Chapter 21 - New Heights and Tactics
The air whipped our faces as the sky turned blue, purple than dark black.
“I was never this high before,” Audrie shouted over the stillness.
It was weird, so quiet that you had to shout over it.
“You never went to the moon.” I pointed out.
A large grey orbit appeared. I could not even see the end stars and galaxies that sparkled in the distance. Ziri steered the blanket and landed.
I was probably the first teen ever to step on the moon it felt exhilarating, but we were here on a mission. How? How does my dad look? Will he remember me?
“It is okay,” Audrie reassured me “Girl power.”
She put the ember in my hand and nodded. I clasped it tightly. “Thanks, for everything.”
Carlos sat down on the sand, running his finger through it. Ziri feeling out of place backed off a little, still close enough though for me to know she was here for me.
“Do you have more powers?”
“I can detect if foreign magic enters a certain distance from me.”
“Wow! Girl, you’re good!”
I went left, Audrie went right. “Dad, Victor we are here, Your kids!”
Audrie leaned on a boulder, “Dad come out it’s me, Audrie, and my sister, Diana.”
The silence was the only answer. We all went to the rock where Audrie was standing. It was pretty big, Audrie stood on it and frowned.
“Do you think I made a mistake?” I asked.
Ziri took out her blanket, “I will fly ahead and see if I see something.”
She circled over our heads, “I feel bad magic close…really bad.”
“See I told you I cannot change. I am who I am.” Audrie sobbed “I am bad. My magic is bad.”
“No! Audrie you are good.”
Ziri called again “No, it is your mom.”
“Don’t ask, hide.” Carlos turned desperately looking for a place to hide behind the rock was the only option.
Carlos grabbed Ziri’s blanket and pulled her behind the rock.
It was a few seconds later that Mom appeared, I gasped.
She was dressed in black, a green light surrounded her. She laughed evilly.
Audrie stared “Mom?”
Our backs to the of the rock, we sat for a few minutes, not moving.
“It’s no use going. We can’t fight her by ourselves. We need your dad.”
He was right but I was angry. And logic and anger don’t work together.
“Ziri stay behind and when this over, we are making a band!” I jumped on the rock. “Mom!”
She gazed at me with a quick flash of affection that was quickly extinguished and replaced by hatred.
“Silly baby girl, this is your end. Your magic is not enough against me.”
Audrie and Carlos were at my side a moment later, “She is not alone.”
“Carlos, stay back!” I hissed.
“Baby girl, Audrie look at you, you have grown. Why are you good?”
“I can choose to be what I want to be. I don’t need to live in your shadow. I am good, my heart is good.” She answered.
I gave her a thumbs-up, “besides she promised to free the underground.”
Audrie looked at me expectantly, expecting me to reassure her, hold her hand, and give her a bright new future. The future she deserved, but I had lied I had lied to her and I had to own up to it.
“No… I want to, but Carlos won’t let. I am sorry.” I bit my lip. I knew that whatever would happen I deserved much more I betrayed my sister.
“You’re sorry? what would that help now? You lied. I trusted you and you tricked me, now I am going to help Mom.”
She said it in an even voice. I could think that she was not mad, but I knew my sister was seething.
“No!” I grabbed Audrie’s hand staring her in the eye.
“You are right. Sorry won’t help, but you are still good. Nothing will change that you are worthy of so much good, the whole underground is. Do you want to see innocent people suffer?”
“You are innocent?!”
“No, but you are, Chloe is!”
I was back, I was believing in my words. I was myself and I had courage!
Audrie pulled back “Fine.” She spat. “I won’t help Mom, but I won’t help you either.”
I watched helplessly as she left. Mom smiled wickedly.
“The plan you never had, failed. Poor you.” She shot a burst of light towards me and I dogged. Carlos put his gem in Mom and grabbed onto it with her light, he fell. “She is drowning my powers!” he screamed.
“Dad!!” I cried “Where are you, I am your baby girl. Won’t you come to help me?!” Tears coursed down my cheeks. I had not cried for ages. I was afraid it will dry up as soon as it started, but it did not.
“To you, I cannot do anything but to your sister, Audrie,” Mom turned in the direction Audrie started. “turn into stone.”
Audrie swiveled around in horror when she realized what mom did.
“Duck!” I cried
“Will hurt mo- “She did not get to finish her sentence; she had turned into stone.
I collapsed to the ground; my body wrecked in sobs.
Mom took Ziri’s blanket from Carlos and forced him on. He was weak, I saw it, but I was paralyzed by fear and emotions. Just as Mom appeared, she disappeared. Ziri came out from behind the rock stroking my hair. “It is okay, everything is okay.”
“No, it is not”
She helped me stand up. “Everything is not okay, Mom’s got Carlos, Audrie is stone, and Dad is- “
“Here, right here Baby girl.”
I looked up at a tall man with a short black beard and warm hazel eyes.
The tears drenched his shirt as I hugged him tighter than I have ever hugged anyone.
“Daddy is right here baby.”
Daddy, daddy the sweetest word I have ever heard.
“Daddy, why did it take so long for you to come? I needed you.”
“I thought it was your mom, she did it sometimes.”
“So, you’re a… freak?”
“Yeah, kind of,”
“Dad, Daddy” I lay my head down against his shoulders.
I had someone to call dad after years of being an orphan, I had a dad!
I rubbed my hand against Audrie. The stone was uneven, I could make out her slightly raised shoulders and wide eyes in fright.
“Dad, can it be reversed?” I asked hopefully.
“We need to win over your mom for the spell to rub off.”
“and we can only win with Audrie.” Realization dawned on me.
“Baby girl, your sister will stay like this forever.”