Jack Porter stared at the peculiar inscription on the flat slab of rock. He could not translate the words, but he knew they held a clue to the stone’s magic. For the stone held magic, of that he was certain. The islands did not have large stones such as this, so its origin was indeed a mystery. But it held magic—for one step upon it had brought him to Hannah.
“You must be in Heaven,” he said as he crouched lower and touched the cool slab. “But if you are in Heaven, Hannah, how is it that sometimes your voice comes to me in my head? That I see you on the shore, waiting? That I tremble with the feelings of wanting you once again? Where is it that you are, my sweet Hannah?”
And can I get back to you?
He sat and dropped his head into his hands. “How have I been so privileged as to have had you once more? To touch your breasts, your thighs, your lips? I have been to Heaven and back and I want like Hell to return. Please, my Hannah, come back.”
He crouched there and looked out to sea. For years he had walked the beaches alone, mourning his innocent wife and her cruel death. Vowing to seek revenge. Someday, some time.
He knew not when, but he knew that Blackbeard had not seen the last of Jack Porter.
What had happened to him those few nights past? The nights he had seen Hannah, kissed her, made love to her? With each time he had stepped on the stone, he had found himself surrounded by a foggy mist and shooting stars and swirling colors. Was he dreaming? Did the magical stone invade his mind like a sorcerer’s potion and conjure up these dreams? He dared not think again of witchcraft. It frightened him so, but not so much that he would be reluctant to use the stone’s magic, again. No, he would try until he found her once more. And the next time he would bring her back home.
Magic be damned!
Yes. The next time he would bring her home.
Confused emotion wracked his body, but Jack Porter was a proud man, he would not give in to the feelings. He straightened to his full height and stared across the narrow strip of land toward the ocean.
She was calm now, the sea, but days ago she had been wild and dangerous. The winds had shifted the sand from the stone after a storm that had swept the barrier islands. That is how he’d found it—the strange, flat gray rock reflecting the afternoon’s sun in his eyes. That is when his search for Hannah became real. When instead of merely walking the beaches thinking of her, he’d fallen through the stone and moved to some other place, and had attempted to claim her for his own once more.
He could still feel the stinging of salt spray into his face. He had turned into the sun and closed his eyes against the rainbow glare in front of him. A column of bright, white light shot up into the heavens, reflected from some object high on the beach. Puzzled, he had moved closer.
Jack gathered speed but approached with caution. As he did, the light withered, and the appearance of the object became known. A perfectly round, incredibly smooth disc of stone lay partially covered by sand. With his right hand, he brushed the particles away, exposing its entire surface. It was then he felt the ridges and grooves of the inscription.
The cryptic message was as much of a mystery then as it was now. But Jack knew it held the clues to the stone’s magic. He’d tried to lift the stone that day, but it was too cumbersome to move. So, he’d contemplated the stone’s purpose and then left for home. But it haunted him the rest of that day and into the night. He became so restless that he left his bed and, by the moon’s light, had returned.
For a few days he repeated that pattern. The stone called to him, pulling him out of his warm straw tick and into the night’s chill. He went to it, unable to resist the strength of its magnetic draw. At times, he felt the stone’s power, its seduction, but felt helpless as to its purpose. Drawn in, he felt translucent, transformed, and at times, in a dreamlike state, his brain riddled with delusions of his Hannah. He would pace the night, thinking of her, and wondering if somehow, some way, this was a magical connection. After some time had passed, he stood late one night beside the stone, listening to the hard pounding of the surf and blue moon storm brewing off the coast, and stepped into its center.
Not until then, had he felt the stone’s incredible full strength.
As his right foot centered the slab, he saw sparks of flashing light. At the instant he planted both feet firmly at its median, his body became as nothing. He felt both giddy with joy and suspended within time as he was surrounded by thousands of tiny swirling lights, dizzying him beyond all sense of direction, time, or space. And the sound—the sound was unlike any he’d ever heard, eerie and rhythmic, almost like an ancient chant.
Then in a flash, he became one of those minute points of light, hurtling throughout the heavens. When it stopped, when there were no lights, no sounds, Jack dared to open his eyes.
He had landed inside a black room, very tall and very straight. Even in the dark, he could tell it was larger than anything he had ever seen before. He turned in circles and looked around him. A sliver of light shined through a large crack in the wall, so he walked to it and stepped through.
The surf pounded in his ears, and he instantly felt at home. He tried to walk toward the moonlit sands, but stopped short at some sort of enclosure. He walked the entire circle, and finally came to an opening.
At that point, Jack had wondered if he had died and gone to Heaven. Or perhaps to Hell. Then as he looked across the sands, he knew.
The moonlight backlit her against the dunes. She was there, facing the ocean, her blond hair blowing behind her in the wind, her angel’s gown whipping about her body.