Warlands of Song

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Chapter Fourteen: Glen

He’d been expecting the chase. Sooner or later, they were bound to be attacked again. If they’d found them on earth, what was to stop them from finding them on their home turf? But he also had to wonder who “they” were exactly. They could be the military he worked for, or an illegal group tasked with capturing Saige. As he’d seen at Aaron’s house and elsewhere, Saige was rare and valuable. He didn’t know what she was capable of. Neither did she. But if she ever set her mind to it, she’d be a force to be reckoned with.

“Where can we lose them?” Robert asked.

Glen glanced back at Saige, who wore an expression of concern, but not the terror he expected to see. Her eyes slid to her left, before coming back to rest on his. Almost like she could see him. He didn’t need to tell her everything would be okay. She trusted them. She had to, otherwise she would’ve been panicking.

“Duck into the forest.”

“The forest? What if—”

“If we’re going to get caught, we need to make it as hard as possible for them. But we’re only bound to get caught if we keep driving. Their cars can catch us. But if we’re not in the car...”

He unbuckled his seatbelt and maneuvered his way into the backseat. He put an arm around Saige before telling Robert to make his move. His friend turned in such a sharp angle, Glen smashed into the side of the car, Saige pillowed in his chest. Five cars followed them into the trees.

The chase was on.

“Dodge the trees and try to get as far away from them as possible before you do it. And warn me first!” he yelled to Robert.

He kept firm hold of Saige as they were thrown in the air multiple times by tree roots and rocks. He kept her head tucked under his chin to prevent her from hitting her head on the ceiling. It felt like the car was going to flip and roll multiple times when Robert jerked around trees in their path. His thoughts were only focused on escape.

“When Robert warn us, we’re going to have to move out of the way of the cars following us, or we’ll get ran over,” he yelled to Saige. “I’m going to throw you one way and roll the other way. When the cars clear us, we run after them, but hidden in the forest. Do you trust me?”

“Yes,” she said.

“Good. Robert, ETA!”

“I’m just setting up the auto-steering. Thirty seconds tops.”

“Get ready,” he warned Saige. She released her death grip on his shirt. He smiled with pride at her tenacity.

They jerked around one last tree before Robert called for them to move. The seats disappeared from beneath them and he threw Saige away from him, rolling to the other side. He tumbled over rocks and branches before slamming full-force into a tree. He groaned in the dirt trying to pick himself up. But he couldn’t move more than his arms. Flopping back in the grass, he tried to suck in enough air to calm the fire in his lungs. His ribs screamed in pain. Something was no doubt broken.

But the sound of the cars that had been chasing them were getting further and further away. He had to find Saige and Robert and start running before the group disabled the car and discovered the three weren’t inside. His next attempt to get up ended with his collapse into the dewy grass, nearly throwing up. He would get nowhere that way.

“Glen? Glen, where are you,” Robert called from somewhere nearby.

“Where’s Saige,” he called back, wheezing.

“She’s here, I have her. Where...”

His friend’s voice trailed off when Robert reached him. “Aw h—”

“Shut up and help me up. We need to get away from this area now.”

His friend let go of Saige to help him up. He would’ve commented on it, but Saige didn’t seem lost without him. She just grabbed hold of the back of Robert’s shirt.

“Can you run,” Robert asked him.

“Let’s walk for a bit, see if I get control of my legs enough.”

It was almost like something in his spine had been damaged during his little tumble in the woods. But if he walked long enough, the injury would begin to heal itself. Saige moved to his other side, attempting to help support him.

“You’re hurt,” she said. “Where?”

“It’s not important—ow!”

She’d poked him in the side. Her fingers slipped under his shirt, probing at the area, moving backward. She stopped when his knees nearly buckled in pain at one area she pressed. No, it wasn’t his rib after all. It was definitely his spine.

“Stop moving for a minute,” she said.

“We can’t,” Robert said.

“I said stop,” she ordered, and Glen felt something shift in his mind, briefly, before he shook himself out of it. Robert on the other hand, stopped immediately, a confused look on his face.

Saige dropped to her knees beside him and moved his shirt up before rubbing her hands together and reaching up to trace a straight line down his spine. Warm liquid slid from the base of his skull straight down his spine. Chills spread through his body, straight from his spine, and as the moments passed the feeling returned to his limbs. Slowly, but surely. Pins and needles stuck him everywhere, and he hopped from foot to foot trying to relieve himself.

“Come on,” Saige said, and Robert actually drooped downward, as though something had been holding him in place.

It was true. Someone had.

They began to run now, all three of them, in earnest. The feeling returned to his body and he took the lead. Grabbing Saige’s hand and almost dragging her along after him. The cars they ran from has long since disappeared, but he heard them again. They’d circled around. They were running out of time.

He turned to his right and they started on a new path. But they’d wasted too much time. There was nowhere else to go. They had to fight.

“Stop,” he yelled. Everyone came to a stop.

“What?” Robert yelled. His eyes glowed bright white, and he his breathing came hard and fast. “Where else can we—”

“We can’t run from them. We’re too slow.”

“Then we get another car?”

“No. We have to hold them off.”

His friend looked behind them, where they could hear the cars advancing. Branches snapped in the distance.

“We can’t hold off five cars driving at max speed toward us—”

“Then take Saige and go. I’ll fend them off.”

“No you won’t,” Saige and Robert said in unison.

Lights danced on the leaves at their feet, and he shook his head. “There’s no time for anything else. Just leave it to me.”

The cars were in sight. He needed to disable the cars without killing anyone. He made three small orbs in his palm and threw them low. Then he expanded them. Two cars ran straight into them, and he locked the bubbled around the vehicles. Robert threw his hands out and his eyes turned as bright as the headlights coming toward them. Another car began to swerve, before all of the tires fell off and it was rendered immobile. Glen erected a few sheets of black and solidified them, then grabbed Saige’s hand and ran.

“If we can make it out of the forest, we can get another car and it’ll be clear enough to get to a hiding spot,” he yelled.

Behind them, the sound of glass shattering was heard. They were breaking through. They, whomever they were, were fully prepared for what he was and what he could do. In a blind moment of panic, he turned once more and everyone followed him. If they didn’t outrun them soon, he would have to start killing. They weren’t just going to give up. And if he killed his own, he could officially be dubbed a traitor. He couldn’t do that.

A revving motor neared behind them, and his mind scrambled for options. Saige stumbled and fell, and he jerked her back to her feet to keep moving.

“We can’t outrun them,” she yelled. “We need another plan.”

“There is no other plan,” he yelled back.

Robert, who had been running slightly ahead of them, suddenly stopped and whirled around. Murder was clear in his eyes, the glow gone from them. Glen stopped beside him, grabbing his shirt to make him continue running.

“What are you doing?” he yelled. “We have to get out of here!”

“I don’t know who these people are, but I’m not running from them anymore. If they want a fight, they’ll get one!”

Glen didn’t get an opportunity to stop his friend before the man threw both hands up toward one of the cars. He clapped them together, and the sound of crushed metal filled the forest. The car skidded to a stop, crushed like a tin can.

The blood drained from Glen’s face. “Robert, what did you just...”

Robert grunted in surprise. Glen’s eyes flew to his friend as he buckled and fell to the ground. A tiny needle stuck out of his throat. He threw up multiple walls and told Saige to put some up as well before he dropped to his knees beside his partner.

“Robert!” He jerked the needle, tiny and silver without a canister attached, from the man’s neck. Robert didn’t respond. When he looked into his friend’s eyes, he saw confusion and pain, but Robert couldn’t move.

Upon looking down, he saw the telltale signs of exactly what was wrong. Purple veins spread outward from the needle’s point of entry, like a circuit board. No, that was wrong. That could only mean... But they wouldn’t do that to his partner. They would only sedate him.

But the veins spread, mottling his partner’s skin until they covered his entire face. His eyes slowly lost their glow, and he stopped breathing shortly after. His eyes stared up at the night sky, blank and empty.

Glen didn’t move, even as he heard the sound of shattering glass. He just stared down at his partner’s body, watching the veins fade from his skin again, as though they’d never existed. Saige’s hand met his shoulder, and she called his name.

“Glen? They’re coming for us. What happened?”

He didn’t move to answer her at first, but a new sound soon filled his ears. A scratching noise, like nails on a chalkboard. He looked to see that all his barriers had been destroyed, but the solid, transparent ones Saige had erected remained.

“He’s dead,” he said.

Her hand jerked from his shoulder as though he’d struck it away. She too dropped to her knees beside Robert’s body, feeling for him. Her hands pressed against his cheeks.

“No... No, that’s not...” Her hands traveled to his pulse point. “Robert?” She shook him. “Robert!”

The deafening sound of scraping coming from the other side of the barriers made him turn again to look. Saige’s barrier, though transparent, was opaquely so. He couldn’t see distinct features of the soldiers on the other side, but he could make out their uniforms. They were of his own indeed. Except they weren’t. Because his own didn’t murder their brothers, dispute or not.

He looked to Saige when she stood, remaining on his knees. But alarm filled him at her face. She stared toward the barriers she’d put into place, and her eyes were sparkling like diamonds. If molten diamonds existed, it looked like the resulting liquid was pouring down her cheeks. The same liquid dripped from her hands, onto Robert’s body, onto the grass, and everywhere else she moved. And at that moment, she was moving toward her barriers, leaving trails of melted diamonds in her wake to sparkle under the moons.

The soldiers on the other side moved backward. Move ran up from behind them, likely the ones he’d stopped from before. None of them advanced toward her. She reached out and touched the wall, and the entirety melted toward her palm. He himself inched backward, away from her.

“I do not belong to you,” she said evenly. “I will not be controlled by you. You will never capture me.”

“This doesn’t have to get any worse,” one soldier yelled. “Come with us willingly and—”

“You think you have the right to order me around?”

Glen frowned, watching the silver liquid dripping from her hands. It moved through the grass, hidden from the soldiers, who didn’t know to look for it. It was forming a circle around the men.

“I don’t take orders. I never have. And I wouldn’t be here at all if you hadn’t sent someone to kill me on earth!”

“We didn’t send anyone, girl,” the same called. “There are others who want you the same as we do. But not for intentions as noble as ours are.”

“Noble? You killed my friend. You’ve killed everyone who manages to get close to me, and for what? So I’ll ‘go willingly’ with you when you finally catch up to me?”

“Like I said, this doesn’t have to get any worse—”

Saige grabbed her head as though she was in pain. “Stop it!”

“You need to calm down—”

“Nooo!!!”

Her scream bounced off of every tree, rock and leaf in the forest. Glen too grabbed his head in agony, but managed to keep his eyes open to watch at the soldiers’ eyes rolled back in their heads and they fell to the ground in unison. Then, the circle of silver Saige had created expanded into a giant dome around their still forms. Glen watched as the dome closed around them, and then flipped entirely, a couple tons of dirt from under the surface of the ground flipping with it, until the soldiers’ bodies were underneath. Then the dome disappeared, dropping what had to be tons of dirt directly on top of the soldiers. Burying them alive.

He held onto consciousness just long enough to see Saige fall to the ground, immobile, before he himself succumbed to the darkness dragging him under.

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