Here we are folks! How exciting!
The End of the first arc of volume 2!
I lazily knocked on the window separating my mom and I. “Mom? Mom. Zyla?”
There was no answer. There hadn’t been for weeks now. I don’t even see my mother anymore. She’s a walking skeleton who gave up and died months ago now. I still try, and I still knock. She’s the only thing I have left.
James used to be that.
My gaze drifted to the empty cell to my right. I had such hope.
We were a big family, which is surprising considering Zyla is a vampire. Still she managed to have six kids all as different as it gets. Raphaele was the big sister and she took that role to heart. She’d boss us around for the heck of it. She’d always head butt with Lance however, who was just as strong willed as her. They were impressive and intimidating to me then. It often felt like they were on another level compared to the rest of us, they always seemed to have more authority.
Aliska was officially the middle child. Sometimes she was a big sister along with the other two, or she was with us younger siblings. Or sometimes she just simply wasn’t there – in her own little world of fortune telling and sleepwalking.
James was next to arrive, born mute and the first vampire, he was the special child of the family. They didn’t treat him any differently. He just fit in. Everyone had their roles. Raphaele was the big sister and Lance the bratty big brother. Aliska was the mediator and James was the special heir to the Gold family heritage. When Nixanne and I finally came around, my twin slid right into the dynamic. She was the youngest sister, with a knack for hacking computers. Everyone had their own special little thing.
But me? I also really enjoyed playing around with electronics, and I’m good at it, but Nixanne was always better. I was also born a vampire with golden eyes, but there was no way I could compete with James for that title. Not only was he incredibly stronger, but he was also only half vampire. That meant all the temptations and the desires to drink blood that I had were things he didn’t need to deal with. He had all the advantages of being a vampire without the disadvantages.
I tried branching out, but I always seemed to inevitably fail at everything I tried – I never stopped trying though. I’d hear my parents talk at length and with pride about my five other siblings. I spent a huge chunk of my life being jealous, of everyone.
It feels really pathetic now.
Yeah you know, when my non-supernatural siblings started to die off one at a time, being jealous of them was the last thing on my mind. When Raphaele died, too young still, I started to get scared. It started to dawn on me that my family would die before I did. I tried to mend things, I tried to be a better brother. I never had trouble with Nixanne, so I focused on spending time with Aliska and helping her out.
Ha, even back then I couldn’t envision having a normal conversation with James. It always felt condescending; it just kept reminding me of my position as his shadow. A shadow he could care less about.
Eventually Lance died, and then Aliska, and then Nixanne. Eventually all that was left was James. And I tried, albeit pathetically, I tried to mend the link between us that had never really formed. But he didn’t care for it, and I wasn’t pressed to either.
It was always so clear to me, if anyone was going to die it would be me. James was invincible. He could not die. I mean! Anyone would’ve said the same and they’d be lying if they said otherwise. I’m the weaker brother. James’ children are stronger than I am. Not only am I weaker, I’m stupider too. I got myself kidnapped! Everything points to it.
I should’ve died first.
I didn’t think I had a chance when the Hans locked me up. I certainly didn’t hold any hope of rescue. I had no one left who would’ve taken that risk for me.
So when the Hans brought James in, I got flooded with hope. I wasn’t even thinking about the simple fact that they’d managed to bring him in. I could only think of ONE thing. If James is here, he’ll get out and maybe he’ll take me with him.
Shit, the possibility that he could be bested…that he was killable…hadn’t even crossed my mind.
And then the Dragons came and they broke him out. They promised me they’d come back. Instead the lady Rita came back and I learned something that shouldn’t have been possible.
James is dead.
My parents are still alive, it’s true. They’ve been alive for a long time, but it’s made them distant and they’ve always cared more for each other than us. I glanced at my mother in question, who’d disappeared long ago.
James and I might have never really gotten along, but he was my brother. We survived school together. We survived aunt Carla’s blood thirsts. We survived nearly losing Nixanne. We survived losing Raphaele, Lance, Aliska and Nix. And while I annoyed him, James rarely ever used his power over me. He was my brother, and while I hated being in his shadow, I was always proud of being related to him. I admired him.
He was my invincible big brother.
And my last surviving sibling.
I’d never felt more alone then in that moment.
If I could I’d do things differently. I’m sure there was a way to avoid this. If I could I would’ve been stronger. I would’ve been a better brother. A better son.
If I could…
No one’s POV
“Entering the Lab incognito might be the most difficult part. I can sense the doors have a barrier of sorts. Any spells I cast would get torn off.”
“That won’t be a problem for me. It won’t affect me if I don’t want it to.”
“Impressive. Once inside, you need to make sure no one recognizes you.”
“I have someone in mind to impersonate. Someone who has motive and whom no one would believe.”
“About the prison break itself. What do you know about his cell?”
“It’s in the basement. The only real barrier are the anti-witch devices.”
“That’s where I come in.”
“Everything the Hans have is electronic isn’t it? If you can get this spell down there, it’ll cut off the power in a small area.”
“He’s attempted an escape before. And he got distracted.”
“Something tells me he’ll have learned his lesson.”
“This is still risky. Why do you want to break him out?” Gloria asked.
“I owe him one. And this way he owes me one.” The woman cryptically replied.
“You’re a powerful witch.”
“Don’t break your noggin’ with it. I’m a time traveler.” She beamed.
Gloria eyed her skeptically.
“And before you ask, it’s not my place to try and fix things. I don’t get involved.”
“But you’re getting involved now.”
“Getting involved would mean tearing this lab down. I know of the horrible things that go on in there. But it’s not my place.”
“Why me? You knew my name.”
“Time traveler quirk! Now come on, I have other things to do.” Serenity said, forming the spell inside her palm. She took Gloria’s outstretched hand and placed the spell in it. The magic dissipated into her palm, giving it a slight glow. “You’re the vessel for it, and don’t dally it’s got an expiration date.”
I watched as a blond woman formed and dropped a ball of magic from her hand. It hit the ground and a shockwave spread out, knocking out the lights in my room. Not just the lights either.
“Don’t screw it up.” She said before walking away.
Wide eyed I willed my rings to my hands and seeing the metal bands appear around my fingers filled me with an intense energy.
I formed a fist with my hand and punched the already unlocked door, breaking it open with the help of a spell.
“Fuck yes!” I exclaimed. Just as intensely, a wave of fatigue washed over me. Their tortures with whatever machine they were using was a constant drain on my magic.
I glared at the machine in question, seeing very vividly the two interns who’d sit beside it and moaned about my lack of responding to their torture.
I gave it a kick for good measure.
“Right, right, let’s not screw it up.” I reminded myself, tiptoeing around the mess I’d made and skipping out the door.
Screwing it up probably includes trying to free everyone like I did last time, but I can’t leave Salandra here. Even if I wanted to – nah I just can’t.
I opened the door to her room in one continous movement, which was halted when I came face to face with her.
The spell had affected her room as well and she’d already exited her cell.
And done some damage of her own.
She gave me a slightly surprised look. I couldn’t tell if she was happy to see me or if she didn’t care.
“It’s real this time.” I said.
She nodded, confirming it for me. “I agree.”
“I was told not to screw it up again. I can try and cast spells to hide us, but I’m drained magically so-”
“So save your strength in case we get spotted.” She said. “Let’s go.”
She whisked by me, my eyes lingering on the black marks on her shoulder. A reminder of the treatments she’d gone through. A reminder of the attacks she gets from time to time.
“Which way?” She asked, as I followed her out.
She’s acting fine now, but I’ll keep an eye on her.
Making our way through the corridors this time was not as simple. The shock had alerted a lot of people, and Salandra and I were often hiding inside rooms or behind hallways as I coped the place out with astral.
We had no choice, we were going to have to go by the lab where they held James to gain access to the elevators.
I checked the corridors, spotting a guard making his way over to us. I was turning around to let her know we needed to hide now when Salandra crumbled to her knees – a spasm running through her.
I slid to the floor, lifting up a difficult spell as I did. It created a mirror like bubble around us that rendered us invisible if we stayed still. Of course if people ran into us we’d be made.
I gritted my teeth as footsteps made their way around the corner. I could feel the spell draining large amounts of my magic with every passing second. I don’t have the magical endurance for these kinds of spells and I’m terribly out of practice, not that I was that good to even start with.
Salandra’s attack ended within seconds but she kept still, holding her breath as the guards made their way past us.
Once they’d left our area, I finally got to drop the spell. I leaned on the ground, breathing heavily as Salandra got up on her feet. She grabbed my arm on the way and dragged me up as well. We had no time to waste.
I came back from my astral checkup, just outside the Goldmind lab. I shook my head with a frustrated frown.
“We’re stuck.” I said, looking at Sal who’d leaned on the wall to gather some energy. “There are guards coming from behind and guards stationed outside the elevators up there. There’s no way out. We’re done.”
“All of this? For this?” She said in disbelief. “What did you say this room was? Do they have anything to help us? An artifact that blows up walls?”
“No, it’s just…” My eyes lit up. “It’s just the Goldmind project. My uncle and my grandma are locked up here. They’re no James, but they can still control people!”
“That sounds like a plan to me.”
“Alright,” I grinned. A quick astral check let me know who was inside. “There’s one scientist in there, but she has her back to the door, so if-”
“Is she right by the door?”
“Let me try something, so we can conserve your magic or whatever.” She said.
I shrugged, curious. “Go ahead.”
Salandra slid along the wall and in a smooth motion made her way inside. I followed just in time to see her silently glide across the floor and jump.
She latched on the lady, her arm snaking around her neck and squeezing it before she had a chance to react. In a matter of seconds the woman’s knees had crumbled underneath her and she’d passed out.
“Holy shit.” I gaped as Salandra got up on her feet.
She gave me an emotionless gaze as I burst out laughing. “Do that again.” I said between grins.
She avoided my gaze, but I could see the pleased smile she was trying to repress.
“We don’t have a lot of time.” She reminded me.
I nodded and went to unlock the doors to Alec and Zyla’s room – Alec who was giving us a very interested look. “We’re busting out of here and we need your help to get past the guards.”
“Sign me up!” Alec declared with a huge pleased grin. He moved to his mother’s cell and bent down to help her up.
“What’s wrong with her?” I asked, slightly concerned she’d slow us down. Not that I want her to stay, but there’s no point if we get caught.
“Don’t worry about her.” Alec said, settling her frail body on his back. “I’ve got her, just show us the way out.”
“Can do.” I said, leading us to the elevators.
“My name’s Salandra Grace.” Salandra said, breaking the thin silence.
“Alec Whitelight.” My uncle replied. “I appreciate the vote of confidence in my abilities kids, but I can only control one person at a time.” He explained as the elevator inched upwards.
“I’ve got enough in me to cast a spell or two. By the time these doors open we’ll be seeing the front doors. We won’t have far to go.” I said, feeling every painful little inch. We won’t have far to go, but even that distance is starting to feel like too much now. Something was bound to happen. There’s too much space for something to happen.
I turned to Salandra to see her clutching the railing, almost doubling over. She straightened and met my gaze. “And I’m fine. I can make it to the door.”
“These jerks don’t know what they’re in for.” Alec said with false bravado. I had a reply ready, but the elevator doors opened.
As it opened, two guards spun towards us, with a third pointing his gun at them and shooting them with darts. Alec had already launched himself out.
Salandra followed, and I took a few seconds to punch the guard Alec had controlled before doing the same.
There were barely any guards upstairs! They’d only assigned a couple to the elevators. It hadn’t yet escalated to a building wide panic. Everything was going by too fast for this.
Didn’t mean we really had time to waste, people were calling the task force as we ran past.
God we’re so close, I keep wondering and double guessing whether this is real or not. Whether this is really happening.
But it doesn’t feel like a dream. And I’m actively wondering if it is now. I wouldn’t be if it was. This isn’t a dream. We’re almost out.
Shouting caught my attention just in time to throw up a small shield that caught a dart flying towards me.
No, no, no, you are not grabbing us again.
I crossed the threshold to the lab and cast one of the first spells Aleccas taught me over and over again. A large flash of light invaded the entrance, effectively blinding them for what I’m hoping is at least a few moments.
Euphoria filling me, I spun back around, jogging right into the open air, the outside. I grinned, a grin that faded slightly as I heard the shouting persist and another dart was shot. We weren’t out of the woods yet.
I managed to deflect another dart, but I could feel the heavy drain. I don’t know how long I can keep this up.
I cast another shield that broke easily, letting the darts slip through just barely missing my face.
Run run, just run. We can make it, we have to, we can’t go back there, we-
I blinked, slowing down to stare at the woman who’d appeared out of nowhere. She cast a few more spells, rapidly and effortlessly right in front of me, before giving me a glance.
“I’m Serenity. I’m the one who helped you escape. I gave Gloria the spell that broke you out. Remember my face. You owe me one.” She said in a stable and rapid voice. “Now get going and make use of the time I’m buying you.”
No one’s POV
Ashlynn had been feeling a growing sense of restlessness in the last few minutes. It had her on edge and she’d resorted to vigorously brushing their new family member when she heard Nikolas call her from astral.
“Are you home?”
She frowned, it was a weird question. “Yes, what’s wrong?”
“We’re coming over.”
“We’re? Coming over?” She got up, looking at the door.
Crystal didn’t look up from her dishes. “What did you say?”
Ashlynn made her way towards her front door. “I think we might be getting some visitors grandma.”
She opened the door; just as two men each holding a seemingly unconscious lady reached her porch.
“Hey.” Nikolas let out.
The vampire cast her a large relieved grin. “Pleased to meet you. You have no idea how pleased. I am very very pleased to see people.”
End of Volume 2 Arc 1