A dream of Atlantis
Disclaimer : I own nothing, its Ayn Rand's property.
Eddie Willers could no longer hear the sound of the trains passing through the rail, lying on a cramped bed in a cold and dank room- he found it hard to survive the night without the heater and the lamp. It was a particularly chilly night- but nowadays everyday was cold and breezy, as it has been months since the universal blackout. People had grown shifty nowadays, they did not riot, they did not complain, they just went and do their daily stuffs in a monotone and usual manner. Eddie could still remember those days when the Taggart Transcontinental was still in its high days, where in such a chilly night the heaters would warm the people up- and he would bring a cup of coffee for Dagny when she worked overnight.
Yet now there is no more of that. He smiled sadly. He had not known Dagny whereabouts since they last parted, and all he knew is that he missed her badly. Badly enough that he would often dream of their childhood days in the Taggart Residence, of the days when the little girl that Dagny was still dreaming of ruling the Taggart Transcontinental, how they would wait eagerly till Francisco would come and tell them of new stories. And yet now Francisco and Dagny was nowhere to be found, the destroyer had come and take them away.
He had insisted on staying the corpse of what had been the last of the remains of the Taggart Transcontinental, had clinged to it as a remembrance of the past. He knew that he was not a genius like Francisco nor a brilliant man like Rearden, he did not invent- but he loved to see the ways of those great men and wanted to preserve their leavings. Nat Taggart had worked so hard for that train. He is not one of them.
He had responded with indifference when he heard a knock at his door, he knew who it was, hated it when he expects the destroyer to come for him too, but he knew the destroyer wouldn't. He's not worth it. He's now pass that stage of idle wishing- because the disappointment was too great for even him to bear.
Whatever money left in his pocket he had given to the ragtags daily to get him food- anything to help him scrape by. Was it that time already , though? His body is too tired to even care.
He could scarcely suppress the gasp when the door opened and revealed the man he had so longed to see- dressed in a leather jacket and an informal manner was his childhood friend- the sole heir of the D'Anconia's aristocracy, Frisco himself. It seemed unreal that he really came, after all those days and nights I waited. This could have been the day.
He find himself unable to formulate any comprehensible word to address Francisco, whose blue eyes are twinkling and smiling to him- just like the Francisco in the olden days. "Eddie, you looked as if you've seen a ghost." Francisco teased, jokingly. "Look how you are right now, and I never knew your wide eyes could have gotten any wider. We had come to get you, we had not forgotten you. Dagny and I needs you, Eddie."
"F-Frisco d' Anconia." Eddie stuttered.
"The one and only."
"I-I thought you're dead. You and Dagny.." Eddie repeated that again and again in his mind and now he was too glad that he had not had the need to believe that.
"Well, she's as much alive as I am, Eddie, don't you fear."
Eddie let out a sigh of relief, as long as she's alive.
"We had come to get you, as I have said, would you join us, my friend?" Francisco offered his hand, beckoning him to accept it, "We're going to Atlantis, Eddie."
Eddie felt hot tears streaming down his cheeks as he nodded vigorously, his hand clutching Francisco's.
Eddie followed Francisco's back, he always does. Since those old times, Francisco had always been their leader, his back strong and confident. Francisco knows anything, he can do everything. Even if it was as impossible as creating an Atlantis. Eddie would follow Francisco- everywhere he went. Francisco seemed to know his way amongst the darkened land, where there is not a single light as a guide. Nearing a trail of a forest, Francisco beckoned him to enter a car which seemed to be his.
There were no lights when they passed the roads, everything was pitch black- but Francisco seem to be able to see in the dark. His eyes is straight to the road.
"Dagny… How is she? Is she alright?" He finds himself asking Francisco, if she's harmed or killed or maimed, but Francisco had said she's alive. And Francisco would always protect her. Somewhere inside Eddie, he had always known that Dagny bore special feelings for Francisco, and so did Francisco, even if the claim wasn't ever publicly announced.
Francisco is worthy of Dagny. So he had not said a single word, he simply remembered how sad and dejected Dagny was when he turn out to be the most useless playboy the world ever conceived, even he himself can't find it in himself to believe it.
Francisco had smiled when he said, "Yes, Dagny is well. She's remaking her own new Taggart Transcontinental, nothing less that we would expect from her. She needs your help, Eddie. You're always the employee she had most depended on."
Eddie had smiled too; Dagny was the only boss he found worthy to be under.
"What about you, Frisco?" Eddie asked.
"I've found a new mine to get unlimited copper. It will be the greatest mine under the name of D'Anconias."
"Its in Atlantis?"
"Yes," Francisco grinned, as his eyes went through the streets as the first dawn had descended, which felt like the first dawn in Eddie Willer's life. "In Atlantis."
Atlantis was a miniature of a country, where tall buildings and factories scraped up to the sky. When they reached the Atlantis- styled Galt's Gulch by Francisco- Eddie could see those men who he thought dead, the man who had vanished in their glory. As Francisco walked with him, Ken Dannager waved to both of them and greeted them warmly. He had been shocked when he saw Kay Ludlow buying apples from the market. This is where the great heroes were revived, the man he had caught on admiring.
"Surprised, Eddie?", Francisco spoke of the surroundings, "This is our Atlantis, the country which he had hoped to have, with all the talented and able man working under the wheels of our own values, where no looters and moochers shall dare to taint it dirty, this is the fulfillment of our hopes, the place where we can extol and make money without being charged of a moral guilt. Here, we do not require the sanction of the victim, for there is no victims and we all worked for our own selves." Francisco pointed to the trails of the rails newly made of Rearden metals, "That is our new Taggart Transcontinental." The rail went endless up into the hills and the mountains, spreading its wings to unseen territories.
"Frisco," Eddie said, bristling with excitement, "This is inconceivable, it felt too amazing to be true!"
"Indeed. Do you now understand the reason why I had turned a worthless playboy?"
"Was it a means that justifies the ends?" Eddie blurted out, he find himself admiring the Anconia heir once again.
"It is. All for the Atlantis."
Francisco had led him to the factory that stood distinctly at the center of the Atlantis, in its plank a header put handsomely in proud neons, "Rearden Metal."
As they went inside, they found Hank Rearden standing professionally looking at his newly made furnaces, the Rearden metal bubbling beautifully in its wake, its purpose endless as it is made. He had turned around when Francisco had called him, grinning like a man Eddie had never seen before as his eyes caught Francisco's. He had not seen Eddie.
"There you are, Francisco." Rearden said, holding his shoulder like a brother, in his eyes the depth of compassion and gratitude towards the other man. "Look at the metals, now used to its maximum potential to produce yet another stuffs. And your copper, now I can use it freely no matter how much I want."
"I'm thinking of working as your furnace foreman for half a year, Hank. I never realized how much I had enjoyed the job, say can I still work here?" Francisco had asked, his tone having more respect and gentler than Eddie had ever seen before.
"Of course, I'm in a dire need of men, Francisco. Not to mention a man as qualified as you." Rearden smiled, "Maybe I should give you a salary higher than my own."
Both Rearden and Francisco seemed to have forgotten Eddie in their banter, it was not until Eddie came to spoke did they remember his presence, "Mr Rearden."
"Call me Hank." Rearden said, finally noticing him, "Eddie Willers, you had finally come." He greeted him like a fellow brother, "You could work in my factory too, if you want to."
"Do that and Dagny will kill you." Francisco chuckled, "She had specifically asked me to pick him up to assist her rails."
"Her rails is as long as its been already. Have you seen how long its gotten?"
"She won't stop till it reached the ends of the world."
"Are you both meeting Dagny? I think I may join you," Offered Rearden, looking at the dawn, "I suppose I should end the work here today."
"You are welcomed to, if you want, Hank."
Eddie Willers had always liked Hank Rearden- his principles and values like a super producer, though he must admit he had envied the man when he had a relationship with Dagny. But now they were in Atlantis, where no hatred or envy could ever be conceived.
Dagny had been dressed brilliantly in her suit when they encountered her, in the middle of inspecting her rails with John Galt. All of a sudden, Eddie knew Galt was the only man Dagny could ever love, and jealousy dissipated into admiration when he saw them both, discussing their future prospects of the yet still untouched land.
Francisco had waved to the both of them, and Eddie felt as if they were back to their past- but even better, now that they were in Atlantis.
He felt thoroughly at home.
"Look at the fool, he died smiling." Remarked the mindless brute who came to check on Eddie Willers, now a rotten corpse of a couple of days.
"The chill must have gotten into him."
"The fool had dreamed of Atlantis. The Atlantis had devoured him."
Author notes : Poor poor Eddie. Please Read and review.