Salvation, Hyperlink To Lost Souls
Ruth's unwillingness to be rescued from the Island of Lost Souls proves to be more unsettling than Dan Pierce could have ever envisioned.
Dan Pierce travels this time to Tuktoyaktak, Northwest Canada, in his quest for salvation. Soon after moving in with a local family, he discovers that the disappearance of one of their teenage daughters may be more sinister than her father believes.
Her grand-father, the local shaman, is convinced it's the work of malevolent spirits and he asks for Dan's help in the search for her soul.
He agrees and travels into the spirit world, finding Ruth on the Island of Lost Souls. However, her unwillingness to be rescued by him proves to be more unsettling than he could have envisioned.
Day One: On the Road
OMG, I'm on my way to a place called Tuktoyaktuk in the Northern territories. It seems the locals call it Tuk and if it's good enough for them, it's good enough for me. Besides, all those key depressions on my android could give me repetitive strain injury.
Before I set off, Mikey said to me, "Make sure and pack lots of warm clothing for your trip." So, I can only assume it's going to be on the nippy side. He didn't enlighten me as to what the actual temperature will be, but he informed me that it was a land of ice caps, pingos, aurora borealis, and the midnight sun. Which I think translates into, brrrrrrrrr, shiver, shiver. Oh, and by the way, for those of you who have just joined me, Mikey is my pet name for Archangel Michael. Not to his face of course.
Now, I need to tell you about my new amigo. His name is Stan Carter and he's a truck driver. Come on, keep up. How could he drive a truck if he was dead? Don't even try to justify what you thought or said out aloud. He's very much alive and kicking, and he's the driver of the truck I've managed to hitch a ride in.
Oh, apologies, apologies to my new friends who have just joined me. You don't know that I'm D- I don't say the 'D' word when I'm referring to myself. I have difficulty with the whole concept. You really should have read the first book before starting this one. If you had done so, I wouldn't need to keep explaining things as I go along. Boring the socks off the guys who joined me at the beginning of my journey on Earth. Whoa, I'm not complaining, the more the merrier. I rely on all you guys out there in the real world and I appreciate your marvelous company.
Back to Stan, I approached him at a diner some five hours back. He lives in Tuk and kindly agreed to take me there. Sorry, he agreed to take us the rest of the way. That's if you're sticking around.
Pleeease, pleeease. I'm pleading with you; I won't plead for too long. Great, make sure you pack your woollies. Well, maybe not. If you're lying on an exotic beach reading this, you sure would look dumb.
Stan says that we'll reach Tuk in another three hours, as we've only one hundred fifty kilometers to go. We've just left Inuvik and it's going to be ice road all the way now. The ice road being the Mackenzie River, which is frozen solid.
You know, appearances can be so deceptive. Let me explain myself; Stan is a big, scraggy faced guy, arms covered in tattoos and a head full of piercings. Well, not actually his skull, but you know the sort I mean. He has rings in his ears, nose, and eyebrows and his tongue clicks when he speaks, because there's a large silver stud in the middle of it. Eek! It was bad enough getting my demon early warning stud put in my earlobe. The thought of it still sends a shiver down my spine. Brrrrrr.
What was I talking about before I digressed? Something that you newbies need to realize is that I do this on a regular basis. Oh, I was telling you about Stan. Yeah, yeah, Stan. If appearances were something to go by, you sure wouldn't pick a fight with this guy, no sir. But since I've been able to spend some one-on-one time with him, I've found out that he's a great big teddy bear.
He's just invited me to stay at his place until I'm settled in Tuk. I'll fill you in on my cover story later. He said I can share a room with his son, who happens to be the same age as me. Coincidence? Don't think so. I've agreed because I believe this is where my adventure is about to start.
Then again, it looks like my adventure could be starting here, right now. Holy cow! Visibility is very poor, a complete whiteout. Stan has slowed the truck down to 20 mph and the tail lights of the truck in front are no longer visible.
Earlier some of Stan's fellow truckers warned him over the CB radio of the blizzards ahead. He tried to prepare me for this situation, but hell I never thought it would be as bad as this. Scaâ€“reee. I don't know if I'm allowed to say hell in this context. Hell, I've said it anyway.
"Don't panic, I know this road like the back of my hand. We just have to try to keep moving. The ice is real thin here and I don't feel like taking an ice-cold dip," says Stan calmly. He sounds unruffled, in fact he's as cool as a cucumber.
"Neither do I. I didn't pack my swim shorts and I definitely don't fancy skinny dipping," I say, chuckling nervously. I can hear the ice road crackle under the weight of the wheels. Sooo, I'm hoping Mickey's following my progress and can give me some help if something goes wrong.
Whoa, Stan has just slammed on the brakes. The truck's wheels have locked, we're now skating on the thin ice and we're not stopping. OMG, something very strange has happened to the road in front of us. A mound of sorts has risen up out of the ice and we're skidding straight towards it. Closer and closer we go.
I can see the front of it has opened up, like a grotto. The thing is, I don't think we're going to meet Saint Nick, or Our Lady of Lourdes in here. Aagh! I think we may be meeting up with the Tooth Fairy; we're now staring into the open jaws of a huge and I mean humungous, white cougar.
Gulp. That wasn't me gulping, that was the giant cougar. He's gobbled us up and that was the sound of him swallowing us, truck and all. We've been engulfed. Yes, you read my words correctly.
"Dan, I have no idea what's happening to us. We're in some kind of cave. I have no explanation," says Stan in bewilderment.
"And you told me not to panic."
"Yes I did, but there shouldn't be a cave here. I can't tell you off the top of my head how many times I've driven this route, it must be hundreds but there is no cave here."
We're being shaken and not stirred inside the cab of Stan's Coronado. Thank God for the clever guys who invented the seat belt. If we weren't strapped in, we would be tossed around like rag dolls.
Snowy's mouth as you can imagine, is very dark. Monsters like this guy, or gal don't have lights installed. I think the cougar is a guy though because no girl could be so ug- Girls are gorgeous. I think I've said that once before about someone, or something. But I can't remember when.
Luckily for us, the truck's headlights and spotlights are shining light on our surroundings. Did I say luckily? Yep. I know I did, but sometimes I'm a bit of a nitwit to say the least. Why am I a nitwit? Well, if it was too dark to see, I wouldn't see his jagged teeth, imitating stalagmites and stalactites. Remember, mites go up and tites come down. Naughty.
OMG. I've never seen a cavity that size in a tooth; we could go potholing in it. It resembles the Linville Caverns in North Carolina. I have no idea how I know that, but I do.
Stan has kept the wipers on in an effort to clear the thick, slobbery stuff that's splurged across the windscreen. Yuck!
"Hold on for dear life!" shouts Stan.
He probably should have said 'grim death' in my case. We're sliiiding, sliiiding along Snowy's tongue and bouncing-bong, bong-off his soft palate. There's an even bigger cavern up ahead and we're heading towards it. It's called his throat. Wooo, we've came to a sudden stop. I think we've jack-knifed across his throat and I think we're hooked onto his uvula. How do I know? Trust me, I just know.
Your mind is getting worse. You thought I was being rude just now. FYI, the uvula is the wiggly, dangling bit at the back of the throat. If it wasn't for that fleshy, flapping piece, we'd be tumbling down into the pit of his stomach. The 'Great Abyss' of the cougar.
"Dan, this is no time to be playing around on your gizmo," says Stan.
What he doesn't know is that I'm sending out a celestial SOS. Just in case my prayers are being blocked by some other force.
"It's my way of keeping calm."
"Whatever. Maybe I could get a loan of it sometime real soon. Because I've never been so scared in my life," says Stan.
"Hick, hick, hick." Snowy has started to hiccup. Whoa, we need earplugs. The noise is echoing all around us. We can't cover our ears because we're holding on tight!
Whoaaa! We're on the move again; we've been dislodged from Snowy's uvula. We're shooting forward away from his throat, then back toward it again. With each hick, we're simulating the ball in a pinball machine. Plunk, plunk, plunk.
"Aaagh!" Stan and I shout simultaneously. We're heading straight for Snowy's gnashers.
Smash. We slide forward in our seats. The smashing sound was the truck hitting Snowy's decaying front teeth. Away we go; we've crashed straight through them. The truck is now skidding across the ice road again. Snowy has disappeared, as quickly as he appeared and the opening in the road's surface has closed over.
Stan wrestles with the steering; sweat is dripping from his brow. We're slowing down. Sloow, sloow. It's as though everything is happening in slow motion. Praise the Lord, we've stopped.
"Well done, Stan," I say.
My new comrade shrugs his shoulders and says, "I did nothing. I think a miracle just happened."
"Take the credit for that good piece of driving." Phew, thank goodness that little ordeal's over. I e-mailed Mickey, thanking him for the celestial intervention and he replied, I'm glad I could be of help. I bet he's not as glad as I am.
"Are you okay?" asks Stan.
"Yes, I don't think there's any damage."
Stan pulls the fur-trimmed hood of his jacket up to cover his head and says, "I'll be back in a moment. I need to look her over."
"Sure thing, take care." I watch him raise his scarf up over his mouth to save him from inhaling the ice-cold air outside. He winks at me and opens the driver's door; he keeps a tight grip of the handle as the wind tugs at it hard. The snow has stopped, but the wind is gale-force and with each gust the cab rocks from side-to-side. He looks up and down the road before he jumps down onto the ice road.
I look in my side view mirror and I can see Stan is examining the rear end of the trailer first. He's struggling to stay upright; the force of the wind is hitting him from behind. It's no use a whippersnapper going out to help him; therefore, I think it would be better if you stay here with me. Ha, ha. Seriously, I'd be blown off my feet straight away. I'd be rolling around like a piece of desert flora. Not that there's any desert flora around here.
I've been trying to check Sower to see if any other angels, or angelets, have also come across Snowy on their travels. However, my signal seems to have faded for now. Sorry, Sower is a micro-blogging service that heavenly beings use. I believe the name relates to sowing seeds. In our case, the seeds being the Lord's word. I know humans use one as well, strangely enough the name evades me. Duh!
Here comes Stan. I better prepare myself for the blast of cold air that's going to come in when he opens the door.
"No real damage. A few bumps, scrapes, and scratches, just like us," shouts Stan. I can just make out what he's saying; the scarf that's up over his mouth is muffling his voice. Of course, the gale force wind that's now blowing in through the open door isn't helping either.
The air coming in is so cold that I feel as though I've stuck my body inside a freezer. Stan climbs up into the cab and yanks his door shut. He drops his hood and removes his scarf from his face, rearranging it back around his neck. He takes off his gloves; cupping his hands, he blows into them and quickly rubs the palms together vigorously.
"I told you before, you're such a good driver," I say.
"Thanks, Dan. I didn't imagine that we drove into a huge cavern, did I?" Stan now rubs his forehead.
"No, you didn't. It must have been some freak thing that happened because of the ice, don't you think?"
"Yes, it must have been. It's just that, nothing like this has ever happened before. I can't believe it." I believe it, do you?