"Well, are you happy?" demanded Landon, staring off into the trees.
Elizabeth set her teary eyes upon Landon's cold face. She couldn't bring herself to speak, and when Landon suddenly turned on her with a disgust in his eyes, she could only give a tiny yelp as she stumbled back in pain.
"Congratulations!" Landon exclaimed, waving his arms in the air. "You fooled me!" He took a step forward, and Liz tried to approach him with a comforting gaze of apology. But Landon could not even see her.
"You fooled me--because--you know--I thought I'd paid for an adventure! Not a bloody dream sequence!"
Liz blinked, completely taken aback. She desperately cleared her throat and asked, "What are you talking about?"
Landon gazed down at her. "Don't give me that--Have you ever heard of a real adventure? They don't involve a load of drugs and random scenes from around the world!"
Liz was amazed. She had thought he would be angry because his life had been taken from him. But no, he was angry because he wasn't satisfied with what he'd paid for. He wanted more.
Landon gave her a searching look and picked up on her confusion. "What!" he demanded. "You think I'm a loser, don't you? You think I'm a dullard, a slow one, a dim-wit, don't you? Well I've got a backbone and a thoughtful mind, and I don't like what's going on here! And jesus!" he cried as Liz pulled closer. "I don't care how incredibly beautiful you are, I am furious that you think as part of a realistic adventure, you can just show up as my wife!"
"And now that I've escaped--with a hostage," he added, "I can now find the one behind all this and demand something decent for my money."
Liz licked her lips and moved forward, placing a hand on his shoulder. "I have to tell you something," she said carefully.
Landon froze and slowly turned his head to her. "Don't move any closer. Say what you want to say."
Liz looked down at her feet. "Well, you're not going to believe me..." Landon opened his mouth to respond, but Liz continued in a barely audible voice. "No," she whispered, "Don't protest. Just hear me out. What I want to tell you is...at first, yes, it was all an act. But Landon, as the time went by...well you fooled me."
"What do you mean?" asked Landon, his voice a quiver.
"I mean...just as you fell for our tricks...I fell for your pleasant mind and passionate courage..." She stared at the ground as if embarrassed. "I fell for you," she said. "And Landon," she continued before he could even react, "let me tell you, we've done a really bad job with giving you an adventure. We really have. But you...you've turned this show into a real adventure. A real adventure that I never want to end. I mean, back there!--you showed them all, didn't you?"
Liz laughed and took a few steps away. She spun around in a circle with her arms outstretched. Then, she stopped, her arms in the air and her eyes staring up into the treetops. She let out an incredible sigh and watched the birds flicker through the highest boughs.
Landon stood stock still, watching her with a loving gaze. But within, he was tangled in a web of emotions and suspicion. Was she real? he asked.
Liz turned around, giddy with feeling, and gave Landon a smile that sent his insides squirming. "You know, I have a fiance. But while he's on the sidelines moaning and drinking, you're here putting things into action. How could I not join you?"
Landon licked his lips. He was almost convinced. "Anna," he said, "Are you for real?"
Liz grinned. "Anna is nobody!" she cried. "But me...my name is Liz." She paused. "And yes, Ollie, Liz if for real."
Jan was bellowing orders again. But nothing seemed to be getting done. And for some reason, Jan was instructing the actors to make a camp. Meanwhile, the invisible crew of helpers moved behind the scenes, silently loading the Venture Craft and readying it for flight.
A few minutes later, Jan let out a cry and went bolting across the clearing. Everyone dropped what they were doing and looked up in shock. Jan cried again. His scream was a cross between the word 'stop' and the exclamation 'arggh'. The ocean of swiftly darting eyes leaped ahead of Jan and settled upon the Venture Craft. It was slowly rising into the air. And then the other cries joined in as the Venture Craft took off into the sky.
Aboard the vessel, banging on the door of the room he'd been locked within, was the Writer. And in the cockpit, piloting the ship with sparkling eyes, was the Leader. Sitting with him was his invisible crew. They were chatting quietly to themselves and wondering what fun missions they would be given next.
A few minutes later, the Leader was at the banging door. "Who's in there?" he asked in an unfamiliar voice.
The Writer replied. "It's me! The Writer!"
The Leader laughed. "And what are you writing?" he asked.
"I'm writing Landon's adventure. Who are you? Where are you taking the Venture Craft?"
"I'm not taking the Venture Craft anywhere," the Leader responded. "You're the one who stole it. You're the one who wanted your girl back so desperately. Now, I suggest you start writing yourself into that novel of yours. Now that you're one of the main characters of course."