The Gathering Chapter 1
A Sign of the Times
Beep! Beep! Beep!
Groggily shifting to and fro in his bed, Micheal Cole finally gave in to turning off his alarm clock. Sitting up in his bed, he rubbed his face profusely to keep his hold with consciousness. Feeling last night's dream mocking him for what he had done in provoking Samantha Chere's anger into a bitter breakup some five years earlier.
In retrospect, Micheal realized that it was impossible to satisfy everybody. Back then, he was only seventeen, so love's window was open only as a torturous adolescent episode of one arousing thought after another. Now, he was living in Tennessee, hundreds of miles from his beloved with the position as a post-secondary intern at the Knoxville University. It was a well-paying job and all, but left without a friend in the world.
Truthfully, he blamed the Role Player's Realm.
Ever since he first began to see Samantha, fantasy of a completely different nature seemed to interfere. It was like a conspiracy bent on destroying his social life. Granted, he was incredibly skilled in the activity, mastering (and recalling) almost every RPG and card-related game ever devised. Such knowledge won him high ranks only in the social circles spurned by others. The only real good it ever did him was steady tuition for his post-secondary education.
Fully awake by now, he knew that Friday meant another working day. He performed his daily stretches, got himself a shower, then assessed the mainstream of how his day would unfold. Professor George Livingston, the one who had employed him, was anticipating two things from him this day: showing up to teach; and his oral presentation before a panel of the most distinguished geomorphologists in the world.
Evidently, Micheal Cole wouldn't accept the fact that history's records simply ceased prior to the 6000 years before the common era of the Holocene Epoch. One of the the theories he had tracked down came from a very old parchment of the Dead Scrolls. Promptly deciphered by linguistic scholars, it stated that a catastrophic disaster nullified historic records of the time. Rest assured that everyone would hear of that part.
Dressing himself in the snazziest-looking duds he could find, he gave his pet spider, Defcon, a quick farewell and went out to get some breakfast. He smiled reminiscently in seeing the picture of himself and Samantha framed in silver seagull pewter on his kitchen table. He shook his head resentfully and put on a pot of coffee, glancing at the paper in the course of doing so. It was yesterday's, and he neglected to read it then, but now, the opening banner seemed to calle out to him it was such a shock.
'Cosmology Crisis! Astronomers baffled as to why stars are moving out of their places in the heavens!'
It had to have been a hoax. To prove his suspicions, he went over to the window and focused his own telescope in on the constellations he expected to find in the nortern sky. The lenses correlated and stopped. He thought they were still aligning to help him see better but they weren't.
It was the stars that were moving.
"This can't be..." he uttered.
Suddenly, a sharp pain gouged into Micheal's cerebrum, and he reeled over onto the floor in anguish. When it subsided, voices replaced the torment and told him everything and nothing. Only one could be understood through it all.
'To all who fear the night and stand against the darkness, please give us strength.'
"Who? Give who strength?"
There was no response at all, only silence momentarily occupied by a pot of coffee boiling angerly. He stood back up and wiped away tears that were forced out from the agony he felt. He got a hold of himself and picked up the phone, hastily dialing the professor's number. Six rings went through before he got a response.
"Hello?" answered a tired middle-aged man from his bed. He would have overslept had it not have been for Micheal.
"Professor, it's Micheal!" he answered, somewhat alarmed.
"Mr.Cole, what's wrong?"
"Professor, we have to postpone the presentation scheduled for today."
"What?! Why?" he asked, now wide awake.
"Just hightail over to the university. I'll explain it to you then!" Then, added reluctantly. "At least, I'll try."
He hung up and gathered a few things into an old backpack. But no sooner was he out the door was Micheal Cole encountered by his landlord, Tony Blackman. There wasn't any time to lose, so he just went ahead and paid rent which he already knew was due. Entreating upon Micheal Cole once more, ninety-six more dollars were taken out of his pocket, on account of a broken window some three weeks earlier.
Long story short, one Krista Stevenson was with him at a time in which Samantha was still on his mind. The night unfolded rather bitterly, so it will not be discussed any further.
As he drove away in his 4Runner, the same lingering plea stated earlier played itself over and over again: 'To all who fear the night and stand against the darkness, please give us strength.' Maybe it was stress, but weren't these words inherited from an RPG?