My Grandpappy would tell me stories of South Island: the land of intelligent creatures, ones who walked and talked like us. Not only that, but they possessed a great many powers that humans could only dream of. They lived alone, kept to themselves. Few were privileged to look upon them with their own eyes; and when the world faced its end, he would come to its aid; and without fail, he defeated darkness using speed, and no small amount of courage and perseverance. Then one day, he vanished. I never expected to meet him.
My name is Luana Dockinson, and I’m the Guardian of the Blue Blur.
I sat on the porch of Grandpappy’s house. He had passed away almost two years ago. In his will, he issued his home over to me: a lonely 19th century house in the midst of wheat. On the outside it appeared to be weather-beaten, as it stood since the days of caravan trails and vast prairies. I sat in the rocking chairs, old, its gleaming oak fading. Ayanna, my closest companion since I’ve moved to Lorhen County, and I, flit our ice cream as we observed the sun set over the fields after a long day of hard work.
It didn’t stay pleasant however. After a set of artifacts had toppled off one the bookcases, the tone had grown a bit sour.
“I told you, I’m not getting rid of anything right now…!” I gritted through my teeth.
“Come on Lu! You’re doing absolutely nothing with any of this, and I’d imagine it’s becoming one heck of a dusting job!”
Ayanna’s determined ruby eyes stared at me.
“You are never gonna get a guy over to your house if he can’t walk two feet in without tripping over something!”
“Well then, it’s a good thing I’m not looking for a guy right now.”
Ayanna raised her hands in defeat.
“I will never understand you Dockinsons. You love to be busy, yet you won’t even clean your house of all your junk!”
I snapped. “Okay, are we really gonna have a debate right on my front porch while the ice cream melts?”
There was silence. It was true. My Grandpappy traveled the world, and collected many things. Every nook and cranny had knit-knacks: nesting dolls from Russia, replicas of fighter planes from World War II, tribal statues from Africa, totem pole miniatures from Alaska, and many, many photos. The living room had bookcases full of History books, science books, and even a small line of children’s books full of myths and legends, all for me. This house holds many memories. I wasn’t ready.
“I’m just worried, ya know.”
I opened my eyes and faced her.
“You’re twenty-three years old, not sixty! You’re too young to be living so far out of town by yourself surrounded by farming fields and dumping grounds! I wish you’d consider looking for someone…”
“I’m fine Ayanna, really” I replied, softly, “I’m just…Not ready to let go yet…”
“I wish you’d consider traveling with me.”
“Maybe I will…someday…”
After watching as Ayanna departed my driveway, I went back inside the house. By then it was nearly dark. I took a brief stroll in the den, observing the titles of the old dusty scripts, before I would set out into the kitchen to make dinner. However, my eyes caught a glimpse of a seal. I paused and inspected closer. A letter, slightly yellow from the toil of time. How did I not notice it before? Gently, I pulled it from the shelf and turned it over.
“To my dear Luie…”
Of course it would be my Grandpappy’s handwriting. He loved the medieval period best. Producing seals like these were one of his hobbies. He’d always stamp them on my birthday cards.
I hesitated to open it. Such a beautiful unbroken seal, bearing his initials: “J.R.D.” However, my curiosity was piqued. Inside this letter contained unspoken words of someone I held dear. Some of Grandpappy’s last words, his final words, given to me.
Finally, I broke the seal, and opened the letter.
“To my dear little Lu, who means so much to me,
There is one more thing I must tell you, since I have a feeling I will leave out of the blue.
A treasure underground, from the legends I told, it’s a big responsibility, so be very bold.
In the Third World War, I gave an oath,
to save a relic, from the tales of old.
Find your knight in shining armor, so you may find what’s dear to your heart. Press the button.
Do not be afraid of the damp and darkness, for there is no monster there to eat you.”
A poem. My grandpappy was good at many things, but not rhyme or rhythm. Nonetheless, my intrigue grew.
“‘Find your knight in shining armor’” I echoed.
What was he referring to?
I thought about the armor replica he clad on a mannequin by the entrance of the living room. I took a few steps to observe it.
“Grandpappy said, ‘-so you may find what’s dear to your heart. Press the button’.”
I observed the uniform closely. I tried to remove the uniform, but it wouldn’t come off, as if it was sewn on. Then, I noticed the mannequin was made of steel, instead of wood or cloth. I looked up at the helmet. I slid the eyepiece up. There was a button inside.
“How did I not notice this before?” I exclaimed.
I stared at it for a moment, then cautiously, I pressed it.
The house started rumbling slightly. Behind the mannequin, part of the wall vanished and a staircase appeared to what I assumed was the basement. My heart raced. I rushed to the pantry to grab a flashlight, then headed inside
It was pitch black; dark and musty as moisture held itself in the air. I flipped on my flashlight. The stairs were covered with cobwebs, and the boards were battered and worn. I could hear the sound of a loud machine rumbling, almost like a washing machine, but monotone. I slowly descended. I felt around for a switch. It took a little while but I finally found it. Holding my breath, I flipped it on.
The basement was lined with stone, including the floors. It was hardly anything. There was a giant monitor on the right, with a massive keyboard, and many slots for hard drives or any other storage devices to plug into. The other object of interest, was a giant mass, covered by a red tarp. I was about to inspect it further, however, a button began to glow on the monitor, which changed my attention. Cautiously, I pressed it.
The main computer powered up and began to play a video. It was my Grandpappy.
“Well, it’s about time I was able to show you my work Luie my dear-“ he said in his cheerful, gruffly voice.
My chest fluttered with joy and sorrow. To see him as he was, full of life, tugged my heartstrings.
“-This lab contains my whole life’s work, all the work in World War Three. I knew you were passionate about my work, even if you didn’t always understand it, so I knew you’d like this special surprise. However, this is not why you are here. May I direct your attention to the covered object near the corner on your left-“
The video suddenly paused. I tried to play it. But it stopped working. I looked in the corner where I had seen the covered object. Whatever it was, it was the source of the noise I heard. My hand gently gripped the tarp. The excitement of this mysterious treasure got me to wound up, I pulled it with all my might. What I saw when the tarp fell, nearly stopped my heart: it was a tank, filled to the brim with some kind of liquid, bubbling from bottom to top, and inside, was a creature, about three feet tall, with blue fur and a light peach stomach, a long black nose, covered with an oxygen mask along with its mouth, big eyes, and giant, long quills, metal bracers around his wrists, tattered white gloves and worn red shoes with tarnished gold buckles. It vaguely had the appearance of a hedgehog.
When I finally caught my breath, I shuddered:
“A South Islander…!”