It was nearly six o’clock now. The time of last reading was over four and a half hours ago. Zark wondered how often the location was updated. He zoomed out on the map. It was still unfamiliar. He zoomed out again. And again. Finally, he saw the outer borders of Rhod appear on the bottom edge.
“Jesus,” he muttered. “What the hell are you doing way up there?”
Then Zark remembered Lena’s words before she left:
“North, up in the mountains.”
Was Ellis tracking her? Maybe he found her? But how? And why hadn’t he moved for four hours? Why hadn’t he contacted Zedd or Zark? Something was wrong. Zark needed to find her. He almost told Zedd about the location, but then he remembered Zedd did not want Zark messing around with Ellis’s OS. He decided to keep quiet for the time being, but he had to do something.
“I should go see if she’s home,” Zark suggested.
“I don’t think you’re ready to be driving these city streets alone,” Zedd retorted.
“We can’t just sit here doing nothing!”
“I’m sure she’s fine. If we don’t hear from her tomorrow, I’ll call our rep and let him know what’s up.” Zedd was unreasonably calm and it began to annoy Zark.
“But what if she’s in trouble? Tomorrow could be too late,” Zark insisted.
“Just stay here. I can’t afford losing three people in one day,” he commanded.
Something was off.
Zark could sense that maybe Zedd was keeping something from him.
“It’s not right, and you know it!” Zark yelled impatiently.
Zedd sat silent for a moment and closed his eyes, restraining his temper. He knew Zark would keep pressing him for information, so he ceded.
“Go straight there. Call me when you arrive.” Zark nodded in agreement.
The concept of driving excited Zark. He had only ever driven on the short and cramped roadways of the Duskrider. Zark never wanted to race in the magnacycle world, but he loved using Zedd’s personal bike to zip around the commercial districts when he could. It was a privilege being so young and knowing how to drive. Manual driving was illegal on Zarmina, unless, as in Zark’s case, one was grandfathered in.
The evening breeze on the ride over was cool and the sky clear, shining a beautiful shade of red. Zark arrived at Lena’s apartment building with no hiccups, and he was proud of himself. He parked the bike outside and walked to the door.
He suddenly realized he didn’t know the entrance code to the building. He slowed his pace, unsure of what to do. He ended up keeping his eye on the door for someone to come through. Finally, after moments of awkward pacing, someone from within approached the door to leave.
The door opened, and Zark darted towards the door. The stranger held it for Zark.
“Thanks!” Zark said cheerfully as he entered. The person ignored him as they walked past.
This place is nice, he thought to himself as he entered a bright hallway.
A beautiful park encircled by a curved glass wall sat in the center of the ground floor. He stopped to marvel at it for a moment, but had to force himself to walk away from the spectacle, remembering he was on a mission.
The elevator shot him up ninety-one stories, and he exited to a floor that encircled the inner, open cylinder with rooms. He found hers and knocked.
He called through the door, “Lena, are you home? It’s me, Zark.”
He pounded the door with his fist.
“Nico misses you!”
He waited. Still nothing.
Zark walked away, distraught. He found a spot in the inner area within the complex to sit and think. Upon entering, the air warmed. The interior created a gentle cyclone pulled from the opening above. He walked, looking down through the glass paneled floor to the park ninety stories below. It was quiet in here, and peaceful. The sound of chirping birds echoed off the curved walls as they flew from surfaces on different stories. The washing sound of waterfalls surrounded him. He decided to call his father.
He sat at a bench in the center of the bridge, and pulled his celltab from his pocket. The GPS stated the same information as before.
Last Sync: July 7 13:14
Over seven hours had passed. Surely something hadn’t happened to Ellis as well? Zark contemplated a plan. He measured the distance between their shop and to where Ellis was located. It was over two-hundred kilometers. Zark guessed it would take about three hours to reach the last synced spot. He decided to head home after he spoke to Zedd. He formulated a strategy on the way.