The Garden Of Dreams
Nate saw that he was in LW-99, very far away from Nodax. There was nothing he could do, he neither had cash nor a cellphone. He was wearing the outfit which he had been wearing while he was forced inside the Garden Of Dreams.
"What the hell should I do now?" He thought to himself.
He walked around a bit, looking for something which could help him. He found a payphone, but didn't have any cash to use it.
There was a man passing by him, he decided to ask him for some change, since he had no other choice.
"Sir, could you please lend me some spare cents, I just need to make one phone call." He asked politely.
"Sorry but I don't have any change on me right now." The man said while waking away.
"Oh...okay. Thank you anyways."
Nathan stood in front of the payphone for a while, hoping that he would somehow get to make a call. An old man who was lying on the footpath came to him, he took out some change from his pocket and stretched his hand to give the change to Nathan.
"Here, you can borrow some from me."
"Really? Thanks a lot sir. I'll pay you back after contacting my friend."
The man walked back to where he was lying without saying anything.
Nate remembered that he had asked about Jake before going inside the Garden Of Dreams, he also remembered that he was told that Jake was alive.
He wasn't sure if Jake was actually alive or not but there was no one else he could've called except him.
He dialed his number but no one picked it up in the first try. Nathan checked if he had entered the correct number or not.
"This should be the right number, if I remember correctly."
He called again and Jake's assistant picked up the call this time.
"Who am I speaking to?" She asked.
"Can you hand over the phone to Jake please."
"Sir, he's busy right now. If you could give me your name, I could fix an appointment for you."
"No, you don't understand! It's very urgent, tell Jake that it's Nathan."
"Okay...I'll see what I can do. Stay on the line sir."
There was silence for some while and then someone spoke.
"This is Jake Benjamin, who is this?"
Nate was very happy after hearing Jake's voice.
"Jake...it's me, Nathan."
Jake was stunned, he went silent for a second.
"Nathan? You're Nathan Frost?"
"Yes, it's me Jake."
Jake recognized his voice but he couldn't believe that he was alive. All this time, he believed that Nate had been killed by the COUNCIL.
"Nathan, you're alive? I thought you were dead."
"I'm very much alive Jake."
"Where have you been for the past one year? What happened to you?"
"I'll explain everything later Jake. Right now, I need your help."
"What is it?"
"I'm in the Lower Ward-99. I need you to send someone here to come and get me."
"What are you doing in Lower Ward-99? That's like on the other side of the world!"
"Jake, we can discuss everything later. Just do as I say for now, I have a feeling that I might not be safe for long here."
"Okay, I'll send some men. Just say where you are, and they'll come for you. Got it?"
"Yeah, got it."
Nate hung up the call. He couldn't wait to go back home. He sat on the bench near the payphone and was waiting for Jake's men.
After 15 minutes, three guys showed up in a car, they were all wearing suits.
"Mr. Nathan Frost, we've come to get you out of here."
"Did Jake send you?"
"Yes. Get in the car please."
Nathan got in the car.
"Well, that was quick."
"Yeah, we were in the neighboring Higher Ward, Gidome, so it didn't take long."
"Where are we going right now?"
"We're going to Gidome, we'll stay for the night in a hotel. Mr. Jake has booked a flight to Nodax for you, you'll be leaving tomorrow."
Nate thought that he could go to his home without any disturbance but this wasn't going to be the case.
The scientist working for the COUNCIL had installed a tracker in his prosthetic arm before sending him in. The tracker came online again as soon as Nate came back to the real world. The scientists couldn't believe what they were seeing, how could a person possibly come back from the Garden?
They reported this to the leader. The leader was as shocked as they were, nothing like this had happened before.
The leader sent Danny and some other guys to check out what was going on.
The leader had told Danny to not to engage in anything, but just confirm the person's identity. And if the person actually turned out to be Nathan, then bring him back alive by any means necessary.
Jake had told his men to run a medical test on Nathan. When they did so, they found the tracker in his body. They immediately broke it, but it was too late. The COUNCIL had already found out that he was in Gidome.
The men reported this to Jake, and Jake told them to call some backup and stay on tight guard. He didn't want to take any chances.
Nate went to his room and lied on his bed, while some men guarded his room. He was assured by the men that they wouldn't let anything happen to him.
Nate called Jake, he wanted one last thing from him.
"Nate, what is it?"
"I was wondering...what happened to the prosthetic arm that you gave me?"
"Wait, it isn't with you?"
"Did the COUNCIL remove it?"
"I guess so..."
"I guess you'll have to wait to get a new one until you get here."
"Jake, is it even slightly possible that I could have the arm by tonight or tomorrow morning?"
"Why do you need it so urgently?"
"To fight the COUNCIL of course. I'm sure they would send some guys after me, they won't let me go so easily, they need answers after all."
"We both know that you simply can't win against the COUNCIL. If they would actually send someone after you, then you would have no choice but to surrender Nate."
"No Jake, I will keep on fighting. I know for a fact that you must have surrendered, there was no other way the COUNCIL would've left you alive, but it's alright, I don't blame you. But please, don't stop me from fighting, I'm not done yet Jake, I can't just let them get away with everything."
Jake didn't say anything.
"It won't turn out good for you man, you'll end up hurting yourself, even worse, you might end up dead."
"I don't care. Just tell me if you could have that arm sent to me or not?" Nate's tone changed, he wasn't so polite anymore.
"Fine, I'll see what I can do. You'll have a new arm by morning."
"Thank you!" he said in a kind of sarcastic tone.
Jake hung up the call.
Nate couldn't sleep at all. He was thinking about what Jake had said.
"Maybe he was right, maybe I don't have to fight." Nate thought to himself.
"Now that I am getting a loved one back, I can simply live my life with them. I can tell the COUNCIL whatever they need and back down from this fight. I shouldn't care what the COUNCIL does, and how would they affect my life anyways? I can ignore them and just continue a normal life." Nathan was thinking about the outcomes of surrendering.
"Or they could kill me even after I tell them everything. That's a possibility too, and a likely one." He was lost in his thoughts. He couldn't stop thinking about this.
He had to make a difficult choice yet again.
"Do I fight? Or do I back down?"
Nate thought about this for quite some time and he finally decided that he wouldn't fight. He would just simply give the COUNCIL whatever they needed.
He then closed his eyes to get some sleep. In the morning, one of Jake's men woke him up. He got out of bed, took a shower and changed his clothes.
After some time, a doctor came in his room with a long box in his hand.
"Your new arm is here." He said.
"Do I really need it, now that I've decided to not to get involved?" He thought to himself.
"Are you ready for the installation?"
"Yes." Nathan said without putting much thought into it.
The doctor installed the hand and Nate was ready to leave.
Nate instructed all the guards to not to engage if anyone attacked them. He told them that the attackers would only want him, and that he would go with them if required.
They left for the airport. Nate was expecting the COUNCIL to strike anytime, he didn't expect them to have a civil approach.
The higher ward, Gidome was much smaller in size than Nodax and it had lesser population too. When the car was on a quiet street, another car suddenly pulled up in front of them.
"So...here we go." Nathan thought to himself.
Two men got out of the car, Nate got out of his car too. The men approached Nathan and one of them said, "Nathan Frost, you have to come with us. Don't try to resist or it won't be good for you."
"Are you from the COUNCIL?"
They didn't say anything. But their facial expressions were enough to tell Nathan that they were indeed from the COUNCIL.
"Whatever...I won't resist. I'll come with you."
The man contacted someone and reported that he had got a hold of Nathan without any problem.
Nate sat in their car and they drove away.
They took a private plane to Nodax.
When they reached Nodax, they took Nate to the HQ after blindfolding him.
They took him to the leader's room and removed the blindfold.
"Nathan frost, how are you here, on earth?" The leader asked him.
"I was sent back..."
"Sent back? By whom? And why?"
Nate explained everything to the leader in detail, but he left out the part that he had been granted a wish. The leader was stunned, he had no idea about this and he had never imagined that something like this could be possible. He took some time to process this but soon he wrapped his head around all this.
"Can I go?" Nathan asked.
"Yes, you can."
"Will you stay out of my life?"
"Yeah, just don't so anything stupid."
Nate got up and was about to leave.
"Wait...." The leader said.
"What do you mean?"
"Why did you suddenly decide to cooperate?"
"I don't know...Maybe because I'm tired of fighting."
"Or you're tired of losing?"
"Think of it as whatever you want to. Just don't ever interfere with my life again."
"Are you afraid? Have you finally realized that you're powerless against us?"
"Maybe...To put it simply though, I just don't care anymore."
"Can I go now?"
"Yes, go ahead."
Nate went home, to Aunt Linda's house. He knocked on the door. Aunt Linda came to open the door. She couldn't believe her own eyes. She tightly hugged Nathan as tears flowed down her eyes.
"Nathan! Where have you been? We were worried sick about you!" She was crying out loud.
"It's all okay now Aunt Linda, You don't have to worry anymore, I'm here now."
Both of them went inside and sat on the table in the living room.
"What happened Nathan? Where were you?"
"It's very complicated Aunt Linda, I wouldn't be able to tell you properly even if I wanted to."
"It's alright Nathan, I don't want to know. All that matters is that you're here now. I just need you to assure me that everything's alright."
"Everything is alright Aunt Linda."
Nate talked to her for some more time and then went out. He didn't have any idea about who had been brought back to life, so he thought he would check. He had no idea where to look for them.
He went to his parents' house, but no one was there.
He then went to Tessa's house. He knocked on the door but there was no response. He knocked again, there was no response this time either.
Just when Nate was about to leave, someone opened the door. It was Tessa.
Nathan looked at her, his eyes became teary and he couldn't stop smiling.
Tessa hugged Nathan as she wept.
Nate was extremely happy, he wasn't alone anymore. He didn't regret that he couldn't meet his family, he was just happy to have someone.
They went inside the house.
"What happened Nate? I don't understand anything..."
"What is the last thing you remember?"
"I remember, that attack at Jake's wedding."
"What do you remember after that?"
"I don't know, it's all so blurry. It feels like I've waken up from a terrible nightmare. I closed my eyes, around all those dead bodies, around all that chaos. And when I opened them again, I found myself here, in my house. I saw the date, and the news, but nothing made sense. I attended the wedding in 2098 Jake, how come it is 2099 right now?"
"It's okay Tessa, I'll explain everything to you...."
Nathan didn't lie to her, he did explain her everything, from how he tried to fight the COUNCUL to what happened to him in the Garden of Dreams, he didn't leave out on anything.
Tessa had a hard time understanding all this but she somehow did.
"so, what do we do now?"
"I'll meet Jake, tell him to arrange some things for us.. .We can't live in this city anymore, we'll go and start a new life somewhere else."
Tessa was an orphan, she had spent her childhood in an orphanage. When she turned 9, she was adopted by an old couple.
The old couple didn't have much time left to live, they had no children, and no grandchildren. They adopted Tessa so that she could continue their family's name. They loved and cared for her and raised her well.
When she turned 17, they died of old age.
Tessa didn't have anyone or anything in Nodax, hence she had no problem leaving her old life behind. She was ready to start over with Nathan.
Nate called Jake and told him he was coming in a few minutes.
He went there, hoping that Jake could help him.
He had pretty much the same conversation about the Garden of Dreams with him. He explained everything to him.
"So...Tessa's alive huh?"
"I'm happy for you..."
"What do you plan on doing now?"
Nathan then asked Jake if he could help him in starting a new life, away from Nodax, away from all the chaos, a peaceful life. Jake knew some guys who could forge new ID's and help them get settled in another Higher Ward.
"so you're planning on leaving Nodax, huh?"
"What about Aunt Linda?"
"I talked to her, she said that she's happy if I'm happy. I'll keep visiting her though."
"Where will you go?"
"I don't know...I haven't decided yet."
"Well, I could buy an island for you if you want..."
"Whoa, that would be extreme! You've already done me many favors, I don't want you to do something like that for me."
"Hey, it's nothing for me. Consider it one last gift from me, okay? Let me do this for you..."
"A private island does sound nice....But please, I need something simpler, I can't accept that."
"Fine...then I'll buy you a place in another higher ward, that sound good?"
"Yeah, that's better."
"So...what are you gonna do?"
"I don't know...maybe get a job...I mean, I can't continue college, can I?"
"You can, If you want to. I could help you get in..."
"No man, I don't want you to do everything for me. It's already enough that you're helping me start a new life, I can't ask you for more. I'll figure it out on my own."
"Okay...as you wish. Just stay happy man."
"Yeah...So, how's it going between you and Emily."
"Pretty great. We held a proper wedding a while ago. And Emily is pregnant..."
"Wow! That's great news man. I'm really happy for you."
"Okay, I'll see you soon. I should make some preparations to leave."
"Yeah, see you soon."
Nate went to Tessa's home to tell her their plan. They had decided to move to another higher Ward, Ziphis.
All the paperwork and formalities were done, their identities were changed, their house had been bought and their flight tickets had been booked. They were all set.
They went to Aunt Linda's and Jake's house one last time to meet them and then left.
They started over. It took some time but they were able to settle in Ziphis just fine. Both of them got a job in the same company, with a decent pay. They met some nice people and made some friends. Their life was good, they were happy....
TO BE CONTINUED IN "The Leader"
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