Anomaly

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25. To Be Free

AVA


Ava, who was seated on the bed beside Beck, looked away from the dark sky through the window, glancing at him. Anna had said this was the room she slept in when she was brought for the ritual.

As Ava watched him take his rest after the fight with Annika, several thoughts ran through her mind: she wondered why the universe let her car stop at that point on the road. If they hadn’t stopped, she and Anna would be planning how much fun they’d have in the second and last week of their spring vacation.

She also thought that she wouldn’t have met Beck if they’d never been stranded. She knew she had only known him for a week but the effect he had on her has never been like any of the guys she had a crush on or dated. There was something special about him; she knew that, nonetheless she couldn’t tell what it was or why she was so attracted to him.

She was supposed to be upset with him for his deceit and his recent atrocity: taking someone’s life, for the second time. Surely he had contributed to the deaths of thousands or probably millions of people for Strangeville to be free but he had killed Annika twice. But then, from the stories Sara told her, Anna, and Bruce Annika was the real perpetrator of all those deaths.

She heard a light whimper, which brought her out of her train of thoughts. She watched as Beck groaned while sitting up. When his gaze met her, a strained smile appeared.

“Hey,” he said.

She placed her hand on his abdomen where he got hurt. “How are you feeling?”

His dark eyes danced around her face. There were so many emotions in them. She could only identify one: guilt. “Ava, I—”

She raised her index to his lips. “Don’t say anything.” She slowly removed her finger from his lip, her eyes lingering on it. She slowly leaned forward, Beck doing the same. Then their lips met. He took both hands to her neck while she weaved her fingers in his dark hair as the other rested on his chest. Their lips interwove, Ava enjoying his slightly chapped lips.

Then, his tongue met hers and she gasped. His tongue was warm and had no taste. Soft moans escaped her mouth as she felt euphoric over the feel of his tongue in her mouth.

Slowly during the kiss, he withdrew his tongue from her mouth and sucked her lips. Nothing filled her mind other than how satisfying kissing him was. She wanted to feel his tongue so she thought to drive her tongue into his mouth. However, it was at that moment he pecked her lips a few times before resting his forehead on hers.

“What was that for?” he asked, his breath heavy.

“I don’t know really,” she replied, breathing hard too. “I just felt like it.” She removed her forehead from his, wanting to stare into his eyes that always made her feel alright.

“But why still?”

She shrugged. “I like you so much. I know I don’t know you that well but I do. And what you did last night was really brave.”

He frowned a little. “It will only be worth it if she was gone.”

“She is.”

He gave her a face that seemed to ask her if she were serious about her statement. She nodded, affirming her statement.

But then she said, “But the curse is back.”

His eyes went wide. “How’s that even possible?”

“It’s probably because her last words were incantations. I wanted Bruce and Anna out of here this morning but no one’s been able to leave.”

Beck shifted close to the head of the bed. He rested his back on the wall and sighed heavily.

“What is it?” she asked when he hadn’t said anything after a while.

“I have to do it.”

Her eyebrows furrowed in confusion. “What are you talking about?”

“I have to be the one to the do the ritual. Lots of lives have been ruined because I made a mistake of falling in love with a monster. I have to be the one that does it.”

“But what if it doesn’t work? You’d die and she’d finally have you; you’ll never be free from her.”

He smiled and stroked her cheek. “I won’t be under her control for long. Sara would find a way to break the curse.”

“Why do you have so much faith in her?” she said, her eyebrows furrowed. She thought that they perhaps had something in the past that neither Beck nor Sara failed to mention in their tales. There was no way he’d have been close to Sara for fifty years and not have had anything to do with her.

“Strangeville is her first and only love. She’ll do anything to keep it in its best state.”

She stared into his eyes, trying to find out if he was telling the truth. When his demeanor seemed like he wasn’t, she looked away from him. “Hmm . . . I guess that’s a good reason.”

“What?” Beck said when she didn’t look back at him. “You thought I actually had feelings for her and she requited them?”

She shrugged still not looking at him.

“Come here.” He pulled towards him, letting her rest her head on his chest. “We only became close because she wanted to help me to leave Annika and eventually to break the curse on me and Strangeville. Nothing ever went on between us.”

“But Annika thought something did,” she murmured.

“She thought the same about every other woman that was friendly or smiled at me.” He exhaled slowly. “I wish I never fell for her the first time I saw her. I wouldn’t be in this mess. I wouldn’t have let people die because of my lust.”

She raised her head to stare at him. “You couldn’t have known, so don’t beat yourself about it.”

As Beck wanted to say something the door to the room opened, causing Ava to sit upright.

“Ava,” Bruce said as he entered the room.

“Bruce,” she replied, staring at him as he looked from her to Beck.

He frowned, his brown eyes never leaving Beck’s face. “Sara wanted me find out if Beck was awake. And since he’s awake she told me to tell him that he’s the one to do the ritual, not Anna, and that it’d be done differently from the previous times. She said she understood what kind of bond Beck and Annika had that’s why it had to be different. And, she was able to convince the people to be part of it.”

“Well, it’s a good thing I was just thinking of doing the ritual myself,” Beck said. He got down from the bed from the side opposite of Ava.

“But you’re still hurt,” Ava said as he got down.

“I don’t care,” he said, looking at her and holding the side of his abdomen. “I have to end this myself.”

“Before you do,” Bruce said, “someone’s here you see you two.”

“Who’s that?” Ava said, glancing at Bruce.

Just then, someone stepped into the room. “Hey, Ava,” said the familiar voice of Dylan.

A scowl appeared on her face. She felt like running towards him to slap the daylights out of him. Hadn’t she told him that he couldn’t get any news from her? Hadn’t he realized that she wouldn’t let him do what he did the previous time again?

“What are you doing here?” she yelled, glaring at him.

“I wanted a story,” he answered.

“Didn’t I say you should look for another source?” she screamed, panting heavily. It was just a matter of moments and she’d be over him, pounding and punching him really hard—at least that was how she imagined pouring out her anger on him.

He stepped closer to the bed. “Ava, you and Beck are the only ones I can talk to. The townspeople aren’t talking anymore.”

“There’s nothing for you to know,” Beck said. “It’ll all be over soon and you probably won’t remember. No one might.”

Ava stared at him, confused by his last words. She stole a glance at Bruce, noticing the same confused expression.

To answer their silent question, Beck said, “I’m just saying ’cause I know Sara could spell everyone to forget in order to protect Strangeville from outsiders.” He looked at Dylan. “You’re welcome to watch the ritual though.”

Though he didn’t appear satisfied, Dylan thanked him and quickly left. In her mind, Ava thought he wanted to prepare his items for documentation so he wouldn’t forget. She really didn’t like the fact that he was getting his way with the story about Strangeville. She only wished she knew how best to sabotage that story.

Immediately, Beck left for the preparation for the ritual with Bruce reluctantly helping him to walk out of the room.

During the preparation of Beck and Annika’s dead body—a necessity for the ritual according to Sara—Ava was conflicted: she was grateful to whichever power there was for not allowing Anna be the sacrifice. She didn’t know what she’d do if Anna ended up like the other failures.

But then, she didn’t like that Beck was the one to be the sacrifice. She had a bad feeling that something would go wrong. Sara had explained that because of how deep their relationship was, it would be appropriate for Beck to be the first sacrifice. Sara had regretted that she hadn’t thought of it all these years but she was sure that it would work.

When it was time for the ritual, Beck and Annika lied beside each other in black outfits in the middle of the clearing behind Sara’s house. The townspeople stood in a spiral around Sara, Annika, and Beck with Ava, Bruce, Anna, and Dylan standing in the most front.

“Today,” Sara began, “you have all witnessed what happens when one doesn’t accept that love is a choice and not an obligation.” She looks at Beck and Annika. “We should have from the very first time used the cursed to break the curse, but I never understood at that time that it would be possible.

“I’m very sorry, people of Strangeville. In trying to protect you I only made things worse. Nevertheless, all your troubles are come to an end. Beck and Annika—the real culprits of the curse—are going to break it and set you free.” She turned and walked towards Beck and Annika.

She picked the calabash that stood at Beck’s feet and poured the mixture on the rope binding Beck and Annika’s hands. “In life two became one with the promise that until death they would become two again.” She collected the torch of fire from one of the attendants and put the fire on the rope. “As this rope burns so does the bindings between these souls burn. Death has happened; therefore, they are two now.”

The ground began to shake. As Sara repeated the words, the shaking grew more and more, causing everyone to scatter and find something around to hold onto. Ava chose to fall to the ground and place her hands down. She glanced at her siblings, seeing them do the same thing.

As she advanced towards them so she could hold them, a strong wind blew across the area, carrying dust with it and any other it could carry. Even in the wind, Ava could hear Sara chanting the words over and over again.

She finally got to her siblings, and putting her arms around them she stole a glance at Sara. She stood still, as the ground shook like a quake was happening.

Sara’s voice grew louder as the shaking and the wind grew worse. Ava closed her eyes to prevent anything to enter into it.

Suddenly, everywhere became quiet as if it were a graveyard at night.

AUTHORʼS NOTE

So, my dear readers, it is but only one chapter left to the end of Anomaly. The last chapter is already available on GoodNovel. You can check out the chapter before I post it here.

However, if you want to read it here tell your friends about Anomaly in the mean time.

Please relay your thoughts about the book (from writing style to plot to grammar). I really wish to know what you think of this story. Do you think Iʼve done a good job with the story? Are things you think I should revisit? Did you notice any plot holes, lots of grammatical errors, or lack of flow in the storytelling? How have you felt about the characters? Do you hate them because of their actions? Do you in any way relate with their story? Iʼd love to know your answers to those.

Until Monday, readers. Peace!
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