Trials: Part Thirty Seven

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Click here for part one.

Jude stood in his kitchen with Deven, Arte, Zoey, and Mr. Rodriguez. The pizza was set to get here soon, and he was starting to get hungry. Everything had gone off about as well as he’d hoped, and Arte’s injury was only minor. They figured out what Zoey’s salt can do, they took care of the impostor, and now they should be allowed some degree of freedom again.

Arte tapped Jude on the shoulder, and gestured for him to follow her into the den. He obliged.

“Hey, Jude, have you heard anything from Daniels?”

“Nope. I’m guessing he’s probably worked out that we got rid of the bugs by now, huh?”

“Definitely. I’m worried about how much else he’s worked out, but Paul said it would be fine to send her, right? You trust him, right?” Arte looked really worried.

“With my life. He’s never been wrong before.” He nodded.

“Alright.” Arte nodded and sighed. “You’re probably right. I’m just worrying too much.”

Jude was about to say something, but his phone began to ring. He looked down, and saw it was Mr. Smith.

Arte moved in close so she could hear.

Jude picked up the phone. “Hello?”

“Jude, I’ve had some of my men look into something, and I think Vanessa has gone missing.” He sounded more panicked than Jude had heard him since Vanessa got put in the hospital last year.

Jude’s heart sank. “What? What do you mean?”

“The hotel’s records say she checked in, but she was never even there. The driver was supposed to be keeping tabs on her, but he must have been sending me fake info.”

“What can I do?”

“I want you to see if you can get in touch with Paul. See if he can find her. I’ll pay for his flight back, just get him here.”

“I’ll call him, and let you know what he says. Anything else?”

“That’s it for now. Thank you Jude.”

Jude hung up, and was about to dial Paul when the doorbell rang. Jude swore, and started to move, but Arte went to get it. He called Paul, and the phone began to ring.

Jude heard a voice he recognized, coming from the front door. He turned around, and it was Daniels. Jude was standing a ways away, but he could definitely make out that the guy looked pissed. He made his way over, and handed the phone to Arte.

“Wait do you want me to…” Arte trailed off, before taking the phone and heading into the living room.

Jude turned to Agent Daniels. “Why don’t we step outside?”

“Works for me.” His stern expression didn’t waver.

Jude stepped out into the driveway. “So, did you need something?”

“Cut the shit, Jude. I know that was Arte and the neighbor girl at the mall.”

Jude’s heart sank. They hadn’t been careful enough. Had Paul been wrong? He didn’t let his doubts break his equally serious expression. “Alright, yeah. It was us, but so what? We got the bad guy, and no civilians got hurt.”

“When I took you on, one of the only terms was that you cease vigilante action, and that was exactly what you did!”

“What do you mean, ‘one of your only terms’? Or ‘took you on’ for that matter?” Jude scoffed. “You arrested me, and put me on house arrest!”

“Because you’re a danger, Jude! How did you even know about the attack in the mall before it happened? Do you realize what this looks like? I should have you all arrested!”

“Are you suggesting we worked with the impostor?”

“I’m not having this conversation.” Daniels shook his head. “Nobody is to leave this house. We’re putting a monitor on the girl, then we’re going to figure out what to do with you.”

“You put one hand on her, and watch what happens.” Jude’s eyes began to glow. He couldn’t believe Daniels for threatening to do this to a child, and he couldn’t believe himself for approving this plan. What did it matter if her dad was okay with it? Why would Paul let this happen?

“We’ll just see about that.” Daniels turned around and stepped into a black van.

Jude swore and ran back inside.

Arte was waiting for him at the doorway, and he noticed Deven and Zoey leaning around the corner, looking in. “What happened?” She handed him his phone back.

Jude leaned against the wall and sighed. He tried to keep from shaking. “Give me a second, did Paul pick up?”

“Yeah.” Arte nodded. She pulled up a list on her phone. “He evidently already knew about Vanessa, and was already coming back, but he didn’t know where she was. He said to make sure Mr. Smith personally drove him here from the airport, for some reason?” She shook her head. “Jude, are you sure this guy’s alright? He’s being really cryptic and leaving out details.”

“I’m not so sure how I feel about him right now.” Jude shook his head and sighed. He leaned in and whispered. “Daniels wants to put a monitor on Zoey, and says we’re all stuck here, and that we should be arrested for collaborating with the impostor.”

“What!?” Arte’s eyes went wide. “He found out? Shit!”

“I’ll tell Mr. Rodriguez what’s happened in a second, I just need a second to get my head straight…” Jude had a headache now, and went to take a seat on the couch. This was all his mess. He couldn’t pin this on Paul, there was no way he could’ve seen how this would play out. He had gotten desperate, and stupid, and he’d ruined a girls life. He put his face in his hands. He was just so tired of all of this.

Jude felt a heavy hand on his back. He looked up to see Deven smiling down at him.

“It’s okay, Jude. The good guys always win.”

 


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Finally started writing on season 3 again (approaching halfway done, and it’s shaping up to be considerably longer than 1 and 2). As per usual (so it feels like now), sorry for the delay. Thanksgiving had me messed up, but I should’ve scheduled this beforehand like someone who possessed planning skills. Oopsies. At least I’m actually working on season 3.

 

Trials: Part Thirty Six

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Click here for part one.

It was nearing sunset when Paul and Anastasia neared the edge of the monastery. She looked out over it one last time. It was beautiful, and it was a shame they had to leave. As she was about to turn around and cross the threshold, she saw a flash of light, and out of it materialized Siobhan and Coombre. Anastasia dropped her bag and ran to hug them.

“We’ll miss you Anastasia” Siobhan patted her back.

Coombre reached into his pocket, and pulled out a book. “Adara said to give this to you.”

Anastasia took it, and saw it was one of the empty journals from the desk. It had a brown leather cover with an ‘A’ embroidered on the front. On the first page was a photograph and a note. The photo was of her, Coombre, and Siobhan when they were cataloging one of the rooms of artifacts. The note read as follows:

For Anastasia, may your curiosity never rest, and when we are rejoined, I hope you will have remembered to write some of your findings. -Adara

Below that, she saw that Siobhan and Coombre had both signed it as well. Her eyes welled with tears. She hugged them both again.

“Thank you.”

“We’ll miss you.” Siobhan stood back and waved.

“Until next time.” Coombre nodded.

Anastasia put the journal in her bag and waved. She took Paul’s hand, and crossed the threshold. Siobhan, Coombre, and the monastery disappeared, and were replaced by the same rocky beach.

“Alright, Paul. Let’s go.” Anastasia wiped a tear from her eye.

“Are you sure you don’t want to stay?” Paul asked.

“Yeah,” she nodded, “Sometimes you just have to say goodbye. I think I’ll see them again.”

“Well, we’d better get going. I guess we need to go buy plane tickets.”

“Yeah, I guess so.” Anastasia began to walk forwards, when she saw a man step out from behind a rock. “Oh, hey Jean. I was wondering when you would show up!”

“Jean? What’s he doing here?” Paul asked.

“I suppose my skills have slipped.” Jean shook his head and made his way towards them. “I thought for sure I had remained unseen. That dastardly Adara…” He looked off into the distance with a smirk.

“Wait, what? You know Adara?”

“Don’t worry about it Paul.” Anastasia laughed. “You don’t have to know everything.”

“Yes, I apologize for not revealing myself earlier, Mr. Darbyshire, but I was instructed to not make my presence known until you were ready to go home.” He smiled warmly. “Mr. Smith asked me to keep an eye on you both, not to mention I had some business with Adara myself.”

“Very funny, everyone’s in on the secret, whatever.” Paul sighed. “Let’s just get going.”

“I took the liberty of retrieving your plane tickets. Your flight leaves at midnight, so that gives you plenty of time to get to the airport and through customs.” Jean handed Anastasia two plane tickets.

“Why do I get the feeling that you’re not coming back with us, Jean?”

“Oh, I just have an errand to run first. Business in Algeria.” Jean turned and began to walk away, before turning back for a moment. “If I’m not back within a month, please do tell Mr. Smith to assume I am deceased.”

“Good luck Jean!” Anastasia called after him.

Paul and Anastasia were silent for a moment. They listened to the waves, and to the crunching of Jean’s footsteps.

He nodded blankly for a moment, before turning to Anastasia. “Why do I get the feeling that you were up to much more than a cleaning project, while I was training?”

“Don’t worry about it.” Anastasia smiled. “We’re both allowed to have our secrets.”

“You’ve changed, Anastasia.” Paul chuckled. “I think I like it.”

Anastasia recalled the original reason that she had taken this trip. Sure there were all of the pretenses of helping Paul, and of her first vacation, but the real reason was to get closer to Paul. She laughed a little. She had hardly managed to spend any time with him, since they were both so busy with their own things. They still had a little time left, but now she felt pretty happy with the way things were. She had other mysteries to solve, and really didn’t need to give Vanessa more of a reason to hate her. She looked off into the sunset, and for the first time that she realized it, she was happy with herself. She didn’t need something or someone else.

Her heartfelt internal monologue was disrupted by the sound of Paul’s phone ringing.

He picked up, and raised it to his ear. “Hello, this is Paul… Yeah our flight leaves at midnight, we were already coming home… Yeah I know she’s missing… The same way I know most things… No, I don’t know where she is… Arte calm down, stop shouting into the phone… Yes I’d call that shouting…” He began to make static noises with his mouth. “Sorry signals bad, gotta go. Make sure Mr. Smith personally drives us to your place from the airport…” He hung up.

“Who was that? Who’s this Arte person that keeps calling you?” Anastasia recalled he said the same name while he was on the phone in that café.

Oh, you don’t have to know everything.” Paul replied in a mocking tone.

“Oh shut up, Paul.” She elbowed him and laughed. “Let’s get going then.” She began to lead him, but he didn’t move.

“Oh well, you should probably know this thing, though.” Paul’s face went serious. “Mr. Smith called Jude. He said nobody knows where Vanessa is. She went on a trip, but she never got to the hotel she was going to.”

Anastasia’s jaw dropped. “Paul! Don’t just not tell me something like that as a joke!”

“Well, in my defense-”

“No, don’t start with that!” Anastasia scoffed. “Is there anything else I should know?”

“Probably, but I’ll let them fill you in on it.”

Anastasia rolled her eyes, and led Paul back to the road. From there, she called a taxi, and didn’t speak another word to Paul until they returned.


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My month of writing is going quite successfully (Read: not one word that wasn’t for school). How about yours?

 

Trials: Part Thirty Five

Content warning: Gore and Death

 

You are joining an ongoing story.

Click here for part one.

Ashley’s heart was racing. She had actually almost died, and she really wasn’t sure why she didn’t. She heard the gunshot, and she saw the muzzle flash. She saw Vanessa standing over her, with tears running down her face. She wondered if she was actually fine. She shook her head. This was not the time for panic.

Ashley jumped up from the ground. She looked down at Darryl and Jones bleeding out on the ground. She rolled Jones off of Darryl.

“Vanessa,” she began dishing out orders, “disarm him, and if he tries anything, stop him. I’m not letting anyone die!”

Vanessa looked startled for a moment, but nodded, and attended to Jones.

Ashley went to take a look at Darryl. “Darryl, can you hear me?” She lifted his head, but he wasn’t responding.

She felt his jugular, and he still had a pulse. She turned her attention to his wound. This was definitely beyond her skill to fix. It was bleeding a lot, even with the knife still in the wound. She hadn’t really had formal medical training, her parents were just both doctors, so she picked up some pieces along the way. As best as she could tell, if she left this alone, Darryl would die. She wasn’t really sure if it would work well to transfer the wound to herself. Figuring out how much to transfer to not kill either of them didn’t seem like a good option. If it came to it, she would save him, but they weren’t there yet.

“Vanessa, does Jones have a pulse?”

Vanessa went in to check. “Yeah, I think so. He doesn’t look great though. What about Darryl?”

“Vanessa, I’m not sure what to do…” Ashley shook her head. “I can’t just wrap this up, and I don’t think I could take just a part of the wound and say for sure that neither of us would die. I have one other thing I could do, but I’m not sure…”

“What is it?”

“Well, the thing is, I don’t just have the power to take wounds. I also have the power to give them, so I could hypothetically put all of the wounds on one person, but they’d definitely die.”

“Put them all on Jones!” Vanessa responded quickly.

“But that would kill him for sure!”

“He tried to kill you!”

“That doesn’t mean he’s bad! You heard his story! He had to do this!”

“Look Ashley. You can have two people that will probably die, or you can have one person who definitely dies. That’s your decision here.”

“What gives me the right to say who lives or dies?” Tears began to roll down Ashley’s face.

“Your powers! That’s what says you do! Do you want Darryl to die?”

“No! Why can’t I just kill myself?!” Her heart felt like it could explode at any moment. That had to be the right answer, to take all the pain herself.

“What would your girlfriend say? What do you want me to say to her, when I have to go tell her that she’ll never see you again?”

Ashley froze. She couldn’t do that to Arte. Vanessa was right. This was the only way to go. They needed Darryl. They could never break everyone out of the prison, and get them all to safety without him. She had to do it.

“I’ll do it.” Ashley nodded. She sat down between the two bleeding men, and grabbed both of their hands. She had never attempted this before, but it had to work. She knew it would, because it had to. She took a deep breath, and pulled the knife out of Darryl.

She began to pull Darryl’s wound into herself, while also pushing it over to Jones. She began to feel a pain in her shoulder, and saw some blood beginning to come out. She looked down at her other arm, and noticed her burn was going away.

The pain began to intensify. At first it felt like she’d just been cut, but now it was deeper than that. She had never felt anything like this before. She looked over and saw that Jones wasn’t bleeding from his shoulder yet. She began to panic. Would she have to take the whole wound first?

Vanessa knelt down on the ground in front of her, and placed her hands on Ashley’s knees. “You’ve got this.” She smiled confidently.

“It- It hurts so much! I don’t know if I can do it!” She began to sob. Darryls wound had to be deep, because the pain kept going deeper.

“Yes you can! I’m right here with you. I can’t take the pain for you, but I know you’ve got this!”

The pain kept getting worse, until it eventually reached a crescendo. Ashley cried out. She couldn’t believe Darryl had just taken this.

“Ashley, look!” Vanessa pointed to Jones’s shoulder. Blood was beginning to seep out of it.

Ashley felt joy for a moment, followed by disgust. She was rejoicing over someone’s death. She wondered if this was the right move after all, and winced. It had to be, because it was her only option. This was for Arte, for Darryl, and for everyone still trapped in that prison.

Eventually the pain began to alleviate. After a few moments, Ashley was back to normal. She smiled weakly, then fell forward onto Vanessa’s lap in tears.

“You did it Ashley.” She felt her hand rest on her head.

A few moments passed, and Ashley pulled herself up. She wiped off her face, and got to her feet.

“I’m going to take care of him. Keep an eye on Darryl.” Vanessa hugged her, and turned to Jones.

Ashley looked down at Darryl, and winced as she heard a wet cutting noise. She felt like she should be feeling more, but she just felt overwhelmed and tired. She shook her head, returned her attention to Darryl, and checked again for a pulse.

Once she found he had a pulse and was breathing, she turned to Vanessa, who was now beside her.

Vanessa wrapped her arms around her, and Ashley whispered, “Thank you…”


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Trials: Part Thirty Four

You are joining an ongoing story.

Click here for part one.

Zoey and Arte sat at a table in the Vanguard Mall cafeteria. Her heart was racing. Not only was she going to fight a super villain today, but she was also in public dressed like a Dayspring fan girl.

“Do I have to wear this?” Zoey pulled her coat over herself to conceal as much as she could.

“What? You don’t like it? I thought you said you were a fan of Dayspring?” Arte was clearly suppressing a laugh.

“Very funny. It’s embarrassing. I look like a kid, what if someone from school sees me like this?”

“Oh, come on. Nobody would recognize you, that’s what we did the makeup and the hood for. You worry too much.”

Zoey rolled her eyes. She just had to hope Jessica didn’t see this. There’s no way she wouldn’t recognize her. “Why do you get to wear normal clothes?”

Arte laughed. “Because, I don’t want to draw attention. Looks normal for you to wear something like that. People will assume you’re just a fan. Me wearing that would draw more eyes.”

“So in other words its embarrassing?”

“Why are you so worried about someone from school seeing you? Is there someone you like?” Arte poked Zoey’s arm over and over.

“No!” Zoey scrambled away and rolled her eyes. “It’s not like that…”

“While we’re on the subject, how is school going for you?”

Zoey sighed. Her classes were going great, but it hadn’t really gotten more enjoyable. At least Jessica had laid off the harassment, but now it just felt like she didn’t even exist. “It’s going good.” She forced a smile.

“Something the matter?”

Zoey’s heart dropped. That had always worked on her dad and any other adults who ever asked her that, how did Arte see through it that quick? “It’s nothing…”

Arte sighed and sat back. “You know, I don’t know if I told you this, but for the past few months, I’ve been all over the state looking for someone, so I’m basically a full blown detective now.” She took a sip of her drink. “What I’m saying is, I’ll go to your school and figure out what’s going on myself if I have to.”

Zoey almost jumped out of her chair. “No! You don’t have to do that, it’s fine!”

“I’m kidding.” Arte laughed, before pausing. “You know, you can talk to me, though.”

Zoey sighed. She wondered if someone older than her might actually be able to help. “Well, there’s this girl. She used to pick on me a lot, but now she knows I have powers. I’m not sure what’s going on. At first I thought she was scared of me, but I don’t think that’s it…”

Arte was about to say something, when she suddenly jumped out of her chair, and in front of Zoey. She fell over sideways, and Zoey jumped up.

She looked around and saw Dayspring floating in the air above a fountain. Her heart sank. This was the impostor. She had to do something.

“Citizens of Atlanta. This is my mall now, and you have ten minutes to get the hell out!” He laughed in a way she had never heard Jude laugh.

People began to scramble out of the food court, and Zoey turned her attention to Arte. She knelt down beside her, and turned her over.

“I’m fine.” Arte shakily stood to her feet. She had a burn on her arm, and Zoey froze. “Go get him kid. I’ll be right behind you.”

Zoey nodded, and turned towards the impostor. He was floating above the fountain, surveying the chaos around him. He looked like he was enjoying himself.

Zoey’s whole body was shaking, but she pulled her hood up and began to walk towards him. She had the training, and Jude said she was ready. Arte wouldn’t have let her do this if she wasn’t ready. Zoey looked back and saw Arte coming up behind her. She was holding her arm, but she didn’t look scared at all.

She was about half way to him, whenever he locked eyes with her.

“Who’s this? A fan?” He floated down towards her, and noticed Arte as well. “A fan and her angry mom?”

“You need to stop!” Zoey shouted, as assertively as she could muster.

“Are you going to make me?” He laughed for a moment, then looked back at Zoey. “Oh you are, are you? You’re serious? A kid in a costume is going to take down Dayspring! And your mother is okay with this?”

Arte stood her ground and glared at him. Zoey couldn’t help but not how calm and cool she seemed. She really believed in her.

“Alrighty then.” He turned back to Zoey. “So what’s your plan? The power of friendship? Are you going to talk me into being good again?”

“I have powers too, you know!” Zoey shouted. She had finally managed to get her body to stop shaking, but her heart was still racing faster than it ever had before.

“Oh, boy!” He did a twirl in the air. “You have powers too? Well then, it seems we have a duel on our hands.” He grinned, and floated down, until he was on the ground, about ten feet away. “I am a gentleman, so I will allow you the first shot.” He closed his eyes and held his arms out.

Zoey took a deep breath. This was just like in training, and all she needed to do was… She began to panic. She had no idea how she was going to stop someone with Dayspring’s powers. She had salt. That was it.

“Come on, hit me with all you’ve got.” He smiled, his eyes still closed.

Zoey looked over to Arte, who nodded. She took a deep breath, and wound up. She materialized some salt, and threw it at him with all her strength. Her heart sank as she felt it crumble in her hands. She watched as a hail of salt went over the man.

For a moment, nothing happened. Zoey saw Arte take a step forwards, but suddenly the man collapsed to the ground. Zoey took a closer look, and saw that he was no longer Dayspring, but instead a scrawny white teenager. He tried to get to his feet, but Arte was already on top of him.

He laughed nervously, “Hey, take it easy! It- It was a practical joke! Yeah-” He looked up and met eyes with Arte. “Okay! I’ll tell you everything I know! Please, I had to do it! He made me!”

“Tell it to a judge.” Arte looked into the crowd and waved a couple of police officers over. She then looked over to Zoey, and smiled. “I told you you could do it.”


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Apologies for the delay! WordPress did some scheduling shenanigans again. Really am trying to work this out, my bad.