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.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Who are they?

Let’s put it this way.   I have been pinching myself for the past day, except for the times which I had been tied-up, bound, or generally restrained.  I should be at a baseball game, eating hotdogs and cheering on the Angels.  But no, here I am in a house in the middle of...well my guess is Malibu, with two strangers, a girl, and Rhys.

My eyes sneak a glance of him.  The setting sun shone into his light sage eyes, bringing out the faintest tints of gold, and it glints off his dark wavy head.  A small smile is creeping across his face as he looks up at Tarra his “sister”.  Not that I don’t believe her.  I mean seriously, she is short, blonde, and brown-eyed.  They’re definitely related.  Please take that with a huge grain of sarcasm.  It’s not like I have no clue what’s going on with anything right now.

Dilyn is slumped on the couch with Dustin hovering over her.  Her long brown hair was billowed around her like a pillow.  Soft brown eyelashes fluttered ever so slightly as she seemed to waver between the state of wakefulness and dreams.  In another time and another place, she would have been astoundingly beautiful; but not now.  Her body was thin and gaunt.  Her skin was as thin as paper.  Dark hollows were etched across her face.  Scars, scabs, and open wounds spitting up blood ran across her body in every which way.

“So this is what they did to you?”  I murmured.  Rhys paused while chewing his sandwich and looked at the couch.  Sadness filled his eyes.

“Yeah, but that isn’t even that bad,” he stated, then returned to picking at his food.  I stared at him like he was a mad man, which he was of course because he could shoot lightning bolts and stuff.  I mean who does that stuff?  Oh wait...a descendent of that Peter dude.

Let’s put it this way.  I was still super confused, but then of course Tarra has to go and make it worse.

A broad smile was across my sister’s face as she slid back into a chair at the table.  Five pieces of paper lay in her hand.

“One of Dustin’s leads came through.” she said “A team of archeologists from the Smithsonian have uncovered the ruins of a castle in West Dunbartonshire that fits the time period.”  I looked at her with probably the blankest stare in the world.  Seriously, I had grown up as a literal lab rat, so I really only know science well.  However, it was a small comfort though to see the matching blank look on Allie’s face.

“Uhh...” I stammered “Where is that, might I ask?”  Tarra’s broad grin stretched out even wider.


In roughly two hours, I am thoroughly confused and already beginning to suffer jet lag.  Let’s get this straight.  No, I don’t have a passport; yes, I’m allowed on an international flight with two random adults.  That also goes for the two other teens with superpowers that the government really wants.  Everything makes perfect sense.

I glance over at Tarra and Dustin.  The first is thoroughly engrossed in a shiny copy of the Vogue.  The latter is staring out the window with a vacant expression.  Come to think of it, that’s really the only expression I’ve ever even seen him use.  There’s more to this than meets the eye.  Much more, if you ask me.

It feels like floating through the stars.  The city lights underneath sparkle so tantalizingly far away from me.  An airy feeling fills my chest, and I know a smile is across my face.  It’s a new feeling, but one I’m beginning to like.  It’s the option to dream, to aspire, and to think.  It’s called hope.

Maybe someday very soon, I won’t have to worry about this anymore.  Someday, only I can be the one to use my powers.  Dilyn’s head is leaned on my shoulder as she sleeps.  From only a few days in the lab, they already did much damage.  Someday soon, neither of us will have to worry about that anymore; we will be free.  My eyelids grow heavy; and soon, I to drift off to the land of dreams, the land where there definitely is hope.


I glanced down at my ticket stub.  We would be landing in Glasgow, Scotland, thousands of miles away from home.  And why?  To chase a stupid lead with people I barely even knew.

“But you know Rhys,” my mind whispered.  But the question was how well did I know him?  That boy was like an onion; there were layers that only appeared as other were torn away.  The cocky boy next door, the polite neighbor, the mysterious stranger, the misunderstood scientist, the best friend, and the hunted one…but who was he?  Were these each guises?  Or was this truly Rhys Stengal?

I glanced over.   Rhys and Dilyn were asleep on each other’s shoulders like baby birds asleep in the safety of their mother’s wings.  As I watched, I noticed something strange.  A soft, almost translucent glow emitted from where Rhys’s and Dilyn’s heads met.  Like water running down a stream, the light flowed out from that point.  It danced over Dilyn’s scars and sores, basking her in light.  She looked like an angel.  There was a tiny cut on Rhys’s forehead; but a small stream of light made its way there.  The web of light pulsated, then suddenly, with a flash, it was gone.

I had to blink for a second to get used to the darkened plane.  Then I had to blink again.  Dilyn had changed.  Every cut, scar, and scab was gone.  Her skin no longer resembled translucent paper; it was a perfect dark peach hue.  The only answer I had was the light.  I snuck a glance at Rhys’s forehead.  The small cut was gone.  I had to stifle a gasp from rushing out of my mouth.  As my mind raced, one thing was prominent in my thoughts.  Who are these people?


The warm smell of milk.  Strong hands tucking me into a car seat and patting me on the head. 

“Do you think he’ll understand?”  whispered one voice.  I bit my lip.

“He’ll have to.  It’s the only way.”

“We don’t know what will happen to him here!  This is madness!”  I snuggled deeper into the car seat.

“If this is the only way to save him, then I shall give him to the madness.  They are the only ones who still could protect him.”  A crash sounded from not that far away.  I felt the two figures that stood above me stiffen.

“They’re coming.”

My eyes flared open; I looked around wildly.  The sleeping forms of people.  The lights of an airplane. A heavy head on my shoulder.  I looked down.

“Dilyn,” I whispered.  Her brown eyelashes fluttered open, framing her ocean blue eyes.

“Rh-Rhys,” she stuttered as she looked around with a frightened expression.

“Hush.  We’re safe now.”

“Safe?”  she asked like a frightened child.  A smile crept across my face as I looked down at her.

“Yes.  We’re safe.”  A loud ding sounded across the plane.

“We shall now begin our descent to the Glasgow airport,” droned the pilot from his cockpit.  I felt Dilyn’s arm grasp mine.

“We can’t go there.  Scotland…no…” she moaned.  I looked at her, completely astounded.

“But to be able to gain full control of my powers—”  She put her fingers to my lips.

“Alex’s last words.  Beware the highland where two clans fought.  The winner lost, the loser won.  Now as the blood link leaves this world, none shall leave that place alive.”  I looked at her quizzically.  She bit her lip and shuddered. “Beware of Scotland.”

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Chapter 10: What is going on?!?!

I woke with a start; the pain seemed to be drowning me like an ocean wave. Where was I? I tried to move but found myself strapped to a table and with the movement come another even stronger wave of pain. My stomach seemed to turn over and I gritted my teeth to stop a cry from escaping. When the pain subsided I looked around at my surroundings. Everything was white, except in front of me there glowed something blue. It was the map; I was back in the laboratory. I looked to my left and noticed something covered by a sheet on another table.

“Allie” I cried

“Rhys” there was relief in her voice. “Oh, Rhys………I’m sorry, I had to tell them where you were, they threatened to hurt my parents” she blurted.

“I understand” I replied “It’s alright; I probably would have done the same.”

After a moments silence I asked “What happened to you at the lake?”

She explained about the snake bite, being captured, and the threats. “After I told them where you were, they left me alone. Then the doctor snuck back in and gave me a blood transfusion, and an anti-venom shot. And I feel much better; he said that I would be in perfect health in a week or 2.”

“Good, I’m sorry I got you into all this trouble.” I said

“That’s alright” She paused as if she was going to ask me something then stopped.

After a few minutes I couldn’t take the suspense “What were you going to ask me?”

“I was just going to ask why you lied to me” She said softly.

She didn’t need to elaborate on what she meant.

“If I’d told you the truth would you have believed me?” I asked

“Probably not, but that was before we were friends. After we were friends you could have told me. I would have believed you then.”

Before I could respond there was a slight noise outside the laboratory door. There was no need to tell Allie what I was thinking, we both knew, pretend to sleep. After a minute the lab doors opened silently and a person moved quickly and quietly to where we were.

“Rhys” it was a woman’s voice “Rhys, wake up, I’m here to help you both escape”

Normally I wouldn’t have believed anything a stranger said. Especially one I couldn’t see, but something deep within me told me I could trust her. I opened my eyes and found myself face to face with her. She immediately began undoing my bonds, but when she looked down at my leg, where the needle was, she stopped.

She quickly looked around, and then a triumphant smirk crossed her face. She walked over and picked up a large standing battery.

“When I pull out the needle I’m going to attach it to the battery. This will fool the people watching the electricity you’re supplying into thinking that you’re still here.”

She quickly pulled the needle out and attacked it into the battery’s electrical supply.

“Okay, let’s get your friend free, and we’ll get out of this place.”


It all happened so fast, it seemed like a dream. We cautiously exited the lab, and ran down the long hallway toward a winding staircase.

“Where are the guards?” I asked, because when I’d been taken here there had been guards everywhere it seemed.

“They’re bound and gagged in a closet back there” She replied. After a second she continued “My partner is upstairs getting Dylan”

“Dylan is here?” Rhys asked

“Yes. I’ll lead the way up the stair case, Rhys you take up the rear.”

“Who are you?” I asked

“I’ll introduce myself later” was all she said before she started us up the stairs

We made it up the stairs and out the large front door, in a matter of seconds.

I didn’t like or trust this woman, she may have been young and pretty, with her brown wavy hair and dark blue eyes. But she knew too much about Rhys and whoever this Dylan was. She also moved around the building too comfortably. I suspected a trap, but Rhys didn’t; besides, she had helped us get free back there. I decided to go along with this for the time being, but intended to keep my eyes on her.

We disappeared deep into the shadows the trees provided at this time of night. We went back far enough so we wouldn’t be seen, but where we could still see the doors to the lab building.

“Why are we stopping here?” I asked

“Because we have to look for Dustin and Dylan” she replied

“What is going on? Who are Dustin and Dylan?” I asked, my patience was almost gone.

“Dustin in my partner, and Dylan is a girl who was kidnaped because she has similar powers as Rhys”

“How do you know…..” I never finish my sentence because just then the door opened and a tall man rushed out carrying what I assumed was Dylan.

The woman let go a bird call whistle, and the man, who I assumed was Dustin, came running towards us.

“Everything alright? How is Dylan?” the woman asked

“She’s very weak, but I think she’ll get better. We should leave now” he said.

“Yes, the boat’s back there” she said pointing back further into woods “We’ll be there in a minute”

Suddenly there was a shout from the building, and then lights were going off everywhere and an alarm started sounding.


We ran through the trees and suddenly emerged into a clearing with sand. And there a speed boat was moored.

I jumped aboard and gave my hand down to Allie and helped her up. Then Dylan was passed up to me, and Dustin and the woman climbed up. She went and started the boat and we were out just as a group of men rushed into the clearing.

When we were out at sea, the woman slowed our speed down a little. Dustin walked over to me “Rhys, would you watch Dylan for a minute, she’s still unconscious, but I think she’ll be waking soon. I want to talk to Tarra” he said pointing at the woman.

He walked away and they seemed to be having a disagreement. I saw her straighten her back and shake her head. But after a few moments of Dustin talking she let out a sigh and gave him control of the boat.

She walked over to me and sat down.

“How are you feeling?” She asked.

“Fine….now that is.”

“Yeah.” She was behaving like she had something to say.

“Who is that girl over there?” she asked finally.

“That’s Allie, she’s my neighbor” I replied.

“Where are we going?” I asked.

“I have a house along on the coast where we can stay and regroup. We’ll be there in about 20 minutes.”

Allie came over and sat down next to the two of us.

“Who are you?” she asked.

“I’m Tarra.” She stopped, and then continued “I’ll explain everything when we get to my house. But this isn’t the place”

Twenty minutes later we arrived at a small dock, in an inlet.

We made our way up to a small white house with forest green shutters. It was nicely, but simply furnished.

She showed us to the table and placed some sandwiches and milk on the table, which we ate greedily. After we were satisfied Tarra asked “Would you like some rest or the explanation?”

We wanted information, of course!

She pulled out a picture and handed it to me.

I looked at it with surprise; this was a picture of my parents!

I had lived with the Taylors since I was 2, but I had known they weren’t my biological parents. When I was 10 they had told me that my parents had been killed in an accident, and they had a picture of them. This picture!

“Confused?” Tarra asked

“What are you doing with my parent’s picture?” I asked

“Our parent’s picture. They were mine too.”

“Wait a minute, you’re saying that you’re my sister? How is that possible?”

“It’s a long story but I’ll try and make it short. When you were 2 and I was 9 Mom and Dad died in a car accident. But the story begins long before that. In 1656 A.D. there was a war between the Ilvans and the Magmans, the Magmans won. The king was very grateful to a certain man, Peter, who had saved his life during battle; so grateful that he bestowed him and all of his descendants with special powers. Peter was our relative. You’ve received one of these gifts. After Mom and Dad died, we were adopted into different families. Each of us was given a picture of Mom and Dad. Before they died they told me about our past, and told me of the family book that records all the happenings. I’ve been trying to find you for the last 7 years, but it proved harder than expected. The book explains that when the male of the family turns 13 he is given his full powers, but if he wants to control them he needs to travel back to Magmanis and recite the family poem at the ancestral castle.” She paused, took a drink of her milk and continued “There’s good news and bad news, which do you want to hear first?”

“The good news” I replied

“The good news is once you’ve recited the family poem no one will be able to tap your powers. The bad news is the Ilvans are a people who have since died off. And you, Dylan and I are the only Magmans left. Dylan is our distant cousin. We don’t know where Magmanis is, or where our ancestral castle is but we have to find it before we can stop those thugs coming after us.”

I just sat there; my brain seemed to be in overload. I had a sister I never knew I had, I found out about my past, and there was a way to control my electricity. Sure we had to find our castle, but we could do it! Of course there was always the question of HOW!!!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Chapter 9: Confliction

The waves lapped at my feet. Sand speckled my toes. The salty breeze ruffled my hair.

Rhys' voice interrupted my daydreaming. " . . . never win. The Lakers have too good of an offense. Allie? Am I that boring?"

I flashed him a smile. "Of course you're not. I'm just trying to remember something. Something important. Had to do with . . . with. . . ugh, I can't remember."

Rhys glanced with concern at me. "You'll do fine. You'll probably ace it. If you're still nervous we can study some more."

"It's not about the test." I assured him. "I know that I'll do fine. The only problem I'll have will probably be remembering the benefits and-" Suddenly a jolt of pain raced up my leg. I gasped, what was that? 

Rhys merely sat still. A ghost of a smile whispered across his lips.

I was confused. But fresh waves of pain continued to rack my body. My breath came in short, ragged breaths. I collapsed onto the sand. I curled into a tight ball, wishing that the pain would stop. "Rhys!" I called out. "Help me!"

He didn't answer. But I heard laughter. Cruel laughter. It echoed through my head. I peeked out through my legs at Rhys. He was leaning back on his hands, laughing. I stared, hurt. Horror pulsed through me as thousands of possible reasons spun through my head. The pain was gone, but what replace it was worse. Betrayal. I buried my head in my arms, trying to drive away the sound.

Abruptly the laughter subsided. I peeked out again. Rhys regarded me with a sly smile. With surprising speed he turned his wrist so that I could see his watch. The watch face was hidden behind a disturbing image. A large red eye. The detail was surprising. Every eyelash was in perfect clarity. I couldn't turn my eyes away. It slowly began to fill my vision. I wanted desperately to cry out. 

Suddenly it blinked. I screamed in pure panic. All I could see was the red eye. It studied me with an intensity that seemed to see my deepest secrets. I felt exposed. My throat was raw from screaming. Just as I felt that I could not continue to resist this invading power anymore . . .
* * * *
I woke up in a sweat. Suddenly it all came back to me. The white room. The equipment everywhere. The bright light. Most of all, the expected decision. I almost cried. My leg felt like some crazed person was dropping 10-pound weights on it. I winced.

The dream had definitely shook me up. If a doctor had listened to my heart rate at this moment, he probably would have fainted. That is, after the stethoscope exploded.

I started to control my breathing. It came down quite a bit. I was able to ignore the pain in my leg for the most part. So now I needed to do some serious thinking. I had who-knows-how-much time left to make the biggest decision of my life, so far.
I had two choices, or did I? I could escape and go protect them. But how?
 "Hello, officer? I would like to request some protection for my parents. Why? Because they have been threatened. By whom? By some crazy Britain. How do you know? Because he kidnapped me and told me so. But I escaped so that I could come protect them. . . Hello? Officer?"
So I have only two choices. Protect Rhys and allow them to hurt my parents. Or protect my parents and allow them to hurt Rhys. I was torn. My best friend or my parents. How can I make that kind of decision. Wait a minute, what do I know about Rhys? Uh, he is my best friend. He has a secret potion.
Pain stabbed my leg again and I shifted to another, more comfortable position.
What if the weird doctor guy was lying? What if it really is a potion? Who can I trust? I've known Rhys for longer. I should be able to trust him more. But he is strange, and he obviously hasn't told me everything. But a connection to the electromagnetic force? Really? Is that even possible?
Suddenly I began questioning how well I knew Rhys. Sure, I thought that I knew him. But how much was he really hiding?

Questions swirled through my mind. I tried to defend Rhys, but my gut kept telling me that the weird doctor was right. I told myself that I was only trying to find fault with Rhys so that I could betray him. Chaos ruled in my thoughts.
* * * *
I slowed my progress as I neared land for multiple reasons. One, someone might see me glowing like a nightlight in the middle of lake. Two, I also might crash into the shore. Thank goodness I had figured out how to use the electromagnetic pull to "float" me to shore. I had almost drowned from arm fatigue before I realized I could use my gift to get me safely to shore. I did regret having to use it, though. Every time I used it, I lost a month of my future life. I grimaced at that unpleasant rule to my special power. When Grimst had explained it to me, at first I was terrified to use it. Even now, I used it with a measure of caution. Whenever my anger caused me to release it without thinking, like 
on the boat with Allie, I cursed the crazy rule.

Thinking of Allie just made me mad all over again. Helpless. That's what I had been. Me, the kid with more power available to him than a couple hundred atomic bombs, was helpless. I gritted my teeth. I remembered her cry as she went under. No matter how I had tried, I couldn't locate her. Helpless. Helpless.

I hauled myself out of the water with a slow sigh. I had been in the water for too long. I was shivering and my arms and legs were numb. Nothing except trees, bushes, and telephone poles were in sight for a good mile. I welcomed the lack of human population. Curling up in a water-soaked ball, I closed my eyes. Sleep rushed towards me and I gratefully accepted it's embrace.
* * * *
The man approached. My time was up.

Self-reproach rose up in me as I prepared to make my choice. He merely watched me, laughter dancing in his eyes.

"Are you prepared to make your choice? Time's up, cupcake."

With evident reluctance I forced the words out. They tasted even worse than I had imagined.
* * * *
"Rhys! Rhys! Wake up, sleepyhead!"

I snapped awake. That was Allie's voice! "Allie? Where are you?"

"Over here. Hurry!"

I scrambled to my feet. The morning sun had peeked over the horizon a good few hours ago. By now it was well on it's way to the top of the sky. Stepping out of the bush that I had been sleeping in, I looked cautiously around me. Allie was nowhere in sight. Off to the side of me I heard a small noise, like an engine starting. I spun in that direction, but I saw nothing.

"Over here!"

The voice came from a small clump of trees to my left. I slowly advanced. "Allie?"

"Yes. Hurry. I don't have much time."

I dashed across the distance in a heartbeat. There she was standing among the small group of trees. 

She flashed me a smile. I could only gape.

 "But I saw you . . . go under! How . . . I mean, I'm so glad that you're okay." I managed.

She smirked. "Does it matter? I'm alive and okay so let's leave it at that. Besides, I'd rather not remember that terrifying incident. Do you mind?"

I realized that I was still gaping. Abruptly I shut my mouth.

7"I didn't come here just to shock you. I have something for you." She grinned. "Close your eyes and hold out your hands."

I grinned in response and closed my eyes, holding out my hands.

Immediately something very, very cold and hard clamped onto my hands. My eyes shot open from the cold. Allie was laughing. My hands were encased in two glass orbs.

Suddenly Allie began flickering. Abruptly she disappeared. I tried to summon my power to burst them, but nothing happened. Somehow the orbs were interfering with the electromagnetic force. I gritted my teeth. Whenever I tried to summon the power the orbs constricted. I couldn't believe my gullibility. I had been tricked by an illusion.

As if by command of thought, my enemy appeared beside me. Mac Stevens laughed at the pained expression on my face.

"Hurting, my boy?" he mocked. "How does it feel to be as weak as the rest of us? Not that I care, but I just thought I'd ask."

I glared at him defiantly. "Defenseless, huh? We'll see about that!"

I suddenly swung my orb-encased fist at the side of his head. He stopped laughing and easily avoided the slow blow. His face became dangerous.

"Now I don't think you want to play this, R-"

Then my other fist slammed into his side. Bone crunched and Mac's face contorted.

If you think that a plain fist would hurt, try to imagine getting slammed by around five pounds of hard glass. I'm talking about excruciating pain.

I barely had any time to savor his expression because the back of my head was slammed with a large object and I lost consciousness.