One Long Panel of Stones – Chapter 24

“Just walk me through this one more time, please?” Gus asks, over the sound of dozens of photocopiers at Kinkos.

I look up from the piece of paper I’m drawing on, “We’re going to leave this pamphlet with tomorrow’s date for a ceremony and this map to a new vortex in Melinda’s shop. She’ll see it and she won’t be able to stay away, which gives us a chance to talk to Alexis.”

“It just seems like overdoing it? She’s got to leave for an errand or something at some point, right? Wouldn’t that be easier? What if Alexis goes with her?”

“I don’t want to wait anymore. I just want to figure out what happened here so I can get back to my life. Someone will have to stay to run the shop and as best as I can tell, that’d be Alexis. Look, I’m out of ideas, Gus.”

Gus sighs and wanders off. I keep drawing. I have a stack of flyers and pamphlets from other shops in front of me so I can pull off the style well enough that Melinda will think it’s real. In order to make this believable, I have to wield the pen like someone who believes in nothing more than the truth I’m scratching out onto the page. What comes out of me is a chaotic mess of words, surrounded by a map to an area we scouted out yesterday. Here’s what I write.


It is time, Friends. We have reached an epoch. An Era is Coming. We have all long hoped to witness the next vortex and I have learned through Studies of Stars and Time that the next vortex will take place at One Long Panel of Stones, just outside the city. Here, where the Hole With Bare Trees on Top rests, you’ll find Yourself. Finally. At risk of Time we have Swallowed Our Reality but we must be ready for the next step. Here. This Vortex will open only with the Help of All of Us. We must rise up around the Hole with Bare Trees on Top in order to open the Hole and Release the Vortex. Follow the Stones and Find Yourself. May 12, 2001 at 2 pm.

I run the photocopier over my little pamphlet 30 times so it looks faded and destroyed, as though tomorrow’s date for this event has been settled on for years. I have to admit, it looks good. I’m impressed with myself, though I’ll admit capitalizing words at near-random was a Gus idea.

Gus and I take the pamphlets and distribute them all around town at various book shops. I pin them to every community cork board I come across. I feel like I’ve created a timeline in history and I’m sharing it with anyone willing to read pamphlet. Maybe that’s why people do this.

When we get to Melinda’s shop, I send Gus in since he still hasn’t met Melinda. He leaves a few pamphlets on a table up front then sneaks back to slide one onto Melinda’s desk while she’s helping customers on the floor. It’s a little on the nose, but if she doesn’t see it we may never get a chance to talk with Alexis on her own.

When we’re done, we split off to our separate rooms to get some sleep. This has to work. Alexis has to know something. I can’t just leave here empty-handed.