm gonna get a bit more shuteye if that's alright with you?"
"Sure thing, Terry. Sweet dreams and such." Parker said, now sitting with his back against the hard clay wall. He closed his eyes. "I imagine my dreams are going to be anything but after what I just saw."
Jarred from their naps, Parker and Terrence sat up in unison as the door to the cellar suddenly flew open and slammed against the wall behind it.
"Drink! Eat!" one of the dark-eyed goons barked as he set a pitcher of water, a tin cup, and a plate of sliced bread down on the dirty floor. Maintaining the same blank expression, the guard backed from the room and pulled the door to.
"Well, those guys really have a way with words," Parker said as he crawled over to retrieve the metal pitcher and the tin cup accompanying it. He lifted the container, tilted it, and poured himself a cup full of water. "Hey, you know you look like you are feeling much better. You want this?"
"I wouldn't drink that."
"Why not, Terrence?"
"It's probably poisoned!" the Geniel slave exclaimed, slapping the container of liquid out of Parker's hand. The metal object clattered to the ground, ejecting water into the air.
"Bro!" Parker watched the cup tumble across the room and then noted the door slowly creaking open. "Hey, Terrence, you see that?"
"Yeah. Look's intentional."
"Maybe, but I say we take the chance regardless!" Parker whispered. "It might be our only shot to get out of here, and frankly, I'd rather take my chances out there. It beats waiting around in here for the turkey shoot to begin."
"I suppose I can't argue with that." Terrence stood and brushed himself off. "You first!"
YOU ARE READING
Voynich Shift - Season One (COMPLETED)Science Fiction
Parker Raymond recently inherited his estranged grandfather's large plantation home in Savannah, Georgia. The Spanish Moss hanging from the estate's large oaks, its massive gardens, and a near endless bank account were, in the end, not what captured...