It felt like the movies. All the apocalypse or worldwide disaster movies. Everyone panicked, all the local TV stations were trying to report on it, stores and roads became jammed, and of course looters tried their best to steal. Lumie, who had been out just before everything happened, told me that she bought her things and headed home–or tried to. In the short amount of time the grocery store became so packed she had to push her way out and someone had tried to parallel park behind her car.
>And the roads were so full of cars and people!< she told me once she got home. >Everyone was shouting and flipping out. I saw ‘end of the world’ signs before half an hour had gone by and others in tin foil hats shouting about aliens! People are nuts!<
I couldn’t really blame them, though. I knew whatever had happened had to do with… with that place in the woods, with the people wanting to kidnap me. But to everyone else their world had gone suddenly red from what looked like a laser shooting into–or down from–the sky. Of course they were panicking and some assumed what had happened was from aliens. If I hadn’t known better I might have thought about aliens, too.
The government soon came onto the radio and TV for people not to panic. Goose wasn’t home since pretty much everyone at the local TV station had been called in, even the musicians. But the spa had called telling me my classes were canceled for the day which came as no shock cause seriously, nobody would go to sim fu classes after ‘aliens’ beamed down. So I got to sit on the couch and try to remain calm.
Pa showed up pretty quick. “You’re okay,” he said, breathing a sigh of relief. “I was so scared something had happened to you!” He wrapped his arms tightly around me, squishing all air from my lungs until I managed to get free.
“He went to the Rag because the supernaturals there are com-pleeeet-ely freaking out!” Pa shook his head, eyes huge. “After about two seconds after the, um, thingie stopped… being all… laser…y… we got a call needing him there. I tried to call you but the lines are all buzzy. Where’s Goose?”
“At work,” I replied as I went to the land line. Sure enough when I picked it up I got a static sound and when I tried to dial a number a voice said that all the lines were busy. I tried my cell phone but the call never connected. When I turned back around I saw Pa had gotten Reeny, petting her hair and putting kisses on her forehead. “She was asleep…”
Pa looked a bit defensive. “She was whimpering, I heard her.” He sat down with his granddaughter in his lap. “I can’t get a hold of Vilkas. I’ve sent, um, e-mails to everyone else. Is Lumie all right?”
I nodded, sitting next to him. “Yeah, she’s been messaging me mentally throughout the morning. Right now I think she’s talking to Adan online or something.” I tried to send a text to Saya or Gladdy but the texts didn’t really send. “Guess they’ve just jammed everything up.”
“Government,” I mumbled, though it could have been because of the laser-thing. I doubted it though. Most likely the government had stupidly started jamming phones and stuff. I mean, the best way to calm down panic was to make it so nobody could contact their loved ones. >Insert eye roll and gagging noise here,< I added as Lumie snickered.
“D’you think the government had something to do with it? Specter says it had to have been something paranormal since the supernaturals are reacting to it.” He bounced Reeny on his knee, smiling as she giggled happily. “But I saw people with signs saying aliens were coming to the earth… again.”
“Again?” I asked.
I stared at my pa in both confusion and… well, no, mostly just confusion. “I don’t believe in aliens,” I said. “It’s supernatural, it came from–from a place where I know supernaturals are living. I think the ones who want me. You believe in aliens?”
Pa chuckled. “Of course I do! I kinda have to, you know. I’ve seen them. Um. Sorta. It was kinda a dream but kinda not and a long time ago. They helped me get pregnant.”
Great, my pa had gone absolutely off the deep end. “The beam appeared in the area where I think the people who are after me live or work,” I said, changing the subject. “So yeah, I agree with Da–okay, no, seriously, what? Aliens?”
Pa sighed and told me the story of when he woke up to shadow people one night, and a ‘thingiemabob’ that had later been removed. “Dr. Redding was convinced it was aliens and I kinda agree, I mean none of us knew what it was but it had to have been aliens. Or something. So I mean, I guess I do believe in them. But there wasn’t any big red beam or anything so… um, I dunno. I don’t think it is aliens that did the thing this morning.”
Grams and Mr. Blair showed up not long after and they confirmed that whatever happened had supernatural indications to it. “It’s not completely from magical origins but magic definitely supplied a lot of the… hmm, power?” Grams said, scratching her head.
“Power?” I asked. “Wait, you’re saying whatever this was it had both like, non-magic and magic properties to it?”
“I don’t know exactly what it was,” Grams said tersely. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to snap. I just, I’m very perplexed by this. As I said magic supplied a lot of the power. There was a great influx of magic. Sort of like someone throwing a pebble into a lake causing ripples.”
“Pebble?” Malik Blair snorted.
“All right, fine. Giant rock,” muttered Grams. “It first sucked in a lot of magic. I noticed this morning and that is why I began testing. Then suddenly that red light and the ripples all through the air.”
“Like, someone pulling a rubber band back and snapping it almost?” I asked and Grams shrugged, looking exhausted. “What for? Why?”
“I don’t know, Zaid. I just don’t know.”
By four pm that day the government had an explanation for what happened as well as trying to get a new law passed. They stated that some witch or wizard had been experimenting with light and caused a ‘laser show sort of thing’. Nothing dangerous or bad. But because of the panic it had put on the towns the officials were trying to get a law passed stating that anyone using magic to cause panic in others could be put in jail. For causing panic. It’d probably pass and then anyone seeing the slightest bit of magic could claim panic and the magical person could be put in jail.
It really sucked. But what could I do? Besides read through about a hundred e-mails from different people asking my opinion about the whole damn thing. I didn’t know what to really tell them. Not the truth… or could I?
“Da’e Zay,” she said and offered me a spoonful of applesauce. “Da’e Goo?”
“Daddy Goose will be home soon,” I promised her and sure enough within ten minutes he came trudging through the door looking ready to drop. I went over to gather him in my arms and plant kisses all over his face. “You doing all right?”
“The station was a madhouse,” he said, tearing his hat off and running his fingers through his hair. “Half the people aren’t believing the report that went out. They’re saying it’s a cover up. Loads of people are still thinking aliens and there’s been a couple of arrests of people trying to go into the woods where they think the UFO crashed.”
“The… woods? Where the beam was?” I asked. “People are going there?”
“Um. No what?” I went back to Reeny, wiping the food from her face and lifting her out of her chair. She squealed and wriggled, reaching for Goose.
Goose took her into his arms and after a quick kiss sat her on his hip. “You know perfectly well what I meant by ‘no’. You’re not going there. It’s too dangerous. If–if it’s from the people who want you kidnapped then most likely the beam had something to do with some nefarious plan of theirs.”
“Nefarious plan?” I laughed. “You read too much sci-fi.”
“And you’re purposely trying to live in a horror movie,” he said with a quick lift of one eyebrow. “Ignoring the ‘turn back’ signs, going into the abandoned house, etc, etc.” He shifted Reeny to his other hip and she was giving me the same pursed-lip look of disapproval. Dang she looked so much like Goose and soon I’d have two pouters going about the house. “Promise me, Zaid.”
He eyed me but accepted the promise. I knew it’d be stupid to go but part of me felt like I really, really should and with a lot of alien hunters crawling around it seemed to be a good time to sort of check the area out. Buuut a promise is a promise, so the next day when the police tape was removed and several wannabe paranormal hunters went into the woods I stayed at home and played with my daughter. Which, really, was a much nicer way of spending the day.
Besides, I could just watch the hours and hours of footage the people shot. So many were put on Simtube and paranormal blogs that I could watch for a full day and not see everything put on the web about those woods. I watched many, trying to figure out where people went. One group did wind up wandering near a fence that said to keep out. They, of course, ignored the signs and climbed under a broken bit. They got into a scuffle with some armed guards and were thrown out, though that didn’t deter them. Determined now that that was where the alien was, they went back.
I watched with complete interest as they snuck around the building and went into a very old door on the west side of the building. They went into a big storage area but didn’t get too far before someone caught them. The screen went blank at that. ‘Someone scrambled our camera and we lost all footage’ claimed a message on the screen.
I went to the written blog post about it and read that the armed guards had once again thrown them out and threatened to call the police if they tried again. Then they electrified the fence so the kids (well, young adults) couldn’t get back in. It is definitely where they are hiding the alien. We will try to go in there again and find the truth for you.
I favorited their site, interested to know if they managed but a week passed and no new post appeared. At all, actually. I searched for the names of the people who had been involved–they all lived in Moonlight Falls, or had. Apparently two of them had been missing for two days (five days after they had gone into the woods) and the third had been found dead with no apparent trauma. Eventually the forensic pathologist involved in the case decided the guy had died from a heart attack.
Naturally because of their blog and stuff it was attributed to a supernatural. Ghosts, apparently, could now kill by giving people heart attacks or so the reports began saying. Pa really did not like this as ghost hunters began multiplying and people clamored for the rays that a ghost hunting facility near Moonlight Falls—EGHB–be patented for the public to use. Dad grew very pissy about that and soon we found out why. The guns that the EGHB used were all exceedingly old. No new ones had been made in a long time and they couldn’t be, because the designs belonged to first a Professor Everett who founded the business and when he died it had been inherited by his adopted son.
So that’s how I found out a lot about Dad’s past. Stuff I never knew. He never talked about Samuel Everett and for some reason none of us ever really thought about Dad’s upbringing after his birth parents died. But the fact that Dad held the designs and basically patent for the ghost guns that could actually send a ghost back to the Netherworld made us all breathe a bit better since it meant they wouldn’t get into the hands of the public and so far nobody could use one of the existing ones. Apparently Everett had been completely paranoid and designs his guns so if they were taken apart by someone who didn’t know them and knew how to override things, the insides would fall apart and be rendered useless; nobody had been able to figure out how to put them back together properly and have them continue working. However this didn’t stop people from hunting ghosts down and trying to trap their spirits Ghostbusters-style after the ‘heart attack’ thing.
March really became the anti-ghost month and amidst the early crap we celebrated Eirene’s second birthday.
Our little princess adored having all the attention on her, smiling sweetly at everyone, not complaining at being cuddled by so many, toddling around seeming very pleased. Goose and I were a bit on edge since we knew and had heard so many tales of the terrible twos but Reeny didn’t really seem like she’d go into them immediately.
March continued and we waited but the only tantrums she threw weren’t really weird or excessive. She definitely pouted a lot but I had expected that. Goose didn’t really seem to get why she pouted too much and in early April when I pointed out that he pretty much had a perpetual pout on his own lips he pouted. Of course. I pulled him into the bathroom, laughing as his pout turned into a scowl.
“It’s only cause I gotta put up with a dork like you,” he said, nose in air.
“Ohhh reeeally,” I said, placing my hands on my hips. “I see. It must be a–a trial. For you.”
“Oh it is,” he said, leaning sexily back against the doorframe. “Such a trial. I don’t know how I do it–EEP!”
I grabbed his waist and swung him up onto my shoulder, carrying him out to the bedroom and letting him drop on the bed. I fell down next to him, partially pinning him. “Such a horrible experience, eh?” I asked, kissing and sucking at his neck. “Dealing with someone like me.” I went down onto his shoulder.
“It’s–ahhh–the w-worst–oh, Zaid!”
We managed to finish before Reeny finished her nap then did rock-paper-scissors to see who’d get her and change her diaper. We hadn’t started potty-training quite yet but I was certainly ready to start especially as his rock smashed my scissors. I got out of bed, tugging sweatpants and a t-shirt on, making loud complaints as I went. Goose just laughed and wallowed around on the bed.
“Hey girly,” I said when I went into her room.
And with that her terrible twos hit us. Annnnd hit us hard. She screamed ‘no’ about fifty times an hour, screaming and kicking when we tried to start timeouts, and when we broached potty training in May she constantly tipped her potty over or tried to put the little plastic seat into the big toilet. Everything became such a chore, especially since in April Goose had been given a promotion and worked more hours, and with summer coming up I’d have more classes to teach when school let out. Our house had gone from fairly clean on a regular basis to thank-the-Watcher-my-Pa-cleaned-when-he-babysat.
Still, somehow between raising a demanding kid and work and cleaning and everything Goose and I were determined to make sure we got some personal time together. Even when we were completely exhausted we’d take five or ten minutes to snuggle and talk. I admit it, I was a bit frightened still that our relationship would fall to pieces. I knew personal time together didn’t necessarily mean everything went perfect but it helped. So did talking, making decisions together, and having alone time when needed.
Hardly anyone outside the family understood why we didn’t just get married but Goose and I were completely content with the life we had together and I would do anything to make sure it continued that way.
Jay lay in her bed, staring blankly at the ceiling. Kay sat at the computer typing away at a mile a minute. The sound of clacking keys didn’t bother Jay. If anything, they comforted her. As much as she could be comforted.
It had been a few months and there had been no signs that the twins would be released… or killed. Jay’s chest tightened every time someone came to their door but all that happened was food delivery. No one took her out to the lab anymore, no one approached with a knife or gun. They were essentially left alone now.
In February she had finished the machine they wanted. No explosions this time, she did as they had commanded. After all an explosion would put her brother too much at risk. During the entire time she built the second machine she tried to devise a plan of escape. She tested boundaries and limits, often garnering the anger of the fairy. One reason Jay had expected to be killed the moment the machine finished.
Only instead she had been kept in the room she and Kay shared. Two days passed after the completion and they were not given any food whatsoever. Then without warning a huge cracking sound happened one morning. She and Kay had nothing they could do as what sounded–and felt–like lightning ripped through the building. Heat and electricity crackled through the air and through the electronics. Kay had gotten shocked when he touched his computer. The static in the air grew worse, their hair standing on end.
Then with an earth-shaking rumble (literally) and the loudest crack of thunder they ever heard, the electricity diminished. They were both on the floor from the shaking though very concerned that they were bathed in a red light. Jay had moved closer to Kay, helping him into his wheelchair then running to pound at the door. No response of course, though the red light finally faded.
Neither of them had any idea what had just happened. The person who brought their food that evening seemed smug. Jay tried to snap their neck but the magical barriers prevented from her getting close.
After that things became routine. Food twice a day and nothing else. Nobody gave them orders, nobody took Jay to the lab, no anything. Kay focused on his computer, trying to repair it and managing to get it fixed though he no longer had internet access. Instead he wrote. Jay wasn’t quite sure what he had been writing, whether a diary or perhaps a fictional story. She just mostly lay in bed and tried to think of a way to escape.
It burned her into oblivion feeling so helpless. She never felt helpless. Or rather, hadn’t in a long time. She had been helpless once. Only once. And it ended badly for the person who caused her issues, and it would end badly for her captors this time.
The twins kept records of the days passing. February, March, April. Three full months of being locked up in the windowless cell. Jay felt as though she might go completely mad and if it weren’t for her obsessive fantasies of murder she might have. At least they had some books to distract them but by the time May started they both had read every book available to them.
Jay grit her teeth. “No. I will get us out.”
“How?! Th-they have… magic holding us b-b-back, we are l-locked up and c-can’t do anything ab-about it.”
Jay punched the wall, scraping her knuckles. “When we escape I will find a way to be able to manipulate magic,” she hissed.
Kay frowned. “I d-don’t think you c-can become a w-w-witch. Either y-you’re one or y-your not, from wh-what I understand.”
Kay looked down, staring at his legs. He constantly felt guilt over the fact all this had been because of him, because of his legs being paralyzed. If he had been paying more attention he wouldn’t have been stabbed, his legs wouldn’t be like this, and Jay would never have made the deal for him to walk again.
“No need to apologize,” Jay said, standing up and Kay realized he had spoken out loud. “It is not your fault. It is mine. I was… I made a mistake.” She pulled her hair back, twisting it into a bun then letting it fall. She hated her hair down like this but she couldn’t do anything about it. Her hair had gotten far too long. As had Kay’s but he kept it tied back in a ponytail with a bit of ripped cloth. Ponytails annoyed Jay as much as having her hair down so she figured if she couldn’t wear her hair how she liked it did not matter.
She wondered if she could try again to throw something and knock a person out. She had tried a few times but it never went well. Anything she threw bounced harmlessly off their magical barrier-shields. But maybe something sharp? It would end like it did before, Jay thought, reaching up to touch the scar over one eye.
One of her earliest escape attempts included throwing a wrench at the fairy and making a run for the door of the lab. Guards were positioned outside the door and pinned her down. When they picked her up the fairy had backhanded Jay hard, her ring cutting into Jay’s face and leaving the scar. At least I didn’t lose the eye. Jay removed her glasses, debating breaking them and using the broken lenses somehow.
“DAMN IT!” Jay kicked the wall and sank down onto the floor. “I hope those prophecies are true and magic is wiped from the face of this planet in every form!”
“I’ve never made a mistake before,” she said, eyes focusing on something not there. “I’ve always done everything so well. I’ve never…” Her voice broke a bit and Kay wheeled himself closer. “I suppose our adventure ends here.”
“I d-doubt even v-vampires live f-forever,” Kay said, reaching down to put a hand on his sister’s head. “It had… t-to happen.”
“It shouldn’t!” She twitched but didn’t push his hand away. “We have so much more to do, Kaleb. I have so much more to do. It can’t end like this, it shouldn’t end like this!” She stood up and began pacing, her slippers making no sound on the floor. “There’s a way, there has to be a way, there has to be.” She then stopped and gave Kay a rather crazy look. “No more. No more. I won’t just stop. That’s my problem, I let the magical barriers defeat me. I shall defeat them!”
“Not giving up. I’ll hit and hit and hit until it gives away.”
“I d-don’t th-think it w-works that way!” Kay said as his sister went into the other room. “Jay! It d-doesn’t…” He trailed off and shook his head, knowing it’d be pointless to try and convince her of something besides what filled her head.
Jay knew it’d probably not work but no harm in trying. Maybe there was some sort of physical aspect to the barrier and a constant striking would break it. She wouldn’t be sure until she tried it, she would strike until they killed her.
She broke the chair in the main room, deciding to use one of the legs. She’d prefer something heavier but couldn’t really get her hands on anything. “Don’t stop,” she told herself as she waited for the evening meal to be brought.
By her reckoning the alarm went off about an hour before they were to be fed. The lights flickered but remained on as a pulsing, blaring, loud sound made regular blasts. Kay wheeled into the front room.
“Wh-what’s happening?” he asked.
“I don’t know,” she said then stumbled back as someone, somewhere, screamed. It sounded very faint but it had definitely been a scream heard between the alarm sounds. A scream of pain, of anguish, of… torture. Jay wondered if they were torturing somewhere now but she couldn’t hear anymore screaming.
Kay whimpered. “D-did you h-hea–“
“Shh.” Jay lay on the ground and listened at the crack on the door. Now she could hear more screaming but not just one person. Howls. Not werewolf howls but humans howling for some reason. Everything sounded so incredibly faint though she couldn’t be sure. “Something is going on. Get back in your room.”
Kay turned around and returned to the bedroom though he didn’t shut the door. He peered out around the edge and watched his sister continue to listen. He wished he could hear too but all he could hear was the alarm. Jay couldn’t even really hear anything else either anymore, but he didn’t know that.
She strained, holding her breath and pressing right against the crack. Alarm. Alarm. Alarm…no! Something else. Whirring. An elevator ding. Someone ran into the hall, gasping. “Oh Watcher oh Watcher oh Watcher,” they repeated, scrambling around outside the door. Jay stood up, grabbing for the chair leg but the door remained closed. “No, no!” the person gasped as a a door slammed somewhere in the hall.
Thump-thump-thump-kshskshskh! Screaming that faded.
Jay backed away, knowing perfectly well she just just heard someone being killed. Someone on the other side panted. The person who had been in the hall a moment ago or had they been the one who died? Jay tightened her hold on the chair leg. Thunk. The door handle rattled then swung open.
Jay raised the chair leg and began to bring it down on the blood-soaked person wielding a sword before her but hesitated for a split second at the sight of Redding green eyes staring out from behind the blood. After another heartbeat she recognized the facial features even if the coloring wasn’t right. And before the next heartbeat she knew.
She lowered her arm, arranging her face from slight surprise to impassive. “Well, well, well. Zaid Danevbie-Greyson, I shou–“