Chapter 4. Bones
“Come in,” Clark motioned with his hand to the inside of a large office with topographical maps framed on two of the big walls, and a large desk at one end, piled high with folders. A table by a large window was a miniature monument to an earlier age in the area.
Professor Ng looked it over, and took out a laser pointer.
“Three-guardians, Bald, Whitewater canyon complex.” Ng shined the laser on the diorama, naming off the peaks and valleys. “This model is of this area.”
“Yes, you have looked at a map once or twice, professor.” Clark nodded. “But there has been a change that is not on that model.”
“What is that?”
“As for what it looks like, I don’t know.” Clark answered. “Not yet. That is why I asked for you all to come here. First of all, your lives were in danger.”
“First?” Andre asked. “How did you even know we were out there?”
“Well, young warrior, sit down in that chair right there” Clark pointed. “And let me teach you how it’s done.”
They all sat and the tribal elder walked to the end of the office and tapped a wall that silently opened to reveal a small alcove with a bar on one side and computer controls on another.
“Each of you are over the drinking age, is there anything you would like?” Clark asked and took count of the requests, serving the instructor and the students before sitting down himself with a tumbler glass of a dark amber fluid.
“A little later, I will go on a vision quest, this will help.” Clark nodded. “Anyone who wishes to join me, let me explain the situation at hand.”
Picking up some broken bones, he began to explain.
“Here, this is a leg-bone of an eagle, the claw of a large bear, skull of a raven and the jawbone of a lion, a leg bone of a coyote.” He held up the claw. “This has been DNA tested for age. This claw came from a short-faced bear, the jawbone still also has trace in the teeth, but I didn’t want to subject the spirit to the insult of the white-man technology. But, the shape and size is that of the American Cave Lion.”
“Clark, that is all interesting. But what does that have to do with us?” The Professor asked.
“Well, please notice, something broke all the bones. These all contained the spirits of selected ancestors.” Carl said quietly. “You see, this tribe has been given the Covenant to care for all these lands by Quilxka Nupika, the Supreme Creator. After the Creator trapped Monster of the Mountain under the earth.”
He took a long sniff of his iced drink.
“In the days before our times, the Kootenai river flowed into Columbia lake, a large monster from the sea made trouble in Columbia lake. The Monster led the Bear, Eagle and Fox on a merry chase around the mountains until the Chief of the Animals, a giant pushed over a mountain top and blocked the southern entrance into the lake by the Kootenai river. The gods trapped the monster of the sea under a mountain, hidden away from all of humanity forever. Using only the wood from an immortal tree and holy stones with sacred writing on them.”
Taking another drink, he took a breath.
“Someone broke the seal of the immortal wood. The stones have gone missing, the monster is loose and that power has broken the bones of my ancestors. Bones that my passed down from father to son since before the writing of the history of the world.” Clark said as he looked over the top of the glass, contemplating the fluid that swirled around the ice cubes. “In this glass is rye whiskey, it was found in a cabin in California. The collection of the bottles were sold at auction. It is old, over a hundred-years.”
They looked at him, listening.
“I never drink it, but I like the smell.” He smiled, then frowned. “In any event. Something has happened, that has not been foreseen.”
Doctor Clark gave a heavy sigh and put his glass down.
“The monster has escaped.”
“Doctor.” Professor Ng said slowly. “These are legends, but I know that legends all have seed of truth. What is the monster?”
“It came from the sea, according to legend. But in my point of view? It falls into a few categories.”
He stood up and walked over to the diorama.
“First, it could have been no more than an earthquake or a series of earthquakes that formed the Rockies. Second, it could be something volcanic, possibly related to the first, but with lethal gasses, it could kill without being seen.”
“But Doctor,” Gil asked. “There are no volcanos for hundreds of miles of here.”
“Correct. That brings me to the third part. It could be something more metaphysical. A true demon.” Clark said. “Something with a long life, something that can control or kill animals. The beasts of the forest knew this and left, en mass.”
“Yes, we witnessed at least part of that.” Reedah shook her head. “It was the most amazing thing I ever saw.”
“It won’t be the last time you say that.” Clark said.
“And fifth, there is one more thing.” He paused. “There is a possibility that what was buried so long ago is alien. Or perhaps, alien technology.”
“Where would this be buried?”
“No one knows. My grandfather’s father died at the hands of the French soldiers before he passed on the knowledge to his son. I have the bones, but only a vague knowledge where the cave of the monster is. I only know that at least one of the stones that is set in the immortal wood is what my father called Sky-Stone.”
The students looked at each other.
“Iron meteorite.” Andre said.
“I agree.” Professor Ng said.
“If you have a ferrous metal geometric shape in an insulator.” Gil said to Andre and Reedah.
“Induced power can set up a magnetic field.” Reedah whispered back.
“Magnetic and electric dead zone, if they set the stones with the same stones everywhere inside, they could make a kind of Faraday Cage.” Andre said.
“But fragile. Or in the words of those who believe.” Clark looked from one to the other. “Sacred.”
“So someone broke the cage, and what is immortal wood?” Reedah asked.
“Yes, and the world has no clue what has awakened.” Clark answered grimly.