The GatheringFandom (is so, include details) or Non Fandom?:
Non Fandom (ie. Original)Chapter Number:
M (due to language & adult content... not entirely sure where this thing is going)Summary:
In 1692 a group of witches sacrificed their powers to prevent death. Almost 3.5 centuries later, these powers have befallen new generations. Those that would be heroes are lost. It is up to those who are left behind to save themselves & the world they're in.Author's Notes:
Okay there's a good slice of Spanish in this chapter. I am not fluent in Spanish (I only really know a tiny handful of words) so I relied on an online translator for this. So I apologise in advance if it's horrible (though last time I did that and gave it to a Spanish speaking person it was right, so...). ALSO all love to Rob Zombie's Halloween for coming on cable today and helping motivate me with this XDChapter Seventeen
At fifteen minutes past nine in the morning the sliding door opened to allow two more young people into the emergency waiting area. It had become quiet now that businesses had begun to open, people had gone to work or school, and medical centers were operational with their own set of general practitioners attending to the unhealthy and not dire illnesses some panicked people tended to burden the emergency room with overnight.
“Where do we go? Where is she?” Shae asked.
Spying the double doors at the far end of the room, Ashley walked over to them and gave them a push. They didn’t budge. He looked midway down the door to find a handle or some operational device to allow them in, thinking he may have been mistaken when he’d assumed they were swinging doors. There was nothing for him to place his hand on. His gaze lifted to the wall before him and he caught sight of a small sign. Please see the emergency desk before entering.
He signaled to Shae to go to the counter.
“Pardon me, but can you help us?” Shae asked the woman behind the counter. “There’s a girl about our age here. Her name’s Penny.”
“Are you family?”
“No,” Shae said as Ashley joined her. “She’s a friend of ours.”
“I’m afraid it’s a rather delicate condition. We can’t let you in.”
“You can’t?” Shae questioned, surprised. She looked to Ashley.
“She’s not dying, is she?” Ashley queried.
“Physically she’s fine, but psychologically we are still evaluating her condition.”
“We’re only here to support her,” Ashley said, unsure of what the nurse was getting at.
“In my practice I have found certain friendships to be damaging. We cannot risk that kind of imbalance on a still fragile patient in case she makes another attempt so soon after the last.”
Shae took a step back from the window as the nurse turned and retreated into a hidden section of the room they could not get into.
“She’s… did I just hear what I think I heard?” Shae queried aloud.
“Penny’s not unstable,” Ashley said.
“How bad is she?” Shae asked as she faced him. “I know yesterday was horrible, but… I don’t feel like we did enough. We could have taken her skating. We could have gone shopping and seen a movie and eaten chocolate and icecream until we burst. We could have had popcorn fights like we did three weeks ago.”
“I don’t think any of that would have helped,” Ashley said, running his hands down her bare arms.
“Are you underestimating what I can do when I put my mind to it?” she asked him.
“No, Shae, you’re incredible,” Ashley replied, unsure how else to answer her question other than with outright flattery.
“I see a way in,” she said quietly, watching as a man in a dark navy blue jacket passed them towards the doorway. She raced up behind him, skipping to the side to try and get within his eye view. “Hey, remember me? I was checking you out yesterday.”
Jay stopped at the door, turning his head towards her and smiling. “Now that’s a way to get a man’s attention.”
“You got mine first,” she said. “I couldn’t help but admire your handiwork.”
“Just doing my job,” he said.
As she giggled and flashed her winning smile, one so wide and bright that it equaled Jay’s own, Ashley hastened to follow her and take her arm, pulling her back enough to create a little space between the pairing. He did not like seeing his girlfriend flirting with someone else, even if she was only attempting to gain them access into the emergency room. And he did not trust the paramedic.
“You’re the boyfriend, right?” Jay asked, pointing his finger at him as the memory came back to him. He found them to be an odd pairing, both in personality and appearance. The couple before him didn’t even seem to be sharing the same climate area – she was dressed weather appropriately in a blue t-shirt, short denim skirt and sandals while he was still dressed for cooler weather in long khaki pants and a long sleeved white shirt with an olive green class of 95 t-shirt over the top. Jay doubted the kid was that old, he still looked to be in his early twenties. “How’s that arm of yours?”
“Fine,” Ashley replied dismissively.
“Are you guys visiting someone?” Jay asked, giving his attention back to Shae as it was obvious Ashley did not want to converse with him.
“Trying to,” Ashley answered.
“One of our friends came in this morning – the girl – with the blonde guy,” Shae said, trying to jog Jay’s memory.
“The skate kid,” Jay said, struggling to remember who else had been there the previous day. “And the girl… with the father?”
“The uncle,” Shae corrected.
“Yeah.” Jay pulled a face which only reflected the unpleasantness of the situation he had come across. “Not pretty.”
“Can you help us get in?” Shae prompted.
“I was just starting my shift, so…” Jay scanned his watch against the side of the door. As far as they could tell he appeared to have an identification chip embedded in the band. He pushed the door and held it open for them. “I might as well bring you in with me.”
It was not difficult for them to find Penny being as she was still in the second room on the right. Jay stopped in the doorway, raising his hand in greeting as Ashley and Shae entered the room. He was about to comment on how banged up she looked, but thought better of it and instead retreated towards the staff area to sign in for the day. Even if he had waited to say something he wouldn’t have had much of a chance as Shae’s exasperation overtook the entire focus of the room once she saw the extent of Penny’s injuries.
“Penny! Are you alright?” she cried, rushing from Ashley’s side towards her. “They said you’d tried to kill yourself!”
Penny looked to Justin. “You couldn’t have said it was a skateboarding accident?”
“Not at three in the morning. In your house,” Justin responded from the chair, his finger pressed into his temple as he rested his elbow on the arm. “Besides, I didn’t say anything.”
“He just sent me a text saying you were here,” Ashley concurred. “You need someone to take you home, right?”
Penny looked down to her ankle, also bound in bandages, and had to agree. It didn’t hurt enough to be broken, but she knew the moment she put any weight on it she would have difficulty walking. Shae took Penny’s hand, gripping it between hers.
“If you need anything at all, you only have to ask us, okay? We’re all here for you. We’ll stay with you as long as you need us to. If you want to watch something, that’s okay with us. If you want to play Trojan Warfare I am willing to give up my time to show you how much I suck at it. You must be hungry, food here is terrible. Ashley – go get her some chocolate.”
He was a little surprised by her order but no amount of inquisitive looks would grab her attention from Penny as she waved him away. Looking to Justin, the slightly older man adjusted his position just long enough to point Ashley back out to the corridor.
“Down the end where you first came in,” Justin instructed.
“So where’s the golden child?” Shae asked as Ashley left. She looked to Justin and clarified further, in case neither of them understood her. “You know, David. The one most adored by his father. The one who should have been looking after you.”
Although verbally silent, it was clear neither one of them wanted to or would respond to her with a positive reaction. Justin rose from his chair, heading back towards the door and peering out.
“I should go see if we can leave yet,” he said.* * *
David rapped his knuckles against the open door, waiting patiently for Anna to appear into view. She turned the corner with an infuriated expression on her face but upon seeing who was waiting for her to invite him inside, it quickly transitioned into one of admiration and interest.
“The all-powerful son of the angel and the seventh generation witch. I have not seen you since you were a small boy. To what do I owe the pleasure?” she queried.
“I do not believe confidential matters should be discussed on the doorstep of an undercover assassin’s apartment,” he returned.
“Of course,” she said, stepping back and holding her arm out welcomingly. “Come in.”
He stepped through the doorway, advancing to the right into the centre of the living room. His gaze crossed from right to left, taking in the closed window, the grey leather sofa with the glass coffee table, a larger glass table between the seating and the kitchen. He stopped momentarily to look at the painting on the wall – he had always had a keen eye for exquisite art. To the left against the wall were a number of shelves with books and a few small ornaments. There didn’t appear to be any photos within the room, at least none that showed she was the mother of a now grown child who had enlisted his help to deceive the woman. In fact, there was nothing out of the ordinary in the place at all that prompted thoughts that the woman was involved with a highly secret organization such as the Phoenix.
“Can I get you anything?” she asked.
David glanced back as he heard a flicking sound behind him. The protection shield by the entryway wavered, the light in the room giving the bend just a slight hint of visibility as it moved.
“You can start by taking that shield down,” David said. “I will not do business with a woman who is attempting to cage me.”
“I wouldn’t worry, that’s not for you,” Anna said.
“I have to wonder what would happen if I brought your methods into question.” He traced a finger along the shelving, his eyes scanning the book titles as he spoke. He stopped at the edge of the shelf, fixing dark eyes on her. “And your refusal to client requests.”
Sighing huffily, she waved her hand. “Abajo.”
The shield made more sound in vanishing than it did in movement. David waited a few moments, giving Mercy enough time to move into the room. He did not feel he had to involve her yet.
“Thank you,” David said. “Your consideration is appreciated.”
“What exactly are you here for?” Anna asked, now becoming irritated with his stalling and self-righteous attitude.
David tapped a finger against his lips in mock thought. “I believe you have something I desire.”
“And what would that be?” she queried.
“I am a collector, of sorts - rare and old, things that have a history, a certain uniqueness to them. I like things that are… special. Insightful. Powerful. Would you know of anything like that?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Anna said. “And frankly, Mr Colliver, you are wasting my time.”
“The secrets you keep, you don’t display,” David said, waving a finger over the shelves. “You are hiding one, and I am hiding one. Give me the Grimoire and I won’t have to reveal mine.”
Anna chuckled. “You come here searching for a paperweight? For a legend that does not exist?”
Suddenly she lurched forward, clutching at her stomach. Her clothes darkened with the stain of red rivers running over her fingers. She coughed once, blood trickling from the edges of her lips.
“Too late,” David said.
He raised his hand, stripping the invisibility from Mercy’s form. Dagger clutched in her hand, the point still embedded in her mother’s abdomen, Mercy withdrew the weapon and pushed her mother back by the shoulder.
“Usted idiota!” Anna spat towards Mercy in her native tongue. “Usted muchacha inferior imprudente eyed estrellada hechizada. Usted dejó al diablo dirigirle a esto! Usted don' t tiene los cerebros o la decencia pues un ser humano o usted realizaría lo que usted ha hecho.”
David watched the scene playing out before him with idle fascination. His gaze shifted to Mercy for her reaction. David had been taken to Italy by his family when he was much younger and was far more proficient in Italian than he was in Spanish. He didn’t understand all of what he heard but he could tell from her tone, her speed and the hostility in which she directed those words at Mercy that what she was saying was not positive, and was likely ridiculing her daughter.
“Where’s the book, mother?” Mercy said, obviously ignoring everything her mother had just said.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Anna said.
“Stop lying!” Mercy shouted, raising the dagger and stepping towards her again.
“Look at this girl. She is mad!” Anna said to David, indicating towards her daughter. “Are you going to stand by and let her do this?”
“I’m not controlling her. She is her own person. I see no reason to disbelieve her,” David said.
“Perhaps she has enchanted you then? She was always a little harlot,” Anna said, glaring at Mercy.
“I don’t take after you,” Mercy proclaimed. She flipped the blade and slashed across her mother’s chest. Anna coughed again, blood now pooling from her chin down her neck as she raised her other hand to her chest.
“Hija, usted está pidiendo el dolor de la clase peor. Ahora váyase antes de que le rasgue a los pedazos y utilice sus ojos para los ornamentos,” Anna threatened.
“I don’t think so,” Mercy retaliated.
Flicking her hand down, Anna conjured a loaded bear trap between them. Its metal jaws lay wide open, ready to spring closed and crush Mercy’s leg the moment she stepped into it. So focused on her mother, Mercy advanced without taking precaution to anything else around them. Her foot stepped on the panel, setting off the spring. She was hoisted into the air, the closed jaws of the trap snapping shut within an inch of the toe of Mercy’s dangling feet.
“I’m beginning to tire of this,” David said. His hand was raised, telekinetically holding Mercy hovering just barely out of the trap’s reach. He lifted his other hand in Anna’s direction, flicking his fingers backwards. She flew through the air, crashing onto the glass coffee table in front of the three seater couch. The wood splintered beneath her, glass shattering into an assortment of shards under and around her body. David moved Mercy through the air, dropping her unceremoniously by his side. “Watch your step.”
Bloodied dagger in hand, Mercy positioned herself over her mother, lowering her weight down until she had pinned her mother to the floor as her mother scrabbled for purchase, turning to try and lift herself away. Mercy’s weight flattened her again as she grabbed her by the hair and pulled her head back to the floor, smacking it on the hard surface. She played the edge of the blade against Anna’s jugular, staring hard into her eyes.
“Are you ready to talk now?” Mercy queried.
“Bebé, por favor,” Anna pleaded softly. “Por favor don' t hace esto. Usted don' t quiere lanzar su vida lejos en un hombre. Si usted está en una cierta clase de apuro, le ayudaré. ¿Le ayudaré, aceptable? Apenas piense en lo que usted está haciendo.”
“It’s too late for that,” Mercy said, shaking her head.
“Ejercieron presión sobre imitación, miel. Te amo, ahórreme por favor.”
Her grip loosened on the dagger. David could see her hesitation and stepped towards her. He placed his hand on Mercy’s shoulder, running the cusp of his palm down her arm and tightening as he got to her elbow. His actions forced the blade firmly against Anna’s throat and he could feel Mercy’s muscles tightening again under his grip. He leant towards her ear.
“What is she saying that’s deterring you?” he asked. “Is she convincing you that she’s a good mother? That her life is worth saving? Is she telling you everything you’ve wanted to hear since you were a child? Look around, Mercy. She does not care for you. There are no photos on the wall. There are no trinkets she’s kept. Has she ever given you anything? Has she ever helped you before? Has she fulfilled those promises coming out of her mouth that she would always love you? That she would always be there for you?”
Her face hidden in her long, dark hair as she listened to him, each word brought back a foul memory. Abandonment, rejection, pain, deception, lies – her life was full of it. There were no sugar sweet moments to fall back on. Not since she was a child in a carefree world, ignorant to all that was happening around her, her world had been short of happy memories where her mother and the Phoenix were concerned.
“The book was in the kitchen. Top left cupboard. In the cookie jar,” Mercy said.
She felt him leave, the cinnamon sweetness of his breath fading away as he withdrew to the kitchen. She looked to her mother beneath her who returned her gaze with one of sadness.
“You are bringing your own death,” Anna said. She had little fight left as she coughed up more blood, the fresh dispersion landing on her clothes and Mercy’s hand. With one more moment of angered hostility she said to David as he returned: “Why don’t you finish me off, big shot?”
“Because if he does it, you’ll come back. If I do it, you won’t,” Mercy said. With little sympathy she pressed the blade into her mother’s skin and drew it to the side. Blood flooded from the new wound as Anna gave one stark look of surprise before her eyes unfocused and dulled.
“What am I looking for?” David asked, flicking through the pages of the book, uncaring of what was happening before him. Mercy rose, taking it from his grasp.
“A time manipulation spell,” she said. “It’s around the middle.”
Her hands turned the pages back and forth, her mother’s blood still fresh on her hands marking the pages. Brows furrowing, she turned the same few pages back and forth, tracing her fingers over the inside of the spine.
“It’s not here,” she declared. “It’s not here! The page is blank!”
David pressed his hand to the page in question. “It’s not hidden. It’s gone. Mercy, have you used this spell before?” She answered him with silence. “You do realize some Grimoires have a one time policy? Black magic entails absorbing the energy from a dark entity. The highest order do not appreciate abuse of their power twice.”
“So who do we piss off to make this work?” she asked.
“Do you remember the spell?” he returned.
“No,” she admitted.
His gaze fell on the slaughtered body of the former Phoenix informant. Taking the book from Mercy, he closed it and put it aside.
“Gather your mother’s blood,” he instructed. “We’re going to need a bargaining chip.”