Monday, September 10, 2012

An Ending

Our eyes fixed on the window. The figure had disappeared almost as quickly as it had arrived.

“Did you all see what I think I just saw?” Dylan asked

“I think so, I’m not sure” I replied “But we’d better get moving before it comes back.” We quickly entered the castle. It was dark and musty.

“Here are some flashlights.” Tarra said as she passed them around. “Let’s get going, I don’t want to be here all night.”

Just then there was another flash of lightening. Be brave I kept telling myself, just don’t think about the creepy things going on, just be brave. We trudged along through the labyrinth passages.

“How will we know when we find the room?” Dylan asked “And what room are we looking for”

“The study, it’s up stairs and it has a large rectangular window in it.” “That is once we find the stairs” I muttered to myself. We turned the last corner and practically ran into the stairs.

“Found ‘em” I said.

We ascended cautiously. There was a long hallway with several doors, all of which were closed.

“Which way should we go?” Dylan asked

Allie and I exchanged glances

“To the right?” we said in unison.

It didn’t take us long to find the study, it was the second door to the right.

We cautiously entered the room.

Something was wrong.

“There’s something wrong with this room.” I said.

The others looked around. Allie was the first to realize it.

“There’s no dust. There’s dust everywhere else, but not in this room.” She said

“And all the furniture is still in this room. The rest of the castle doesn’t have furniture. So why does this room have it?” I asked aloud.

“I think we should say the ritual, and then go exploring, or get out of here as fast as we can.” Tarra suggested.

“Okay…..Which way is east?” I asked

Tarra pulled out her phone. After a few taps on her touch screen, she showed us a compass on her phone. Pointing to the left she said “That is east."

I pulled out the family journal, and recited “The king gave us this power to help others” he turned and faced the west and continued “I say this ritual now to control my powers that I may do as he planned.” There was a moment of silence and then a flash of lightening that took up the whole sky followed by a boom that shook the very castle. Looking down at myself I saw that I was now completely glowing blue. Then just as suddenly has it had stated it was over. 



There were a few moments of silence, which I decided to break by asking the question that was foremost on my mind.

“That’s it? That’s all we had to do?”

“I guess so.” Rhys replied.

“What about that apparition? I know I wasn’t seeing things.” Dylan asked

Tarra had moved toward the fireplace, I followed. She smiled at me and then pointed to the candlestick on the fireplace mantle.

“Our parents had a set of candlesticks just like this.” She said. There were pools of tears building up in her eyes.

One of the candlesticks was moved far off center, I tried to move it back to where it belonged, but it was stuck in place.

“That’s odd” I thought out loud

“What is?” asked Rhys as he and Dylan walked over to join us.

“It’s probably nothing, but this candlestick won’t move.”

“So?” Dylan asked “It probably just stuck, it’s very old.”
“No. It’s perfectly polished, it’s been cleaned and recently, just like the rest of the room. But this stick won’t move it’s like it’s glued into place.” Looking more closely at the design, I saw a slightly deeper outline around one of the roses. I gently pressed it………there was an ominous creaking sound from behind us. We turned in unison and saw the wall behind us had open into a small room.

I flashed an adventurous smile at Rhys; his grin proved that we were thinking the same thing.

We started forward but Tarra caught my arm and held her finger up to her lips. I could hear a gentle creak in the floorboards outside in the hall way, someone was out there!

She motioned us back by the fireplace, and took a spot on the side of the doorway. We all turned out our flashlights.

The door slowly opened, and a small figured stepped into the room. Just as it did Tarra slammed the door and shown her flashlight in the persons face. We all turned on our flashlights, and were shocked to find a girl who looked to be about 12. She was tall for her age, and the way her white clothes engulfed her, she was obviously malnourished. Her brown eyes were large and full of fear, but along with the fear was a cold determination and silent confidence.

“Who are you?”  Rhys asked

She stared defiantly at us.

“We’re not going to harm you; we just want to help you.” Tarra said lowering her flashlight out of the girl’s face. Slowly reaching into her jacket pocket she pulled out a nut bar and handed it to the girl. “Here……. Take this, you look like you need it.” Tarra smiled at her.

The girl just looked at it, then slowly reached out and took it from Tarra’s hand. She quickly devoured the bar, and smiled at us.

“My name is Kathleen.” She said with a heavy Scottish accent.

“Mine is Allie” I said.

After everyone had introduced themselves, I asked Kathleen “What are you doing here? Do you live here?”

“Yes. My parents died from a virus that infected this area about six months ago. So I moved in here. I’ve been living off what I could scrounge from around the castle and surrounding farms. I found a set of lights and mirrors here that were set up to portray me on the window as a ghost”

“That’s explains what we saw at the window. Why would you be living here? Surely you must have some family somewhere? Or maybe your parents left you some money?” Tarra asked

“No. I have no one. They’re all dead, except my uncle McNeil. He wanted to put me in the orphanage, so I ran away.” She replied

We all had the same look of shock on our faces.

“Randy McNeil is your uncle?” I asked


“I think we should leave… And you….” Tarra said pointing at Kathleen “Kathleen should come with us.”

She recoiled and glared at us, “If I go with you how do I know you won’t just leave me at the orphanage?”

“Why would we do that? Why not just leave you here? I promise that we won’t leave you at the orphanage, but we will find you a good family to stay with. Okay?” Tarra asked

“Okay!” she smiled reluctantly


The next few days seemed like a dream. Tarra called the police and with all the evidence against McNeil he was convicted and sentenced to prison along with all his accomplices. He was convicted for fraud, attempted kidnapping, and negligence as a guardian. The people from the lab and everyone connected with them were caught by the FBI smuggling drugs into Arizona, and an extended investigation linked them to the deaths of Alex and everyone else at the Lab.

Dylan was reunited with her grandmother in England.

“We’ll keep in touch” I promised.

“Count on it” She smiled.

It was hard to say goodbye, but I couldn’t wait to get home. Home. Where was my home? The Taylors were assigned as witness protection child parents, back in Washington DC. We landed in California and were met by Allies parents and an elderly couple.

Allie rushed out the gate and into her parents arms, where they exchanged greetings. I stood in the corner watching, when Tarra suddenly appeared beside me, and laid an arm across my shoulders.

“I’d like you to meet my foster parents.” She said motioning to the elderly couple a few yards away from us. She introduced them as the Carlisle’s.

“Rhys, I don’t know what you want to do, but I thought I’d run a few options by you. You could go back into the foster system…..” The horror on my face made her hold up her hands to stop my questions “or…………..” A sly smile crossed her mouth. “I sort of was thinking we could buy the house next door to Allie. The house is on the market, and we’d still be together!”

My answer was obvious.


 “Dear Journal ~

Six weeks had passed since we got back from Scotland, Rhys and Tarra had moved in to the house next door that her parents bought for them. I had caught up with my parents and found out that Tarra had called her parents to come and take care of my parents and the Taylors. Rhys and I started school today.”

“HA! I finished my math homework before you did” Rhys gloated

I wrinkled my nose and stuck my tongue out at him. “I can still beat you at all the other subjects, and chess.” I retorted.

“Oh is that so?! Well how about we just try that theory out”

“Best two out of three? Loser pays for Ice Cream at The Parlor?”

“Deal, I’ll set up the chess set. But I must warn you, I’ve been practicing!” He smiled wickedly, and I could help smiling. Smiling at my new best friend!

 The End



Saturday, September 8, 2012

A Final Choice

I stared in complete shock at one of the second story windows, drops of rain dribbling down my face. In the window stood a man, light radiating from his muscular…transparent body. Long red hair flowed from his head and he wore…was that…a kilt??
This couldn’t be McNeil….why would he be glowing? I really hope this muscular ghost-dude isn’t another enemy we need to take care of before all of this can be ended…
“Who is he?” I asked nervously. “A guardian?”
“I don’t remember one being mentioned in the book…”Allie muttered.
Dilyn gasped. “He’s beckoning to us!”
I looked up to see the figure’s spectral arm quickly motioning to us. I turned to Tarra. “Do you think he’s on our side?”
She bit her lip and stared up at the window. I noticed that the figure’s face appeared worried, and that he kept squinting at the horizon behind us. Instinctively, I spun around, imagining the worst, but nothing was there. I glanced back at my sister.
“I don’t know if he’s on our side or not, but we need to get inside that castle, complete your ritual, and get out of here before McNeil arrives,” she finally said.
I clinched my fists. “Let’s go.”

                The huge wooden doors of the castle slowly creaked open as we pushed hard against them. With one final shove, the doors slammed back against the stone walls. Thunder rumbled overhead as we stood on the threshold, gazing uneasily down a long stone hallway which ended at a narrow staircase which curled upwards out of sight. An occasional heavy, wooden door lined the walls. Streaks of lightning revealed the brackets for torches along the walls.
Rhys took a step forward to continue down the corridor, but something at the end of the hall made me reach out a hand and stop him. “Rhys, wait. Look.”
We all stared in growing trepidation as a light began slowly emerging from where the steps disappeared out of our view. Before long, the figure we had seen in the window stood on the bottom step. A deep voice rumbled down the hallway towards us: “Greetings, Rhys Stengle, Dilyn Cutter, and companions.”
“Who are you? How do you know who we are?” Rhys commanded. “Are you for us or against us?”
“I am Peter de Berewick, your ancestor.  And of course I’m for you. The real question is: Will you be for me?”
I saw that Tarra had laid a hand at her hip, on the gun that she had taken from Roy. “What is that supposed to mean?” she called.
“I have a little job for you, Rhys.” He laughed, the noise sounding cold and harsh against my ears. A shiver ran down my spine and I remembered that we were dealing with the ghost of a madman. A very powerful madman. “But first,” Peter continued, “I believe there’s a ritual that he needs to complete. On the top of the tower.” We all glanced at each other. Then Rhys began striding down the hall towards Peter.
“Lead me where I need to go,” he ordered.


Rain poured over me as I stood on top of the taller of the castle’s two towers, the wind whipping at my clothes and hair. Tarra, Allie, Dilyn, and Peter were in the room below me, shielded from my view and the reach of the savage elements.
I closed my eyes and raised my arms, turning to face the east. On the way here, I had read the words which I needed to say over and over again, memorizing them perfectly. Now was my chance to take full ownership of my power.
I began chanting the words, softly at first, but I grew louder and louder, my voice rising above the noise of the wind and rain. Thunder boomed overhead and lightning flashed almost continually, but still I pressed on, not faltering in my speech. The words were in a language unfamiliar to me and at first felt strange on my tongue. But soon I discovered that they were rolling smoothly off of my tongue almost without any mental prompt from me. Partway through, I turned around and faced the west for the rest of the chant. Finally, it was finished.
I lowered my arms and stood waiting, my head bowed, eyes closed. It seemed as if all creation was waiting with me. The thunder and lightning ceased and the wind died. Only the wind continued lightly. All seemed still.
Suddenly, electricity began coursing through my body. I slowly willed it to come to my hands, marveling at the ease. Electricity hissed at my fingertips. In a moment of pure triumph, I let loose a stream of electricity into the night sky and held it there, watching it snap and crackle above me. A loud cry of victory escaped my mouth. I had conquered my power. I could finally control it. And no one else could.


When Rhys dropped from that trapdoor back into the room, not bothering to use the ladder, no smile in the history of smiles could have possibly been bigger than his. In seconds, Dilyn and Tarra and Rhys and I were all jumping up and down and crying and whooping ecstatically and hugging each other.
After a few minutes, a gruff cough penetrated the celebration. Peter stood there stiffly, looking a bit awkward. “I believe there’s still one more ritual to complete. Dilyn?”
Dilyn’s eyes shone as she ascended the ladder, her hands shaking slightly. She reached the top and pushed the trapdoor open. For a moment, she paused to look down at us, the moon shining on her long brown hair. Then she was gone, the trapdoor falling down heavily. We waited.
A few seconds went by and we strained our ears for any sound. All we heard was deafening silence. But then we began to hear Dilyn’s sing-song voice sweetly reciting the words that would set her free. She reached the end and we waited again. A few minutes later, although it felt like hours, the trapdoor squealed open and we stared up in amazement.
A bright light shone down on us and we had to shield our eyes with our hands! Finally, it began to die and we could see Dilyn standing there. She climbed quickly down the ladder.
“Sorry about that,” she said. “For a sec, I was worried that it wouldn’t stop.”
Still stunned by how brilliant her light had been, it took us a couple of seconds to come back to our senses. But when we did, our response to Dilyn’s obvious success was just as loud and wild as ours had been to Rhys’s. Finally, the din ceased, and there was silence. Dilyn broke it after a few moments.
“I can’t believe this is all over. We’ll never have to go back to the Lab again. We can stop running.”
“It’s not finished yet, Dilyn,” Peter said, instantly sending a cloud over our jubilant faces as we remembered.
“McNeil!” Tarra gasped. “Rhys, Dilyn, we all need to get out of here as soon as we can before he arrives!”
“Why?” Peter questioned calmly. “If you don’t face him now, you’ll be running from him for the rest of your lives. I thought you wanted to stop running, stop hiding.”
“We do…”Dilyn admitted reluctantly.
“You may now have full control of your powers, but that won’t necessarily stop McNeil. He is a very slippery, cunning man with almost inhuman skills at tracking people down.” This comment made us more than a little uneasy. Peter continued, “If this is to end, it must end now.”
“He’s right,” Rhys said, glancing around at all of us girls.
I knew Peter was right, but I didn’t want to stay.
How could we possibly stand up to McNeil and his men? What if something went wrong and everyone was killed? Including me? Maybe I could sneak off and hide somewhere…
I instantly realized how selfish my thoughts were. The chances of something happening to Rhys and Dilyn and Tarra were high, whether they stayed or left. I didn’t want anything to ever happen to them. Whatever occurred, I knew I needed to stand by them. These were my friends. My only friends. I wasn’t about to leave them.
As I decided this, I realized that everyone was looking at me. Rhys repeated his question.
“Do you want to leave or stay?”
“What’s currently the majority vote?” I asked.
“Tarra and Dilyn and I all are staying,” Rhys answered slowly. “But don’t base your decision on that. McNeil doesn’t necessarily want you. If you stay, something could happen. But you can avoid all of this by leaving. The town of Settle is just a couple miles away. If you cut through the park, avoiding the roads, you should be able to make it there safely.  You can wait there for us to…to come back after all of this is over.”
I looked Rhys squarely in the eyes. “I’m staying.”


I wasn’t sure whether I was pleased or annoyed by Allie’s decision. I really didn’t want anything to happen to her. But I did appreciate her stubbornness in standing by us.
“Alright,” I began, “we need to come up with a good plan as to how we can solve this and leave here alive.”
None of us had noticed that Peter had left, but we all saw when the door creaked open and Peter entered, a gleaming sword in his hand. I stared at the weapon warily.
“What’s that for?” I demanded.
“Rhys, I mentioned earlier that I had a little job for you. You should find it rather simple. This sword if for McNeil and his men. It had magical powers and is capable of completely disposing of your opponents without any assistance from you. Just a single point at the opponent and the utterance of the word which controls it will end it all for you in a matter of minutes.”
I found my hand slowly reaching for the sword but I quickly drew it back. I spoke quietly, inwardly fighting the urge to take the sword. “Peter, my goal for today is to leave here with the deaths of as few people as possible. I don’t believe that sword will help accomplish this. I can’t accept it.”
Peter’s eyes burned. ‘The Magmans must die! All of them! I can’t finish the job myself, Rhys. You can. It is your duty as an Ilvan to completely eradicate all Magmans.”
“But why?” I asked. “Why do we need to kill them?”
“Because they are evil!” He shouted furiously.
“I could think of a really evil Ilvan, too,” I heard Allie mutter under her breath.
‘How? What makes them anymore evil than us Ilvans that they must be destroyed?”
‘Rhys. The Magmans. Must. Die.”
I could tell that we weren’t going to get anywhere. Suddenly, we could all hear the sound of a motor. Tarra looked out of the window and I followed her gaze. A sleek, black car was racing up the road, its tires squealing as it recklessly turned the corner. The vehicle slid to a crazy stop by our rental car.
As the first person emerged from the car, I instantly knew it had to be McNeil. Red hair fell to his shoulders and a thick mustache covered the grim mouth. He rose up like a giant, broad-shouldered and intimidating; his brawny figure almost bursting the seams of his spotless black suit. I stared in uneasiness at a large bulge on his hip. McNeil removed his dark shades, glanced at our car and then looked straight up to where we were staring out of the window. He held my gaze for what seemed like an eternity. But then he looked away and motioned for his five burly Scottish sidekicks to head inside. I felt myself gulp.
Peter laid a hand on my shoulder. I turned to see the sword held out to me.
I don’t want to kill anyone! I thought.
But we don’t have any protection, said a little voice in my head. Did you see how burly the men McNeil has with him are?! You know they all are going to have guns. I heard the heavy doors of the castle slam open.
But maybe I can reason with him. Show him how needless this all is. That he can’t blame us for something our ancestors did that we had no part of.
Good luck with that. You’ll probably be shot before you have a chance to say anything.
I realized that Peter wasn’t another enemy. It was his sword. It was Peter’s magical sword which creating this conflict within me between my conscience and my desires and concerns.
I can’t kill anyone. I won’t.
I pushed the sword away. “Keep your sword, Peter.” Ignoring the heavy scowl on the man’s face, I stepped through the door ad began the descent down the narrow stone staircase.
We met in a long wide hallway with tall stone pillars lining the walls. I stood at one end. McNeil and his men grouped at the other.
“At last we meet, Rhys Stengle,” McNeil called menacingly, his thick Scottish accent evident.
“It’s a pleasure, I’m sure,” I responded, my voice dripping sarcasm.
“Do you like my suit, Rhys? I like to wear this to funerals. Like now.”
“Nobody’s died yet, and I aim to keep it that way. McNeil, this isn’t necessary. No one has to die.” I heard the others run up behind me and stop at the sight of our opponents.
“But many did, Rhys!” McNeil cried angrily. “Your ancestor, Peter de Berewick, incited his followers to one of the greatest massacres in the history of the world: a massacre of my people, the Magmans. You and Dilyn and Tarra must die to pay for their acts. You will die.”
Dilyn stepped up next to me. “Why must we die for something our ancestors did?” she questioned. “Only a few days ago, we didn’t know exactly who we were, much less what our ancestors had done to your people!”
“But you have found out, and one day you will turn just like them and come after us. We can’t have that now, can we?”
“We have no intention of killing anyone,” I replied.
“Maybe not now, but the future is almost always uncertain. I intend to make my future-and yours-very certain.”
Randy McNeil is no saner than de Berewick is, I realized. Suddenly, without warning, McNeil yanked out a pistol from under his coat and fired. I heard something clatter to the floor behind me and I spun around. Tarra stood there, stunned. Her fingers were bloodied from a slight scratch by the bullet. The gun lay at her feet.
“Don’t try anything else,” McNeil ordered. “The only shots will be fired by me and my men.” The five other Scots raised their guns and cocked them, following their leader’s example. “You. Will. Die.”
Then came the gunfire. Bullets whistled through the air towards us, strong and deadly. But they never reached us. I opened my eyes in astonishment to see that Dilyn and Allie and Tarra and I were all still standing! Ahead of us, McNeil and his men lay crumpled on the floor, wounded. Four Scottish police officers stood above them with their guns drawn and smoking.
“Randy McNeil, you’re under arrest for robbery, attempted murder, and a whole lot more,” one of the officers stated.


“I still can hardly believe that all of this is over.” Rhys said, running his hand over his arm. He looked up and grinned. “No more needles.”
“No more needles,” I repeated, smiling. “I’m so glad Tarra decided to move the two of you into the house next to us after the Taylor’s left. I was worried I was going to lose another friend.”
“Oh, after seeing how you stuck by Dilyn and me, I don’t think you would let that happen.”
We laughed and it felt great! McNeil and his men were in prison, Peter's ghost had disappeared, and Dilyn was pleasantly situated in England with her grandmother. I was very happy that everything was alright, that everything was back to normal.

The End

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Story Endings

Hello Readers!

Well, our story "The Boy *Ahem* Next Door" is finally coming to an end. =(

So that you will not be terribly confused by these next few posts, I thought I'd let you know what's up. =) Each of us will be writing our own ending to this story! We hope you enjoy these!

And do not fear, we are not planning on stopping the blog after this story. If any of you are interested in joining us on the next story, let us know!

~Emily Miles

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Chapter 13: The castle at last.

My eyes widened as I looked into the barrel of a 9mm Sig Sauer. I could feel my heart beating in my throat, and Dylan's hand gripped mine with surprising strength. It was Allie who recovered first.
"Well Roy, are you going to kill all of us, or just the unimportant ones?" Her question took him off his guard and it was apparent he didn't know what he was going to do. Pulling a gun had obviously been a reflex action.
"I wouldn't kill anyone" he said but hastily added "Unless you force me to."
His eyes searched our faces.
"We've obviously come to an impasse" I stated.
"An 'Impasse'?" Roy repeated
An idea was begining to hatch in my mind. Forming my sentence carefully I said "Yeah, an impasse is where we can't come to a decision on anything, and the only thing we agree on is to disagree." Dylan's hand squeezed mine, she'd caught on. Letting go of my hand she stepped forward, blocking Roy's view of me "What are you going to do to us? Because I'm going to leave this room in five seconds" she stated, very matter-of-factly. It must have been Roy's day for being confused. He began to reply, but Dylans words seemed to sink in.
"Huh?!" His face showed the bewilderment he obviously felt. That was all the time I needed.
While Dylan had been distracting him, I had taken three steps back.
"Now!" I shouted.
Quick as a cat Dylan side stepped and I sprang forward on top of a surprised Roy. While I had the element of surprise at first, he  recovered quickly from the shock, and now had the element of size. Just as he was about to punch my face with his massive fist, a shot rang out. Tarra was standing above us, gun in hand "Get up! You..." she said pointing the gun at Roy. "Turn around and face the wall! "I'd like to say I'm sorry to have to do this but considering that you'd have killed us, I can't."
There was a resounding thud from the gun butt meeting the back of Roy's head.

Tarra turned to Dylan and I "What was all that back there, with the impasse, and I'm leaving in five seconds?" she asked
"A little code we set up when we were back in the lab. One of the guards used to say  "Agree to disagree" all the time. So when we were planning to escape the first time, that was the code phrase we came up with. It meant I was suppose to distract the guard, and Rhys would take him down" Dylan explained.

Turning to me, Dylan smiled "Quick thinking. For a minute there I was afraid we were all going to die." I let out a nervous chuckle "We can't have that, now can we?"
Tarra expressed the question that was on all of our minds "What do we do with him?" motioning towards Roy. "We can't take him with us."
"Let's lock him in the bathroom" Allie suggested

We carried him into the bathroom, and I hooked a chair underneath the doorknob.


We grabbed our things and practically ran out of the hotel and into the car below. We took off heading north out of town at a steady sixty miles an hour. Once we hit the "open road" Tarra hurried our speed up to eighty five.
"Why are we going so fast?" Dylan asked.
"Because I don't know how long that bathroom 'cell' is going to hold Roy, he's stronger than he looks. And I want to get to the old Castle before MacNeil knows we got away" Tarra replied.
Rhys was riding shotgun next to Tarra, and Dylan and I were in the back. The two of them were catching up, Dylan was sleeping, and I was thinking about our situation. The people at the lab were after us so they could kill Tarra and I, and recapture Rhys and Dylan; MacNeil was trying to settle an old score with the remaining Magman's; And my parents were back in California, prossibly in trouble. "When can I call my parents?" I asked .
Tarra let out a sigh "You can't. Not until this is over." After a moment she continued "But I give you my word, they are safe and NOTHING is going to happen to them. I promise." The sincerity in her voice was enough for me. But I was still curious "How can you be so sure?"
"I have some friends looking after your parents, and they know you're safe. Rhys before you ask me, the Taylor's are safe as well." She smiled.

"I don't know about anyone else, but I'm starving." The opinion was unanimous. We pulled off the road at a little Pub prompting Dylan to wake up. After we ordered, Rhys pulled out the book from his jacket pocket. Laying it on the table we read it til the food arrived.

"It looks like Rhys has to face the east and say the first part of the ritual, and then face the west and say the rest. But what are we going to do about MacNeil?" I asked. There was a long silence. While we ate we thought about our problem. Saying the ritual at the old castle would stop the lunatics from the lab, but that wouldn't stop MacNeil. But we had to stop him! There were no other options. "Excuse me, I'm gonna pay the bill. Stay together till I come back" said Tarra. She got up from the table and walked past the bar to the register. We chatted amongst ourselves, til Tarra came back a few minutes later. "We should get on the road, so we can get to the Castle before dark."

A few minutes later we pulled out of the parking lot, and were on our way once more. The castle was only half an hour away, but it seemed to take forever to get there. Everyone was excited and nervous, Dylan couldn't stop talking about what she would do when she was finally free "I've got a Grandmother in England that I'm going to go live with. What are you going to do when you're free Rhys?"

That was the question wasn't it. I'd been so busy thinking about freedom I hadn't given any thought about what I was going to do when I got it. I had always thought I'd find a family to live with; the Taylor's probably wouldn't want me back. I wasn't sure if Tarra would want me to live with her either. After all who would  want a "freak" who has electric superpowers as a child?!
"Rhys?" It was Dylan
"I asked what you were going to do when you're finally free from all this?"
"I haven't really had time to think about it, I'm not sure" I replied.
After a few minutes Tarra broke the silence "When we were back at the Pub I made a few phone calls to some....." she hesitated as she tried to find the right word "Contacts. I didn't know if it would be wise to tell you or not, but I figure you deserve to know what we're getting into. My contacts told me that our Mr. MacNeil has a rap sheet a mile long, including assault, fraud, theft......." she paused again "And attempted murder."

We pulled onto the dirt road that lead to the castle. The weather had suddenly turned ominous and cold. The rain had started as a light drizzle, but was growing stronger by the second. It was like a scene from a corny horror film. As we pulled up to the castle, there was a flash of lightening that was followed by a loud *BOOM* of thunder.
"Well, the bright side is, we know it can't get any creepier" Tarra said through a sarcastic smile.
We got out of the car and ran for the cover of the castle archway. We stood there shivering, when Allie let out a gasp of shock and fright. Following her gaze, we  couldn't believe our eyes. In the second story window was a person, clothed in all white.............and they were GLOWING!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Beware of Scotland

Dilyn's words still tumbled around my mind, with no pause in sight. “Beware of Scotland.” 

What was waiting for us? Would it be worse than what we had left back in the United States? Is this something we can defeat? Can we defeat it without losing anything?

I glanced at Dilyn, seated by the hotel window, staring out with a concerned expression. I had pressed her for more back on the airplane, but she knew nothing more. She had told me everything that Alex had uttered before his death. 

Was she strong enough for whatever was waiting for us? Allie had told me about what had happened in the plane: the light spreading over us, healing our wounds. Indeed, Dilyn had become miraculously better, and the cuts and scrapes that I had on me had disappeared. But Dilyn still seemed rather tired. All of us were. And I'm pretty sure it wasn't just jet-lag. So much had happened to Dilyn and Allie and I in the past couple of days.

I turned to look at Allie. She was lying on the bed with her back to me. Ever since Tarra and Dustin had rescued us, she had hardly uttered a word to me, or anyone else. I sighed. I truly regretted her coming with us. I just didn't want anything to happen to her!This was so dangerous!

Why did she have to follow me? If she had minded her own business, she wouldn't be in this mess!

But that's not what a true friend does, a little voice told me. If a friend appears to be in danger, it's only natural that if they were really their friend, they would try to do something.

A wave of guilt swept over me. Other than Alex and Dilyn, Allie's really the only friend I have. I should be grateful for her coming to warn me, I mentally berated myself. If she hadn't, well, I might not be in Scotland right now.

I remembered her hurt face as she asked me why I had lied to her about my identity, and my response. “If I'd told you the truth, would you have believed me?”

You did the right thing, I told myself. She wouldn't have believed me or understood at all. It was better that I didn't tell her. But I knew that wasn't true. If anyone would have believed me, it would have been Allie. If I had told her, would things have turned out differently? 

I didn't even know if she still considered me her friend or not. I'd hurt her pretty badly. All I knew, is that we needed to end this once and for all, and go back to our normal lives, if that was even possible anymore. I didn't even know if the Taylors were still alive or not. I gritted my teeth until it hurt.

This was going to end.

I lay on the bed, trying to rid myself of my exhaustion. I was so tired. Tired from being in the Lab. Tired from the excitement of our rescue. Tired from the long plane ride here to Scotland. Tired from all of the lies. Rhys's lies. How could I know who to trust anymore?

My leg still hurt from the snake bite. It did seem to be getting better, though. Tarra had given me some medicine to help dull the pain, and it was helping a lot. 

Dustin and Tarra were seated at a table together near me. Tarra was staring into space, thoughtfully drinking a soda. Dustin was doing something on his laptop. I couldn't tell what it was. He was facing all of us, with his back to the wall. Suddenly, he closed the top of his laptop and stood up.

“I'll be down in the lobby,” he stated. “I need to make a phone call.” Tarra nodded, hardly looking up from her soda. As soon as the door shut behind Dustin, I swung my legs off of the bed and stood up, wincing at the pain in my leg.

“I'm, uh, gonna go get some fresh air. I'll be back in a little bit.” I hurried out of the room, not waiting for an answer. As I stepped out into the hall, I saw Dustin beginning to descend down into the stairwell. I waited a few seconds before following. But as I reached the top step, I hesitated.  

Should I really be spying on him? But how do I know if I can trust any of these people? Yeah, Tarra is Rhys's sister, and Dustin is Tarra's partner, Dilyn is some friend of Rhys, and Rhys is, well...

It's absolutely necessary, I told myself. I need to check these people out.

My mind made up, I continued on down the stairs. At the bottom of the flight, I stopped and carefully peeked around the corner into the hotel lobby. Dustin was standing in the center of the room with his back to me. He was dialing a number on the cellphone in his hand. He held the phone up to his ear and then suddenly turned around. I slipped back behind the wall, my heart beating loudly. Had he seen me? I waited. But nothing happened. All was quiet. Then a voice abruptly broke the silence.

“MacNeil? Allen.” I sighed with relief. Dustin must not have seen me, and must now be talking to whoever he had called. Dustin continued talking, and I listened carefully from where I was, not daring to peek around the corner. “We're in Glasgow at the Babbity Bowster on Blackfriars Street. Everything has been going smoothly. I don't think any of them suspect anything yet.” He paused, listening to the other end. “Got it. Tonight at 7, the Cafe Crepe on High Street.” Dustin paused again. Then, “Yes, Sir. Goodbye.” As soon as I heard him end the conversation, I bolted back up the stairs as quietly as I could. As I neared the door of our hotel room, I slowed down and slipped as casually as possibly back inside the room. Everyone was just as I had left them.

As I lay back down on the bed, Rhys looked over quizzically from his seat on the couch. “Get enough fresh air?” he asked. “You weren't gone very long.”

“I got enough, thank you,” I replied coolly, before turning my back to him. Just then, Dustin re-entered the room and sat back down across from Tarra. I closed my eyes and pretended to be asleep. The conversation that I had overheard swirled around in my mind. Especially that one line.

 “I don't think any of them suspect anything yet.”

What is it that we haven't begun to suspect yet? Can he be trusted? Who's side is he really on? Ours or the Lab's? And what about Tarra? Is she with him on whatever side Dustin's on?? My thoughts were interrupted by Tarra.

Are any of you hungry?” she asked, standing up and tossing her empty soda can into the trashcan.

A little,” Dilyn's soft voice replied. Rhys voiced his agreement as well. I still hadn't moved from my position or said anything.

Allie?” Tarra questioned. “What about you? Are you hungry?'

I opened one eye. “I guess.”

Alright,” Tarra replied, gathering up her purse and keys from the table. “I'm going to go see if I can find anything to eat. I'll be back in 45 minutes or so.”

“I'm going to head out as well,” Dustin said as he rose from his chair. I glanced at the clock. It read 15 minutes to 7pm. “I'll be back in about an hour,” he added.

I remained still on the bed until both Dustin and Tarra had left. Then I sat up and got off the bed. Dustin had a briefcase standing up against the wall. I went over and knelt down in front of it. As I began undoing the buckles, Rhys noticed and said, “Hey! What are you doing?” I turned to face him.

“How much do we know about this Dustin?” I asked.

“Not much, really.” Rhys replied.

“What we're in the middle of isn't some child's game, Rhys. This is reality, with real lives at stake. We can't afford to trust just anyone we come in contact with, without finding out something about them that gives us a good reason why we should trust them. How do we know that Dustin isn't a spy for someone back at the Lab? How do we know he's been telling us the truth about this castle in Scotland?” I was silent for a minute, then I decided to tell him about the conversation that I had just overheard. “Rhys, there's more to this Dustin than meets the eye. He's hiding something. Something that might be very important. I overheard a conversation he was having on his cellphone down in the lobby. At one point, he said something like, “I don't think they suspect anything yet.” A big red flag in my mind. Right now, he's meeting with somebody at a cafe on High Street. I don't know why. We need to get some more info on this guy before anything happens.”

Rhys was quiet for a minute, his head bowed. Dilyn just sat there, her gaze flickering from Rhys, to me, and back to Rhys again. Finally, she spoke.

“Allie's right. There's no sure way to tell if we can trust Dustin or not, since we know nothing about him. Or about Tarra, either.”

Rhys looked up. “But Tarra's my sister...”

Dilyn looked at him long and hard. Then, “Maybe. But she might not be telling the truth either.”

Rhys sighed. “Alright. Allie, you can look through his briefcase. Dilyn, we'll look on his laptop.”

“How will you get past all of the passwords?” I asked doubtfully.

Rhys grinned. “Dilyn and I have a little bit of experience with this type of stuff under our belts. Just leave it to us.”

I shrugged and turned back to the briefcase. As I rummaged through it's contents, I didn't find much. Just several personal items, and a bunch of papers which made no sense to me at all. “Nothing in here,” I notified Dilyn and Rhys as I closed the briefcase and refastened the buckles.

“Well, Dilyn was able to hack into his email. Want to come take a look at this?” Rhys motioned for me to come over. He pointed at the screen. “This email is registered to someone named Roy Allen.”

“Dustin's been lying to us about his name, then,” I said. “He identified himself on the phone with 'Allen'.”

“Looks like that's one strike,” Rhys admitted reluctantly. “What was the name of the guy who Roy was talking to on the phone?”

“Um...I think the name was MacNeil.”

“Dilyn, search for anything from someone named MacNeil,” he ordered.

“On it,” Dilyn replied as she typed the name in and clicked 'Search'.

Several messages appeared in the results. “There's a bunch of messages from a 'Randy MacNeil',” Dilyn announced. “He could be the one Roy was talking to. I don't see any other first name associated with 'MacNeil'. The most recent message has a subject line which reads: “Waiting for you”...”


Dilyn clicked to open the email and I began scanning its contents. The message was short and read:

“Good work on busting out the kids. I will be waiting in Settle, Scotland. Alert me when you arrive as to where you are. Grisham will meet you with more instructions. Thanks to you, my time for revenge is short in coming. MacNeil”

We all began looking at each other, each thinking the same thing.

Revenge? For what? And to whom? Us??

Dilyn closed out the message and opened another entitled: “Back in the Game”.

“Allen, Thank you for the alert about Rhys Stengl now being in Stevens' hands. We shall proceed as we had planned before he had escaped. Contact his older sister, Tarra, and give her the information necessary to help her brother and Dilyn escape. You should still have Tarra's information from the first attempt, before Rhys escaped on his own. Try to contact her and free Rhys and Dilyn within 24 hours. Make it quick. Bring Tarra, Rhys, and Dilyn to Scotland immediately. I want them all. And bring Rhys's friend that you mentioned: Allie. She might be useful. MacNeil”

Allie voiced the concern all of us were now facing. “This Roy isn't to be trusted. And neither is the guy he's working for, MacNeil. I really don't like the sound of these emails.”

Dilyn shook her head. “Neither do I.”

“It sounds as if Tarra knows nothing about this,” I said. “So we can trust her, right?”

“I still don't know, Rhys,” Allie replied quietly. “I don't think we can afford to trust anyone, at this point.”

We were all quiet. Then Dilyn started typing something into the Google Search engine.

“What are you looking up?” I asked, peering over her shoulder at the screen.

“I think we should try to get some more info on this MacNeil guy,” Dilyn replied. “See if we can find any clue as to what he might be after.”

The Google Search finished loading and we stared at the results. There, at the top of the page, was a link to an online article. The title read: “Searching for the Magman Descendents”. The snippet beneath the link read:

Randy MacNeil has been searching for the last remaining Magmans for most of his life. “It's very important,” he said once in an interview. “There's a family matter that needs to be settled. A matter between the Ilvans and the Magmans.” Sounds like he's looking for the end of a long family squabble between two very old Scottish clans...

We didn't need to read more, but just sat there in complete shock.

“He's an Ilvan?!” Allie exclaimed. “Sounds like a really friendly relative!”

“Beware of the highland where two clans fought',” Dilyn murmured. “'The winner lost, the loser won'. The Magmans won, and the Ilvans lost. But if things go as this MacNeil plans, the winner may lose...and the loser may win. This must be what Alex was talking about. He knew there was a third party was after us: the Ilvans.”

“You've got to be right,” I agreed. But something wasn't quite right...then it hit me. “But in our family book, it says that the Ilvans all died off! How could this guy be an Ilvan?!”

“The book could be wrong, Rhys,” Dilyn said. “Some could have been missed.”

“Dilyn, open up that article. Maybe there's something in there that would explain this,” I responded quickly.

When Dilyn opened the article, I scanned it quickly. The article had begun with the snippet that we had already read a few minutes before, and then went on to tell about the war that Tarra had already told us about. None of the details caught my attention. But then it moved onto a different part of the story.

“Hey, look at this. There's more to the story!”

After the war, the king of the Magmans awarded a man, Peter, who had saved his life in battle and shown extreme bravery, with special powers (parts of which would be passed down to his descendents. But as the years went on, Peter lost control of his special powers and went insane. MacNeil guesses that is was the stress of bearing the sheer weight of the incredible power at his fingertips that he had to keep under control. Eventually, an irrational, burning desire to exterminate the Ilvans grew in him, and he set out to do so with a band of loyal followers, some of which were his own descendents. Even after Peter's death, the Ilvans have continued to be hunted down by the Magmans, for no reason other than that Peter, a man who they respected highly, had wanted to get rid of them. The Ilvans were thought to have all died off by the late 1800's, but then Randy MacNeil emerged from his hiding spot in Norther Scotland in March of 1968, as a young man. Five other Ilvans were with him. He has been searching ever since for the last remaining Magmans, hoping to settle things between their families and make peace.

“Make peace??!!” Allie squawked, outraged. “From the emails, it sounds like he's out to crush the peace between your two families!”

“Well, he can't exactly tell the press he's out to kill us. He'd immediately be arrested,” I replied.

“So, he's out to get his revenge on us, because of something our ancestors did? But we didn't even know about them until, like, less than a week ago!” Dilyn exclaimed.

“Yeah, this guy seems kinda messed up,” I replied.

“So...what are we going to do?” Allie put in.

“About what?”

We all spun around. Tarra was standing in the doorway with a couple boxes of pizza in her arms. 

“And what are you doing with Dustin's laptop?” she asked, the accusation thick in her voice.

“Actually, it's Roy's.” Allie stated. Tarra just looked genuinely confused.

“Um...” I started. “Tarra, you might want to sit down. There's a lot we need to tell you.”

A couple minutes later, we had laid all of our findings “out on the table” in front of Tarra, and she sat there astounded. The room was quiet for several minutes. Then Tarra stood up.

“The castle's ruins are located inside the Yorkshire Dales National Park, a couple miles east of Settle, which is where this MacNeil is. It'll be about a 3 and a half hour drive. We'll continue on by ourselves, and try to avoid MacNeil once we reach Settle. Let's leave now, before Dustin-I mean, Roy-gets back.”
“A little late for that.” Roy stood in the doorway, his gun cocked and pointed right at us.