Earthbound: A Hero Chosen (book 1)

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PSY 13: My Sanctuary

PSY 13 – My Sanctuary

I reached the top of the rope and rolled onto my back. I lay, bathing in the warm sunlight from the cave exit just behind me. If there were gods out there, I would have to remind myself to thank them. But for the moment, I needed to activate the Sanctuary of Giant’s Step. I lifted my hands and guarded my eyes from the light, it was so blinding, yet so welcoming. I almost wondered if I had died in the battle and this was my heaven.

Regardless of what the light was, I climbed onto my knees and stumbled to the mouth of the cave. I stood before a grassy plateau, and a nice warm breeze. Only a single tree sat a few yards away. Other than that there was one other item of landscaping—be it dug out by human hands, or made by a colossal sized humanoid, it was clearly a deep giant footprint.

“Well doesn’t that just beat all?” I whispered as I stumbled forward toward it.

I took half a dozen steps before my legs could carry me no more. I fell onto one knee and held myself up with my hands. My backpack fell partially off of my shoulder and the flap popped open—out fell the small silvery stone—the Sound Stone. It rolled on its side and stopped just in front of me. The stone began glowing softly at first, but then the light became much greater, so great I had to squint my eyes—but instead I felt as if I should close them. So I did. The warm tranquility of it all was so wonderful, I could just fall asleep… and maybe I did, because next I could hear music. A beautiful tune, as if coming through a wind instrument. It was hollow, yet whole, strange, yet grand, and most of all it was the most welcoming feeling I had felt since the first time I could remember my mother holding me. Despite my eyes being closed, I saw a small, cute puppy. The white St. Bernard wagged its sail and barked, running around me in circles. I smiled and reached out to pet it, but then it dissolved into the air, and the music came to a stop.

I opened my eyes and all was right and just. I felt empowered—no not because I had grown stronger, or learned a new psychic ability—it was more of a mentality. A state of mind. Knowing that I had conquered my first Sanctuary, just like Buzz Buzz had asked of me on his death bed, gave me more reason—more drive to fight; to do it. To complete my mission. Yes, I was Ness, a young teenager from Onett, and I was going to save the world.

I turned and walked back toward the cave. The walls of the plateau were too steep to climb down, I would have to walk back through the way I came. I came to the ropes, and felt no pain in my scraped hands as I descended. I made it down the first and came down to the very bottom, where I found my Tee Ball Bat covered in Antoids. I walked right up to them, and instead of challenging me, they scattered in every direction, running and crawling into every nook, cranny, crack and crevice that they could.

I walked through the cave the entire way. The wretched slugs tried to get away, but I stepped on them, smashing them into the ground. The rowdy mice looked at me with fearful eyes and hit in their holes. They knew not to mess with me this time. They knew who I was—even if their minds were poisoned with Giygas’ influence they knew to stay the heck out of the way if they wanted to live. Maybe Giant’s Step had given the creatures fear of me, or maybe it was my new attitude—my new aura, but what I did know was they would stay out of my way for good should I ever return.

On the ground floor of the cave I spotted the exit, the way I had originally entered, just behind the touring Entertainer’s Shack. But someone stood in the entrance now. Someone blocked my path. It was just a black silhouette against the sunlight. Whoever it was, they had better stay out of my way as well.

I continued on toward them with a smile on my face, maybe it was just the entertainers from outside! The ones who gave me the ‘lucky’ trinket. Heck that trinket may have saved my life with the stalactite falling perfectly onto the Titanic Ant. My thanks would have to be given.

As I made my way to the entrance my smile turned into a frown. It was one kind of person I wasn’t expecting, especially since Mayor Pirkle gave me permission to come to the caves—it was a police officer with furrowed eyebrows and a vein popping out of his forehead. He tapped his foot on the ground, and held an iron baton in his hand. Holy crap, did he mean to use it on me?

“Hey you,” he snapped, “The board says ‘Do Not Enter.’ Couldn’t you read it?”

I hesitated a few feet away from him. I was in trouble.

“Y-yes,” I stammered.

He slammed the baton on the side of the cave and it made a loud ‘whack’ echo through the inside.

“So you just didn’t want to read the sign, huh kid…”

He reached for his belt, where a pair of handcuffs hung loosely. He was about to arrest me, but shook my head.

“I had permission to be here,” I said in my defense, “I just—wanted to write a school report on the foot print at the top. Is that so wrong?”

He took his baton and put it through the loop on his belt, shaking his own head and grumbling.

“Get yer butt to the Onett Police Station later!” he snapped, then turned on his heel and stomped toward the hole in the back of the Entertainer’s Shack.

I stared with wide eyes. Had that really just worked? I couldn’t believe it. There was no way I was going to the Police Station to turn myself in or get yelled at. But neither did I have any clue what to do next—where my next Sanctuary was.

A wave of dizziness began to overtake me. I may have felt invincible thanks to the Sanctuary, but I needed to rest. I could make the trek way back up the hill to my house, but I couldn’t go back yet. I needed to save the world. I decided that I’d have to stay at the Onett Hotel once again.

Jake A. Strife

Edited: 15.10.2019

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