Today I head out to the most famous park of all time, Paradox
Park, on Titan, Saturn’s moon.
People have been known to disappear in Paradox’s various
eras, but I am not fazed. After all, I’ve trained at school and my
grandfather has taught me how to be the best biologist I can be.
Now, enough hesitating. I am coming to find the elusive and
mysterious Credos, a being said to be the spirits of those with
faith and determination. In life, they made promises that they
keep even in death. It is said that they wear black cloaks
concealing their appearances, and they wander around the place
they are guarding. It is also said that if you have a promise with
a Credos, it would stay true to it forever.
Leaving the carefully regulated warmth of my space shuttle,
I shiver as the cold seeps into my space suit. As I step into
Paradox’s space dome barrier, I see fog hanging low over the
rainforest treetops and lush grass waving around my booted
feet. I wear a close-fitting teal space suit with the triangle
insignia of my family’s crest. In this park, a person could close
their eyes and travel to the time they wanted. Although great
for research, people get lost in time at times and arrive back in
the present looking years older, or they never come back at all.
I take off my helmet, the fog raking soft fingers through my
hair. Nervously, I close my eyes and bring to mind the Credos’
habitat. Grandfather had told me a week ago that he had found
one near England in 62 C.E. Since Credos’ are solitary, I expected
to only find one. A shame, really.
The fog’s iciness is there one moment, and then it is gone.
When I open my eyes, I glance at my self-adjusting watch, which
reads 11:59. One minute until midnight. I look around at my
surroundings. I am on a deserted island, with whispering waves
and a thick rainforest toward the center, shrouded with fog.
The moon is a small sliver, but still bright, and the stars twinkled
overhead. A clear night. As the time turns to 12:00, a ghostly
apparition flickers into view in front of me. I gasp. I had heard
about and read about what a Credos looked like, but seeing the
real thing is a whole different experience. A black cloak drapes
over a humanoid form, sleeves covering from head to toe, leaving
nothing in view. Not even fingers. With the gap in the hole for
the face in the hood shrouded, the Credos looks like a floating,
ragged cloak. Each hemline is full of jagged edges and there are
a few small holes. I step forward.
“Hello, Credos. Would you please tell me what it is you are
guarding?” I ask bluntly. The Credos recoils, and I stop where
I stand. “Please? My—my mother became a Credos and I want
to know what devotion she felt. If you can help me with that . . .
I’d be ever so grateful.”
My mother died when I was near the end of toddlerhood.
She was compelled to protect my grandmother’s heirloom. Still
does, as far as I know. I wipe away a few tears.
The Credos drifts closer, noting my tears, and nods. I smile
sadly, and my voice is watery as I answer, “Thank you.” The
Credos leads me into the trees, and we walk for a long time,
through reaching branches and roots, and dead leaves. The humid
air makes my hair stick to my skin, and I brushed it away,
mopping up the moisture. When we stop, I conclude we must
have gotten to the center of the island. The Credos gestures to
the middle of the clearing filled with lush grass towards a marble
grave, with the words “Ruby Archie’’ on them. “Oh,” I whisper
softly. “You’re guarding your friend’s grave?” The Credos nods.
And then, it does something utterly shocking: it removes its
hood, sleeves slipping down to reveal slightly transparent hands
as it did. Beneath the hood, a twelve year old boy smiles at me,
short blonde hair and too-pale skin glowing in the moonlight.
“Thank you,” I thank him, reverently bowing. The boy smiles
gently, and pats my back. We stay by the grave for awhile, but
then I have to go back to Paradox Park. I will never forget this
experience. Or the brave, honorable boy either, who guarded
his friend eternally. I believe I finally understand why my mother
became a Credos. To protect what was important.
P.S. When I return to the lab, I research what a Credos eats.
Forgotten wishes. Apparently, one forgotten wish can sustain
a Credos for hundreds of years. I stare out the window.
. I hope the boy is still alive. Well, undead alive. Maybe
I left a forgotten wish for him.