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Without further ado, here is Part Two...
“So, it was closed yesterday? That’s odd…” said Liz, “The mayor’s been milking it’s discovery for a while now.”
“Apparently dangerous amounts of radiation started emitting from it, so the head archeologist closed the area off…” said Hanski.
“It’ll be open again before you know it.”
“Yeah, the mayor always wins out against the lead archeologist.”
“Why are you so interested in checking out the Arch?”
“Well, you see, I’m a freelance photographer.”
“Really? But why go through all the trouble of getting some of the Arch specifically?”
“The magazine I work for wants some. I couldn't quite get out of the job...”
“Well, I’m sure you’ll get some nice ones.”
“How about you come with me when it reopens? You know this place better than me. You could make sure I know exactly where I’m going.”
“Umm… Well… I can’t.”
“To tell the truth, that place makes me nervous…”
“If I tell you, you have to keep it secret.”
“Come on then,” said Liz as she got up, “I know a place where no one could pry…”
“Where exactly are we going?” Hanski asked, as he and Liz carefully moved across a thin ledge, “Did we really have to come all the way out here to talk about this secret?”
“Yes, there’s too many prying ears in town. Gossips, troublesome reporters, and the like... Here we are,” said Liz as she walked behind a water fall and into a cavern. Hanski following behind her.
“It still seems a little much to me…”
“For a guy that works with media, your pretty naïve about the rumors,” said Liz as she walked over to a crate against a wall pulling out a lantern, tarp and quilt, “This is going to take a while, so might as well get comfortable…”
“Do you come here often?”
“Yeah, to escape the stares and whispers… Let me ask you something. Do you know the details on how the Arch was discovered?”
“No,” said Hanski.
“I figured that much. That’s because questions of morality would arise if any outsider knew the details. Anyway, Here goes… I won’t tell you my life story, but honestly, weird things have happened to me, but the weirdest by far happened a little over a year ago…” Liz began her story, “My biology class was on our end-of-the-year field trip, scuba diving to observe marine life for our final reports. I saw something strange; a light. I approached it like an idiot. In a cavern, I found it, the Arch glowing a soft blue–”
“Huh? Are you joking? There’s just no way that happened. You just get queasy on water, don’t you?”
“When you live on an island your entire life, you don’t get queasy. Besides, I love boating, and surfing, and swimming. The water is my favorite place after my workshop.”
“I’ll tell you about that later… I’m serious about this.”
“If you say so... Just continue, ok.”
“Fine, but don’t interrupt again. We could argue validity later. Anyway, I noticed some glyphs on the Arch, but they were hard to make out, because of some algae, so I moved a hand to wipe it off. When I touched it, there was pain and bliss at the same time. It was as if time had stopped and sped up. Then everything blacked out.
“I woke up just three months ago in the hospital, and the Arch was above water, its glow faded. Archeologists have been studying it since and it has become a tourist attraction. They say it may be evidence of a high tech, ancient civilization. Yet no one knows my connection to it, because they, the mayor and head archeologist, told me to keep quiet about it.
“And so the story goes, that the earthquake that revealed the Arch put a young islander in a coma for nine months. Honestly, it pisses me off!” Liz slammed her fist against the cave’s wall, red dripped from in between. “Dad and Mom acting as if nothing really happened. Using the same thing that took time away from their daughter as a means of profit. It’s like they don’t care!”
“You’re parents? They’re the mayor and lead archeologist?” asked Hanski.
“Oh. Sorry for venting. It’s just been so long since I had anyone to vent to… I guess I lost my cool.”
“No, it’s ok. I get it. Though not as ruthless, my mother and father push me to do what they want. They own the magazine, and made me start working overtime as a kid, despite me wanting to be a colonizer, I don’t even remember what I wanted to do,” said Hanski, “But I know if they hadn’t made me come to take photos of the Arch, I wouldn’t have met you.”
Liz gave Hanski a small smile and said, “Yeah, probably. And they wouldn’t have set you here if I never touched the arch… Thanks.”
“No problem. Do you have a first aid kit in here?”
“Yes, but why?”
“To patch up that hand of yours.”
Liz looked down at her hand, “Ow! I forgot about that! It’s in the crate. Next to the case of water…”
Hanski walked over to the crate and turned, “So, you have a workshop…”