Mind of Darkness

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Chapter Twenty-Four

A grown man stands in his way just before he can escape.

“I know you’re not planning on coming back, boy,” the man leers. “You’ve wanted out for a while. I’ve seen it in your eyes.”

“Get out of my way,” the boy answers. “The mad scientist sent me on an errand.”

Another even burlier man comes to stand by the other. “Then why do you have a tea leaf in your pocket, Nelson?”

Nelson’s eyes drop to his pocket.

“Not all of us are as blind as you were,” the first man leers.

“Well, not all of us are as stupid to stick around as you two.” Nelson rushes at the two of them super fast.

The first one grabs onto his shoulder. So Tim spins sideways, sending him spinning into the second man.

Then Tim jumps onto the dog pile and throws his fist down several times. “I. Am. Done. Here.”

~~~

Tim wakes up at the stroke of midnight in cold sweat.

His dream seemed so real, but it was just a dream… right?

He needs to know the truth.

Climbing out of his beds in the room, he switches on the light.

Kyle immediately sits up. Chrissie, however, just pulls the blanket over her head and rolls over. Tim doesn’t even care enough to be relieved that Kyle is sleeping on the floor this time.

“What is it?!” Kyle demands scanning the area. “Where’s the danger?!”

“Danger?” Chrissie cries, finally sitting up. “Where?”

Since Tim is definitely not going to say ‘I had a bad dream,’ he says, “In my head.”

Kyle groans, but Chrissie climbs out of her bed and joins Tim by the lamp.

“What is it?” she asks, putting a comforting hand on his shoulder.

Tim’s mind immediately goes blank, but he commands it to focus. “I have some questions. You’ve mentioned a Greene Takeover.”

She nods, causing her adorably mussed curls to bounce.

Focus, Tim. “Who all was a part of it?”

“Well, there was Marcus Greene, of course.” She looks a bit confused by the question, but then seems to get lost in giving the answer. “And there were V.C., his men, the twins, Mr. Walters, and Seth Gears.”

“The traitor,” Kyle mutters under his breath.

Tim nods politely. None of those names- or titles- is the name he seeks for, but still… “Do I… do I resemble any of them?”

Kyle finally makes his way over. “Wait. You don’t think you were part of that, do you?”

“I… I don’t know.”

Chrissie squeezes his shoulder. “You weren’t. I would recognize you.”

Rubbing his chin as he studies Tim, Kyle tilts his head to one side. “Though, it would explain the superpowers.”

And Chrissie glares at him. “No; it wouldn’t. I kind of stripped them of all their superpowers with the chemical and sprinklers, remember?”

Tim clears his throat. “What if- what if I wasn’t present when the sprinklers went off? What if I was out on an errand? What if I was using that errand as an excuse to run away to give a tea leaf to my dear old Gramps?”

Kyle shakes his head. “Look, I knew most of V.C.’s men. Trust me- you’re not one of them.”

But Chrissie whirls back around to study Tim. “Did you say errand?”

Tim feels his insides freeze over, but he has to get the truth out, if it killed him. “Maybe I wasn’t one of V.C.’s men- maybe I was someone else in the Greene Takeover. Was there anyone else?!”

His dream comes flooding back to him. There was conflict in the air- conflict centered around him- so he took the opportunity to leave. With a tea leaf. For Gramps.

Or at least, the person in the dream did. A person with a name...

But not his. It couldn’t be; it was just a random name selected by his subconscious. He couldn’t be-

“George Nelson,” Chrissie breathes.

Her words form an icicle that stab Tim’s already frozen heart.

“You were the clever boy Marcus gave the tea too and made V.C. upset,” Chrissie adds in a whisper.

“Wait,” Kyle says. “He’s a super trooper. Named George?” He shakes his head. “And you thought Theodore was too presidential.”

“I left,” George answers, feeling the cold darkness around him. “But yes, I was a ‘super trooper.’ I tried to help take over the world.”

“But you’ve changed.” And Chrissie steps toward him to take his hands into hers. “You’re not who you once were. You’re a hero now. You’re helping us stop Jin Yin, remember?”

He doesn’t deserve her comfort or her touch. George pulls away from her. “I’m no hero. That’s why I couldn’t save Freya- Faith- whatever.”

“Hey,” Kyle says. “I know what it’s like to be on the wrong side of the law too- but that’s behind me too. It can behind you too.”

George backs away, shaking his head. “For a year I’ve wrestled with having a cloudy mind. Now I wish it would be cloudy once more. Anything would be better than this.”

Chrissie steps towards him again. “Tim-”

“I’m not Tim. I’m George Nelson. Tim was confused. But George… George has a mind of darkness.”

“Tim-”

“I. Am. Done. Here.” With that, George opens the hotel door and dashes away.

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