Chapter 16: Ziggurat
6.30.2002 Edited by , every Sunday.
Bjorn followed the boy out of the room, leaving behind the red goo that was once international heartthrob playboy Ben Piper. The boy, whose name Bjorn recalled as David, led him a long way up and down corridors, through air ducts, across a very nice lobby, and even through a women's room, (unoccupied) all toward their unspoken destination. Finally, in the umpteenth musty stone corridor, Bjorn's curiosity got the better of him.
"So, exactly where are we going again?” he ventured.
"Quiet! We haven't much time!" The robot boy replied, fear in his voice.
"Right, you said that three hours ago when you liberated me from my cell. It's just that we only seem to be meandering about this very strange building for no apparent reason."
"Why do you say that?" David asked.
"Well, I suppose the biggest thing is that we've just walked past a large red door marked "EXIT" for the third time now."
David stopped suddenly, and turned to look Bjorn straight in the eye. "That's not important right now." He said. "The important thing is that…" The boy looked terrified.
"What is it?" Bjorn asked. "What can terrify you so much? You can tell me." Bjorn tried to smile in a reassuring manner, but it came across wooden as usual. "Just like with Lillith…" he thought.
"I-I-I see dead people!!" David sobbed.
Bjorn just stared at him. Then he noticed something.
"What's this?" Bjorn reached behind the boy's ear and pulled free a paper clip wedged there.
"Nyagrthxlpnarf!" David exclaimed, twitching wildly. Then he stopped. "Thank you!" he said. "That thing has been shorting my circuits for far too long."
"Can we get out of here?" Bjorn asked.
"Certainly. Noah sent me to rescue you." He reached into his pocket, pulled out a small remote and pressed a button. Bjorn's Chevy appeared in front of them. "Our destination is already set. Let's go!" Bjorn, preferring the familiarity of his time traveling Chevy with folding dashboards and death rays to the lunacy of McNoHeart's world, quickly jumped in, with David taking the passenger seat. Alarm klaxons suddenly began to sound. "Go!" screamed the boy.
And go Bjorn did.
When Bjorn regained his senses, the Chevy was sitting on a small hill, overlooking a bustling city. David was slumped on the seat beside him, and despite his knowing the boy was an android, he seemed to be asleep. Bjorn smiled for some reason he could not fully comprehend. Shaking his head at the confusing emotion, Bjorn looked back out at the city. Small buildings, dirt roads, ox carts, and brown-skinned people filled this small port city. A few large stone buildings were scattered around the city. It looked like something in a special he'd once seen on the Discovery Channel.
A special on Ancient Sumeria.
Bjorn opened the door and stepped out to better gape at this archaeologist's wet dream. He'd traveled back in time a good five thousand years. Of course, that didn't really explain why the world looked like a Cessna perched on top of a ziggurat.
And there was still the bag from Hector sitting in the back seat.
It was all too much. "Jesus," he said.
"Yes?" replied the woman behind him.
Bjorn quickly jumped back and spun around. Or at least tried to, for doing both at the same time is quite tricky for anyone not a ninja. So to be more accurate, Bjorn emitted a choked scream, attempted to spin around on the same leg he was also using to launch himself away from the Mystery Voice, and ultimately ended up on his back looking up into the face of an unsettlingly pretty woman.
“Hi.” The pretty woman said.
“Jesus, you scared me!” Bjorn gasped.
The woman looked confused. “Have we met?”
“I don't think so.”
“Then how do you know my name?”
“I don't know your name.”
“But you just said it!”
“I just said your name?”
“No, stupid! My address!”
“But I don't know where you live!!”
“I was being sarcastic!”
Bjorn put his face in his hands. “Jesus, this is all so confusing!!”
“See, you do know my name!!”
Bjorn and the woman just stared at each other for a long time.
“As much as I hate to interrupt this intelligent discussion, I have orders to escort you to the Ziggurat.”
Bjorn and the woman both turned. Several guards stood behind then, spears at the ready.
“Now, if you don't mind....” said the leader.
“Jesus.” Bjorn muttered.
“Yes?” said the woman.
“By the way,” said the guard, as they started down the path to the city, “Nice Chevy.”
By Dan Haun