The park was nearly deserted. Only a handful of people were walking around. Danny could tell none of them were the man he was looking for. He walked onto the dock but nobody else out.
Was he early, or worse, was he late? Had Samuel already come and gone?
The thoughts distracted Danny long enough for everybody else to walk away. Danny soon found himself alone in the park. He looked around dejectedly but as he started to walk away, a lone figure caught his eye. The person was standing on another dock that was at the opposite end of the park.
Danny quickly moved across the park and approached the figure stopping just a few yards behind the man.
Samuel was facing the water puffing away on a cigar. He turned his head to catch Danny in the corner of his eye. “I’m glad you showed up.”
Danny walked up to the edge of the dock. He stood at a small distance from Samuel facing out across the dark water.
“I’m still not sure about all this,” Danny said coldly.
Samuel exhaled a puff of smoke. “I’d be surprised if you were.”
“I still have some question.” Danny turned to face Samuel.
Samuel turned as well. He glanced at his watch. “We still have time. What do you want to know?”
“I don’t remember you. How do you know my dad?” Danny had so many other questions but this was the one that got past all the others.
Samuel looked solemn. “You were only five when I met your dad. He tried to sell me a boat. Despite my status with the Order, I was convinced to buy one. Your father and I become friends after that. Since I travelled a good bit, I allowed him to use the boat whenever he wanted. I was very sad when he and your mother were lost in that storm.”
Danny fought the memories of that day. The only day when he felt truly helpless. He forced himself to remain focused. “What did you mean by your ‘status with the order’?”
Samuel paused a moment surprise at Danny’s non-reaction with the mention of his parent’s death. “I am a man who technically doesn’t exist. When I was a few years older than Chandler, all paperwork of my existence was destroyed and I was only allowed to keep my first name.”
The Order’s magnitude hit Danny like a sack full of bricks. “So the Order is powerful enough to make somebody disappear? Why?”
“I didn’t disappear.” Samuel took another drag on his cigar. “I was hidden in plain sight. It was part of my role.”
“To find the one who will be the first guardian of a new generation and I found you.”
“Good timing,” Danny chuckled sadly.
Danny’s failed attempt to make himself laugh brought a smile to Samuel’s face. “If I had died before my task was complete, my role would have passed to Chandler. However, based on recent events, I’d say you are correct. I have good timing.”
“Really? What recent events?” Danny inquired.
Samuel turned back toward the water. “What I am about to tell you has been kept a closely guarded secret for the past few months. Events have already taken place. People, both military and civilian, have been killed. I can only hope that the barrier will hold for the next seven days.”
“Why only seven days?” asked Danny.
“That’s how long you’ll be gone,” replied Samuel.
“That doesn’t seem like enough time to make me into a guardian,” Danny pointed out.
“Trust me,” Samuel said with an air of confidence. “It’s all the time you will need and if you accept then we need to leave now.”
Danny now turned to face the dark harbor. Only one week? That doesn’t seem like enough time. “I’m ready,” Danny heard himself saying.
“Here we go then.”
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