Part II – Zona Reticularis
“What you seek, is seeking you.” Rumi.
Joel was awake first and he took his time getting up. For awhile he just let his hand caress the lithe body and smooth hairless skin of the boy lying in bed next to him. Jack was on the far side, asleep. Mark, the boy he was touching was also still asleep, facing Jack.
Mark stirred as Joel's hand glided over his hip and across his buttocks, but he didn't wake. In those few moments Joel reflected on his situation, life was not so bad. He was torn between getting up or simply wriggling in closer to Mark.
Jack moved and turned over, Mark woke up with the disturbance, and the moment was gone, lost like a dream upon awakening. Mark sat up and looked at Joel. He smiled, but then was suddenly hit by the knowledge that he was naked. He had slept really well. But now thoughts were flooding his mind. He remembered what Kado had told him, get them to Mount Columbus. The watch, a moment’s panic, then he was reassured, he still had it on his wrist.
Joel got up, walked across the bedroom and out the door. Mark watched him, his eyes resting on the strong legs and well shaped rear. He was hard, but he was often like that in the morning. Distracted, he hadn't taken account of Jack, in bed next to him, but Jack had seen him watching Joel.
Mark jumped at the hand that clasped his cock, turning back to look at Jack. “What you doing?” His voice was sort of shrill, it didn't have the deep commanding tone he'd intended.
“Just checking things out,” Jack grinned, and at the same time he moved his hand up along Mark's penis. He squeezed ever so lightly as he gripped him.
Mark squirmed around to face Jack, he was helpless, his cock had a mind of it’s own and was responding to being touched.
“We have to go to Mount Columbus,” Mark was telling them.
Joel wasn't paying too much attention, concentrating on eating. Grif looked like he was in deep reflection over his mug of coffee, and Jack was all smiles, just watching him.
“Kado told me to bring you all there,” he continued, wondering if anyone was really listening.
“Fuck Kado,” Joel said. “He's always giving orders, and I don't trust him. Not for one minute.”
“You don't trust anyone,” Grif looked up from his coffee.
“I trusted you, didn't I?”
“Only cos you didn't have another choice, and I'm kinda cute.”
That was true, on both counts, Joel had followed Grif to the club because, like he said, what other choice was there, and yeah, Grif was sexy.
“Kado drugged me and fucked me... remember?” Joel gave Grif an intense stare.
Jack was suddenly interested, he didn't know about all this. Mark gave up, the conversation had escaped his control, he just wanted to get them to Mount Columbus, because that’s where Kado was taking his brother.
“I remember you enjoyed it,” Grif wasn't in the mood to take shit from Joel. Actually, he wasn't in the mood to put up with anyone's stuff, he was the oldest here, and he was in charge.
Mark watched Grif, saw he looked pretty sure about himself, but anyway decided to speak again. “We have to go to Mount Columbus,” he ventured, trying to get the point across.
“Mark,” Grif looked strongly in his direction. “Shut up!”
“Jeez! Got out of bed the wrong side?”
“No Jack, I didn't. But we aren't gonna have a free for all on what we do.”
Grif raised his arm in the air, no one said anything else, but all eyes were on him.
“You see Kado gave me a GPS watch to find you here and I had this weird dream where Henry told me I had to find Mark and Steve, his brother,” Grif added, not sure if they knew about Mark and Steve.
“Kado gave the same watch to Mark. And talking about being drugged, that happened to me too. I mean more than just getting stoned, just like you Joel, I'm sure Kado gave me something. And... just so you know. I don't trust him either. Not him, not Henry, fuck, I'm not even sure I trust myself.”
Nobody interrupted him. Mark sat down, Joel stopped eating.
“I don't think there is a choice. You could stay here... forever, if you want. But that is just a bit crazy. Or we can go together to Mount Columbus, meet up with Kado and then see what happens.”
“Yeah okay,” Joel replied.
Jack nodded, and Mark, well he just felt relieved that they were going there.
After they had all finished breakfast Joel asked them to go in the living room, he needed to show them something, at least he wanted Grif to see the video.
“So I have to explain some stuff to you,” Joel was pacing around. “My memory blanks started to fill in, maybe it speeded up when we got here. I don't know. I mean, I don't know if it had anything to do with this house or not. I remembered living here with my mom and little brother Charlie. I remember my uncle, Professor Madison, and Joseph, his assistant.
Anyway I found this video...”
They all watched Joel's uncle explaining things on screen...
We have been forced to close our operation and relocate. Only one person has the coordinates of our new location. This is of course, to protect the discovery. In order to find us you need to find Joel Sands. He will give you our new location, and he alone.
The lights came back on and the screen disappeared back up into the ceiling.
“I am supposed to have the location of where they moved to. But I don't. Or if I do, it's gone from my memory. But I do remember a lot of stuff, more and more. Trouble is the crucial stuff, like where he went, what happened at the centre, that stuff I still don't know.”
“That’s why those agents from X-Corp came looking for you,” Grif said.
“I reckon, but they never saw the vid.”
“And this Weatherman project thing?”
“Don't know anymore than the rest of you.”
Grif thought for a moment. “It doesn't change things. We still need to go and find Kado and Steve. I think Kado must have some answers to some of this stuff .”
“And you Mark?” Jack posed the question.
“Who the fuck are you kiddo?” Jack wanted some answers from the boy.
“Steve and I sort of lived with Kado. For a bit. After we got kicked out by our dad.”
“Yeah. When? What happened?”
Mark sighed, he hated telling his story, plus he hardly knew any of these guys.
“Have you heard of WSO?”
“It's some kind of religious cult, sect thing,” Grif replied.
“You said sect thing, right?” Jack grinned.
“Yes, arsehole... SECT, not SEX.”
“Go on,” Joel encouraged, he was getting interested.
“Well actually,” Mark continued, “it's kinda both, a religious cult and there is sort of sex stuff, but that’s only supposed to happen when you're spoken.”
“Spoken?” Joel hadn't a clue what that meant.
“Uh, kind of like married, spoken for.”
“What does it stand for?” Joel asked.
“Yeah, what do those initials mean?”
“The True Witnesses of the White Sky and the Fore Bringers of Order.”
“Guess it got abbreviated,” he wasn't sure if he should take this seriously.
But Mark ignored his comment. “We lived apart from life in the cities, on a plot of wasteland with underground housing and completely self-sufficient. It was a maze of tunnels and caves. So the True Witnesses believe in strictly nothing modern, no tech stuff, no computers, everything manual, and there is a hierarchy and you do what you are told, and you show a lot of respect, and...” Mark looked down at the floor. “You get a beating, if you don't do as you are told.”
“Fuck,” Joel said. “You mean they fucking hit you?”
“Joel, can you talk without swearing all the time, please?” It annoyed Grif. Everyone can occasionally use a swear word, but Joel used them all the time.
“Yeah, sorry,” he nodded towards Grif. “But they fu... freaking hit their kids!”
“That's why we left and ended up with Kado for a while before being in a boarding school type place. Well I mean not just because the sect believed in discipline, but cos our dad threw us out. He kinda told Kado to take us before he killed us.”
“That's heavy man,” Jack looked over at him.
“Why would your dad want to kill you? What happened?” Grif asked him.
“Look,” Mark was staring at the floor again, moving his leg up and down as if he had some kind of nervous twitch. “I really don't wanna talk about it.”
Joel moved to sit next to the boy, put an arm around him and gave him a hug.
“Okay, well... everybody get your stuff together, we need to get going. Back to the car, and see if we can get it working.” Grif stood up and turned to leave.
“We're going now?” Joel asked.
“Yep, right now.” Grif walked out into the hall.
Nothing had changed. The rain was still pouring down, the sky was still black, it was dark, only the wind had given up. The rain fell straight down and was no longer blowing into them, so they arrived at the car relatively dry.
Grif checked the battery reserves and keyed in their destination. It seemed like they had about enough power remaining to make it most of the way.