Immortally Bound

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Chapter 16

The first thing I saw when I opened my eyes was Ella staring down at me. Her strawberry blond hair was twisted around her head and it weaved around several pink and blue roses. Her dark blue eyes were fixed as she gazed down upon me, frightened beyond belief.

“Garrett?” she squeaked. “Are you alright?”

I tried sitting up and found that I couldn’t move much. I don’t know how I ended up on the floor, much less on my back. My body didn’t ache from a fall. “Where am I?” I asked her, not really knowing if I was still at the dance or not.

Ella’s face relaxed somewhat, once she knew I could talk. “We’re on our way to the hospital. You blacked out at the dance.”

I turned my head, so I could see more of her body and not just her face. She was sitting on a bench near the bed I was on, her dark blue gown flared around her lower body shaping her into a flower that hung down from the stem. Several yellow and orange petticoats ruffled up against the floor and my cot as the ambulance drove down the street. Something silver glistened in the light and I caught sight of the crown in her hand.

“Is that…” I began and winced from the pain in my head. It suddenly started hurting.

She glanced down at the object and nodded. “Yeah, it is the Autumn Beauty Crown. I won it,” she smiled sheepishly. “Jacelyn got second and Lynna received third. You should’ve seen the fit Jacelyn threw, though I admit that she was mad at the fact that people voted for Lynna rather than voting for her. But I can’t help that most of the guys there were taken away by her costume! We worked so hard on it and it was worth all of Jacelyn’s bitching just to see Lynna get a prize of some sort. I think we did a wonderful job if I say so myself.”

She resumed her babbling rant that usually accompanied her presence. “What happened?” I questioned her, hoping that she would tell me how I came to be in this position. All I could remember was talking with the lady in the crystal prison. We were underneath a tree and I…I think I kissed her. Wait no… I was going to kiss her, but then everything went black.

Ella sighed. “Well, you mostly just stared at the wall. You danced with a few girls, the ones who asked you and who you seemed to respond to, and then after the ceremony you completely passed out on the floor. You never even once danced with Lynna, and I was hoping you would.”

I hadn’t danced with Lynna. Then what had happened when I saw that girl enter the room? Who was that I had seen? “What was Lynna wearing?” I gasped, thinking that I could make the connection to the lady in the prison cell easily.

“I put her in a golden ball gown with a diamond broach that holds up the skirts of the dress from the back. Her arms were clad with long white gloves and she wore a string of my mother’s pearls. I made her look like a golden beauty that washed up on the beach.” She flushed out her phone. “I got a picture of her before we arrived.” The phone flashed up in front of my face, revealing a photo of Lynna in her dress described accurately by Ella.

She didn’t look anything like the butterfly girl I thought I had seen. Questions formed in my mind. Who was that person that looked like a majestic creature? And why did I see that at a time like this?

“Beautiful, isn’t she?” Ella cooed over the photo.

I tried nodding, but only moved my head a little. It seemed that I had been strapped down so movement was little. “Yeah, Lynna is beautiful,” I agreed aloud. “How come you’re riding in here with me?”

Ella stashed her phone away. “Lynna had to leave right after the ceremony. She stated she felt an attack coming on. Shortly after she left the ambulance arrived. I’m riding with you in case you awoke en route, which you did. I can explain things easily, plus I didn’t want to stay longer at the dance anyway. With you and Lynna inconveniently disposed, I had no other source of backup available to me if Jacelyn got pissed again. Your mom and dad will be at the hospital once we arrive. I couldn’t get a hold of them at first.”

I swallowed. My mouth was dry. “They went out.”

“Aww. Your dad’s home from business, right?”

I closed my eyes. “Right.” The light from inside the cab started bothering me. It wasn’t that it was one of those fake fluorescent bulbs hanging from the makeshift ceiling, or that the light itself was causing me drowsiness, but whenever I glanced at it I felt like I was staring into a sun. The brightness shut down my brain, making me extremely tired when I knew I was not. As soon as I closed my eyes, the drowsiness went away, and I was able to focus and think clearly.

Someone else shifted beside me; someone not Ella. A finger pried my eyelid open and a bright LED white light shone into my face. I squinted and shut my eyelid.

“Watch it,” I growled at whoever it was.

“Sorry,” the man apologized. “I’m trying to test your motor skills. Can you tell me how old you are?”

“Eighteen,” I answered. My birthday was over the summer. I started school later than the other kids that were born around the same time I was. This was due to a lack of a growth spurt when I was younger. I was once small and tiny, and a kid that looks like they might be toddler didn’t need to be in a Kindergarten class with a bunch of bigger kids.

“Where do you live?”

“Here in town,” I answered.

Ella smirked and let out a giggle. “He meant your address, Gar,” she explained.

“Palladium Drive, number 8,” I restated, opening my eyes a bit. I caught a glimpse of the man who asked the questions. He looked normal, like any other guy. Atop his paramedic uniform he had short brown hair, a long nose, and brown eyes. His complexion was peachy.

I saw his mouth move and form more words. I heard the words, but for some reason they didn’t match what he spoke, and I couldn’t figure out why. “Any allergies to medications?”

I closed my eyes again as the light from the bulb made my sleepiness worse. I sighed and listed none as my answer.

The man’s voice altered, but I still understood the question though I couldn’t figure out why his voice kept altering as he spoke. The words didn’t match what he mouthed, and it wasn’t quite clicking in my brain as to why they were so different. “And who is the girl riding with you, and what relation is she?”

I thought a bit before answering, though I was thinking about the phrasing and the vocabulary use, something I usually didn’t think about when speaking English. “That’s Christian…” I froze mid sentence. I realized now why his voice sounded out of phase, why the translation didn’t match. My eyes snapped open and I sat straight upright, breaking the restraints that surrounded my body. I glared at the man who sneered at me. “Who are you?” I demanded in German, the language he spoke to me when he phrased the last question.

Ella didn’t move at all from her spot, and her face was perfectly still. She showed no sign of emotion that I had sat up too quickly or started yelling at the EMT. She wasn’t even breathing now. I thought immediately of the adults from the world in my dreams that were hit by pillars of ice and encased, forever frozen, and wondered if that’s what had happened to her.

I rounded on the guy and gripped his wrist. He didn’t even wince from the pressure I exerted. “What did you do to her?” I demanded again.

The ambulance screeched to a halt. The driver stuck her head into the tiny room. “She’s in a time capsule. She’ll reawaken soon.”

I let go of the man. “And who are you?” I demanded the girl answer me.

“We belong to no one important,” she answered. “At least not important for you.”

“We want to know how you’ve been concealing your location to us,” the man answered, though not in the way I expected.

“What do you mean?” I blurted out. “What are you talking about?”

The girl’s smile disappeared. “Don’t play games with us!” she growled. Her fingers burned with fire like she had touched a candle flame and that caught the tips of her nails ablaze.

“Viselyn!” the man shouted. “No use of magic here! The atmosphere is already unstable.”

She threw him a nasty look. “Quit feeding me that malarkey about the atmosphere. He’s obviously been using magic to disguise his true self. That’s how the others did it. I say we burn them all and don’t give them a chance to explain.” These people were vague in their description of what it was they sought. Her fingers flared to life with new fire. These flames turned purplish in hue, clearly unnatural unless she had a chemical on her nails. Then again, it was unnatural to be able to produce flame out of air and on human hands without getting a burn mark.

“He is one of us! He’s not one of those foul despicable creatures that walk this planet. He’s not a mortal!” The man explained vehemently.

She growled once more and then dropped the fire. It disappeared out of her hands and she crossed her arms as she glared at me. “Fine,” she whispered. “Whom do you serve?” she asked me.

“What?” I blurted out. I was extremely confused. How could I not be a mortal? All humans were mortal, and I was a human, at least I was the last time I checked. Besides that, the woman in the crystal prison had said I was mortal, so why did they think I was otherwise?

“Whom do you serve?” she repeated, making sure she stressed the words like they were life and death.

“Um, I don’t know what you mean by that statement,” I stuttered out.

Her rage flared anew, and I swear I saw little tiny flames in her pupils. She was itching to burn me alive, and I knew I was running out of time. But I couldn’t answer a question that I didn’t understand.

“Don’t play coy. We know what you are, and you need to stop this charade now,” the man stated calmly as if reading my thoughts. “She’ll burn you, if you don’t.”

He obviously had no problem with watching me suffer if I didn’t answer correctly, but even I didn’t know what the correct answer was.

“You either serve the Empress or the Imperialist. Which is it?” she threatened once more.

I gaped at them both. I had no clue who these two people were let alone what they were talking about altogether, and who or what was the Empress and Imperialist. I was also deathly afraid of saying the wrong answer and getting burned by fire. Ella was still frozen in the so-called time capsule, but that didn’t make me think she was any safer than I was. They would burn her with me, even though she wasn’t a part of this. Even then I wasn’t so sure that I was even a part of this insane questioning and this was all just a mistake they stumbled upon. “Can you remind me who the Empress is?” I finally asked for clarification, plus I didn’t have any real answers to give them.

The man narrowed his eyes at me. He cocked his head and stared over at his partner. “I don’t think he knows us,” he spoke to her in Latin.

“If he’s an immortal like you say he is, he knows who we are,” she snapped back in Latin.

“Think it’s possible he has this amnesia like the mortals do?” he suggested. “We don’t know the extent of the conversion.”

She scowled. “Is that even possible? I remember all my lives, every single one of them from the time I was created. I even remember the sleep before I was reborn repeatedly.”

They both sat in thought for a moment.

“Are you sure he’s an immortal and not just a demyl?” she questioned him.

He grimaced. “I’m positive. Besides all the demyl’s are dead. She hunted them and made sure we disposed of their bodies once they became of no use to us. What do we do?”

“Entomb?” She paused and glanced at me. “He’s heard too much to know what we are, even if he isn’t one of us. She will have to decide this one’s fate. Hopefully he’ll choose right once we unleash him.”

The man nodded. “I think you’re correct.”

They both turned their eyes upon me just as the cab exploded. I was knocked into the back wall. Ella tumbled down upon the ground. I pushed myself up and scrambled to her side, eager to get her away from here. If they were willing to kill me, then they wouldn’t allow Ella to live.

Already the time capsule had shattered. Ella was awake and alert, crying from the impact. I picked her up and hauled us both away from the fiery wreckage as the engine burst into flames, devouring the rest of the hazardous structure. I pushed us both onto the ground this time as the heat soared near my back. Once we hit the pavement, I pulled Ella closer into my chest, so I could shield her body with mine in case the heat was too much.

Someone started screaming behind us suddenly. “NO! ELLA! ELLA!” It was Drew. He was standing as close to the burning mass as was allowable from the heat and flames, screaming out both of our names. But it was Ella’s name I heard the most. I scanned the scene and watched him encircle the heap. He must’ve been following us from behind. That raised more questions as to how he didn’t know we’d come to a full stop already. Did he just arrive at the scene? How did he know we were in the ambulance? And was Ella aware of him following?

He spotted us then and rushed over. “Drew?” I asked shakily while still clutching Ella in my arms.

“What happened?” he responded, breathless over the sudden burst of adrenaline. “How did you two get out of there?” We both helped Ella stand up.

She winced slightly and grabbed at her leg. A part of the silver crown was embedded on the top of her left foot, probably from the explosion.

Drew let out a huge sigh. “You’re both okay.” He gulped in a new wave of fresh air and suddenly looked less stressed out than from before. “Well, except for Ella’s foot.”

A tear escaped Ella’s eyes. I picked her back up into my arms, so she wouldn’t have to put pressure on her injured foot. Already I heard more sirens blare in the background. Other witnesses poured onto the scene, most of them staring at the burning wreckage in wonderment. In fact, I was starting to wonder just how it blew apart, and how we both survived.

“We were talking…” Ella began as she sniffled and caught her breath. “Garrett had just awoken and then…the cab it…it broke apart,” she cried.

“I grabbed her and hauled us away as it burst into flames,” I finished explaining things.

He was stunned. “But how did it explode? I was following along behind you guys. I got caught at a light and was hurrying to catch up. But as soon as I got closer to it, it suddenly stopped in the middle of the street and went up in flames. I thought you guys were gone!”

I shook my head. None of this made any sense tonight. My world was turning upside down and inside out. I felt like Alice tumbling down the rabbit hole, though this was not Wonderland. What it all boiled down to was what exactly happened the day I protected Lynna? And why couldn’t I remember it? Everything that happened to me afterwards, the blackouts, the dreams and the visions, even tonight with its weird circumstances and the two boys who conversed in Gaelic the other night in the middle of town; they all pointed back to that first day.

We spent the remainder of the night talking to a multitude of police and officers, explaining what happened with the ambulance. I called my parents once I was examined for burns and let them know why we were delayed upon reaching the hospital. Once the authorities had our statements and numbers where they could reach us for further questions, Drew drove us the remainder of the way; we were both wary of traveling in another expensive taxi cab after what happened with the first one.

The doctors were able to fix Ella’s foot without performing surgery, though she had a minor fracture from the explosion. They removed the piece of silver and gave her crutches along with a slip of paper to follow up with the on-call orthopedic surgeon. I however ended up getting a full MRI and CT scan of my head and spinal cord at the request of my mother who worried that something was wrong with my brain. The results showed I was normal, even though no one could explain why I blacked out twice in two different environments. I was finally discharged after several hours.

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