Friday, February 8, 2008

The Rider - Chapter 5: Yasuda

"What the hell do you mean David's disappeared?" exclaimed D pounding his fist on the table in emphasis.
A-rod jumped to his feet and yelled "How do you lose somebody...I thought you see all?"
The Boss replied "Look guys, you know how this works...I just oversee this Earth....I'm not in charge of the whole universe. I don't make the rules... I just make sure that 'natural' laws are followed and prevent undue influence by outside forces. My job is to make sure that free will is paramount and to let events here take their own course."
"I'd have to say you're doing a pretty shitty job of it, if you can't even keep track of one man." replied Kingpin.
"If this is the kind of overseeing you do...that sure explains a lot of this royally screwed up planet's history!" yelled A-rod.
"Apparently you can't even do that, as you somehow lost my grandson! Good job." said D sarcastically. "Can you even tell us what happened?"

The 'Breeze', after notifying the 'Boss', flew quickly to tell her Elemental friends what had just occurred. She found them gathered together at the base of a mountain. V, Julie and Shannon were tending to the south side. Earth would toss up various colored minerals and Fire would bake them onto the rock face. Then Water would cool them down to set. This was part of their day to day duties in the southwest, and was one of the most enjoyed, ensuring the various shades of color known as the Painted Desert would always be there for future generations to enjoy. "It's about time you arrived; we could have used your help getting the minerals blown higher up on the cliffs." said Julie. "We need to get up to the boss's place, there is an emergency...David is missing." replied Ann. Without questioning or delay the three elements joined with Breeze. To Air, Fire was added, then Water, and Earth. The combination produced a small but powerful tornado, which then lifted up into the sky. The whirlwind descended onto the boss's cloud and the dissipated back into its separate elements. "Let's go" said V.

The four Elements, called Breeze/Air (Ann), Fire (Julie), Water (V) and Earth (Shannon), entered the room. Ann went straight over to D and said, "What I saw was not natural to this world. It was like a hole in space had materialized in the sky over that diner. David's not on that plane of existence anymore. He has passed out of his space and time".
D jumped up, grabbed the table and flung it across the room. It tore through the walls and out to infinity. "How is that even possible?"
The rage in the three Riders eyes was clear enough to melt diamonds. Kingpin, who had stood up at the arrival of the women, was unconsciously squeezing the back of the heavy wooden chair he had just vacated. The wood shattered into powder.
A-rod stamped his foot in fury and splintered the entire marble floor into fragments.
"It's not supposed to be possible. Something or someone is altering the fabric of light and gravity, creating a doorway through dimensions. And we need to find out whom, how and more importantly... Why?" replied the Boss.
Julie spoke up and said, "Mortals are at least a century away from this kind of technology…and even then, not on this scale. That means someone from our side of the realm has to be doing it."
V said "Why David? Is it random or by design?"
"It can't be Random. There's too much work involved for it to be accidental. David had to have been the target." said Shannon.
Julie said, "If David is the target…why and for what? Who stands to gain from David's absence?"
"If we can figure out the answer to that question ...Then we'll know where to start." said Kingpin.
"David has no enemies on this side...there's no point. His life doesn't affect our realm". said V.
"Ah...but he does. His life is tied to everyone in this room. What concerns him affects us." replied Ann.
"Ok then…who would gain by our being affected or distracted?" said Julie.
"You can't affect the laws or power of the Elements. Their mandate is absolute and unchangeable. And any coercion would only affect the earthbound plane. And, since each one of the Elementals only controls the geographical area they are affect a change you would have to gather the power of all the thousands of Elementals worldwide. And also, since you four are the only ones seemingly connected, that rules you out for being the target." said The Boss. "Which leaves you three," he said, referring to the Riders. And who would stand to gain by your absence? It can only be... Yasuda!"

Yasuda's name was well known by all in the room; he had been a legendary warrior at the beginning of history and upon his death in battle had become one of the first immortal Riders.
Choosing, instead of honor, to turn against his kind; he was banished from the realm, vowing one day to return and reign over all, and making all Riders his sworn enemies.

"He knows that as long we exist, our presence would prevent him from altering events to his own agenda, he could not succeed. But, if he stops David, it will break the succession of Riders who come after us. He also knows that we would pursue and stop him." said A-rod forcefully.
Kingpin responded by clenching his fists and exclaiming, "He's laying a trap for us!"

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The Rider - Chapter 4: Storm Clouds

As the rays from the rising sun pierced the dusty windowpanes of David's bedroom, the illuminating streaks made the shadows of the slats of the wood and caulk grow ever thinner and longer. The beams danced over the colorful, yet well-worn apache rug that surrounded David's bed. The light fell into his old boots lying haphazardly next to the old cedar chest that rested against the foot board. A few seconds passed, and to any observer it would have appeared that the light had jumped out of the boot directly onto the denim vest that hung on the bedpost. Then it slowly and surely crawled up along the down comforter and the still form atop the mattress, finally reaching its limits on the soundly sleeping man's face. The thin membranes of his eyelids could not prevent the assault, and abruptly he was stirred awake.

It had not been more than two hours since he had arrived home after finding himself sleeping under an old highway bridge. How he had found himself there and the strange dream he had experienced was still fresh in his mind. As he rolled over and sat up on the edge of the bed he thought, "It must be due to overwork." After all, the extra hours he had been putting in at work to save for the upcoming trip to the Sturgis motorcycle rally had surely had begun to take their toll. But, despite having only spent two hours asleep, he found he was surprisingly refreshed.
He rose up and walked over to his bureau and shook the stuck drawer loose to slide it open over the protesting sounds of wood on wood. He reached in a pulled out a pair of raggedy old black jeans, a pair of holey socks and a pristine black t-shirt that showed a flaming skull silk-screened on the front and back with the letters AZ Bike Week Glendale…2045. He got dressed quickly; pulling on his old snakeskin boots, and headed out the backdoor to the still-warm sporty.

He sat astride the bike and lit up a smoke, enjoying the morning air. When he glanced at watch on his left arm and saw that it was still too early to head into work just yet, a plan came to mind of a long ride around some of the back roads not usually taken on his normal routes and hopefully finding a breakfast diner. It seemed like just the thing. Finishing his smoke, he stubbed it out with the heel of his boot, switched on the key and pushed the starter button firing "Annabelle" to life. With the toe of his boot he snapped the shifter into gear, released the clutch, twisted the throttle, spinning tires and gravel blasted out on to the pavement.

There is simply no better way of life than tooling down old country roads on a Harley in the warm, clear morning air of the Sonoran desert. As he took the long route through the old canyons and desert plains, David realized that this stretch of road was one he had ridden several years ago and he tried to recall if there were any diners along the way. The only one that came to mind was an old abandoned one from the 1950's that was about a mile ahead. "I guess I'll just have to wait til I get back into town," he thought. As he crested the small hill on the road, the old diner came into view. There were old cars and period trucks parked in front of it, and the old sign looked restored. "Must be a car show," he surmised as he pulled up to the front entrance.

The diner was open for business. The bike was leaned over onto its stand; he reached down turned the fuel off and switched the key back and out, and dismounted in one fluid motion. Briefly glancing skyward on his way into the diner, he noticed the sky had swiftly and suddenly gathered dark clouds. "Lucky I found this open. Looks like it's gonna rain like hell with those black thunder busters forming." The waitress didn't reply she just smiled and closed the door behind him.

The "Breeze" carried herself aloft the desert sky and surveyed her surroundings. In the distance she saw dark clouds forming and thought, "There were no storms scheduled for today in this area, "and drifted over to investigate. When she arrived, the remains of a long forgotten and crumbling building came into view just below the ominous clouds. The well-worn and barely legible sign out front read: Bob's Diner. Parked near what was the front entrance was a shiny old bike, which upon investigating she knew to be her namesake from her mortal life. It now belonged to her grandson. She knew that he would never leave his precious steed out in the desert, abandoned. The wind howled... David???