Death of a rose garden

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When duty calls

When duty calls

"Why are you crying Lu? Shouldn't I be the one freaking out, not you?" Ricky asked with concern on his face but obviously trying to lighten the situation, very unsuccessfully.

I tried sniffing up the last of the tears and put on a brave face, also very unsuccessfully. "I think you need to sit down for this one."

Reluctantly he finally sat down and I began to explain all the pieces of information I had gathered since Mattie's death. "It started last night when I got home and crashed. The weirdest dream ever, there was this old guy and this amazing library an-"

"You really like libraries." Ricky smirked, obviously a little more relaxed that he was getting some explanation.

"Yes I do, but shh, that's not the point. So this annoying old guy-"

"Why is he annoying?"

I just frowned to keep my irritation in place with being interrupted all the time. "Don't worry you'll get to meet him."

His shoulders slumped and he gave me a pout. "You know I don't like old people... They talk too much."

"Yeah well they're not the only ones. Shh I want to finish my story please, if you don't mind."

He sat up straight again and gave me his full attention. "So this old guy, Esperar, makes me the leader of the group I mentioned earlier of Quinto círculo. Honestly it sounds more like a cult than anything else, but yeah, he gave me the book you saw earlier. I also didn't know how to open it and it kept disappearing and reappearing when ever it felt like it. Today I left you guys at lunch so suddenly 'cos Markus wanted to talk to me an-"

"Oh my God! Like THE Markus? Markus o'Conner?" Ricky suddenly turning into a fan girl before my eyes.

"Yes. Tall, dark and handsome wanted to talk to me. Interrupt me again and I swear I'm going to punch you."

Ricky acted all offended but there was a hint of a smile on his face. "So anyway! He was totally hitting on me." I couldn't help the grin that spread across my face.

"Shut up!" Ricky obviously enjoying the gossip and trying to be funny with his antics.

"Although before you go crazy, I'm still not sure if he was just messing with me or not. And when I started snapping out of the whole "OMG Markus is talking to me' I started storming off."

"Why so defensive Lu? Maybe he really digs you."

"He was with Mattie the night she died, that's why I was so defensive." I blurted with an expressionless face.

Ricky just gaped at me waiting for me to continue. When I didn't he did. "What? How? Why? How is he so sure?"

"Long story short she wasn't supposed to die, I was." I felt my skin prickle as I said those words myself. repeating them in my head didn't help it all. I was supposed to have been killed, not Mattie.

This was obviously starting to get too much for Ricky. His eyes welled up and the tears threatened to spill over. "Lucy... If that was you..."

I tried to reassure him with a smile. "But I didn't Ricks, It's going to be fine." Even I didn't believe that last part. When I saw that Ricky was still about to burst into tears, I just pulled him into a hug.

That seemed to have done the trick. "Okay." He took a deep breath. "Please continue." And he sat back down to listen to the next bit of my horror story.

"So." Trying to get my bearings straight was proving to be quite a challenge. "As I was storming away he tried grabbing my hand to pull me back, and just like you and I earlier, ZAP, and I got a pattern too." Lifting my hand to show Ricky my decorated palm.

"Woah! That's so cool!" Ricky had gone from totally depressed to childlike wonder in under a minute.

"It is, isn't it." I replied, matching his smile. "So Markus got the idea that it would unlock our books an-"

"Okay wait, now that I heard that properly. Markus is part of this too?"

"If you weren't in shock I would seriously hit you right now." I said while giving him the death stare, but he just egging on the topic.

"What's his picture? What's the topic of his book?" He went quiet suddenly, obviously in deep thought. "What's your topic?"

"Markus has a purple eye, almost Egyptian in design, and it's charm, glamour and deception. Mine is-"

Ricky started laughing uncontrollably. "That's so feminine, bet he's taking it rough."

I smacked him on the arm and he gave a small yelp. "Hey! What was that for?"

"I warned you about interrupting me."

"Oops, sorry!" He said with a sweet smile and a totally fake innocent look.

"So as I was trying to say. Mine is power and control. and to answer you on your interruption, he actually likes it. Not that I'm surprised, he does love the spotlight."

"And you love him" Ricky added with under his breath and a smirk on his face.

"Eugh, you're so annoying." And smacked him again.

"So mine is empathy and telepathy, what kind of specialty is that?" He asked while retrieving our bowls of almost melted ice cream and passing mine over.

"That's where you actually have to read Ricky." I said with a snort, slurping at the semi liquid in my bowl.

"Gross much?" Ricky pretending to be grossed out.

"Shut up, you were going to do it too."

"So true." He said with a grin and matched my slurping. We burst into laughter, enjoying the effect we had on each other to make a situation better or at least bearable.

"So how about skimming through it and let's see what you can do." I prompted, trying to distract from me trying my abilities.

"Okay just give me a sec." While he read I slurped down my ice cream and began licking out the bowl. It's not attractive, but it's criminal to leave behind any evidence of the chocolate goodness.

As I was about to try steal Ricky's bowl and eat his remaining ice cream he looked up at me with a weird expression on his face. Before I could ask him what he was thinking a sudden wave of hysteria washed over me. I was frozen in place by fear, but fear of what I couldn't tell. Before I could start screaming a wave of calm came over me, almost as if I was high in a way, feeling the hysteria float away on a cloud of happy thoughts.

And then I was back to normal. "Woah. That was quite a trip. What just happened?"

Ricky took his time finding the right words. "What did you just experience?"

"I just started freaking out for no reason, and then I felt like a hippie. Just mellow."

Ricky sat back with astonishment on his face. "What? What what what?" I nagged trying to get something out of him.

"I made you feel that." He said more as a statement and less like a question.

"How?"

"I don't know I just..." It looked like he was trying to convince himself of what he had just done. "Thought it."

I just stared at him, dumbfounded. "You just... thought it?"

"Yeah, I pictured you fearing for your life, and then I saw you freaking out and I wanted you to calm down immediately. So I imagined what you would be like if you were on a trip."

"You made me high? Do you realise how wrong that sounds?"

Ricky started laughing and I couldn't help but join in on the giggles. "So now I know what they mean by the empathy part of this... Skill of mine. Now let's try out the telepathy. Think of something." And he closed his eyes.

Something. I did a little mental laugh, but before I could say anything Ricky perked up. "No, don't be a smart ass, think of something else."

"Ricky I didn't say anything." Ricky looked up at me with wide eyes.

Can you hear this? Ricky nodded.

What about this? Ricky nodded again, this time with a smile.

And this? Ricky just gave me a look. "Okay you can stop now."

But this is so much fun! I thought with a huge smile on my face.

Can you imagine what I'm feeling?

I could practically feel my jaw hit the ground. "Did you just send a mental message to me?"

"I think I did." Ricky seeming amused with his new abilities.

"This is too cool. I wonder what the other's abilities will be." I couldn't contain my curiosity.

"Other's? I thought there was only Markus apart from us."

"Circle of five. There are only three of us at the moment." I said suddenly sifting mentally through a list of people that I could think of being part of all this madness.

"How do you know how to find them?"

I pushed him out the way to get to his computer and searched the site I found the information on Peligro. As Ricky read his face went solemn. "I can see why you started crying earlier." And finished off the reading. "So it says people close to you, people you have made a bond with from early in life and are the same age as you."

He went into deep thought, stroking at an imaginary beard subconsciously. "You do you realise you have no beard, right ?" I mumbled with slight amusement. "Hmm?" Came his reply, obviously to fixated on his own thoughts to have heard me. "Nothing, don't worry." I said with a smirk.

"Ariana, Joey, James." Now it was my turn to look confused. "What?"

"That's your only other friends you have." Ricky still stroking his chin, gradually accompanied by a creeping smile. "Not much of a socialite, are we?" I just glared at him and his hands shot up in mock surrender as he burst into laughter.

"Okay Ricky, you can stop now, it's time to get serious." I said gruffly to get the conversation on the right track again. Ricky tried to compose himself, sneaky tears still running down his cheek and his body shaking slightly but at least he was tryig to stay quiet. "So between the three of them, two are my next.... victims." I said the word like it left a bitter after taste. "For lack of a better word." I quickly added as he gave me a funny look at my comment. "So who do you think they are?" Trying to avert the responsibility for a moment. "Only you will know this one Lu." He said with a reassuring smile.

I took a deep breath, held it for a moment, and let it out in one big sigh, allowing the responsibility to encompass me once again. "As much as it pains me, Ariana must be a definite candidate, she's like the sister I always wanted, she's the closest person to me." Ricky sending a throat clearing noise in my direction. "After you of course." I said with a grin, a scoff in reply from him. "But that's where I get stuck... Joey irritates me to no extent possible and James is just there. Actually come to think of it, he's just there because Ariana has had a crush on him since way back when. He's never really been a friend as per say."

Ricky started fidgeting in his seat and I knew something was bothering him. "Spill it." I said in a stern, but lovingly way.

He pulled out his phone and started messaging someone. "Mind letting me in on the secret Sherlock?" Ricky kept quiet until he was finished, putting his phone away and looking up at me at the same time. "Just trust me on this one, okay?"

I could feel it, like a thick blanket of tension in the room, almost suffocating. I wasn't sure if it was my emotions or the emotions Ricky were feeling that was being projected, but I felt like now wasn't the right time to ask questions.

"Okay." I said, trying to keep eye contact with him to try read the situation further. "How long until they get here?"


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