Chapter 46: Chaos
I slid through a corner up ahead and raced down the street to put some distance between us and the Hunters.
A car squealed tires as it turned behind us, hot on our tail. Two blocks later, another one joined it—black Audis like the ones Joseph had drawn yesterday.
“My powers are gone. I can’t protect us.” I immediately realized the irony of the statement considering the monk could protect himself much better than I could.
“Oh, I see, brother.” Brother Lawrence looked up as if listening to someone above him. “What happened while you were dead?”
“What happened while you were dead?”
We took another turn to avoid a red light up ahead. The Audis were still on us a few car lengths back. “Uh…I saw an old memory of me and my dad when I was five. First time my powers came out.”
“Did you see a light there?”
“Not at first.”
His eyes brightened up more than usual. “Oh, you were in hell. Wonderful!”
“Hell, brother. The place where—”
“I know what hell is. Why do you think I was there and why is that ‘wonderful’?”
“Oh, it’s not important.”
“If I was in hell, then yeah—kinda important.”
“No, no, that’s only temporary. You said you saw the Light?”
The car bounced as we hit one of the wonderfully-unmaintained street deformations in the Denver neighborhood. My seatbelt jerked against my body, jarringly keeping me in the seat. “I saw a shining man.”
“Oh, you went to heaven. Wonderful!”
“Now hold on, you just said I was in hell.”
“So which is it?”
“Hell, then heaven.” He examined me and my head with a frown. “A toddler could understand this, did you bump your head earlier in the tornado?”
“No.” I let out a frustrated sigh. “How did I switch places?”
He ignored my question. “How did you feel about your father after your powers came out the first time?”
I took a left into a back alley between two buildings. The map I had in my head showed the alley had an outlet. “Is this some kind of psychology session now?”
The monk just looked at me, waiting for an answer.
“I was angry with him.” I downshifted and came out onto the street, nearly hitting a passing vehicle.
“And now?” The monk reached into his bag and pulled out a refrigerator magnet.
“I don’t know.” I spun the car around, making a U-turn, passing the Audis. “I understand him better now, but he tried to kill me yesterday.”
The monk laughed jovially. “Oh, that’s hilarious!”
“Excuse me?” I said, outraged.
He held up the refrigerator magnet for me to read.
I grimaced, outraged in a totally new way. “You do realize we’re running for our lives right now, right?” I pulled the handbrake to throw the rear end around for a quick slide through a red light.
He snickered at the refrigerator magnet again then put it away. “How you relate to your father on a deep level when you’re young is the same way you’ll relate to the ultimate Father deep down when you’re older. Most don’t realize that’s what they’re doing, though. Once you stopped resisting your father when you saw the memory and felt his emotions, you stopped resisting the Light’s help, as well. That’s why you switched from hell to heaven. You stopped resisting both fathers.”
I was speechless for a moment. “Huh. That actually kinda makes sense.” I braked and jerked the wheel left. “But what about my powers?”
He smiled. “How do you feel when you use them?”
“Like they’re sucking the life out of me. Dark. Twisted.”
“A dark one is the source of your powers,” he said. “You may have released him and your powers went with him.”
I cocked my head. “Huh?”
The monk looked up, listening to his imaginary Light. “Oh.” He looked back to me. “The Light says you still have your powers, but the emotions needed to activate them are clouded in your current confusion about your father.”
The monk pointed to a street we were just about to pass. “The Light says to take this street.”
I jerked the car to the right, drifting the turn, narrowly making it. It sent us toward the park.
“He says there are Hunters up ahead…” He looked forward as if searching for them. “…and to speed up.”
He shrugged, giving no further response.
I hit the gas, trusting his delusion. I really had gone mad. “Dark one’s don’t cause powers. There’s a scientific explanation. Something about quantum physics.”
“Yes,” the monk said. “And there’s an underlying dark one pulling the strings. Everything is made out of the spirit realm, but the terminology is different than that of science.”
I understood what the monk was saying despite him sounding like he was telling me a bedtime story, but I wasn’t sure I could trust anything he said. Just because he believed it didn’t make it true.
I let off the gas as a T intersection approached quickly, but Brother Lawrence protested.
“You want me to jump the median?”
As the T intersection rushed up to meet us, Brother Lawrence looked up, then back ahead again. “Oh, that’s why You wanted us to speed up. Wonderful!” He grabbed the steering wheel, jerking it hard to the right.
The car spun sideways through the middle of the Hunter roadblocks on each side of us. Two black SUVs skidded to a stop just ahead on the other side of the curb we slid toward. Parallel to the curb, our tires hit it at probably 70 mph and the car flipped into the air in a barrel roll. The monk raised his hands and wooed with delight as if it were a roller coaster.
We spun over the top of the SUVs. Just before we crashed into the sidewalk of the park, darkness engulfed us and lights streaked by. When we came out of the darkness, the car landed on the pavement on all four wheels, just past one of the Hunter roadblocks. It bucked downward with brutal force as the momentum we carried equaled out.
Once my heart came out of my stomach and back into my chest, I hit the gas and sped off. “Never do that again!”
“What, evade the Hunters?” He looked confused.
“No, grab the steering wheel from me!” I put up a finger in warning. “Never again.”
The monk looked up again then back to me and grabbed my arm. Everything went black. Streaking lights. Then reality burst into view again. I ended up in the passenger seat and Brother Lawrence was driving.
“What are you doing?” I nearly reached for the steering wheel but thought better of it.
“The Light said this solves the problem with me grabbing the steering wheel from you.”
I grabbed on to the hand-hold on the door, and the monk drifted the next turn perfectly as if he’d been driving on a racetrack his whole life. “How do you know how to drive like that?”
“I wasn’t always a monk, you know.” He gave that half-smile that said he knew something I didn’t.
I looked back. Three Audis tracked us, not far behind. “So how do I get my powers back?”
“Your powers won’t help you save your friends.” He said it so matter-of-factly that it took me by surprise.
“You will need the greater power.” The monk yanked the steering wheel left and pulled the parking brake. The car’s rear end swung around hard. He hit the gas and sped off in the other direction, passing the Audis.
“So, my powers aren’t good enough since they’re from dark ones? Don’t your powers come from the same place?”
He laughed. “Oh, I have no powers.”
“They are the Light’s. He uses them how and when He pleases.”
He was certifiable.
“So my powers are evil and yours are good?”
The monk waved me off. “Not good or bad. There’s no judgment on them. They just come from different sources. One is from order, the other from chaos.”
“Okay, fine. So, how do I get this greater power?” I braced for the next turn as the monk headed straight for a building.
But he didn’t turn.
Just as the car was about to slam into the building head-on, I let out a shriek and we were pulled into darkness then streaking lights. When we emerged, we were on the other side of the building, speeding away. Behind us, no cars gave chase. But I wasn’t convinced we were out of the mess yet.
“You must deal with your heart.” The monk smiled that knowing smile again, mixed with excitement and intrigue one could only see in the eyes. “This isn’t something you can think your way out of. It’s something you must feel, something you must experience. It may come by knowledge, but until the knowledge drops into your heart, you won’t have the chance to possibly acquire the greater power.”
“What do you mean ‘possibly acquire’?”
The monk looked in the rearview mirror. “One second.” He disappeared into curls of smoke.
Holy crap! I grabbed the wheel, keeping the car straight.
In the rearview mirror, a black Audi a block back began spinning out of control.
Curls of smoke burst into the driver’s seat again and the monk reappeared.
“A little warning next time?” I let go of the wheel as he grabbed it.
“I gave you as much warning as I had, brother.” He smiled pleasantly.
Behind us, the Audi smashed into a tree.
“When you deal with your emotions and understand acceptance, you will drop your powers.” He held up a finger. “But there is no guarantee you will then receive the greater power. Some are left as normal as everyone else after their powers are gone.”
I’d always wanted to get rid of my powers, to be normal…and yet I needed them more than ever to save Abby and the others. But my powers weren’t good enough if there were any truth to the monk’s words, and there was no guarantee I could acquire the power I’d need to save them.
“So, you’re saying I may not be able to save Abby or the others?”
He smiled. “There are some things we cannot control in this life. Most things, actually.”
Despite his insane driving, I relaxed, almost as if my body had lost hope.
“It’s okay, brother.” The monk patted me on the shoulder.
I saw darkness, then the streaking lights, and I suddenly appeared in the driver’s seat again.
“All is well, regardless of how things turn out.”
I grabbed at the wheel and straightened the car slightly. “A little warning??”
“I gave you—” He cut off when he saw my expression. “Oh, here we go.”
My eyes went wide when I saw the building we were about to crash into. The car burst into darkness again. We came out the other side of the building, no cars tailing us. We’d finally lost them.
The monk pointed to an on-ramp to the freeway and I took it.
“Why didn’t you just teleport us to the freeway to begin with?”
He shrugged. “Like I said, these are not my powers.”
I let out a sigh and my shoulders sank against the leather seat. All I had to worry about then was ending up lost in the mountains with the monk who could teleport away and leave me stranded. At least there was never a dull moment with him.