Trials: Part Twenty Eight

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Arte laid back on her bed and sighed. This was definitely not how she was expecting this to go. She went to Jude for help finding Ash, and now she’s on house arrest, and helping Jude clear his name. She’s also about to start training an actual child on how to use superpowers, in order to send her to fight someone, because they were all on house arrest. She was amazed that Jude was not only on board with this plan, but that he came up with it.

Jude said that she had to be the one to actually train Zoey, because it seemed more believable for her to go over to Zoey’s regularly than for him. She told Daniels that she’d be tutoring her, and he seemed to buy it. He gave her approval to go over every day for a couple of hours.

She wondered if she was ever gonna find Ashley. At this rate, it didn’t seem like it. Even if Paul came back to help, it wasn’t like she could actually leave the house. How was she supposed to find her if she was on house arrest? She wondered if it was a mistake to even come here, but stopped herself. It was too late for worrying about it now. She was here, and this was her circumstance. She could deal with it, or not, and she needed to deal with it.

She heard a knock on her door and opened it. It was Jude, and he had a notebook in his hand.

“Good luck tutoring!” He smiled, and handed her the notebook.

She skimmed the first page, and saw Jude had left her a to do list. He wanted her to make a couple of phone calls. One as soon as she got there, and some others after. She looked at the first name and number, and Arte’s heart skipped a beat. She was finally going to be able to talk to Paul, and make some progress on finding Ash. A thought popped to mind. Why hadn’t they just called him to begin with? He had to have a reason, but still. She shook her head, she didn’t have time for this right now. “Well. I guess I’d better get going.”

“Yeah, it’s about that time.” He moved out of the doorway. “See you!”

Arte made her way over to Zoey’s house, and knocked on the door. After a few moments, Mr. Rodriguez answered.

“Arte, come on in! It’s good to see you.”

Arte smiled and entered the foyer. She was surprised to see him so happy about this. Actually, she was surprised that he was even partly on board with this idea.

“Zoey isn’t here yet, but please make yourself at home.” He led her into the den, and sat in an armchair across from her.

“Sorry, but do you mind if I ask how you’re okay with Zoey doing superhero stuff?”

“Oh, yeah. That probably sounds a little strange.” He nodded. “Well, I hold a philosophy that once a kid is of the age that they want to do something, they’re just going to do it. You can either be with them and make sure they’re staying safe, or they’ll sneak around you and get hurt. I’ve known for a while about her powers, but I was waiting for her to tell me. I’m just glad she’ll get some proper training before she gets hurt. As far as danger goes, when I was 14 I was working in a factory where people died on the job every week.”

“Wow. I wish I had parents with that philosophy…” Arte recalled the time that she was literally thrown out of the house for getting a short haircut. Her dad picked her up, and tossed her out the door. She came back to reality and remembered what Jude had said. “Oh, would you mind if I made a call? They probably have our phone bugged, so we’re trying to keep this low-key.”

“Sure, the phone’s in the kitchen.” He pointed in the direction of the kitchen.

Arte went to the phone, and pulled out the notebook. She took a deep breath and punched in the number. It rang for a moment, and someone picked up.

“Hello?” A man replied. It sounded like he was somewhere in public, she could hear people talking in the background.

“Hi, is this…” She looked down at the notebook again, “Paul Darbyshire?”

“That’s me. Who’s this?”

“Hi, I’m Arte, I’m friends with-”

“Arte with the short hair and undercut, living in a room with my keyboard and computer?”

Arte stammered for a moment. She wondered if Paul had the place bugged, or if he was just that good. “Yeah? How did you know that?”

“That’s a long story. Which thing are you calling about?”

“Um…” Arte paused for a moment. “Well, my friend, she’s gone missing, and-”

“Yeah, your girlfriend? With the brown hair?”

“Yes?” Arte’s heart was racing again. If he knew who she was, he had to have seen her.

“Is that the only thing you’re calling about?”

“Well, no. There’s also this problem. Jude and I are on house arrest basically, and there’s an impostor super running around. There’s this girl in the house next door-”

“Hispanic, young teen, salt powers?”

Arte scoffed, who was this guy? How did he know everything? “I’m sorry, but the interrupting is kinda obnoxious.”

“Sorry. I have to be careful what I tell you, and I don’t want to waste time. Let’s see…” He paused for a moment and sipped something. “Alright, your girlfriend is fine. Well, she’s not fine, but there’s nothing you can do about that yet, and she’s fine enough.”

“Wait, what?” Arte’s heart felt like it was about to explode. “You know where she is?”

“No, but I will. Anyways, you did just say interrupting was obnoxious. Use the salt girl, she’ll be fine. Send her to the mall this Saturday. She doesn’t even really need training for this. Is that all? I need to get going soon.”

“Wait, I have so many questions!” Arte couldn’t just let this guy hang up.

“Look, if I tell you anything else, then things won’t go right for you, and I won’t get falafel. You also forget that you’re basically a stranger to me. Bye”

The phone clicked off, and Arte stared down in disbelief. What the hell was his problem? What did he mean she didn’t need training?

“Dad, I’m home!” Zoey called from the foyer.

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I have my new stuff up and running now. WordPress has changed its editor too, so I’m also learning that. Please let me know if anything is off about this, or any of my other posts. I think I’ve worked out a new system, but can’t quite be sure. Anyways, hope you enjoyed!

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Trials: Part Twenty Seven

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Click here for part one.

Anastasia had been heading up the cleaning project for what had to have been at least a month. She had to devote most of her attention to managing the project, but she had finally carved out a day to do some digging. She had Siobhan use magic to disguise herself as Anastasia, in order to throw off any suspicion. She wasn’t sure how much Adara would approve of her poking around, so she had to be careful. Coombre had spent some of his downtime managing to locate what he called a secret section of the library. Most importantly they had both sworn to keep quiet.

Anastasia donned a hooded robe, and made her way to the library. She had been before, but it was still amazing. She had never seen so many books in one place. There were four floors, and all of them were packed with shelves so tall that you needed a ladder to reach the top. Anastasia was surprised that there were even this many books. She had perused some of them before, and there was every kind of book imaginable. They had fiction that she recognized, textbooks, and books in languages she’d never seen. Not all of it was books, some of it seemed to be research put in binders.

She found Coombre standing by a shelf of cookbooks on the first floor.

“Alright, where’s the ‘secret section’?” She asked. She didn’t see anything of note here, so she wondered what he was doing standing here.

“I found it while I was poking around. I saw a book that looked to be sticking out a little, and when I went to fix it…” He stretched up and pushed a book into the bookcase. The bookcase began to slide downwards, eventually revealing a doorway.

They went in, and saw a medium sized room, with about twenty bookshelves and a large desk in the middle. The desk didn’t have anything on it, except for the dust which had accumulated. Anastasia opened one of the drawers and found a menagerie of writing utensils, everything from charcoal to a normal pen. She opened another and found a bunch of scrolls. She wiped off part of the desk and unrolled one, but it looked to be blank. Another drawer had a collection of empty journals. They all looked handmade and unique.

She turned her attention to the bookshelves. They looked just about as dusty the desk. Many of them looked like they were in Arabic. She found one shelf that had a row of journals that looked like the ones she had seen in the drawer. She pulled one off, and placed it on the desk. She opened it and saw a picture on the first page. It looked old, She flipped it to the back and saw it was dated 1968. It was of Adara and a white soldier.

She looked at the journal itself and swore. It was written in Arabic.

“Hey, Coombre. You don’t happen to speak Arabic do you?”

He walked over and took a look at the book. He placed it back on the desk, and gestured for Anastasia to back up. He closed his eyes, and began to say something she couldn’t understand. After a moment, he opened his eyes again, and stood there for a moment.

“So, can you read Arabic now?”

“No, I just took-” He stopped himself and shook his head. “It would take too long to explain, but I know what the book says now.”

“Oh, wow. What does it say?”

“It is a journal. It tells of a young girl who found herself lost in a monastery when a green light hit. It tells of this as though it was something recalled from long ago. The monastery was in a different place. It says she spoke a little English and found a soldier who gave her some food. It seems that they may have had a romance. She lived in the monastery and he came to visit her, but then one morning the monastery was in a different place again.” He closed the book, and went towards the shelf. “Would you like me to read another?”

Anastasia was about to reply when she heard a loud noise. Her heart almost stopped. She span around, and saw Adara clapping in the doorway.

“I see you’ve been busy.”

“Adara-” Anastasia began.

“I’m impressed that you found this place so quickly.” She stepped in and looked around. She ran her finger along one of the shelves, and looked at the dust on her finger. “It’s been a while since I’ve been in here.”

“I’m sorry for poking around.” Anastasia bowed her head.

“It’s not a problem. Your thirst for knowledge knows no bounds.” She walked over to the desk and took a seat. “You had questions, and you sought out answers on your own, with no heed for consequences. I certainly didn’t expect you to actually trust Coombre and Siobhan to help you.”

“I knew I couldn’t find what I was looking for without help. I assume they told you?”

“I’ll leave that to your imagination, but have faith in your allies.” She paused. “So, are you satisfied? Are your questions answered?”

“Not really.” Anastasia shook her head. “I’m still not sure what the green light actually was, and how does Jean play into this? Was he the soldier?”

Adara laughed. “First you will have to make a choice. Your leadership skills are excellent, and your curiosity unceasing. If you want your questions answered, I would love to have you remain with me. We can unravel the mysteries of the universe together.”

Anastasia’s jaw dropped. She couldn’t believe that someone wanted her for something like that. She’d never been smart, so this was out of left field. She thought about it for a moment, but she had a suspicion that there was a catch. “Would I have to leave my friends?”

“I’m afraid every choice has a cost. You would likely never see them again.”

Anastasia’s mind raced. She couldn’t leave Paul, Jude, or even Vanessa for that matter. She had found friends who stood by her. She couldn’t abandon them now.

“Thank you for your offer, but no. I’ll seek out the secrets of the universe with my friends by my side.”

“Very well. You still have time to change your mind.” She got off the desk and moved towards the door. “Be sure to leave the monastery by sunset, or else you will have your choice taken away.” She stopped right before the door, turned around, and smiled. “Goodbye, Anastasia.”

“Goodbye, Adara.”

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I have my new stuff up and running now. WordPress has changed its editor too, so I’m also learning that. Please let me know if anything is off about this, or any of my other posts. I think I’ve worked out a new system, but can’t quite be sure. Anyways, hope you enjoyed!

(Art credit: WordPress Free Photo Library)

Trials: Part Twenty Six

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Click here for part one.

Jude regaled Zoey with stories, containing varying degrees of truth from his year and a half of being a superhero, for about thirty minutes before he heard the front door open. Arte was nodding off and Deven was fully asleep.

“Hey, sorry it took me so long.” Mr. Rodriguez called from inside the kitchen, and various clanking noises emitted from the room as well. After a few seconds, he stood, wearing a bright green polo and khakis, in the doorway.

“It’s about time, dad.” Zoey laughed. “Jude was just telling me about this time he stopped two different crimes at once. You’re missing out.”

“Sounds like a crazy story.” He smiled. “I hate to interrupt, but I can only stay for a little bit.” He peaked over the couch, and saw Deven asleep on the floor. “Oh sorry.” He whispered. “Didn’t see your friend was asleep.”

“Don’t worry about it. I appreciate you having us over.” Jude smiled.

“Yeah, do you mind if I ask what happened?”

“Well…” Jude debated how much he wanted to say. On the one hand, he didn’t want to overshare. Mr. Rodriguez might not like them staying over so much if he thought that Dayspring had been committing crimes. Then again, he hadn’t specifically been told to not say what happened, so he figured the worst he’d get would be a slap on the wrist. “There was a misunderstanding with the agency, and they came in through the windows. There was some decent damage, and I really appreciate you letting us sleep in a room without broken windows. They said they’d get it fixed tomorrow, so we shouldn’t be in your hair for too long.”

“Don’t worry about us. It’s no problem. Here, let’s go into the other room to talk for a bit. Let your friend sleep.” He led them into the kitchen and shut the door behind him. “Now, I’ve gotta run back to work, but Zoey can take care of you. Your agency called me on my way, and told me that they’d confirmed the Dayspring on the news wasn’t you. I wasn’t worried too much about it, since it seemed out of character for you. I do need to ask if you think whatever your agency pulled at your house could happen here.”

“I doubt it. I think we’re good for right now, but I assure you, if it does, no harm will come to your daughter. I can promise you that.”

Mr. Rodriguez smiled, “Ah, you know what a father loves to hear, don’t you.” He picked up a couple of items from the counter, and moved towards the door. “Sleep well. Feel free to use any bed, or the living room if you prefer. I will be back in the morning.” He took off out the front door.

“He seems to really trust me, huh?” Jude turned to Arte. He really hadn’t been expecting him to know about any of that, and he felt a little bad for not mentioning it.

“Well, when you think about it, letting you sleep in their house isn’t that much more dangerous than you sleeping in your own bed, since if you wanted to hurt them, you probably could anyways.” Arte shrugged. “That aside, let’s go talk to Zoey about ‘you know what’.”

Jude followed her into the den. She definitely did have a point. When you thought about it, it was dangerous to even be around him. The same goes for Deven, or almost any super really. He found Zoey sitting on the couch where they left her. They both sat down next to her.

“So, Zoey… I wanted to ask you about something.” Jude began.

Zoey’s eyes went wide, and she forced a nervous laugh. “What did you want to talk about?”

“What were you doing in your yard earlier tonight?”

“Nothing! I just wanted some fresh air.”  She looked to the side and sighed. “Promise you won’t tell my dad? He’d freak out if he knew.”

“Alright.” Jude nodded. While he did want her help, he definitely didn’t want it without her dad knowing, so he wondered if this was going to be a problem.

She took a deep breath. “I have superpowers too. Well, I guess they’re technically superpowers. I’m not really sure how ‘super’ they are, but I can basically just make salt appear. Mostly in my hand, but really anywhere.”

“If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s to never underestimate the usefulness of any power.” Jude nodded. He wasn’t sure if he had actually learned that, though. He was unsure just how useful salt could be, but she was all they had, so it needed to be good enough.

“What good is salt? It’s like the worst superpower.” She shook her head.

“Well, you can make salt, so you could probably throw it, and use it as a weapon.”

“What good is powdered salt? I keep trying to make something bigger, but I can’t! It always falls apart.”

“How much can you make?” Arte asked.

“I haven’t run out yet. I’ve probably made enough to fill a bathtub if I had to guess, but that’s the most I’ve made at one time.”

Jude nodded. He wondered if there was some way he could get her to think about her power differently, like they did with Anastasia, that would allow her to make something bigger and more solid. He entertained the idea, but he was definitely thinking too far ahead. “Alright, so here’s the deal. I want to help train you to be a superhero, but you have to keep your powers a secret, from anyone except your dad.”

“Wait, do I have to tell him? I thought you said you wouldn’t!”

“I said I wouldn’t. With that being said, I’m not really about sneaking around a highschooler’s parents, so if you want training, you’ll have to get your dad’s okay.” Jude turned to Arte. “Does that sound fair?”

“Definitely. I don’t want to get on your dad’s bad side.” She nodded.

“I don’t know…” Zoey looked down again.

“You don’t have to decide tonight. Just let me know, and we’ll arrange something.” Jude paused. “Also, you can’t talk about your powers at my house, or even near my yard.”

“Okay…?” She raised an eyebrow, but didn’t say anything. “I can do that. I’ll think about how to talk to my dad.” Zoey nodded, and her uncertainty was replaced with a smile.

“Now, you should probably get to bed, since I assume you have school tomorrow.” Jude replied.

“Fine. Goodnight.” Zoey sighed. She made her way upstairs.

Jude sighed with relief once she was gone. He was exhausted, his adrenaline high had run out, and he was ready for it to be tomorrow. He leaned on the arm of the couch, and began to doze off.

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My new laptop is operational (thusfar). I still have to transfer over my old writing, but it should work out okay. Thanks for your patience!

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Trials: Part Twenty Five

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Click here for part one.

Vanessa began to probe Darryl’s mind. She found herself in a nice office, she looked out the window and saw it was raining outside. She saw Darryl sitting at a desk, with a man who looked vaguely familiar to her sitting on the other side.

“We need someone to help guard these bad apples, someone with training and powers, like you.” The man said.

“Very well. I will do as you ask.” Darryl signed a piece of paper, and the world faded to black.

Now they were back in the central cave, but Vanessa and Ashley were asleep on the floor. She saw Darryl standing over them with the other guard. Only the other guard had a flashlight, but both of them had a pack.

“Alright, Darryl, let’s get going. I don’t wanna spend longer down here than I have to.”

Darryl nodded and gestured for the other guard to lead the way.

“Why don’t you take the lead this time.” The other guard said.

“You’re the one with the light. Makes more sense for you to lead.” Darryl replied.

“Well, whatever works for you, bud.”

Vanessa wasn’t sure what it was, but there was definitely a palpable tension. She saw the name patch of the other guard, and it said ‘Jones’.

The guard began to walk down the same tunnel that Vanessa remembered taking, and Darryl followed. They walked for a while, and Vanessa noticed Darryl reaching for his gun. There was a slight click as he pulled it out of its holster, and the other guard whipped around, shooting darryl with a tranquilizer in the leg. Darryl froze, and the world faded to black again.

Vanessa found herself back in the central cave, and looked around. She saw Darryl leading both her and Ashley down a tunnel. She definitely didn’t remember this happening, so this couldn’t be a memory. He led them down the tunnel for a couple of minutes, before there was a sudden click. Darryl swore, and tried to cover Vanessa and Ashley, but fire engulfed them and the world went to black.

Vanessa gasped and released Darryl’s hands. Her heart was racing, and Darryl looked confused.

“Darryl, did you see that?” She asked.

“Yes…” He nodded.

“Were you planning to take us to that tunnel?”

“Well, yes, but I didn’t know what was down it! I was just going to pick the one next to this one.”

“What’s going on, guys?” Ashley’s voice was wavering.

“I saw us going down a tunnel, and dying. All of us.” Vanessa shook her head. This doesn’t make sense. Darryl would’ve had to consciously imagine that, and he imagined himself dying with them. That wouldn’t make sense if he was trying to kill them. “Darryl, what’s your superpower?”

“I’m not even sure if it’s really a superpower.” Darryl shook his head. “All I know, is I got a lot better at fighting after the green light. It’s like I know just what to do, and I do it. I even knew it was going to be you kicking me, so I didn’t fight back.”

“How long did you know that?”

“Just right  before it happened. I knew it was you. I don’t know how…”

Vanessa nodded. She wondered if he had a kind of future sensing power, like Paul. She supposed it would be reasonable, but maybe it was based on what was about to happen, given whatever Darryl is about to do.

“Okay, Darryl. It wouldn’t make much sense to go down that tunnel, so let’s try a different one. Keeping it methodical, knowing that one leads to death, lets take the next tunnel.”

“I guess that makes sense?” Darryl seemed hesitant. “Are you saying you trust me?”

“Sure. Give me your hands again.”

Darryl obliged, and Vanessa found herself in the center cave again. Darryl was leading them into the next tunnel to the right. After a while of walking they reached a dead end. It seemed there had been a cave-in at some point.

Vanessa released Darryl’s hand and got to her feet. She took the gun and light back from Ashley, and turned to Darryl. “Alright. Take us to the dead end tunnel.”

Darryl nodded and began walking. Vanessa and Ashley followed.

Ashley came up behind Vanessa and whispered to her. “Vanessa, what’s going on?”

“I think Darryl can see the immediate future, and with my help we can probe it a little further. We’re going to check out a tunnel that we saw should be a dead end. If it is, then that means this works, and we can find our way out like that!”

“We can find our way out…”

“Let’s just see how it goes. Stay behind me though.”

Ashley nodded, and the group returned to the central cave. Darryl went to the second tunnel to the right of the one they came out of, and the group followed. They walked for a few minutes, and eventually came up on a dead end. Just as they had seen in Darryl’s vision, there was a cave-in. Vanessa looked at the rocks, and they even looked the exact same as she had seen.

“We have our way out! Good work Darryl, lets head back to the central cave. Now that we know this works, we don’t even have to physically check every tunnel, we can just find the one that leads out of here.”

“That’s amazing…” Darryl murmured. “I had no idea I could do this.”

The group proceeded back to the central cave, and scanned every tunnel in the same manner as they had previously. After about ten minutes, they finally found one that led outside, but not to the prison. She was slightly surprised that Takeo actually gave them a way out. Then again, they weren’t out yet. There was only one way to find out.

Darryl led the way through the tunnel, and eventually they began to see some light that wasn’t from the flashlight. They went forwards, and the light continued to get brighter, enough so that the flashlight wasn’t necessary. They finally came out of the tunnel and found themselves standing in a forest. Birds sang up in the trees, and the wind blew. The sun warmed their faces. Freedom.

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Hello! My laptop is dead, but I managed to squeak this post and (hopefully) the next post out of it. If the navigation links aren’t working, that’s because I have to update them manually once a new post is live. Not to worry, new one should be here in plenty of time for next week.

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