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Chapter Fifteen: Natalia

Mark and I were bored out of our minds waiting around for Jesse to return. It'd been three days since he dropped us off at the dilapidated house. There wasn't much there in the means of necessities and even fewer things to entertain ourselves with, but we made the most of what little we had.

We decided to take the many empty food cans lying around the house and set them up in a triangle of ten. I found a large, round rock outside during one of my small adventures around the property. Using my Molecular power, I smoothed out the edges so it would roll straight without veering off to any side. We used this now round rock to knock the cans over. I'd seen this game in an old, illegal movie I recovered from some of the wreckage left from the war. If I remembered correctly, the people in the movie called this game bowling.

"When is your boyfriend coming back?" asked Mark as he set the cans up once more.

I retrieved the rock from the right corner of what was a living room at one point. "I don't know. He barely told me anything before I became a fugitive. What makes you think he's going to tell me anything now?"

Mark sighed. "Do you think our family's okay?"

I levitated the rock in mid-air. It'd been rough around the edges like most people. Now, it sparkled when the light hit it because of the quartz hidden inside. It reminded me of the layers of a person. You have to deal with the rough edges before you get the treasure hidden within.

I'd been trying not to think about my parents and Melinda being held by the TWA as we twiddled our thumb in this safe house. I couldn't help them, and thinking about all the ways the TWA could and would torture them wasn't going to help them or me. If anything, it was going to make me sloppy and I couldn't afford to make any mistakes.

"They have to be," I said.

Mark stepped back from the triangle of cans. "We're going to get them back, right?"

I spun the rock in the air, creating a weird disco ball. "Of course."

Suddenly, the door flung open before slamming shut once more. I threw up a shield of molecules around Mark and me. I wasn't going to let them get us too. "We have to go, now." Jesse stood in front of the door with twigs in his hair. It seemed like he was always running through a forest moments before seeing me. Maybe the place he protected with his life was in the woods.

I lowered the molecular wall around Mark and me. "Why?"

Jesse started checking the windows. "The TWA found us."

I threw up a protective barrier around Mark, the fragile one of the three of us. If it came down to us fighting the TWA, I couldn't be hindered by trying to keep him alive. "You said they couldn't find us here."

Jesse led me to the back of the house. "I know. They must've followed you here somehow."

"Come out! We have you surrounded!" shouted someone from outside.

Jesse dropped to the floor, pulling me with him. Mark stayed standing behind us like an idiot. "Why would they attack us now if they followed us here?" I hissed.

Jesse crawled over to a large window and dared to peek out. I closed my eyes and sent out a larger blast of energy. Mark's and Jesse's presence rang out loud and clear since they were the closest to me. I waited a few more seconds before receiving twenty energy signatures surrounding the house and so many beyond them that they all blurred into one massive signal.

I dropped Mark to the floor and reeled him in close to me on his stomach. This was about to take a turn for the worst. "We can't make a run for it," I said.

Jesse pulled back from the window, joining us back on the floor. "I was afraid of that."

I looked around the house for anything we could use as a weapon. This place wasn't equipped for a full out assault by the TWA. It wasn't even equipped to keep a weak human out. "Our only option is to use a portal to get out of here."

Jesse grabbed my wrist. "We can't."

I broke my wrist free from his grip. "We don't have any other options. I am not letting the TWA get a hold of me and Mark."

Jesse stayed where he was. I could see in his eyes that he didn't have an escape plan. "We have to fight our way out," stated Jesse.

I grabbed a hold of the collar of Jesse's shirt. "We'll die out there. We need to use a portal now before they enter the house."

Jesse looked into my real eyes for the first time since the illegal Telepath party where we met. It was different somehow, almost like he could see the real me. "I love your emerald eyes."

I bit my lower lip. In that moment, Jesse came to terms with his own death, evident by the look in his glowing emerald eyes. "Jesse..."

He loosened my grip on his shirt. "I'll distract them. When you get the chance, run. Never stop." He pried my last finger from his shirt before walking around me and toward the front door.

I sat there on the floor for a moment, just staring at Jesse's back. Tears pushed their way through my dry eyes to make the journey down my cheeks. I couldn't lose him. The realization hit me like a truck. "Jesse!" He opened the front door without a look back.

"Come out with your hands raised!" Jesse stood there in the doorway, disobeying the TWA officers. "Hands up!" Jesse threw up walls of molecules around himself for some minimal protection. The air around him crackled with electricity. He wasn't going to be taken hostage.

"No!" I scrambled to my feet. Mark tried to wrap a hand around my ankle to stop me, but the barrier around him kept him from achieving his goal.

I intertwined my fingers with Jesse's on the front porch. "What are you doing?" asked Jesse.

I stared out at the TWA officers closing in on us. I couldn't see the mass of TWA officers in the woods, but I could sense all of them. They were moving closer to us in order to cut us off if we tried to run. "Fighting."

"Hands up! Both of you!" I slipped my hand out of Jesse's. I pushed him inside the house, locking him inside. This was my fight, not his. "Stop! Get down on the ground!"

I raised my hands in surrender and took a seat on the ground as ordered. The TWA officers rushed in, bringing the massive army in the woods with them. I could see many of them standing at the edge of the trees waiting. It was now or never.

I sent out the largest possible energy blast from my core into the surrounding forest. The TWA officers running toward me crumbled into a pile of limbs from the shock wave; they weren't ever getting back up. The rest of them stumbled backward as if I'd hit each one of them individually. The trees around them shook, some of them cracked from the power of the blast. I took the opportunity to start a ring of fire around the house, separating us from the remaining TWA.

I stayed on the ground. My limbs were beginning to feel heavy. I was on the brink of passing out but there was still a threat needing neutralization. Finishing this was first priority before I was easy picking.

I sent my feelers down into the ground, tapping into as much energy from nature as I could, giving myself a much needed boost. The roots vibrated as I touched them as if they'd missed my presence. They were ready to move on my command.

I smelt the sweet aroma of rain on the horizon as I readied trees' roots. The Storm Telepaths left in the brigade were attempting to put my fire out to get to Jesse and me. With the amount of energy radiating in the sky, it would take them another thirty seconds before the downpour.

I cued the roots. Each one retreated back to their base, causing the soil to shift under the TWA officer's feet. I shifted the layers of rocks underneath until a sinkhole, in the shape of a ring, surrounded the house. Quickly, dirt slid down into the hole pulling the officers in. As soon as the last officer fell into the earth, I shifted the rocks to trap every single one of them within the earth.

I could hardly keep my eyes open as I sent out the last of my energy into the earth. I re-situated the rocks back to their original positions, erasing the whole ordeal from its memory. All of the roots took their place back where they belonged. I retracted my feelers, allowing the earth to return to its normal routine.

I let my arms fall to my side. The edges of my vision were splattered with black splotches as I shifted my weight back. I released the lock on the house along with Mark's barrier before my head hit the concrete with a crack.

There was no pain as the darkness enveloped every aspect of my consciousness. I welcomed the peaceful darkness with open arms.

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