LMP Meets the Weather Wizard|
written by Snaithbert Collins
MP Meets the Weather Wizard – By Snaithbert Collins
PART ONE – “BLIND MAN'S BLUFF”
The voyage to the mountain’s heart was a treacherous one.
Their sherpas having long since died off, Eric and Ryan made slow but determined progress up the icy slope. Each labored step brought pain; especially since the air was now beginning to get noticeably thinner. Both men’s lungs were on fire, and more than once the portable oxygen tanks were pulled out, to provide a quick but rejuvenating intake of air. Such breaks were few and far between, however, and for the most part the two men continued up the mountain in relative silence, letting the whipping wind provide all the conversation that was needed.
After a few hours, the wind was more than whipping. Dangerous gales tore through the brave balladeers, and soon the deadly gusts were accompanied by fat flakes of snow. Just as quickly, the snow turned to hail, raining golf ball sized piece of ice down on the weary climbers. When it was clear that conditions would get worse before they got better, the two men took temporary shelter in a narrow cave on the mountain’s side, to wait out the storm.
Eric lit his pipe- no easy task in their current surroundings- and leaned back against the cold stone wall.
“He knows we’re coming,” said Eric, once he’d taken a satisfactory amount of tobacco into his lungs. Ryan put down his freeze dried ice cream and turned to face his friend.
“You don’t know that,” he replied. “You can’t know that.” He opened his mouth to say more, but shut it quickly, apparently thinking the better of it.
Eric took several more puffs of his pipe before responding.
“Think about it, my old friend. Hail? At this time of year? In China? In the Queng Ho province? Doesn’t seem to likely, does it?”
“Maybe it’s some kind of meteorological phenomenon,” countered Ryan. “That possibility exists.”
Eric threw back his head and roared with laughter. For the first time since embarking on this surely fatal errand, the lean, crimson haired adventurer truly laughed. When he was finished, he wiped the tears from his eyes and turned to his friend. Now, all traces of laughter were gone from him.
“I’ll tell you what this is, Ryan. It’s a warning. We are not welcome here.” Ryan considered this before answering.
“Even if that’s so,” replied the exhausted traveler/rocker, “I must go on.” Ryan turned to face his friend squarely. “ I hold no power over you, however. You’re free to turn back if you like.” Eric smiled faintly at this suggestion, as he began cleaning his pipe.
”Sir, you forget yourself!” Eric said angrily. After which, he quietly added, “she was my friend too, you know.” Ryan flushed then, clearly embarrassed by his own words.
“Of course I know that. I didn’t mean to insinuate-“
“It would take more than ill weather to make me turn back,” Eric offered. “In fact,” he said, “I believe it would take the devil himself.” Ryan smiled at his oldest friend, immediately ashamed of his suggestion that Eric turn back.
“Dear Eric. You are a true friend, and bandmate. And I know you cared for Emily a great deal.” Now Ryan rose and turned towards the raging storm, his eyes beginning to cloud over with tears. “But she was not your wife. She was not your reason for being. And she did not die in your arms, a victim of the greatest evil known to man.”
Now it was Eric’s turn to rise.
“You forget that I have my own reasons for hating the Weather Wizard, my friend. My father has been missing for over three years now. He was last seen on the trail of that nefarious Wizard.”
“But a father is not a wife!” screamed Ryan. Immediately he controlled himself. “I apologize,” he said, sitting down once more. “Your father was a great man. He deserves to avenged.” Eric took a seat nearby his friend.
“As does your wife, good sir,” he said.
A single tear rolled down Ryan’s cheek. It was all he would allow himself.
“If she had chosen any other day to go to the post office,” said Ryan quietly, “she would still be here with me. But she insisted on going when she did. Why didn’t I stop her? Why? WHY?”
“You could not have known,” countered Eric. “No one could have. Why the Weather Wizard chose that time and place to create a tornado remains a mystery even to the greatest minds on the planet. I myself believe it was to cover his tracks while he stole the Mubatu diamond from the nearby museum. But of course, I have no proof.”
“You have no proof,” said Ryan, almost unintelligibly. “and I have no wife.”
“She did not suffer,” said Eric. “The doctors confirmed this. “Even though her body was literally driven through a stone wall, I am told she felt no pain.” Ryan sighed and turned to his old friend, his eyes blank and lifeless.
“Then she is the lucky one,” he said. “For those of us left behind- life is a world of pain.” Eric put a hand on his old friend’s shoulder. Not in a gay way, but rather in a comforting, reassuring, totally cool, straight way.
“She was so full of life,” said Ryan. “She embraced the world around her like no one else ever could. Each day she’s gone feels like a year. And a year feels like ten years. And ten years feels like a hundred years. And a hundred years- well, I think you see where I’m going with this.”
“Indeed I do, Ryan. Indeed I do.” Eric smiled reassuringly. We’ll find the Weather Wizard, I promise you. And when we do, he’ll pay for both Emily AND my father. This I pledge to you.” Ryan rose once again, this time walking directly the edge of the small precipice. He stood facing the howling storm, his eyes ablaze.
“Hear me, Weather Wizard!! Know this!! WE ARE COMING!!”
Ryan’s screams were lost amid the howls and whines of the wind and hail, but in his heart, he felt his words had been heard.
He couldn’t know how right he was.
Deep within the heart of the mountain, the Weather Wizard smiled.
In front of the evil genius stood a supercomputer, the twenty foot wide screen showing an image of Ryan and Eric as they waited out the storm.
“And so it begins,” said the Weather Wizard, sounding not at all unpleased. He turned to face Dr. Lao, the diminutive celestial who was his second-in-command. “They’re coming, Lao. Do you see?” Lao’s brow furrowed. Clearly, he was not happy to hear this news.
“And yet you look unconcerned,” offered the doctor. The Weather Wizard simply smiled, turning back to the frozen image on the supercomputer’s screen.
“Step into my parlor, said the spider to the fly,” the Weather Wizard drawled. “Everything is going according to plan.” Lao stepped forward to speak.
“Weather Wizard, this ‘plan’ of yours concerns me. How can you allow two such dangerous men and rock music makers to get so close to our lair? Surely we should send out drones to destroy them. Or you could make a blizzard-“ The Weather Wizard silenced the Asian man with a wave of his gloved hand.
“You worry too much, Lao. Don’t you see? I want them to come here. I have gone to great trouble to lure them here. And my machinations have not been in vain, clearly.” The Weather Wizard indicated the screen once again. “One comes for revenge. The other for answers. But I will destroy them both, once they have served their purpose.”
“And what is that purpose, my master?”
”Patience, Lao. All shall be revealed in time.” The Weather Wizard’s smile disappeared. “Leave me now. I have much to do before our friends arrive.” Dr. Lao performed a small bow and turned on his heels.
Once he was gone, the Weather Wizard pushed a button on the console of his supercomputer. A nearby panel in the wall slid up.
Behind the panel was an older man, perfectly frozen in perma-plastic. The Weather Wizard smiled once again as he admired the plastic jail that held the man, seemingly forever.
“I do hope you’re not too lonely in there, my friend,” said the Weather Wizard. The frozen man said nothing; he simply stared back with lifeless eyes. “I have good news. Very soon you will have some company. Someone near and dear to your heart.”
The Weather Wizard turned and glared at the image on the supercomputer’s screen. His smile was the broadest it had ever been.
”Your son is coming, Professor Haugen,” said the Weather Wizard. “And soon the game shall begin.”
TO BE CONTINUED