The Archer chronicles
Lost Boy
CHAPTER
33
Finally A Rescue...
Hours later, after most every Pointy-ear had disappeared inside their homes to sleep, Archer was wide-awake. Sousha had given him, Dash, Del and her father an empty home to stay in. Carved from the rock cavern that surrounded them all it was pretty cool, with a fountain in the middle of the room that sparkled like diamonds, and walls of art that continually shifted into new scenes.
Archer sat by himself for a long time staring at the walls and he realized that the one thing he had in common with Sousha’s people, was that humans needed family just as much as they did. He sighed and glanced around.
Dash floated a few feet away, his eyes dimmed and his power on low. Archer had switched the switch after dinner. He had no idea how long he was going to be on planet #8 and well, Dash’s batteries wouldn’t last forever. Until they figured out how to use the prisms to charge the batteries, Archer had to be careful.
Del was curled up against her father in the far corner and Archer shook his head at the sounds coming from her dad. Gosh, the man snored louder than Cook McDaniels and honestly, Archer hadn’t thought that was possible.
He pushed off from his sitting spot and walked over to the far end of the dwelling. They were on the very top of the cavern and the cool thing about their location was the fact that there was a hole slashed into the ceiling. Archer fell to his knees and tipped his head way back so that he could see properly.
The sky was black and a million stars twinkled against it.
“It’s so peaceful,” he murmured, slipping onto his back and sliding his hands behind his head for a pillow. For like, the hundredth time, he wondered where the Reamus was and if his father was all right.
How long did he stare into space? He had no idea but eventually his eyes began to droop and the image above him blurred. He tried really hard to stay awake because he thought…well, he thought somehow that if he watched the stars long enough he’d see one shooting across the night sky.
Except it wouldn’t be a star. It would be his dad’s ship entering the atmosphere.
“It’s a nice dream,” he whispered, his chin bobbing against his chest. He was so tired. And it was so quiet. Archer couldn’t help himself. Even though he was desperate to stay awake, he drifted off to sleep.
He dreamed about Big Bully and the prisms, and Del and her father. He dreamed of Sousha and Magnar and Bruce. And he dreamed of his mother. Of how when she was still alive she would slowly stroke his forehead and sing him that song about cows jumping over the moon.
She always smelled so nice. And she was soft and warm.
Her voice was tender and she was always smiling. She never raised her voice. Well, not very often and when she did it was usually because Archer had done something that he shouldn’t have. Like eating the topping on his father’s birthday cake, or telling her he was going to his friend Abel’s house, when in fact they were headed to the creek to catch fish.
No. She never yelled.
Archer turned over onto his stomach, a frown on his face though his eyes were still closed.
Archer, you need to listen! Now! Before it’s too late.
So why was his mother shouting at him now? Why was she trying to wake him up when he was so tired all he wanted to do was sleep?
Archibald!
Archer rolled over and whacked his head against the stone wall, scrambling to his feet and more than a little confused. Rubbing his head he winced and turned in a full circle, but there was no one there.
Heart pounding he took a step forward, his eyes wide and ears open. For a long time he stood as still as a statue, and just when he thought that maybe he was going crazy, he heard a noise. It was a ping. An electronic ping.
He took a step forward.
Like an electronic ping made from their transmitter!
“Dash,” he yelled, leaping toward the entrance to the cave. “The transmitter!”
His voice activated the bot and Dash whipped past him as Archer scrambled down the steps. And there were a lot. By the time he reached the transmitter he was out of breath and he had to take a moment because he couldn’t breathe.
His bot floated above the transmitter, eyes flashing and beeps and whirrs loud as he circled the device.
“Why’s it not making the ping again?” Archer said, falling to his knees in frustration. Had he imagined the whole thing?
“What’s going on?” Del asked, joining him along with her father.
Archer was just about to reply when the transmitter pinged again and this time it was accompanied by a voice. A deep, rough, and masculine voice.
“Archibald! Are you there?”
He knew that voice!
“Father,” Archer whispered hoarsely. His throat was so tight that he couldn’t speak properly. Frustrated he tried again but nothing came out.
Dash moved closer.
“Captain McTavish, this is Dash, Archibald’s personal bot. I’m happy to report that your son is safe, but we are in need of transport.”
For a moment there was silence and Archer didn’t know he was holding his breath until he nearly choked.
“Dad,” he said again, this time louder.
Del slipped her arm around his shoulder and squeezed him when nothing but static could be heard. The transmitter pinged again and they all waited, eyes glued to the device.
Crackle.
“Entering the…”
Crackle. Crackle.
“Oh come on,” Archer said, kneeling before the transmitter.
Crackle. Crackle.
“We’ll be at the…”
Crackle.
“Location…”
Crackle.
Archer didn’t wait to hear anything else. He took off at a full run, hopping over prims and stones and ignoring the shouts from behind him. His heart was pounding so fast and hard he was surprised it didn’t leap right out of his chest. He dove down the tunnel that led to the outside and squirmed his way past the waterfall.
The jungle was silent. The air hot and heavy. But Archer ignored everything, running nonstop and grateful that the stars lit up the dark jungle. He ran and ran and ran, eyes ahead on Dash who’d zipped past him and was shining lumen light to help them along. He could hear Del and her father behind him but he didn’t slow down one bit.
Up ahead he heard engines and the top of the trees lit up with an eerie glow.
“Father,” he whispered, not caring about the tears streaming down his face.
Archer burst through the clearing and he froze, eyes wide and chest heaving at the site before him.
The Reamus.
Del joined him, breathing heavily and they watched as the hatch opened and fell upon the ground.
Two legs appeared. Two legs that slowly made their way down the ramp and before they hit the ground Archer took off.
“Father!”
“Archibald!” His father came at him, arms open and when those strong, warm, and familiar arms wrapped around him, Archer thought that it was the best feeling ever.
They clung to each other for a long time and when his father slowly pulled away, Archer scrubbed at his face and exhaled a long, torturous breath.
His father stared down at him for a very, very long time and then leaned close to him, so close that no one could hear his words.
“Thank God, I thought I’d lost you.”
Archer shuddered. “You didn’t lose me, Father. I’m so sorry. I won’t ever sneak off the ship again.”
His father slid his arms around Archer and hugged him fiercely. “No,” his father said roughly. “I don’t believe you will.”
The two of them hugged for a long, long time. Long enough for his father’s crew to exit the Reamus and for Cook McDaniels to make his way over the shake his head at the state of Archer’s head.
“I’ll be needing to get the scissors I see.”
Archer grinned up at Cook. “I don’t even care. You can shave my whole head as long as we’re together.”
“All right, lad,” Cook said, smiling broadly. “I’ll be reminding you of that don’t you worry.”
Archer glanced at his friends. “There’s so much to tell you, Father.”
His dad nodded. “In good time, son. In good time.” His father glanced behind Archer. “Maybe you can start by introducing me to your friends.”
Archer led his father over to Del and felt his heart tighten when he spied Sousha standing beside her.
He wanted to leave this planet with his father, he really did, but how was he going to be able to leave Sousha behind?
Why was goodbye so hard?
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