I watched the world float to the dark side of the moon
After all I knew it had to be something to do with you
I really don’t mind what happens now and then
As long as you’ll be my friend at the end
– Kryptonite, 3 Doors Down
“Feeling better?,” he asked, after he’d laid her on the couch, and found a damp cloth to cool her flushed cheeks.
“How can you…? I mean…this is the real world. You can’t be…..”
“I’m not from your world, ma’am. Something brought me here. I’ve been trying to figure out what, and how to get home, ever since. In the meantime, I’m trying to keep out of sight, so that I don’t alarm the authorities on your world.”
“If it helps, I’m from another dimension. A friend of mine has a theory that we sometimes share our existence with closer dimensions through dreams, and other mystic, or ethereal contacts. I’ve not sure myself, but it could account for your world’s knowledge of my existence in my dimension.”
“Wow,” Laura gasped. as she sat up stiffly. “So, you really can fly? Faster than a speeding bullet? All of that stuff?”
He smiled as he moved back to let her sit up. “I do have some abilities few others do, even in my dimension,” he told her. “But I still often just think of myself as a farm boy from Kansas.”
“There’s no such place here, you know,” she told him.
“I figured as much “, he said wryly.
“So…..How did you end up here?,” she asked.
“I’m not sure. I was visiting my mother’s place, and went out to the barn when I heard some odd sound out there. The next thing I know I’m waking up in your world, and trying to figure out where I was, and how I got here.”
She frowned. “Sound? High-pitched frequencies?”
“You’re a scientist?,” he asked in surprise.
“No, but I remembered that I saw a special on television last month before I…lost my cable…. Ah, anyway, a Chinese scientist was speculating that certain frequencies might let people travel through time, or even pierce space/time barriers that would make traveling past light speed possible.”
“Faster than light drives aren’t viable here,” he frowned. “Wait, that’s right. You haven’t yet learned….Never mind,” he stopped himself, as she looked up at him with evident interest.
“Then, it is possible? I’m a Discovery Channel junkie,” she smiled. “When I can afford the cable. I used to think about going into astronomy, but I got pregnant, and married, instead. Ah, in that order.”
Clark nodded. “Do you remember that scientist’s name,” he asked.
“I couldn’t tell you. I only remember he was Chinese,” she told him. “Still, we could look on the net. Of course, we’d have to go into town, and hope the library wasn’t crowded. I don’t have….”
His gaze was locked on a wall, and she noticed his frown as he studied a patch on her peeling wallpaper.
“Uhm…Clark? Or do I call you S…..”
“Just Clark, please. You’re about to have company. I’d prefer if we kept who I am a secret for now.”
“That’s going to be difficult when I have a new barn out there for all to see.”
“How long since anyone has been here?,” he asked quickly, as the blue sedan pulled up in the yard outside the house.
“Almost four months,” she admitted before she could think of anything else but the truth. “I don’t visit much, and no one comes to see me since my kids moved out.”
“So four months ago I showed up asking for work, and I’ve been working on the barn since. That should about cover the timeline.
“Tell them I just wanted a place to stay.”
“They’ll think you’re a fugitive,” she grimaced as she jerked her head toward the door.
“Tell them I’m just hiking across the world, finding myself, as I’ve heard some people say.”
She nodded as she headed toward the door where someone knocked hard now.
“So, who is it,” she asked.
“Blue sedan. A heavyset man with thin brown hair.”
“Oh, no,” she groaned.
“Trouble?,” he frowned.
“My banker. He’s been trying to get me to sell for pennies for years. I missed the last payment, and I can guess what he’s thinking.”
He nodded. “Stall him. I’m sure we can work something out to help you get through this, too.”
She looked at him, and felt an unusual surge of confidence that came from his presence , as she went to the door. “Mr. Saxon. What a surprise,” she smiled cooly, as she opened the door to find the man standing there already sweating despite it being early morning. “What can I do for you?”
“Mrs. Hastings, you know what I want. I’m giving you a courtesy call, but in five days, you’re going to be evicted if you don’t have the money for your mortgage. I’ll have no choice but to foreclose, and… Who is this?,” he frowned as he saw the tall man with bright blue eyes step up behind her.
“Mr. Saxon,” the stranger nodded at him.
“This is Clark,” Laura smiled. “He’s helping me fix up the place.
“You should see what a fine job he’s already done on the barn.”
“I… didn’t notice,” he drawled. “All the same, five days, Mrs. Hastings. It would be best if you just took my offer, and….”
“No,” she cut him off. “This was my husband’s legacy, Bart, and I’m not going to give it up without a fight.”
“Laura,” he switched to an informal approach. “Be reasonable. The bank needs its money, and five days is not much time to get that much capital. Now, I can get you out of this dump, and pay you enough to get a reasonable apartment in town…”
“I’m not giving up my home, Bart,” she told him, and slammed the door in his face. Then she sagged against the door. She looked up at Clark with a sad smile. “I don’t know what good bravado will do,” she admitted. “I don’t have a chance of getting that much money by the end of the week.”
“Maybe I can help,” he told her. “First of all, you have to wonder why he’s so interested in your place when you’re rather isolated, have no apparent resources. Also, there is no direct income from the land, or obvious mineral deposits. Or do you know if there is something like that?”
“I couldn’t tell you,” she sighed. “My husband took care of all of that, and he’s long gone.”
“Let me look around. Then we’ll figure something out to help you. Trust me, I won’t let you lose your home.”
“But… why should you care? I would think you’d be more interested in…”
“Getting back home? I am, Mrs. Hastings,” he told her. “But this is what I do. Wherever I am, I help those in need.
Just now, that means you. Now, do you have a map of your place? I’d like to check it out before I do anything else.”
“Well, yeah. Henry had a survey map made of the place. I think it’s in the kitchen,” she paused to consider as she led the way through the house. “You know, I really can’t believe…”
She looked back at him, seeing him through new eyes, and noted the broad stretch of his shoulders beneath the taut flannel. “Then again,” she grinned. “You don’t look like any vagrant I’ve ever seen before,” she chuckled softly as she went to a drawer, and sifted through some papers.”Here it is,” she said at last. “The deed, and a surveyor’s map.”
Clark spread both out on the table, and eyed the documents. “You do have full mineral rights to all resources on, or below the land,” he told her as he studied the deed before he began checking the map. “And it looks like your husband was looking for something judging by these marks,” he told her, tapping a few penciled in notes obviously added after the surveyor had drawn up the document.
“Henry was always out looking for the best way to do things. He might have been looking for a new water source. Our last well didn’t do too well. And he worked so hard on it, too.”
“I’d hold on to these if I were you,” Clark told her. “I’ll go inspect the place myself, and see if I can’t find out what your husband, and perhaps your banker, are looking for out here.”
“Maybe you could find some buried treasure,” she grinned. “I heard once that some Civil War gold was supposed to be buried in this county somewhere.”
“Really?,” he asked, one brow rising as he smiled at her as she took the deed and map and tucked it into her sundress’ pocket.
“I doubt it’s real. You hear all kinds of stories like that around these parts. General Lee was supposed to have been running from Sheridan through this area right before the end of the war, and was supposed to have buried all kinds of things.If you think about it, it’s a wonder he ever got away, since he was supposed to have been burying treasure, arms, or whatever all over the place.”
“I’ve learned men can be very ingenious when they wish to be,” Clark told her. “I’ll check out the place, and then we can decide what to do.”
“I almost hope you find something. Just so I can stick it under Bart’s pudgy nose,” she sniffed. “Wouldn’t that show him?” “I’m sure it would,” he smiled, and headed for the door.
“Oh, don’t you want breakfast? I have a little oatmeal left…”
“I’m fine, Mrs. Hastings,” he assured her. “You eat, though. I’ll be back as soon as I can.”
She started to protest as he stepped off the back porch, only he didn’t walk toward the path Henry used. He began to rise into the air right off the top step, and was soon high over the trees even as she stood watching with hugely rounded eyes.
“Oh my!” she managed to choke out as she stared at the impossible, and thought about how normal all of that must be to people in his world.
“His world,” she murmured, and had a thought.
Clark stayed low, just above the trees at times, and lower still when over a meadow. He scanned the ground beneath him with varying degrees of penetration as he focused his x-ray vision to check for anything that might explain the banker’s interest. Or Laura Hastings’ husband’s activities before his death. He circled the back twenty acres of her place twice, but saw nothing. He was headed back toward the house when he had a thought, and focused on the house itself. His sharp gaze swept through the old farmhouse, but he saw nothing. Until he checked the basement.
He landed just inside the tree line, not wanting to frighten the woman, and walked past the barn, and over to the house. She was pulling open the door even as he lifted his hand to knock. “Did you find….?”
“There’s nothing out there,” he told her, sweeping his hand out toward the mostly forested land. “Just a typical plot of ground. No treasure. No oil. Nothing of intrinsic value beyond the land itself.”
“Oh,” the woman sagged visibly, and he felt bad at his tact for a moment.
“However,” he added, giving her a smile. “If you’ll let me into your basement, I think I can show you something you might like.”
“My basement? We don’t have a basement.”
“Yes, you do,” he nodded, and she stood back as she shook her head again.
“You’re welcome to look, but we really don’t have…”
“Do you mind,” he asked. “I’m going to have to open this wall,” he told her, pausing before her old china hutch, and looking back at her.
“How could you know…? Oh, right,” she blushed, shaking her head at herself. “Sure, go ahead. Clark,” she stressed.
He easily pulled the hutch out from the wall, then used a controlled fist to smash into the brick façade behind the hutch to start pulling down the wall. A short time later, she had a mound of old bricks in the middle of her kitchen, and there was a hidden door exposed that was bolted, and locked with an old metal padlock.
“Oh, my,” Laura murmured. “Oh, my. This is what Henry was looking for all along, wasn’t it,” she asked.
“I couldn’t say, but I’d guess it was,” he added as he easily pulled off the lock, snapping the hasp like a brittle twig.
She stared at the casual display of strength as he pulled open the warped wooden door that creaked on ancient hinges almost rusted through. A dark hole stared back at them from behind the door. A hole that obviously led down into the depths of the ground.
“A… A basement,” she exclaimed. “You were right.”
“Do you want to come with me,” he asked. “Or should I just bring it up?”
“It?” she asked.
“I thought you might like a surprise,” he smiled.
“I’m not sure I could take another one just now. Clark,” she stressed his name again.
“All right. Let’s just say, you’ve got a storehouse down there full of civil war weapons, memorabilia, and about twenty million in gold bars that would make any historian, or treasure hunter, drool with envy.”
“Oh, my,” she gasped, sitting down on a chair near her table, almost falling over as it was one with a wobbly leg. “Twenty…? Twenty… million?”
“Close to that, I’d say. I’m sure such things are worth about the same here as they are in my world, since they are relatively close to the same in such matters. But I wouldn’t dismiss the memorabilia. Some museums would pay a small fortune for the weapons, documents, and other things cached down there.”
“Oh, my,” she gasped again. Then laughed. “Bart is going to be spitting nails when I show up with this find,” she told him.
“I’d get in touch with a museum at once,” she was told. “To ensure you get the credit for the find. And the rights to the cache.”
“You’re right. Bart’s just ordinary enough to try to steal it if I wait too long.”
“Do you want to call someone now?”
“I would. If I had a phone,” she grimaced.
“Then you should drive into town, and make your calls at once. I’ll close this back up after I get you a few things to prove your claim, and then you can go.”
“Oh. Oh, and I had an idea that might help you,” she said.
“Well, what you told me about that scientist made sense,” he reminded her. “I thought I’d look up that fellow on the internet, as you suggested.”
“Well, I also thought…if you really are…well, like the comics my son read, I thought… Well, what if a current issue might have something in it that explained what you’re doing here?”
He looked at her, and nodded. “That’s a possibility worth checking out, Mrs. Hastings. Now, excuse me. I won’t be a minute,” he told her, and vanished into the darkness.
“Wait. Don’t you need a…flashlight,” she asked belatedly as he reappeared, covered in dust, and cobwebs, but holding a small, black satchel, an old cap-and-ball pistol, and a bar of dull, yellow metal.
“Stamped with the seal of the Confederacy,” he told her, setting the heavy bar on the wooden table that actually groaned under its weight.
“What’s in the pouch,” she asked, looking at the desiccated leather satchel.
“Dispatches, and orders from General Robert E. Lee to a fellow named Ames, advising him to bury everything before the Union marched into this region,” he told her. “Enough to authenticate your find, and prove it’s value.”
She stared at the bar. “I just wish Henry could have lived to see this,” she told him, as he began to set the bricks back in place at dizzying speed ,after pulling the protesting door back into place with ease. He then pushed the hutch back against the wall, leaving only a small pile of mortar dust on the floor to betray their exploration.
She swept it up without needing to be told, and tossed it into the bin as he nodded at her and set the old, heavy lock on the satchel.
“Oh, no. We’ll have to go into the city to see the people, and places we both need to contact. Our small town won’t be large enough, and I don’t have enough gas…”
“Why don’t I give you a ride,” he told her with a grin.
“Let’s go,” he told her.