The Place of Hope
After the decision was made to relocate the school to “The Place of Hope” the journey was under way. Some families had to stay behind to ensure the breeding is still maintained in a different area. The future of the species relies on it.
The journey has now been underway for seven light cycles and the end is almost in sight. No real problems have been reported to Rod and they should reach their destination in the next two sun cycles.
Rod wants to go ahead of the school to ensure safe entry into their new home. He calls Davy, his new sidekick, aside and says, “I am leaving at first light”.
“You cannot leave us”, Davy replies with a worried tone to his voice. “At first light to; you will be totally exposed!”
Rod looks at him with a surprised look on his face. Surprised with the fact that Davy doubts his ability and his track record.
Rod turns to Davy and says: “Do you know who I am and what I have done in my life? I have lived through and overcome every obstacle ever placed in front of me.”
“My apologies, I did not try and question your abilities, but please realize that without you we are lost as a school”, Davy replies in a sincere manner.
“I am aware of the responsibility”, Rod says accepting the apology.
As the first light touches the stump where Rod wants to spend the night, he turns to Davy and says; “See you in two cycles”. “Be save”, Davy replies watching him swim away. Rod swims tight to the shadows and out of sight. He is trying to cover as much ground as possible because he wants to have enough time to recon the area that they will be entering. He does not want any surprises and a safe entry is their only option. After travelling such a long way they will be hungry, tired and vulnerable to any sort of danger.
As he approaches the last turn according his map directions he can feel the pressure rising around him. It means there is a great body of water close by. He now swims a lot slower, looking for a point of entry; a place where the younglings and the old ladies can enter together without any trouble. In the distance he sees water falling out of the sky and swims closer to have good look. “Sky water”, he thinks to himself. “I have not seen this for ages; the perfect entry point”.
Every time there is sky water, there is a point of disturbance in the water created by a side stream bringing in new water and snacks.
Rod found the side stream and it looks deep enough to cross into the main body of water. He drops in and swims into the open. He waits for any sort of movement in front of him. Out of the dark he sees a big shadow coming straight in his direction… at speed. Focused on the shadow he waits till the last second and moves left, grabbing the fin of the fish storming down on him, flipping him upside down and before he could turn himself upright, Rod was on top of him. “Why do you think you can storm ME?”, Rod asks while holding him upside down.
“This is my water and you are intruding”, the upside down fish replies. “ARE YOU…?”, he gasps. “Yes I am”, Rod replies. All resistance from the upside down fish stops and Rod lets him go.
“Maxx said you will be coming. I just did not expect you so soon” he explains. “Who are you?” Rod enquires firmly. “I am Clay Banks, protector of this place” he replies still a little out of breath. “Clay…” Rod says. “Do you know why I am here?”. “Yes mister Bender. Maxx explained the relocation of a school” Clay responded. He carries on by saying that a specific area has been allocated for the school and food has been tied to nets for them as they arrive.
Rod thanks Clay and tells him to be ready for them in one sun cycle.
“I will have a group waiting for you, to guide you to the area” Clay says. “Thank you Clay”, Rod says as he swims away. Rod swims back to the group and feels quite relieved that this will be a simple entry and relocation. He doesn’t stop through the dark waters and reaches the school at first light. Davy is waiting for him as he returns. “And...?” he asks anxiously. “It looks easy” Rod replies.
One sun cycle later:
Everybody made it safely into the Place of Hope. They were welcomed by the group that Clay arranged and were taken to the area promised. The excitement could be felt amongst everyone. They settled into their new home and found sleeping place for the night.
Rod swims away to be alone after everybody got settled in. A youngling swims up to him and says; “Thank you mister Rod Bender sir… for everything. At least we have a future now”. Rod almost smiled at him… Rod leans against a rock, thinking about what his next mission may be when he sees a shadow in the distance.
“This cannot be…” Rod says as he swims of to go and investigate.
*In this series of articles Rod Bender, the director - Under Water USO (Unidentified Shadow Object) is called to help unsolve mysteries appearances, in and around Lake Eerie.