Chapter 8.9 – Seed

It is nearly morning before Luke emerges from the fissure, more confused now then ever before.
Knowing his parents will be frantic (his over-protective mother particularly so), Luke reaches out to her as soon as his phone shows a signal strong enough to carry the call. She had once told him that he could talk to her about any weird experiences he encounters. He had failed to mention his meeting with Bebe and Julian the night Grandma Faith died. He had also neglected to tell her about the ring, and the confrontation with Corwin’s spirit. In some way, Luke had connected them all with Grandma Faith. And his mother has just now started to return to her old self after the elder Barimen’s death.
He does not attempt to interrupt her initial salvo of shouting. But when the other end of the phone finally does go quiet for a moment, Luke calmly tells her that they need to talk about something very unusual that has just occurred; one of those weird things she had told him to share with her. The revelation seems to calm her somewhat, but Luke knows that she will not be in her right mind until Luke is home safely.
Having a load of energy to burn off, Luke decides that a good sprint is what he needs more than anything. So he takes off in the direction of home, racing through the woods and hills in the same manner as a jackrabbit. And as he runs, he reflects upon what he has learned over the past couple of hours. He’s had to approach this information with an open mind, because much of it is simply unbelievable.
Over the generations, each first born child in his family has become the guardian to a formless, alien life. It has been hibernating in metamorphosis inside its chrysalishidden away safely between worlds. Over the years, it has gained the skills, knowledge, and wisdom from the life experiences of its hosts. And as it matured, some measure of its supernatural nature has been transferred, in kind, to its guardians. Soon, the metamorphosis will be complete, and it will be ready to emerge into the physical world.
The problem, is that Luke has absolutely no idea how or when this is going to happen.
Amber says nothing to him when Luke jogs into the courtyard at the estate, but hugs him close until he starts to squirm. After escaping from the embrace, Luke explains everything. He begins with meeting Julian and Bebe on the evening Grandma Faith died, and recounts everything through his encounter with Reid last night. Amber listens, stunned but silent, to the dismissive tale. Even knowing what she knows about the entity, Luke’s recounting sounds almost too absurd to be true. But what he shows her next, removes any and all doubt.
Reid had lead him to an area of the cave just beyond the place where military personnel have been working inside an underground lab. Once there, he instructed Luke to dig; suggesting that he would know when to stop. Before vanishing deeper into the cave, Reid told Luke that the military would kill to retrieve what he is about to uncover. Because contained within, is the knowledge of creation and destruction, space and time, life and death. It is as old as the universe itself. Reid had thought the artifact to be destroyed or lost until he discovered that this small fragment still remained buried.
Luke holds the object in the palm of his hand, feeling an almost electric sensation coursing up and down his arm. Amber remains speechless. Luke tells her that Reid was wrong. It is not a fragment of the original artifact at all. It is a seed. But it is unlike any plant or animal from this world; and could never take root in any soil here. Reid also left him with some kind of warning, but he does not understand what it means. He told Luke to find and destroy any trace of the algorithm. He said that doing so would be the only way Kacey would ever know peace in her lifetime.
Luke conceals the seed then scratches his head. What is an algorithm? And how is he supposed to find a woman who has supposedly lived for nearly two-hundred years? Amber finally breaks her silence, but manages only an apology. She thought she would be able to help Luke. There had been a time when no mystery was too challenging for her to solve. But this…
Amber and Luke sit together in silent and awe-filled reflection for a short time. When Amber speaks again, she feels somewhat silly bringing up a topic so minuscule in scope compared to the experience Luke has just shared. Sandi came over to the estate last night looking for Luke. She stayed and talked with Amber while they both waited for him to come home. She had a lot to get off of her chest and vented some of it to Amber. But as it became late, and neither one of them could get in touch with Luke, Sandi went home even more distraught than she was when she arrived.
Luke frowns and explains his version of yesterday’s events at the church. Amber listens but says nothing about Sandi’s account. She does, however, ask Luke to call her and let her know he is okay.
Sandi stares at the ground when Luke answers the door, feeling ashamed and embarrassed. But he immediately lifts her chin with his index finger and tells her he’s glad to see her. The gesture elicits a crying fit on his shoulder where she apologizes for the fight.
They sit together in the guest suite, watching movies and chatting about school and chores for most of the day. When dinnertime arrives, Sandi finally opens up about their argument. She explains that her father has always taught her to be weary of, if not completely avoid, “those f-ing church types”. As a child, he’d told her that they would brainwash her. Of course she didn’t know what a brainwash was, but it sounded pretty frightening at the time.
Sandi’s eyes well up with tears as she recalls how angry and bitter her father has always been about everything; and how he delivers blistering and demoralizing insults toward anybody who does not agree with his way of thinking. As a result, he has never been able to just enjoy what they’d had together as a family. She learned early that he would heap praise upon her for agreeing with him, such as writing a school paper about one of his many hot-button issues. She enjoyed the praise, of course. But more than anything, she would do whatever was necessary to avoid one of his lecturing diatribes that always came after questioning any of his ideals.
That is why she is so attracted to Luke. He is strong, silent, and deliberate. And as far as she knows, he has never once complained about anything. Sandi cuddles close and explains that she had gone back home after the fight only to be subjected to another one of his lame lectures. She felt as though validating his ideals was more important to him than mourning death of her mother. She lost her temper and screamed at him; wishing him luck in preventing her from spending time with Luke. That’s when she came here and talked with Amber and managed to calm down somewhat; at least until they couldn’t get in touch with him.
Luke grimaces and apologizes, telling her that he wanted to be alone, and went out rock climbing where there was no phone service. He didn’t realize how late it was until it was too dark to safely return home. Sandi kisses him, then asks sheepishly if she can sleep over. Luke stutters uncomfortably, looking away, and searching for a response to her very sudden and direct question. Sandi laughs and gives him a scolding look, telling him she doesn’t want THAT kind of sleepover.
After sharing a quiet laugh together, she admits that the idea has been a the very front of her mind for awhile. But something happened yesterday, where she saw Luke from a different perspective then ever before. Maybe it was something as simple as placing him and the church together in her mind, or maybe it was something else. Those thoughts have not disappeared, but she no longer wants to try it as badly as she did before. Sandi raises her eyebrow and smirks, stating that it probably wouldn’t have mattered anyway.
Because she trusts Luke; and besides that, she’s pretty sure that her chastity is safer with him than anybody else.

4 thoughts on “Chapter 8.9 – Seed

    1. I think she’s figured him out enough to know that he would have said no, even if she wanted to. And he wouldn’t try any monkey business on his own, either.


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