The Nine of Eight
“Is he dead?”
“Well, he’s not waking up right now, that’s for sure.”
“Should we be worried?”
“If anything happens to him, his wife could sue us...”
“Well, is he married?”
“I wouldn’t know...”
Sean woke up upon hearing the noises of the doctors surrounding him. He had no idea how he had ended up in a hospital, but that wasn’t important right now. He said, “What’s going on here!”
“You suffered a serious head injury,” said a doctor. “You were hit in the back of your head with a shovel, remember?”
“Say what?” Sean said as he jumped out of bed and stood up. “Spellcasters don’t have head injuries, let alone any mortal injuries! What are you people talking about?”
“You should be seriously injured,” a nurse said as she stared at Sean. “No one recovers from an injury like yours.”
“But I’m not, and we do,” said Sean. “We’re nothing like you mortals with your life-ending injuries and illnesses. Besides, did you really think that I’m going to let a little girl attack me?”
“Well, she did try to kill you,” said a doctor. “A lesser man would have died of such injuries.”
“Well, I’m still here, so what do you have to say about that?” said Sean. Everyone stared at him with blank looks on their faces. “Exactly.”
“Who the heck are you?” said the nurse.
“I’m an Ainysian,” said Sean. “Or I was, seeing as the last Ainysian had died about 300 years before Jesus Christ came to Earth. But that’s not important right now.” He stared at everyone in the room as he said, “So where’s the kid?”
Jadis Turner-Thristal frowned as she stared at the magazine she was reading. She hadn’t been seen outside the city of Aberdaron, Wales since 1983. That was when she and Sean Michael Rowes had an epic fight the night before her wedding to Melanus Thristal.
That night, Jadis had said to Sean, “For a man who thinks he’s so smart, he has no wisdom. You should have married me instead of that baby killer Lindsey Matheson.”
“That so-called “baby killer” you so eloquently refer to Lindsey changed since she married me and had Sienna. So don’t you dare drag Evolet and Jaden into this,” Sean snapped.
“I won’t allow our children around that murderess,” Jadis snarled. “Nor will I allow you to remain married to her. You’re going to regret meeting her, Sean Michael Rowes.”
“You don’t scare me,” said Sean.
“You’re a fool, Sean,” Jadis yelled. “Don’t you know that she’s a Ravencraft? Those Ravencrafts are not to be trusted, or did you fall asleep during Magical History class?”
“You think you know everything about me, but you’re wrong,” said Sean. “Lindsey’s first husband drove her insane and her older children were disabled.”
“But that didn’t mean they had to die,” said Jadis. “Malcolm and Primrose deserved to live their lives despite their disability, but someone chose to kill them. For that, Lindsey must die.”
“Are you fricking kidding me?” said Sean. “You’re telling me you’re going to kill my wife over something that happened to her four years ago? If you do that, you’re no better than my ancestors, who punished people for crimes they didn’t mean to commit.”
“It matters not,” said Jadis. “Lindsey got away with murder, so she’ll pay for it with her life. I can’t let you or the kids near that monster a second longer.”
Well, the rest, they say, was history.
Lindsey was poisoned at the reception following Jadis and Mel’s wedding; nobody saw the poison being put in her drink. Even if they did, no one said anything. Sean watched in horror as his wife choked to death in front of baby Sienna.
As the body of what had once been Lindsey Stone Rowes was being taken to the morgue, Sean glared at Jadis. He should have known that she would somehow be the reason why Lindsey was dead. “You just had to do it, didn’t you?” He snarled in anger. “You just had to kill my wife...”
“Don’t look at me; I didn’t do it,” said Jadis.
“You didn’t do it?” Sean parroted. “I know you killed Lindsey, Belinda Jade. How could you...”
“Because I had to save you, Jaden, and Evie from her,” said Jadis. “You think I should stand there and watch as she goes crazy and kills you and our children? I don’t think so! Besides, she had to go.”
“Indeed,” Sean said as all emotions inside him evaporated. “You took away my one chance at having a normal married life. I understand.”
“Good,” said Jadis. “I’m glad you see things my way.”
“But know this, Belinda Jade,” Sean said in a hollow tone, “I hope you’re happy now. You’ve officially hurt me forever with the way you destroyed my marriage. But that’s not why I’m angry.”
“You’re angry?” Jadis cried out.
“I am,” said Sean. “Because of you, Sienna will have to grow up without a mother. She’ll never know what it’s like to have a mother. She’ll never be normal.”
“Sean, where are you going with this?” said Jadis.
“You know exactly where I’m going with this,” said Sean. “Because you took Sienna’s mother away from her, I’m going to take Evolet and Jaden away from you.”
Jadis gasped in horror at what she heard. Sean was taking her children away from her, and it was because of her own wounded pride. The news shocked her so much that she said nothing else. Sean took little Evolet and Jaden (along with baby Sienna) and they left London the next day.
Jadis frowned as she recalled the next few years of her life: she and Mel had eight children named Christopher, James, Gianna, Grace, Sophia, Amy, Malcolm, and Tyler. They lived in the famous East End, which the Germans bombed during World War II. While she was happy with her life, there wasn’t one moment that she wasn’t distracted with memories of Sean, Evolet, and Jaden. She recalled the death of Lindsey Rowes and the baby daughter her rival had left behind. So far, no one knew who killed Lindsey. Even if someone knew who did the crime, it was impossible to pinpoint the suspect; the crime happened in public.
But that didn’t mean Jadis didn’t feel guilty over the murder.
For years, she had nightmares about seeing Lindsey’s face as it turned white and purple as the poison rapidly took over her body. She often dreamed that it was HER who had been poisoned. She could have been the one who died and Evolet and Jaden would be forced to grow up without their mother.
Technically, they grew up without having their mother, no thanks to Jadis and her stubborn pride. She received that punishment because of her inability to let Sean go after their relationship fizzled.
But that’s not what the story’s about.
Now, we see Jadis reading a magazine article about how Sean helped stop the 9/11 attacks from happening and endorsed a movie that dethroned Harry Potter. Now he had created a news show that poked fun at the daily news, yet he kept his personal life out of the news. She didn’t know how her children Evolet and Jaden were doing since she last saw them, and who knew what happened to Sienna after her mother’s death.
That was, until she found out about the attempted murder of Sean while he was on a secret mission for the Unit of Supernatural Investigations.
Now, that she didn’t approve of.
She picked up her phone and brought a plane ticket; there were a few things she needed to clear up with Sean.
Meanwhile, Mobley found himself at the police station. He and the remaining knights had to make phone calls to 27 families, telling them that their sons and brothers were dead. It was not a pleasant job, as Mobley hated telling people that someone in their family had died. (Of course, the Knights did that on several occasions.)
As for Jed Hamilton, he and his friends Anastasia Hoffman, Matilda Gilliam, and Nicholas Gilliam had managed to find their friend Milton Holt and get him to a local hospital. Jed would never forget how Barbara reacted when Milton stood up to her, or when her secrets were exposed. It was like the end of a nightmare and the beginning of a brand-new day. Only that day, Milton Holt was permanently separated from his family.
But that story will be told later.
When the news came that Sean was completely recovered, Mobley went to the hospital where Sean was staying. He said, “Everyone’s talking about how you exposed a shocking secret about that girl.”
“Oh, I did, didn’t I?” said Sean.
“Yes you did,” said Mobley. “Not only did Christina report on the bullying ring you uncovered at that high school, but you exposed that girl for who and what she truly was. I thought you weren’t going to live.”
“But I did,” said Sean. He sighed, saying, “OK, who did we lose? I know Barbara shot many of our guys. Who’s left?”
“We have Matthew Todd, Aydin Baxter, Philip Cooper, Danny Snyder, Kevin White, and Harold Knight,” said Mobley. “Not to mention Eugene O’Neill, Anthony Giles, and Shane Marshall, who are still at headquarters.”
“Once again, you forgot to include yourself,” said Sean. “Why do you always do that? Have you forgotten you’re a knight?”
“Everyone sees me as the funny fat guy. The sidekick. You know what happens to those funny fat guys, especially in a horror movie,” said Mobley.
“Hey, don’t call yourself that, Mobley,” Anthony said as he and the others came into the room. “You’re far from being fat and you’re not exactly funny.”
“Yeah, but don’t forget about John Belushi and Chris Farley,” said Mobley. “Where are they now? Oh yeah, they’re DEAD! They’re dead because they were the funny fat guys!”
“No, it was drugs that did them in,” said Shane. “But you’re still safe.”
“Not for long if that Barbara Holt has her way,” said Sean. “The way I see it, she’s like the real-life version of Sheila Baines. Remember, Sheila didn’t stop chasing the Teen Rebels until that fight on the Golden Gate Bridge in episode 93.”
“And she fell to her death,” said Mobley. “I hope that’s not what you want.”
“Far from it, actually,” said Sean. “In fact, what that girl needs is some help, the kind of help that comes from a prolonged hospital stay. Her parents have enabled her problems and her little sister Alex is getting a wake-up call in finding out that her big sister isn’t really that cool. And it was all thanks to me, you guys (including you, Mobley, don’t deny it), and the 27 others who gave up their lives to help stop Barbara Holt’s reign of terror.”
At that moment, the phone rang. It was Logan, and he had something important to tell Sean. “What is it?” said Sean. “Can’t you see I’m working here?”
“Sorry,” said Logan, “It’s just that last night I had a vision...”
“What vision?” said Sean.
“I saw an angel telling me that if we want to stop the Sons of Ebal, we need to have nine of eight,” said Logan.
“Nine of eight?” said Sean. “Are you serious? What is nine of eight?”
“Who knows?” said Logan. “Anyway, good job on pulling the plug on Barbara Holt. Too bad she killed most of your guys, though.”
“I know,” said Sean. “She’ll pay for that when their families sue her for wrongful death. Remember, the act of killing a disabled person is akin to killing an innocent child. People hate people who kill children...”
“And some people still hate Lindsey for what happened to her older children,” said Logan. “What’s the point?”
“Everything,” said Sean. “I’ve got a few more hours at the hospital and then I’m taking the next plane here. We’ve allowed ourselves to grow complacent; in our complacency, we allowed evil to sneak in and take over the world. It must never happen again.”
“And that’s why we need the nine of eight,” said Logan. “Only with that person can we defeat the Sons of Ebal and their allies for good.”
“I’ve noticed,” said Sean. “Has anyone discovered your little scheme with Dicky and Andrea yet?”
“Nope,” said Logan. “Only I must say Andrea is getting better movie roles than what she had before and Dicky’s book publishing business getting off the ground. There is talk of him doing a possible rewrite of the Night Flux Trilogy.”
“Good,” said Sean. “About damn time that story was rewritten. I never liked it, not when it was popular. Which it wasn’t!”
Just then, a nurse came to the door, saying, “There’s a woman here who says she knows you...”
“If it’s her, tell her that I’m busy making money right now and I can’t be bothered,” said Sean. “I’m about to close an important deal...”
“Oh, is that so?” Jadis snarled as she shoved the nurse aside and stormed towards Sean’s bed. Sean gasped as he saw Jadis coming towards him; the last time they saw each other, they didn’t part on good terms. (But you already saw what happened between them.) It seemed that this time, nothing good was going to come from this meeting.
“Well, Sean, I hate to break it to you, but you are the worst sort of man,” she snapped.
“And hello to you too, Jadis,” Sean said, knowing that Logan could overhear the conversation. “Why are you here?”
“I’m here because of you!” Jadis snarled, which had everyone in the room shaking. “You have some serious nerve with your Stale Grapes News and your silly schemes! You made a liar out of me when you denounced the Harry Potter books!”
“Oh, did I do that?” said Sean. “Yay, go me.”
“I mean it!” Jadis yelled. “Not only did your cousin make that movie that destroyed Harry Potter, but you incited schools and libraries everywhere to ban the Harry Potter books. You ruined J. K. Rowling’s career, that’s what you did.”
“Well, excuse her for writing books that promote witchcraft,” said Sean. “She needs to find a new topic to write about. Witchcraft is unpopular no matter who you are. Plus, why are you here, Belinda Jade? Shouldn’t you be at home playing housewife to Mel?”
“You think I should forget you and stay home where I can be a wife and mother?” Jadis yelled. “Not as long as you’re alive, I can’t.”
“But Sean’s lived without you for the past 20 years,” said Mobley. “He doesn’t need you and you certainly don’t need him. Why don’t you turn around and walk away?”
“And what’s it to you, cousin?” Jadis snarled as she faced Mobley. “As far as I can tell, you were in on it too!”
“OK, what’s going on over there?” Logan’s voice came over the phone.
“Nothing, except that Belinda Jade Turner decided to darken the halls of my life again,” said Sean. “You’d think she forgot about me after 20 years.”
“Oh, is that so?” said Logan. “Put her on the phone; I’ve got something to say to her and I’ve waited 20 years to say it.”
“Is that your cousin Logan I’m hearing on the phone?” Jadis yelled. “Give me that!” She snatched the phone from Sean as Logan began the Tirade of 2002; he called Jadis 25 versions of the word bitch, claimed that her mother Evelyn had slept with an Orc to have her, and also accused her of lying about her role in the murder of Lindsey Matheson Rowes. (Of course, there is no point in translating that tirade, as it would have to be censored.)
As the tirade continued, Mobley said, “About the nine of eight...what’s that?”
“I’ll have to talk to my father about that,” said Sean. “Only he knows about the nine of eight.”
“Why?” said Mobley.
“Because the last known person who was the nine of eight was Isabella Braumlein Crenshaw Ulrich,” said Sean.
Little did anyone know that Barbara Holt had apparently escaped from the police, only to be caught by the Magical Secret Society after an hour-long standoff.
But that’s not all.
At a small hospital in West Virginia, a young woman was sitting alone in a small room. The room had a bed, a table and chair, and a small window leading to the outside. yet the young woman ignored her surroundings in favor of staring blankly at a wall.
Outside the room, a young man stood at the door, staring at the young woman in the room. He said to a doctor, “What happened to her?”
“She’s rumored to have a case of hyper-psychosis,” said the doctor. “Plus she also has untreated schizophrenia and is possibly bipolar, which isn’t doing her any favors.”
“I know,” said Michael Holt. “But does that explain why Barbara wanted to hurt Milton?”
“I wouldn’t know, but there has been rumors that Barbara has been dabbling in magic,” said the doctor. “I can’t help but wonder if she was trying to kill her brother using magic.”
“Who knows?” said Michael. “Anyway, if people didn’t have such a stigma towards mental illnesses, Barbara would have been cured by now. Plus, my parents couldn’t afford to treat her, especially since she kept escaping from whatever hospital they sent her to and beating up Milton whenever she caught him...”
“And we’re getting to the bottom of that,” said the doctor. “But right now, she’ll be under observation for the next 24 hours...”
Inside the room, Barbara Holt said to herself, “I know they’re all watching me. It’s not so bad, considering the circumstances. So I’m back in yet another hospital, where I have less chance of escaping and finding my brother...”
Speaking of which...
“Oh they think it’s over, don’t they?” Barbara yelled. “Crazy Barbara is now in another hospital and that stupid Milton gets to walk free. Plus, his pathetic little friends get to go home, where they’ll lock their doors and bolt their windows. Don’t they know that they’re asking for it?”