|"Epiphanies 2: The Anasazi Road"|
Disclaimer: I would be the happiest woman on Earth if I owned any of these people, but sadly, only Josh, the Holbrooks, and Paul Hernandez are mine.|
Summary: This is the sequel to EPIPHANIES 1: The Ties That Bind. It picks up the evening of the Evans barbeque that ended the first story. Here, Max and Liz must come to terms with a shocking revelation about Liz and her Grandma Claudia. They search the past among Native American ruins and history to find the truth and each other.
Authors Note: I have done extensive research on the Anasazi for this fic. Most of what you will read is either factual or widely accepted speculation. I have, on occasion, filled in a gap or made an assumption that suits my purposes. The alien connection, of course, is my own Roswell-loving imagination.
|It was a quiet group sitting around the campfire that night. They'd made supper and cleaned up, and the night had descended quickly, cooling the air to the point where they actually needed jackets.|
"Dad, does this symbol mean anything to you?" Liz showed her dad the spiral symbol from the library photocopies.
Jeff stared at the symbol. "It looks familiar, but I can't say why. What is it?"
"We found this in a book about Anasazi mythology, but it matches one on the cave wall at the reservation. Isabel found it on a pendant, too." She avoided mentioning how and where they had come across that pendant.
"Seems to me that when mom doodled, you know, talking on the phone or concentrating on problem, that's what she'd draw. I never asked her what it meant. I thought it was just doodling."
Liz nodded. That's probably what she would have thought, too. She yawned. "I'm tired. I'm gonna turn in. You coming, Max?"
Max glanced in Jeff's direction. "I think I'll watch the stars for a while. You go on."
Liz looked disappointed. She followed Max's eyes and realized Max was trying to make her dad comfortable by keeping some distance between them. "Okay then." She bent toward him. His automatic response was to turn to her, kissing her gently. As always, his body responded immediately, but as his fingers slid around the back of her head to pull her closer, he remembered their audience and pulled back. Liz smiled knowingly. "I love you," she whispered, and turned to walk to the tent.
The two most important men in Liz Parker's life sat in a tense silence. Finally, Max spoke.
"I don't know what to say to convince you that I'm not going to hurt Liz, but I promise you, I would do anything for her, and I'll do my best to keep her safe."
Jeff nodded, touched by Max's sincere words. "I believe you mean that, Max, but I'm wondering if anything can keep either of you safe now. You've been through a lot, I know, and I'm grateful for your intentions, but if you two pursue this, you have no idea what will happen. You're teenagers, barely able to know your own minds, let alone make decisions that will affect you and countless others."
"I can agree with your facts, but not your conclusions. Yes, we're teenagers, but we have seen and experienced and coped with more in the last year than most people do in a lifetime. I finally understand this connection I have always felt with Liz. After spending my life feeling as if I didn't belong anywhere, I've found my home--in Liz. And as for our decisions affecting others, that's exactly why we have to do this. There's a planet self-destructing out there from civil war, and that conflict is spreading to Earth. And somehow, I'm supposed to be responsible for stopping it. If we don't do anything, we let it happen. I'm not afraid of this journey affecting others, I'm counting on it. Liz and I have to do this . . . together.
"Please, Mr. Parker, . . . Jeff, you are the only one who can understand this. We need your help."
Max looked intently at Liz's father. There was a plea in his eyes as he willed Jeff Parker to become their ally.
"You're asking a lot, Max. That's my little girl in there. She means the world to me."
"Me, too," said Max simply.
Inside the tent, Liz smiled happily.
"Jeffrey, Liz, Max? We need to talk." Grandma Claudia waited as the three sleeping campers roused themselves.
"Grandma!" exclaimed Liz excitedly. "You're back already!"
"I told you we'd be spending time together, didn't I, little one? We need to talk about what happens next."
"Mom, this is too dangerous for them. You've accomplished your goal. Liz knows the truth. Can't we just leave it at that?"
He already knew the answer, but he couldn't stop trying to protect Liz from . . . from whatever it was that she needed protection from. Not knowing that made this all the more terrifying.
"Jeffrey, like it or not, these two are special. Together they have created a strong force, one that actually has a chance of settling this long conflict and bringing peace to Voya and preventing an escalation here. But I wasn't able to finish solving this puzzle. All I can do is offer clues and guidance along the way. They have a place in history and it can't be denied."
She turned to Max and Liz, who had moved closer together as she talked. Max now sat with his arm wrapped protectively around Liz, and they listened intently to what she was saying. It really did seem intimidating when she talked about them this way.
"You must delve further into the journals, Liz. There's a description of the artifact you two must find. You'll need to go to Mesa Verde in Colorado to find it, though. That's where our people first made contact with the Anasazi, and I'm sure that's where it's hidden. I also think you'll find clues to what happened in the more recent research about the Anasazi's disappearance. It wasn't drought that drove them away; it had to do with our enemies trying to steal the artifact away, knowing it would persuade the population on Voya to support them. They were trying to buy friends among the Anasazi with technology. What they accomplished was to set the Anasazi against each other. Two factions became so ideologically opposed that many fled to start life fresh somewhere else, abandoning much of what they had believed in for centuries. Some died, and some just gave up hope." She shook her head sadly. "I was so close," she gestured with frustration. "Why couldn't I have just finished what I started?"
"How am I supposed to explain sending these two to Colorado to Nancy and the Evanses?" asked Jeff, just picturing Nancy's face at the suggestion.
"You have camping buddies all over this part of the country, Jeffrey. Couldn't you convince one of them to host them for a little while? My colleague, Paul Hernandez, can look after them once they're there. Perhaps one of those Sierra Club excursions to the Cliff Palace would be a good cover."
"Cover? You make it sound like they're spies or cops! Besides, alone? It will still never fly. And I can't go. The restaurant won't run itself."
"Tess." Max spoke quietly, taking them all by surprise. "Tess can make them believe we're going with a group. All she needs is to create a scene for our departure and one for the return."
Three sets of eyes stared at him. This was a totally new concept to both Jeff and Grandma Claudia. Liz nodded. "It'll work. I've seen her do it."
Grandma Claudia smiled. "Well, there you have it. Tess will take care of it."
With that, Grandma Claudia wished them a goodnight and faded away. Without giving it a thought, Max lay down and Liz immediately curled up beside him. Jeff watched the scene and sighed. He didn't know what stand to take on this, but he wasn't going to get into it now. He, too, lay down, and the campers were asleep again within seconds.
|Part 11 | Index | Part 13|
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