Today’s entry marks the final chapter of the Andy and The Zodiac Crystal book that I’ve been writing for over a year now. I want to thank each of you who have been reading along with me on this adventure about a 12-year old boy and a magical crystal that bestows him unique abilities. If you haven’t read any of my prior chapters, don’t worry, because as always, I’ve included a link to a PDF file that contains the entire story up to this point, including this final chapter as well. I plan on continuing my fictional writing soon, either with beginning a sequel to this book, or starting an entirely new one. But for now, I’m going to take a much-needed break from it for a short while. Nevertheless, I hope you truly enjoy the final chapter. Happy reading!
Click here to open the PDF file for for the entire book, including today’s chapter.
Andy and The Zodiac Crystal – Chapter 41
I tried to hold out as long as I could and in the process, totally lost track of time. Several months had passed already, that I knew, of which I felt nothing but utter despair and loneliness during it all. On some crazy level, I had actually begun to hope that Carl Dillard would somehow just show up and check on me, only if to remind me why I was continuing to endure this.
I looked terrible and know I smelled badly, but I did the best I could to take care of myself given the limited resources I had access to in the frozen world I had been living in. Unfortunately, my hair had continued to grow so I had to bi-weekly use a pair of scissors in the house to keep it short. And to wash my body, I utilized a number of bottled waters each time, although it didn’t exactly get me clean. I was grateful though that at least my face hadn’t started to grow any facial hair yet.
Nevertheless, I couldn’t take it anymore. I was sick and tired of eating the way I did and seeing my family every day sitting there in the car in front of the house, unable to move. It was beyond intolerable. At times, I often found myself sitting in there with them, crying, and wishing I could unfreeze even one of them somehow. All of my powers felt so useless and I really saw no option left other than to remain in this state forever until I grew old or give up the crystal to Carl and be over with it.
I regularly pondered the latter and frequently wondered what’s the worst that could happen if I did give it to him? How could one person take over the world with both of the crystals in their possession anyway? But I always came back to the thought of his family’s connection to Hitler and how the world had almost come to an end under his rule. And that thought alone kept me going one day to the next, continuing to suffer the insanity of it all.
I was ready to give up though. Even the thought of having a potential new Hitler wasn’t helping me to keep going on like this. As I walked outside, standing in front of my half-opened garage for the umpteenth time, I looked at my family and thought about our Thanksgiving trip, which felt so long ago now. Then I thought about the day I first picked up the crystal from that perch in the cave and suddenly I had a thought! And for some unknown reason, I hadn’t considered it at any point in the past few months.
“Maybe I could use the time travel ability and go back to the day I picked up that crystal and tell myself to leave it there?” I said aloud as if anyone was listening to me. “That way it would be safe from Dillard”.
I knew there might be risks, as I didn’t know what ramifications it might have on my slightly younger self or the present me either. What would my slightly younger self do when he sees me? What would happen to the present me, to my friendship with Chris, and all the things that had happened since that day I picked the crystal up?
I had a lot of questions like this, yet I was still willing to take the risk, because the thought of having to go through one more day like this was utterly agonizing. And at least it wouldn’t be me giving Dillard the crystal.
I made up my mind and decided to try. What’s the worst that could happen anyway? As I began to focus on the thought of me in that cave, which felt like eons ago now, I muttered the sign, expecting it not to work given how long I had remained up to this point in this frozen state.
Quite unexpectedly, that dizziness feeling, along with the upset stomach kicked in, and my heart leapt with some hope. I closed my eyes while the process of sending me through time began and thought I felt something at one point touch my back. I decided to shrug it off as probably just my nerves. When I finally reopened my eyes, there in front of me was the bright purple crystal glowing, sitting on its perch in that cave where time moved differently. And there I was, my slightly younger self, getting ready to pick it up.
“WAIT!” I shouted.
My slightly younger self abruptly turned around, totally startled. It’s then I noticed I had been transported right onto the spot where the number “72” was.
“Who-o a-a-re y-you?” my younger self stuttered, obviously not fully seeing it was himself due to the shadows that were casting across my face.
I then stepped into one of the many rays of light shimmering across the cave and was about to explain when suddenly I heard a voice come from behind me.
“Did you think you could escape me that easily?”
I knew that sinister-sounding voice all too well and couldn’t believe Carl Dillard had somehow managed to follow me, even through time and space to the very spot where I began this journey.
I watched as the slightly younger version of myself look beyond me and I could tell by his expression that he was extremely afraid.
“I’m not going to give the crystal up to you Carl, EVER!” I said turning around and seeing him loom directly in front of me now.
“What’s going on? Who are you two?” My younger self said, apparently shocked at the sight of himself and a total stranger in a cave that was seconds ago occupied by him alone.
“You know you made this so much easier for me Andy, by leading me straight to the crystal…” Carl said as he walked past me and observed all the markings in the cave.
“Oh the Council and their games! They do like a good puzzle, don’t they?” Carl said, carefully avoiding each of the markings on the floor as he walked around the cave.
My slightly younger self was starting to look an awful lot like a deer caught in headlights.
“Andy, remain calm. I’ll explain everything after I handle this.”
“Handle what? You…handle me? Fat chance. You don’t even know all your abilities yet or how to use multiple ones at the same time. But I do.” Carl said in a very cocky tone. He then muttered something as he walked towards the glowing purple crystal.
I instantly attempted to run towards it, hoping to grab it before he did, but found myself unable to move.
“Andy, grab the crystal, now!” I hollered.
“I can’t move!!! Would someone please tell me what’s going on?!” My slightly younger self screamed.
“Two Andy’s, both so weak and afraid. You really did make this so easy for me Andy. I bet you’re dying to know how I followed you back in time aren’t you?”
“HELP!!!!” My slightly younger self shouted frantically.
Carl was now standing directly in front of him, staring him down, savoring every moment of it.
“You really thought I had left you alone all that time didn’t you Andy?”
“WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHO YOU ARE!!!” said my younger self somewhat heatedly.
“I’m actually talking to the other pitiful you if you must know.” Dillard scoffed, as he moved my slightly younger self’s hands around into ridiculous looking positions.
“LEAVE HIM ALONE!!!” I said as Dillard continued to play mannequin on him.
“Aww, poor Andy. Poor, helpless Andy. You know, I was actually invisible the entire time at your house, watching your pathetic self, cry day after day. And I really enjoyed seeing you suffer like that! And when you finally figured out that there was only one way for you to get out of time being frozen, which I knew you would at some point, I followed you back in time by simply touching you once you activated the sign.”
“I have no idea what either of you are talking about! Please let me go and you can have the crystal. I don’t want it anymore!” My slightly younger self pleaded.
“Andy, why don’t tell him who you are?” Carl said as he walked around the purple crystal, while holding his own in his hand. He had yet to reach out and grab it, almost as if he was savoring every moment.
“Go screw yourself!” I shouted angrily.
A searing pain then quickly shot through my head like he had done to me several times before.
“Alright! Alright! I’ll tell him! Stop! Please!” I begged.
“Now that’s a good boy, do as your told Andy.” The excruciating pain then ceased.
“What do you want me to tell him?” I said begrudgingly.
“Tell him what he’s going to lose once I take this crystal for myself.”
I didn’t want to, but I saw no other choice.
“Andy, that crystal there has unique and extremely powerful abilities, one of which is time travel and it’s how he and I are here right now. Once you take it in your hands, it becomes yours to hold and yours alone. I know this might be hard to believe, but there is a Higher Order of beings who placed this very crystal here for you to find, to learn how to use it, and to protect the planet from people like him with it.”
“You’re joking, right? And even if you aren’t, I’m only 12 years old, how can I be anything special. I’ve never been anything but a nerd that no one wants to spend time with.”
“Oh Andy, you are saying all the words that I’ve known all along and have had a great laugh at the Council for choosing you.” Dillard said sarcastically to my slightly younger self. “It’s really too bad that Chris is frozen in time back in the present Andy! HA! Where’s your Guardian now!!!”
“Who’s Chris and what’s a Guardian?” My slightly younger self said trying to make sense of everything.
At that very moment, I watched as Carl approached the perch where the glowing purple crystal stood, ready to take his prize, obviously growing bored with all the questions and the game he had been playing with us. As he gripped his dark crystal tightly in his right hand, sheer excitement in his eyes, he finally reached for it.
“AT LAST!” He said, clasping his hands around it. “AHHHHHH!!!”
A scream came from his mouth unlike any other I had ever heard, as if Dillard was now experiencing some completely unbearable pain.
Suddenly the dark crystal in his right hand exploded into several pieces, as he was thrown across the room, hitting the wall with such velocity that he got knocked unconscious. It was then I found myself able to move.
“Andy, can you move now?” I yelled to my slightly younger self.
“Yes!” He said feeling relieved.
“Can you trust me and not ask any more questions?” I said knowing how inquisitive I can be, especially when I’m afraid.
“Ok…” He said apprehensively.
“Quick, grab the crystal, and run to the cave opening, as the door is going to come down once you do.”
I then watched as he immediately swiped it from its perch, which was strange for me, as if I was experiencing déjà vu seeing it play out all over again.
Once he safely had it in his hand, the crunching noise of the cave’s door slowly beginning to close started, while a voice then shouted from the other side of the room.
“Wait, you can’t leave me in here!” Dillard shouted as he struggled to get up while my slightly younger self and I sprinted as fast as we could towards the opening.
The good part of me actually did want to help him, but I didn’t trust that he wouldn’t try something, given how sadistic he had been from the very start. And even though I could probably time travel back to the present with Dillard from within the cave itself, I didn’t want to. It was too great of a risk, especially because of his deception and the fact that I didn’t ultimately know what was going to happen in here once the cave door closed for good.
As I raced towards the opening, I was relieved to see my slightly younger self had successfully made it safely through, given how he had several more seconds from when I had first experienced this. Unfortunately, I was now unsure if I was actually going to make it through this time, but the fear of being left in the cave with Dillard gave me the same adrenaline rush I had once before. It was enough to propel me forward onto the floor, rapidly rolling sideways again, watching as the bed of rock narrowly missed crushing my entire body.
“WAIT!!!!” Screamed Dillard, who had somehow managed to get up and was running towards the door.
It was too late though.
With a thunderous crunch, the door slammed down onto the ground.
At that moment, I actually felt bad for Carl Dillard, even though he had been so cruel to me from the time I first met him. Would he die in there? Would the Council release him somehow? Would the cave transport him home?
I didn’t have those answers, but I knew there was no way I could save him, seeing that I didn’t know how to use two abilities at the same time yet. And even though I could probably tell my slightly younger self how to do so with his new crystal, I knew I needed to protect the secrets of it and let them unfold to him as they were meant to.
Nevertheless, I then noticed my slightly younger self had already sprinted up the stairs, which I promptly did the same. When I reached the top, he was standing there, still looking like a deer caught in headlights.
“I know you don’t understand any of what’s going on right now Andy. And I really can’t tell you anything other than it will be ok, especially now that Carl is no longer a threat. But I warn you, you will see him again and when you do, do not let him know that you already met him. Don’t give him any idea whatsoever of this. As it could undo all of this and have disastrous consequences on both you and me.”
“So what do I say when I see him then?” My slightly younger self said timidly.
“You say nothing. You pretend you don’t know him. You never say his name until he says it first and you let happen what’s meant to happen in the way it’s meant to. The only thing you need to do, is not acknowledge you know him already in any way, shape, or form.”
“Ok. That I can do!” He said confidently.
“Good. Now I must go and you need to get home.”
“But I have so many questions for you…”
“Andy, you know as well as I do, that time travel has potential side effects. All you need to do is let things happen as they do and never acknowledge any of what took place here to anyone again, and I mean no one, including Chris!”
“Ok, but who’s Chris?” My slightly younger self said confused.
“You’ll know soon enough, but for now, just remember, don’t tell anyone any of this and just let things happen as they’re meant to. Now please, go home!”
Thankfully, he didn’t ask me anything else and quickly sprinted off towards the home I miss.
Once he was out of sight, I muttered “Aquarius” while thinking about the last memory I had before arriving here. As the dizziness and upset stomach kicked in once again, I closed my eyes and wondered if time could somehow still be frozen back in the present. When I opened them, I was standing once again in front of my half-opened garage, staring at my family’s car.
“Oh no!” I said aloud, as I saw their figures still in there. My heart immediately sunk, wondering if I was destined to live the rest of my life alone in a frozen world. But then it happened. The doors of the car opened and my family proceeded to emerge.
I instantly raced over to each of them, hugging them profusely. And it was then a number of memories I didn’t have before my trip back in time flooded into my brain. One where I first arrived home and realized my family wasn’t there anymore, except this time I hadn’t panicked as much. And a bunch of others that all involved each of my moments with Dillard, Chris, Laura, and my Grandmother, not once ever letting any of them know the real truth.
As my parents looked at me curiously, like I was acting rather strange, my sister and I shared a look that said she knew somehow that time had been frozen for a while again. I laughed while I grabbed her suitcase and couldn’t wait to tell Chris that Carl Dillard was finally no more…
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson