RayBradbury52SS52W Week 1 Elements of Gaia

I enjoyed writing this story, I enjoyed researching for this story. I love the concept for this story. I hope you do to. I have done best to make it cohesive and clear. Also keeping the geographics etc. correct. Working on that through time subtitle. But I’m just trying to indicate that this is multi timeline story series.

Elements of Gaia

Through Time Mystery Series Story 1

Written By Shawnee Bysh


Sandy silt propels behind the arriving jeep near the excavation location brace holding onto a bar of the vehicle. Black prismatic frizzy hair drops from a jostled straw hat while exiting from the seat, my sapphire eyes squint in the brilliant sunlight that shines across a sepia landscape. The diggers have started on parts of the site. Though they were not supposed to until I arrived. I approach who I believe is the lead digger in charge. 

Through a translator, he tells me someone’s here and is already giving everyone orders. They just shrugged when I demanded to know who and point towards where they were now. Once I found them, I realized it’s one who works in the same university department as me arguing for an hour and suddenly Melvin storms off towards the jeep & leaves.

 I halt work and begin organizing where the actual digging will take place. When a young worker’s loud voice floats on hot air. A room? Found? It’s a false alarm. The newest digger stumbled into a chamber, which we had before identified. If only it’d been the ancient remains of the city. That will end up being a project. We plan our estimated direction to go dig in the place. A few hours pass after we have a break for dinner. Oddly enough, he shows up again for dinner. At least it’s what I thought. When a letter arrives at the same time someone is attempting to oust me from my own dig site.

 I sit on the cot in disbelief by what I am reading. It doesn’t show who’s asked to have me excluded. As we search for clues to Atlantica. I try to stay focused on the digging as I ponder, why do this now? We are so close to finding the cities. Melvin hovers over, watching our every move, his green eyes piercing through like knives. Layer-by-layer sand and stones dug through and drug away in cart after cart. We’re on cart twenty-five as one worker shrieks with excitement. They’ve spotted something, judging by what we’re looking at, an object far bigger. Far more! 

As soon as we walk into it, notice several pedestals in an unusual circular pattern. From the looks of it, each pedestal contained gems or even skull objects. Appearing to be of different colors, gemstones of Lapis Lazuli, Peridot, Jade & Aquamarine & contain elements of earth, water, fire, air. Thirteen skulls I can only assume are similar in fashion, possibly more of a rainbow effect.

 As I turn to leave, notice an inscription on a painted wall. I decided then to make my way further in. Strolling through brushing a hand against each pedestal, a sudden click, then a rumble from it. Pupils of my eyes dilated as I jump and step back, stomach somersaults jerking as if I’m having an attack every time an object bolts up from each tier. Four of them are semi-precious stones, while twelve of the thirteen others have crystal skulls. The last one is a bit more peculiar. Appears to be in the shape of a planet with a capital letter initial on it. The letter O to be precise. Could it mean the fabled planet Obbiri? I suddenly hear a loud female voice arguing with a worker. Getting between them quickly I guide her away.

 The woman’s dark eyes glared cold rage at the worker as I escorted her away towards a tented area near the pyramid. She reveals her name is Ma’at as she studies the outside of the pyramid her left hand traces around each glyph on the outer wall. Stopping short of the doorway she suddenly inquires how long they’ve been missing.  I try to play it cool and coy as though I don’t know what she is talking about. In an attempt to bait her into more information. But, Ma’at sees right through it, quick to subvert my attempt. She asks again with a bit more force and persistence. Glancing around as I bite my lower lip. I cave and tell Ma’at everything that’s happened thus far. We stroll around the site as the people are working. 

It isn’t until an hour passes, and we return to the pyramid we discover everything is gone. All of the pedestals are empty of all the gems and skulls, even the strange looking one that looks like a planet is missing. The Ma’at’s complexion goes from warm olive to pale in an instant as she knelt before one of the pedestals. She sits for quite a moment on the floor. Then tells me that the missing gems were vital to Earth’s survival. Each gem is an apparent key for the world working together in unison when placed together. Correctly! If it falls into the wrong hands and placed in the wrong order the consequences are far worse than if we don’t put them back on the tiers. 

After which Ma’at begs for my assistance in locating and returning them to their rightful place. She also knows of other guardians that live amongst us upon this planet who will also help. After listening to Ma’at I ask for some time alone to think it over. 

I pace back and forth in the pyramid considering all the ramifications of my not assisting her versus the same problem if I do help her. Would it make any true difference? Can Earth really be destroyed over a few missing gems? I mumbled to myself. Which she overhears. Without warning I am startled by one of the workers as he approaches me. Apologizing for scaring me. His face is as peculiar and as pharaoh-esque as hers. That’s when I realized he wasn’t a worker as she walked in not long after him. 

Only she didn’t recognize him at first. It took revealing the gentleman’s name as Silko before she realized he was one of the guardians and as it turns out he’d alerted the others already and brought them back to the pyramids now. Ma’at & Silko tell me in total there are thirteen guardians with each gem connected to the elements of Earth, Air, Water, Fire. After we spoke for over an hour, he turned to leave us, only to discover one of the others, Bai Hui, was already arriving. Somehow, they all know of the gems being stolen as well. How could they know? A strange sensation comes over me. I know she’s told me they are all guardians. But still, it’s almost as if they have supernatural powers. I feel resistant to believe such nonsense.

 While at the same time I also feel their urgency. They strongly believe something will happen if we don’t get back the gems. An ill feeling washes over my body as I excuse myself head to my tent. I didn’t notice a note lying on my cot as I burst inside. Seat myself in a wooden chair at the desk in the corner away from the entrance. As I exhale, wipe my face down with my handkerchief and toss it aside as I lay my head down onto the desk covering my weary face to rest a moment. Only to awake an hour later. Once again, the thoughts of the day invade my thoughts of what I should do. As I rise heading to the water basin wash my sleepy face. Back away and sit down as I dry my face. I noticed on the cot as I glanced at the mirror across from me. A fold up note with my name clearly written in calligraphy with strange symbols as I read it. 

Hello Ms. Cora let’s see if you can solve this puzzle! Let’s play guess who!? I take everything and you get to guess who and where it is & if you can ever get it away from me in time. A cold sweat beads up across my face as I begin shaking. I bolt up and out the tent as fast as I can, showing the guardians the card. Where I found two of the guardians have left to search for the thief & to check on the weather situation across the world. As ours begins to deteriorate in the southern part of Egypt. 

 The others sit me down explaining further that each gem originated from four continents and countries Greece, Africa, China & here in Egypt. At first it doesn’t seem to make relevant sense to me. The reasoning for the origins of each artifact. But for the sake of arguments and restoring the planet to peace and order.  I put on a smile pretending to understand. The days seem to go slower & slower. When we received notice from one of the guardians. Instructions of a rendezvous point once we arrive. Things are not well all over the world, weather phenomena so strange popping up in the skies like invasion of weeds. One particular thing frightened the workers the most.

Very odd swirly objects are now hovering over all the pyramids. With a bright light which changes color every hour. I do my best to reassure all of them. But as hard as I try something else happens to scare them all over again. We end up with a rather bumpy ride in a small twenty-person airplane. 

Unbeknown to us all, they were hiding in plain sight and with the artifacts; in one of the many luggage bags crammed in the above compartments. We realize this only after the plane has an issue ending up landing just outside a strange labyrinth made of metal. The likes of which are unfamiliar to us with a turquoise hue. Amongst the chaos of a hard landing in a strange area. Melvin slips through our fingers going unnoticed for several hours. He is well out of the area now. We are farther away than ever in getting them back or catching up. Not even sure which direction they may have taken. What we do know we are nowhere near where we need to be. The guardians and I keep to ourselves only spending time with each other, careful not to interact with other people from our plane. Which becomes increasingly hard by the hour. 

As one of the guardians decides it’s time to travel on foot. To reach our destination on time. Like we have plenty of it. I ask for them to check inside the strange maze first before we leave. I have a suspicion he may have slipped inside it knowing we’d have a hard time finding him. Seeing everyone preoccupied with other things we slip through inside the maze undetected.

 Deeper and deeper inside it. Seems to be never ending and seems to expand every time we feel we are close to the center of it. It expands again and again causing a constant feeling of vertigo. Almost like a fun house effect. Which we all know how those go, not pleasant and I seem to be the only one suffering from the affects. After an hour inside not making any headway to the center of it, abandon the task and turn back. Only it gets worse as we try to make our way back outside. Seemingly making it deliberately harder to find the exit. 

My heart now racing as sweat drips down my face with my pulse skipping every other beat. The guardians looked concerned and exasperated now. Another twenty minutes later and we are finally out of that nightmare maze.

Only to step into another and on the other side away from the crash site entirely and on the first target continent. As we inch closer, we realize we are in Greece as the salty air hits our nostrils. A woman standing at the water’s edge turns motioning us to come toward her. Her appearance as perfect as a grand statue as the burning sun gives her an aura of an angelic halo. The guardians who are with me are somewhat apprehensive at first to approach. Until the woman speaks revealing herself as Lachesis and they realize she is one of theirs. She tells us that he’d been there overnight but took off once he bumps into someone who he’s had a run in before.  

She told us he seems infuriated, mumbling about something being stolen. Could it be that his friend stole the artifacts from him? I find it oddly amusing and still sad since we have missed our chance of getting the gems back and catching him. We do find another surprise though that he left for us. He seems to be in a generous mood leaving us one of the crystal skulls and attached to it is another note card signed in the same fashion as before. With the exception the hieroglyphs are different. However, these particular glyphs seem to be numerical. I haven’t in my years as an archaeologist seen a numerical type in this fashion. I took out a small pad and pen to start to jot down these and the other symbols from the previous card. I look each one over carefully, lost in thought.

 Am I wrong in the interpretation of both sets? I write each symbol on separate pieces of paper on my small pad. Kneeling down spread out all the papers one by one. As one of the guardians approaches me knelt beside me scanning each paper as I lay them out, smoothing each one out flat against the floor. Bai Hui motions for the female pharaoh to look over his shoulder. All of a sudden, she’s grabbing my arm leading me away with the papers in hand. While the others follow silently. As if they know where she is taking us. Ma’at now says the artifacts are not here but are closer than we think. We must now make another trip on foot until we reach a closer distance to our next destination. Which is now Africa and a seventeen-hour journey. If we do not stop to rest. 

The terrain is treacherous and scary now as the weather’s getting worse and worse. Now we have had to bundle up in coats with the skies turning Grey and frigid. As snow begins to fall just along the border now of Africa and Middle eastern countries. Snow like this is unheard of in a desert country. The snow as the snow begins to get worse and visibility disappears before us. Four hours later I spotted someone or something in the snow. Though it is still too far away to know who or what it is. I can only say it is something in the snow. Ten more feet and we all realize it’s my coworker lying face down in the snow. The contents of his satchel strung about the wet snow glossy as ice crystals begin to crystallize on them. 

It’s my co-worker for sure! From the looks of it this weather’s taking a turn for the worse has given him more of a challenge than he can take to where he’s succumbed collapsing in the snow.  As we catch up, one of the guardians scoops up all the artifacts back inside the satchel as I and another guardian tend to Melvin. As soon as I am sure they are stable to move we build a stretcher out of whatever we can find loose. Place Melvin on it carefully, covering him with every available cover from our satchels. Unfortunately, it takes a few more hours before we find a warm shelter. 

Which does not bode well for him as Melvin laid there on the stretch unable to move at all frozen in time once more. I can only hope he will survive the journey. We need to find out who he’s meant to meet with as I suspect he means to sell these artifacts with the knowledge of their origin. But who is the buyer? Why do they want these now? Deeper and deeper into the snow we begin to sink through as the hours pass by so slowly it feels as though it’s been centuries through this chaotic weather. We’re growing tired and more tired by the moment as one by one the guardians and I collapse ourselves onto the wet white and taupe color deep grounds. 

Winds whipping around us the sandy granules flying onto my lips with the taste of salty earth cutting the tip of my tongue and lips. While shielding our eyes with goggles that by chance are in his pouch. I wonder now if this was meant to be since finding the exact amount of protective wear for us to use in the nick of time. Part of me is suspicious while the other half grateful regardless to be able to protect my body from the elements of this strange time. After five blinding hours through the snow and sand we approach a structure with the hopes it has a fireplace of some sort.

 I switched places with one of them holding the door open as they carried him inside. We threw caution to the wicked wind and took a chance not knowing what was inside the building. However, it is justified since it is so cold, and we are unable to travel any further on foot. At least for now until the weather hopefully calms even if it is just a small lull. We are in luck not only because it has a fireplace but also a pot to cook in. 

Whether this be water or food. We place the gurney against two benches. Just as I make my way to the fireplace across the room one of them steps on a loose piece of wood under foot. Bent down picking it up puzzled, I notice something shiny underneath as I race over to grab more pieces off the floor. Which exposes a very smooth marble flooring with strange symbols at the edges of each square. We recognize the strange symbols. It is the same ones that are on this piece of paper. Removing even more exposing the rest of the flooring underneath I also spot a strange numbering code nearest the last symbol. 

A riddle in the old language lines all four sides of each block. Approximately thirteen blocks. I retrieve the paper with the strange symbols and another pad with a pen. Sitting myself at the edge of one of the blocks began the process of copying down each set as the others tended to my old foolish colleague.

 As hours pass by, I can hear my old friend mumbling in their distressed semi consciousness. I finally made headway figuring it out. Turns out we are viewing some sort of code. But, to what? The artifacts or is it to something else.  As the evening progresses, I feel a sense of uneasiness as I seemingly obsessively study the code. Melvin’s condition appears to improve about two in the morning and with that some of us decide to rest as two other guardians remain awake through the night. Though they do not stay where the rest of us are. I am unfortunately unable to rest with everything that’s happened racing through my mind.  I lay there watching each one peer through the windows periodically, adjusting the fire, looking through other rooms nearby until they make their way outside.

 Where I quietly follow suit. The storms finally ceased as the moon’s glow peaks through the cloudy skies. While off in the distance another storm is brewing as lightning brightens the dark blue skies. Off to the east of us while off to our west and south the winter storms moved. The North seems to have oddly clear skies, I find it hard to believe three different kinds of weather in one region and one night. Scream startles us as the male guardian reacts faster as we catch up right behind him. He stops dead in his tracks, the room ransacked and our people unconscious on the floor.

When I realized the bag and my paperwork were missing. Also guess who else is missing. He isn’t as injured as we all thought. I doubt he’ll get very far regardless of his condition. Ma’at notices something near the stretcher. Picking it up browses at it quietly a moment before handing it to me.  I do not recognize the handwriting. I’ll take what I’ve been promised one way or another. It said, I paid for this stuff now I’ll get it one way or another.  Now I’m more worried it may have been a kidnapping. I’m betting though that Melvin’s fighting them at the moment. I seriously doubt he’d leave willfully and have to be forced in his possible current condition. It’s not hard to. Though the guardians themselves believe otherwise considering how he’s acted in the past with the artifacts. Everyone feels strongly that it may be a ruse designed to trick me.

I know we must take the chance regardless of whether our planet depends on whether we get the gems and crystal skulls back into place before all total destruction. Considering the time, he could have disappeared I suspect they couldn’t have gotten far considering the weather currently across the planet. They may only be a few miles away which gives us enough time to catch up all things considered. The skies change again, this time what was to our east is south and what was to our north is now west. 

Strange how everything changes within a blink of an eye. The snow’s feeling odd now, an oddness I cannot put into words. At least not right away, auroras blanket the blackened skies, the only source of light now with the moon disappearing without warning. The guardian’s resort to covering their legs with the blankets from the bags. 

After a short time, we notice strange shadows behind and in front of us though we cannot see anything ahead or behind us. Wolves howl in agony as we approach the border now to another country. None of us realized being this close to the next country we are set to visit.  Which is appearing like a wasteland for the most part desolate and now hot. We tore off our warm wear as we made our way to a vehicle in the middle of nowhere. I only hope it will work long enough to get us closer to where we need to be. I have a feeling they are heading to another museum. But it’s only a feeling since they can have any inclination to not take the said artifacts to a museum.

Things begin worsening for us again as the weather takes another turn similar to a hurricane but only on land. How is this even possible? I’ve never in my life witnessed a dirt hurricane or a sand one for that matter. Lightning begins again all around us at least no hail or snow that feels like glass hitting us. I’m still sore from being previously hit by pellets of the last storm. As we change direction heading northwest one guardian spots something near a dirt road. It’s him and he is with someone and I’m not sure with his current condition how he’s able to stand on his own two feet. As we gain further ground getting closer to them. Something eerie happens before our eyes.  He and the person vanish into thin air, how is this possible? We are so close, and he slips through. 

Approaching we see something reflective shiny in the dirt. A female pharaoh kneels down to pick it up. It is pieces of crystal; my worst fear is possible. They have already destroyed the stones and discarded them haphazardly as it is my belief, they want no one to have them. We grab a pouch scooping up every bit of colorful glass we find a sense of dreaded defeat wash over us. Our faces turn a pale white realizing the end of earth. One of the others noticed something else in the dirt and sand. He left us a clear clue that he is in fact in trouble. Big trouble! 

Though we are still unsure of their next move we progress further towards our next location. When I spot someone coming thank goodness it is an automobile. I wave frantically flagging them down, luckily, they see us and stop. I hurriedly explain the situation though they don’t quite understand the magnitude they assist regardless of getting us where we need to be. I take my map out gazing at it holding on to the vehicle with one hand hoping my hat doesn’t fly off in this wind. It takes half a day to get to our next destination via our gracious host. Who has a message from the one we are seeking? 

 I’ll be at the mountain top waiting for you. FIND ME! IF you really want to have them back. The note’s rather blunt message leaves us all baffled how we can have shards in the bags, yet seemingly from this mysterious note they are all in one piece. 

Finally arrive in the city where the weather is now hotter than ever, with any vegetation now so parched that leaves ignite into flames disappearing in an instant. As we look around, the female pharaoh spots something. A man I don’t recall meeting before stares back at us nervously, looking at us and back at the light gray concrete building. We realize at that moment who we are dealing with and who may be inside it. Both of the pharaohs take a lead in planning how to get us inside safely, get the gems. More certain now that it’s all a ruse to throw us off track when we found fragments in the dirt. 

Seeing iron chains on one of the exit doors, some of us move around the building for an alternate way inside. I decide to stay where I am instead and wait for one of them to come back in case, we need to go through the chain door. I fan myself with the pad of paper I keep in my bag, making every attempt to cool myself down under the hot sunshine. When the rattling starts, I jump back around to look at the door. As one of the other men returns with something to break the chain. Once chains break, the men escort me inside, keeping watch as another leads the way.

I hear noises just up ahead of us. Someone’s screaming while it sounds as though something’s being thrown against a wall. Once closer, we see my friend unconscious while another man is there, but we cannot view what they’re doing. I hear one other person with a scar up their arms. The lights around us blink on and off multiple times as one guardian sees an opportunity to strike, jumping out and knocking the man with the scars to the ground with a blow to the face knocks him out. Now more men arrive with a fight ensuing as even the female pharaoh takes aim at several in one fail swoop. As I run, freeing my friend and colleague from his trap and carrying him back through the complex outside. propping him inside a jeep. I run back inside through the small maze toward the scene, looking all around for the artifacts, spotting them near another guardian, who’s now hovering dangerously over the fragile crate. Oh Boy! This is not good. I scramble for something to hit this guy as I reach out to the guardian, trying to with his shirt barely within my grasp. I grab hold in time before he falls off. Once safe, we both see another two in a predicament they can’t get through. I grab anything I can find by taking off toward them, slapping the guy across the face only to knock them out, only making them angrier as another approaches stealthily. 

Tapping him on the shoulder, he turns running into their chest, carefully steps back as he peers up slowly to greet the dark eyes of a tall guardian. A scattering of the unconscious gang of thieves litters the dark brown marble looking floor. I notice the phone on the floor picking it up, calling for the police as the other’s head is outside, leaving a mess of unconscious men along the floor. Short time later sirens blare through the air as I wait outside as well with the artifacts in tow. Though I tell the police about them showing each one and explain everything and I am not sure they believe what we are saying. The weather changes once more, startling the policeman. Looking around frantically as the light changes in precipitation going from hail, rain, snow as a dust storm rises from the ground until it appears to tower over the farthest buildings to the pyramids, which feel like millions and millions of miles away. 

Once he sees the storm offers to escort us through the country to ensure our safety as we race back. Racing through the empty streets precariously, the officer receives a call on the walkie talkie with a message that volcanoes are now erupting in places. The dust seeps through the car windows as we pull anything over our face for protection from it. For the next several hours, we make our way through, hoping to make it without an incident. Driving through the day and half the night, we make it within another seven-hour distance from the pyramids. The officers were all exhausted now, eyes burning, throat dry. When the dust lightens, the pyramids come into view after a few hours. Car comes grinding to a halt and races across into the pyramid, putting each on the pedestal. 

Where it begins immediately restoring everything. Shortly after everything normalizes and clean up begins and learns, I’m the unfortunate cause after stumbling upon the structure in my quest. My friend is paying for his part in causing this mess already through a prison hospital. They have no wish for him to escape after all. 

He apologizes to me for his behavior towards me and promises to be better once he’s out of jail. We learn the guardians must leave. It is now time for the guardians to return to the pyramids. No one realized; however, they must enclose forever inside the pyramid to prevent the gems and skulls from being stolen once more. Saying our goodbyes, stepping back, we watch them one by one step inside it as the rising sun lights the edges as the stone door closes noisily, never seen again within my lifetime. 

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