It's his destiny to restore Atlantis. Does he dare square off against evil Bellator?
Seven years ago
Destiny is what you accomplish after fate knocks you down.
“No! Please, mom. You have to come!”
Brenda gazed into tear filled eyes, fighting back her own. “I know baby.” She murmured brushing a hand through his dark hair, smoothing the wild waves. “Thirteen years isn’t long enough. I was supposed to watch you grow up. Fall in love… get married, have children even.” Shaking off thoughts of all she’d miss, Brenda swiped at her eyes. “I can’t go with you. I must face Bellator, or we both die.” She whispered.
I climb through the trapdoor, with trembling knees and a heavy heart. Gazing at the tub of water, I’m overwhelmed with fear, of what I don’t know. How could she…make me do this? I can’t lose you! You’re all, I have left! “I don’t want to live without you.” I cried. “Who cares about some stupid destiny anyway?”
Tilting my face to hers, mom clucked her tongue in disapproval. “Steve, look at me. I know, this is hard…but I can’t hide from my fate. Trust me.” She said wiping my tears away. “One day the visions will come, and you’ll understand. Your path will be clear.”
“I don’t want to understand.” I whimpered. “I just want you.”
“I know you do baby.” Brenda said. “I’ll always be with you…in your visions.” Squeezing my eyes shut, I sank into the tub; for once, not arguing about visions being real. Because the man stalking us was real, I’d seen him, many times over the years. He always shows up…no matter where we move.
“Now…remember what I told you. You’re not to make a sound. When Bellator’s gone you can come out.”
I gazed into her eyes begging. “Please call the police,” wishing she would…but knowing she wouldn’t.
Blowing one final kiss goodbye, she gently closed the trap door. Setting the wheels of destiny in motion, embracing the final act fate had left for her.
“Where’s your son Brenda?” Bellator demanded.
Her eyes rounded in surprise.
“Yes I know about Steve.” He said. “I always know.”
She laughed. “If you know so much, you tell me?”
Kicking the table, Bellator roared in rage.
“Go ahead.” She taunted with triumph ringing in her voice. “Do your worse. You’ll never find him.”
Snarling Bellator grabbed Brenda by the throat.
“That’s okay. I still have Penny, she’s the key.”
Life, Death and Visions
To die for love is to live forever in another’s heart!
I sat down breathing the salt laden air and reaching for my open journal, listening to the endless roll of waves. Seagull’s circled above hoping for a fry, or bit of bread, they’re cawing pulled my gaze up.
A contented sigh escaped from deep within. Truth be told, I had no reason to be content. I’m completely alone, with a psycho killer stalking me. Still, I’m free to walk around outdoors. It meant more than people realized. I’d never appreciated the privilege, until it was gone.
Still, my contented sigh went deeper. Somehow I felt perched on the apex of a new beginning. Perhaps because I was finally ready to open my mind to the possibility of visions. A power, I’d never accepted or understood before.
My gaze drifts to my journal, staring at the carefully scripted pages; I’m transported back to a thirteen-year-old boy…reliving the words, I’d written.
“I write this journal to you, mom wherever you may be. I don’t know if you are looking down on me from heaven, but I’d like to believe you are.”
“I move through each day like a robot, afraid to think or feel. Boxes of groceries appear each week. So I guess I won’t starve. No one’s shown up wondering about the house. You must have made arrangements, before… I’m safe from discovery, hooray!”
“I miss you. Miss you teaching me to cook, reading to me, even drilling rules into my head. Rules I know by heart.” My vision blurs, from the unshed tears in my eyes, as the remembered pain and loneliness takes hold of my heart.
“I know you want me to believe in visions, but I can’t. Visions got you killed, at least your belief in them did. You didn’t even try to escape. How can I believe in something that got you killed?
How could you leave me? I don’t want to be alone, I long to go outside, like the kids I see through the window, but I’m too afraid, scared to break the rules, what if he’s out there, waiting for me. I know he’s real, and he wants me dead. Oh mom. I wish you were here.”
“I’m trapped, forced to remain invisible, the kid who doesn’t exist. Eighteen seems like an eternity, mom. And why, is it okay to come out then, what changes? Will I still…need to watch for Bellator?” Reading the frustration in my words, I grappled with the same anger of abandonment; I fought, all those years ago.
“I spend my days reading, or doing the schoolwork you left for me. Sometimes I play my X-box, but not too much, I promise. A new game arrived last week, thanks. You thought of everything.”
“I work out a lot. I know you said one hour a day, but sometimes I spend more. I’m not saying, setting up the gym was a good idea…just sometimes, I feel cramped and jittery. The exercise helps.
You promised, I would benefit, guess you were right; still waiting for the hidden benefits of algebra though.”
I had a dream mom. It was great; we were back on Gram’s Island.
You and Gram’s were there, along with the boy, down the road. For once, nobody was yelling, or arguing, not a single tear.
The boy and I were playing in my secret hide out. The one Gram’s made, it was great…, and then I woke up.
At first I forgot Gram’s and you were gone. I listened for your footsteps in the hall, or the sound of your breathing in the next room.
The silence was heavy…that’s when I remembered…
It’s the quiet, I can’t get used to.
I drive the silence away by turning on the radio and television, but it’s not the same. What I crave, is the sound of another in the room, the comforting creak of a chair or the soft swoosh of a sigh. The sounds that tell me, I’m not alone.
“Today everything’s changed.” After 184 days alone, following your rules. (I counted.) “I did the unthinkable…I broke the rules.”
“I heard this scratching at the door. For a moment I froze, afraid to look, but more afraid not too. My heart felt like it would burst through my chest it was beating so fast. After what seemed like forever, I peeked through the mail slot. You’ll never guess what I saw.”
“A scruffy dog, he desperately scratched at the boxes of food.
Don’t know what I was thinking…that’s not true, I know. I was tired of being alone. I grabbed some leftovers, didn’t know if dogs ate spaghetti, but figured it was worth a try. He’s my friend now, my only friend.”
“I’ve agonized for days. Feeling compelled to go out with leftovers, searching for more abandoned animals. I know it’s against the rules but tonight, I screwed up my courage and went. I’d like to think, concern for the animals, drove me to risk my life. But it was loneliness.”
“I found four dogs and five cats, befriending them all. Mom, I hope you’re not mad. I didn’t want to break your rules. But it’s so nice, not being alone.”
“The basement window makes a perfect animal door. It’s too small for a person, but perfect for my cats and dogs.”
“Now my animal friends can come and go as they please, even if I can’t. I promise I won’t go out anymore. You don’t have to worry about me. I’m back to following your rules.”
My hand fell on the open pages, chest squeezing tight, suffocating me. My every breath haunted by the pain of lonely isolation. Swallowing…I force air, heavy with pain, into my lungs. Flipping ahead I write.
I arrived at the Cape a week ago. I sit here day after day staring at the ocean, to no avail. On the bright side, I saw a couple rockets launch.
A vision led me here. Imagine that, me following a vision, talk about role reversals.
I scoffed at your visions, never believing. I blamed visions for your death; always sure you’d still be alive, if only you’d gone to the police. But you refused insisting the guy stalking us was some kind of super powered Guardian. As crazy as that sounds…even now, I wonder if you were right.
Glancing up at the sky with uncertainty, I question my sanity. One vision and suddenly I believe? Swallowing my qualms, I continue to write.
Within hours of my vision I found myself driving to this rocky coast, even picking out my own rock-chair. And here I’ve sat…waiting.
Like some magical sphere of water is going to rise out of the ocean, and deposit my first and only two legged friends. I must be the biggest fool on the face of the earth. I scrawled, in self effacing doubt.
Lifting my head, I roll my shoulders, relieving tensions and again question myself. Taking a deep breath, I return to my writing with resignation.
I know, my being here, has a much deeper meaning than some vision. Deep down I want, the nonsense mom said, to be true. I want to believe, because I want to see her again, like she promised I would. Even if a vision…is the only way
Closing my journal with a frustrated thud, I begin cleaning up my lunch debris. A thickening of the air; I was all too familiar with, had my spine stiffening and terror descending, like a dark cloud. The hair on my arms and neck jacked up.
Spinning around, I found my worst nightmare; my mother’s assassin.
His hairless figure, stealing my breath, as that night, invaded my mind. -I see his hand lock around her throat, smell the sharp scent of ozone, as though lightening just struck. The most frightening…was the sound of his angry voice, demanding where I was. – The memory as vivid today as seven years ago.
I felt myself shrinking, as horror left me frozen in place. A fog swirled before my eyes, blotting out all hope of survival, promising a painful end. I gazed at his ageless hand in a stupor even as it clamped around my throat, lifting me off the ground, just like mom. His deep voice grated against my eardrums, frightening with its remembered cadence.
“Well, well, well. Looks like my trip south won’t be a waste after all.”
Friends, Trust and Sanctuary
Friendships forged in trust, create a sanctuary against all foes.
“You’re, the great and powerful Steve? He laughed. I can see from the frightened thoughts tumbling through your mind. You’re dear, self-sacrificing mother got you all wrong.”
I glared. “You don’t get to talk about my mother.” I croaked around his hand.
If his amusement was any indication, my glare wasn’t impressive.
Sighing as if disappointed he grumbled. “I was looking for a real fight. But what do I find? You’re just as pathetic as her.” This close the smell of ozone, wafting from him created an arid odor, choking me as surely as the hand at my throat.
“Did you know?” He rumbled conversationally. “Your mother, was the greatest visionary of her time? Yet somehow, she believed you would become a great warrior. Can you imagine?” He chuckled, shaking the hand I dangled from for emphases. I kicked and struggled, like a forgotten kite; trapped in a tree.
He continued, completely unaffected by my struggles, “Oh yeah!” He said with amusement. “You’re supposed to bring me down even, she said, she’d seen it!” He grumbled.
“Like that will ever happen. You’re no match for me little boy. You’re a fool just like her, if you think…” His gaze shifted past me, the triumph draining from his eyes. Struggling to see what had his attention. I caught a glimpse of water, around the hand at my throat. A mere second later he tossed me to the ground, lifting his hands.
I cussed the rocks biting into my knees, keeping him in sight. I scuttled back in horrified shock as he held a fifteen-foot wave in place; with nothing but an up lifted palm.
A light touch fell on my back and the beach disappeared. In the blink of an eye, I was crouched on a marble floor; hands, I knew were too small to be Bellator’s restrained me, from behind. I needed to know where he was.
Butting my head backwards, I connected with whoever held me, succeeding in stunning myself…without even a grunt of surprise from my captor.
“Where’s Bellator?” I demanded.
“He’s not here. Okay.” A sultry voice replied, releasing the iron grip on my hands.
Spinning, I got my third shock of the day.
I recognized the woman. She even wore the white cotton shorts and black tank top, of my vision. She seemed shorter, but the slivery hair flowing down her back was exactly the same.
“Bellator’s not here.” She clarified, bringing me back to the present.
“Where’d he go?” I demanded.
The woman’s pale gray eyes narrowed, as she took in my ill-fitting slacks and tucked polo. I’d seen the look before. She was thinking nerd.
“I ask the questions,” she said. “Who are you? And what does Bellator want?”
“He wants me dead, like my mother.” I quipped.
Her gaze softened. “I heard what he said…about your mother predicting you, would stop him?”
“Yeah, like that’s gonna happen.” I said with helplessness. “You saw me out there. Did it look like I was winning?”
A man strolled through the door, drawing my attention. “Bellator’s gone.” He said. “But...he’ll be back. So, who’s the dude?” He asked.
Again I was stunned speechless. The man was another carbon copy of my vision. His shoulder length, sandy blonde hair was exactly the same; even his cut off shorts, white tee shirt, and beach sandals matched.
Chuckling with excitement, I startled them both, mumbling to myself. “I should have known he was real. Who could dream up this beachcomber meets hippy look?”
“Okay dude. Who the hell are you? And why have you been hanging around the beach all week?” He demanded.
“Steve, my name is Steve Seer.”
“Well Steve. Were you waiting for someone? Or trying to lure Bellator to our doorstep?”
“Good lord, no!” I exclaimed. “He’s a nightmare!”
The woman nudged him. “Em Hal, Bellator killed his mother.”
Sighing, he continued with less menace, “Bogus dude. I’m Hal and this is Lila. What brings you to the beach?”
I took a deep breath and plunged right in. “This may sound crazy. But, I had a vision and you were both in it…”
A smile broke across Lila’s face, “A visionary huh? Just like your mother.”
I gazed at her in wonder. “You know about visionaries?”
She let her gaze slid over my profile. “You just turned twenty, didn’t you?”
I gawked at her. “Yeah, last week, how did you know?”
“He’s a visionary.” She said to Hal, like he hadn’t been standing next to her, the whole time.
“So you have visions?” Hal asked.
I floundered for a moment. “I don’t know. I had a vision.” I mumbled. “Don’t know if there will be more.”
“There’s always more.” He said turning to indicate the dining table.
I stared in amazement. In my vision, twenty people sat at this massive table.
My gaze shot to the glass ceiling. Streaks of light arrowed down, confirming we weren’t too deep. I could just make out the waters churning at the surface, like crashing waves. The place had a soft glow, like twilight.
Exactly the way I remembered.
“How deep are we?” I asked moving to the outer wall, made entirely of glass.
“Rad huh,” Hal said excitement dancing in his eyes. “We’re about eighty feet down. That’s really not deep. Some divers even dive this far without equipment.”
“Really,” I replied lost in the sight of the seabed.
“Not that you’ll find any divers around here. The government doesn’t allow anyone in the water this close to the space center. So…we don’t tell em we’re here.” He added with a chuckle.
“Eighty feet,” I repeated in wonder.
“I control the water. So it’s perfectly safe.” He said shrugging. Like controlling water was a normal everyday thing.
I was amazed, at how the saw grass resembled a topside meadow, but more. The swaying grass ran from the most vivid gray to the deepest dark green, I’d ever seen.
Sea bushes grew sporadically among the saw grass. I saw varying shades of yellow, mixed among vivid bright orange, pink, and red bushes, a striking contrast against the dark saw grass.
I couldn’t help comparing the vibrant colors here, to the dull and lifeless colors topside. I wonder, is that natural? Had nature topside always been so lackluster?
Hal cleared his throat. He obviously waited for me to continue.
“Oh yeah,” I said, “My vision.” Collapsing heavily into a chair I leaned back. “It’s still very hard for me to talk about her.” I mumbled voice catching. “Seven years later, and I still, can’t get the image of mom’s…last moments out of my head.”
Hal’s eyebrows rose. “I thought you, only had one vision?”
I glanced at him confused. “I have.”
“Then how…” He straightened in his chair, “No way dude! You were there? You saw Bellator kill her? Talk about bogus…wait how’d you survive?”
“I was hidden beneath the floor, in water. Still. I saw everything through a crack.”
Hal exchanged a glance with Lila. “Totally cool you escaped, but how’d you have time to set up a place to hide?”
“Mother always saw Bellator coming. I choked a little remembering how, I’d never believed her.
The drill was the same. She’d pack what we wanted. Everything else, we’d burn.” Struggling to hold my emotions back, I sighed. “This time was different though. She couldn’t see a safe escape for both of us. She chose a path, I didn’t want to follow. She gave her life, to protect mine.”
“Oh. That’s awful.” Lila said. “You saw? It’s hard enough knowing, but to witness. No one should go through that.”
“I don’t mean to be rude or insensitive. Hal said. “But can we get back to your mother knowing, Bellator was tracking you? I’ve never heard of anyone able to do that.”
Taking a deep breath, I pushed the pain aside and continued. “A lock of hair, something you’ve held. That’s all it takes, for Bellator to tack you.” I muttered. “He visualizes where you’re at, by touching something you’ve touched.
Hal’s gaze gained intensity as he locked eyes with Lila. “Did you know he could do that?”
She shook her head. “No, but it explains a lot.”
“I still can’t believe, this is all real,” I said gazing through the glass again.
“I know what you mean.” Hal commiserated. “Please, finish your story. Bellator was tracking you…”
“No… mother. He couldn’t visualize me; he’d never seen me, at least not until now.” I said with a heavy heart.
“So to track someone he has to know what you look like and hold something you’ve touched?” Hal asked his face thoughtful.
“Yeah, that’s what mother taught me.” I said letting my gaze dance between his and Lila’s.
“But how did she know, he was coming?” Hal asked.
“She could see Bellator.” I replied.
“Really, I’ve never heard of a visionary who could see rogues.” Hal exclaimed.
“Mother was special, I guess.” I said missing her even more.
“Hal,” Lila interrupted. “Bellator said Steve’s mother was the greatest visionary of her time.”
“No kidding,” He replied. “Dude, she’d have to be, to see the rogues. What else did she teach you? And how do we, fit into this picture?” He questioned with trepidation.
“All my life, mother told me, it was my destiny to stop Bellator. That’s crazy, right?”
“Maybe,” He said sounding unsure as his gaze swept over me.
“You have to understand. I never believed. Until I had, my vision, I thought mom was crazy.” I traced the pattern, on the place setting before me. “I’m no hero. You saw me out there. She was the hero. She should have stuck around and ended him herself.” I lamented.
“Why did she think, you were going to stop him?” Hal asked.
“She said the path to Bellator’s demise, begins with a castle on the bottom of the ocean.” I answered gazing around me. “I usually tuned her out, when she started talking crazy like that. But in my defense, that statement sounds crazy, any way you look at it.” I qualified.
“I got a vision of you two, and started to wonder…could she be right? Obviously she got half the story right. But I’m telling you right now. I’m not a warrior.”
Lila reached across the table and patted my hand. Zing! I felt this tingling sensation up my arm. I jerked back in surprise.
She did also, “What was that?” She asked.
“I believe we just untied powers.” I said hesitantly.
“You did what, with my wife? Hal thundered.
I turned deep scarlet. “My mother said, when Atlantian’s touch, they’re powers quicken in recognition, forming a bond that strengthens them.”
“I’ve never felt anything like that, and Hal touches me all the time.” Lila said with suspicion.
“The uniting of powers requires three or more come together with the same goal or desire. So I’m guessing you two want Bellator gone.”
Hal gazed at me with doubt.
“Here,” I said holding out my hand. “See for yourself.” His hand touched mine. Zing! The tingling sensation spread up my arm, followed by euphoric joy. I started laughing uncontrollably, a sense of coming home, settling in my heart.
Call me crazy but I think mother was on the other side glowing with happiness.
Hal and Lila obviously didn’t get the same feeling, because they stared, like I was a madman. Not taking my word for it, Hal quickly touched Lila’s hand, feeling the same zing, before nodding with acceptance.
“Please.” He said. “Let’s get back to your story.”
“About two weeks ago, I had my first vision. Like I said, I saw you two.” I let my gaze sweep the panoramic view around me. “And a building made almost entirely of glass, a castle really. I mean what’s the square footage, on this place, about ten thousand feet?
“Something, like that,” Hal said evasively, “at least the castle is.”
“Why so big?” I asked. “I mean it’s just you and Lila. Why so big?”
“I don’t know.” He growled with impatiens. This seemed out of character for him. I wasn’t sure how I knew, but I was certain.
“You remember Hal?” Lila said. “Your dream, he built this place to model Atlantis. Only instead of silver, bronze and gold he used glass. Even the rings are glass.”
“There are rings?” I asked doing quick mental calculations of how many square feet they’d have to be to ring this castle. “You mean this castle, has alternating rings of ground…with breathable air, and rings of water, ocean water separating them?”
“Yes.” Hal said his thoughts clearly somewhere else.
Darting a glance through the glass, I tried to catch a glimpse of these rings.
Lila smirked. “You can’t see the rings, from here silly. The outer ring hugs the edge of the shelf.”
“The shelf,” I asked in confusion.
“Yeah,” She replied, “Where the ocean floor drops off.”
“Can we please get back to the vision?” Hal interrupted.
“That was my vision.” I said. “A castle built on the bottom of the ocean. Just like mom’s crazy prediction. That’s when I started to believe, and well, here I am.”
“So…two weeks, you jumped, only two weeks ago?” Hal questioned.
I stared completely confused. “Jumped?”
“Got your powers,” He stated. “Lila and I jumped, a couple years past.”
I don’t understand, “What do you mean, jumped?”
Hal smiled. “Dude, you jump. It’s like; one minute you’re this totally ordinary dude, and then boom. You have these amazing powers.”
“Oh.” I said.
He shook his head at my lack of enthusiasm. “Come on I have a book on our heritage, in the library.”
I followed trying not to stare, like a kid in a candy store. I failed miserably. I found myself torn. Not sure, what to focus on, the amazing beauty of the ocean floor or the rare artifacts housed everywhere.
I was in sensory overload, eyes swimming with uncertainty. Where to look?
Every room we passed was decorated with ancient artwork and carvings. It appeared Hal had dedicated a different area of the world to each room.
“You must travel a lot.” I uttered in amazement.
Following my gaze, Hal smiled. “Yeah, it’s a side benefit, of marrying a light-bender.”
“A what,” I asked.
He stopped at the library door, “A light-bender. You know someone who moves at the speed of light.” He stared…astounded by my lack of knowledge.
“Ya know. For someone who knows a lot about Guardians, your knowledge, of your own race, is sadly lacking.”
“Yeah, whenever I asked mom about us, she’d smile and say. Now is the time of Guardians, you will learn all you need to know about us, when you find your path.”
Hal laughed. “Really dude? She talked like that, in riddles?”
I smiled. Remembering, I’d said almost the same thing at the time. “Yeah, I think it has something to do with seeing the future and not influencing the outcome, by telling too much.”
“Does that mean, you’re gonna start talking like that?”
“I don’t know.” I said, wondering the same thing. My gaze swept past Hal to the awe-inspiring library.
The bookshelves covering three walls from ceiling to floor were impressive; but also exactly what I expected. The forth wall, made of glass, with tantalizing views of the ocean, was again expected.
What had me staring in stunned awe was the sheer volume of South American artwork.
There were carvings everywhere, some wood, and some stone. I suspected a few were even, carved bone. My gaze moved past the carvings, to land on paintings of every medium and time period, colorful depictions of South American life. Immortalized on wood, stone, canvas, and even parchment, “The history and art in this room alone, could rival any museum.” I gushed.
Lila smirked, enjoying the shock, sliding over my features. Hal on the other hand seemed completely oblivious, to the wonders surrounding him. Holding out a book he said. “Dude you won’t find this in your public library. It’s been passed down through my family for generations.”
My gaze fogged up. I slumped forward steadying myself on the glass. A vision materialized in my mind’s eye. I heard Hal and Lila gasp, but they sounded far away. Mother’s face shimmered forth.
“Bellator seeks to kill the red haired girl, she’s a reader. He aims to keep her powers from manifesting. She holds the key to stopping him.
You must protect her, when the time is right, rescue her too soon, and all will be lost. Reveal yourselves only when her life is in peril.
Son, trust the brave fighters at your side. Don’t be afraid to let them fight. A balance is found with the key. Trust the vision and unite the powers. It’s the only road to defeating Bellator?”
The vision ended and disorientation set in. I weakly slumped, against the glass, trying to shake the fog from my head. Hal and Lila stared at me in shock. “I had another vision.” I said.
“We know.” He replied. “We saw the whole thing on the glass. Your mother is still speaking in riddles.” I see.
I shot a sheepish glance at him, “Yeah and just as hard to believe.”
“Did you know visions, could be transferred to water?” Hal asked.
“No.” And I’m sure if mother knew, she would have told me…hell she would have shown, me her visions.” I plopped down on the closest chair, too weak to stand. Would I have believed her…had she shown me her visions?
Hal squatted in front of me, checking my pupils.
“I don’t know why, she’s putting this on me,” I complained in fear, “Clearly I’m not strong enough.”
“Dude the visions, have only begun. It gets easier with time.” He assured.
“What gets easier?” I asked. “Having visions or understanding them? Because I know, mother never struggled like this, after a vision.”
“Of course she did, in the beginning. You don’t jump into power and instantly wield it with perfect acuity.” He said.
“Really,” I wanted to believe. “What about understanding?” I asked afraid of the answer.
“You look okay. Do you feel alright?”
“Yeah, I’m fine, the fogs lifting.”
“Okay. I’m gonna run. I remember this old Celtic legend. It may help with the understanding.” He explained.
“I’ll be back by dark. Meanwhile, there’s a ton of heritage stuff, you need to learn.” He said handing me the book again.
“Wait Hal, I’ll blink you.” Lila said.
“No.” He nodded toward me. “I think you should stay, help him. Remember when you first jumped, babe it’s frightening.”
Lila peeked at me, looking torn. “Are you sure? He’s in no danger here. But you will be.”
“I’ll be fine. The legend I seek is right on the water’s edge. I’ll be there and back before you know it.” He promised.
Lila seemed out of place, lost even. I knew it was because she wasn’t whole without Hal beside her. I wondered if I’d ever find someone, I could bond with like that, and it hit me. Mother was alone all my life. Did she forgo having a relationship for me, or was bonding impossible for a visionary.
Freely giving has to be hard, with visions revealing how fragile relationships are.
“Hal told me you were a light bender.” I said, trying to make conversation and ease her worry, as well as hide from mine. “What exactly does that mean?”
She shrugged. “I move at the speed of light. I can also, make things disappear by bending the light around them. But my biggest advantage is strength. Because I’m not bound by gravity, the way you are. I can lift just about anything.”
“That’s, how I got here.” I said jabbing a hand through my wavy hair. “I mean from the beach, when Bellator was attacking. You brought me here.”
“Yeah,” Lila admitted. “But Hal distracted him first, by sending a wave.”
“Hal did that…how?”
“He controls the elements.”
I glanced up, the water churned above the glass, near the surface. “Oh, I get it.” I whispered. “He controls the water. Are we safe? I mean with him gone. Can he control the water, when he’s not here?”
“Yeah,” Lila nodded. “His affinity is with water, distance isn’t an issue. Air, fire, and earth require more effort and he needs to be relatively close.”
“Yeah, but what if he’s distracted? How much mental energy goes into controlling the water, around this place?”
Lila shook her head. “It’s like breathing, you don’t tell your lungs to draw air, with every breath. Hal doesn’t tell his mind to control water; he’s already set, it just does.”
Lila nervously flitted around the room, tiding up.”
I gasped as another vision hit me, this one quicker. “Hal’s in trouble. He needs you now; they’re herding him into a trap. Go to the woods, just beyond the south corner of Jetty Park.”
“But he said he would stay on the water.”
“No time to explain. Go now.” I said collapsing into a chair, as weakness overtook me.
Power, Fear and Stalkers
Fear stalks our power, rendering us helpless, when rescue is only a belief away.
A minute later she was back. Hal bent over his desk panting, from fear or exertion, I wasn’t sure. “How did you know?” He asked.
Lila nodded toward me. “He had a vision, knew you were heading into danger.”
“It was a trap.” Hal admitted. “I thought I was getting away, but they were waiting for me.”
“What were you doing on land?” Lila accused. “You were supposed to stay on the water.”
“Dude, you saved my life.” Hal said, changing the subject before Lila could question him further.
I shrugged. “You saved mine, earlier.”
Well aware, Hal’s change of subject was to forestall her anger. Lila decided to let it drop, until later anyway. “Is that the Celtic legend?” She asked pointing.
He nodded. “Babe, wait till you see what it says. I nearly fainted with excitement.”
“I thought, you’d already read it.” She questioned.
Hal laughed. “I did. But it didn’t mean anything, back then. Babe this is so rad,” He said spreading his copy on the table. It was written in Gaelic, so he read aloud.
“A visionary will rise, uniting the powers once again.
He will blaze across the land in search of shadow movers.
A bender will light the way and an elemento will clear the path.
Together they form the triad of trust.
The key will bring balance, to the two realms once again.”
A hush fell over the room. Hal hugged Lila. “Don’t you see? This is so rad! Think about it…we could actually be the ones to stop Bellator.”
Lila lifted Hal over her head in celebration. “You realize how long it’s been since an organized group stood against the rogues?” She gushed in excitement.
“Yeah, millenniums ago…when we took the water from them,” He replied.”
“Took the water?” I said mind racing. “Ar- Are you,” I sputtered. “Talking about the flood,” a cloud of terror, descending around my shoulders.”
“Yes.” Lila stated her voice alive, with anticipation.
“But remember how that ended?” I droned with dread.
Hal’s gaze found me, realizing I didn’t share they’re enthusiasm. “Oh come on, dude. This is good!”
I shook my head. “How can this possibly be good? Only a few Atlantian’s survived the flood and even fewer humans.
“Without the flood, rogues would still control water. And we wouldn’t be shielded right now.” He said.
“Yes. We took the water, but at what cost, death and near annihilation?” I demanded in fear. How can you take comfort in that?”
“No, not that” Hal thundered. “You see only, what was lost; you must focus on what we gained, take comfort in advantages gained.”
Moving to face me, Hal stared me down, iron lacing his voice. “We can’t change the past but, we can make sure; the sacrifices of others aren’t in vain.”
The image of mother sacrificing herself, danced before my eyes. And I knew it was no accident, she sent me to Hal.
“Everything in this legend, ties with what your mother said.” He continued, “She said, you’d stop Bellator. I don’t know about you, but I’m choosing to believe.”
“Oh.” I mouthed, shame choking the voice, right out of me. His words, a painful reminder, I’d chosen to, not believe, for so many years.
Seeing my grimace, Hal prodded further. “It’s your destiny?”
I saw myself begging, as I scrambling through the trapdoor, “Mom join me.” The echo of voice saying, “I can’t hide from fate,” bounded through my mind.
Shoving the memory away, I answered Hal. “Maybe,” I said.
Her favorite line crashed unbidden into thoughts - Fate and destiny aren’t the same. Fate is prewritten, beyond our control. But destiny is how we meet fate and that is completely up to us. You look fate in the eye, accept it, and figure out how to make it work for you. - shaking me to my core.
Cringing inside not wanting to make the wrong choice, and fail mother…again. But consumed with doubt, I said. “I heard a lot of places, where destiny could be derailed.”
“Derailed?” Hal muttered in exasperation, “How?”
Shaking my head at his blind confidence, I realized I didn’t want to fail him either. “Don’t you see how shaky this is?” I questioned.
“We need to save the red haired girl at just the right time. What if we don’t?” I demanded.
“That’s just fear talking.” Hal said.
“I just started having visions.” I pointed out. “In case you’ve forgotten, I really don’t know how to read or control them.”
“That will come. You just need to give yourself time.”
“Time we may not have.” I groaned in exasperation.
If you’d told me six months ago, I’d have visions without the invading weakness. Much less be able to pull a vision, simply by thinking of someone, I would have been thrilled.
Of course I wouldn’t have known how cryptic and confusing, the messages could be.
How does one make sense of quick flashes of light, in an otherwise dark room, little bits, and pieces of a picture, streaking across the mind’s eye, with no meaning or understanding available?
Fearful, I amble through the library; how unfair I thought. For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted friends. I’ve finally found some, and I’m going to lose them, through my own incompetents, everything lost because of me.
Steeling my heart against the inevitable, I begin a vision of today’s events yet again, searching for a weakness in Bellator, but knowing, I won’t find any.
“It’s her!” I yell, pacing with verily contained stress. “The red haired girl mom told me about!”
“Dude mellow out.” Hal said strolling into the passage way in his annoying laidback way.
Lila stepped behind him. “Show us.”
Slapping my hand against the glass with impatiens, I watch Hal and Lila for a reaction.
A beautiful face curtained with red curls stood in a room, filled with teenagers. A boy pantomimed riding a horse. Everyone was yelling at once.
Hal snorted. “The only danger I see is the party running out of snacks.”
I knew he was right. I saw no danger. But why would I get a vision unless danger lurked nearby? I didn’t know enough about my powers to understand why visions come when they do.
The boy stopped pantomiming and turned on the red haired girl. “How can you not get this?” He demanded.
I felt the change in the atmosphere of the party before I realized what was happening. “I thought you were supposed to have weird voodoo powers or something.” The angry boy demanded.
The laughter stopped, and the room became quite. Glancing around the girl found all her teammates studying they’re shoes.
Staring at the boy she said. “I’m sorry Harold. I would’ve read your mind…if you had a mind to read.”
“Burn!” a boy squealed and laughter broke out again. No one except a petite blonde noticed the red head leave the room.
“Penny, don’t go.” She said.
“I need to study, chemistry test tomorrow.” She said.
The blonde leaned against her shoulder. “Nobody listens to anything Harold says. He’s a jerk”
Smiling she says. “I’m not leaving because of him.”
“Then why are you leaving?” The blonde asked unconvinced.
“I need to study, like I said. And it’s late.”
The blonde raised her head. “Okay. But you’re going to miss all the fun. We’re gonna tie Harold to a tree later and leave him in the woods crying like a baby.”
Penny smiled again. “How sweet, Tonia. You want to commit a felony for me. No need though. You can’t change who he is, you’ll only get in trouble. For my sake just drop it, kicking up a fuss only makes the legend of weird voodoo girl grow.”
Sounding as deflated as a tire, Tonia says “Ooookay,” drawling the word out on a sigh. “Oh well it’s the thought that counts, right?”
Penny couldn’t help but laugh, which had been Tonia’s goal. “That’s what they say. Though I don’t think they had these circumstances in mind when they said it.”
She gave Tonia a hug and headed for the woods.
Glancing up at the pale silver moon, she walked along lost in thought. I was so captivated by the emotions playing across her face. I missed the shadow moving in tandem with her. She missed it also.
Lila’s keen eyes pointed it out. “She’s in danger. Let’s go Hal.”
“Not yet.” He said. “We don’t know what that is. It could be one of her friends messing with her.”
“Not Yet!” I screamed. “Are you crazy?”
Hal glanced at me, “Mellow dude.” He said but gave no indication he thought my outburst out of place. “We’ll have plenty of time to rescue her, if she needs rescuing.”
“You should go. See what’s lurking in the shadows.” I said anxiously, glancing at Lila for support, only to find her staring at me with a smirk, like she knew something I didn’t. “If there’s no danger, nothings lost.”
Hal never lifted his gaze from the vision. “And if the shadow is Bellator?” He asked. “He could be there, waiting. What do you think he’ll do?” He asked.
“He’ll sense the change in the air, know we’re there. Doomed, that’s what we’ll be, and the red haired girl along with us sense we won’t be around to rescue her later.” Hal reasoned. “Timing is key, that’s what your mother was trying to imply with her cryptic message.”
I could see the wisdom of Hal’s words but that didn’t make watching someone stalk Penny any easier.
Her head snapped up, eyes scanning. “Hello.” She calls. Waiting and listening, she shifts her angle in a more direct path to home. The hair on my arms and neck stood on end as the shadow adjusted also. A lead weight the size of a cannon ball settled in the pit of my stomach.
Penny stilled, cocking her head to one side like she was listening to something, seconds later she exploded into a panic driven run, glancing over her shoulder, as she sprinted. Did she see her worse nightmare shadowing her, or just sense it?
My heart thudded with fear as she darted around trees, tripped over roots, and skidded on pine-cones. Losing precious ground as evil drew closer. She quit glancing behind, pouring all her efforts into getting away.
The cannon ball in my stomach sprouted roots and began to grow, stealing all the life giving oxygen from my body.
I was able to smell the small wooded area she ran through. It was as if our minds were linked.
The rich mustiness of dirt blended with the pungent smell of rotting foliage, completely overwhelming the hint of life… death surrounded us.
Her rasping breath and the soft rustle of the wind blended, to create an ever increasing tempo of fear. An insistent ping of water drew her on, certain if she could just make the canal, she’d somehow be safe. I crumbled forward sliding down the glass to my knees, all but paralyzed with fear for her.
I couldn’t help think, if I was this scared, how must she feel? A scream ripped from my lips when the shadow loomed up behind her. I felt its hot breath on her neck; saw its hand dart out grabbing her ankle.
Fate, Attacks and Destiny
Fate happens, the strong survive, letting destiny override fate.
She jerked free, propelling herself into the air, and slamming down the canal bank. Landing with a breath stealing thud in mud, she desperately rolled crawling to the water’s edge, sinking down to the murky bottom, straining her already air-deprived lungs as long as she could.
I smelled ozone long before Bellator hunkered down on the bank; the face haunting my dreams for so long, beamed an evil smile at the water, certain of his victory.
Hal reached down pulling me from my knees and breaking my contact with the glass wall. “Okay.” I heaved, out of breath, “Now you know its Bellator.”
Hal pushed away with a resigned look on his face. “Yes, I know. Not only that it’s Bellator, but also how we can arrive without him knowing. Let’s go Lila.”
“Wait. What about me?” I demanded.
“Nope,” He said blankly. “You’re not going.”
“What do you mean I’m not going?” I thundered.
“It’s simple. You’re not going. First you’re our visionary. You lead, we fight. Second and most importantly Bellator is there, and we know he wants to kill you. We can’t risk it.”
I drew in a breath to argue, only to blow it out in frustration. They’d already blinked.
I had no argument, anyway. Hal’s logic was sound. Not that I liked it.
Five minutes later I shouted, to an empty room, “This is crazy! I should be there.” Restlessly I wondered over to one of the many cases housing ancient artifacts from Hal’s collection, desperately trying to distract myself. I stared at an intricately carved death mask, without seeing.
A vision of Penny’s imminent danger, flashed before my eye, linking our minds again and knocking me to my knees with fear. Where are Hal and Lila? I wondered. “Hang on Penny.” I whispered to the vision. “Help will be there soon.”
I collapsed the rest of the way to the floor, mostly from fear. I watched transfixed as Penny evaded Bellator, frustration fill me, if I was Hal, I’d know defensive moves. Use the mind-link to help, but I was no fighter, I was completely useless.
Bellator gloated from the south bank. Penny swam north, only to see him fly across the thirty-foot canal like it was a mud puddle.
Screaming she back peddled, to the other side.
His menacing form paraded along the opposite bank feeding off her fear. She scuttled along, like a crab, keeping as much distance between her and him as possible; desperately wanting to take flight, the but unwilling to lead this monster to her family.
He flew overhead again, nearly landing on her. Cringing was the only sign of her fear. Bellator yanked her against his chest with malicious joy.
She kicked her feet in an effort to free herself, but they slid uselessly in the mud. Bellator laughed with glee, her efforts to escape, only inflaming his desire.
She stared into his hairless face, panting for breath.
And I held mine; terrified each would be her last.
With a start I realized, I was chanting fight over and over again. As if she could hear me, her feet began kicking, aiming for his groin.
He swung her from side to side, dodging her kicks, like she was no more than a doll. “Where are Hal and Lila?” I groaned inside my head, she can only fight for so long before Bellator tires of the game and kills her.
Penny’s eyes widened, darting a terrified glance behind her.