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Episode 6: “Prelude To Tomorrow"


Virginia lay in her soft bed staring through the window atÏ the beautiful blue sky of winter. She was so comfortable and happy, she wished to move only if it was to greet Juan, the man she loved.

So there she lay, as the sun completed the dawn. But her joy was too much to contain, she yearned to face the world with her new persona as a beholden woman.

Down the stairs she scampered, in her nightclothes and robe, the world feeling fresh and new.  Everything she saw pleased her, and all of the greatest recollections of her life were flooding her skull.

As she reached the kitchen Virginia saw her mother sitting at the table slurping coffee, and her stomach sank. Joy being replaced by fear, she gathered herself and strode into the room with pride and integrity.

Mother Page wielded the patience of motherhood and continued undisturbed in her silence — for now.  As Virginia moved to the cabinet to fetch a cup for some coffee, she could feel her mother’s eyes lock onto her.

“Good Morning Virginia, did you sleep well?”

Silence.

“Virginia, can you hear me?”

No, Virginia could not hear a thing as she had spied Juan through the window, striding down Main Street on the way to Town Hall. Juan spied her back, temporarily appeased of the worries his impending meeting would bring.

“Hello sweetest!” she mouthed as he passed.

Juan smiled back at her, feeling the solace Virginia’s love had given. Even after he could no longer see her, Juan smiled as he trudged up the steps of Town Hall. The Mayor was waiting and in a tizzy.

“Juan, my good man, I’m so glad you’re here. Firstly, whatever happened last night has happened, I want you to forget all about it until after this crisis has been resolved.  You can understand, Hmm? Our world here is in jeopardy. We’ve lost contact. An investigation is necessary, Hmm? Come.”

Mayor Page had a way of spiriting events along, dragging others with him. Juan found himself the current victim as they boogied on down the hall.

“Mayor, I can’t fix the informer, I was a reporter, not an electrician. I’m sure it’s nothing, just a malfunction.”

The Mayor and Juan entered the Mayor’s private office where a large piece of floor under the desk had been set aside. Mayor Page merely pointed.

“It’s never been like that before — dark — and they once informed me that if it ever got like this it would either be fixed soon or that it would mean we really were alone. That the apocalypse had come.”

Juan looked at the floor and at first although it looked like  just a dark patch, he realized it was a large computer terminal of some sort.

“Is it attached to something?”

“Attached? What do you mean?”

Juan knew this was futile. They couldn’t just start digging under the town hall without a ruckus.

“Look mayor, this is a sealed panel, it must be attached to something. But it is probably under the floor and if we go digging around, the townspeople will get suspicious.”

“Hmm, Hmm, well, we must do something. It’s our duty to inform and be informed. This is our goal. I’m afraid you must go to see if the world is still there.”

Juan captured a new plan. He would leave with the blessing of the town, only Virginia would be accompanying him. He had a hunch The Voice had been at work.

“Great idea, Mayor, when shall I leave?”

“Immediately, I have prepared for this contingency. I have assembled all that is necessary for your journey. Come, come.”

The Mayor led Juan to the back of Town Hall where a loaded steed awaited.

“Here is the map out of town. Follow its instructions and you will be fine, Hmm?  Now be gone and return as soon as you can. Time, my fine fellow, is of the essence.”

“But Mayor, I really don’t know the area outside of town well, let Virginia guide me,”

“No.”

“She knows the area to the boundaries as well as anyone, and it will give me a chance to say good-bye.”

“And what will you tell her, Hmm? You are fleeing to visit your sick mother, Hmm? Perhaps a medical emergency, Hmm? Juan this is nonsense, Virginia will believe me when I lie to her about where you’ve gone, as soon as I can concoct a sufficiently believable fiction. Just because something has gone wrong, you want me to tell the townspeople, Hmm? We must investigate. You and I.”

“Mayor, I love Virginia and I wish to make her my wife. If you don’t let me say good-bye, I will not leave. Mark my words.”

As Juan made his vow, he locked eyes with the Mayor from atop the steed and settled the quandary.

“Wait here until Virginia and I return,” the Mayor said to Juan, as he began his speed walk home, “I’ve always admired your honor — perhaps we are not as different as you believe.  When we return, simply go along with what I say, limit the rest to good-bye, Hmm?”

Juan’s reply was invisible as he and his steed foraged behind the town hall, saying hello to each other and good-bye to the town. He remembered at that moment a painting he had seen in St. Petersburg of Peter the Great atop a white steed with his hair flowing in the wind, and his eyes piercing souls. He rather fancied himself of that caliber, although it could have been the cold.

Soon the Mayor and Virginia came scurrying. The Mayor was talking feverishly. The sun, the snow and Virginia flooded light and beauty through Juan, and he could not imagine a sight more radiant. The plan was coming together — all be it through completely different circumstances — and Juan hastened the departure.

“Climb up, Virginia, lets go,” he said.
 
Off they rode leaving Mayor Page in the shadows.
Next—>

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