October 30th, 2224.
The day seemed like a normal day. We had classes. Blake started a food fight at lunch and got detention. Sam and I spent some of our free time outside enjoying the chilling air and discussing last year’s Halloween at the haunted house. Most the students decided to throw a party down in the club room the next night to celebrate after the Halloween dinner. Blake started a food fight at dinner and got another detention. In the evening Sam and I played some of the arcade games in the common room before returning to our room to do homework. We didn’t know. Well, we knew a little bit, just… we didn’t know how it would end up effecting us.
Later–much later–I found out the chain of dominoes. Ironically, it could be traced back to what I had been researching for reasons why my one vision changed. One of the big things that happened the day I had my changed vision was a singer was caught with his manager’s wife. Turned out the manager had magic. Specifically, he was a wizard. He used magic to get revenge by destroying his ex-wife’s good looks. The ex-wife’s brother got angry. Not good, as he turned out to be in one of the anti-Supernatural organizations. He went to some of his friends and together they attacked the manager, nearly killing him.
The manager’s friends–magic friends–went after the organization and started a big fight. Another anti-supernatural organization saw this and decided to change their course. This group–the Justificus–they were bigger, more powerful, and had much darker intentions than anyone could have predicted. Oh, they were making threats all through the first couple weeks of October. Claiming they were about to do Something Big, that their storm was coming. Everyone in the supernatural world just sorta shrugged this off as yet another hot air group. I don’t know if anything could have been done but maybe somehow it could have been prevented. Nobody knew for sure. All we really understood was the Justificus were ready to take us down.
That’s how I woke up before dawn on Halloween to a gun in my face.
“Hands where I can see them, otherwise no moving! Up! Hands up! Right now!”
I hadn’t been sleeping too well and woke up from some sort of sound. The door? The person moving around? Either way, when my eyes opened they were staring down the barrel of a large gun. The guy holding the gun wore all black and had another gun also pointed at me. When he barked his orders I quickly put my hands in the air.
On the other side of the room Sam was in the same position with another guy. Sam caught my eyes until we were ordered to look back at the guns.
“On your feet,” demanded the one by Sam. “Both of you.”
Slowly I got out of bed and stood up, my knees shaking pretty hard. Sam stood tall and strong, but after what he told me about his past it didn’t surprise me.
“Hands in the air. Now!” I obeyed and Sam and I were pushed forward, out of the room. The floor felt cold.
Outside we found the rest of our floor in similar positions. Eli and Blake were shoved out of their room just after me and Sam. Blake had a pretty nasty looking bruise on one cheek.
“Line up, down the hall, keep walking you freaks! Keep your hands up”
There were several of us lined up. Someone cried. Someone cussed. The people in black paroled up and down, their guns never leaving being pointed at our faces. Some of them were laughing about how easy it had been to get here, to sneak in, to take over. At those words Sam and I exchanged looks again.
“Pointed ears, eyes FORWARD!” A gun was shoved into Sam’s face. “You’re ours now. Obey us or die.” Sam’s chin jutted out and he said nothing. Now the gun went to my face though the guy’s voice didn’t seem as vicious as he said essentially the same thing, minus the pointy ears part.
The biggest guy pulled a radio out as it buzzed. “Team B here, the basement is secured. Bunch of bloodsuckers down here,” said whoever was on the other side.
“Good. Team D here, our floor is secure,” the big guy responded. “How’s Team C?”
A new voice floated through. “We’re about done here. Teachers are putting up a bit of a fight…” And sure enough we could hear sounds of shouting and fighting coming from the stairs. I flinched as a gun went off and my legs weakened. “Need a bit of help down here! Team D!”
A few of the guys guarding us ran off while the rest seemed to snap into even more attention so they could keep their eyes on us. I heard Blake mutter about how we were magic we could take them down.
The biggest guy went over and jammed his gun against Blake’s mouth. “Wanna fucking try, freakazoid? I’ll be glad of any excuse to blow your brains out.” He shoved the barrel harder against Blake and I could hear it click against his teeth.
“DON’T!” Eli screamed. “Stop–please–he–he doesn’t mean it, he t-talks as a coping mechanism please, don’t.”
“And what do you do as a coping mechanism?” The big guy swung his gun around and put the end right between Eli’s eyes. “What do you do at all? You one of those wand users? Mmm? And you?” Now the gun pressed against my cheek. I couldn’t hold myself and felt humiliated as warmth spread in my boxers. “You guys are the worst, passing as normal people when really you should… ha! Look, this one pissed himself. Scared? Hmm?” The gun wedged harder against my cheek. “You should be.”
“HE’S COMING TO!” someone screamed and the big guy yanked away, running down the line. I nearly collapsed to the floor and probably would have if Sam and Blake–on either side of me–pulled me back upright. We heard shouts down the line and then a gunshot. I screamed, as well as a few other people. Someone had been shot. Sam leaned forward to see then jerked back, whispering that Casimir was now laying in a pool of blood.
Eli began crying. “They’re g-gonna kill us, kill us all…”
“No they won’t, if they wanted to they would have,” Sam said reasonably.
Blake bent over and vomited all over the floor which brought our section back to the attention of the big guy. He came back with flecks of blood all over his pants. He grabbed Blake and pulled him down to the floor, jamming his face into the vomit.
“We got the teachers, the whole place has been taken,” came over the radio. “Let’s get everyone out and then blow this shithole up.”
“All right everyone march forward, stay in line!”
After we got to the next floor we found that everyone had someone with them, everyone had a gun pointed at them in some form. By the time we got down to the main floor I could see that they really did have everyone as prisoner. As we were led outside I saw most the teachers waiting outside, hands behind their heads, guns pointed at them. There were vans everywhere. Dark, unmarked vans.
A man who wore fancy black clothes strode forward and began speaking. “You are our prisoners, you will be taken to our base. Whether you make it there or not is your choice. Remain calm and listen to us and you’ll make it there. Try to fight or fly and, well, I suppose your corpse will make it there as well, just… into a pyre upon arrival.”
We were once again pushed forward and loaded into one of the vans. My van held Sam, Eli, Blake, Chase, Eidan, and a few of the older guys including Casimir’s unmoving body. The doors shut and soon the van started. Almost immediately we heard a hissing sound and before too long we were all unconscious.
When I woke up for the second time on Halloween I found myself in a cell. My head pounded and my stomach twisted. Slowly I sat up and managed to get to my feet.
“Sam!” I knelt down and shook my friend until he woke up. “Sam, you okay?”
“Watcher, my head hurts.”
“They must have knocked us out with… some sort of… oh man, where are we?!”
Now I properly looked around, not that there was much to look at. Three stone walls and one wall made of bars. Stone floor. A pile of hay in the corner. An unconscious Eli, an unconscious Blake. I staggered to the bars and shook at the door though I knew already it wouldn’t open. Across the hall I could see a cell similar to mine, holding Romance, Kiley, Ginny, and Varuna. Only Ginny was awake.
“Gin! Ginny!” I hissed and she looked over.
“Apollo! Sam! You’re awake!” She clutched at the bars, tears streaming down her face. “What–where are we? Do you have any idea?”
“No. Are the others okay? In your cell?” I asked.
“They’re alive, just… out. Eli and Blake?”
I pressed against the bars and looked around. To Ginny’s right I could see two girls I didn’t recognize, Miaka, and Shoshanna. To the left were three girls I didn’t recognize, and a bear. Ottoline, I remembered.
Everyone who was awake began calling to each other, sending messages along to friends, and making sure nobody was–well, dead. Lilah was just past where Miaka and Shoshanna were, thankfully safe. Tal and Adva were clear down the other way. Both still unconscious but safe, according to their cellmate. My kitten cousins were all in one cell together and they were all fine. Eidan, Chase, and two younger boys were to our left. Eli woke up and then Blake. Across from us Romance, Kiley (who had marks on her face like someone actually beat her up), and Varuna all woke up as well and soon everyone was just huddled in their cell. Confused. Scared.
Blake pulled at the bars then began shooting red sparks at them. Shortly after he started that a guard showed up and waved a gun at us, threatening to shoot us all if any of us tried that ‘disgusting magic’.
“You’ve kidnapped us!” Ginny yelled. “We’re children and you’ve kidnapped us and are threatening to murder us!”
The guard looked over at her and snorted. “You’re all magic freaks and if it were up to me I’d just gun you down.” He pointed said gun at Ginny. “Pow. Pow, pow, pow. Are your brains blue too, bitch?” He laughed then spun around. “We’ve got cameras watching you. Any of you try that magic and we’ll kill you, got it?” He nodded for emphasis before he swaggered down the hall.
After a few minutes whispering came down through the grapevine. None of the teachers had made it to the cells. All of us locked up were students. Oh Watcher, had they killed all the teachers? Or did the adults manage to escape? If they managed to get away, why didn’t they take us? The bitterness for some of us grew and then turned on the three psychics. Me, Shoshanna, and Li. Nobody said anything to me but I heard whispering down the hall and one thing stuck out. ‘Why didn’t the psychics see this’.
“Oh Watcher,” I moaned, clutching my stomach. “That’s what it was.”
“Hmm?” Sam inquired.
“A while ago I had a–a vision, of us–the four of us–in a room I didn’t recognize. Eli, you looked really ill or something but said you were fine. You said–said something about how we went through a lot and just weren’t getting enough sleep?”
Eli turned his head away. “Well. Looks like we four will survive this at the least.” He didn’t sound too confident though. I didn’t feel confident either. After all, things could easily change.
Sam reached out to rub my back. “I agree. See? Your vision said so. We will survive, all of us will. We’ll get out of here.”
I just wished I could believe that. After all, maybe I was just never shown that that particular future had changed. I didn’t know. However I would pretend, at least, to help keep morale up as best I could.
More time passed. Eli and Blake worked together to get Blake’s face clean since he still had dried sick all over from where he was shoved down into it earlier. They used magic to clean it off but did it while facing the corner, hoping to hide it from the cameras.
Eventually some guards did patrol the corridor. A lot of people shouted about being given food and water, and a chance to use the bathroom. We were informed we had a bathroom in our cells with us: the straw. As for food and water, we’d be given lunch later. The guards laughed at those who complained and called us all animals.
“At least let us get some clothes,” Kiley snarled, standing in her cell with her hands on her hips. We were all taken in our pajamas and hers consisted of a lacy bra and underpants.
The guard very pointedly looked her up and down. “Nah,” he said in a gross voice then walked off chuckling. Kiley folded her arms over her chest and hunkered down.
“Hey Kiley, do you want my shirt?” I called over.
“No, that’s okay, you might get cold,” she answered. I took my shirt off, balled it up, and threw it over. She took it and gave me a smile before slipping it on. “Thank you.”
Of course I was cold. My boxers had dried out from my stupid pissing them but still, these cells weren’t exactly warm. Sam offered his shirt but I shook my head. I’d be fine.
More time passed. Eli was the first of us to pee in the straw. He couldn’t hold it in anymore. Sam and Blake followed suit. I didn’t need to yet.
“Watcher this is so fucking humiliating,” Eli moaned, curling into a ball in the opposite corner of the straw. “What did we do to them?!”
“Exist,” Blake growled.
Some more time passed and there were excited whispers coming down the hall. “Eli! Eli!” someone called from the cell next to our right. “Eli Rose, are you in that cell?”
Eli pushed closer to the corner. “Yes? Does someone have a message?”
“Yes, someone wants to know if you’re able to, um, shoot what was it? Oh yeah, freeze the cameras? Like, uh, do what they do in movies and make the cameras loop on something so they can’t see us? I think someone’s figured out how to escape but for everyone to get out they’ll need time? And was told you know the most about electronics?”
Eli licked his lips and glanced up towards the camera pointed into our cell. Each cell had one camera pointed towards it so there were loads of them up and down the hall. “I don’t know. I–I could try. There’s no guarantee.”
“I’ll let them know.”
We heard whispering going down the hall though everyone went quiet when the guards came back to check on us. From what we could tell they came maybe once every half an hour? I counted to myself and figured that if that were the case we had been locked up for at least five hours now from when we woke up; who knows how long we had been asleep. The guards left and the whispering started again.
Soon, “Eli, word is to do what you can to the cameras.”
“O–okay, well, I don’t have my wand and I have no way of knowing if it works. But I’ll try.”
Eli stood up and went to bars. He didn’t look up at the camera and instead began saying some sort of spell while looking over into the girls’ cell across from us, like he was talking to them. Then suddenly he gave a shriek of pain and fell back, one arm wrapped around his stomach. Blake, Sam, and I fell to our knees around him.
“Fine–” he coughed out. “Cameras should be–tell them–now–should be–not sure–but should be.”
I relayed the message, feeling super keyed up now. Escape, could we really escape so quickly and easily? Maybe, maybe the vision would be right–about me and the guys, and about Kiley too, the vision of her finding out she was pregnant. Maybe that would happen.
“–lo Apollo? Apollo!”
I looked up as Anni came to a skidding halt in front of us. I ran over, grabbing the bars, about to say something when I realized she had something in her arms. Clifford, in cat form, only the fur along the side of his head was singed and I could smell burnt flesh.
“Is he okay?!” I gasped out.
Anni shrugged. “I don’t know. We turned to cats to slip out and Clifford–you know how big his head is. We all singed the edge of our whiskers but Cliffy, he had to push through and–the bars are silver so it burned him.” Clifford added to this with a scared meow.
I reached through and rested my hand against Clifford’s body. His breathing seemed ragged. “Are you the ones that wanted the cameras off?” I saw to the side that Zaid was whispering fervently to someone in the cell next to mine.
“Yeah, we’re gonna get out of here and get help,” Anni said. “Paris found the exit but I had to come see you before–“
“Go! Get out of here, get help, get him help.” My fingers brushed against Clifford’s fur. “Go, get out of here.”
Anni nodded. “I promise we’ll be back. With a rescue team. Love you!” She blew me a kiss then took off but not out of here. She stopped in front of another cell to talk to someone there before finally dashing off. Zaid was gone too.
Before a minute really passed a tiny, bright light zipped through the air. It paused then flew into our cell. It glowed brighter and then formed into Lilah.
“Omigosh you guys!” she sobbed, wrapping her arms around me and Sam. “Oh my gosh like you’re okay, I’ve been so scared, it’s so good to see you, I’ve been terrified! I was told, like, you were okay, but…”
“How did you get in here?!” I demanded.
“Oh! Faeries can, like, you know, turn into little balls of light? Willow saw the cats escaping and figured, like, we could too? All the faeries and the pixies are getting out, and, you know, the witches and wizards are too, they’re using that, um, exchange spell?” She looked at Blake and Eli. “You two should go too. We’re all escaping and going for help to come back for–for the rest of them.” Her arms tightened around me and Sam. “I’ll go and get someone I promise. I’m sorry, I wish–I’m sorry.”
Lilah gave us each a kiss on the cheek then turned into a ball of light again, flying out to the hall. I saw other balls of light flitting down.
“Okay, so you two are leaving too,” Sam said.
“And leave you?!” Eli looked horrified. “The swapping spell is–it’ll be hard without a wand and I don’t think I can use it on you two.”
“So?” I asked, wanting to shake him. “Everyone who can escape should escape. Look, I’ve seen the four of us in the future. Sam and I will be fine.”
I could hear loud spell incantations and a sort of swooshing sound as the witches and wizards got out of here. I wasn’t sure exactly what the swapping spell really was, honestly.
Sam took hold of Eli’s arm. “You heard him. We will be perfectly fine. You guys get out of here and bring back the cavalry.”
Eli looked at him then at me then at Blake. “It feels cowardly,” Blake said quietly, “but if we manage to escape that’ll be two more people who can come back and fight to get everyone else out, right?”
“Yes!” Sam and I chorused. I just wanted them to get the hell out before the guards came back. They weren’t due for a patrol for probably twenty minutes but if they noticed something was going on with the cameras then it could be any minute.
“Swear to you on everything that I’ll be back,” Blake said then gave me and Sam both a quick hug before turning into a little spark of red light. He flew out of the cell.
“Now you,” Sam said, prodding Eli.
“I–it’s not easy–” he stammered.
An orangish light flew in and Varuna appeared. “Damn it all, Eli Rose, you freaking do the swapping spell right now or so help me!”
He quivered in fear. “B–but–“
“You willingly poke explosive electronics with your wand and you’re scared of doing this?!” Varuna grabbed him and gave him a shake. “Stop being pathetic!”
“I am not being pathetic! I’m merely worried about my friends!”
“And I’m not?! I’m dead terrified for my friends that can’t escape right now but Blake was right, the more people who get out means the more people to return.”
Eli swallowed. “Okay, yes, fine. Fine.” He took in a deep breath and began chanting something. There was a big swooshing sound, a poof of smoke, and the smell of oil and metal. In his place stood a lamp.
Varuna gave us a salute then returned to her escape.
I went towards the bars and saw Romance still there. Ginny had left somehow–some sort of genie magic, obviously–and Kiley had already done the swapping spell. I could smell a faint scent of chocolate and strawberries.
“Romance, get out, hurry,” I said.
“Apollo.” Her eyes were huge. “You will be okay, won’t you?”
“Yes. I will. I’ve seen me in the future. Multiple times.” She slowly nodded and then pressed her face against the bars. “Romance, please–go.”
“I love you. I just–need you to know that I love you.”
I stared, unmoving, unblinking, unable to even breathe. Romance disappeared in a puff of smoke and in her place stood a potted plant. The scent of rain and some sort of flower washed over me. An identity as telling as her fingerprints.
Oh. Well. Wow. Okay.