Season of The Witch -
Author's Note: Here's three, sorry for the delay. I got caught up in a bathroom remodel. I'd like to thank djkauf and Indy for the magical editing and everyone for enjoying this universe :)
The bus was finally approaching the college. I looked at my watch and sighed. It was only twenty minutes since I last looked. The college was about a half an hour from downtown so I only had about ten more minutes. I looked around at the faces of the other passengers, trying not to look so paranoid. I couldn’t help it, though. Every face I looked at was a bad guy to me. I’d been stupid before, not realizing how much of a threat those two goons had been. Now they had knives and were probably on their way after me. What’s worse, I might have put Tommy in danger too. I wanted to kick myself for that one.
Thinking about him, I pulled out my cell. My battery was almost dead. I should have charged it last night but I’d forgotten---again. It was down to a sliver of a bar left, maybe enough juice to make one call. I tried my parents earlier but all I got was their office voice mail. So this time, I tried calling Tommy. The phone rang three times before I got his message:
“This is Tom, you know what to do.”
It beeped. “Tommy, it’s me. Tell me you’re ok?” I paused. “Look in case you get this, I’m going to the college. I need to tell Mom and Dad what happened. I’ll be there if you need me.”
I clicked off. Then I turned to the window, I could see the large brick building complex that was The Morgan. I could also see the town all around it. Shepherdsville was a small town like mine, smaller than mine in fact. The only thing they had going for them was the Morgan P. Johnson Community College---The Morgan to the locals and the students. I’m not sure who Mr. Johnson was but he was someone important enough to get a tiny college named after him. When I was a kid, I used to think it was cool that my parents were college professors but as I grew older, I began to realize how small the college really was. Suddenly it wasn’t so cool that my highly educated parents were teaching at such a nothing place. In the eighth grade---when I was old enough to realize it---I asked my father about it. Apparently, the organization they worked for didn’t like to draw attention to themselves. So instead of being stationed at some big Ivy League college somewhere, Mom and Dad were stuck teaching at Nowheresville College. I suppose that made sense.
“Aren’t you a bit young to be attending college here?” asked the old woman sitting across from me.
I smiled at her. “I’m not a student, my folks work there.”
She smiled. “Such a sweet girl” she said then added. “Why young women your age want their hair cut short like that is beyond me. At least you don’t have one of those nose rings like my granddaughter…”
The old woman then launched into a story about her rebellious granddaughter which led to another story about how her daughter didn’t know how to raise her children properly. I only half paid attention as she rambled on and on. I’m usually pretty polite to the elderly but I was a bit preoccupied at the moment. I just smiled and nodded a lot. I think that pleased her, at least she didn’t say anything to tell me any different. I find that a lot of old people---especially women---like to talk about their lives. I’m not sure if it was because they were lonely or if no one else would ever listen to their stories. It kind of pissed me off a bit, too. Here she was going on about her granddaughter---a girl who clearly didn’t care for her---and this woman seemed like such a sweet and loving person. Why a girl wouldn’t want to be close to her is beyond me?
I’d give anything to be that close to my grandmother.
The bus finally made the turn down the road toward the college. There was a line of trees on either side before we got to the college itself. The Morgan was three buildings, one large one in the center and two others on either side. Mom and Dad had an office in the large building, which housed a lot of offices as well as classrooms. It was a pretty modern college except of course it had no dorm buildings and no library apparently. Shepherdsville had a nice brand new library built about two years ago though, so most students going there used that.
The bus pulled around a little circle, stopping in front of the main building. I excused myself from the conversation with the old woman then stood up, grabbing the carrier. I filed out of the bus as quick as possible. I rushed into the building. There was a flight of stairs right near the main entrance, I took it to the third floor where their offices were. They had offices right next door to one another, joined by a door. They only had one phone for the two of them though. With what little juice I had I tried calling but there was no signal in the stairwell. I cursed as I reached the hall, trying again. I only got it to ring once before the phone finally died on me.
I made a mental note to never leave the house without charging my phone again.
It didn’t matter now because I was almost to the Humanities department anyway. There were six offices up here, cobbled together in one section. The professors associated with each office made up the Humanities department of the college. They were a nice bunch though I was kind of annoyed that the Archaeologist---Professor Wright---looked and acted nothing like Indiana Jones. I liked the secretary though---Donna. She was an older woman with a cheery smile and jar full of suckers on the corner of her desk. She was also one of the only people besides immediate friends and family who didn’t mistake me for a girl.
I entered the main office; Donna looked up from her computer a bit surprised to see me. It was a Saturday after all.
“Kelly dear, this is a surprise.”
I smiled. “Are they in?”
“Your mother is. Your father has been running here and there, filing papers and making sure things are in order. You want me to call them?”
I shook my head. “I’m just going to their offices.”
She smiled and nodded. I walked past her desk and through the little entryway to the offices. Mom and Dad were at the end of the little hall. It didn’t take me long to get to the glass door marked Professor Crawford. In the academic circle, Mom kept her maiden name. She told her colleagues it was the proper thing to do because she had her doctorate under that name but that wasn’t the real reason. She actually kept her maiden name because of the respect it garnered in other circles. Crawford was a powerful name, the name of one the most powerful witch clans in the continental United States. There was a tradition with it as well---most female witches kept their maiden name. It really annoyed my grandmother when my Aunt hyphenated hers when she got married.
I knocked on the door once before entering. Mom was sitting behind her desk, her cell in her hand. When she saw me walk through the door, I saw her visibly sigh. Then she got up from her chair quickly and rushed around to me, wrapping me in a tight hug. Her burst of affection threw me a bit but it was kind of nice.
“You have any idea how worried I was,” she said when she pulled away.
“I’m sorry Mom.”
“I called Mrs. Braddock her home when she didn’t answer I tried the flower shop” she said quickly. “When she told me there were two men in there looking for you…”
I sighed. “They found me actually.”
Mom’s eyes widened. “Are you ok?” She turned me this way and that, doing the Mom thing. “You’re not hurt are you?”
I shook my head. “They chased me but Tommy tackled them. He held one guy on the ground and the other went after me. I managed to outrun him then got on a bus straight to here.”
Mom sighed again and wrapped me in another hug. She held me a bit longer this time.
When she let go I bit my lip. “They were after me last night too.”
“Sorry” I said quickly. “I thought they were some kind of pervs. They followed me from Carson’s last night, chased me in their car. I lost them on the bridge.”
Mom frowned. “You should have said something.”
“I know and I’m sorry.”
She smiled weakly, rubbing my cheek. Then she turned away, quickly using her cell. “I found him Marcus. Yes he’s fine; he’s here in the office with me actually.”
Of course, she was calling Dad. While she was doing that, I went to her desk. I took out my own cell, setting it on the desktop as I opened her top drawer. We all had the same cells, it was family plan. Mom always kept a spare charger in her desk. I rifled through the top drawer, coming up empty. I finally found it in one of the side drawers. I plugged it in and the phone beeped, telling me I had a voice mail. I made sure it was charging before I checked it. I recognized the number immediately: Tommy.
“Kel, man I’m glad you’re ok” He sighed heavily. “I held that guy as long as I could but he threw me off as soon as you ran. I’m glad you got away. I’m on the next bus to the college, should be there in a few. I think you need to tell me what the hell is going on.”
I sighed. I was wondering if Tommy was going to ask questions. What was I supposed to say? I didn’t even really know what was going on actually. I assume those guys had something to do with Mom and Dad but I couldn’t exactly tell him that.
“Mom” I said, leaving my phone to charge. “Tommy is coming to the college; he kinda wants to know what’s going on. What do I tell him when he gets here?”
Mom put her hand over the phone, Dad still talking. “Bring him here. I’ll have to take care of it.”
I sighed and nodded. Taking care of it meant a mind whip spell. They were completely harmless but it still freaked me out a bit.
“I’m going downstairs to meet him, is that ok?”
Mom stopped talking to Dad for a second time. She gave me a look. “Your father wants to talk to you for a second.”
Mom handed the phone to me. “Hi, Dad” I said, trying to sound as if everything was fine.
“I want you to describe these men to me.”
I groaned but I quickly told him everything that I could remember. Dad cursed. I couldn’t remember my father ever cursing. He once caught me swearing and scolded me about it. Apparently, educated men---like himself and his son---were smart enough to use other words. So hearing him curse now meant that something really had to be wrong.
“It’s Tommy Dad, not the Inquisition.”
He groaned. “Ok. I want you to get him and come straight back to the office. Don’t screw around.”
“What’s going on Dad?”
There was a long pause. “Nothing that I and or your mother can’t handle.” Then he added a second later. “If anything seems strange or you see those guys, I want you to run back there as fast as you can.”
I nodded even though I knew he couldn’t see me. Then I handed the cell back to Mom. The two of them talked for a minute or so more before she hung up. Then she went to her bag, pulling out a wicked looking knife with a curved blade---her Boleen. Generally used to cut herbs and things, they had other uses that most people didn’t mention. One of them was for protection. Mom and Dad both carried one---even though Dad was a Normal. I tried to get her to let me have one too but she thought I was too young. So I was kind of surprised when she walked over and handed me the blade.
“You know what to do?”
I nodded. “I’m not a kid anymore.”
Not many kids I knew were trained to fight hand-to-hand with a knife. I learned that when I was ten. I took the knife, slipping it in my belt. I just hoped I wouldn’t have to use it.
I found myself back where I’d started. Well, started since arriving at the college anyway. When the bus pulled up, I wasn’t the least bit surprised it was another driver. There were three buses that went back and forth between the two towns. They circled back and forth until about eight or nine. I knew the bus schedule well because I would often take buses to the college if my parents worked late. I would ride up and meet them for dinner then we’d all drive back together. This being a Saturday, Tommy’s bus would probably be one of the last ones of the day.
I was sitting on the bench, trying not to think about the knife in my front pouch. I was fighting back the urge to pull it out, too. A white handled knife with a curved blade might draw attention, even if there was no one currently around. When Dad first suggested I learn how to defend myself, Mom thought he meant martial arts. I would have loved that but when Dad suggested I learn knife fighting, Mom practically flipped. If you were to look at my Dad, he doesn’t really look the type---short and balding---definitely not the kind of man who could teach his son how to use a knife. But teach me he did and he kind of surprised me at how good he was at it. Dad was like that though---there was a lot more to him than meets the eye.
The bus arrived a few minutes later with a hiss. I always thought it was cool when they did that. I sat up a bit straighter so Tommy could see me when he got off---not that he couldn’t see me, I was the only one out here. Several college students filed off first---a combination of full-grown adults and teenagers. That was one of the perks of a community college; they had students of all ages attending. Dad used to say that he loved it when he had someone in the classroom who wasn’t a complete waste of his time. After they were all gone, Tommy came. I was half expecting to see a battered and bruised friend but instead it was just regular old Tommy. Well not completely, ---he did have a little dirt on him---but he wasn’t as bad as I thought.
He spotted me and nodded.
He walked out of the bus and quickly over to me. “Can you tell me what’s going on now?”
I looked around, there were too many people. “Let’s head inside, I’ll tell you there.”
“Your parents in here?”
It was an odd thing for him to ask because he’d been here before with me.
“Where else would they be?”
When we got to the door, he beat me too it, opening it for me. When he did so he had a goofy smile plastered across his face. It was pretty weird but not as weird as the way he was looking at me as soon as we got inside. I couldn’t help but feel a little uneasy about the way his eyes kept roving over me. It was like I was a side of beef or something to him. I shuddered slightly, stopping to tie my shoe---or at least I pretended too. I looked at him quickly, trying to see if I was right to suspect something was wrong. I knew the instant I saw him looking at my butt that this wasn’t my friend. But I had to be one hundred percent sure.
“You remember that time you, me and George went fishing. You slipped and fell into the water; we had to drag your butt out. You complained the whole way home because you were soaked from head to toe?”
He laughed. “Not the best memory.”
A cold shiver went up my spine. I’m not sure who it was but this was definitely not my friend. I took a quick look at his face. I could usually tell when someone was using a Command spell; the victim usually had a glassy look to their eyes. Tommy however looked fairly normal so it was either one of two things: a shape change spell or a possession spell. With shape changes, though there was always something a little off, like parting of hair in the wrong way or eye color. It wasn’t an exact match but it was so close that most people didn’t notice---at least not right away. Possessions were different because it was the person’s body but they were really hard to detect. The only true way to know sure was to ask something that only your friend or family would know. Him not knowing that we hated George was a clear give away. This was Tommy’s body all right but someone else was driving.
I had a pretty good idea who as well. I finished tying my shoe then stood back up. My heart was pounding in my chest, my hands starting to sweat. I reached one hand into my pouch, wrapping it tightly around the white handle of the Boleen. It was my last resort. I didn’t want to hurt Tommy----it was still his body after all----but I would if I had to. At least I was pretty certain that I would. It was a horrible thing to think about, turning a knife on the only true friend I had. It didn’t matter that he hadn’t been much of a friend to me lately; he was there for when it counted and when it truly mattered.
I knew one thing for certain as we continued walking, there was no way I was leading this imposter anywhere near my parents.
I stopped again at the end of the hall, right in front of the stairs. There were two ways I could do this, the first being to pretend that there was nothing wrong. I could lead him around for a while, taking him this way and that and hope he didn’t catch on. It was kind of risky but I definitely didn’t want him going to Mom and Dad. The second option was a little more straight forward which was to simply run. I might be able to catch him off guard and get far enough away before anything really bad happens. Of course I knew from experience that Tommy was much faster than me and seeing as I’d done a lot of running today already, I definitely didn’t think I had anything more left in me.
“Why are we stopping again?” he asked, a bit of annoyance in his voice.
“I’m trying to figure out the best way to their office, it’s not easy navigating this place.”
He nodded but I’m not sure if he bought it. I know the real Tommy wouldn’t. It felt strange to look at my friend and know that there was someone else in there controlling him. It made me angry too. I found myself fondling the handle of the blade, wishing I could just slice this bastard and run. I mentally cursed. Why did I get Tommy involved with all this mess?
I grabbed the door, pulling it open. For a moment, the slowly closing door separated the two of us. I had that moment to run, that split second or so to make up my mind. My heart pounded in my chest, my hands started to sweat even more. I could get up the stairs and possibly to my parents if I went fast enough. My bit my lip and then had a dreadful thought: if I ran, would they hurt Tommy?
The moment ended as Tommy grabbed the door.
I smiled and started up the stairs. Shit, why couldn’t I make up my mind? This guy riding around in my friend was eventually going to figure it out. I could only stall him for so long before everything fell apart. I should have ditched him, should have taken my chances and made a mad dash for my parent’s office. I’m not sure if I would have made it but at least I would have had a chance. My chest sounded like a drum with all the heavy thumping.
I climbed the first flight of stairs slowly then took the second quickly. At the top of the second flight, I turned to say something until to be startled that he was right behind me. It was kind of creepy; he was so close that our noses were actually touching. Why did this guy think that this is what two friends did? Was he some kind of pervert? Or…I groaned. I remembered what he and his friend said last night, they called me a girl. I’d completely blanked on that. They thought I was a girl and they must have thought that Tommy was my boyfriend. After all, he did attack them and protect me. I couldn’t help but shudder at the thought. Ok so maybe Tommy had bulked up a bit and if I was a girl, I might consider it but it was just too gross to think about.
Tommy’s next words did it for me. “Something wrong, babe?” he asked, reaching up to touch my hair.
That was it. I couldn’t take anymore of this charade. I reacted before I knew what was happening. First by batting away his hand then I gave him a slight shove. I think it was the shove that did it. As soon as I shoved him, he seemed to click as to what was going on. As I was bringing my hand back away from his chest, he caught it in a tight grip.
“It was the question wasn’t it?” he asked, his voice turning cold. “I knew it was strange for you to ask it out of blue like that. I failed the test then?”
I didn’t say anything, I couldn’t say anything. I was still kind of shocked that I hit him. What shocked me even more was that it was kind of a girly hit. Ok so men bat away hands but not the way I did it. He did it the proper way, grabbing my wrist. Me, I reacted like a woman. What was up with that?
His face twisted in anger. I’ve never seen Tommy get angry like that. But this wasn’t Tommy, at least not on the inside.
“Answer me you little bitch” he said, twisted my arm.
That did it. It broke me from my stupor. Then I did something so unlike a guy that they should have taken away my Man Card. I slammed my knee as hard as I could into crotch. He doubled over in pain, stumbled down the few steps behind him.
“I’m not a girl you asshole” I said before turning and running up the third flight of stairs.
I rushed through the door into the hall, running as hard as I could. I’m not sure how long it took but eventually I heard him running after me. Why I went to third floor and not the second was beyond me. I think my body and mind were telling me two different things. I wanted to go to the office but at the same time, I knew I couldn’t lead him there. So I went up a floor. In hindsight, it might not have been the best option right about now.
He was getting closer. I was right, there was no way I could outrun Tommy. Why did this always happen to me? What did I do to deserve this crap? Why does everyone want to pick on the guy who looks kind of like a girl? Shit. This whole thing was messed up majorly.
“GET BACK HERE YOU LITTLE SHIT!” shouted Tommy as he pounded faster after me.
I put on more speed but he was practically on top of me now. In a strange bit of reversal from earlier, Tommy grabbed my shirt. I tried to pull free but I couldn’t. I was sure that this was the moment that he got hold of me and pounded the crap out of me or whatever. What I wasn’t counting on however was the arm that shot out of the doorway in front of us. I caught it a second earlier than him, ducking. Tommy wasn’t so lucky. The arm slammed into his shoulders, setting me free and him to his back. I slid to a stop a foot or so from the doorway and turned around to see an unlikely figure emerge from the doorway.
“Is he going to be ok?” I asked, standing over the unconscious form of my friend.
“Tommy is going to be fine,” said my Dad as he rifled through my friend’s pockets.
I was finally getting over the shock of seeing my father clothesline my best friend. What happened afterwards was a bit of a blur. I thought I saw someone stand up from outside of Tommy’s body. It was a quick glimpse but then he was gone. I couldn’t make out a lot of details but I thought it was one of the goons from earlier. I suppose that made sense, them possessing my friend. What didn’t make sense was what this was all about. Were they after me or were they using me to get to my parents?
Tommy pulled out Tommy’s wallet. He flipped it open and sighed, dropping it on my friend’s chest. “Good, it really is him.”
I groaned. “I already did that test. That’s why I was running from him.”
Dad turned to me. I’ve only ever seen him get angry once or twice before. The first time was when Tommy and I tried to catapult Diamond off my seesaw and into the pool. We were only ten and thought that using a cat was where they got the “cat”. Dad scolded the both of us for that one. The second time was worse. It was right after Tommy and I tried to break into that factory. He caught the two of us trying to sneak in. He saw my pants and the blood and put two and two together. I never saw my Dad angrier. He shouted at both of us before sending Tommy home. I got grounded for two weeks because of that.
The look on his face was a mixture of both.
“You shouldn’t have kept last night from us,” he said, his tone cold.
There was no anger to it but I could tell he was mad.
Dad was weird like that. He could be the nicest, funniest guy you ever met. Then there was this other side to him, this angry, cold and scary side. He didn’t usually show that side to me much but when he did, it sent shivers up my spine. It was this side that was here now as he poked around my friend, nudging him, making sure he was really out cold. It was kind of creepy, almost as if he still didn’t believe Tommy was somehow not involved with all of this---whatever this was.
“I’m sorry about last night; I thought they were two pervs.”
“You should have told your mother and me about them as soon as you came through the door.”
He stood up from Tommy then walked slowly over to me, putting both his hands on my shoulders. It was funny because I was almost as tall as he was. The Daniels men, basketball stars we would never be. I think Dad liked being short, people always underestimated the short guy. Me, I couldn’t stand it.
“I realize that now,” I said as I looked at my friend again. Then asked what I really wanted to know. “So who are they?”
He shook his head. “Not here. They’ve already made the first move, we have to make ours.”
“What does that mean?”
“It means,” said my mother as she came down the hall, carrying my backpack and the carrier. “That we’re leaving a little earlier than we thought.”
She gave me a hug as soon as she got to me, holding onto me longer than she’s ever held before. When she let me go, she pushed some hair from my face. She stared at me for a while, smiling. It was kind of nice, Mom rarely looked at me like that anymore---I felt like a little kid again. Then she handed me my bag, Diamond’s bag and the carrier.
“We have to get him to some place where someone can find him,” said Dad, pointing to Tommy.
Mom nodded. “You carry him, I’ll do the rest.”
Dad showed his strength as he slid his arms around Tommy’s waist and lifted him from the floor. I followed them as they dragged my friend down the hall. We got into an elevator, taking it to the lobby. I think I knew where we were going. When the elevator stopped, we headed for one of the secretary offices. It was after closing so no one was there. Mom waved her hand over a locked doorknob, it clicked and she opened the door.
It was one of the cooler spells.
“On the couch” she said, pointing. Dad did as directed.
I followed him as Mom looked out the door, making sure no one was around. When she was sure the coast was clear, she came back into the room. Dad had Tommy sitting there. Mom bent down in front of him, rubbing his arm gently. As she did so, Tommy slowly woke. He rubbed his eyes, looking a bit groggy.
“Mrs. D, what’s going on?”
She smiled. “Nothing Thomas.” She waved her hand in front of his face, his eyes taking on a glazed look. “The last thing you remember is going into town and returning Kelly’s backpack. You gave it to him, he told you that we were leaving early and you said good bye. You rode with him out to the college and then you rode the bus back. Do you understand?”
Tommy shook his head.
“Good boy, Thomas” Mom said, letting go of his arm. “Now why don’t you get on that bus and go home.”
“Mom, there is no bus this late.”
She smiled. “He’s not really taking a bus”.
I had no idea what was going on but I nodded anyway. After that Mom took Tommy by the arm, I could do nothing but follow. Dad followed close behind me as the four of us left the building. There was a cab waiting for him. The driver looked rather impatient; I’m not sure how long he was sitting there for. Dad paid him way too much, gave his orders and helped Mom put Tommy in the car. I watched as the cab took off, taking my friend with it. I couldn’t help but wonder if everything was going to be ok. What if the magic didn’t work, what if he remembered?
“He’s not going to remember a thing,” said Mom, coming up behind me.
I nodded. “What about them?”
Dad sighed as he stood beside me. “They can’t go after him anymore, possession only works once.”
“Why’d they do it then?”
“I warded the college, they couldn’t step foot on it by themselves.”
“Then it’s my fault” I said feeling like I’d been kicked in the gut. “I dragged Tommy into this.”
“It’s no one’s fault. If it hadn’t been Tommy, it would have been someone else.”
Dad looked at his watch. “C’mon you two, we can’t stay here. The plane is waiting.”
We didn’t linger around there much longer. Dad made sure I was between the two of them as we went to the parking lot. He kept looking over his shoulder as if he expected someone to jump out at us. I was extra cautious too, gripping the blade of Mom’s Boleen. It kind of freaked me out, moving about the campus at night like this. It also freaked me out that Dad was on such an edge. I’d never seen him like this, not even when we were trekking through some of the craziest places in the world. Dad always kept his cool but now he looked genuinely frightened, as if he was truly afraid something bad might happen to Mom or me.
I felt a lot safer when I saw our truck. Dad refused to drive anything smaller. Mom always joked with him about over compensating for his size.
We didn’t waste any time as we got into the big ass Silverado. I climbed into the back section. Dad went for the whole extended cab package, two door, seats in back. It was all kind of cool. I buckled the carrier into the seat next to me as my parents got in. I bent to check on Diamond to make sure he was ok; the stupid oaf was sound asleep. Only my mother’s cat could sleep through whatever this was.
Dad pulled the truck out of its spot quickly. He tore through the parking lot pretty quick, too. Something told me he was in a big hurry. When we got onto the main road and into traffic, Dad wove dangerously through the cars around us. I found myself gripping the arms of my seat, gritting my teeth. I never knew my father to drive this recklessly.
“Marcus, you might want to slow down a bit.”
“Becky, if I slow down we’re not going to make it.”
They started bickering. They only did that when things got really bad. Like the time we got caught in this wicked Amazonian downpour. We were lost and the two of them started fighting. Just like then, I tuned them out now. Instead, I looked out the window, hoping to pass the time by looking at all the cars as we whipped by. I was staring lazily at them when a familiar car appeared out of nowhere. It was three cars back, trying to look inconspicuous but it was there. I cursed. It was that same damn BMW, the one from last night, the one that Tommy slit the tires of.
“Dad” I said loud enough to get his attention, they stopped arguing. “It’s them.”
“You sure?” he asked, looking in the rear view.
I gave him the duh look. He didn’t ask me again.
Instead, he put on more speed. I turned in my seat wondering if the BMW would speed up to match us. It did. Not only that but it quickly overtook the two cars in-between us. I cursed; neither of my parents scolded me for it. Instead, Mom let out a curse of her own as the car pulled up right next to us. I caught a look into the passenger side window, it was Scar Face. He caught me looking at him, the look he gave me made me think that he might have been the one possessing Tommy.
“I thought Tommy trashed their car”
“Keep your head down,” shouted Mom a second before a bolt of something smashed through my window.
It whizzed by my head and out the other window. A rush of air filled the cab, as well as the smell of ozone. All I saw was a flash of blue light.
I turned my head in time to see Scar Face hanging out of the car, his hands charged up with blue light. He snapped his wrist, sending another bolt our way. Dad swerved and it missed, chewing into the pavement to our left. Asphalt and smoke filled the air. Dad swerved the truck back, catching the little car by surprise. He clipped the front end, sending it careening away. The BMW just didn’t have the power to withstand the Silverado. They tried to get back on our side but Dad wasn’t letting them. He turned the truck into them again, this time slamming hard into the passenger side. Scar Face was still hanging out of the window. When the truck hit, I was hoping to see him fall. Instead, he dropped back into the car at the last second.
It was then that I saw something on his neck, sticking up above his collar. I only caught a glimpse of it; I think it might have been a cross. A black cross. That explained so much now. They were trying to stop Mom and Dad from getting to Africa. It just surprised me that they’d go to such lengths to try and stop them. The Black Cross were annoying but I didn’t think they were killers. Mom used to call them a nuisance, something to be squashed and stomped on until it was no more. If that was the case then why were they going to such lengths?
“Marcus” Mom said with annoyance. “Stop playing with them.”
I looked out the window to see Dad trying desperately to cut them off with the truck. It did look like he was toying with them, letting the BMW overtake us and then knocking it away with a severe bump. It sure was annoying whenever the truck jerked. I think Dad was getting annoyed with it as well because the next maneuver he made was definitely a game ender. He put on the gas, overtaking the car by a few lengths then turned into their path. The BMW had to swerve to avoid him and when they did, they ground along the guard rail before going into a ditch.
I turned and saw smoke billowing from their front end. I couldn’t help but smile.
It was smooth sailing to the airport after that.
Dad surprised me though. I thought for sure we’d head to one of the more well-known airports so when we went off road, I couldn’t help but be a little confused. I was even more confused a half an hour later when we pulled into a little airstrip. There were two buildings, a control tower and a hangar. Mom got out first, followed by Dad. I looked around, not sure what was going on. Then I saw a little Cessna, it belonged to my Uncle Felix. Ok he wasn’t really my uncle but he told me to call him that. He was our usual pilot, flew us all around the world. I figured Felix might be taking Mom and Dad some of the way to Africa but what was he doing here now.
“Howdy mates,” said Felix as he came out of the hangar followed by another guy I’d never seen before.
Felix was Mexican but he was born and raised in Australia. It was kind of strange to see the little Mexican guy with the Australian accent. He always wore this wide brimmed straw hat, which he tipped to people in greeting. He tipped his hat at us.
Mom walked over to him and gave him a big hug. “Thanks for doing this Felix. It means the world.”
“No problem Becky” he said as they released. He shook Dad’s hand.
“Marc”. Then he looked at the dents on the truck. “Have a bit of trouble there, mate?”
“Most have been some whoppers,” said Felix with a laugh. He turned to me. “So bud, ready for a cross country excursion?”
I looked at my parents. “What’s going on?”
Mom smiled. “Felix is going to fly you into Ravencrest.”
Dad nodded. “I’m sorry about the rush but it’s urgent.”
They didn’t really give me time to argue the matter. Instead, we made some quick and tearful good byes. My parents weren’t much for the mushy stuff, neither am I, truth be told. I was a bit shocked though, them pushing me onto Felix’s plane. I thought for sure I’d be leaving from an airport and that they might actually fly out with me. It was all happening so sudden too. One minute I was waking up with a damn cat on my chest and now I was getting on a plane by myself to Nowheresville.
Dad followed me toward the plane while Mom went back to the truck.
Before I started to climb inside, he took off his necklace. It was this little pendant he wore all the time, something Mom gave him on their wedding night or something. He called it his good luck charm. He took it off his neck and put it around mine.
Then he ruffled my hair. “Be good, kid”
I turned away before he saw me start to tear up. I said I hated tearful good-byes but that didn’t mean I didn’t cry. I climbed into the plane and dropped into one of the many vacant seats. Next to me was the carrier. I picked it up and looked inside. Diamond was still sleeping.
“This is all your fault you stupid cat” I said as the plane purred to life and slowly taxied down the runway.
Author’s note: As I’m sure all of you know, comments are life blood to an author. I’m not begging or demanding, but I certainly would appreciate anything you have to say (or ask). It doesn’t have to be long and involved, just give me your reaction to the story. Thanks in advance...EOF
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