When HIRS Rules the World: Part IV
The new note was incomprehensible. We shared looks of confusion and disorientation. I stared at the new message that was added to the collection.
The island is a puzzle.
Ask if you need something."
John stormed into the library, and my train of thought vanished. I looked up at him. He was holding another note. He didn’t need to tell us what it was. We all gathered around him to read what the second note said, still surprised we had received an extra one this week.
"WHAT DO YOU REPRESENT TO EACH OTHER?
Here’s A HINT:
Abby is the trigger."
I was shocked that my name was on there. It was obvious that we were being watched all the while during our stay here, but only after reading that note did I really feel there was someone observing me, their eyes glued on me, eager to see what I was doing. It sent chills crawling down my back. I shook that feeling away, and tried to focus on understanding the riddle. What do you represent to each other? I sat, took a deep breath and closed my eyes to reflect on what my friends meant to me.
Syb was a prophetess. Anything she said could be considered and oracle, a revelation. Her instincts were flawless, and I had never hesitated about believing anything she had said. She was Truth, she was Trust, she was Comfort.
Louise was a sparkle of hope, a glimmer of ambition, a flare of confidence. She was the energy that kept us going. Anyone who talked to her would find inspiration in her personality. She was light, she was purity.
John was clever and playful. He was funny, amusing, entertaining. His wacky sense of humor revealed his intelligence and his jokes never got boring. He was the one I went to when I wanted a good laugh. He was the bond that held us together.
Eddy was the wisest guy I’d ever met, despite his young age. He was the type of guy to come up with the most original inspiring quotes at the most unexpected times. He always made you feel good about yourself, and he radiated honesty, humility and sincerity.
Antoine was a barrelful of advice and support. He was always there when I needed him, always found a way to cheer me up. He was Positivity, Hope and Loyalty.
They were my second family, I thought, and a twinge of pain struck me as I remembered how much I missed my family. I had three sisters. How were they? And my parents? I had no way of knowing.
I opened my eyes, deciding that I had reflected enough on the answer the note requested, though I still had no idea what they meant by Abby is the trigger. All the others were scattered around the room, obviously lost in their thoughts just as I’d been.
A while later, we were having lunch. No one talked about the notes, but I knew we were all thinking about them. There was no way to get them out of our minds. We ate silently, and I said: “Guys, let’s not worry too much about it. We’ll figure it out when the time comes.”
John smiled and gave me a look of approval. He was the one who taught me to take things easy, and he obviously was satisfied with his student.
We were in the library. Antoine, Eddy, Syb and Louise were looking up information about the island, trying to figure out what the note had meant by the island is a puzzle. John was playing around with some kind of wooden puzzle that he created himself and that I was never successful at solving. I was just sitting there, being a bit useless and staring at the ceiling. The very, very white ceiling.
I interrupted everyone when I said: “Guys, wouldn’t it be awesome if we had paint?” They eyed me with questioning looks. I clarified: “You know, to put some colors on those white, boring walls… It’s driving me crazy.”
Louise agreed: “Yeah, it would. But there’s no paint in the supplies that arrive every week…”
They plunged back into their activities, and I, back into my daydreaming.
A loud thump in the direction of the entrance snapped me back to reality. I glanced in the direction of my friends, but only John seemed to have heard it. Without saying a word, we both rushed to check out what it was.
Paint. There were several buckets of them in front of the door.
“Ask if you need something,” John said.
“You asked for paint. They heard you and delivered what you needed. It’s what it said on the note, remember?”
“Yeah,” I replied, my voice loaded with awe. I was impressed by how quickly he identified what was going on.
We came back into the library carrying our new supplies. Antoine was the first one to notice, and he gave us a questioning look. John explained everything.
“So basically, we can ask them for whatever we need,” he concluded. “Except maybe for a helicopter so that we can get the heck out of here.” His sense of humor was present no matter how extravagant the situation may be. I giggled at his lame joke.
“You can’t even fly a helicopter, you doof. They might deliver one at our door just to make fun of your idiotic idea,” retorted Eddy. Oh, best friends. These two guys were special.
“Guys, you’re missing the point,” noted Louise. “This must mean that we’re supposed to ask for materials that will help us solve the puzzle and get out of here.”
“You’re right,” affirmed Antoine. A short pause. “By the way, guys, I found information about the island that might be helpful.”
I shot him an angry glance, silently scolding him for not telling us earlier.
His eyes apologized, and he spoke again: “Come check it out.” We gathered around an open book, so old it seemed like it would disintegrate into dust as soon as anyone touched it. He pointed at the picture of a painting of the Deep Isles.
“The island is shaped as a ‘C,’ maybe it has something to do with the puzzle we have to solve,” he hypothesized. “Also, it was discovered by a Latin professor.”
Syb pointed fanatically at a paragraph on the opposite page. “Guys, read this,” she said, her soft voice shivering ever so slightly.
“It’s an excerpt from the journal of the professor who discovered the island,” I mumbled, stating the obvious.
We read the words silently:
This island is peculiar, and I am perplexed by the fact its surface is still visible, not engulfed by the wild waters. If the water level were to rise just slightly, it would undoubtedly immerse the entire island.
Tides, I thought immediately. I turned to Eddy, who I was sure knew more than me about that topic. I was right. He started explaining.
“The regular high tides are not high enough to submerge the entire island; otherwise, they would’ve done so a while ago. The fact that the island is C-shaped makes it more susceptible to be drowned by stronger tides, though. So, the only thing we have to worry about are spring tides,” he said.
I had no idea what he meant by ‘spring tides.’ I waited for an explanation, but Eddy ran to grab a book from the shelf across the table where we were gathered. He came back with an astrology book, and ran his finger across a page about moon phases.
The explanation came shortly.
“A spring tide is an exceptionally strong tide, and only occurs when the sun, moon and earth are aligned. During the full moon and the new moon,” he clarified. “We’ll just have to see the phase of the moon tonight to determine when the next spring tides will be.”
“We should be fine if we stay inside, shouldn’t we?” asked John.
“Probably. But we still have to find out what’s going on and act accordingly,” replied Eddy, saving us once more with his knowledge.
We waited nervously for the night to settle in.
(TO BE CONTINUED)
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