Another Place: Where You Need To BebyStorm62©
"Welcome. My seaman tells me you have come to take us to our reward. I suspect mine may be somewhat fiery."
"Don't do yourself down sir." Kelly replied. "If that was the place where you were destined to go, that is where you would be."
"Thank you for that. However I still feel responsible for these peoples plight."
"No more than I, I assure you. But it will pass, I assure you of that too, it WILL pass." She gave a sad smile. "Now, my young associate and I have two ideas for getting you all to our city. Both have risks. The least risky but definitely slower option is simple; we walk. You can see the problems there straight away. It took the two of us ten days to get here. I suspect it would take at least twice as long to get over two hundred people over the same distance."
"The second option?" The captain asked.
"The second option is instantaneous transport but that involves using skills we have been taught but are not confidant in using. We are happy to try either. We leave the final decision to you and your people."
"Which option do you recommend?"
"We think the quicker the better." Brad said. "There is no reason to prolong your waiting. But as Kelly has said, we are not fully confidant of our abilities."
The captain gave a wane smile.
"I think you would not have been sent if someone did not trust your skills, fully developed or not." He swept his hand over the camp. "I will speak to those here and give you our decision."
Brad and Kelly stood before the assembled crowd.
"You are all sure you wish to try this?" Kelly asked.
"We are." The captain replied.
"Okay then." Kelly sighed. She turned to Brad. "Ready?"
"Me neither." She turned back to the assembly. "If you could all hold hands please. That will help to keep us all together." She clasped Brad's hand tightly.
"Where are we aiming for?" He asked.
"The park. It's big and it's open."
"Good choice. Let's do this." The two of them concentrated, each feeling the other helping them. The encampment vanished from view.
They materialised closer to the children's home than Kelly intended, but still in the park, near the playground in fact. She took a quick look around to make sure everyone was safe; they were. She whooped with joy.
"Brad! Brad! We did it!! We did it!!!" She threw her arms around the unsuspecting boy and hugged him, kissing his face repeatedly with joy. A little surprised, Brad let her enthusiasm wash over him until she calmed down. As she pulled away he looked into her flushed and excited face.
"Kelly, you've done it. You succeeded."
"WE succeeded Brad. It was you as well."
The Captain and the first sailor they had met came over.
"We would all like to thank you for getting us here." The captain said.
"Yes, thank you." The sailor added.
"I should have got you here a long time ago." Kelly said.
"But you did get us here eventually." The captain held out his hand to each of them in turn. They shook his hand and that of the sailor. The two men went back to the milling crowd as people from the city began to arrive and sort out the new arrivals. As they left Brad turned to look at Kelly once more.
"Kelly, your eyes have gone green." He said, with a hint of trepidation.
"They have? I don't feel any different."
As Brad nodded in confirmation the guide appeared in his usual unobtrusive manner. Kelly was never sure if he materialised out of thin air or just wandered up when no-one was looking.
"Guide, what does this mean?" She asked.
"You know what it means Miss Kelly. It means that the next time you wake up, you will be where you need to be."
"But I don't want to go." It was almost a wail.
"Nevertheless, when next you wake, you will be where you need to be." The guide gave her a secret smile.
Brad moved to stand in front of Kelly.
"Kelly, I'm really glad for you. You deserve it after all this time."
"Thank you Brad. You've helped me so much, is there anything I can do for you?"
"C...could I have one proper kiss?" He asked tentatively. In answer she took his head in her hands and kissed him hard. Brad was a little shocked at first but soon responded in kind until Kelly broke away.
"That was nice." She said. "Can I ask something of you now Brad?"
"You know I'll do anything for you."
"Then you kiss me now." Brad gulped hesitantly. "Please Brad."
Screwing up his nerve he put his arms around her back and pulled her towards him. As she moved forward Kelly reached behind her and moved one of Brad's hands down onto her bottom. He took the hint and dropped the other hand to the same place. The kiss lasted for a long time. As Brad pulled back he could see devilment in Kelly's still green eyes.
"Phew! That was worth waiting for." She smiled a happy smile. "I think I'm going to miss you Brad."
"I know I'm going to miss you Kelly."
The guide cleared his throat.
"Brad, could you help get these people to the induction centre?" He asked, indicating the rescued souls now being assisted by several of the junior guides. "And then take the rest of the day off. Meet me here at eight in the morning." He handed him a card. "I just want a few words with Kelly alone."
"Of course sir." Brad bustled off, but not before Kelly caught the hint of tears in his eyes.
"He will be all right won't he?" Kelly said, reddening for no apparent reason.
"Yes, I hope he will be as right as rain fairly soon."
"What did you want to talk to me about?" Kelly asked.
"I just want to thank you. You have helped Brad achieve his potential, and you have finally managed to complete your assignment. A good job as ever Miss Kelly. I may really miss your help."
"Thank you sir. You and Brad have helped me too." She shook his hand. "What should I do now?"
"That's entirely up to you my dear. You have the rest of the day to do as you wish. Say farewells, have a party, whatever you want."
"There are one or two people I'd like to see, but I'm actually quite tired. I might have an early night."
The guide smiled.
"And get it over with?"
"And get it over with."
Kelly found the friends she wanted to see and then made her way back to the flat she had occupied for so long. She found her mind was full of thoughts about how improvements could be made to the collections, the admin and the radio station. She sat at her desk and began to write out a few suggestions for the guide to find. The first thing that she wrote down was the idea that Brad should take her place at the station. It had made her happy and she thought it might do the same for him. Without realising it Kelly worked on the list until late into the night when it was quite long. She read through it one last time and then with a sigh began to get ready for bed. As she slipped beneath the covers she started to think again. She was going to miss working for the guide. She was going to miss working at the station even more than she thought possible. And to her own enormous surprise she was really going to miss Brad. Kelly finally drifted off to sleep with thoughts of Brad running through her head.
She awoke slowly, wondering where she was. Only one way to find out, she thought, and snapped her eyes open. To her utter shock she was still in her bedroom! Something must have gone wrong. She looked at the clock and saw that it was after seven in the morning. Whatever had happened, that was the time to get up. She slid out from beneath the sheets and walked over to the window. As she looked out she could see that it was a lovely day out there. There was a whistle from someone passing below. She was suddenly aware that she was only in her underclothes. She realised that the past few weeks had changed her. Sleeping in just her skimpies had become a habit during the quest, before she would never have even thought about such a shocking thing. And as for letting anyone see her with so few clothes on... Pulling on a dressing gown she found her mind returning to their arrival in the park. She now began to remember little things the guide had said. Or more importantly, how he had said them. She would wake 'where she needed to be'. He hoped Brad would be all right 'fairly soon'. He 'may' miss her help. And that knowing smile. It seemed that he was hinting that she wasn't destined to leave here after all! There was a knock at her door. Before she opened it Kelly knew that it would be the guide.
"Hello guide. Come in. You don't seem to be surprised to see me?" She asked as she opened the door.
"Not surprised, glad actually. I had to leave the choice to you. There was a faint possibility that you wanted to leave." The guide smiled, following her into the flat. "I believe you may have some suggestions for me?" She pointed to the list on her desk. He picked it up and gave it a quick read. "Sorry about the first one. Brad will have to make do with being your assistant." He grinned.
"I can accept that." She grinned back. A thought struck her. "Actually it might be even better. Between us Brad and I can assume the responsibility of selecting candidates for the jobs at the station. It will be one less thing for you to do."
"You know Kelly." The guide smiled benignly. "I think one day you might actually be able to take over from me."
"Oh, I couldn't do that sir!"
"I think you could, but not for a while yet eh?" He said with a twinkle in his eye. There was another knock at the door. "That should be Brad."
"How do you know?"
"This was where I asked him to meet me yesterday on that card." He shrugged. "But I can sense it's him anyway. Are you going to let him in, or shall I?"
"I think you had better. I should probably put some clothes on."
"For your sake or his?"
"I'm not too sure. Just let him in please." She said over her shoulder as she went into her bedroom.
Brad was a little surprised when he realised that the guide wanted to meet him at Kelly's flat. What had been Kelly's flat, he corrected himself. He had been here just that once, before they had set out into the wilderness. Perhaps the guide wanted some help to clear it out, but it seemed a bit menial for the chief to be doing that. The guide opened the door to him.
"Ah, Brad. I asked you here to meet your new boss."
"Someone else has moved in already?" Brad asked a little shocked.
"No! I'm still here." Kelly said as she came out of the bedroom, zipping up her skirt.
"Kelly! But I thought you got 'green-eye'?" He stared open-mouthed
"I did. But apparently this is where I'm supposed to be." She grinned at him. "Close your mouth Brad, it looks silly."
"Sorry." He shook himself. "Did you say she was going to be my boss?" He asked the guide. "Doing what?"
"Knowing Kelly, you'll have some title like 'personnel procurement officer', but basically it seems she wants you to help her run the radio station."
"You do?" He turned back to Kelly, who was now brushing her hair.
"Don't you want to work with me?" She asked, tugging at a knot.
"More than anything. I... I think I love you Kelly."
"I think I knew that. Just as well, because I love you too."
"You do? That makes me really happy."
"I can tell. Your eyes have just gone green." Kelly looked across at the guide. "He's not going to go away now is he?"
"Well, as with you, it is up to him. But I doubt it somehow." For the first time that Kelly could ever remember, the guide had a cheeky grin on his face. "Kiss him again to make sure."
"Why not?" She said, walking up to the astonished Brad. They wrapped their arms around each other and kissed. They kissed for so long that the guide had gone by the time they finished.
The guide walked away, smiling to himself. This was what the city was really about; a place where people could find themselves. That was why he called himself 'The Guide', not because he guided people to here, but because he guided them to find themselves when they got here. He walked on.