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Well, I promised to read and finally got to it. Whoa, who'd have thought that there'd be friendly, talking and guitar-playing skeletons in this world? I feel so sorry for James, but now I feel suspicious of this Brandon. What IS it he's exactly up to? Grrr ... hope you update soon!
All the skeletons except Dr. Parker left the room to allow James to rest. Greg would monitor James' status as he slept. Debra went home to care for the Lucinda. Hank traveled to the museum and talked to the curator. He explained as best as he could the situation with James. He wanted to make sure that the curator wouldn't be freaked out by James' appearance. Kevin joined his fellow band members. They started to practice a few of their songs that they would play for James. The mayor was at the police station. He was trying to convince Lenard that James was a good person and not in league with Lexmire.
"Why in the bloody hell would I allow that boy to wield such a dangerous weapon?!" It was obvious to anyone that Sorrento was furious.
"Please try to calm down Lenard."
"I am calm!" shouted Lenard. His breathing was slow and heavy. Shanksky waited for him to regain his composure.
"James said that he would use his sword to fight Brandon."
"That is a possibility. Yet I am not willing to risk the lives of innocents in case you are wrong about James."
"I understand how you feel. But allow me to give you this scenario."
"I'm listening." Sorrento folded his arms across his chest.
"James could be the answer to all our prayers. All the survivors can emerge from the underground shelter. But just think about this. Imagine how many more people will suffer if Brandon isn't stopped." Both men were silent. Lenard placed his fingers on his chin. A couple minutes passed before either said a word.
"Alright Mayor. I will you a decision later. Please leave so that I can be alone."
"As you wish." The mayor made his way toward the exit. He paused at the door. "Thanks Lenard." Sorrento nodded his head at him.
"So what was decided after I left?"
"Hank will be showing the him the parchment at the museum. He's hoping that that James can translate it."
"It would be nice to know what it says."
"Then later, a small party will be held. Hope to see you there." The officer nodded his head.
"I'll be there." Shanksky left the building leaving Lenard alone. He sighed as he picked up a picture frame off his desk. The photo was of his son. He just stared at the photograph. If he could shed tears then he would.
Five hours had passed since the citizens went their separate ways. The mayor was busy setting up the party. Officer Sorrento was still considering Shanksky's proposal. Lucinda was asleep in her crib and Debra was resting in a nearby chair. Kevin and his friends were gathering their equipment for the concert. Dr.Parker was busy studying the book on human anatomy. He wished to be prepared in case James occurred any more injuries. Hank and James were currently making their way to the museum. James was feeling much better after all the rest he had gotten.
"Hank. I was wondering something."
"What is it James?"
"Are there any more survivors?"
"Indeed. There are many people that lived through Brandon's attacks."
"Where are they?" inquired James.
"They are living in underground shelters. Only a handful of us dare venture outside."
"It's a shame that Brandon went psychotic and terrorized the city."
"I feel the same way you do James. None of us Brandon to commit such horrible deeds." Hank said while sighing.
"Did you know him well Hank?"
"Not particularly. I knew him more as an acquaintance. He appeared to be a friendly man Although he seemed to be engrossed in his work."
"Do you know what he was working on when the explosion happened?"
"Unfortunately I do not. As a matter of fact, nobody knew what Brandon was researching. He always kept his experiments a secret."
James and Hank entered the museum. It was a fine building. At least two stories tall. Near the entrance was a directory. It displayed the many sections of the museum.
"This reminds me of the museum back home."
"Oh? Your world contains a museum also James?"
"Of course it does. It may not be as elaborate as this one but still." James watched as Hank walked up to a skeleton wearing a black suit and hat. They shook hands and made small talk. Then both of them slowly made their way toward James. He noticed that the man or woman was trembling a little at the sight of him.
"Tim. This is James. James. This is Tim. He is the curator of the museum." Hank declared.
"A pleasure to meet you Tim." James said extending his hand. Tim hesitated before shaking it.
"Please forgive me. I am a little nervous at the moment. You see, you remind me of Brandon."
"It's alright. I understand why you feel that way." Tim appeared to be calmer.
"I hope that you enjoy your visit. My job is to ensure that your time here is a pleasant one. So tell me, what brings you to the museum?" There was a still a small hint of uneasiness in Tim's voice.
"Well, I heard about the parchment that Hank found."
"Ah yes. The one with unreadable writing."
"We shall see if James can translate the hieroglyphics." Hank stated.
"I wish you luck James. I also have wondered what is written on the parchment."
"Thanks. I hope that I can read it."
James and Hank started walking through the museum. James enjoyed looking at the wide variety of exhibits. Although as he made his way through each area, something became apparent. There were no signs of animal life. He felt compelled to ask Hank about this matter.
"Say Hank. I was wondering something."
"What is it James?"
"Where the animal exhibits?" Hank just stared at him. He tilted his head to one side.
"An-i-mal? What is an animal?" James was in disbelief at what he just heard.
He must be joking with me. He can't be serious. "You have never heard of the word animal before Hank." Hank shook his head at him.
"Sorry. I have not James."
"You have never heard of dogs, cats, birds, or dinosaurs?"
"None of them sound familiar. I have never seen or heard of an animal as long as I have lived. Do they exist in your world.?"
"Indeed they do. There is such a wide variety of animals that live all over the world. There are many that are extinct and on the brink of extinction."
"I wonder what other differences there are between our worlds." James was silent for a moment.
"Perhaps we can compare differences later."
"That is an excellent suggestion James. We can discuss it tonight at the celebration?" James looked at Hank confused.
"While you were sleeping, we decided to a small party in your honor James." James smiled when he heard the news.
"That's really generous of all of you to do that."
"It will be a night to remember my friend. Ah! Here it is." Be fore them encased in a glass box was the parchment. "Go ahead and take a gander James." He stepped forward and examined the ancient paper. It resembled something that originated in a location such as Egypt. James looked at the writing. It had regular letters but they made no sense at all. It read as this.
James was a little disappointed. He was hoping that he could translate it. Hank saw the look on his face. He placed a hand on James' shoulder to try and comfort him. He knew exactly how he felt.
"Try and cheer up James. You knew that the odds of reading the parchment were slim."
"I know that Hank. But still, I was hoping that I could make a difference." Hank placed his other hand on James' free shoulder. He looked him directly in the eyes.
"You are obviously here for a reason James. In time, your purpose here will be revealed." James smiled after hearing what Hank said. Hank removed his hands and reached into his pants pocket. He took out a cell phone and dialed a number. "It's me Hank. Unfortunately no. Are the preparations ready? Splendid. Alright. Bye." Hank ended the call and proceeded with dialing another number.
I wonder who he was talking to. Also,who is he calling now.
"Greetings dear. How are you and the baby? We are content. Not one word. We are heading over to the main square. Sounds good. Love you to. Bye."
"Who did you call?"
"First I called the mayor. Everything is set for the party. Then I contacted my wife and informed her to meet us at the main square. That is where the festivities are being held."
"Well then, lets not keep everyone waiting." James said with a smile. They silently made their way toward the exit. Tim was waiting for them by the doors.
"Did you enjoy your visit James?"
"I did. The museum reminds me of the ones we have on my world."
"That is excellent. It makes me happy to hear that the guest had a satisfied experience. So James, did you achieve your goal?"
"I wish that I could but no."
"Do not worry about it. Not a single person understands what it means." exclaimed Tim.
"Will you be joining us my friend? A party is being held in honor of James."
"I must decline. My life is dedicated to maintaining this museum. But please come back and tell me all about it."
"It would be my pleasure Tim." responded Hank. They each said their separate goodbye before Hank and James exited the museum.
James and Hank eventually arrived at the Main Square. It was a huge open spaced area. Surrounded by tall buildings. There was a variety of small trees and plants spread around the entire area. Benches were located under the foliage to provide rest and shade to the citizens. In the center was a huge statue of a skeleton in a fine suit. At the bottom engraved in the statue was an inscription. In honor of the founder of the city. Vanessa Morgan. Near the statue was a long table and chairs. The mayor was standing by a grill cooking dogs and burgers. Band equipment was set up near the table. Sitting at the table were all of his friends that he met at the hospital. Officer Sorrento was there as well. There were three skeletons that James didn't recognize.
James and Hank slowly walked over to Debra. She was holding Lucinda in her arm. James watched in awe as Lucinda was drinking milk from a bottle. The odd thing was that the milk wasn't spilling all over the place. It just seemed to vanish.
"Hello James. Is something troubling you?" asked Debra.
"Well sort of. I am curious about Lucinda."
"Oh? What about her?" inquired Debra alarmed.
"It's nothing bad. It's just that I noticed, the milk isn't covering her body or is on your dress."
"Should it be?" Debra asked confused.
"I believe that I can releave you of your confusion." announced Hank. "I assume that you consume food."
"We also need nutrients to grow and stay healthy. Whatever we intake is absorbed into our body."
"That is quite amazing. But do your clothes get stained by what you eat or drink?"
"Not at all dear." answered Debra.
"Unless there is an disorderly eater among us." chimed in Hank. James looked at him confused.
"Hank meant sloppy James." The three of them started to chuckle. "Don't feel too bad. Sometimes I have to ask Hank what he is saying." The mayor joined them. He wore an apron and held a spatula.
"Hello boys. What's your pleasure? I have hot dogs and burgers. I can add cheese to those burgers if you want." James asked for two hot dogs and a cheeseburger. Hank chose a hot dog and a hamburger. While they waited for their food, they discussed the differences in their worlds.
One of the main differences was the lack of organs except for the brain. A house has has no bathroom. Water is only consumed and not used for bathing. The one exception of that would be washing of clothes. They have never heard of the term blood. Shoes and socks do not exist.
The mayor walked over to them holding two plates. James took his plate and sat down. Hank placed his plate on the table and sat down beside his wife. The food looked delicious. James dug right in. He didn't have anything to eat all day so he was famished.
"I am glad you like the food James. Can I get you a drink? We have water and soda."
"You don't have any beer?" The mayor, Hank, and Debra gazed at each other for a moment They then looked back at James.
"Most intriguing. What is this beer you speak of?" asked Hank.
"Beer is a type of drink. One that guys mostly intake. Beer is associated with alcohol. Alcohol is good in small doses. In large doses, it can be harmful to the mind and body."
"I must say that is terrible. I am grateful that we don't have such an awful substance." declared Debra.
James suddenly fell silent. He was thinking of his world. All the different incidents caused by alcohol. Such as drunk driving and violence. It brought a sad expression to his face. The mayor placed a hand on his shoulder asking if he was alright. James nodded his head.
"I'm fine thanks. I'll have a can of soda. Lemon lime if you have it." The mayor nodded and walked over to a cooler that was beside the grill. He returned with the requested can. James thanked him and took a swig. He looked around the long table. Keven was there as well as a few skeletons he did not recognize. He smiled seeing Dr. Parker. His smile faded when he saw Officer Sorrento. He quickly went back to eating his food. James was glad that everyone was enjoying the event despite what had happened with Brandon.
The rest of the evening was a success. Keven and his friends performed a few songs. They were dark rock songs which James enjoyed. He learned that the other citizens refused to come to the surface until Brandon was defeated. Even Lenard was in a good mood. He decided not to lock up James. Also, he would decide the fate of James' blade in the morning.
James was now sleeping in a bed at the hospital. Dr. Parker was asleep in his home so James was alone. Slowly, the door to James' room opened and closed. Soft footsteps could be heard. Yet nobody was in the room. Suddenly, Brandon revealed himself to be standing beside James' bed. He smiled as he gazed down at him. After looking at his watch, he nodded his head.
"It's time." Brandon whispered. He watched as James opened his eyes and rose out of bed. "A pleasure to meet you James My name is Brandon Lexmire." Brandon extended his hand which james shook.
"Nice to meet you Brandon."
"Come with me James. I shall help you get revenge on your so called friends."
"I would like that very much." A wicked smile formed on James' face as he and Brandon exited the hospital.