Quest for Atlantis: Ghosts of Atlantis (Part Six)

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Prologue

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

Part Six

Ghosts of Atlantis

The spear I cast aside. I had no more need for it. The power of time itself was mine.

I knew right then that I could realize the Queen’s dream more purely than she ever could. I could erase the wars of the last decades. I could unite the world under one flag. I could put everything right. No more rebellions. No more civil wars. No more slaughters of innocents. No more bombed-out streets. No more fear and rations. No more crumbling.

I could fix the world. I had the power. There was nobody to stop me.

Then the voice came, whispering in my mind.

“Celeste.”

I almost dropped the sphere. It had been my grandfather’s voice.

Just a trick of the mind, I thought. It couldn’t be anything else.

“Miss Kavanaugh.”

That was no illusion. I looked up and saw Professor Megalos standing in the chamber. He was leaning to one side and blood was pouring from his elbow.

“Don’t worry,” I said. “It’s all dealt with.”

“No,” Megalos replied. “It isn’t.”

Before I knew what was happening, the spear was in his hand. He pressed a button on the shaft and lightning streaked towards me. I barely ducked in time. The spark struck the wall and the whole room shook.

“What the hell are you doing?” I asked.

He advanced towards me.

“Either you intend to use the sphere for yourself,” he said, “in which case I am duty-bound to stop you, or you have no intent of using it, in which case you are a fool.”

“You don’t understand,” I said. “I’ll fix everything.”

“And what do you know of fixing?” he asked. “What do you know of pain? My country suffered terribly during the war. And now it is tearing itself apart!” He looked at the sphere and stretched out his hand. “But now I can fix all that. I can make it all right.”

I took another step back. A hand tightened around my ankle and I fell. The sphere tumbled from my grip. I turned to see the Queen holding tight to my leg.

All the seductive, regal beauty was gone from her face, lost in a storm of rage. Her eyes were lightning, her face was a grim cloud, her hair was the thrashing sea, and her voice was a clap of terrible thunder.

“You will not stand in the way of my empire!” she yelled. Her elbow slammed into my nose. The cartilage snapped and I felt red-hot pain tearing through my nerves like a firestorm through a dry forest. Blood oozed from the wound, splattering on the floor in a scarlet rain.

The Queen pulled herself upright, moving towards the sphere. Professor Megalos moved to the intercept her and she grabbed the spear from his hands. They struggled, weaving backwards and forwards.

I crawled forward, blood from my nose marking out my trail. Reaching out, my fingers brushed against the sphere.

He appeared before me, not quite solid, but definitely there. If Megalos and the Queen could see him, they were too engrossed in their struggle to mention it. The academic and the monarch were fighting like common thugs in a London back alley.

“Celeste,” he said, “you can’t turn back the clock.”

Sir Jonathon Kavanaugh, dead for years, bent down and touched my face. His fingers felt like morning mist.

“I can,” I insisted. “I can make it all right. I can use the sphere.”

“The sphere is not for you to use,” he replied. “Or any mortal. The world has to move on. It can’t be stuck. Not in the time of Atlantis. And not in the time of your childhood. By refusing to let go, you’re no better than the Queen.”

I looked over and saw the Queen trying to hurl Megalos into the whirling mechanism. The spear lay forgotten by their feet.

“It was a better world,” I said, picking up the sphere and carrying it to the central pillar. “And I can restore it. I can make Britain great again. I can restore the might of the Empire. I can –”

“Celeste.” It was no longer my grandfather standing before me. It was my father, looking as he had in those last days after our return to England. “You were a child. You don’t remember the truth.”

“It was better!” I snapped.

His finger touched the center of my forehead, gentle as a butterfly alighting on a flower.

“I’m sorry,” he said.

I remembered. I remembered the beauty, the elegance, the good times, the way the river looked, the beauty of the sunsets, and the smells of the marketplace. I remembered being happy with my parents in our home, safe from the world beyond.

But I remembered other things as well: the looks on the faces of starving children, the many, many guns that had just seemed so normal back then, the people yelling at us in the streets, full of anger, what grandfather had told me once about the prejudice he’d felt as a young Irish boy in the army, one of the visitors to our home making a snide comment about how I needed to wash the dirt off my skin and me not understanding because I wasn’t dirty at all…

I collapsed to my knees, holding the sphere tight. My father’s voice whispered in my ear.

“The world was never the paradise you thought it was. The world had always been broken. Going back won’t fix it. We need to move forward.”

“No!” I yelled, struggling to my feet. I rushed to the plinth. “No! It was better! It was!”

“Celeste Kavanaugh.”

The shape was no longer my father or my grandfather. It was a being of flame, glowing bright as the midday sun over India. The voice was soft and full of ancient wisdom.

“Let go,” it said. “Break the cycle.”

I had no more time for visions. The Queen and Megalos had seemed me and rushed towards me, shoving each other this way and that. Both were coated in blood and bruises, their clothing ripped. The Queen’s jewels lay on the ground, trampled underfoot.

Hands stretched out towards me as they let out savage shouts. In a moment, all three of us stood around the sphere, our hands on it, struggling.

At that moment, I saw the absurdity of it all. Here we were, three people all fighting for our vision of empire, for a perfect world. We all wanted to wind back time. We were all obsessed.

This would never end.

I understood what the visions had told. We had to move on.

I brought the sphere down upon the plinth, as hard as I could.

The smallest crack appeared in the shining surface. Then it blossomed out like a sapling taking root, the glass fracturing into a winding labyrinth.

“What have you done?” the Queen cried.

The sphere shattered with the force of a cannon and I was sent flying back.

Fire filled my vision.

The flame had been set free.

To be continued…

5 thoughts on “Quest for Atlantis: Ghosts of Atlantis (Part Six)

Add yours

  1. Good for Celeste, fighting and struggling not to mess with time and change time. I like how you point out the world is/was never good and won’t b perfect. And we see in Megalos, the Queen, and Celeste how absolute power, can indeed corrupt. Great lessons.

    Liked by 1 person

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