Chapter 10

They began their climb up British Landing Rd, quick with their pace and cautious with their surroundings. There were so many of them down at the water that it seemed possible that they wouldn’t encounter any more islanders anytime soon, but this was not a time to throw caution to the wind. Heather, Ric and Mila ran covered  by trees on that winding road, then through open fields, then through a thick forest of trees again before reaching the part of road just behind the airport. Heather wondered why they had run past the crack in the island, the location of Ric’s hideaway, but she didn’t think asking about it would get her any answer, so she kept running.

Ric turned right at the intersection and Heather and Mila followed suit. They continued running on, their pace slowing a bit, instead finding more of a steady beat between the three of them, somehow all three understanding that this run would take them longer than expected. The weather hadn’t changed since leaving the water, which was also a plus. They ran past the airport entrance and continued straight through towards what Heather remembered as West Bluff, and before they could see the water, Ric took another right instead of leading them towards town. He had a destination in mind…

They continued on the road, passing a few homes that they assumed were at this point empty, and every once in awhile, Heather looked over the bushes to catch a glimpse of Lake Huron on her left. They could certainly make a signal to someone on the mainland from here, couldn’t they? she wondered. They kept running.

Ric finally threw up a hand and slowed down his pace. They wandered off to the left, towards the cliffside, and finally saw what Ric was leading them to. It was a small cliffside building, a tiny, one-room building with large windows that made it almost look as though the entire thing was made of glass. A small ramp encircled the building and led them towards a door where they entered. Inside was just a small, circular room, surrounded with cushioned chairs and a coffee table in the center that held books and games from its previous owners. Everyone sat down, still huffing from the long run.

Heather glanced down at the items on the coffee table. There was a home decor magazine dating back over a decade. Has it even been read through yet? she wondered, and began to imagine herself in the dazed predicament that the islanders have been enslaved under for all these years. Would she be aware of what was happening to her? Would she remember anything that was going on, or would her memory be under complete control, too? It must take a truly insane person to create technology like this, she thought.

A glimmer of light flashed past her eyes. Blinded for a second, Heather held her hand over her face and looked towards the light, but couldn’t quite find the source. Something in the air was reflecting towards her. She stood up, looking out each window and almost completing a 360 trying to find the source of the reflection, unable to figure it out, when Ric grabbed her by the arm.

“It’s hard to see it, but it’s there.” Ric stood up and gazed out toward the lake. “When the sun catches it at just the right angle, there’s a glare. It’s a real pain when it happens, but it don’t affect you much when you’ve got a kickass pair of sunglasses.” Ric knocked his goggles back over his eyes, then pointed out into the sky. “There’s a nearly invisible barrier around this island. I say nearly because you can tell that it’s there by its reflection. We can see out, but everyone else can’t see in.”

“That doesn’t make any sense,” Heather replied, “when I was on the boat coming over here I could see the island just fine. When I was crossing the bridge, I could see the island from there, too.”

“The barrier must make everything on the outside look all fine and dandy over here, because I’ve done all kinds of things to make contact with others. Smoke signals, flares, hell I even once found an old firework and set it off… still, no one came.”

Heather turned to Mila. “What about extending the waterway. With the three of us now, for manpower, can we make it to St. Ignace?”

“I won’t say it’s impossible but, it took me and my crew over a year to get around Mackinac Island. I’m doubting you’ll want to stay here for several months for that kind of project…”

Heather thought again.”So we’re trapped. We’re trapped inside here until we can find a way to break this ‘spell,’ to defeat whoever is causing all of this, to break this strange force field, to break it all and bring everything back to normal.”

Mila chimed in. “If there is some kind of invisible force field here, then that has to mean that there is a source somewhere creating that force field. If there was a way for us to see this force field under a different light, like a different screen, to see it’s radio waves, then we could possible be able to pinpoint the location of its source.”

“That’s it! You’re a genius!” Ric said to Mila, a light clearly turning on in his head. “The gazebo.” Ric turned and faced north. “I know where this all started, somewhere north east of here. And I don’t know the exact location on the island, but I know how we can find out… in the gazebo! Now that I’ve got you two we can work together to get to that point safely, and I’ll bet ya that’s where the source is. But we need to get back to the gazebo!”

Suddenly, white noise filled the inside of Heather’s pocket. Her walkie talkie started spewing out garbled noise, and she pulled it out to hear it more clearly. We’re definitely clear enough to catch a signal with Scott, we must be! she thought, and waited for the noise of the walkie talkie to cease before trying to send her own message over.

Mila and Ric’s eyes peaked a little bit at the new sound, and all three tried to make out what words were coming through, even though the signal still wasn’t completely clear.

“…. island.….”

“That’s his voice! It’s Scott,” Heather said, explaining to Mila that he was her connection to reach Mackinac Island in the first place.

“…. problem…”

“Oh no, what kind of problem…” Heather thought out loud, hoping for the least horrible possible explanation.

“… three...”

Heather’s brow furrowed. She looked over to the other two, Ric looking even more furrowed and Mila looking concerned. They were only able to make out three words so far, but the last word started to trouble them. At this point they were staring at the walkie talkie, straining silently to make out more words. Unfortunately, the next voice they heard wasn’t Scott’s, but someone else’s…

“… You’re right, this has become a problem. They’re becoming too strong now, and they’ve survived longer than I had expected… It is time to put an end to them.”

And at that point, the walkie talkie abruptly went silent.

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