It's his destiny to restore Atlantis. Does he dare face the evil Bellator?
Danger, Fear, and Protecting
Sometimes fear of danger is not protecting, but oppressing.
“Our first recruit in the battle against Bellator.” Hal said.
My vision flashed through my mind again. One of the few, clear visions I’d had sense Penny’s rescue, but I didn’t bother the others with tales of my continued failure. I stood before them ready to impart vital details, and at the same time withhold even more vital information
“Before we go, I need everyone to know a few things.” I interrupted their idle chatter. “He only jumped a couple hours ago. He’s a light-bender like you Lila.”
“Good. I can use the help.” She stated. “How’d his powers manifest?”
“The kitchen table, gone, disappeared. His parents saw and…well, they think he’s a witch.”
“A what,” Penny asked. “Seriously what era are these people living in?”
I drew a deep breath, “He lives deep in the Ozarks. It’s extremely remote and isolated, and let’s face it; we’re talking about supernatural powers. Witch, isn’t too big a stretch.”
“I guess. Penny retorted. “Still, believing in witches,” she said shaking her head.
“It gets worse.” I added. “They burn witches.”
Penny blanched. “They’re not going to burn him, are they?”
Lila jerked upright, her body rising to its full height. “Not if I can help it.” She said swallowing a lump in her throat.
Materializing in a forest, I scanned the mountainside for Timbo.
“Howdy,” a voice said behind me.
I spun, to find a gaunt man sitting with his back against a tree; a small bag lay at his feet. His meager belongings only filled the bag halfway, lifting a jug he took a swig of whatever was inside.
I noticed a knife and piece of wood lay in his lap. Following my gaze, he held up the wood, “I was whittling.” He said.
“Hi. I’m Steve and these are my friends, Lila, Hal, and Penny. We’re here to offer you sanctuary at our home, if you want to join us.”
Finding his feet, he nodded to everyone, saying, “My names Timbo Steadfazt.”
His six foot six frame was covered in overalls, with rubber boots to the knees. I was surprised to find we were the same height, his gauntness made him seem taller. Silver streaked his hair, I wondered if it would turn into the glowing halo of silver Lila sported, with time.
“That’s mighty kind of you.” He said resignation heavy in his voice. “But I reckon you’ll change your mind…I’m a witch.” He added in a soft whisper as if the mere mention of the word was shameful.
“Nonsense,” Lila said stepping forward to capture his gaze. “You’re special, but not a witch.”
A strangled scream had me spinning around. Praesidio stood behind Penny, his arm around her throat. “Where’s it at girly?” He growled.
I froze, fear seizing my limbs, and my mind instantly linked with hers. I was surprised to find fear, didn’t dominate her emotions, irritation and disgust did. Was she irritated and disgusted at the fear seizing my limbs? I wondered.
Timbo clearly unaccustomed to battle, squeezed his bottle, spewing liquid into the air. Hal instantly shaped that liquid into balls, launching them with precision at Praesidio’s arm. He screamed, as a series of nasty holes appeared, like Hal had shot real bullets rather than water. Shoving Penny to the ground, Praesidio grunted in pain and disappeared.
Lila grabbed Penny, blinking us back to safety. “What just happened, why didn’t he blink her with him?” Lila asked staring at me, like I should have all the answers.
“I don’t know.” I mumbled examining Penny’s throat. “I never should’ve let you go.” Hal always the voice of reason, quietly moved to my side, commenting softly as he helped examine her. “You can’t keep her locked up.”
“I can try!” I declared with a passion born of fear not reason.
“Excuse me?” Penny said, pushing me away, the irritation I’d felt when our minds were linked heavy in her voice. “First. Don’t talk about me like I’m not here. Second. Don’t think for one minute you can tell me where I can and can’t go.”
“Look!” I exclaimed in frustration, tossing my gaze around the room. “You guys may be able to dismiss the danger these rogues present, but I can’t. I’ve seen firsthand how easily they kill,” and just like that, I was thirteen again reliving the nightmare of mother dying; judging by the silence in the room, I’m guessing everyone was imaging her death as well.
Penny stared at me. “I’m sorry about your mother. It must have been horrible to witness. But I’m not her.”
“Gad! I know that.” I exclaimed. Believe me no one knows that, better than me.”
“You can’t hide me from danger. I won’t let you.” She declared.
“Uh, sorry,” Timbo said grabbing my attention. “I know everyone’s upset about that man. But I think you got bigger problems.”
Turning to follow Timbo’s gaze I ask. “What?”
“Your house has slipped its moorings.
“What?” Hal said sweeping the room with his gaze.
“Look.” Timbo said, “It’s fallen in the water.”
Life, Bonds, and loyalty
Bonds of loyalty make life worth living.
We all laughed.
“She hasn’t fallen.” Hal said. “I’ve simply surrounded her with water, for protection.”
Timbo’s eyes widened. “You built this?” He asked.
Hal nodded, nudging him in the shoulder. “It’s really not a big deal when you control the elements. I called on air and earth to prepare the ground, floated the materials in place and Lila blinked around securing them.”
“Wow.” Tim said. “I reckon having powers ain’t gonna be as bad as I thought.”
“Dude, you have no idea.” Hal said smiling, “Welcome to Little Atlantis, we’re eighty feet beneath the surface, where the elements combine and life thrives, our home.”
Tim ducked his head looking embarrassed. “Thanks for bringing me. I’ve never know’d nothing but my mountain.” He said nervously. “My pal Billy, he went to the county fair with his pa every year. He told me the world was a lot bigger than our mountain, but I never did dream I’d see it.” Timbo said gazing around in amazement. “Even he wouldn’t believe we was under the Atlantic Ocean.”
Hal dropped an arm around Tim’s shoulder, leading him to the glass wall, indicating the vast view of underwater plants and animals. He said. “Lila always blinks us to the dining hall, so everyone can see the miracle of creation.
In the beginning water covered the earth. The father of all separated the land from the sea, taking a small portion of both to create all life. Mixing them he fashioned all life forms, solidifying them with fire. And last but not least he breathed air into them, creating the miracle of life.
Do you know why he used the elements to create us?” Hal asked without waiting for an answer. “So we’d be one with everything, creating a perfect circle of renewal. We fight to protect that perfect circle. The three rings of Atlantis pay tribute to the never ending circle of life.”
Tim nodded staring through the glass past the saw grass, to a forest of kelp and seaweed, anchored and free-floating. “This reminds me of my mountain.” He said. “I mean the colors. I see all the browns; reds and greens, except different. The colors seem more alive…like they might jump up and dance a jig.” He said in astonishment.
Hal chuckled. “I know exactly what you mean. Those are the colors of creation, not yet tainted by mankind’s ignorance.”
Tim bobbed and ducked his head. Embarrassed again, “I’m a simple man.” He said. “I don’t know much about the world and how it works, never been off my mountain. So…How’s this possible?”
Hal smiled. “I like that dude. You’ve only just met us. Know nothing of your heritage, yet you don’t insist what I’m telling you, is impossible. You only ask how? The world needs more open minded people like you. Come on I have a book you need to see.”
I made my way to the kitchen. Lila was leaving as I entered. She pulled me aside whispering. “Talk to her.”
“I can’t.” I groaned.
“Why not,” She demanded.
“I don’t know what to say.”
She stared into my eyes, “Steve, trust me, saying nothing is worst than saying the wrong thing,”
I couldn’t tell her that Penny had somehow managed to put a wall up in her mind, because then I’d have to admit to having access to her mind in the first place.
I paused inside the door, my gaze sweeping the restaurant style kitchen, while my mind reached for that intangible link with her mind, all I found was a dark wall, which clearly said you’re not welcome, if not with words then with intentions at least.
Penny was preparing a ham in front of the gleaming stainless steel edifice known as the oven. She moved to grab a heaping pile of peeled potatoes to fry.
I pulled the largest fry pan from a rack hanging over the center island, placing it on the open flame side of the stove, for her.
She ignored me. Moving to a refrigerator large enough to hold a cow.
I pulled lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers, balancing spinach greens and radishes on top. I stole covert glances at her while chopping and tossing the ingredients. Heading for the dining room, I grabbed the plate of potatoes she fried; flashing what I hoped was a soulful look at her.
She brushed past me like I wasn’t there and took the seat next to Lila, so I moved to the other side.
Tim slid into the seat next to me. “I wanted to thank you for the clothes.” He said. “Lila told me, they was from you.”
I let my gaze travel his profile. He didn’t’ look so gaunt in the tan shirt and Levi jeans. But he was still far too thin. “The clothes look good.” I replied, “But Tim you really need to eat more. Don’t be shy grab another plateful, there’s plenty to go around.”
“Steve, I know you’re kind and giving to a fault. All you’ll are. But I ain’t taken you’re clothes. It’s too much. I ain’t never had more than three outfits my whole life, my overalls for the field, bed clothes, and my Sunday best.”
I smiled. “Tim, you’re not taking anything from me. Those clothes don’t belong to anyone. Everything Lila gave you has been hanging in a closet going to waste. In fact you’re doing us a favor by taking them.”
“I don’t understand. Why would you have clothes no one wares?”
“At one point Lila thought I needed to change my style, so she bought the clothes, but I’m quite happy and comfortable the way I am.” I proclaimed, my gaze wondering to Penny, would she like me in different clothes.
Noticing my preoccupation Tim said. “I know you’re upset about that fellow.” He said loading his plate with fried potatoes and ham. “You worry about everyone. I noticed that right off. And I’m real sorry coming to get me put ya’ll in danger. I wouldn’t have asked that of nobody. Heck my own family shut me out. I’d still be sitting under that tree back yonder, if it weren’t for you. I reckon that makes you a real hero.”
I shrugged, unable to swallow around the lump forming in my throat. My inner voice screaming “I’m not a hero,” seconds before I jumped to my feet.
Lila rose from the table also. I fell in step a few paces behind. Turning right down the passageway away from the music room, she passed the kitchen and library, pausing at the mat room to glance at Hal.
With no destination in mind I paused behind her, only wanting escape.
I waited for her to cross the grand hall, my gaze following the curved staircase, rising up on either side of the pool; toying with the idea of slipping upstairs, but anyone could find me there. I stared at the second floor landing, watching the small waterfall spew from beneath and arc into the pool with a soft gurgle.
Lila went right, so I turned left, past three couches grouped around a television and gaming system; heading for the south courtyard. Only to realize I wouldn’t be any less findable there, turning back to my right; I charged pass chairs grouped around the fire lit hearth. Intent on the door Lila passed through only moments ago.
Hal knew a light-bender needed a source of light. So he created the conservatory. It jutted out from the castle, becoming the only room with three walls made of glass, along the vaulted glass ceiling hung a row of grow lights. The floor was the sandy ocean bottom. The room had the faint scent of earth beneath the aroma of flowers; I spotted Lila, resting among the foliage.
Ducking behind a large lilac, I made my way past benches and chairs including the one she sat on. She sought the room for light. I sought solitude, sliding down the glass wall, I hid. It wasn’t long before I heard the soft tread of feet. Tim emerged around a hibiscus.
“I see you’ve found my sanctuary.” Lila said.
“This place sure is fancy.” Tim gushed. “If you’d rather be alone, I can leave?”
“Don’t be silly.” She replied. “Have a seat.”
Tim folded his tall frame into the seat next to her. “I wanted to thank you for helping me.” He mumbled.
Lila peeked at him. “No problem. Tim, I know you think you don’t fit in.”
He flushed. “It’s just so big and fancy.”
“You’re wondering why we brought you here.” She asked.
Tim fidgeted uncomfortable in his chair.
“You and I have more in common than you know.” She said. “I used to feel like I didn’t fit anywhere also.”
Tim leaned back in his chair, “Really?”
I moved closer, wanting to hear.
Lila closed her eyes saying. “Yeah, I was eight when my residual powers started to manifest. Don’t get me wrong.” She added. “I couldn’t move at the speed of light. But I was defiantly moving faster than an eight year old should.”
Tim nodded. “I was ten.” He said clearing his throat. “I reckon. I was lucky to be in the woods at the time. My pals said I ought not, let anybody know. Cause I was like a superhero and superheros, always keep their identities hidden.”
Tim shifted in his seat. “We pondered on how I got my powers.” He said. “My friends figured a spider bit me like in the movie Billy saw at the county fair.”
Lila laughed. “I think I’m beginning to see a pattern here. Billy was your go to guy, huh?”
“I reckon.” Tim replied.
“I didn’t know anything about the world or special powers either.” Lila sighed. “I guess my parents didn’t think I was a superhero though. They were scared.” She admitted. “I’m sure it would have been easier if…I had a go to guy…someone to talk things over with, but I didn’t.” She said with a shaky voice.
Tim stared at the ceiling while she grasped for composure.
“I understand my parents fear now.” She said. “But back then, it just felt like they didn’t want me.” She said mumbled. “I came home from school one day and they were gone.”
Tim placed his large hand over hers.
She absently patting his hand, staring off into space, caught up in the memory. “I waited thinking every car coming down the road would be them. They never came. It took about two weeks for anyone to ask questions. Finely the police arrived and drug me away.”
“They put you in jail?” Tim asked in shock.
“No. I ended up in foster care. For a long time I blamed the police. I was sure if they hadn’t taken me away…Well, I imagined my parents desperately searching for me.”
Tim patted my hand. “I’m sure something happened. They never would have just left you alone like that.”
“Yeah, you’d think.” Lila said so soft I almost didn’t hear.
“I spent a lot of years telling myself that same thing, imagining all sorts of terrible situations preventing them from coming for me. But the truth is. They didn’t want me. They were afraid. Just like your parents.” She said gazing deeply into Tim’s eyes, her hand resting comfortingly in his.
“It doesn’t mean they’re bad, or we’re bad. It just means we’re different and they’re afraid.”
Tim sighed. “I reckon you’re right. I’m real lucky ya’ll come when you did. It couldn’t be easy in foster care.”
Lila stared at Tim for a moment. Obviously he didn’t know what foster care was if he thought a twenty year old would be sent there. “I was sent to live with many different families over the years. That’s what foster care means. But I ran away from all of them. That’s where I learned to defend myself.”
Tim nodded. “I got your back now.”
Lila smiled. “And I’ve got yours.”
Slowly I got to my feet wondering, did all Atlantian’s suffer as children? Then I remembered Penny’s family. And I understood why Lila said she was lucky.
Defense, Training and Love
No matter the training. No matter the defense. No one can stop love.
“Go change if you need to, it’s time for physical training.” Hal announced. “Meet me in the mat room.”
A large statue of Buddha dominated the far side of the room. Hal bowed before the statue and mumbled a few words under his breath. This was one of the few interior rooms, which meant it had no glass wall.
After an hour of basic exercise instructions Hal began to focus on Penny’s training. She seemed most in need. Not to mention being the number one target.
He wrapped his arm around Lila’s neck. “When your attacker has you pinned like this.” He said. “You have two avenues. You can stomp his foot or jab an elbow into his ribs. Steve will you help by pretending to be Penny’s attacker?”
I really should have talked to her. I thought. This is not going to end well. I stepped behind her, loosely wrapping my arm around her throat, completely unprepared for the sensations her skin ignited. Fires burned all over my body. Gritting my teeth, I pulled my arm back a fraction of an inch, holding it in front of her neck, careful not to touch.
She wiggled brushing her back against me and my pulse shot up. This close the scent of apples and cinnamon invaded the air, sapping my will, and fueling the burn of desire until it became a separate entity, fighting my control.
“Will you be still?” I growled in her ear, rigidly holding myself back with extreme effort.
Tilting her head sideways she let her gaze sweep my face. Hurt and confusion clouded her eyes, at the sight of my stiff jaw and rigid muscles.
Groaning under my breath, I snapped. “Pay attention, this could save your life.”
“Penny,” Hal called. “Wrap your hands around Steve’s arm pulling forward, while he’s focused on your hands, you can stomp his foot.”
She gritted her teeth, her eyes still clouded with hurt and confusion, and I thought this is it. She’s going to let me have it, but she stomped the mat.
My sigh of relief blew past her ear and she smirked.
Irritated with my waning control, I growled with anger. “Don’t smirk. You look like Lila.”
She drew her brows together seconds before her elbow slammed into my ribs. Releasing my hold, I doubled over in pain crumbling to the floor, gasping for air.
Glaring down she said. “I learned that move from Lila along with the smirk, you ass.”
As if on cue Lila laughed. “Nice jab Penny, didn’t know you had it in you.”
Hal hesitated not sure what happened. “Em…good job Penny,” he said. “You didn’t need to jab Steve though.”
Penny halted her march for the door, turning a sugar sweet smile on him. “Trust me I did.”
“Steve, you okay?” He asked.
“Fine,” I coughed out.
“I’ll get some water.” Tim volunteered.
Hal cleared his throat. “Em…remember when I asked, if she’d slapped you?”
I nodded my answer not trusting my voice.
“Dude, I think that was her slap.”
“You think?” I groaned. Of course Penny wouldn’t simply slap. I thought.
Lila laughed from across the room.
“Your wife is a trader.” I grouched.
Hal laughed flopping to the floor beside me, “Women.”
“Is there anything you don’t find amusing Hal?” I asked irritation getting the better of me.
Favoring my right side, I made my way through the sanctuary, Lila was right. Saying nothing was worse, and Hal was right also, admitting my feelings will help…at least I hope it will. Besides we need to stand united.
I couldn’t find her in the library, kitchen, or bedroom. In desperation I consulted my water-board.
“You could have broken Steve’s ribs with that jab.” Lila said watching Penny’s reaction.
I saw her eyes soften before turning hard again.
“I don’t care.” She spat, “Serves him right.”
Lila smirked. “We both know you don’t mean that.”
“I threw myself at him, Lila.” She wailed in misery. “Something I’ve never done. I’m weird voodoo girl, the freak. Guys react only one way to me, after a million looks of rejection, a girl catches on.”
“A million,” Lila repeated. “I doubt you’ve even met a million guys.”
“You know what I mean.” Penny said frowning. “I’m very familiar with the duality of men.”
“Duality, now you’ve lost me.”
“Where his body language says, oh yeah baby, while his emotional vibe say no way in hell. I know why guys don’t want me, or only want one thing. But somehow, I expected the guy with vision…to be different.”
“He is different.” Lila insisted. “I told you at the mall.”
“Yeah, I heard what you said. I even believed for a moment. But you didn’t see his face. In the mat room, it was like he could verily stand to touch me.”
I dropped the water-board and flew down the passageway, taking the stairs two at a time, “Damn this over-sized castle.” I grumbled holding my side.
Barreling through conservatory door, I panted softly. “Lila, if you will excuse us I’d like to speak with Penny alone.”
Penny grabbed her arm shaking her head. “No…I have nothing to say to you Steve.”
“What you saw on my face, in the mat room, was me fighting the urge to grab you in a way completely unrelated to combat.”
Penny didn’t notice Lila walking away. “Were you just spying on me?” She asked with suspicion.
“Yes. No. I was trying to find you, to talk. I only caught the end of your conversation with Lila.”
Penny stared. “Why? If you feel this way, why fight?”
“I wanted to give you time to get over your losses. To know what you want.” Swallowing I plunged ahead. “I want you, but I need you to be ready to make decisions without loss and fear messing with your head.”
“You want me,” She asked dashing moisture from her eyes.
I felt my face burning and knew it was beet red, “Yes.” I whispered.
“When I was thirteen,” she said. “I dreamed of a knight on a horse carrying me off to his castle. We’re already in a castle; you wouldn’t happen to have a horse somewhere, would you?”
“No, I’m afraid not.” I said with a smile, stepping closer.
“I can live with that.” She whispered blinking tears from her eyes.
Capturing a tear I asked. “So what do you say? Are you ready to get to know a nerd like me?”
Penny frowned. “You know you’re not really a nerd, don’t you?”
I looked down, seeing the white of my socks where my pants didn’t quite reach my shoes.
Penny followed my gaze laughing. “No. Nerds are not six feet something of hard-body. They don’t have six-pack abs or an Elvis Presley curl, like you’ve got going on.”
“Wait. There’s a height limit to being a nerd?”
“Oh yeah,” Penny laughed. “Nerds are generally average to short in height with weak skinny bodies, no muscles to be found.”
“Who makes up these rules,” I demanded.
“There not rules silly.”
Reminded of our differences I turned away. “You’ve seen and done things I only dreamed about.
“It doesn’t matter.” She said grabbing my arm.
“I spent most of my life in hiding; we’ve had such different lives.”
“Look around. This is new for both of us.”
“That’s true,” I said hesitating. “If you’re sure,” I agreed. “But we take it slow.”
“Slow,” She groaned, really?”
“Yes, I need to know you’re ready, because I’ll only accept forever.”
Combatants, Battles and Egos
The rash, battle each other, rather than combating their egos.
We spent the next year training with Hal and studying every scrap of information about Atlantis he had collected over the years. I felt torn, part of me itching for the day I’d face Bellator and get this over, and the other praying that day never came.
Somehow taking refuge beneath the ocean seemed wrong, when I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt; Bellator was attacking and killing humans, while we waited. Hal insisted moving too soon would insure our failure; Penny needed to grow stronger physically, and I needed to develop my gift, not to mention she hadn’t jumped yet. Hal was certain when the time was right I’d get a vision telling me what to do…I wasn’t.
Penny sat reading Hal’s family book aloud. Although I couldn’t tell you anything she said. Tim sat across from her intently listening. I was pretending to study a scroll; actually I was studying Penny, lost in the way light touched her face, until my gaze fogged up.
“Hal, Lila.” I yelled rising from the chair, “A vision.”
Lila ducked her head in the library, Hal right behind.
“A man is trapped and Bellator’s closing in. He needs our help.”
Hal nodded without hesitation, “Tim, you stay with Penny and Steve.”
Penny crossed her arms, in anger, but I grabbed Lila’s shoulder; we were gone before a word of complaint could leave her lips.
I searched the rocks for Bellator, knowing the stranger wouldn’t be far.
“We’re in some kind of sinkhole.” I said. “Notice the houses in the distance over there, suburbia that means innocent people close by.”
“What the devil are you doing here?” Hal demanded, anger marring his usually easy-going manner.
“I hitched a ride on Lila’s shoulder…so to speak,” I stated without apology, “deal with it.”
“Are you trying to blow this?” Hal demanded. “Get yourself killed before we can even figure a plan?” All my bravado evaporated, and I suddenly felt like a disobedient child.
“Guys,” Lila growled, “not the time.”
My gaze found the stranger and Bellator locked in battle, it was unlike anything I’d ever seen.
The laws of gravity didn’t apply. Dirt, rocks, and debris swirled around Bellator. His hands kept the deadly missiles at bay. I watched frightened for the stranger as Bellator launched a lightning bolt.
Hal reacted instinctively, calling on air, and lifting the stranger and setting him down out of the way.
Without warning the ground opened beneath our feet. We began falling clinging to one another as an avalanche of boulders and dirt blocked out the sun.
Hurtling thirty feet in seconds, I caught Hal’s gaze as the uncompromising ground rushed up to meet us, and I realized what a foolish thing I’d done.
The stranger had been aiming for Bellator, when he opened the ground, only we took the hit when Hal moved him across the sinkhole.
Flipping his hands toward the dirt sides of the sinkhole Hal collected dirt, forming a bridge beneath our feet and stopping our downward spiral.
My mind hemorrhaged thoughts on the verge of overload. I knew Hal controlled the elements, but seeing water conform to his will, could not prepare me for the impossible powers he welded. Boulders the size of cars danced across the sky slamming into one another as Hal worked to extend our bridge to the stranger.
With the exploding rocks came sand zinging in all directions. Grunting with pain, I gritted my teeth against the sand pitting my skin.
I was painfully aware Hal was focusing most of his attention on keeping me safe, and I cursed my own childish impulsiveness. Now Hal’s job was twice as hard, because he couldn’t move to save the stranger, without putting me in danger.
Bellator’s gaze took on a smug superiority as he sent a whirlwind in our direction. The howl of wind biting my ears, this is it I thought, Bellator wins. Our first confrontation and Bellator is gonna take us out, because of my stupidity.
The air thickened, and I realized Lila blinked us; the stranger appeared at my side. He flexed his index finger, and the whirlwind Bellator created sailed back across the hole. Hal added a blinding lightning bolt.
Intent on getting out of this sinkhole, I reached for the stranger.
With a snarl of anger, he elbowed me and jumped away.
I watched in shocked fascination as his little finger twirled in a circle and curl into his palm and in a flash everything within a 300 hundred-yard circle floated.
The boulders, an impossible amount of dirt and any junk lying around just suspended in air not moving. Like a video on pause.
Without warning the rocks began to collect in an unnatural way converging into giant house size boulders, as if the rocks were magnets and the dirt glue.
Without warning everything began hurtling with cyclone force toward Bellator, driving him back toward the edge of the sinkhole.
Bellator looked positively demonic, with hands lifted, dispersing, and deflecting rocks; while a manic laugh issued from his mouth. The incredible amount of power streaming from his hands was staggering…still he was pushed closer and closer to the edge.
The stranger, I had thought to save was grinning with malevolence.
I felt like an insignificant fly on the wall of creation, witnessing such power. With a start I realized that’s exactly what Bellator was welding….the power of creation, and his fall put the entire earth out of balance.
The deafening sounds of howling wind and rushing water became the unholy sounds of battle; like a waterfall roaring inside a cave. As frightening as this was; I couldn’t take my eyes off Bellator. Watching as he lost his footing, falling over the edge, boulders, and dirt trailing behind. As one we all rushed to the edge; Bellator was gone.
Breathing a sigh of relief; I turned to the stranger.
He kicked the ground glaring at me. “I had him! He was mine!” He wailed in frustrated anger, taking the two steps needed; he grabbed my shirt, hauling me up to his face. “Who the hell are you and what are you doing here?”
Plans, Anger and Visions
Plans made in anger begat anger; it takes vision to find peace.
Lila fearing the angry man’s intent wrapped one arm around my waist and blinked.
Her attempt to save me, failed only because he never let go. By the time I pulled free, we were in Atlantis. He swayed a little from the swiftness of blinking. Instinctively, I reached out to steady him.
He smacked my hand away with a snarl. “What do you people think you’re doing?”
“We were trying to rescue you from Bellator.” I said. “Obviously you didn’t want our help.”
“You’re damn right!” He barked at me.
Lila blinked behind him, kicking the back of his knees. Before he could hit the floor she slammed a fist in his throat. He sprawled at my feet, gasping for air, her booted foot pressed securely against his chest. “Show some respect for the leader of Atlantis.” She howled.
“Atlantis,” He croaked between coughs, eyes rounding in shock, quickly followed by disdain.
Gasping in rage he rasped. “Bellator is the only person you saved, you idiots. You allowed him to escape.” Lifting his head he grappled with Lila’s foot.
Hal snorted. “You’re wasting your time. She’s a light-bender. You can no more move her foot, than you can stop Bellator alone.”
Hearing the struggle Tim and Penny came running.
Concerned things were getting out of hand. I motioned for Lila to let the stranger up; a little shocked at the viciousness of her attack.
“You don’t really think you can take Bellator alone, do you?” I asked.
“Hell Yes.” He wailed. “I was giving that bastard a run for his money.”
I took a deep breath reaching out to help him up.
Hal sighed. “You can’t win a dogfight against Bellator, he’s too powerful. He can counteract anything you throw at him.”
The guy ignored my hand, getting to his feet. “Spare me the stupid speeches…I’ve heard the legends of Bellator before.” He murmured.
Clearly only his arrogance surpassed his crude manners.
Penny backed out of the way so Tim could move closer.
“Let’s start over.” I said. “My name is Steve and this is my team. Lila would be the one ready to rip out your throat. Hal’s the elemento and the gentleman crowding you is Tim. Behind me is Penny. Your name would be?”
“Warren…names Warren Windsor. I’m an elemento like your friend.”
“Got that from the boulders you were slinging. Why were you in the sinkhole? Did Bellator trap you there?” I asked.
“Trap me?” He repeated with derision. “I’ve been hunting Bellator for weeks…. three weeks, to be exact. I finely get the bastard in my trap and you idiots come along and ruin it! Thanks a lot.” He growled.”
I sighed. So many things about that statement begged for answers. I didn’t even know where to start.
Warren’s stare swept our faces. “You’ve got to be kidding me? He said glaring. “You’re verily passed jumping? All of you! You’re just kids.” He sneered in dismay.
“You’re trying to set up a new Atlantis,” he grumbled throwing his pack down in disgust. “What? You came into power and thought oh, I know what’ll be fun. Let’s build a new Atlantis! ” He kicked his pack across the floor.
We all stared in dismay at his outburst.
Warren glared at me. “You’re flashing around like superheroes, and not a damn one of you knows shit.” He tilted his head up to heaven like he was praying, “Lord save me from half-baked heroes.” He grouched.
Lila materialized behind him. “I was just thinking the same thing.” She whispered wrapping her hand around his throat and digging her fingers into the soft flesh. “Keep talking and I’ll rip your vocal cords out.” She grunted.
Tim grabbed Warren’s hands preventing him from using his powers.
I stared, momentarily too shocked to react. Lila and Tim we’re the strongest and apparently the most volatile people in the room.
Hal snapped me out of my shock with his soft-spoken. “Lila honey, you’ve got to mellow out.”
Taking a step forward I said. “Lila please let go of his throat.”
Warren laughed. “At least one of you has a fighting spirit!”
I shook my head at Warren’s inability to recognize, being in over his head. “Let’s go into the great hall and talk this out.”
When everyone was seated, except Lila and Tim, they opted to hover over Warren, ready to pounce.
I said. “It’s obvious you believe we’re missing important information. So enlighten us. Why don’t you start with how you had Bellator in a trap?” I asked.
He leaned back in his chair stretching his long legs, completely unconcerned with Lila and Tim hovering over him. “The sinkhole of course,” He said.
I glanced at Hal to see if he got his meaning. His look of confusion matched mine. “Connect the dots. I don’t follow.” I said. “How was the sinkhole a trap?”
“I was calling water. A couple more seconds and the hole would’ve been filled. And Bellator would be history.” Warren claimed.
I glanced at Hal. “Your dots aren’t lining up. Bellator can move water. How was he going to be trapped?” I asked.
“Rogues can hold water at bay, for a little while. But they can’t move through water like we can.” Warren murmured stifling a yawn.
Hal rolled his eyes. “You mean they can’t shape water,” he asked, “Like we do.”
Warren smiled. “That’s exactly what I mean. You pour a lake on the buggers head and he’s as helpless as a human with no powers.”
Hal and Lila both sighed with disappointment. I guess they were hoping Warren knew something they didn’t, just like I was.
“He doesn’t need to shape water.” Hal groaned, “He just blinks.”
Warren continued talking ignoring Hal. “Do you realize how long it took me to lure him to that stinking sinkhole?” He grouched screwing his face up in a frown. “Now that plan is gone. No way will I be able to lure him there again.”
Leaning forward in his chair he said. “He knows my plan now, thanks to you. He’ll be ready.” Getting up, he started to pace.
“Oh get a clue.” Lila growled. “He’s toying with you. Surly you’re not too dense to realize he was only using defensive maneuvers out there. He could have squashed you like a bug at any moment. ”
“Water is our only advantage.” He continued like Lila never spoke. “I need to think!”
I let my gaze settle on him. “It’s not the only weapon we have.” I said.
Warren stopped pacing and turned to pin me with a glare. “Oh, what weapon do you think you have?” He scoffed.
I turned my gaze on Penny. “I had a vision; Penny is the key to stopping Bellator.” I announced.
Warren turned to gaze at Penny, “This timid little mouse? She’s ready to take flight at the slightest provocation. I might believe you if you were talking about the warrior woman. What did you call her? Oh yeah, Lila, but the mouse isn’t going to stop a fly much less Bellator.”
Penny strolled over to the door, “Listen Warhead, my quota for psychopaths is filled for this lifetime. So you’ll excuse me if I don’t stick around and listen to any more of your babble.”
“She politely excuses herself, in the middle of insulting me.” He sneered. “How the hell is miss manners gonna stop Bellator?” He asked voice-dripping acid.
“The vision said she was the key to stopping Bellator, not that she had to do it herself,” I clarified.
Warren smiled. “Well at least you know how to read the subtleties of a vision. But let me tell you something, only a fool depends on a vision to win a war.”
I nodded my agreement. “The vision only guides us. We’re not depending on it to win anything.”
“Visions destroy everything.” Warren said. “That’s what brought the last Atlantis down.”
“Wait, Atlantis fell because of a visionary?” I questioned.
“Exactly,” Warren said. “They believed a vision of victory, right up until the city fell. The surviving Atlantian’s scattered and hid. They’ve been hiding ever since, but not me! I’ll be damned if I’m going to hide another day.”
Hal interrupted. “As fascinating as this is, I’ll bet you could use some food and a bed. Let me show you to the kitchen, I’m sure we have some leftovers.”
“I don’t like him.” Lila and Tim both said at the same time!
“He’s shifty,” Lila added.
“You don’t like anyone, Lila.” I replied automatically my thoughts swimming.
“That’s not true. I kind of like you, when you’re not all whishy-washy.”
Hal returned. “Dude, did you see the way he moved those rocks with just his finger?” He whistled. “We could learn a lot from this guy.”
Lila and Tim both punched him in either shoulder. “What?” He said. “It’s true. I don’t like the guy anymore than you do. Imagine blaming the fall of Atlantis on a visionary.”
I shrugged my shoulders. “What if he’s right? Mother said the timing had to be right or we’d fail, what if we already failed and don’t know it?”
Hal shook his head. “I knew you were going to latch onto his crap and run with it. Dude, Bellator and his cronies are still trying to stop us. That tells me were doing something right.
Lila folded her arms across her chest. “Steve you can’t take anything this guy says seriously. The ass, accused us of causing his ridicules plan to fail. Bellator was laughing at him.”
Jealousy, Power, and regrets
Jealousy can fuel a power, which can only lead to regret.
The next morning Hal and I found Warren walking the south courtyard. We had no illusions he was simply taking exercise and enjoying the view.
Hal asked. “Dude, I was wondering if you could show me how to control the earth with just my fingers?”
“No.” Warren grunted. “You’re too calm, hippy boy!”
Hal’s eyes narrowed in suspicion. “Out of control emotion is asking for trouble.”
Warren tilted his head heavenward. “You’re right,” He said, “Nothing wrong with controlling your emotions, unless your power is connected to your emotion. Hold back the emotion, hold back the power.”
Hal stared at the ground hesitating. “You don’t understand.” He said. “I can’t...”
Warren interrupted. “I understand completely. You want more power but you’re not willing to do what it takes. Jumpers,” he sneered rolling his eyes.
Hal turned away. “I swore I’d never let the power consume me again.”
Warren nodded, “Your choice.”
“Fine dude,” Hal said taking two stomping steps away.
“Let me guess.” Warren added conversationally. “There was a terrible accident. When you were a teenager, right”
My gaze shot to Hal.
He stopped walking, going stiff.
Warren continued, “You flaunted your residual power. Or had an emotional outburst, someone got hurt, maybe killed.” He guessed. “It happens; get over it, if you want real power.”
What Warren suggested shocked me? I’m not sure why. He’d shown nothing resembling respect or concern for anyone so far; don’t know why I expected anything else.
Hal relaxed his stiff position shrugging his shoulders, and continued to the kitchen never glancing back. I followed behind him, repeating the sage advice he’d given me, “Don’t listen to anything he says.”