Authors Note: This story is an example of where I’ve come from as a writer, as it was written when I was 12-13 years old. My purpose in sharing it with you, completely unedited, is to show that no writer starts out perfect and everyone comes from being a beginner at some point.
I opened my eyes slowly, blinking them a few times to clear away the darkness. As I began to see light, I noticed that was really all I could see. The world was swirling in a chaotic blur, images fuzzy and often doubled. Everything was like rising smoke, wavering across my vision. I could not hear anything other than a constant ringing, my head pounding in tremendous pain. I blinked a few times, rubbing my eyes to try and clear them. Nothing. I tried to unplug my ears, but still nothing.
After doing nothing for what seemed like eternity, my vision began to clear, images becoming more steady. I became coherent of the fact that I was lying on the ground, and the fuzzy shapes and things that filled my vision were trees, grey sky, and dark billows of smoke. I sat up, holding my hand against my head as it hurt worse. As I brought my hand down, I found blood.
As I looked around, the first thing my eyes fell upon was a large plain completely destroyed, smoke and flames rising from inside and around. My ears began to clear too now, the ringing becoming the sound of fire devouring all it could, and at least a dozen voices moaning, screaming, crying. I tried to stand, but there was a resistant pressure on my leg.
When I looked down, I saw a large piece of metal practically crushing my leg. How I could not feel that, I didn’t know. I pushed and pulled on it until I was finally able to get it off, shoving it to the side. I looked my leg over. Shorts might have been a bad idea. There was blood oozing from every which way, scratches and gashes decorating my skin. I carefully pressed my fingers in different places, but I couldn’t feel much. Probably a good thing, too.
I slowly tried to stand, taking great caution with my leg and any other part of me that may have been injured. I tested it out, placing minimal amounts of weight on my leg. I took a few steps. That hurt. I limped about, trying to get some control back to my body.
As I was moving around, I nearly tripped over someone. “I’m so sorry!” I said. The words scratched like nails on their way up my throat. I coughed, clearing my throat a few times to try and relieve the dryness. When I looked down to see who I had almost stepped on, I felt all the blood drain from my face, my stomach turning. They were already dead.
I moved as quickly as I could away from the wreck site, over to the grass alongside the road nearby. I stumbled a few steps more until I fell to my knees, my stomach turning inside out as hot vomit spilled from my mouth. I coughed and spit, choking on the acid, but I could not get that fowl taste from my tongue, nor the image of that dead body from my mind. I stood back up, my arms wrapped around my stomach. So far I wasn’t too badly hurt, but I needed to make sure anyone I knew was okay too.
Then, like a ton of bricks being dropped on my chest, I gasped. I couldn’t remember whether I had traveled with anyone or not. In fact, I couldn’t remember why I was traveling. Had I been on that plane? Was I just a poor victim on the ground? I grabbed my heart, my eyes wide. I suddenly realized my mind was blank. I couldn’t remember anything. Friends, family, who I was, what I was doing. It was all gone. All except one word. Dyomis.
I felt more confused now than when I first became conscious again. That one word was all I had, and it meant nothing to me. I felt it was important, like there was something I was to do with it. Something… important. But what was the use? I couldn’t remember anything! My memories were gone, my mind was gone, my life… gone.
I stared blankly as the plane continued going up in flames. I stared at it, hoping perhaps a single memory was trapped in the melting wings, or perhaps the shattered windows. Not even my name came to me. Then, a ray of hope poked through. My pockets! I shoved my hands in the front pockets of my shorts, pulling out a stick of gum, an iPod surprisingly still working with only a few cracks down the screen, a few dollars (Well there was something, I automatically remembered being American) and a piece of folded up paper.
I carefully unfolded the paper, eager to know what information it could hold. All along the edges were burnt, and the letters were smudged. I squinted hard, trying to read what it said.
“Three…. O…. O’clock….. um….. three o’clock at…. at… at what?!” I exclaimed to myself. The last few words were too smudged. I was able to make out the very last word though. “Dyomis.”
Dyomis? What did it mean? I could remember the word, but I couldn’t remember what it meant. Was it a secret code? Was it foreign? What did it mean? I was so confused. Things weren’t making any sense. I needed to remember something. Anything!
I decided to start walking. Hopefully I could find a city or a house nearby, any place with people. I walked around, still limping slightly, searching for a road that I could follow. The only thing near me was a forest. No roads, no fields, nothing. So I decided to walk along the edge of the forest, but not in the forest. This wouldn’t be the best time to get lost. So I set out along the trees, hoping to stumble upon a place of civilization.
As I was walking, I tried to remember things. First I tried my name. Nothing seemed to come to mind. Then I pulled out my iPod, and searched through that for any sign of who I was. Nothing. All I found was what might have been a nickname: Panda. The iPod information said “the iPod of Panda.”
“Panda? Well, either that’s my nickname, or my parents like bears. Hopefully it’s a nickname,” I said to myself. I needed to talk out loud, to keep myself entertained. I couldn’t handle too much quiet. It just got, lonely I guess. So I kept asking myself questions out loud, trying to trigger memories, trying to stay sane.
But as I moved on, I suddenly heard a faint sound. A siren, a horn, cars! That could only mean one thing… “People!”
I started to run, ignoring the pain in my leg. keeping my eyes open for a city, or a road I rapidly moved along with excitement. As I moved farther along, I saw a dirt road, and on the dirt road were a couple ambulances, firetrucks, and police cars. But the cars and trucks looked a little different than what I could remember. I remember seeing cars all the time with the steering wheel on the left, but these cars had them on the right.
I remembered something! At least, I think I did.
The cars whizzed by, not noticing me at all, apparently on an important mission. I didn’t take the time to try and follow them, I would be too slow. So I decided to find where the cars and trucks came from. I ran down the road, hoping it would lead me to a city or a town. Those cars had to of come from some place!
I was getting more and more tired, as the road dragged on, and my leg was hurting even more. I wasn’t seeing any signs of a city nearby, no houses, or people, nothing. I was ready to give up, just sit down and wait, hoping someone would show up. But I wouldn’t let myself give out, not now, not ever. I still had some determination left, and I wasn’t about to lose that.
But night was coming quickly. The sun was setting behind the green hills on the edge of the horizon. I would have to stop soon. I couldn’t have follow a road I couldn’t see.
I was coming to a hill now, and decided to stop at the top. But when I reached the top, my eyes fell upon something. My shoulders lifted, as I felt an instant burst of energy. I was filled with joy and relief as I started down the hill, down to the bottom, ready to be done with my long trek…Finally, Civilization! I started running faster and faster, not caring about my long blonde hair whipping me in the face. I just needed to be around people, and not ones who were dead. I ran and ran until I made it to the very edge of the city that was at the bottom of the hill, where cars were passing in and out on the roads, going from here to there.
I stopped, and stared, studying how massively huge the city looked. I looked around all over, seeing how green it looked, how fresh it seemed, how beautiful the area surrounding the city was. This place seemed very homey, very welcoming. I took a deep breath, and stepped into the large city.
I walked along the sidewalk, not knowing where to go, just wandering, looking about at the glorious scenery. I noticed one thing was that this place seemed to like fish and beer. I saw bars and fish stands all over the place. I noticed a little cafe called “the Irish cup and pub.” It sounded nice, and it looked pretty good too. I kept walking passed it, and noticed
how the crowds seemed to grow along the sidewalks, and moving was becoming a little more difficult.
“Excuse me, pardon me. Sorry sir,” I said would say quite often as I kept bumping into people. “Excuse me, lil’ miss, are ya lost?” A man standing by a fish stand asked me.
I paused by him, and gave a weary smile. “Well, sort of sir. Can you tell me where I’m at?” I asked.
“Ha! Why ye be in the great city o’ Dublin!” The man said, his Irish accent thick and friendly.
“Dublin? Isn’t that… in Ireland?” I asked. Now I knew I wasn’t Irish, so it was a bit of a shock to me.
“Why yes lil’ ma’am.You be correct. This be Dublin, Ireland. Might I add, lil’ miss, you look like you just got attacked by the Lock-ness,” the man answered, studying me from head to toe.
I looked down at myself, noticing the tears in my pants and the blood that was dried on my arms, and most likely on my face. I chuckled a little, for I had completely forgot about the way I looked.
“Thank you, for your time,” I said, and turned to walk off.
“Your welcome!” The man shouted out to me. “Oi! Lil’ miss, I have somethin’ to ask ya,” he shouted before I left.
I turned around, and walked back to him. “Yes?” I asked.
“Ya want a fish?” He asked, pulling out a large, silver fish. “It’s fresh from the waters.”
I smiled, not expecting that. “No thank you, sir. I don’t have any money, Irish money anyways.”
“Oh, no euros I see. Well, how much ya got in American dollars?” He asked.
“Well, I have one, two, three… a dollar and fifteen cents. I don’t think that’s enough to cover a large fish like that. But thank you, sir,” I said, about ready to leave.
“Well, how about I just give it to ya? Ya look like you could use a bite to eat.”
I eyed the long fish in his hands. Another memory came to me, and that was that I was no fan of fishy foods.. “Well, if it’s all the same to you, I’ll skip the fish. But I thank you. You’re very generous,” I said.
“Ah, lassie’s not a fan of fish, is she? Well, that’s alright then. Might I suggest going to the fruit stand across the street? They’ll take your American money. It’s cheap. You’ll be able to get a few things,” the Irish gentleman suggested.
I looked over my shoulder at the fruit stand on the other side of the road, and found the bright colored fruit to be very pleasing to the eye. I turned back to the man. “Thank you so much, sir,” I said.
“The name’s Aiken, and the pleasure was all mine,” he said. He stuck out his large, firm looking hand.
I grabbed his hand, mine minuscule compared to his, and shook it. “Thank you, Aiken. I’d tell you my name, but I can’t remember it,” I said.
Aiken’s face twisted in a confused look. He then shrugged it off. “Well then lil’ miss, I hope ya find your name. Ya need anything else, just give ol’ Aiken here a holler,” he said with a smile.
I smiled back. The man had already grown on me. “I’ll be sure to do that,” I said. “Well, I guess this is goodbye now. Thanks so much for the help, Aiken.”
“Glad to help lil’ miss,” Aiken said. We shook hands once more, and then I parted to go to the other side of the street. I looked down both ways of the road before crossing, making sure it was clear. Being that it was a busy city, it was hard to find a spot to cross. Once there was a clearing in the road, I stepped out, and tried to cross hurriedly.
Out of nowhere a jet black Honda shot out, coming right towards me. I didn’t have any time to move out of the way. Expecting the car to hit me anytime now, I waited, my eyes closed tight, the scream that I wanted to let out crammed in my throat. Suddenly I felt myself being harshly shoved sideways. I stumbled, and fell to the other side of the road, catching myself with my bare hands against the black pavement road.
I looked up to see who had pushed me, only to see the black car driving away. I couldn’t see anyone, only the shocked faces of pedestrians staring at me. I scanned the area, looking for anyone who could have pushed me out of the way. I didn’t understand, whoever pushed me should have gotten hit by the car, and yet there was no one lying on the ground, no one anywhere even near the road.
I stood up, and brushed myself off. As I did so, I felt a needle like pain in my palms. I looked at my hands, and saw they were scratched and torn from the fall. A small trickle of blood was coming out of the little scratches and tears of skin on my palms.
“Oi! Lil’ miss, are ya okay?” Aiken asked me as he was forcing his way through the crowds and running out to me.
I looked up from my hands and gave Aiken a weak smile. “I’m perfectly fine. Just a scratch or two.” I looked into his eyes, and smiled wider to let him know I was unharmed.
“Why I aughta give that no good son of a gun a piece o’ my fist! Driving like that. He should know better than to come flyin’ out o’ nowhere. If I could get my hands on that-” but I stopped Aiken before he continued.
“Aiken! I’m okay. Really, there’s no need to be worried,” I said. He was getting pretty worked up, and I didn’t want to see what that was like.
“Sorry lil’ miss, but I just got really ticked off,” Aiken said. He grumbled something to himself, and made angry faces along with it.
“I’m grateful for your concern, but I’m fine now. Just a little jittery is all,” I said.
“Hmph. Well, I don’t want that happenin’ to ya again. How’s about I come along with ya? Help ya find your way, so ya don’t get lost,” Aiken said.
“Thank you Aiken, but I’ll be going all over. I don’t want to take you away from your fish stand.”
Aiken put a serious face on. He took a few steps closer to me, and looked me right in the eye. “Look here lil’ miss, I’m comin’ with ya, and that’s a fact. My fish stand can wait. A girl like you shouldn’t be walkin’ around out here by herself. You’ll need someone who knows there way around. So I’m comin’ with ya.”
I smiled, and laughed a little. “Alright, thanks Aiken,” I said.
Aiken cracked a smile, and gave me a pat on the back. “Glad to help. Now, where to?” He asked.
“Well for starters, I would like to find out if someone else knows the meaning to something.”
Aiken and I sat at a sidewalk cafe, talking about where to go next. I explained to Aiken about everything that had happened to me that day, and about the word I could remember. “Dyomis?” Aiken asked.
“Yeah. I can remember the word, but I can’t recall the meaning of the word,” I said.
“Well, I don’t think I’m familiar with the word,” Aiken said.
“I just have to find someone who is! There has to be someone else who knows the word too,” I said, still trying to remember anything that could help me, but failing to recall anything.
Aiken pondered for a minute. He leaned against the back of his chair, squinting his big brown eyes. “Well, we could check the library for a book or somethin’. Maybe a dictionary,” he suggested.
“We could,” I said.
The waitress placed our orders in front of us. Mine a chicken salad and a glass of coke, and Aiken’s a salmon dish with a glass of whiskey.
“Thank ya miss,” Aiken said to the waitress.
“Enjoy,” the waitress said. She smiled at Aiken, and walked away.
Aiken took a gulp of his whiskey, and wiped his mouth, and stuffed a bite of fish in his mouth.
“The library seems like the best option for now. Maybe we’ll find something there,” I said. I took a bite of the salad, and washed it down with a drink of coke.
“Yes, but first things first, we’re getting ya to a hotel to wash up and rest,” Aiken said.
I was about to make an objection, but then I thought about it for a second. I probably looked like a car crash. Dried blood on my face, scratches and bruises, torn jeans and what used to be a blue long sleeve shirt now turned black with dirt. “Alright. But as soon as I’m cleaned up we’re going to the library,” I said.
Aiken smiled his crooked smile, and laughed. He took another bite of his fish, and another gulp of his drink.
I smiled back at him, and continued to eat.
“So you’re not a fan of fish are ya, lil’ miss?” Aiken asked.
“Not really,” I said.
“Awe now that’s too bad. This here is a good salmon! Mm!” Aiken shoved a large bit of salmon in his mouth. “Es good,” he said through the mouthful of fish.
I laughed at him, and shoved a large bite of greens and chicken into my mouth. “Mm!” I smacked my lips together. “I don’t need fish,” I said with my mouth full. I swallowed my bite, and coughed a little, choking on the bite.
“No, but ya need air,” Aiken said, fanning me from across the little round table. I smiled, and took a drink of coke. “There, all better,” I said.
“Not quite. Ya have to have fish in order to survive here,” Aiken said, holding a forkful of the pinkish fish out to me.
I shook my head, and cringed. “No thank you. I’m good,” I said.
“Ah, ah, ah! Ya at least need to try it. It’s not like any fish in the world. Come on, just a lil’ bite,” Aiken said.
“That’s not a little bite,” I said, pointing to the fork.
Aiken let a little fall off of the fork. “There, now it’s lil’.”
I let out a huff, and grabbed the fork. I looked at Aiken, and then put the bite in my mouth.
Aiken stared at me, waiting for my response. “Well?”
I chewed some more, but quickly swallowed hard, and instantly grabbed my glass of coke to wash away the taste.
“That bad eh? Well we’re not all the same,” Aiken said.
“No, I guess not,” I said, giving a disgusted look. “That was awful.”
Aiken laughed, his deep voice booming like a tower bell, but sweet like a jingle bell.
I laughed along with him, my little voice much quieter than his. I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed by happiness, the man’s laugh making me feel much more at ease.
“Well, I suppose we’re done here. Why don’t we start out for a hotel and get you cleaned up,” Aiken said.
“Yeah, I suppose,” I said.
Aiken threw some money on the table, and stood up. He walked over to me, and pulled my chair out to let me stand. He pushed my chair back in, and we started on our walk to the hotel.
I looked up into Aiken’s face, and smiled softly.
Aiken looked down at me. “What?” He asked. “Do I have something on me face?”
“No. I was just thinking. I’m really glad you came along with me. You make me feel like I belong here,” I said.
“Maybe ya do,” Aiken said softly. He grabbed my hand in his, and squeezed it tight, just like a father. He was just like a father.
We arrived at the hotel, and Aiken payed for two rooms; one for him and one for me. The desk clerk handed him two keys, and told us the rooms were on the third floor. We headed up the long stairs for the third floor.
“This hotel looks really old,” I pointed out, looking all around me as we made our way up. “That’s ’cause it is lassie. It’s over a hundred years old,” Aiken said.
“Wow,” I answered, studying the paintings and old relics all over the place.
“Here, that’s your room, and the one right across is mine. Here’s your key. Go ahead and clean yourself up, and we’ll meet down in the lobby in an hour,” Aiken said. He walked over to his room, and turned the key in the door knob, and walked in.
I walked into my room, and observed everything around me, almost feeling like I were in a movie scene.
The walls were a creamy light brown, with black trimming on the top and bottom. The bed was a twin size, with silky white covers and a black bed frame. A large painting of a stormy sea and a sail boat hung over the bed. The nightstand was a dark brown color, with a white lamp on it, and a digital clock. A black desk was in one corner, and a TV in front of the bed. The carpet was a dark green shade, and was so soft and long you could bury your feet in it.
I walked into the little door where the bathroom was. The counter was a very old but pretty white marble, with a silver sink in the middle, and a roomy shower and bathtub lined the wall.
I hopped into the shower. The warm water felt nice and soothing as it washed away all the dried blood and dirt that had coated me.
After I was finished, I wrapped one of the thick white towels around me, and walked out and checked the time. The clock said 2:45 pm, which meant I had about fifteen minutes before I went down to the lobby to meet Aiken.
A little stack of clothes was sitting on the bed with a note. I picked up the note and read it. The note said the following: “Was told to deliver these to you, signed, room service.” I grabbed the clothes and looked them over, glad to see they were going to be a perfect fit. I walked back into the bathroom and put on the pair of nice blue jeans and the green T- shirt. I grabbed the comb that was sitting on the counter, and brushed out my wet hair.
I studied my face in the mirror, and started thinking about myself. I was desperate to find out who I was. I wanted to remember something. My mind felt so empty, so confused it was almost painful. My big green eyes looked so blank, not knowing who I was. I was me, but I didn’t know who I was.
“Who are you?” I asked my reflection, wishing it could tell me. “Come on, why don’t you know? Everyone knows who they are! So come on, tell me. Who am I?!” I started raising my voice. I was getting upset. I threw the comb at the mirror, and walked out of the bathroom and sat on the edge of the bed, my head in my hands. I clenched my hair, trying to force myself to think of who I was. “Come on! Ugh! Who am I?” I closed my eyes tight, and pursed my lips, and bit my cheeks, thinking as hard as I could. But there wasn’t anything to think of. My life was gone. I wasn’t even able to give Aiken my name!
“Maybe I could help.”
I jumped off the bed, and shot a glance at the corner the voice came from, but saw no one. “Who’s in here?” I said, trying to steady my shaky voice. “Show yourself!”
“Relax, I’m a friend. Just settle down, and I’ll come out,” the voice said.
“Settle down? Why should I do that? How do I know you’re not here to hurt me?” I said.
“You just have to trust me. I can help you.”
“How?” I asked, not convinced.
“You’ve been looking for me,” the voice said.
I blinked a couple times, giving a puzzled look. “I have?”
“Well I guess I don’t remember, so you’ll have to explain exactly why I’ve-”
“Dyomis.” The voice interrupted.
My mouth hung open, as I stared at the corner still. Was this person really able to help me, or was he bluffing? Was I in danger again? But he knew Dyomis… or did he?
I kept my eyes on the corner, never moving them. I was still a little cautious, not wanting to get caught by surprise. Who was this stranger in my room, and what did he want? Was he really here to help, or was he just trying to trick me?
“So do you trust me?” He asked.
I took a minute before I answered. “Not really. I don’t know who you are. How do you know Dyomis?” I asked.
“Because, I do. Look, if you want to know what it means you’re gonna have to trust me,” he said, his British accent very apparent.
“Why don’t you come out,” I said.
“Huh. If that’s what it takes to help you trust me.”
I stood as straight as I could, ready to run or fight. I waited to see a figure walk slowly forward, but I didn’t see anyone. No one walked out of the corner.
“Hello,” a voice said right behind me.
I spun around, almost falling over. I stared at the boy before me, surprised that he was right there. “But… How, I mean, you were over there, and I thought…” I stumbled over my words, still shocked..
The boy chuckled a little, his smile crooked like Aiken’s, but much more boyish, and his teeth were almost perfect. He didn’t look as old as I had pictured. He looked about seventeen or eighteen. He had light brown hair, that flipped upwards all along the edges. His eyes were a deep brown, filled with mystery. He was about two inches shy from six feet tall, and wore a dark purple leather jacket.
“I’ve dazzled your mind haven’t I?” He said, his smile very sly.
“Okay. How did you get over here from the corner? I would have seen you! Are you messing with me? Are there more people in this room?” I asked, scanning my eyes back and forth across the room.
“No, no. It’s only me. They were going to send someone else, but uh, there was a little accident,” the boy said, apparently seeing the accident in his head.
“They? Who’s they, and why did they send you? Who are you?” I asked.
“Oh! So sorry. Forgot to introduce myself. I’m Charlie,” he said with his British accent. He gave a gentlemanly bow, his eyes still sparkling with mystery as he straightened up.
“Charlie. Okay, I’m… well I don’t know who I am, but I think my nickname is Panda,” I said.
“Well then, ‘Panda,’ nice to meet you,” Charlie said.
“So, you said you know what Dyomis means,” I said.
“Yes I did,” Charlie said with a smile.
“So, are you going to tell me?” I asked.
“Well, I suppose I could. Why don’t we go meet your friend first,” Charlie said.
“Oh my gosh, Aiken! I totally forgot. We have to go now!” I looked at the clock and it was twenty past the time we were supposed to meet. I started for the door in a hurry, but as soon as I got to it, a knock was sounded.
I opened the door to see Aiken standing there, his face filled with worry. “Aiken I’m so sorry!” I started to say.
“I was worried sick about ya lil’ miss! What kept ya?” Aiken asked. He looked into my room, and saw Charlie. “Oi! Who are ya?” He asked, pushing passed me to get to Charlie.
“Relax Aiken. This is Ch-”
Aiken interrupted. “Are you trying to harm her? ‘Cause if ya are, there’s a fight to be put up first!” He glared at Charlie with a stern look, his fists rolling like her were about to throw a punch.
Charlie smiled at Aiken. “Charmed,” He said. What he meant by that, I wasn’t sure. Even though the boy was tall, Aiken still stood a few inches taller, and was much more wider and more muscly than him.
“Charmed boy? Well I can charm ya some more with a black and blue eye!” Aiken was getting upset. He started clenching his fists together.
“I could do without. But thanks for the offer,” Charlie said calmly, but sarcastically.
“Aiken! Charlie says he can help,” I said, running over and grabbing Aiken’s tense arms, before anything else happened.
Aiken kept his eyes on Charlie, even as he spoke to me. “And do ya trust him lil’ miss?” I looked at Charlie, who was staring cheerily at Aiken. “I think so.”
Aiken loosened up. “Well, if ya can trust him, I’ll try to as well. But pay ye attention boy, if ya ever harm a hair on her head, you’ll wish you had never come!” Aiken said, showing his teeth in a snarl.
Charlie smiled his wide grin. “Once again, charmed.” He stuck his hands in the pocket of his black pants, and leaned back relaxed on the bed frame.
“So Charlie was about to tell me what Dyomis means,” I said to Aiken, also as a reminder to Charlie.
“Oh! Right. I almost forgot,” Charlie said. He stayed relaxed though, like this was no big deal.
Aiken and I stared at him, waiting for him to tell us. But he didn’t say anything.
“So what does it mean?” I asked.
Charlie talked in a smooth tone, saying, “Well, let’s just say that I’m the definition of Dyomis.”
Our eyes grew larger, as we stared at Charlie in confusion.
“What?” I asked in a puzzled and confused tone.
Charlie snickered a little, and smiled so his white teeth barely shown, his eyes sparkling with even more mystery and thrill.
“What are you talking about?!” I asked Charlie. “What do you mean?” Charlie smiled again. “I mean exactly what I said.”
I was at a loss. “Could you possibly explain that a little more?” I asked.
“Sure I could. Why don’t we go down to the hotel cafe first,” Charlie said.
“Fine,” I said. “Do you think we should go Aiken, or should we stay here?” I asked.
Aiken looked at Charlie with a cautious look. “The cafe’s fine.” He started for the door. “Fantastic then,” Charlie said. He gave a gentlemanly bow, letting me go before him.
He stayed bowed down, until I passed, and then stood up straight.
Aiken opened the door, and let me out. As Charlie passed him, Aiken gave him the death stare.
Charlie gave Aiken a fox like smile, as he walked out as well.
We all walked down the stairs to the hotel cafe, and sat at a table away from windows, but among many other people staying at the hotel.
“Okay, now talk. What’s going on?” I asked Charlie.
Charlie leaned back in his chair, relaxing his right leg on top of his left. He put his hands behind his head, lacing his fingers behind his brown hair. “Come now, loosen up a bit. You’re too serious,” he said.
“If it’s all the same to you, I’d rather just know what’s going on now,” I said.
Charlie sniffled as stared at me. “Alright, fine. Where to start?” He started to sort out the story in his mind.
“Start by explaining who ya are,” Aiken said.
Charlie looked at Aiken. “Alright then, I’m Charlie Baker. I’m a test subject for the experiment we call Dyomis,” Charlie started.
“Dyomis is an experiment? What kind?” I asked. I was excited. I was finally getting to know something, finally getting my answers.
“A good one that’s what. Dyomis is a device that my father and your father have been working on for a long time,” Charlie said.
“My father?! So I do have a dad,” I said in relief. I felt so much better. Things were finally going to unfold. “Go on,” I said.
“My father and yours would send letters or call each other, since we live in Britain and you live in America. They would tell each other what they had discovered or figured out. Eventually they had put it all together, and made it in the form of a vest. My dad went to America where your dad was, and they tested it.” Charlie paused. He licked his lips, and seemed to be holding back tears. “Unfortunately they had gone wrong on one little thing, and it took my dad’s life. Your father insisted on being the first to try it, but my dad said that if something was wrong he didn’t want your dad to get hurt. I at least had a mom to take care of me if my dad died. But you,” Charlie looked at me, his eyes glossed with sadness, and, for the first time, his fox-like grin and mysterious look had vanished, and the face of someone genuine took their place.
My mouth dropped open. “I don’t have a mother.” I suddenly saw an image go through my mind, a memory. I saw a woman, my mom, walking across the street. She was as happy as could be that day, and she turned back to wave at me. Out of nowhere, a semi- truck came speeding down the street, and had ran right into my mother. The awful memory was still in my mind, and each detail of the trauma was as clear as it had been that very day. “I remember,” I said, a single tear sliding down my soft white cheek.
Aiken looked at me sympathetically. “I’m sorry lil’ miss,” he said.
I pursed my lips, holding back any further tears. “It’s okay Aiken. Go on Charlie,” I said.
Charlie looked at me with a pained look. He hesitated to go on, but he did, talking in a soft voice he said, “your father called us and told us what had happened. My father had been training me on how to make the Dyomis, and how to fix things, in case something went wrong. So, after my father passed away, me and your dad kept working on it, and soon enough we had it finished.”
“So, am I supposed to know you?” I asked.
“No. We had never met in person before. Your dad was going to come so we could work some more on it in person, but-”
“He got sick,” I interrupted. I could see my father lying in bed, in a near death state. He was telling me I had to go and meet someone and they would give me a vest. I was to bring it back to my dad, unharmed. I had to be very careful though, for there were people ready to take it.
“So you said you were sent. Are there others working on it now?” I asked.
“Sort of. You see, I had to take it to a professor, who had been my dad’s closest friend, if I couldn’t figure something out. Well, that was a mistake,” Charlie said.
“What? Did someone steal it?” I asked.
“Sort of. The professor was going to be the one to meet you. Only he wasn’t going to give you the vest, he was going to kill you. I overheard him telling another one of his workers, and so I had to take action. And that’s where the ‘accident’ I told you about happened. The professor is tied up in a gas chamber, ready for gassing if needed.”
I couldn’t say anything. I was trying to sort things out in my head. This was more dangerous than I could ever have imagined. We were all in danger, and things were only going to get worse.“You still haven’t told me what Dyomis actually is,” I said.
“I know, I know! I’m getting there. Patience is a virtue,” Charlie said.
“I’m running low on patience,” Aiken said.
Charlie looked over at Aiken, and stuck his hands out as if blocking a punch. “Okay, I understand!” He set his hands on his lap, and smiled his usual fox like grin. “Touchy, touchy.”
“Charlie, could you just tell us what Dyomis is?” I asked exasperatedly.
Charlie smiled at me. “Okay. As you know our fathers put it in the form of a vest,” Charlie said. He stood up and unbuttoned a couple top buttons on his brown shirt, and showed us a black vest underneath the jacket and shirt. “It gives one the ability to become invisible.”
“So that’s why I couldn’t see you,” I said. It made sense now.
“Precisely. Dyomis is a fake language used by leprechauns in kid stories. It means ‘the shadows.’ Basically when you use the vest you become invincible almost. For example, if a car is about to hit you, you’re safe using this,” Charlie said.
Suddenly it clicked in my mind. “You pushed me out of the way of the car!” I exclaimed.
“You’re good,” Charlie said, smiling. “I followed you from the plane crash. I saved you from the plane crash as a matter of fact,” he said.
“You-you did? How?” I asked in a bewildered tone.
“Well, I saw the plane crashing, and I knew you were on it. The vest also gives you the ability to jump much higher and phase through things. I quickly found you, and slipped one of your arms through one of the sleeve holes in the vest. Therefor we were both safe,” Charlie explained.
I could see it all now. I could feel the pressure of the plane falling, the sound of screaming and crying. I remember feeling something, and then, blank. “So how did you manage to not lose your memory?” I asked.
“Well, I’m not really sure. All I know is that someone was hiding near the area. I found him hiding in a little nook in the ground, and he had a remote meant to set off a bomb. I got him to talk a little, and he said he caused the plane to crash.”
I stared in shock at Charlie. “Was he doing that, because…” “He only wanted you gone,” Charlie explained.
I shook my head. “It’s all my fault all those people died! If I hadn’t been on the plane everyone would have been safe.” Tears streamed down my face, as I sat there beating myself up.
“Don’t ya say that! Nothing’s your fault. Ya didn’t know that would happen. I don’t want to hear ya saying anything like that ever again!” Aiken said to me. He was holding my shoulders in his firm hands, and staring me right in the eye.
“Aiken is right. It’s not your fault. Don’t blame yourself, trust me. I know what it can do to you,” Charlie said.
I stifled a sob, and wiped my face with the back of my hand. “Okay.”
“Look, I just want to get you home now. It’s not safe here, and I don’t want to see anything happen to you,” Charlie said.
“What if it’s not safe anywhere? If they knew I was on that plane, then they’d be able to find out I had gone home,” I pointed out.
Charlie fiddled with the ring around his finger, and looked down with a guilty look.
“Charlie, what is it?” I asked.
“Well, I kinda was the one who told them you would be on the plane. But I didn’t know they were bad!”
“Alright boy, who’re ya workin’ for?” Aiken said, grabbing a fistful of Charlie’s shirt. “No one, I swear it!” Charlie said. He was stiff with fright, his look of cockiness and invincibility gone.
“Aiken! Let Charlie go. He’s on our side,” I said.
Aiken stared deep into Charlie’s eyes. He kept staring for a minute, trying to burn fear into Charlie’s mind. He finally dropped him, and sat stiffly in his chair.
Charlie dropped to the ground. He stood up, looked around, and brushed off his leather jacket. He cleared his throat, and tried to relax again.
“Charlie, do you know where I live?” I asked.
“You live in Pennsylvania on a small ranch with your dad,” Charlie said with a shaky voice. He would frequently glance sideways Aiken, trying to make sure he was safe from the big Irishman.
“That’s right! We breed horses. I also ride them as well. I think I even do rodeo’s,” I said. “That’s right. I have three horses. Cocoa, Percy, and Sam,” I said. I smiled at all the memories flooding my mind. I could see when I first got my horses, and when I first learned to ride. Finally, my life was coming back to me, and it was all a relief.
“Uh, I know this is a happy moment for you, but I think we really should go now,” Charlie said nervously.
“I’ll say when we go,” Aiken said.
“No, really. We have to go,” Charlie said. His eyes kept drifting to the hotel lobby. “What is it?” I asked.
“Don’t look behind you. Keep looking at me,” Charlie said to me.
“What’s wrong?” I asked again, fear sending chills down my spine.
“An assistant of the professor is here at the lobby desk. He’s asking the desk clerk if he’s seen you,” Charlie said to me.
My heart jumped in my chest, and seemed to fall to my stomach. “What do we do?”
Charlie saw the clerk pointing to us. “I think we need to stir up some confusion. Aiken, I want you to threaten me. Pretend like you’re going to punch me,” Charlie said.
“Gotcha,” Aiken said.
“Now would be good,” Charlie said nervously.
Aiken shoved his chair back, and let it thud to the floor. “Oi! That’s it lil’ man. You’re goin’ down now!” He said. He threw his fist at Charlie’s face, actually nailing his cheek.
Charlie fell to the ground with a big thud, the wind getting knocked out of him.
“Settle down now,” a man said, coming into the room. He tried to calm Aiken down, his head tilted up to try and look into Aiken’s eyes. “No need to get violent in here, we’re not at the pub,” he said.
Aiken picked him up, and threw him across the room, making sure he didn’t do too much damage to the tiny man.
“Aiken!” I screamed, but I wasn’t worried about the man he had just thrown. The man who had been in the lobby was now pointing a gun at the back of Aiken’s head. “Look out!”
Screaming and crying filled the room. People were ducked under their tables, or lying on the floor with their hands over their heads and ears. Kids were crying, some screaming for their mother. The entire place was filled with chaos, and it only grew worse.
“Don’t move!” The man with the gun yelled to Aiken. “Now turn slowly around with your hands on the back of your head,” he said, keeping the gun aimed for Aiken.
Aiken slowly turned around. “Alright, now don’t go hurtin’ anybody,” Aiken said, slowly turning around just like the man said. He had his hands held out in front of him to try and persuade the man to change his mind.
“Shut up! Another word from you and I shoot,” the man said. “Now hands on your head!” He yelled, hurriedly coming into the room and standing just inches away from Aiken. Aiken gulped, and looked down the barrel of the gun. He placed his hands on his head, and stayed silent.
“Good,” the man said. He slowly began to walk again.
I started to panic. He was coming towards me, although his gun was still pointed at Aiken.
He then quickly moved over to me, and hooked his right arm around my neck, with the gun barrel pointed to my head. “No one moves or the girl gets shot!” He yelled.
I choked on my panic, and started to tremble. I breathed heavily, my heart pounding in my chest. Although I wanted to scream and cry, nothing came out, and it all just stayed in my throat, depriving me of the good amount of oxygen I needed.
The man looked at Charlie who had just stood up, his hand rubbing against his cheek.
“The vest,” the man said.
“I don’t have it,” Charlie lied.
The man pushed the gun against my head, and cocked it.
“Okay! Here, just don’t shoot,” Charlie said quickly. He slowly started walking over to the man, his hands raised.
As Charlie got closer, the man threw me to the floor, and now aimed the gun at Charlie. His eyes were full of greed and eagerness.
Charlie looked at me, and mouthed “Stay down.” I did as he said, and stayed on the ground.
“Come on boy! Give it to me,” the man said, his hands trembling with excitement.
Charlie took another step closer, so close he could touch his face to the man’s. He started to unbutton his shirt a little more.
Quickly, so that no one expected it, Charlie shot out his fist, and nailed the man in the nose. He hooked his arm around the guys neck. They had a struggle, but Charlie overpowered him, and he got the gun.
The man fell to the ground, and scooted back, scared of the gun in his face. “Alright boy, no need to get violent. You can keep the vest. Just, point that thing somewhere else,” he said, his voice shaky.
“Ah, not so tough without your gun are you?” Charlie said. His hair was sweaty and a mess, his cheek slightly bruised from Aiken’s punch, and a little blood on the side of his face, but he gave a fox like smile, his cockiness returning to him. “Now, I want you to go back to whoever sent you, and tell them that when we see their dirty face, he’ll wish he was never born,” Charlie said seriously.
The man just stared at Charlie, his face full of shock and fear.
“Go on! Before I change my mind,” Charlie said, waving the gun to the door.
The man scrambled to his feet, and ran for the door. He gave one last look, and then ran out the door.
Charlie twirled the gun in his hand, and walked over to me. He stuck out his hand to help me up.
I grabbed his hand, and he helped steady me as I came to my feet. My head hurt, and as I lightly touched it, I felt a bump and a little blood coming from it.
Aiken ran over to us. “Are ya okay lil’ miss?” He asked.
I smiled at him, trying to look happy. “I’m fine now.” Though I didn’t feel fine. My legs were shaky and weak, and I was trembling. I was still scared, but didn’t want to show it. Although I still felt like crying, and the fear from everything that had just gone on was still in me, I tried to act tough and smile it all away.
“Are you sure?” Charlie asked.
I nodded, and put on a weak smile that probably wasn’t very convincing.
“Why don’t we all get some rest. It’ll do us some good. Charlie, ya can share my room,” Aiken said.
Charlie smiled a nice and respectful smile. “Thank you, Aiken,” he said.
“Sure thing. Oh, sorry about the punch,” Aiken said.
“It’s okay,” Charlie said, rubbing his bruised cheek. “I suppose it was going to happen eventually,” he said with a chuckle.
We all walked up the stairs to our rooms, Aiken making sure I got into mine before he and Charlie went to theirs.
I stumbled into my room, completely tired from the day. I kicked off my shoes, and walked lazily over to the bed.
Suddenly, a low rustling in my room woke me up. I held my breath, listening for the noise, but nothing came. I waited a minute longer to decide to start breathing normal again, just to make sure. But again, nothing came, and so I figured it was just my imagination.
It was pretty dark outside and in my room as well, since I had no lights on, meaning I had been asleep for a good amount of time. I stayed still in my bed, and listened to the chirping crickets outside, and the sound of honking cars. Then suddenly the rustling came again. It sounded like it was in my room. I turned my head to the window, and stared at it. The only light that came from outside was the single streetlamp nearby, and the moon and stars. Against that light, a dark figure moved across my room.
“Huh!” I gasped. My heart seemed to skip a beat. I tried to stay still, and think of what I needed to do. Should I just sit there? Should I stand up and address whoever it was?
I tried to steady my breathing, but I just couldn’t seem to calm down. Was I about to die? Suddenly I heard a chuckle. A deep, evil, menacing chuckle.
“You don’t know how simple it would be for me to kill you right here, right now. Unfortunately I have other business to attend and was just dropping off a little gift,” the intruder said, his voice deep and terrifying.
“Who are you?” I asked the shadow. I was now sitting up in bed, looking around for someone.
“Watch the shadows, ’cause they’ll get ya,” he whispered. He were right by my ear.
I jumped, and switched on the bedside lamp, and looked all over the room. I couldn’t see anyone. The window was closed, and had been closed the whole time, so where had he gone?
I stood up and hurried over to the window, and looked out for anyone who could have been the prowler. No one. I then turned my head, and looked for the “gift” the man had said he left.
On a chair across the room sat a little brown package. It had a string around it, and was tied in a little bow at the top.
I scurried over to it, and slipped the string off. I was scared to open the package, and just stared at it. I clenched my fists, and then ripped the brown paper off the cube shaped package, and slipped the lid off the box hidden under the paper.
I let out a penetrating shriek, and stumbled backwards, and leaned against the bed, my face white like a ghost, my hand over my pounding heart.
Charlie and Aiken were pounding at the door. “Hello? Are you okay in there? Come on, open the door!” Charlie yelled.
“Lil’ miss! Are ya okay? Answer us,” Aiken said.
I slowly made my way to the door, and clumsily unlocked it.
The door flew open, as Charlie and Aiken rushed up to my side.
“We heard ya scream. What happened?” Aiken asked me.
I opened my mouth and tried to force out words, but couldn’t. I pointed over to the box. Charlie and Aiken looked over me at the box. Charlie slid passed me over to it, cautiously making sure to not get too close. His eyes grew wide, as he stared inside the box.
“What is it?” Aiken asked. He was hugging me against himself, trying to comfort me. Charlie just stared at the box.
“Stay here,” Aiken said to me, and he walked over to the box. “Holy bottle caps and fish sticks, what in the world?!” Aiken said.
In the box sat one of the most dangerous and venomous spiders in the world; a funnel spider. It’s large, long fangs were pointed out at Charlie and Aiken, and it’s thick, sleek black legs were spread out over the skull of what must have been the evil critters victim.
“A funnel spider,” Charlie said.
“A funnel spider? But they aren’t around these parts,” Aiken said. “I know,” Charlie said, still staring at the spider.
“How do we get rid of it?” Aiken asked.
“Find something heavy to kill it with, quick,” Charlie said.
Aiken started to look for something large and heavy to squish the poisonous creature with, and finally approached Charlie with a large, thick, hard back phone book.
“Hand it here,” Charlie said. He grabbed the book from Aiken, and positioned himself, ready to smash the spider.
“Careful, one wrong move and it could easily bite ya,” Aiken said.
“Thanks for the comfort, I really needed that,” Charlie said. He raised the book, licked his lips a couple times, and then grunted as the book came smashing down on top of the big black spider.
“Did ya get it?” Aiken asked. “I, I think so,” Charlie said.
I slowly moved closer, but stayed a good distance away. I was curious as to what was going on, and I wanted to stay involved.
Charlie lifted the book, and we all looked at the skull. On it sat a smeared black blob of guts and blood.
We all sighed, and relaxed a bit.
Charlie looked at the bottom of the phone book, and it had some spider pieces smeared on it. “I suppose they’ll need to put a new phone book in here. I’ll dispose of this,” he said. He walked over to the little trash bin and dropped the book inside it. He wiped hid hands off on his pants, and walked back over to us.
“What’s that?” I asked, seeing an envelope under the skull.
“What do we have here?” Charlie said. He scooted the skull over with one finger, and grabbed the faded envelope. He ripped it open, and pulled a piece of paper out of it.
“What does it say?” I asked.
“It, it just has this,” Charlie said. He turned the paper around to show me and Aiken. His face looked confused, not knowing what it was.
In the middle of the sheet sat a symbol of a large spider, its shadow stretching out, and three fourths of a circle around it.
“What is it?” I asked.
“I’m not sure,” Charlie said. “Do you know Aiken?”
Aiken studied it. “I’ve never seen it before,” he said.
“How did this get in your room?” Charlie asked me.
“A man was prowling around in here. He told me he had a ‘gift,’ and then he said ‘watch the shadows, ’cause they’ll get ya, I repeated, making my voice try and match his. “And then, he just vanished!” I added.
The color in Charlie’s face drained, and he stared at me with a scared look. “What?” I asked, getting scared myself.
“They have Dyomis!”
“They have it! What do we do now?” I asked.
Charlie sat pondering and fiddling with his ring. “I’m not sure. They didn’t steal mine. I still have it on,” Charlie said. He showed me the vest he wore. “They must have somehow gotten the formula for-” he stopped. His face went pale, and he started shaking.
“What?” I asked.
Charlie swallowed hard. “The only two copies of it are at your house, and mine,” Charlie said.
Instantly the color drained from my face, as I felt the fear and worry that my dad or Charlie’s mom might have been harmed.
“We have to go to my house. Right away!” Charlie said.
“We can stop by my fish stand, so we can get my car,” Aiken said.
“Right. We’ll need to get plane tickets though, being that I live in Britain,” Charlie said.
“I have money to spare,” Aiken said.
“Then it’s settled. We’ll go get Aiken’s car, get plane tickets, and go back to my house. Let’s go,” Charlie said.
We ran down to the lobby desk, returning the keys.
“We’re checking out now,” Aiken said to the man at the lobby desk. He threw some cash and the keys on the counter, and we rushed off.
We walked down the sidewalk in silence, but also in a hurry. It was still pretty dark, but street lights lined the road, so we were able to see a little.
I couldn’t help but think about my dad. Was he alright? He was already so sick, he wouldn’t be able to defend himself against even one man.
Memories kept playing through my mind. I could barely remember my childhood, but what I could I played over and over in my mind. I wanted to keep my daddy near me all the way. I needed every bit of comfort that I could gather, and right now, the only comfort I had was the thought of my dad, and having Aiken and Charlie near me.
“There! She’s sittin’ where I left her,” Aiken said, gesturing to his car that was parked near his fish stand. He ran over to his shiny silver car, and ran his hand over the top. “This is my baby,” Aiken said, as he kept stroking the car. “Hop in,” he said. He opened the drivers door, and slipped in.
Charlie let me sit up front, and he hopped into the back. The inside was very leathery, and very fancy. Must have been expensive.
“Alright, now we’re off to the airport.” Aiken started the car. It gave a smooth, quiet rev, and we were off, slightly passing the speed limit.
No one talked, and it was kind of an awkward silence. We all just sat there, not really knowing what to do. We looked out our windows, shifted in our seats, and just looked around.
“So…” Charlie said, trying to think of a conversation. “How’s your fish stand?” He said slowly.
“It’s like any other fish stand. I get money, and I survive. No complaints,” Aiken said plainly.
“Cool,” Charlie said. He nodded his head a little, and then leaned back a little.
I stared out the window, as the road whizzed by, my mind still on my father.
“Whoa!” Aiken said. He slammed on the brakes, and we came to a sudden stop.
I looked forward, as a dark figure slammed against the car. The person turned their face to us, showing a female face.
She stared at us with an apologetic look, and then quickly ran away, her long legs moving quickly under her.
“Hey! That’s Keelia!” Charlie shouted. He opened his door, and ran out, chasing after the girl.
“Who?” I asked myself. I slid out of the car.
“Oh come on,” Aiken said. He turned off the car and got out, chasing after us. “Oi! Come on guys. We’ve got to get out of here,” he said.
“Hey! Hey, stop!” Charlie shouted. He ran quickly after the girl, as me and Aiken followed. The girl turned a corner into a dark alley, and Charlie disappeared behind it as well.
Aiken and I caught up to them a little, and we all chased after the girl.
Eventually Charlie got close enough to touch the girl. He reached out and grabbed the collar of her black jacket. He slammed her against the metal chain fence right by them. “What are you doing here?” Charlie demanded, pushing the girl harder against the fence. The girls hood had fallen off, and the face that was under it looked scared. She looked about my age, with a very pale face. She had a short black bob with a large purple chunk of dye in her bangs. Her eyes were a pale blue, and were lined with a little makeup. She was tall and thin, but not taller than Charlie.
“Come on Charlie, back off a little,” she said with a British accent. Her eyes showed fear.
“I asked you a question! Why are you here?” Charlie asked, slamming Keelia against the fence again.
“Alright! Just let me go,” Keelia said.
Charlie let go of Keelia, but he stayed close up, making sure she couldn’t run. “Alright now, tell me. Why are you in Ireland?” He asked.
Keelia gulped, and stared into Charlie’s eyes. “I followed you,” she said.
Charlie looked at her disgusted. “What are you doing following me?” He asked, getting in her face again.
Keelia backed against the fence as far as she could. “Coming to warn you,” she said.
“Why would you warn me?! Your father’s the criminal master mind!” Charlie said.
“That’s why I’m following you. “My dad, he’s… gone now. Someone else is after you now, and he’s even more dangerous,” Keelia said, a glint of tears edging her dark-lined eyes.
Charlie backed up a little. He looked at Keelia with a semi gentle look. “So he’s, no longer… did someone…” He didn’t want to say anything to hurt Keelia.
“He’s dead okay! Don’t be afraid to say it. It’s not a curse word for goodness sakes!” Keelia yelled. She looked angry, only to hide her sadness.
Charlie nodded. “I’m sorry Keelia. I didn’t mean for that to happen. He was just-”
“Yeah well, it’s too late. He’s dead, and now you’re being hunted down by Dylan,” Keelia said, looking down, and letting her bangs fall in her face.
Charlie’s mouth dropped open. “Dylan?” He repeated.
“Yes Dylan! Are you deaf?!” Keelia said sarcastically. She looked up at Charlie with angry, hurt eyes.
“Oh no,” Charlie said. He looked at me. “Things just got harder.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Dylan is a professionally trained assassin. He worked for Keelia’s dad, the professor I told you about. Well, now her dad’s dead, and Dylan is in charge. He must have been the one who got in your room,” Charlie said.
“Oh great, so he’s already found you guys? Great!” Keelia said. She through her arms in the air, and then crossed them.
I gulped, and tried to stay focused. “Well, we can just leave for Britain now. He won’t know we’ve left. Not yet anyways,” I said.
“He has Dyomis, remember?!” Charlie said.
“Oh yeah,” I said.
“‘Oh yeah’ she says,” Keelia said. “Look princess, if you can’t handle any of this, then I suggest you go home,” Keelia said to me.
My face tightened, and I stared at her, not knowing what to say.
“It’s her, Keelia,” Charlie said, not looking at anyone.
Keelia froze, and looked at me in a weird way. “You mean, she’s the daughter of Frank Pollard?” She asked.
I looked at Charlie, also confused. “Pollard? So is that my last name?” I asked. “Yes, yes to both of you!” Charlie said in frustration.
“Oh great!” Keelia said. She threw her arms in the air, and then ran them through her hair. She turned around, facing away from us as she mumbled to herself.
“So you never told me my last name? That would have been helpful to know!” I said.
“I’m sorry okay! I had a lot of other things on my mind at the time. Your last name wasn’t really that important then,” Charlie said frustrated.
I stood as tall as I could, and gave Charlie an angry look. “Oh, so my name doesn’t matter? I guess my memories aren’t very important. What if I knew something about the bad guys, or about Dyomis, or something else important?! But what would that matter to you, you already know everything,” I said, tears streaming down my face. No longer did I feel comforted, the thought of my dad fleeing and anger and hurt rushing to me.
Charlie’s angry face disappeared. He looked at me with an apologetic expression.
“Look, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it like that,” he said.
“I just wanna go home,” I said. I slid to the floor, and sat against a building, hugging my knees close to me.
“That’s why I’m helping you. I want to help you get your memories back. I want to help get you home to your dad,” Charlie said, walking over to me, and sitting next to me.
I wiped away my tears, and looked at him. “I’m sorry for blowing up at you like that. I’m just upset and confused is all,” I said.
Charlie smiled. “That’s okay. I understand,” he said. He pulled out a handkerchief from his sleeve, and handed it to me.
“Okay, I’m glad we’re clearing things up now, but there’s still the issue of getting away from Dylan!” Keelia said.
Charlie looked at her. He smiled his sneaky fox smile. “Or, we let him find us,” he said.
“What do you mean by that?” I asked.
“I mean, we’ll let him find us. But we’ll be ready for him,” Charlie said.
“Are you crazy! Have you forgotten that he’s a professionally trained assassin?” Keelia said.
“I didn’t forget anything Keelia,” Charlie said calmly.
“Oh good, then you must have another plan. I’d rather not die, so if you’re going to go through with this plan, then I’m out!” Keelia said.
“Fine then. You don’t have to stay. No one’s forcing you to,” Charlie said. “But I’m sticking to my idea. If everyone else agrees,” he said.
“How about you explain the idea before we make any decisions,” I said.
“I agree with lil’ miss. I want to hear it first,” Aiken said.
Charlie nodded. “Alright. The idea is that we go to my house. Dylan will probably be waiting there for us,” he started.
“and?” I urged Charlie.
“Before we go, we’ll notify the police. There’s a man on the police team who my dad told about the Dyomis. So they know that it legally belongs to us. They signed a document showing that we own Dyomis. Once we tell them about it being stolen, they’ll be all over the case,” Charlie said.
“So the police will just arrest the assassin when we get to your house?” I asked.
“Not quite. We’ll let Dylan capture us, and take us to his hideout. The police will be wearing disguises, and they’ll follow us,” Charlie said.
I pondered his plan in my head. It was risky, and very dangerous. We would all be in danger, and there was no telling what could happen. But I made my decision. “Alright, I’m in,” I said.
Charlie gave a pleased smile. “What about you Aiken?” He asked.
“I’m not letting ya go by yourself lil’ miss. Count me in,” Aiken said.
Charlie nodded. “Good. Now what about you Keelia? Are you in or out?”
“Hmph!” Keelia grunted. She crossed her arms, and turned her back to Charlie.
“I take that as a no,” Charlie said disappointed. He walked over to Keelia. “Keelia, I’ve known you for years, and it’s not like you to turn down an opportunity to avenge someone you love. The truth is, we need you. I’m not forcing anything on you, but we could use all the help we can get,” Charlie said.
We all waited for a response from Keelia.
She sniffled a little, and said quietly, “Fine.”
“Good, now off to the airport!” Charlie said. Him and Aiken started walking back to Aiken’s car.
I turned to go with them, but then stopped when I heard Keelia crying. “Keelia,” I said softly.
“Oh go on! I’m fine,” Keelia said loudly, trying to stop her crying.
walked over to her. “No you’re not. You’re hurt, and I can see that. It’s okay to cry,” I said.
“Says little miss cupcake,” Keelia said sharply.
“Crying isn’t a crime. It’s okay to be sad and cry a little. But you can’t just hold your emotions inside,” I said.
“Not every girl is a mush bag like you,” Keelia said harshly.
“No, but everyone has emotions. Look, you’re hurt, I know, but being sour and unkind won’t make things better. You need to cry a little,” I said.
Keelia looked into my eyes. She had a pained, angry look on.
“Hiding your emotions won’t make them go away, it’ll just make them worse. I honestly know how you feel right now. My mom died two years ago now, and I was standing right there when it happened. I know how it hurts when a family member dies.”
Keelia’s chin trembled. She then flung herself onto me, and hugged me, lying her head on my shoulder as she cried. “I don’t understand,” she sobbed.
I held her close, crying a little myself as I watched my mother’s death all over in my head.
“I didn’t even love him,” Keelia said through her tears.
“You must have a little. Why else would you cry?” I said.
Keelia lifted her head. “I guess I did. But he didn’t love me. I was just his test subject,” Keelia said.
“Test subject? What did he do to you?” I asked.
Keelia lifted her jacket sleeve up, showing me her arm. It was pricked with tons of tiny little needle holes. “He used me to test his experiments on,” she said, pulling her sleeve back down.
“That’s awful! I’m so sorry,” I said.
“Don’t be. You didn’t do anything. Besides, there is a plus side to it all. He made me be able to run faster,” Keelia said.
“So, why were you running earlier when we first saw you?” I asked curiously.
Keelia looked away from me, and dug her shoe into the ground nervously. “Well, I was sort of running from, from the police. But I didn’t do anything wrong!” She said quickly.
I didn’t say anything, not yet. I wanted to let her finish. I wasn’t about to judge her or anything.
“This guy stole something from me, so I decided to take it back,” Keelia said.
“What did he take?” I asked.
“My necklace. It used to be my moms. Once she… she passed away, I received it, and wore it every day.”
“Why did he take it?” I asked.
“Well, I kind of lost it, and then found it in his antique shop,” Keelia answered. She placed her hand on the necklace around her neck. It was a thick, black, silky piece of fabric, with a large silver heart strung onto it in the middle.
I didn’t say anything, I didn’t know what to say.
“Oi! Girls, come on. We’ve got to get goin’,” Aiken yelled, coming towards us.
“We’re coming,” I yelled back. “Come on,” I said to Keelia.
She grabbed my hand and squeezed it tight. “Thank you,” she said kindly.
“Sure thing,” I said softly. We smiled at each other, and walked to the car.
Little did we know the surprises lying ahead waiting for us.We stepped off the large plane in Britain. Having no luggage, we went straight to a car renting place. Aiken and Charlie both payed for it, and we were soon driving away in a fairly nice car.
Charlie sat in front this time, so he could tell Aiken where to drive.
“We’ll go to the police station first. The station’s right around the corner,” Charlie directed.
Aiken turned the corner, and we could all see the police station right there. “Wow, ya actually meant right around the corner,” Aiken said. We pulled into the driveway, and the car stopped.
“We should all go in, I want him to meet everyone so he knows who we are,” Charlie said.
“You all go ahead, I’ll stay in here,” Keelia said.
“Oh come on Keelia. I said all of us, not some of us,” Charlie said.
“So. I just don’t feel like getting out right now. Besides, someone’s gotta keep watch for any signs of Dylan,” Keelia argued.
Charlie sighed. “Fine, stay in the car.” He opened his door, and started for the police station.
Aiken and I followed him, and walked into the small building. I studied the interior of the area, and the people in it. Suddenly I started seeing snippets of memories in my mind.
I saw a car, a man, a man with a knife walking towards me. The man’s face was unclear, but I could see the evil grin and the glow of his dark eyes, his shoulders slouched forward in an intimidating position. I remembered running, but unfortunately, I could not run fast enough. The man was able to get to me, and the knife sliced down my arm, cutting so deep, it almost hit the bone.
“Lil’ miss, didn’t ya hear him?” Aiken said, breaking through my thoughts.
I snapped out of my trance like stupor, and then looked at Aiken. “I’m sorry, I was just thinking,” I said. I noticed that a man had joined us in the waiting area of the station, and apparently he had been talking saying something to us.
“That’s alright,” the man said. “My name is David Keith, chief officer in command. Your father and I have met before, and so have we,” he said to me. He was very tall, and
very muscular. His skin was dark, and his head was shaved bald. He was obviously from America originally, since he had an American accent.
“We have?” I asked, not able to remember. Then I saw another flash of memories.
I saw the man who had cut my arm fighting with someone… someone big, someone tall… It was chief David! He was trying to take the knife from the man. I still couldn’t tell who the man with the knife was though, but it was very clear that Mr. Keith was the one who had saved me from any further harm on that day.
“We have met!” I exclaimed.
Chief David smiled, showing his straight white teeth. “We went to the plane crash, but found no survivors. I searched and searched for you. Your father told me I was to meet you at three o’clock here in Britain. When word came that your plane had crashed, I went to the sight, but you weren’t there. I phoned your father, and told him you were missing, and I’ve been searching for you since,” David said. “Glad to see you Panda,” David said. I smiled at David, remembering his brave actions of saving my life.
“Wait, you’ve met?” Charlie looked confused.
“Yes. Chief David saved my life,” I said. I lifted the sleeve of my blue shirt, and showed them all the long scar going down my arm.
“I’m assuming you’re just remembering now, and you haven’t been holding information out on us,” Charlie said.
“Don’t worry. I’m just now remembering this. Once we walked in here, I instantly remembered being saved by Chief David. I owe him my life,” I said.
Aiken eyed the large man, but not suspiciously, but almost in intimidation. Chief David was even bigger than Aiken, though it seemed hard to believe. “So who’d he save ya from is what I’m wonderin’,” Aiken said.
“I don’t remember that much. Do you remember, chief David?” I asked.
David nodded his head solemnly. “It was that horrid man D-” suddenly the phone rang, interrupting him. “Pardon me. I’ll be right back,” he said. He walked over and picked up the phone. “Hello… Yes this is chief Keith, how can I help… uh-huh… I see… I’ll send an officer right over.” He walked back over to us. “Excuse me for one moment,” he said, and he walked to the back of the building.
We waited for him to return, and he did come back shortly. “Okay, I’m back. Now what were we saying?” He asked.
“No matter, we have something important,” Charlie said. He explained everything that had happened from beginning up until now, explaining the intruder in my room, and how they had a copy of Dyomis.
“Got it. So we’ll follow you guys to the hideout, and then we surprise them with an attack. This is what I’ve been waiting for,” David said.
“Good, I knew you’d help. But first, do you have any thing that we could use to keep in contact besides cellphones?” Charlie asked.
“I got just the thing, hold on.” David walked behind the counter, and he pulled up a silver briefcase, and unlocked it. “I’ve been waiting to use these babies. These are hidden mic and ear pieces. The microphones are disguised as simple shirt buttons, and the earpieces hook around your ear. I’ve got plenty of them. You all have hair long enough to cover your ears up, so no one will see them. It’s a good thing you’re all wearing shirts with buttons, otherwise we’d have a little problem. Here, put them on.” David handed us each a set.
“We’ll need one more,” Charlie said. “We have someone else with us. She’s in the car right now, watching out for anything or anyone,” he said.
David handed Charlie an extra set. “Okay, we’re all good to go. You all go on ahead. I’ll gather together my team, and we’ll get to your house as quick as possible,” chief David said.
“Right. We’ll be watching for you. Don’t be too late,” Charlie said.
“No worries. I’ll be there.” David nodded to all of us, and he then went to the back of the building.
We all walked out, and got in the car.
“Here, put these on,” Charlie said, handing the set to Keelia.
“What for?” She asked, studying the little button.
“It’s so the chief and us can keep in contact if something were to happen, or we need to talk,” Charlie said.
Keelia put on the earpiece and the little button. “I don’t see why we all need one,” Keelia said.
Chief David’s voice came through all our earpieces in an answer to Keelia, saying,
“Because, if someone gets separated from the others, we’ll be able to keep in contact.”
“There, you see?” Charlie said. Keelia seemed to get a little nervous. “Are you alright?” I asked her.
She nodded, and then leaned back in her seat.
Alright, I guess we’re off to my house then. I’ll tell you where to go from here,” Charlie said to Aiken.
“Lead the way,” Aiken said. He turned on the car, and we started out for Charlie’s home.
We stood on Charlie’s front porch, waiting for him to open the door. He didn’t want to, not yet. He wanted to wait and see if chief David would show up.
“Charlie, he said he wouldn’t be late. Why don’t we just go in?” Keelia said quietly.
Charlie sighed. “I suppose you’re right. Come on, let’s go,” he said. He grabbed the doorknob, and twisted it open. The door slowly slid open, an we all stepped into the entryway.
The house was ransacked, with furniture all over the place, and papers spilled out on the floor. Every drawer and cupboard was laying open, broken glass and dishes scattered over the house. Couch cushions were flipped up, and a potted plant in the corner of the living room was turned sideways, the dirt spilled out.
“They’ve been here all right,” Charlie said angrily. “Mom? Are you here?” He called out. No answer came back to him. “Hello, are you home?” Charlie called out again. He slowly walked through the jungle of chairs and paper, and towards a wall.
“Charlie, where are you going?” I hissed quietly.
“Come on. Down here,” Charlie said. He then pushed against the wall, and the wall slid sideways, revealing a hidden staircase.
We all stared at the now visible staircase in surprise and awe.
“Now that’s what I call crafty!” Aiken said. He moved forward to the wall, and stood next to it, waiting for Charlie, then Keelia, then me to get in.
At the bottom of the steps, a hidden lab was there. Tubes and chemicals were everywhere, and tools were neatly lined on a table. Strangely enough the lab had not been destroyed. But a filing cabinet sat open, with a file missing.
Charlie looked into the files to see if any other files were missing. “Only the one for the Dyomis is gone,” he confirmed.
“So, what now? Your mom’s not here, the file’s missing, and we don’t know where anything went,” I said.
“I’m not sure,” Charlie said. “David, do you copy?” He whispered into his microphone. “Loud and clear,” came David’s voice in all of our earpieces.
“Are you in position?” Charlie asked.
“We’re sitting right outside,” David said.
“If any harm falls on lil’ miss, I’m comin’ after ya, Charlie,” Aiken said. Charlie chuckled a little. “You do that,” he said.
“Laugh all ya want, but it ain’t funny once you’re havin’ to run from my fists o’ fury,” Aiken said, sounding a little like he was teasing, but at the same time, there was a bit of seriousness in his tone.
I smiled at how serious and funny Aiken was all at the same time. “Thank you Aiken, for protecting me this whole time,” I said.
Aiken perked up a little more. “You’re welcome, lil’ miss,” he said. “I’m right here with ya ‘till the end!”
Keelia rolled her eyes. “You guys are all so sensitive and mushy,” she said.
“Sh!” Charlie shushed.
We all froze, and listened.
“What?” I asked.
“Shush!” Charlie said.
Suddenly we heard a rustling, a quiet, small shuffle of steps coming from in the room.
“Probably a mouse,” Keelia said.
“I suppose,” Charlie said, but he didn’t sound too convinced, and I wasn’t very convinced either.
“It seems to have stop-” I had started to say, but something grabbed my waist from behind, and yanked me back. I screamed for dear life. “Aiken!”
“Lil’ miss!” Aiken yelled. He put on his most serious, angry face anyone had ever seen. “Alright ya no good son of a gun! I’m gonna hurt ya so bad, you’ll wish ya had never been born.” He charged into the shadows where I had disappeared into. He was soon backing out again, his hands in the air, his face sweaty and frightened.
First a gun appeared, then a large, rough hand, then a long arm with a black sleeve, then half a face. The man stopped moving, but kept the gun pointed at Aiken. “I suggest you don’t charge at me, sir,” the man said.
“No need to get touchy,” Aiken said. “Why not just give back the lass, okay?” He said.
“Touchy, this is no matter of touchiness,” the man said, no humor in his tone. He was all seriousness, his tone very dark and sinister.
“You give her back!” Charlie demanded, a snarl on his face.
“Shut up, kid! Your girlfriend’s staying with me, so back off!” The man said, waving his gun at Charlie, but making sure he stayed focused on Aiken.
Charlie let a low snarl come from his lips, a disgusted and angered expression on his face. “Now, Mr. Aiken, if you ever want to see your little miss again, walk into the shadows, and no funny business,” the man said.
Aiken nodded. He walked into the shadows, and disappeared from Charlie and Keelia’s view. “Now, Keelia, how about you help me out a little,” the man said.
Keelia turned around, her face guilty looking. She faced Charlie.
“What’s going on?” Charlie asked. “This man knows you, Keelia?” He asked.
Keelia reached into her pocket, and pulled out a shotgun, pointing it at Charlie.
“Keelia? What are you doing? Don’t be stupid!” Charlie said.
“I’m sorry, Charlie,” she said. She backed up into the shadow, and stood next to the man. “You’ve always been a nice guy, really, so please just don’t try anything,” she said.
The man chuckled, the white of his teeth showing from out of the shadows. “Now Charlie, thank you for your cooperation. It has made things much easier,” the man said.
“What are you talking about? I didn’t do anything for you!” Charlie said.
“Oh but you did,” the man said. “You see, I’ve had this whole entire thing planned out. The plane crash, you saving the girl, you all meeting Keelia in the streets, everything. I even knew your whole plan. Bringing the police here, now that was not a good idea.”
Charlie looked at what he could see of Keelia. “Why?” He asked her.
“Look Charlie, Dylan can help me. He’s got the money, the training. I’ll learn so much from him. So much more than my stupid father,” Keelia said. She sounded a little sad, but didn’t want to show it.
“Dylan,” Charlie growled under his breath. “So you were never going to help us? How long have you been with him?” Charlie asked.
“No Charlie, I was never going to help you. I’ve been working with Dylan for as long as I can remember,” Keelia said.
“We trusted you!” Charlie yelled, taking an angry step forward.
Dylan raised his gun higher, making sure Charlie knew to not get any closer. “Not so fast, kid,” he said.
Charlie glared at Keelia, his eyes turning cold and distant. “You’re so much like your father, a traitor,” he said.
Keelia looked angry and hurt by Charlie’s words. Her hand started shaking as she kept the gun pointing at Charlie. “No,” she said. “I am not like that man,” she said.
“Oh, but you are,” Charlie said with a scowl.
Keelia started to charge forward in anger, lowering her gun so she could run at Charlie.
“Keelia! Enough,” Dylan said. “Charlie, once again, I thank you for your cooperation, but I’m afraid we have to say goodbye,” he said. He cocked the gun, laughing a little. He pulled the trigger, and a bullet went flying into Charlie’s chest.
“Charlie!” I screamed from where I was being held by one of Dylan’s men. “No!”
I stared at Charlie who was lying on the ground gasping for breath. I began to sob uncontrollably, trying to fight my way out of the arms of the man who was holding me. But he was too strong for me, so all I could do was give up.
Keelia stared in shock at Charlie as well. “Why did you do that?” She asked Dylan.
“Because, we don’t need him any longer. We just wanted the girl,” Dylan said.
“But killing people wasn’t apart of the plan!” Keelia exclaimed.
“If you can’t handle it, then you shouldn’t have joined me,” Dylan said coldly.
Keelia just stared at Charlie’s wounded body, lying there. He was still gasping for air.
“Come on, let’s go. Leave the boy, he won’t be alive much longer,” Dylan said to his men. He walked out of the shadows and to the stairs, his men following him.
Me and Aiken were forced along by the men holding us. We stumbled as we were shoved across the room and up the stairs.
I sat staring at nothing, my mind in shock. It was all my fault. I was responsible for Charlie getting shot. If I had never of come, then things would be better. Charlie would still be alive. Now I was going to die, and so was Aiken. That was my fault too. “I’m sorry Aiken,” I said, looking at the big burly man who had been a good friend this whole time.
“Don’t be sorry, lil’ miss. Nothin’ is your fault here. Ya didn’t do anythin’,” Aiken said.
“But I did. If it weren’t for me, then Charlie wouldn’t have gotten shot. None of this would have happened if I hadn’t come. You should have stayed at your fish stand. You wouldn’t be on your way to death if you had,” I said.
“But I didn’t want to stay. I wanted to come along with ya, and stick with ya always. I never even had second thoughts about comin’ along. I was with ya the whole time, and I’ll stay with ya ’til the end,” Aiken said in a quiet loving tone. “It’s not over yet,” he said even quieter.
I cried a little as Aiken spoke. I wasn’t afraid anymore. I felt brave now. Aiken truly loved me like a father loves his child, and that was comfort enough to know. “Thank you Aiken. You have truly been the best friend anyone could have,” I said.
Aiken smiled and nodded. “And you to me,” Aiken said. “I don’t think there’s a happier man in the world than me. It’s all thanks to having a lil’ miss around like you,” Aiken said.
“Shut up!” The man holding Aiken said. He pushed Aiken a little harder. Aiken smiled at me, but didn’t talk.
We stepped outside, and were forced into a slick black car, the same car that had tried to run me down when I first arrived.
Aiken and I were placed between the two large men who were holding us.
“Now then,” Dylan said, sitting in the passenger seat. “Let’s talk a little,” he said.
“We don’t need to talk to ya, ya dirty son of a gun!” Aiken said angrily.
“Ah, well, I see you’re upset. I would be too if I was an unintelligent Irishman,” Dylan said, his voice full of hatred.
Aiken made a growling sound, and he spit on Dylan’s chair.
Dylan nodded his head slowly. “Are you trying to upset me? Well unfortunately for you, my car isn’t my biggest weakness,” he said.
“What do you want with us? We didn’t do anything to you!” I said, glaring at the man.
“On the contrary, you did,” Dylan said, his voice full of anger and hatred.
“What do you mean?” I asked. I didn’t know what he was talking about. Was this another memory that I couldn’t remember?
“Just think a little. Think about a lab, with dim lights, and a scientist eager to finish his experiment. But someone interrupted him by bringing the police to his hideout, and destroying all his hard work that had taken years!” Dylan said to me.
As he was talking I could see it all. I was in a dimly lit room, with the police behind me. Chief David was with me. Inside the room was a slender but tall man with tangled dark hair. He was experimenting on a woman…. my mother! He saw us, and started charging ragingly at us. He then pulled out a knife, and started slicing at each officer, destroying them one by one. He then cornered me, and raise the knife. He was pushed aside by chief David before he could plunge the dagger into my chest, but it sliced against my arm, creating an awfully painful mess of blood.
“You!” I said. “You were the one who was experimenting on my mom! You cut my arm, and it was you that chief David was fighting that day,” I said.
“Yes, and now all that hard work that I had done just went down the drain! All those years of mixing and matching chemicals, gone! Now, I have a lab again. An even better one! If it hadn’t been for you my other lab would still be up, and even bigger and better! But no, you had to interfere. You had to save your dear mother! So now, I’m taking my revenge. I’m destroying everything and everyone you love. First your mother, now that boy, then this Irishman, then your precious daddy,” Dylan said.
“You killed my mother!” I screamed. I was enraged now. My face felt like it was burning, and my hands felt like sand as I clenched my fists.
“Yes I killed her, and I’ll kill everyone else you know and love. After you’ve watched each and every one of them go, you’ll be exterminated as well, leaving me with the formula to the Dyomis, and I’ll be making some big bucks off of it, followed by every other piece of your father’s work,” Dylan said.
“You won’t get away with this!” I said, clenching my teeth in anger.
“Ah, but I will,” Dylan said. “Gag them,” he said.
The men next to us placed towels across our mouths, shoving them in between my teeth. Both me and Aiken struggled to avoid the men, but it was impossible.
As I was struggling, I began to feel dizzy. Something smelled strange, and I soon began to see splotches of black going across my vision. Soon, I began to fade in and out of consciousness, and then, everything went blank.
Slowly my vision started coming back to me again. I had a major headache, and I didn’t know where I was. When my vision was completely normal, I saw I was in the middle of a concrete room, bound to a wooden chair. There was one light in the room that hung directly above my head. It didn’t light very much of the place. Only a large circle around me.
I tried to move my hands, but they were cuffed behind me to the chair.
“I wouldn’t bother trying to escape, it won’t do you any good,” Dylan’s voice echoed from somewhere.
I looked all around, looking for a door, or a window. But there seemed to be nothing, not that I could see. “Where are you?” I asked, trying to sound tough. But my throat was dry which caused my voice to crack.
“Didn’t you get my warning? I said to watch the shadows, or they’ll get you,” Dylan said. I now recognized his voice. “You put the box in my room! But what did the whole spider thing mean?” I asked.
“Just a threat. You see, I was putting fear into your minds. Fear can be pretty simple if you know how to make it. The main point was to see if you were smart or not. Apparently not, otherwise you would have gotten the warning. I’ve been with you all the whole time. Hiding in the shadows, watching and waiting for my plan to kick into action. You are more simple minded than a dead cow,” Dylan said with a chuckle. “It almost makes it boring.”
“Where’s Aiken?” I asked.
“You mean the big Irish dummy? Oh you’ll get to see him soon.”
“What are you doing to him?” I asked angrily.
“Nothing yet. Simply letting fear seep into his mind. You see, lions can smell fear a mile away. They pounce at the first hint of fear,” Dylan said.
I felt my heart skip a beat. I gulped, and then dared to ask. “You’re feeding him to lions?” My voice quivered.
Dylan laughed evilly. “Correct! Isn’t that exciting?” He said. “I wanted to come up with something brilliant for his destruction, and what better way than to be mauled by lions, having your limbs torn one at a time,” he said.
I started to hyperventilate. I felt sweat beads dripping down my face. I was in panic now. “Why are you doing this? Can’t you just kill me and leave them alone? I was the one who hurt you, not Aiken!” I pleaded.
“I know, but I must cause you the pain of loss like you caused me,” Dylan said plainly. “But you have caused me pain. My mother is dead, and you just shot my friend back there! Can’t you just leave everyone else alone? Please!” I begged.
“Your crying and begging won’t make me change my mind. I’ve already decided,” Dylan said. “Well, I have plenty to do, so goodbye for now,” he said.
“No, wait! Please,” I cried, trying to stop him from leaving, wherever he was. Then the light above me flickered, and then it dimmed even more. Now only I was illuminated by the light. Everything else was black.
I cried, my emotions all coming out at once. Fear, anger, confusion, sadness, pain, regret, remorse, all coming in one stream. I cried, letting out long sobs. I let my head hang down, and my hair fall in my face. There was no room for hope, no room for peace or comfort. Then the light flickered all the way off, leaving me in the lonely darkness.
“Why? Why did this have to happen? Why?!” I screamed at the darkness. “Good Lord, I’m so stupid! What’s wrong with me? Where did I go wrong?” I sobbed. “Everything is my fault, I’m the one who killed my mom, I killed Charlie, and now I’m going to kill Aiken. Who all must suffer before it all ends?” I said. “What’s the use, I can’t change his mind. What can I do? Nothing. I’m done for,” I said quietly. Then I sat in silence.
Then suddenly I heard a click, then a screech. Then a stream of light flowed through what looked like a door. In the door stood a silhouette of a tall, heavy set man. “It’s show time,” the man said. He walked over to me, and unlocked the handcuffs around my wrists, and untied the ropes on my ankles. “Come on,” he said, pulling me up by the scruff of my shirt.
I let him push me along, not even caring what was happening. I was a hopeless mess.
“Come on! Move faster,” the big man said.
I moved my feet, not really knowing I was moving. I just did what was pure instinct. We walked into a large room, where a couch and a couple of recliners sat, surrounding a dark wood coffee table.
I studied the room. It was just an ordinary living room.
“Sit her down,” Dylan’s voice came from somewhere.
The man pushed me onto the couch, and sat next to me, holding my arm so I couldn’t run off.
Dylan appeared from the shadows. “Glad you could join us,” he said with an evil smile. “You see, I couldn’t see you clearly, so I brought you in here. We’ll be moving into my lab very shortly,” he said. He studied what he could see of my face. “Now why have you been crying? You know, you should really keep your hair out of your eyes. Otherwise people can’t see your pretty little face.”
I looked at him with hatred and anger.
“Now now, life’s too short to be angry,” Dylan said. “I would offer you a deal. You come to my side, and you stay alive, but unfortunately I’m too set on watching you die. Oh well,” he said.
“I would never join your side,” I said with a snarl.
“Too bad, I could really help you get a lot smarter,” the assassin said. “Come on, let’s go to the laboratory.” He turned and walked down a hall.
I was forced along with them and pushed into a large metal door.
“Lower the cage!” Dylan yelled.
We were in a large lab, with all kinds of tables, tools, tubes, and experiments lying around.
A large metal cage lowered from the ceiling, holding Aiken inside of it. He wasn’t tied down or bound by anything. He just stood in the middle of the cage, his face full of anger.
“Release the lion!” Dylan yelled.
A large box was brought over to the cage, and opened, revealing a lion. The lion pounced into the cage.
“Oi! Now, no need to do anything silly. We’ll leave ya alone if ya just let us go,” Aiken said.
“No. I think I’d much rather watch you all die,” Dylan said simply with a disgustingly happy grin.
“Well at least let the girl go,” Aiken said pleadingly.
“No, she has to watch all her loved ones die, and then she too must parish,” Dylan said. “So now, I suggest you get down on your knees and pray, because you’ve just become Daniel in the lions den.”
“Aiken, look out!” I cried. Tears streamed down my face, as I watched the lion start charging after Aiken. It was pushing against the ground with it’s paws, running full speed at Aiken.
“Ah!” Aiken let out a yell. He watched as the lion jumped in mid air, ready to land on Aiken. Fortunately Aiken was able to dodge the lion by rolling out of the way. He stood up, wiping his head in relief.
Suddenly, a loud crashing was heard. Gun shots and yelling filled the lab, and Dylan’s men were yelling and swearing.
The new arrival burst into the middle of the room. “No body move!”
I looked at the doorway, where the intruders stood. “David!” I yelled. I was glad to see the chief and all his men filling the room.
The chief instantly aimed the gun at the lion that was leaping through the air again, and shot it right through, saving Aiken. The large feline fell to the cage floor.
Aiken stared at the lion, and ran his fingers through his curly red hair. “Now that was a close one!” He said.
“Alright, now no one move!” David yelled again. “Someone go open the cage,” he said to his men.
An officer stepped out from behind him, and scurried over to the man with the keys and took them.
Dylan looked angrily at chief David. “You!” He said. “I thought I got rid of you?” He said.
“Well I was wearing a bullet proof vest, so no, you didn’t,” David said. “Now I want you to release the girl, and put your hands in the air,” David said.
Dylan squinted his dark eyes, and threw me to the floor. He acted like he was raising his hands, but he soon pulled a gun out from behind him. He started shooting at David and his men.
David dodged the shots, and started to shoot as well.
I crawled over to the cage and met Aiken there. “Aiken, we have to help them,” I said.
Aiken nodded. “I’ll start fighting, ya need to go find where they have the Dyomis file hidden,” Aiken said.
“Right.” I turned and studied the room. Over in a corner I saw a filing cabinet. I ran over to it, hiding behind things as bullets whizzed by.
David charged at Dylan, shooting as he ran.
Dylan was standing still shooting at David as well. He no longer had that sinister grin across his face. He now looked angered and cruel, and mercy was obviously not on the top of his list.
I watched the chaos of it all. “Here,” I said, opening the cabinet. I flipped through the documents, but didn’t find the Dyomis. “Come on, it’s gotta be around here somewhere,” I said, searching the room again. My eyes fell upon Dylan, and I noticed a file tucked into his belt. “What do we have here?” I said.
“I’m gonna kill you, you dirty son of-” Aiken was shouting, but his voice got lost in the sound of bullets and explosions of chemicals in the lab. Aiken was charging at Dylan from the side.
Dylan turned, and aimed the gun at Aiken. He cocked it, and placed his finger on the trigger. “No!” I screamed. I picked up a long glass test tube, and through it at Dylan.
It nailed him in the back of the head, shattering all over him.
He turned slowly, and faced me. “Trying to be brave are we? Well that won’t help you much,” Dylan said. “I’m afraid all my plans have changed. I was going to kill you last, but I guess now will have to suffice.”
“Hey!” Someone yelled. A large hunk of metal came whirling at Dylan, and slammed against his side. He was forced to the ground by the blow, and his gun flew out of his hand.
“Why don’t you leave her alone.”
I looked to se who my rescuer was. “Charlie!” I exclaimed.
Charlie walked over to Dylan, a gun pointed at his head.
Dylan looked shocked. “But-how? I shot you! You were dead,” he said.
“Didn’t you know, the Dyomis works as a bullet proof vest also. Pretty handy isn’t it?” Charlie said.
Dylan smile menacingly. He gave a maniac like chuckle, his head tilted up to the ceiling. Then he suddenly disappeared completely out of sight.
Charlie stumbled back, and looked all around.
“You can’t shoot something you can’t see,” Dylan chuckled.
“Come out you coward!” Charlie yelled. He kept spinning in circles. Dylan could be anywhere. We were standing in a dark area, so Dylan could be anywhere near us, ready to attack.
I started thinking quickly. He was obviously using dyomis. What would be the weakness for this thing? How could I defeat him, when I couldn’t touch him? Shadows are only in dark covered places, so… light! I looked around for a lamp or a flashlight, but there was nothing. “My iPod!” I yelled. I dug into my pocket, searching for my iPod.
“Look, I don’t think this is the time to start listening to music. We’re in a life or death state here!” Charlie said to me.
“Shadows are only in the dark right? So to get rid of the darkness, we need light,” I said. “So why don’t we shed a little light on this subject?” I turned on my iPod, and the bright light of the screen made blotches of the shadows disappear. “Come on out Dylan!” I said. I started slowly spinning around, shining the light on all the bits of the shadow.
Suddenly Dylan showed up, he looked like he was burning. His skin was giving off smoke, and he looked almost melted. His face was twisted in agony as he stared at his hands as they were disappearing into steam.
“No! What’s happening? This can’t be!!!” He said. Slowly he started to evaporate into nothing, disappearing with the shadows. “No! Keelia help me! I need you now,” he said, staring at the girl who had been standing in a corner the whole time, confused, scared, sad, and alone.
She walked over to where we were.
“Don’t just stand there you idiot, take the light from her!” Dylan hissed. Keelia looked at Dylan, then at me.
“Keelia, you don’t have to listen to him. He doesn’t love you at all. He’s just using you,” I said. “Please, we can help you. Just walk away from him. He isn’t your friend. We can be. Just please leave his side.”
Keelia looked at me. She looked so confused. She then looked back at Dylan with tears in her eyes.
“Stop your crying you wimp! Help me out,” Dylan said, watching his own body turn into smoke.
“I came to you, hoping you’d love me like your daughter, hoping to find security. But all you gave me was more confusion. Now I realize, you can’t give me any love, because you have none,” Keelia said. She stepped away from Dylan, and stood next to me.
“What? No, you can’t back down! No, don’t let me die, please. No!” Dylan pleaded. He then vanished into smoke, disappearing from our eyes. One last cry of despair from him was heard before he was completely gone, his Dyomis vest and clothing the only things left behind.
I looked at Keelia, who was looking at me, a smile on her face, and a tear on her cheek. “Thank you,” she said.
I hugged her quickly, and we then went to chief David, who was standing with Aiken. Charlie and Keelia followed.
“Cheesy line back there,” Charlie said to me.
“What line?” I asked.
“You know, ‘let’s shed some light on this subject.’ Pretty corny,” Charlie said. He smiled at me, and then punched my arm.
I laughed along with him. “Yeah, I guess.”
“Did you retrieve the papers?” David asked.
“Here,” Charlie said. “I got ‘em.” He handed them to David.
“Good. We’ll put these in a safer place. Charlie, where’s your mom?” David asked.
“Don’t worry, she’s at my aunts house. She had left me a message,” Charlie said. “Well that’s good. Now why don’t we get you home,” David said to me.
“If it’s alright, I’d like you all to come with me. Just to my home,” I said.
“I’m in,” Aiken said instantly.
“I’ll definitely come along,” Charlie said.
“Sure,” David agreed.
Keelia, just stood there. She didn’t say anything, but just stared at the ground.
“What about you?” I asked her.
Her head shot up, and she looked at me. “Well, I didn’t know if, I mean you all don’t, well I mean- Sure, I’ll come,” she said.
“Sweet, Now let’s go!” I said.
“There it is! I see it, my home!” I said. We arrived at a little horse ranch. I jumped out of the car, and ran to the door. “Daddy! Hello? Dad are you in here?” I called out, running through every room. He wasn’t in the house. I ran out back. I froze in my tracks, as my eyes fell upon a medium sized man, standing in the yard, looking back at me. “Daddy!” I yelled. I ran faster than I’ve ever ran before, and flung myself around him.
“Alex! Oh thank God you’re okay. I heard about the crash, and you never called. Oh Alex, I’m so glad you’re safe,” my dad said. He held me in his arms as tight as he could.
I cried and cried, so thankful to be in my dad’s arms. Alex. So that was my name. How good it was to have it back.
“Oh, dad. I’d like you to meet the people who helped me along the way. This is Aiken,” I introduced. “This is Charlie, this is chief David whom you must remember, and this is Keelia.”
My dad nodded. “Nice to meet you all. I’m Frank. Thank you all for helping my Alex,” dad said, wrapping his arm around me.
“You’re welcome sir. She’s a brave soul, much like her father,” chief David said. “Well, we must get going. We have to catch our plane soon,” he said.
I walked over to David. “Thank you for your help again, chief David. It was nice seeing you again,” I said. We gave a simple hug, and I walked over to Keelia. “So where will you go now?” I asked.
“I’ll go stay with my aunt and uncle. They live pretty close to my house. They’re really nice people,” Keelia said with her usual tough girl voice.
“Okay. I’ll miss you,” I said. We hugged.
Keelia whispered into my ear, “Thank you.” I felt a tear drop fall onto my shoulder from her eyes.
I moved over to Charlie.
“So, your name’s Alex,” Charlie said.
“I guess so. Well, it was fun. Thanks for being such a good help,” I said.
“Yep. Anytime, anytime. Alex, I’ll miss you. No one’s ever been nicer than you. Thanks a lot,” Charlie said. He bent down and hugged me.
I walked over to Aiken. I was already crying. I stared at the big man. “Aiken,” I started.
“I promised myself I wouldn’t cry,” Aiken said, biting his bottom lip. “Oh whatever. Come here lil’ miss,” he said. He hugged me close to him, laying his head on top of mine. I heard a couple sobs. “I’ll miss ya,” he said.
I cried even harder. “I’ll miss you too. Aiken, I have never had such an amazing friend like you. Promise me you’ll visit,” I said through my tears.
“I promise. I’ll visit as much as I can. Don’t you forget about me though. You’ll always be my lil’ miss,” Aiken said. He let me go after one last squeeze.
I wiped my face off, and walked back to my dad. He wrapped his arm around me, and kissed my head.
I looked at the faces of the ones who had been so much help, the ones who were lost but now were found, the ones who I loved, the ones who were my friends. These people would always stay in my heart, and I had hopes of seeing them all again. After all, my father was still a scientist, and a scientist needs his assistants.