Outcome of Chapter 18 Plot Hinge: Jennifer Lawrence won Best Female Performance on Sunday, June 3rd at the MTV Movie Awards. As a result, Isabella is about to show Agent Aurora McCrudden why she’s still the best in the business.
Will shook the cobwebs from his head and looked around. “From now on, I’m driving,” he muttered, seeing their car wrapped around a tree. This was the second time he’d been in a car wreck with Isabella behind the wheel. Maybe Tina isn’t the worst driver after all, he thought.
Will shifted in his seat to check on Tina and realized he had his arm flung over her protectively. He didn’t remember doing that. “Are you OK?” he asked sheepishly.
Tina nodded her head and pointed behind Will. “Ever have this many women fighting over you?”
Will turned and saw what Tina was referring to. Isabella and Aurora circled each other in a little clearing next to the road. They were both unarmed. Even so, the air was charged with lethality.
Aurora made the first move, lunging at Isabella. Isabella dodged the attack and was immediately on the offensive: a dizzying flurry of punches, kicks and elbows. Aurora blocked them all and managed to sweep Isabella’s feet from under her. Isabella narrowly rolled out of the way of Aurora’s boot that aimed to break her ribs. Kipping up to her feet, Isabella sidestepped Aurora’s charge. Grabbing the hair on the back of her head, Isabella delivered a solid knee to Aurora’s face.
The two former Windigo Agents continued trading blows for another ten minutes, neither side slowing down. Finally, with both women bloodied, Isabella found a hole in Aurora’s defence and put her in a sleeper hold. A few seconds later she let the unconscious Aurora crumple to the ground.
Breathing hard and with blood dripping down her face, Isabella fished through Aurora’s pocket and found the woman’s car keys. Looking back at their car, she pointed a finger at Will and Tina and then jerked her thumb back, motioning for them to follow.
“We could make a break for it,” Will suggested. Tina arched an eyebrow and nodded toward Aurora. “Yeah,” Will said, opening his door. “Good point.”
Two days later… Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Two days later, Will and Tina found themselves as “guests” at the secret home of Dr. Carlos Medora. “Now is this guy really your Dad?” Will had asked on their arrival. “Or are you just going to gas us again?”
“Thank you for coming, Mr. Dalton,” Carlos said, extending his hand. As if Will had a choice.
“No problem,” Will said. “Your daughter can be very persuasive.” Isabella smirked and went to speak with Coyote Jack, who had somehow found his way to Halifax from the Albuquerque safe house. Tina glared at him. She didn’t appreciate how he had sold them out to Isabella.
Dr. Medora was a tall man, thin, and shared his daughter’s dark features. Though his English was flawless, a hint of a Spanish accent could still be picked up.
The house they found themselves in was a modest, nondescript bungalow, somewhere in Halifax. The rooms in the house did not match Dr. Medora’s well-groomed and tidy appearance. Books and papers lay strewn across every surface. Maps and garbled text were pinned to the walls alongside pictures of strange symbols and hieroglyphics.
“You’ve already been so helpful,” Dr. Medora said. “The contents of the chip my associate had implanted in your shoulder are invaluable.” He put his hands on Will’s shoulders. “Jack Whyler was a dear friend. Knowing he did not die in vain is a great comfort to us.”
“You bring us all this way to say thanks, doc?” Tina asked, sucking the sentimentality out of the room.
“The decoder,” Isabella’s father said. “Jack’s note clearly states that Mr. Dalton has it along with File 92.” Dr. Medora rummaged through a stack of papers on the kitchen table. Returning, he handed Will a copy of the note the tattooist had sent. “My expectation was that it would be on the microchip. It wasn’t. Without it, we’ll never decipher the coordinates to the Lost City.”
Will looked at the note again.
WILLIAM DALTON HAS ANSWERS
IS CARRYING DECODER
“I know you think I have it,” he said. “But I don’t. Isabella had me scanned on the way here. And quite frankly, I’m getting real sick of being poked and prodded. I’m sorry. Maybe Jack Whyler lied.”
“Uncle Jack is not a liar!” Isabella snapped, storming across the room toward Will.
“Is! That’s enough!” Dr. Medora bellowed. Isabella un-cocked her fist and returned to other side of the cluttered room, muttering under her breath.
Suddenly, something clicked in Will’s brain. “Wait,” he said. “What did you say?”
Dr. Medora shook his head. “I said that’s enough. This doesn’t have to get violent. I just think that—”
“No,” Will interrupted. “What did you just call her?”
Dr. Medora furrowed his brow. “Is. You know – short for Isabella.”
Will’s hands started to tremble. He looked back to the paper in his hand. “And by any chance,” he said, “did this Jack Whyler guy call you ‘Is’ too?”
“He was my godfather,” Isabella said. “We were very close. What’s your point?”
Will held up the note. “William Dalton has answers. Is carrying decoder.” Isabella’s mouth dropped. “Is. As in, Isabella carrying decoder.”
A stunned silence filled the room and all eyes turned to Isabella. “The tattoo Jack gave me when I was a teenager!” she said to her father. Lifting up her shirt, she revealed a tattoo in the small of her back. It was the Mark of Ma’chavu, very similar to Will’s. Tears welled up in Isabella’s eyes. “We’ve had it all along!”
Three days later…
Unlike Will’s, Isabella’s tattoo had a series of tiny symbols and numbers throughout it. The decoder. Using the formula it revealed, Dr. Medora worked day and night, decrypting the contents of File 92 and Kruschack’s Journal.
Isabella insisted Will and Tina stay with them in Halifax, knowing that the Windigos—and undoubtedly, Agent Isaiah—were still out there looking for them. Will didn’t need to be told twice. Though he hated to admit it, he was almost as excited as the Medoras. Even if it were safe for them to leave, there was no way he wasn’t going to see this through. Not after all they’d been through.
Three days later, Dr. Medora emerged from his office, held upright by caffeine and adrenaline. “We’ve got it,” he said hoarsely, his voice catching. Tears streamed down his weathered cheeks as he stood on the cusp of achieving his lifelong dream.
They had the coordinates to the Lost Golden City of Ma’Chavu.
“Pack your bags,” Dr. Medora said. “We set sail in the morning.”
Will took Tina’s hand in his and squeezed it. Tina squeezed back and smiled up at him. The air was charged with the thrill of adventure. It was hard not to be swept up in it. His nine-to-five job in a cubicle seemed like a lifetime ago.
Plot Hinge: Hurricane Season
Coyote Jack looked at the maps Dr. Medora had lain out on the table. “Not to be a party pooper,” he said, “but isn’t this hurricane season?” Indeed it is. And we’ll use hurricane season as this week’s Plot Hinge as our crew prepares to set sail.
- If on Sunday, June 10th, there is tropical cyclone activity in the Atlantic (as shown on the National Hurricane Center website), then the Medora crew will shipwreck on their way to the Lost City of Ma’Chavu and the crew will get separated.
- If there is no tropical cyclone activity in the Atlantic on June 10th, then the crew will get to the Lost City safely.
Only 3 chapters left before the Grand Finale on June 28th!
Chapter 20 goes live on June 14th! How do you like the story so far? Feel free to leave comments below or email me your thoughts, questions and ideas. And if you haven’t already, be sure to subscribe in the top right of the screen to receive email notifications whenever a new chapter is posted.