This is an extract of three chapters including the prologue of the novella I had written a few months ago. If you feel it’s worth reading, or that I do have some talent; please do support my work by commenting on your views and buying the ebook at the end of this extract.
As such this is my debut as in the speculative fiction domain.
The protagonist’s name is Rogelio.
Jewels Of God: An Unexpected Journey
An orphan gets hold of a divine tool. Seeking a breakthrough, as a historical archaeologist, he finds himself walking on a thin line. The why’s and how’s of existence always lingered on his mind, flowing freely. An upheaval materializes on his palms the Divine Jewel of God, unknowingly he embarks on a journey to meet his fate. His life path unexpectedly unfolds in front of him deep down the undiscovered regions of the Earth.
“My existence here will be ephemeral”
Darkest night of June 1999, before the new moon.
Rogelio crashed on his bed the very moment he entered his room at Hotel Le Clement after a long and exhausting week in the capital of France, Paris. Due to his discoveries made in the field of historical archaeology, he had been delivering speeches all around Europe and Paris was his last stop.
His life being in much complexity, fully immersed in the lost secrets of Earth although too young for such achievements, only of age twenty seven he was a successful guy on the way to finding more success. His thirst for the unknown was unquenchable.
Obsessed by his vocation, he never bothered about getting married and setting up a foundation such as a family like a normal citizen. As an orphan, being in the dark for most of his childhood, he was raised up by a High Priest in an orphanage located in South Africa.
Early on, during his teenage years, he was inspired by the discovery of ancient buildings namely the Pyramids of Giza, the lost temples of Mayans, Stone Hedge and old buildings in India dated ages ago.
He never knew who was his parents nor where he was born, the father figure told him that he was abandoned by a foreign couple. Wrapped in this mystery he continued his path by the guidance of Father Audric.
He reflected back on all things related to his past until he fell into deep sleep. At around two a.m, he faced the most severe and intense sleep paralysis, his worst nightmare was all around him. Monstrous snakes surrounded his bed and were all over his body.
Not being able to move, nor scream, paralyzed by the nightmare, panicked, he closed his eyes slowly and suddenly woke up fainting hard. He switched on the lights and found no snakes, he checked all around the room and still no signs of those reptiles. Confused by what happened.
“God knows what was that”, self talked Rogelio.
Due to his habit of writing everything that he experienced, he got out of bed immediately and wrote down everything about the dream experience and sleep paralysis in his journal. The dream itself was exotic, Rogelio conspired about a possible message.
“It was somewhat prophetic”, he noted at the end of the page.
He drank a large glass of water before re-heading back to his bed, “It was intense”, he thought.
The next morning Rogelio woke up at around seven o’clock. “Maybe I will be facing some sort of a problem”, a thought struck him right while entering the bathroom. After his toiletry, he had enough of pondering upon that nightmare and had to be back in business.
He headed to his room to call his assistant, Corin Janvier.
“Hello Corin, good morning. Can we meet a bit early at the Library Mazarine today at nine o’clock?”, said Rogelio upon the call was answered.
“Good morning Sir, of course. I will be there by nine”, replied Corin.
“Great, thanks!”, Rogelio hanged the phone.
He packed his bag and left his room to have breakfast at the hotel’s restaurant. His usual croissant and black tea to start the day. As he ordered his breakfast, he gave a thought about what next. Should he return home, or stay in Paris while completing his book and search for a publisher to get published as soon as possible.
Just after his breakfast, he walked out on the streets of Rue de Seine to go towards Library Mazarine, a few blocks away. He was quite happy with his recent success but wasn’t feeling fulfilled as his desire to make a breakthrough in that field was still unaccomplished. He had to continue his path as it is, to find a way in getting the desired results.
* * *
Arriving at the library, Corin was already present there waiting for him. In the main garden, under a tree, they sat down on an old bench made up of rock to have a conversation about what next.
“I’ve got a new card to play and it’s close to my heart”, said Rogelio once he presented himself in front of Corin.
“Something related to research . . .” guessed Corin.
“Much more! I’ve got a manuscript and need to publish it. It holds more than what I delivered through speeches”, declared Rogelio.
“So you think Library Mazarine could be of any help?”, asked Corin.
“That’s why we’re here to discover”, replied Rogelio.
“The manager here is called Collin”, said Corin.
“Be my agent and you shall reap the rewards alongside with me. I’ve been conducting this research since my teenage years. The draft is completed, all I need is an editor who will help me with the editing & digitalisation and a publisher to get the book in the public sphere”, declared Rogelio.
“I can help you with the editing as it’s part of my curriculum”, said Corin.
“I’ll hand you the scripts later on today”, replied Rogelio.
Motivated by the idea, Corin stood up along with Rogelio and both entered the library. As Rogelio was already known as a public speaker for his famous TEDx talks around Europe, the general manager Collin Perez another scholar recognised him instantly and offered them a seat in his office.
Inside the oldest library of Paris, they sat within the realm of old architecture, archaic setting and comfort dated back the 1800’s, so spacious for the mind to be free from any mental emancipation.
“Gentlemen, tea or coffee?”, asked Collin.
“We both gonna have tea, thanks!”, replied Rogelio.
“Great, I’ll have the same”, excited by their choice Collin brought about three cups, a teapot, and some sugar. The three self-served themselves.
“So, gentlemen how come you visited the library today, is there anything I can do for you?”, asked Collin who was curious about their visit.
“Thanks for the tea, Mr Collin. I was talking to Corin here about publishing a book. A project which I’ve been investing my time and energy for the past eight years on ancient civilizations. As you know this is where I specialize and it has everything I used to deliver those talks. I am searching for a publisher in town that can help me with the publication”, Rogelio confidently sparked the mind of Collin.
“That is awesome, it’s the best decision you’ve taken by coming here. To navigate into the field of archaeology and history one must be a published author at least once in their lifetime, or else what’s the use of choosing this path…” philosophically replied Collin.
“It’s now that I’m deciding to publish it, and Corin here is going to help me with the editing process”, acknowledged Rogelio.
“I know his communication style, it wouldn’t be a difficult task after all for a linguist” replied Corin.
“I might be of help to you. On July 10, 1999, next month the library is organising a book fair. You could use this opportunity to go public”, Collin proposed.
“What about the publisher?”, Rogelio enunciated.
“Library Mazarine will be your publisher. Just make sure you submit the script as soon as possible. The fair is scheduled in 30 days. I’m taking a risk though as time is limited, although I do have faith in your abilities, Mr Rogelio. So, I believe your content will be of the utmost quality”, expressed Collin, who was glad to have such talent at the doorstep of Library Mazarine.
“We’re gonna have to accelerate the editing process, I’ll make sure to submit the script by latest this Friday, are you okay with that?”, Asked Rogelio.
“Cool, just give me a call. Here is my card. We’re going to do great things together, I hope so!”, boldly replied Collin.
“Corin will contact you, he is my agent and personal assistant”, said Rogelio.
“No problem. It is a pleasure working you with gentlemen. See you on Friday”, Collin replied.
The meeting ended on a positive note for Rogelio. They shook hands off each other as a sign of trust and word of man, fixing into the eyes of each other as something great was happening. The two of them left the library with a great dose of motivation. As time was limited, they took a cab to go down to Hotel Le Clement, a five minutes trip. Both had lots on their plate, a great amount of work had to be done before handling the original manuscript on Friday.
For Rogelio, it was an amazing opportunity to grow his career into a new phase of getting his voice heard throughout his book ‘Another Discovery’. Corin did not have a clue about the content in the actual script, impatient to get his hands on it.
Due to the nature of his work, Rogelio’s room consisted of an office where one could work and conduct meetings. Both were in the office about to tackle the pending tasks to get the manuscript in good shape.
Rogelio took out the first drafted manuscript from his suitcase.
“Carrying it just in case. You see now it’s time for it to shine”, Rogelio enunciated.
It was a big chunk of paper compiled, all written by hand with a pencil. Drawings and other photos attached to it. The classic way of compiling research works.
“Wow, that’s gonna take some time editing and getting it into a digital format, Boss!”, Corin told Rogelio seeing the workload.
It was not a tough job but time was very limited unless both collaborated day and night to get things done.
Corin took a look at the first page and was amazed just reading the preface of the script.
“How come you got all the information? I hope you did not extrapolate a thing”, Corin said, seriously.
“I do not know, it just comes to me, once I read, think or see something somehow I get the full story coming from my subconscious and I just write it through”, stated Rogelio, not bragging about his unprecedented talent of receiving occult information.
“Are you psychic?”, asked Corin, who was getting more and more curious.
“How can I know about that? I told you it just comes to me. Being psychic wouldn’t have brought me here as a historical archaeologist, right?”, replied Rogelio.
“Makes sense. I’ll do the editing process while typing on my desktop computer at home. This is the only way to speed up the process, but before all that I shall read the whole manuscript tonight itself to immerse in it fully”, Corin declared his action plan for devouring the manuscript in one sitting.
“You can stay here if you want, as I’m the only one who knows about the anatomy of this script”, proposed Rogelio.
“Well, now the task gets easier than usual”, replied Corin.
Corin called his parents to inform them that he would be working late that night. Without losing any other precious minute, Corin started reading the first chapter which was all about some odd concept about life before the humans, nothing related to the dinosaurs and homo-sapiens that everybody knew about. All were occult information with no information that could be fact-checked, it seemed so true that pieces of evidence were worth nothing. A new philosophy and belief had been created by Rogelio, it was pure words of creative intelligence.
By that time, Rogelio made some tea for both of them just to set the mood for some much-needed focus time into the matter. Rogelio was expecting critics on behalf of Corin but he did not say a word to him until he completed the whole script three hours later.
Immersed into the content, Corin did not know where to start, the script was perfect requiring little to no editing just a complete conversion to a digital copy was needed.
“I will start the digitalisation process after a little break, Boss. I might complete it by tomorrow morning”, said Corin.
Astonished by his words Rogelio asked, “Are you not going to rest?”
“I am going to rest only after the job is done”, confidently replied Corin.
“Use my laptop then, it’s in my bag up there on the cupboard”, replied Rogelio.
Corin took out the laptop, he started with the first chapter of the script. As Corin was sitting at the desk, Rogelio was free to do anything he wanted; He called the receptionist and ordered food for lunch. He then put on some Jazz music to play in the background to set the mood of the ultimate focus.
As Paris was his last stop, he thought of staying a bit more and actually feel at home where he was at Hotel Le Clement.
Rogelio took some time for himself in his bedroom, going through his journal where he had everything collected into words and drawings. Upon reading some pages of the previous month where his destiny actually started to respond, he found a pattern related to dreams. It was extremely bizarre that at least once a week he had a dream related to snakes infiltrating his personal space but couldn’t figure out the message it was trying to convey.
He knew dreams talked in the languages of symbols and events. It was in his nature to decipher things, this time his faculties failed and he thought of seeing an occultist to get some clarity but where could he found one that is genuine enough in Paris. He did not dare to ask Corin about it either.
The doorbell rang, and Rogelio lost sight of his thought. He went to open the door, it was the waiter serving them dinner. “Corin, let’s have lunch”, Rogelio called in a high pitch as both of them were hungry, they did not eat anything throughout the day. Both had lunch in the living room, where it was the perfect place to engage in a conversation about the script.
“Chapter two nearly completed”, said Corin,
“What? You’re speeding up I see”, astonished by the Corin’s skill.
“Before Friday, I bet on my capabilities! We shall submit the script by tomorrow itself, Boss”, confidently stated Corin.
“Don’t you think some editing is needed?”, asked Rogelio as he doubted his own talents, which was normal for any writer of any genre.
“Yeah, only the punctuations and paragraphing which I’m already doing while typing. You just have to prepare for the publishing and the day you’ll be going public”, said Corin.
“I’m already prepared for that. I am pretty confident about the content”, Rogelio bragged a bit.
“Now that you’ve brought the matter on the table, may I know how did you manage to get all these fabricated truths all together?”, curiously asked Corin.
“Look, to be honest, I’ve been working on this script for more than eight years. Since I was nineteen, I had already started writing, researching and exploring some of the things by myself. I was raised by a High Priest in an orphanage in South Africa. His teachings were of great help to me for finding the undiscovered truth about life on our planet and it is not fabricated truth per se”, Rogelio disclosed a part of himself.
“Now it gets interesting. At least I’ve got to know something about your past. Never have you ever searched for your parents?”, Corin asked.
“Nope, never. Maybe by publishing the book the word shall get out and who knows they might read it too. But I never bothered about them because they abandoned me in an orphanage for a reason they only know. Maybe I wasn’t part of their agenda”, replied Rogelio.
“Anyway Boss, you’ve got so many people inspired by your works now. You’ve got a family through your discoveries”, Corin inspired Rogelio.
“Yeah but you know, the solitary life is better. I appreciate my own company most of the time. The loner within is a seeker of truth after all”, confidently replied Rogelio.
“I cannot be like that, I crave company!”, pleaded Corin.
“That is your choice. We’ve been stuck here for ages. Ever trapped within the cycle of time and death. None ever realised it though”, uttered Rogelio as his eyes widened and eyebrows rose slowly.
“How can we escaped from this trap, Boss?”, urged Corin.
“I’m still seeking for the answer to this, by doing the right activity at the right time at the right location the answer shall come to me and to you of course!”, asserted Rogelio.
“Your philosophy is authentic. I’m glad I’m helping you with the script. I shall take my leave now, to continue the unfinished business. The lunch was great, thanks.”, smirked Corin while he left the living room to convert the rest of the script.
Rogelio as usual on his bed reflecting more on the activities he was immersed in. The book contained occult knowledge about all the ancient Gods of Greek, Indians, Mayans and Egyptians used as a metaphor only, as the names changed for every kin but God remained the same.
“I can be of great help to society to see the unity, shedding the beliefs of their kiths and kins for a better future”, he thought to a point of great optimism, “but could be seen as a negative projection of the Gods leading to dogma”, he stopped there because overthinking served him no good. He closed his eyes.
Laying down on that bed, he visualized how people were extremely happy about the publication, a moment of truth casting upon humanity; Being called up on stage to receive the prize of best-selling author of that year. Still in that meditative state, he got asleep with the lights still on and Corin working his ass off in the office. All of a sudden, hundreds of snakes were all around his bed and his belly, he screamed out loud enough and Corin rushed to the room and saw Rogelio in great fear, acting paranoid watching here and there.
“Look if it’s near the door! They are everywhere!”, shouted Rogelio in fear of snakes.
“What should I look for? There’s nothing here”, asked Corin.
“Are you sure? There were hundreds of snakes all around my room, on me everywhere . . .”, said Rogelio.
“It was just a nightmare, Boss. There is nothing here”, assured Corin.
Ashamed by his own reaction, Rogelio went to the bathroom for a shower, and Corin was still figuring out why Rogelio was so scared of snakes, and why he acted out like that, he went on to continue his job.
It was only the next morning that Rogelio confronted Corin about the dream. At seven o’clock sharp, Rogelio went out of bed to see Corin sleeping on the couch, moving on to the office he had typed the whole manuscript in one night and printed it out neatly. Happy about the amazing job by his assistant, he thought of offering a monetary reward for his dedication and effort. Leaving Corin asleep, Rogelio left the apartment with the script in hand to meet Collin without wasting more time.
Hitting the hammer while the iron was hot. He took his breakfast in Hotel Le Clement’s restaurant as usual before taking the cab to Library Mazarine. Feeling confident about his work and his new career breakthrough. “It’s going to be a great experience as my debut in publishing”, he thought on the way.
* * *
Rogelio paid the cabman and greeted the watchman while entering the front yard of the library. It was nine o’clock, due to his luck Collin had just entered the library’s parking and he saw Rogelio, happy by his presence he told Rogelio to wait in the lobby in the meanwhile.
“Do you need any help, Mr Rogelio, some clarity on how will be the publishing process conducted?”, asked Collin.
“No, not really. Here is the script all typed in for you”, replied Rogelio.
“A high performer got your back, right?”, laughed Collin, amazed by the results.
“Yeah, even I didn’t know Corin was a high performer. He completed it in one single night!”, said Rogelio.
“Great then, wait here then come meet me in my office in 5 minutes, tea as usual?”, asked Collin.
Collin walked through the library to give a look around if everything was fine then he came back entering his office waving at Rogelio to come in.
“I’ll go through the script today itself and give a call later on”, said Collin.
“Okay, now you have to tell me about the publication. That’s what I’ve been waiting for”, replied Rogelio.
“A pocket-size book, easy to digest. I’ll try being flexible on formatting the book so it doesn’t come out like a big fat dictionary. Royalties will be sixty per cent for you and forty per cent for the house with five thousand Euros in advance which will be given to you upon approval of the script. Book cover and other copyright materials are on the house’s side. Actually, you did the hard work, our job is to get your work out there in public. As I told you before, your book will be published and exposed in the fair occurring next month, so no worry about marketing as we are expecting some publishers around the globe to come by. Just have some patience and we’ll see to it if your book is worth becoming a best-seller, Rogelio”, elaborated Collin.
“It’s way better than I expected, I lacked much clarity on this matter”, said Rogelio.
“Just sign the non-disclosure agreement as a procedure of submitting your script to us and we’re ready to embark on this journey together”, requested Collin.
“Gonna have to give my assistant the good news. It took me eight years to amass information to craft this script with a pencil and he did the digital drafting in one single night”, said Rogelio.
“That’s what I was telling you, a high performer. May we end here or you got some more questions?”, asked Collin.
“I’m good with all that you told me, thank you very much”, assured Rogelio.
“The pleasure was all mine, see you later”
Rogelio signed the document and left the library with a smile on his face to go back to his apartment. Nearly noon, it was lunchtime and upon entering Hotel Le Clement he ordered lunch for two and went upstairs into his apartment to see Corin. There he just woke up and was about to leave.
“Wait Corin, let’s have lunch before you go. I actually submitted the script to Collin and he was astonished by your performance”, Rogelio praised Corin.
“You’ve already submitted it? That was pretty swift on your part!”, declared Corin.
He came by the couch and had lunch with Rogelio as a mini celebration for their achievement. The hardest part was done and now Rogelio had to be patient, waiting till the release date.
“I have a reward for you because of your dedication to getting it done before the deadline . . .”, Rogelio opened his chequebook and offered a signed check of a thousand euro to Corin.
“Wow! Isn’t that too much for such a task?”, asked Corin.
“You did it in a single night you fool. You deserve it”, revealed Rogelio. “I believe in meritocracy”, he added.
After the celebrating lunch, Corin left to his demise leaving Rogelio alone for the day. “Maybe that’s a turning point for my career”, thought Rogelio while cleaning the table in the living room. Now he had decided what he wanted, to do something significant in life. He was already doing that by delivering speeches but now, it was different as he would be sharing what he knew to the world through a book.
Going back reflecting on the teachings of his Father figure about life and everything that encompassed it. He set forth his desire to be recognised as a best-selling author who would impact generations through his research and writings.
Too young for such accomplishment, he knew he had to start somewhere. He journaled his journey of publishing the book ‘Another Discovery’, his habit of journalling had already made a significant impact in his life for it was that habit which helped him gather all the required substance to craft the amazing manuscript.
“Ever grateful to Father for teaching me how to respond to life and not be a victim while experiencing it fully to the core. It is a great time period for me, most of my dreams are coming true one at a time and Father do not know what I’ve been doing lately. The first print will have to be gifted to Him. It’s been a year since we’ve not talked to each other. Life is different outside the realm of the church, I am sure he is still serving others selflessly as it has been his purpose to be a servant of God; the saviour always here to help and serve others in time of chaos.”, he wrote.
Ending his journalling session thinking about His Father, although one call away, Rogelio could not call him due to His very busy schedule.
It was time for some rest, and he napped on the living room’s couch for a while. He closed his eyes visualising his success story. Instantly, he shifted into a dream state where he saw his entry into a cave, a dark and fear-mongering environment. He continued his way to find out big chunks of blueish-white sparkling crystals. As he came closer to touch those crystals, a snake out of the blue appeared and snapped him right on his face. Rogelio woke up swiftly touching his face, the telephone rang at the same time. He reached the telephone and answered.
“Hello, Mr Rogelio. Collin here, from the Bibliothèque Mazarine”
“Yes, it’s me”, Rogelio replied.
“I have good news, we’re going to publish your book and the board managed to give you ten thousand Euros in advance instead of five thousand for your amazing work. Are you fine with that?”, Collin asked.
“Well, that’s great news! You’ve just made my day. I’m all good with the advance. Thank you very much!”, He replied happily.
“Gonna have to meet you tomorrow noon to sign some documents. Bring your agent with you. Have a nice evening, goodbye”, Collin hung up on a good note.
Rogelio being extremely joyful about the approval, he called Corin to replicate the good news and told him about the meeting. Now that everything had been settled, Rogelio was breaking his head around the recurring dreams he experienced all these times, bothered with it to such a point he called his Father to seek some answers.
The phone rang but no one answered, so he left a voice message.
“Hello Father, Rogelio here. Hope you’re fine. I am finally publishing the book I told you about some time back and it has been approved for publications. The bad news is, I’ve been experiencing strange dreams of snakes that are perturbing my sleep and peace of mind. Continual, for more than two months now, perhaps you can give me some lucidity to the matter. Please call me then you’re available”, the voice note terminated.
Rogelio went for a bath, subsequently, he decided to watch the news on television to relax a bit in guise of waiting for his Father to call back. In the news, the main headline of that night was people in the whole region of Walmer, in South Africa had been intoxicated and more than thirty thousand people were declared dead. Around two hundred thousand people were hospitalized, in severe condition.
It was the region where Rogelio actually grew up, dismayed by this news he was worried about the orphanage. It was a catastrophe for the country, the news reported that the three primary water reservoirs were poisoned because the authorities failed to disburse the money redeemed by the mob for the foundation of a new town, and in return society, had to perish. The authorities initiated an investigation on the matter and people of the crime syndicate were wanted.
Suddenly the telephone rang.
“Hello”, Rogelio answered.
* * *
“Hello, Rogelio? Sister Bernadette here”
“Yes, it’s me. How are you Sister?”, replied Rogelio.
“We thought we’d never hear from you since you left. I’m fine, what about you?”, asked Sister Bernadette.
“Been doing a lot since I left for Europe. Doing great, some nightmares been troubling me. How’s Father?”, asked Rogelio.
“To be honest son, he is not fine. He’s a victim of the current water poisoning . . .”, replied Sister Bernadette.
“How come? That’s why I called. I saw what happened on the news. Are the kids alright?”, asked Rogelio, as his eyes slowly filled up with tears that he held with great courage.
“The kids are fine but Father doesn’t seem to rehabilitate. His immune system is weak, losing vitality every day. We are with him day and night, we don’t know when he can break the cords”, revealed Sister Bernadette.
“I should be back this week itself. I shall meet him one last time. It’s so unjust what the wicked have done. They will surely face the wrath of God. Please have some faith in the Divine for Father to not experience great suffering”, expressed Rogelio.
“I hope he will be fine, but it’s against the cards. Doctors said he might live for another ten to fourteen days in pain before he subdues to the substance. It will be a good thing for you to be here, Father might be happy seeing you”, replied Sister Bernadette.
“I’ll be booking my emergency tickets right in the morning. How come when I was in the dark, he was there for me and when he is in pain I’m not there at all?”, emphasized Rogelio.
“Do take care of yourself. The situation is not so great here. The mob is everywhere looting tourists, and civilians wherever they want, they’re angry and you know how they are”, cautioned Sister Bernadette.
“Don’t worry. See you this weekend. Take care”
“May the Lord be with you, Son”, preached Sister Bernadette.
He hung the phone, troubled by the condition of his Father figure. It was a time of crisis and Rogelio was in the midst of advancing his career forward. The life & death condition of his cherished Father forced him to change his priority. Rogelio had to meet Him one last time. It was Father Audric who took care of Rogelio during his childhood. He learnt so much through his sole Father figure, an idol He was. Rogelio’s repetitive dreams were trying to convey something, and it was the sudden upheaval related to his Father’s health.
“It all makes sense now or else what would those snakes be telling me?”, self-questioned Rogelio.
The bad news changed the mood of Rogelio, what he was expecting did not happen that night. So, Rogelio went to bed early, he had some serious activities planned for the next day.
* * *
The next morning, Rogelio called Corin.
“Hello Corin, a tragedy happened. I’ll have to move to South Africa as soon as possible. Father Audric is in a critical condition”, he said.
“Hello Sir, that’s not great news. I hope he’ll be alright, I heard about the poisoning cases in South Africa yesterday. It’s insane!”, replied Corin.
“Yeah, he is among the victims. I was thinking if you’d come with me”, Rogelio asked out of curiosity.
“When are you leaving Paris?”, asked Corin.
“Once I get the closest flight ticket I’ll be leaving”, affirmed Rogelio.
“What about the book then?”, asked Corin.
“We’ll be back by the time Collin moves on to publishing it next month. I’ll be there for a week or so, just to make sure everything is alright”, answered Rogelio.
“Okay then, I’ll be coming with you!”, affirmed Corin.
“Then today I’ll be buying the tickets, start to pack your bags!”, said Rogelio.
“Yes, thanks. Good day to you Sir”
“Thanks, same to you”, They both hung up the phone.
That day Rogelio went to the closest travel agency in town Av Ion Agency which is about two blocks away from Hotel Le Clement. There he booked two tickets to South Africa for Thursday morning, enough time in between to get more things done. It did cost him a bit more as it was an emergency booking. After the travel agency, Rogelio passed by the bank to retrieve some money for his personal use. Suddenly, Rogelio’s mobile phone rang and it was Corin.
“Hello Sir, Collin called me about the book. It has been approved by the board for publishing. We shall be there today itself before five p.m, to sign some agreements”, declared Corin.
Excited by the news, “Well, good luck hits when the bad has already happened. Let’s meet at the library now, I’m at the bank and should be there within twenty minutes”, replied Rogelio.
Taking a cab to the library, Rogelio waited for Corin under the tree in the main garden, reflecting back about the conditions of his Father and country at large.
“An inhuman act by the immoral brought destruction and misfortune all over the country, people will fear venturing in South Africa due to these filthy terrorists spreading chaos and awe among the citizens”, Rogelio thought about the case.
He couldn’t bear the fact that something insane was happening in his natal country. By that time, Corin arrived at the library and both entered the hallway to meet Collin who was working on the script with his internal team.
“Great to have you back among us Rogelio. We’re moving forward with your intellectual property”, amazed by the work, Collin declared.
As if fortune smiled upon him, “Means you liked the script . . .”, asked Rogelio.
“We loved it to the deepest part of our heart”, Collin opened a file on the table, “Read and sign the agreement of us acting as your publisher and make sure Corin signs here as he is your agent representing you”, he added.
Rogelio read the whole agreement and made a copy for himself, Corin signed the agreement and was officially the agent of Rogelio.
“I’m leaving Paris tomorrow, we shall meet on the day of the debut”, said Rogelio.
“Just be here on time, 10th July 1999, nine o’clock the fair starts right in the morning”, declared Collin.
“I’ll be back before July 10th and if there’s anything just contact Corin. It’s great doing business with you Collin. Have a great week ahead”
They shook hands one last time, Rogelio and Corin left the library accomplishing one of Rogelio’s main desire. Walking down Rue de Seine, both separated along the way, Rogelio went to his hotel and Corin to his demise just after the Luxembourg Garden. Their flight was scheduled at nine thirty the next morning, Rogelio slept a bit early that night after packing all his things into two suitcases. As usual, he wrote in his journal before heading to bed.
* * *
At seven in the morning, Rogelio and Corin were in a cab heading to Paris, Charles de Gaule airport for their flight. On the plane Rogelio told Corin that his Father will leave Earth forever, his condition was critical as confirmed by Sister Bernadette. They arrived at Cape Town International Airport after nine hours on the plane, now they had to travel more along the roads of Oudtshoorn State where the mob reigned.
All around the airport hundreds of contract cars, range rovers and trucks were available for rent with a driver, a common business around that area. The muddy and rocky lands required off-road transports to move around easily. Rogelio waved his hand at a driver, “We need a transport!”, shouted loudly in the midst of a crowded environment. The driver brought a range rover ready for adventure in the remote areas of the state.
“To the Crystal Child Orphelina please, we are two”, said Rogelio.
“Jump in friends”, confidently replied the driver.
The two entered the transport with their bags, “How much you’re gonna take?”, asked Rogelio.
“Hundred and fifty Euros for you people, you’ll be there safely rest assured. I guess I know you, Rogelio right?”, asked the driver.
“How come you know me? What is your name?”, asked Rogelio while the driver started the engine.
“My name is Sabal, was in the orphanage when you were in your teens. We grew up in the same place. Don’t you remember me?”, asked Sabal.
Rogelio gave a serious look at him when he happened to remember the fellow driver.
“Oh, I remember you now! You used to take care of the garden back then”, said Rogelio all smiling as he found a long-lost friend. They journeyed around Cape Town to take up the route to the orphanage, the most secure.
“The mob are all around, you know?”, asked Sabal.
“Yeah, got the news. Father Audric’s health is not so great, he’s suffering from the poison”, said Rogelio.
Sabal’s mood altered drastically, hearing about the bad news, “I’ve got to pay him a visit too! It’s been a while since I’ve not gone to the church”, he said.
It was a full night’s journey around the rural areas of the state, the group had a worthwhile conversation.
“So, is this your job?”, asked Rogelio.
“Yeah, got some luck in mining gold. I bought this transport to change job”, replied Sabal.
“You were in mining?”, curiously asked Rogelio.
“Sometime back when this business was booming in the country. You were still a kid back then”, replied Sabal.
“What about now? Aren’t there any mining area in the vicinity?”, questioned Corin.
“Investors are quite afraid of the mob now. Every time they end up looting the miners, causing great loss. Many miners even lost their lives in protecting the resources mined”, replied Sabal.
“Aren’t the authority doing anything about these maggots?”, asked Rogelio.
“The mob is everywhere, they are all around our country. We do not even know who forms part of such a criminal organization. A huge network. I heard about that they got contacts offshore that facilitate the trading of drugs and other illegal materials like guns and not to forget children!”, replied Sabal.
“The wicked always pay for their sins”, replied Corin.
“Yeah but people here are vulnerable. Retaliation only worsens the whole scenario”, stated Rogelio.
“You’re right. Hope we don’t come across one of them on the road”, replied Sabal.
They cruised along the off-roads across the mountain regions, Corin gazing the amazing view of Africa. The forest was large, thick and prospering expanding over thousands of hectares. The view ended where his eyes could see, looked as if the forest was eternal. A mishmash of sounds, predominantly of small creatures which added life to the forest, backed by a raging river from afar. Bundled branches waved from a couple of trees, and a pot-pouri of flowers which desperately tried to claim the last remnants of light. It was exotic, never to be seen in Europe. A unique scenery, Corin experienced. Rogelio was back home after a year, he immediately came back to his senses of being free in nature.
Chaos spreading over a paradise like this, a difficult time for the people of South Africa.
* * *
The sun setting past the mountain regions, it was around five thirty p.m, when Sabal and company reached Chapel Eternity. Rogelio was back to what he knew as home, unfortunately, he was there only to meet his suffering Father. He remained in the range rover for a while, gazing over the garden and the church before getting off. They went inside the Chapel to pray.
As they walk forward to the main portal, immediately met by a vivid world full of colours and light all around the chapel. Regardless of the horrible conditions, they could sense the feeling of serenity. A captivating world it was inside the Chapel. Long benches arranged in parallel to each other facing the cross and Almighty Jesus Christ. Old rocks, 16th-century glasses and the awesome decorations of ceramic tiles were in perfect alignment. On the high altar, candles burnt beneath the crucified Christ, flowers spread out around the candles.
The Chapel was empty, Rogelio lit a candle and prayed to the Almighty for His Father to be free from any sufferings. A drop of tear came out of his eyes, so much emotion was present for His Father. Sabal and Corin were praying too, they prayed for the innocent people and animals poisoned by the wicked, and especially for Father Audric. At last, they left the nurturing Chapel made of stone walls while experiencing the last sunlight of the day. They closed the portal behind and continued their walk to the Precious Gems Orphelina.
“There is no worse fate for a child in this corrupt state than to lose his/her parents. No one will take care of an orphan”, Rogelio voiced out to Sabal and Corin.
Walking through rows of flowers all across the garden, which did deserve some credit and the hedges with climbing pants attracted attention too; But nothing could be compared to the majesty of the ornamental boulder in the form of a semi-crude gemstone. The place was filled with vitality, a large place for anyone to have some solitude moment or kids could play around easily. Corin’s view about Rogelio changed completely, it was what he desired as a child, to be free. He grew up in Paris in the midst of urban areas which were not so peaceful.
It clearly showed on his face how Rogelio was feeling nostalgic about his childhood here among many other children. It was getting late as the sun had already set out. A lady dressed in plain black and white scarf, she was an old nun who slowly walked out the orphanage’s main entrance.
“Sister Bernadette! Sister! We are here!”, Rogelio shouted.
She looked straight to them with a mild smile, happy to see Rogelio after so long. They walked through the walkway made of multi-coloured bricks in a flowery pattern. They greeted Sister Bernadette.
“You should be hungry after such a long journey. Come inside all of you, I’m gonna serve you dinner”, she said but Rogelio and his fellows refused politely.
“We shall meet Father first, for it was all about Him that we came here, Sister. Not being rude but you can take care of our tummy after that”, proposed Rogelio.
“No problem, just follow me”, replied Sister Bernadette as she turned around and walked upstairs in the orphanage.
The building was empty, not even a child walking around. Showed how disciplined these kids were under the patronage of Father Audric. They walked through the two-level wooden stairs before reaching the room of Father Audric, on top of the building. Sister Bernadette opened the door, the room was quite large with a bed on which rested Father Audric, a table and a chair. It looked like his home office, with an open cupboard containing hundreds of books and papers all around the table. Father Audric turned his neck to the door, showed a mild smile on his face after seeing the presence of so many people especially Rogelio who came to see him.
* * *
Father Audric managed to sit on the bed where he was lying. Rogelio took the four-legged couch, came closer and sat next to Him. Sabal, Corin and Sister Bernadette circled around the bed, all fixing their attention on Father Audric for he was the patron, the only figure who had a place in their hearts. Sister Bernadette served Him a glass of warm milk, it milk helped to cope with the deadly toxic substance which had infected the lungs and intestines.
Father Audric’s face was pale, showed clear signs of intense inner suffering. He was in pain and there was a lot under his umbrella, kids, church, the orphanage and other charitable activities he usually conducted around deprived regions of South Africa.
“I’ve been thinking about you lately, my son. It hasn’t been easy at all since you left”, stated Father Audric.
“I am extremely sorry for not being here on time, Father”, replied Rogelio.
“Oh don’t be sorry. You’ve always been on time, Son”, He coughed slightly.
“I don’t have much time left on this plane of existence. The Divine is calling me. I shall leave with grace and detachment from everything”, said Father Audric.
“The heavens are waiting for you, Father”, said Rogelio.
“A normal death was not on the cards for me. This is it! This is how it ends. This is how I leave you all, transcending all existence to reach the higher abode of God”, stated Father Audric.
“Tell me, Father, what can I do for you one last time. I came here all the way to hear you utter how I can be of service to you!”, asked Rogelio.
“You’ve done so much, now shall you live your life to the fullest. The Divine is with you, always! Just take it as a blessing”, declared Father Audric.
“No Father, I want to serve you one last time. Look, brother Sabal is here too, and Corin, my assistant came to see you! Tell me Father”, Rogelio insisted.
“Death is just a step in the process of transformation. I will become light, once my soul leaves this body made of Earth. The only thing I couldn’t do was to return the Jewel of God”, exposed Father Audric.
“The Jewel of God? What is that Father?”, asked Rogelio, sparked his curiosity.
“The day your parents left you at the church’s doorstep, you weren’t alone”, said Father Audric.
“How come?”, asked Rogelio, as it had something to do with his past.
“A crystal was present in the same basket you were in. Light emanated from within the crystal; light blue with a golden tint. It was the first time ever I saw such a beauty like that”, replied Father Audric.
“A crystal? Is it still here?”, asked Rogelio.
“Yes, in my table’s drawer it lies covered up with a piece of cloth. I know where it came from, God knows how your father managed to acquire it. The crystal came from outer space, from another dimension, foreign to man. The ancient folklore knew something about a meteorite falling on the mountains of Cango ages ago. I don’t believe in this biased story”, affirmed Father Audric.
“Then, what’s the thing about it and why to return it?”, asked Rogelio.
“Your parents were in great danger at that time. It was because of the crystal, somehow to mob members found out your father had discovered something foreign on the mountain. Your parents managed to escape by bringing you and the crystal here. There are very little chances of them being alive, Son. I’m really sorry I’ve never told you about that”, revealed Father Audric.
“To be honest I’ve lost hope in finding them. I’m ever grateful for your help in taking care of me. Now at least give me the chance to return back the life long favour”, said Rogelio.
Father Audric took a deep and slow breath, “The crystal holds immense powers, every time I touch it I get strange dreams and nightmares, sometimes it evens shows the way. Once I saw in a vision, going up the road of Cango Caves, there is a tunnel that leads to the vault where a vast amount of these crystals are to be found. I am asking you to do it on my behalf, and return it to where it belongs. It shall never be in the wrong hands. I never got the courage to go out there to do it, maybe it was meant for you to accomplish this task. It came with you, shall it go with you”, He said. “All my findings are documented on paper, on the library’s shelve. In due time you shall find all the answers by yourself. Go and return it to where it belongs, Son”, He added.
“How will I know which way to take Father?”, asked Rogelio.
“Ask the crystal with your heart and it shall guide you”, replied Father Audric.
“Father, I am going to accompany Rogelio in this mission, it is my duty too!”, stated Sabal.
“Just be careful and be on guard. These roads are dangerous”, said Father Audric.
Father Audric drank the whole glass of milk, in pain, he glided back lying on the bed to rest. He knew it was his last days here. Finally, he spoke the truth to Rogelio and his existence. It was Rogelio’s purpose to return the Jewel of God before someone else got hold of it for malefic use. Rogelio took the bedsheet and covered Father Audric,
“Rest assured Father, I will take care of the matter now. I meet you tomorrow before leaving on the mission”, Rogelio said in a mild voice.
“May the Divine be with you all the time, Son. May the Divine be with you all my fellow children”, Father Audric blessed all that was present in the room and closed his eyes, hands place on his chest resting peacefully.
“Let’s go now, let him rest”, said Sister Bernadette.
Everyone left the room, while Sister Bernadette closed the door behind. They moved into the dining room where she served them food and water.
“Rogelio, you’ll be staying in your room along with Sabal and Corin, it’s been empty since you left”, she said and left the dining room to continue her routine.
The quest of returning the crystal bothered Rogelio while he was having dinner; It was the last wish of His Father. He finally knew a little bit about his parents, after twenty seven years, he took the path of his own father as a researcher. It has been in his blood running through his veins all the time. His natal father made a breakthrough, by discovering a foreign matter but never got the chance to let the world know about it.
“Do you know the road to Cango Cave?”, Rogelio asked Sabal the way.
“Yes, but we will have to walk a little bit. About ten kilometres before reaching the cave’s entrance”, he replied confidently as an adventurer.
Rogelio knew that Father Audric would be giving him a significant task. On the other hand, Sister Bernadette was looking after the kids and was nearly nine p.m, time for bed. As usual, she read a short story for the kids, as she did in the past. The orphanage was quite big, capable of sustaining around two hundred children. Under the patronage of Father Audric, those children received the guidance to stay on the right path since their childhood.
All that was about to change as the patron Himself was in great suffering, walking on the path of death. There had to be someone who could take up the place of Father Audric after his departure but none gave a thought to that possibility. After getting the kids to sleep, Sister Bernadette went into the dining room to find the group still dinning in silence.
“Still eating?!”, she exhorted.
“How can we eat when Father is in a state of suffering?”, replied Rogelio, feeling sad about the current situation.
“Hurry up, I’m gonna lead you to Father’s office tonight itself”, said Sister Bernadette.
Rogelio left his plate unfinished and followed Sister Bernadette to the church, on the other hand after dinner Sabal and Corin went to their room to drop off the luggage previously loaded on the range rover.
* * *