Updates: I'm doing ok. School's still boring as ever, but things are fine. @Kal, eeeyup, I finished the test and it wasn't too bad. I'm not doing so well with homework, unfortunately, but that'll smooth out by next Friday.
Onto the story- I've really enjoyed writing it. I'm glad that I've been writing something, cos it's so much fun to do :D Sure, it's only fanfiction. But it helps expand my mind and let myself test certain lines and styles out easier.
I don't have much else to say here. Oh, um- sorry for not responding to comments xD I read them, every day. I just get really, really distracted :P I STILL LOVE YOU. YOU'RE STILL AWESOME. AND I'M REWARDING YOUR FAITHFULNESS WITH STORIES, SO DOESN'T THAT WORK OUT? ;D
Without further ado, here's the next part of my Amy Hawkeye story.
It must have been only a few hours, but it felt like I was trapped in that interrogation room for days. Days in the dark, mumbling old rhymes and old songs and knowing that when I closed my eyelids, the same phantoms appeared and grinned wickedly at me, relishing in that darkness.
So when Mr Smith walks into the room again, switching on the overhead bulb that almost burns my retinas from the glare, I release a quiet sob and let my shoulders relax. The shadows are kept at bay; for now.
“You were talking about the fight at the bar, Israel,” Mr Smith tells me. “You had found Miss Hawkeye, and you were under attack from Lucas’ private army. Continue.”
I stare at him and wonder how on earth I’m going to get out of this mess. The man before me guesses what I’m thinking and sighs, pulling up the other chair and sitting in it. “Have you ever thought that maybe, just maybe, you’re supposed to end up here? And then go away for a very long time in a cell, and hopefully, not see another ray of sunlight?”
He surprises me. I go to respond and can’t think of anything to say. The witty remarks have all dried up, it seems.
“It’s inevitable,” he tells me, and I imagine another Smith from another time and place, slowly putting dark shades over his eyes and adjusting his earpiece. I almost chuckle, but think against it.
“Inevitability is just another way of saying ‘Success is bound to happen soon’,” I tell Mr Smith, happy that not all of my witty responses have gone.
Mr Smith frowns. “I’m pretty sure that failure can also be inevitable.” Damn. I didn’t expect him to counter so fast.
There’s a pause where Mr Smith seems to remember that he is the interrogator. He comments that he doesn’t have all day to hear my tale, so I just give up the small talk and decide to start talking, again.
“Hello darkness, my old friend,” I sang quietly in my van as we drove away from the dingy bar, “I’ve come to talk to you again…”
Amy sat in the passenger seat beside me and fiddled with the safety switch on her pistol. In the back, Jack and company sat, talking quietly among themselves. The Cleavers we had encountered at the bar lay there, slain. Right before we had made our escape, three of them grabbed the nearest mage and dragged him out of the bar and into the vehicle the Cleavers arrived in.
The mage had clawed at the ground and tried holding anything he could find, all the while screaming for someone, anyone, to shoot him. No-one had been quick enough to do anything before the Cleavers had driven off with the sorcerer in their grasp.
When I asked Amy later if there was any chance we could get the sorcerer back, she hesitated. “Lucas always has people in his facility, waiting to be reaped. He keeps them in holding cells and rarely feeds them. He can only use his machine to take powers once every twenty four hours.”
I thought for a moment. I took a left turn and it reopened the wound on my wrist where the Cleaver had attacked it. I hadn’t even remembered it was there. “Do you know where the facility is?” I asked Amy, gritting my teeth. She shook her head.
A small head popped through the curtain separating the cabin from the back of the van.
“Hiya!” the head said.
“Ah!” I yelled, surprised. The head yelled back and I swerved the van dangerously.
“Dammit!” I told the head once I had straightened the car out and wasn’t in danger of crashing.
The head pushed through the curtain, revealing shoulders and a torso, and a light brown messenger bag. It pushed Amy and I to the sides and sat directly between our seats. “It’s good to see you too, Israel. And please, there’s no chance I have any KFC on me.”
Thalia Jane Circe started glancing around the cabin and then smiled crazily when her eyes found the small FM radio in the dashboard. At her mention of KFC, the thing that had been on my mind when she had made her entrance, my mouth watered.
“How the hell did you even get in here?” I asked.
“I hired her,” Amy said. “Well, I hired Jack. He kinda hired whoever he wanted. Are you two friends?”
Thalia started fiddling with the dials on the radio. “Barely,” I told Amy. “This girl’s like a plague. She never- Hey, stop it!”
Thalia had found the radio station she had wanted and turned the music right up. The CCR’s Fortunate Son blared out loudly, almost deafening me. “Some folks at home, PAID TO WEAR THE FLAG, something something BLUUUE!” She screamed. “And when the band plays, HAIL TO THE CHIEF, oh they point the cannon at youuu, now…”
Amy caught my eye and raised her eyebrow sceptically. Thalia clapped Amy and I over the back of our heads, giving Amy a stern look. “That’s not true. I’m perfectly sane.”
The assassin widened her eyes, before they settled back to normal. “Ahh, a mind-reader.”
“No,” Thalia said, rolling her eyes. “I work for the mailman. Of course I read minds!”
I carefully reached over and turned the volume dial down on the radio. “Alright, who have we got, Thal?”
Thalia popped her head back into the back of the van for a moment. A few seconds later she came back and reclaimed her seat between Amy and me. “Five guys in the back. Jack, Marcus, Spencer, Leo and Carter. Jack and Marcus are Adepts, everyone else is an elemental.”
“And I healed them all, so that’s all good.”
“And I healed them all, so that’s all good.”
I frowned. “What? You healed them? I didn’t know you were a healer.” I glanced at my own wrist, which was still bleeding and hurt every time I turned the steering wheel. “…Can you heal me?”
Thalia gave me the longest stare I had ever received. It was at least three minutes before I decided it was time to speak up again. She saw me start to speak and cut me off purposely.
“I’m not a healer. I used a first aid kit. You had one in the van. You know, non-magical bandages and the like.”
“Oh.” Silence. “You wouldn’t mind wrapping up my arm, would you? I am driving, and-“
“No way. Do it yourself, you lazy cow.” She disappeared through the curtain, and a moment later, a red first aid box flew through it and landed on the dashboard. Thalia didn’t reappear.
I sighed. I went to ask Amy if she could, but she was avoiding my gaze again, looking out the car window. Maybe she felt guilty, for once, about killing Mar.
“Where are we headed, Amy? What do we need to get to get what we need?”
“We need information,” she replied. “I don’t know where Lucas’ facility; very few do.”
“Why don’t we just have a little talk with one of his Cleavers?”
Amy turned around in her seat to give me a look. I couldn’t see all too well out of the corner of my eye, but I supposed it was either contempt or even pity.
“First of all,” she began, and I decided to zone out straight away. Part of me didn’t know why I was putting up with this in the first place. I normally dish out vengeance to those who kill my friends; never have I given them free car rides and let them lecture me about mistakes I make.
But I was trapped into her deal. Lucas’ private army had seen me and probably sent word straight back to him, bringing his attention directly on to me. Plus, he seemed like an all-round bad guy. If I ever was to have an official job, it’d be to take those kinds of guys down.
In the end, she concluded with “… which is when Lucas decided to use the Shadowsynths en masse as his private army. They are not Cleavers. Don’t refer to them as that again. And even if we manage to capture one alive and strip it of its many explosive suicide buttons, it would never talk to us. They have been trained and bred for the last twenty eight years to not talk to anyone, other than Lucas himself.”
I felt slightly proud with myself that I had recognized one of the words she mentioned, and asked the only question I could think of. “Synths? Isn’t that, like, a music instrument?”
Amy’s face fell. “No! It’s… it’s like, a synthesizer, a person who uses the mind creatively or something…”
I nodded but didn’t quite follow. “Got it. Blue flowers, French fries.”
“You’re hopeless. How you have survived this long in the modern world is beyond me.”
Where are we going to find out about Lucas? I thought as I continued driving down the empty streets. Who would know enough to help us?
My phone started ringing. I flicked it open and pressed it to my ear. “Hello?”
“Israel.” It was Bridget. “I haven’t seen you since this morning. No-one has. Where are you?”
I recognized a cluster of buildings ahead and knew exactly where we should be headed. I hit the indicator and replied “Just family business, is all.”
I heard Bridget mutter a curse on the other end of the line. ‘Family business’ was a codeword Bridget and I had used on many occasions. It roughly translated to “I’m in a shitload of trouble, but don’t ask any questions, please”. It was an ironic code to use because my remaining family had died out years ago, and I had never taken any interest in them, nor wanted to. Bridget knew this and so the code could never be mistaken for actual family business that I had to take care of.
I slowed the car right down to a halt and parked by the side of the road. I could almost hear Bridget thinking of a loophole to our code, a way she could actually find out what I was doing. Eventually, she just gave up and went straight to the point.
“Is this about Amy?” She began.
“Shitload of trouble,” I reminded her.
“‘No questions’, I get it, Israel. But that shouldn’t have to include acts of vengeance. I was Mar’s friend too.”
Mar’s friend too. I knew her as well. It wasn’t the first nor the last time I would hear sentences like that. But it wasn’t their job, their path. It was mine.
“I’m sorry, Bridget,” I said. “But you can’t help me. Not this time.”
I hung up and opened the car door, Amy following suit on the other side. Thalia and Marcus zipped up jackets and walked behind Amy and me, weapons hidden but ready to be used. I had grabbed a bandage from the first aid kit and now wrapped it tightly around my wrist as we strolled past a low wall that was strangely missing a few bricks, onwards to a small apartment block.
Upwards a couple of floors through the unlocked building and we found ourselves at the doors of China Sorrow’s library. Well, every door on that floor went to her library, but I liked to think that the first one on the right side was the proper entrance. Thalia and Marcus unzipped their jackets and pulled out their weapons; Marcus, a compact sub machine gun, and Thalia, her sword that started to glow faintly in the dim lighting.
“Give us five minutes,” I told them both. Amy and I pushed through the library door and were instantly thrust into darkness. The door closed of its own accord behind us. Alarmed, I reached behind me for it, but it had seemingly disappeared; I felt shelved books instead.
“What the hell?” I whispered, for the darkness seemed to call for whispers. “Amy, am I the only one that can’t see a damn-”
“Shh.” She nudged me from my left. “Listen.”
I did. And I could hear nothing. Not at first, anyway. And then, after a few seconds, I heard it clearly- the scraping of wooden furniture against the floorboards beneath. And there was only one thing in this apartment that was so plentiful and could make that sound.
“The bookcases,” Amy said fearfully. “They’re moving.”
I grabbed her hand and started running forwards. The moment we ran the bookcases exploded into a frenzy of movement. Our hands were outstretched in front of us and every time we felt a bookcase we jumped to the left or right, twisting and turning so we wouldn’t be cornered.
I closed my eyes for a brief second, hating how when I closed them, nothing got darker; the room was already at its darkest. But for that moment, when I blinked, I used my power.
I saw the many paths stretched out around me. But at the same time, I didn’t. Most were completely black, and just consisted of a lot of screams of terror, mainly my own. I sifted through the paths and finally found one that would help me.
When I opened my eyes again I pulled Amy to a halt beside me. “What the hell are you doing?! We have to get out of here!”
I shook my head, even though she couldn’t see me. My shotgun leapt into my hands and I pressed it against the nearest shelf of books.
“China!” I called. The bookcases stopped moving. “I know how precious these are to you. So I guarantee you this: if another of them moves, even a little bit, I will fill the book at the end of my barrel with enough lead to kill a, uh…an elephant.”
“An elephant?” Amy whispered beside me. “You’re threatening her, and you included the word ‘elephant’? How many times have you done this before?”
“Loads,” I whispered back.
There was silence for a few seconds, and I guessed China was thinking if I was game enough. I reached into my pocket and pulled out my silver lighter, flicking it open and sparking the flame. I held it close to the books my gun was pointing at so I could read the spines.
“There’s some nice titles over here,” I commented loudly. “‘The Sentinel Shaman’… ‘Urrfradvike’... Oh, even an original H.P Lovecraft…”
“Please,” I heard behind me. “Not the Lovecraft. It has his signature on the second page.”
I lowered the shotgun, and held the lighter aloft in the direction of her voice. The bookcases started to edge away from Amy and I, and China Sorrows walked into the ring of light my lighter gave out. Even in near darkness I found it hard to concentrate without finding my eyes continually drawn to her. I shook my head as she clapped her hands softly, and dim lights slowly came on from the other corners of the room. The bookcases started to rearrange themselves back into places that made the room seem more or less like an actual library.
“Sorry about that,” China told me. “It’s a new defence thing I’m trying out. You must have set it off somehow, so don’t worry, I’m not trying to kill you.”
“Then why are you holding a gun?”
China looked down at her own hand, which was indeed holding a pistol as elegantly as a pistol could be held. She seemed to notice it for the first time, and looked up, smiling. For once, it wasn’t pointed at me. The barrel faced Amy, who was staring defiantly back at it.
“So I am,” she said. “But I have a good reason. Israel, do you know that you’re in the company of an assassin?”
Whatever desired effect of shock that China was looking for, I didn’t give it. “Yeah, I know her. She’s with me. Do you want to lower the gun, now?”
She shook her head and motioned for us to follow her to the desk. The bookshelves had all come to a final rest in their respective places, and the lights were shining brightly to illuminate them. “What do you want, Israel?”
“Just a little information.” Her eyes took on a new gleam. “We need to know more about a certain Lucas Lucatero.”
The gleam disappeared somewhat. “What will you give me for any information?”
“A hug?” I offered.
“Tempting,” China replied. “I think that we’ll just say that you’ll owe me, for now.”
I didn’t like the sound of that. Owing favours to the devil was an easy way to get you killed, or worse. But I didn’t have a choice. “Fine. What do you know?”
“Me?” China laughed. “Oh, I don’t know anything about Lucas. I believe now is the time that I say ‘Sucked in, idiot’.”
Damn, I thought to myself.
“…But I can point you to someone who does know about Lucas. You should look at the Faircourt flats. Go to Moloch, the vampire. Last I heard, he knows.”
Amy frowned from beside me. “Moloch? I didn’t know he was-”
“I wasn’t talking to you,” China interrupted. “I was talking to Israel.”
There were a few seconds of awkwardness as no-one spoke. Finally, I decided to clear my throat and say something. “Will Moloch give up the information willingly?”
“Depends,” China said, turning away and walking to another door further on. Bookcases started to close in from all sides and block our view of her. They slowly started to push us back to the first door we had come from.
“Depends on what?!” I yelled to her, and I had no idea if she could hear me. Before I could speak again, we were thrust out of the library and landed in the corridor, at the feet of Marcus and Thalia. The latter was peering through the now-shut library door instead of helping us up.
“Were those…bookcases? Pushing you out of the library?”
Marcus pulled Amy and I to our feet, and I brushed off my jeans. “Bookcases?” I asked Thalia as innocently as I could. “Bookcases, in a library? No, there’d never be such a thing.”
We reached the van and piled in. Amy offered to take the wheel but I refused. She did give an address that we could stay at for the night. I yawned and checked the clock on the dashboard of my car as I followed her instructions on how to get there. It was already one o’clock in the morning. I didn’t even know where we were in Dublin. All I really wanted to do was…
I reached underneath my seat and pulled out an unopened beer bottle. I had an opener stuck with gaffa tape to the dash and I clicked the lid off with that. I had guzzled a third of the bottle before Amy even noticed. Thankfully, she didn’t ask for any, only rolling her eyes and playing with a wicked blade from her belt.
As we got within two hundred metres of the place, Amy ordered me to pull over. We crouched in the freezing Dublin night, our breath; puffs of smoke, our hands; freezing icicles with fingernails stuck to the ends.
In ones and twos, starting with Amy and Marcus, we made our way across to the safehouse. I brought up the rear and ran as fast as I could down the empty suburban street, hoping my echoing footfalls wouldn’t awake any unwanted attention. I reached the safehouse and slid the last few metres on muddy ground, directly into shadow and cover. The front door was open ajar, and the lights were all off. I crept up the porch steps and crossed into the house.
When I shut the door, there was a whisper from further down the hallway. Thalia drew her sword and used the glow from it to illuminate the corridor. I reached her and she explained the situation.
“Amy and Marcus are just pulling the blinds shut on every window. We’re not allowed any lights until they give the signal. Everyone else is being as stealthy as possible in the loungeroom.”
I gestured to her sword. “What about that? It’s bright enough that I can see the design on the carpet we’re sitting on…what kind of safehouse is this? A rich carpet?”
Thalia shook her head. “Didn’t you see it when you were outside? We’re in the suburbs. This isn’t a safehouse. This is someone’s home.”
I frowned. “Where’s the owner?”
“They’re dead,” Amy said, walking into the room. She flicked on every second light source she saw as she went. “Two parents, one child.” I noticed she was reloading her pistol.
“Sonova-” Thalia sprang to her feet and pinned Amy against the wall. “You killed them? Why?!”
Amy regarded Thalia cooly. “They caught me by surprise. I thought they had gone for a holiday. Obviously, not.”
I stood to my feet. “That’s too far, Amy.” I could feel the anger growing again.
Amy pushed Thalia back and gave herself some breathing room. Her pistol was still in hand, and Thalia’s sword was still drawn. “I’m a killer. It’s what I do. If they had yelled, we’d be caught within minutes, if not seconds. There are Shadowsynths right next door.”
“What?!” I said, trying to keep quiet, but wanting to shout. “Next door?! What kind of safehouse is this?”
Amy looked suddenly tired. She holstered her gun. “One of my safehouses is directly next door, but it’s been compromised, and is crawling with Shadowsynths. We’re right under their noses. It’s the best place to be, right now.”
I guessed she made sense. Somewhere, I knew she was telling the truth and so I calmed down.
“They were your neighbours,” Thalia said, disgusted. “And you just killed them without a hint of remorse.” She spat on the floor. “Assassin.”
Amy ignored Thalia’s words and went over to the window. She parted the blinds and peered through. Thalia stormed from the room and went straight to the kitchen. There was a short clatter of noise and she came back into the room, a frying pan held behind her back. She stalked her way up to Amy.
“Thalia,” I warned her. “Don’t do anything you’ll-”
“I never got to thank you,” Thalia said to Amy, cutting me off, “for killing my friend.”
Amy turned and the frying pan collided with her face so hard that I swear I could feel the impact from here. The assassin crumbled to the floor like a sack of mouldy potatoes, and Thalia sighed and rolled her shoulders, releasing the tension.
“You didn’t stop me,” Thalia said, lobbing the frying pan so that it landed under a nearby table.
“I did a lot worse when I first saw her at the bar,” I replied.
“You think it was the right thing to do, to let me go and hit her.” It wasn’t a question. She was almost telling me.
“I never said that.”
“Not out loud, Israel…” She walked out of the room.
I dragged Amy to a couch and lifted her onto it. She was out like a light. I took her pistol from her belt and put it inside my jacket; she might be vengeful when she woke. Looking at her sleeping form and the bruise already appearing on her head, I almost felt sorry for her. ‘Almost’ wasn’t enough, however. I turned and left the room as well, walking to the second loungeroom.
Thalia was curled in the corner of a couch, mumbling in her fitful sleep. On the second couch was Jack, and on the third, Marcus. Leo, Carter and Spencer- I didn’t know which was which- were all sprawled on the ground around the couches, using their jackets and spare blankets as bedrolls.
I took the same couch as Thalia, as there was enough room for me to sleep sitting up. I unstrapped my gun’s holster from my leg and hung it around the couch, so it was close by. Then I buttoned my coat up and breathed directly on my hands, trying to keep them warm. Sleep claimed me pretty fast.
I awoke to the sound of something being dragged on the floor. That was the first thing I noticed. The second was the sunlight streaming through the blinds. By the time the dragging had gone away and I was fully awake, I noticed the third thing.
Someone was missing from the group.
It took a moment for my groggy mind to connect the dots. When it did, I sat perfectly still, and ever so slowly relaxed my body back into a sleeping position. I let my head fall to my right so that it faced Thalia, who was still curled up on the couch.
“Thal,” I whispered to her.
“I know,” she whispered back, her eyes still closed. “Leo’s gone.”
I reached for my shotgun- I remember looping the harness around the side of the couch before sleeping. “My shotgun’s gone too,” I informed Thalia.
“So is my sword. I can’t see any of the others’ weapons.”
“There probably aren’t a lot of them. They’ve decided to take us by surprise- remove our weapons, silently pull us away…”
“We have to get out of here,” Thalia muttered. “We can’t wake the others. Too many of us sneaking around, with no weapons… it’s not good.”
“We can’t just leave them here!” I said.
“Don’t worry,” Thalia said, slowly getting to her feet. “We’ll think of something.”
I stood up as well. I followed her to the first loungeroom, where I had put Amy down last night.
“Amy’s gone. Do you think they got her?”
“The Shadowsynths? I dunno.”
I thought for a moment. “The kitchen’ll have knives and so on. We should go there.”
A few metres in the direction of the kitchen, though, and we froze. We heard the tiny crackle of indistinct radio chatter, the slight movement of soldiers trying to keep quiet, and the clicks and clacks of guns as they were being loaded.
“Back up, back up…” We slowly lowered each foot behind us, back-peddling until we were crouching behind the couch.
“What now?” Thalia asked. I had no idea. We were pretty much screwed.
I realised that there was one weapon that the Shadowsynths wouldn’t have gotten to yet. I told Thalia and she nodded to me and started to crawl along to the table nearest to us. I kept watching the kitchen in case any Shadowsynths decided to come out. After a minute, there was a “Pssst. Israel!” from behind me.
I looked back. Thalia was crouching under the table, her hands held up either side of her face. “It isn’t here!”
“What do you mean? The frying pan was there last night; it’s where you chucked it…”
“I know!” Thalia replied desperately. “But it’s not here anymore! Do you think Amy took it?”
I hesitated, and then shook my head. “No, she didn’t even see it there. And the Shadowsynths wouldn’t have found it.”
“Then who the hell took it?” Thalia said, raising her voice.
There was a shuffle of feet from the kitchen. Again, Thalia and I froze, painfully aware at how loud we had been talking. The kitchen door started to creak open slowly, and a gloved, Shadowsynth hand appeared around the edge of it, pushing it open…
Before the door opened fully, there was a series of short, muffled clangs from the kitchen. There were several voices saying things like ‘Hey!’ and ‘Shoot her, shoot her!’ A burst of gunfire ripped through the thin walls and thudded into the couch I was hiding behind.
And then there was silence.
The door started to open again, faster this time as it was swung open in one push, and Thalia and I instantly tensed.
When I saw her, I couldn’t find the will to move. I couldn’t say or do anything, but neither did she. She only stood there in the doorway, the frying pan back in its rightful place; her hand.
March Pathway zipped up her blood-covered vest, some of it hers and more of it others, and gave both Thalia and I a lopsided grin.
“Miss me?” She asked, leaning against the doorframe and resting the frying pan over her shoulder.
Hope you enjoyed this part. I'll start writing the next part asap. Have a good weekend, everybody :)
And, Mar? I LOOK AFTER MY FRIEND'S OC's >:D NO-ONE HAS TO DIE. YET.