The pilot had vanished! Stephen hopped onto his seat and tried to turn on the autopilot, but the button wouldn’t budge! He tried to use the controls to veer the plane upward, but that wouldn’t move either! Emily raised her arm straight into the air and chanted, “Slodidium!” The plane still fell towards the ocean but at a greatly reduced speed. “I think it’s under a spell!” Emily pointed at the control and chanted, “Reverso!” Stephen felt a cold wind fly by him, but then it immediately bounced back towards Emily, who ducked out of its path. “Yup, it’s under a spell!”
As she marched over to where where her duffle bag had been placed, Stephen picked up the radio’s microphone and shouted, “Mayday! Mayday! Our pilot is missing and our plane is going down!”
The control tower addressed him, “Can you find the autopilot?”
“Yes, but it’s been disabled,” Stephen relayed to him. “So is the steering wheel!”
“Then you’re going to have to jump,” the control tower instructed. “We’ll send someone to find you. What is your location?” Stephen looked around the cockpit and saw that the navigation tools were blank. He pulled out his cellphone and saw it couldn’t find their location either. The control tower urgently told him, “We can’t find you on our radar, we need your location!”
Stephen back on the radio and reported, “Our navigation is completely down. We’re about to jump somewhere west of Amouraq!”
Stephen got out of the cockpit, and Emily informed him, “My spell book is gone!”
“That’s strange!” Stephen handed Emily a life jacket before putting on one of his own. “The FBI is very thorough on background checks for our pilots, so he’s the last person I’d expect to be an assassin!”
As Emily put on her life jacket, she replied, “He may not have been. He could be under a spell too.”
After they both had their life jackets on, Stephen opened the plane’s door. They both gazed out to see that they had a long jump, and he directed her, “Take a deep breath!” They grabbed each other’s hand as they jumped out of the plane!
They both inhaled before they hit the water. The impact of the fall made them plunge into the water for a few seconds, but they buoyancy of their life jackets brought them back to the surface. After taking in a big gulp of air, they swam as far as they could away from the plane’s path. Though the plane flew slowly, its sheer size caused a giant wave as it hit the ocean, which pushed Emily and Stephen forward. Once they stopped, they turned around and watched as the plane completely submerged uner the water. “Now what?” Emily wondered. “Do we just wait until someone finds us?”
Stephen pulled out his cellphone and noticed that it still couldn’t find a location. “If they can find us! I don’t think anyone’s GPS works in this area, unless my phone is under a spell too.”
“Does anything else seem abnormal about it?” Emily inquired.
Stephen observed the functions of it for a moment, and then he concluded, “Everything else seems normal.”
“Can I see it?” Emily requested. Stephen handed it to her, and she observed it from various different angles. “I think you’re okay.” When she flipped back to the front of it, she questioned, “Is that time accurate?” She glanced at the sky and deduced, “The sun is up, so it must be right! Based on the time, we should be close to Amouraq now!”
After Emily handed the phone back to him, he looked at the time and concurred, “You’re right! And there’s one bar of signal on it, so that means there’s a cellphone tower nearby!” He opened up to the compass feature and let Emily know, “East is that way. If we keep swimming in that direction, we should hit Amouraq.”
“Let’s go!” Emily began swimming in that direction, and after Stephen put his cellphone away, he swam that way as well.
Neither of them could tell how long they were swimming, but it felt endless to them! With a winded voice, Emily declared, “I need another break!”
Stephen agreed, “Me too!” They both stopped to catch their breath, and as Stephen collected himself, he thought he saw a mass in the distance. He squinted his eyes to get a better look, but he felt so exhausted that he didn’t totally trust his judgment at the time. “Is that land?”
Emily took a look at what he was pointing at and expressed, “I’m not sure, but I know one way to find out!”
With the excitement of their possible discovery, they eagerly swam closer. As they neared the mass, they started to decipher some sand and trees, so Emily exclaimed, “It is land!”
They swam as fast as their fatigued bodies would let them. They felt a flood of relief flow through themselves as it became more and more apparent that they had found a small beach with a nearby forest. Stephen thought he saw a large rock on the shore, but when they approached the land, he realized, “I think that’s our pilot!” Emily grimaced as they made their way towards the shallow water.
When their feet could hit the ocean floor, they ran to the coastline as fast as they could. As soon as they finally reached dry land, they both collapsed onto the sand. As they were recovering, Stephen’s cellphone rang. He brought it out of his pocket, and the caller ID read “Agent Vendari.” He picked it up and wearily greeted him, “Hello?”
A deep but calm voice responded, “Agent Knight, you’re okay! What about Emily and Captain Lefevre?”
“She’s fine,” Stephen notified him. “And Captain Lefevre…”
Stephen put the call on speaker phone so he could set it down and deliver first aid to Captain Lefevre. He grabbed his shoulder and flipped him onto his back. To his horror, Captain Lefevre’s eyes were red and dilated like a reptile! Emily gasped, “Curse of the Serpent’s Tongue!”
Alastair reacted in astonishment, “Curse of the Serpent’s Tongue? Are you sure?”
“Yes!” Emily affirmed. “I recognize that look from my spell book! Plus, our plane acted like it was under a spell. There was no way to control it!”
“What did the pilot have to drink?” Alastair queried.
Emily recalled, “He bought a couple of energy drinks before he boarded the plane.”
Alastair remarked, “We’ll have to look at his purchase history and see where he bought it.”
“So, the curse is transmitted through liquid?” Stephen inferred.
“It’s a potion,” Emily filled him in. “a potion that contains a powerful curse that allows its castor to possess whoever drinks it.”
Alastair added, “With that potion, even a cose could do magic. It would explain how the plane got jinxed, but if he was under the Curse of the Serpent’s Tongue, why didn’t he just kill you on the spot?”
Stephen put in, “Sometimes a criminal will leave the victim alive for a reason.” He was a little lost when they were conversing about magical subjects, but now that the conversation switched to criminology, he felt a lot more confident. “He kills disposable people instantly, but he makes sure to isolate the heirs. I don’t know a lot about spells, but with the way the bodies were found, it seems like they died in a slow and painful way.” Emily nodded to confirm this theory. “It’s not enough for him to just murder them, he has to play around with them first. This was his way of bringing us to him! He’s somewhere here! Wherever we are. But wait, why would he want to keep me alive?”
“You keep saying he,” Alastair noted. “Do you have a suspect?”
Stephen remembered, “I didn’t finish my report! I was gonna finalize it before we landed this morning! I asked the assassin in Hartwood who sent him, and he said…” He noticed that Emily was standing up in full alert and staring off into the distance. “Is everything okay?”
“I thought I heard some growling in that direction,” Emily said while keeping an eye out for anything precarious.
Alastair probed, “What did the assassin say?”
Stephen started to explain, “He revealed a name from-.”
Emily interrupted, “Run!” Stephen stood up and saw something in the distance barreling towards them. He drew out his gun, and Emily insisted, “Run!”
Stephen instinctively heeded her command, and they both ran towards the forest. They heard the sounds of an animal ferociously devouring something, and they turned around to see an amphibious-looking seal with a dog-like head eating Captain Lefevre’s body in an instant! When it finished, it swiveled itself towards Stephen and Emily! They continued to run as fast as they could, but they heard the beast gaining speed behind them! As they reached the beginning of the forest, Emily and Stephen began to lose energy. The bloodthirsty animal behind them didn’t lose steam though, so neither of them were sure about what to do.
Suddenly, they heard a feminine, ethereal voice call to them, “Hide up here!” They saw the branches of a large pine tree rustle, so they climbed up to it and cloaked themselves under its needles. The creature came in the vicinity shortly afterwards and searched for them, but when it didn’t sense them anymore, it appeared to give up and headed back towards the beach.
When it seemed far enough away, Stephen quietly asked, “What was that thing?”
The same feminine, ethereal voice answered, “One of the many reasons why you shouldn’t be here!”