Chapter nineteen (not edited)
“Thank you, Mr Obsidian” Marco thanked the dean. “We have much to think about and will return another time with our conclusion on the... Elementals”
“Of course” Mr Obsidian bowed his head, “Until next time. Shall we?”
“No need. I’m sure we know our way out. Don’t bother yourself walking us out” Tatiana laughed off. The four leaders turned to walk off but I couldn’t help overhear the low muttering between Marco and Sicilianna. It was hard to understand but as they passed us the words ‘unsafe’ and ‘liability’ were clearly stated... and I knew that couldn’t be good.
Silence fell over all of us as we watched the retreating backs of The Control. Jumbled up emotions were scattered all over my brain as I watched the four leaders slowly disappear. I tried to make some sense of these emotions, picking each emotion out to assess.
Relief. I felt my lungs begin to function properly now that the four most powerful Abled were leaving the campus.
Fear. What did they ask of the Elementals, and what were they really thinking?
Anger. Why did they have to visit now, of all times? And also at the fact that the shadow was now gone.
Curiosity. Where did the shadow go? Was it merely a coincidence that The Control appeared now?
And finally... fatigue. Everything came crashing down on me and I felt so damn exhausted physically, mentally and emotionally.
The last of the leaders disappeared and immediately Mr Obsidian spun to face us, his brown eyes landing on Helena and myself. “I do believe that you two ladies bumped into me for a specific reason that you deemed important?” he stated more than asked as he raised a black eyebrow.
“It’s the shadow, Mr Obsidian” Helena pipes up. “The one we told you about when we returned from Crane’s Hollow”
Mr Obsidian’s face grew completely focused and I could feel the tension radiate from his body from where I stood. “What about it, Helena?”
“It’s here. It... Well it attacked me last night when I was out for a walk and if Blake hadn’t come just in time I don’t know would have happened. Then just earlier we were walking through the forest and it attacked us. It can multiply sir, the shadow can multiply itself although it’s only illusions. But that’s not the strangest part, sir...”
Mr Obsidian leaned closer and nodded for her to continue, however, Derrek jumped in and continued. “It’s not really a shadow” He explained. “After it attacked us, it sort of... changed. It’s whole demeanour changed and the next thing we knew the shadow split in half and turned out to be two girls a bit older than us”
The dean’s expression turned to curiosity and confusion. “Two girls...?”
“They’re names are Chimera and Evanesce. They used to be normal Abled like us, I shared a cell with them before they were taken away and experimented on” Cara choked on the word ‘experimented’.
“The shadow is actually an Elemental?” Mr Obsidian commented more to himself than to us. He fell silent and we all stayed quiet as we watched the cogs in his head turn with the information we’d given him. “Did they talk?”
We all shook our heads, “No, sir. They just split and showed who they are before turning back into the shadow and began shrieking and howling again. Almost-“
“Almost like it fell out of a trance before being pulled back in...” The dean finished our sentence. Suddenly his eyes shot to mine and he stared at me. I began to feel uncomfortable under his scrutiny but I stayed still. “Valerie... it seems to me as though these girls, Chimera and Evanesce have more in common with you than you think”
“What do you mean...?” I asked with furrowed brows. What could these two girls, this... shadow have in common with me?
“I’m not quite one hundred percent sure, Valerie. But what I would want to know is... why would this shadow suddenly reveal who it is with no persuasion or having to be forced? It must have had an ulterior motive and I believe it could be because they are fighting Malum internally. That they are asking for help, perhaps?”
“How did you manage to come with that with only a few bits of information?!” Blake asked confused.
Mr Obsidian turned to look at him at him before tapping the side of his nose and winking. “By the way Blake, I was wondering... did you do something with your eyebrows?”
Blake’s face fell and he threw a dirty look at Derrek and grumbled under his breath before slumping to sit on a tree stump looking like a sulking child. Just like that the tense atmosphere was broken and Mr Obsidian turned to us, “I believe it’s about time you all return back to campus. I’ll think of what needs to be done about this shadow. Off you go”
I spun around and my eyes darted from tree to tree. What was that? “Did you hear that Sparky?” I asked quietly holding his arm a little too tensely.
“Hear what?” He quirked his head to the side.
“It sounded like a woman whispering... Never mind. It must’ve just been the wind” I shook my head. That was weird. “Let’s go”
The Elementals, Helena, Derrek and I walked back to the campus while Mr Obsidian stayed behind. We all ended back at Derrek’s apartment, much to Derrek’s annoyance. We were scattered around the apartment and I could help that Derrek had something on his mind.
“Something wrong, Sparky?”
“Well that’s something that doesn’t happen every day” Blake snorted. “Care to share?”
Derrek glowered at Blake but to my surprise he humoured him and began to share what was on his mind. “It was something I overheard The Control saying as they left...” He now had everyone’s attention and everyone leaned in close to listen what he was saying. “When they were leaving I heard Marco and Sicilianna saying something about ‘unsafe’ and ‘liability’...”
“Oh no...” Helena whispered. She glanced over at Blake before looking over the other Elementals, “It sounds like they’re comparing them to the Stingers” Derrek and I swapped looks before asking what she meant. “It was something I was worried about before they interviewed the Elementals. I think The Control are going to compare them to the Stingers from before the Stinger Eradication and-...”
“Start another war...” I finished, understanding where she as coming from.
Grim silence hung over us, and the clouds outside floated across the sun masking everyone in darkness as we let the thought sink into our heads. “You could be wrong though...” Bree spoke up with a sense of false confidence. The Elementals had stayed quiet for so long that I half forgot they were even in the room.
“Of course we could, Bree. It was just a thought... we have no idea what The Control think or what they want to do. All we can do is wait see until their next visit”
We spent hours in Derrek’s apartment until finally he got tired of it and point blank kicked everyone out. I followed them out, despite him saying that he didn’t mean for me to go, and started walking back to my own apartment.
“Uh... Val?” I turned around and saw Cara nervously playing with her fingers. “Could I have a word if you don’t mind?”
Curiosity piqued inside of me. Cara was actually stepping out of her comfort zone; her comfort zone being right next to Cameron. “Cara? Um, sure. What’s wrong?”
We were alone in the corridor and I could see she was feeling a little embarrassed. She dropped her hands and sighed, “I’m starting my personal lessons with Ms Avia tomorrow and I’m a little nervous. The others don’t really understand because they want me to be able to be comfortable with my ‘ability’, but... but I’m afraid”
I heart clenched for her. Our abilities makes us who we are and no one should be afraid to be who they really are. “It’ll be okay. From the class I sat in on Ms Avia seems like a great teacher, she’ll take it slow and understand how you feel. You shouldn’t need to feel afraid Cara... this is a great opportunity for you”
“I know, I know. Bu it’s not just that... I was actually wondering if you would accompany me to my lessons?”
Surprise was evident on my face when I registered what she had just asked me. “Me? Are you sure you don’t want Cameron or any of the other Elementals with you?”
She shook her head and sighed again before leaning against the wall. “The girls don’t understand, and Cameron wants me to learn this and I just feel too pressured”
“So why me, Cara?”
She stayed quiet for a little while before finally speaking again, “You know what it’s like to be afraid of yourself. I remember what it was like for you in the caves last year. I saw and still hear your screams of you being afraid to be turned back into the creature M-Malum forced you to be. He forced me to be this” she looked at her hands in disgust before closing her eyes and leaning her head back against the wall, “And I know you know how frightening it is to be something he forced you to be”
Tears pricked in the corner of my eyes and I grabbed Cara in a tight hug. She stiffened but quickly hugged me back. I knew where she was coming from... hell, I wish I didn’t. But unfortunately I knew exactly what she meant. “I’ll be there at your lessons. You can count on it”
She smiled brightly, it was the most animated I’d ever seen her and hugged me fiercely back again. “Thank you!”
The moon was full and hung low in the sky as it glowed burnt orange colour instead of its usual pearl white. The stars were twinkling brightly and not a cloud marred the sky tonight. Helena and I were watching TV when a knock sounded at the door. “That must be Cara” I announced before heaving myself off the sofa to open the door.
To my surprise Blake stood in the doorframe and I still couldn’t help but purse my lips to stop my laughter when I spied his half burnt eyebrows. Poor guy. “Blake? Uh, what can I do for you?”
“I was wondering if I could speak to Helena... just about what happened the night the shadow attacked her”
“Oh, okay sure. She’s just inside-“
“Ready Val?” Cara stood behind Blake looking a mix of excited and nervous at the same time.
“Ready, Cara. You go on inside Blake, Helena’s just watching TV” Blake and I swapped places and soon the door was closed and Cara and I were walking down to meet Ms Avia in their classroom.
“Blake? What are you doing here?” Helena’s big, brown eyes widened when she saw me and she sat up straighter in the sofa. I glanced over at the meadow that I still found both a little weird and amazing before taking in a deep breath.
“I just wanted to talk to you about last night” Geez, was it only last night this all happened?
“Oh, sure. Sit down” She scooted over to the other end of the sofa and her chestnut brown curls bounced along with her. “What did you want to talk about?”
I wasn’t sure if it was just me but I swear I could hear her voice tremble when she spoke to me. Not so much when we’re with the others but definitely when it’s just the two of us. I didn’t know how to phrase my question so I decided to just spit it out. “Why didn’t you want to walk with me last night?”
I sounded like a baby whose lollipop just got stolen, I mentally chastised myself.
Obviously this wasn’t what she expected me to ask, if her wide open eyes had anything to say. “Uh... I... Um...” she stuttered.
“Are you afraid of me?” I hated that I felt so weak around her, and it showed in my question. But damnit, this thought had been on my mind ever since she said ‘no’ to walking with me and I just needed to know. I hated feeling so weak!
“No! I’m not afraid of you Blake... I just... I get nervous, sometimes” Her eyes were hooded and she looked down at her hands.
I leaned closer and tilted her head up with my curved index finger so I could look at her eyes. “I don’t want you to be afraid of me” She didn’t move. She didn’t even flinch and she held my gaze for as long as I did hers. I couldn’t help feel that I was on a roll with my forwardness so I slowly leaned closer until her breath fanned my face.
“You can do it Cara. Just concentrate” I encouraged her again.
Cara had been trying to gather the energy around her to demonstrate her ability to Ms Avia but her confidence was so low and she was so scared of herself that she just couldn’t seem to gather anything bigger than a marble.
“Cara, you need breathe sweetheart. You’re too wound up and tense. I can feel the tension rolling off from you in waves from here!” Ms Avia spoke as she gently squeezed Cara’s arms. “Breathe in, breathe out. It’s all about mind over matter... in your case that’s quite literal”
Cara chuckled lightly and I could see she was already becoming calmer. She began to wriggle her fingers slowly as she closed her eyes and slowly I could see a faint purplish glow in her palm begin to grow. It was the size of a marble and this was the farthest we’d been able to get so far.
“Just breathe in and breathe out” Ms Avia’s sweet voice instructed her and Cara’s chest slowly rose and fell with the instructions.
The glow grew bigger and bigger and solidified until it was the size of a dinner plate. Cara opened her eyes and she panicked. Instead of holding it, the way I expected her to, she gasped and threw it away as though it was some hideous creature.
“Valerie!” Ms Avia shouted but it was too late. I was in a sort of shock and only realised it was hurtling towards me when I felt the deep sting in the side of my ribs. I choked on the blood that was quickly filling my lungs and fell to my knees as I uselessly tried to breathe.
“VAL!” Cara screamed and she rushed to my side holding the deep gash I knew sliced my ribs and lung. “Ms Avia! Help!”
Bahahahaha, God I suck!
Double whammy with the cliff hangers? I do think I’ll go under the witness protection program so that I can hide from all of you who want to kill me right now.
I’ve A LOT happening with me lately as my fans should know. Multiple deaths to loved ones, sicknesses, a visiting cousin from America and by the time I get home it close to midnight and I’m already half dead asleep by the time I set foot in my room.
By the way... Is Blake’s POV too random to have in this story? I didn’t want more than Val and Derrek’s POV but alas it seems like they were joined by Blake and Helena. Keep or no more?
Thank you for your solid support and patience with me! I love you all for it and I mean it from the bottom of my heart =)