Tuesday, December 31, 2013

//Without Cause// //Chapter Four// //Midnight Highway//

//Without Cause//

//Chapter Four//

//Midnight Highway//


   Getting up at 7:00 in the morning has never been a pleasant task for me, let alone getting up at 3:00. But by the time we started getting shot at by that crazy lady, I was wide awake. Even now, as we pulled onto the highway and headed south, there was no way could fall asleep again. 
   It was still dark, being only 4-something in the morning, and Kylie was ready to fall asleep again, as Mum and Dad discussed a bunch of different stuff in low voices. Kylie eventually put one of her pillows on the middle seat and curled up, stretching her seatbelt at an odd angle. Just when I thought she was asleep, her voice broke into Mum and Dad’s conversation.
  “Ok, I’ve got a question.”
Dad peered into the rearview mirror. “Shoot.”

 “If all the people we’re running from are so smart, couldn’t we be being tracked? Or followed?”

“Well,” Dad answered. “Yes, and no. There could be spies in any one of these vehicles, or they could have the truck locked on a sidelight. But I have faith—“
   “Ok, we get it. Angels will protect us.” I mocked with sarcasm.
Kylie punched my knee. “Can’t you ever just shut up?” She whispered.

   Dad glared through the mirror. “Actually, I was going to say, I have faith in our people at Cause, whom are trying their hardest to keep out tails covered. It’s not an easy task when your opponent has equal, maybe better, resources.” He paused and thought for a second before finishing. “But yes, I also do have faith, not in angels, but in an almighty God.”
  I clenched my jaw and stared out the window.

  We sat in silence for a while, before I had to ask, “So… Did you say we were going to Oregon?”
   Mum nodded, clearing her throat. “Yep, Portland. And from there, we’ll be getting a ride to the ole base.”

“What kind of ride? Who’s driving?”
   Mum smiled. “It’s flying, and the pilot’s name is David Stahley. He’s our main pilot at Cause. He’s nice, you’ll like him.”

   “Can you tell us about some of the people there?” Kylie inquired. I acted like I wasn’t interested, but I really did want to know. “For starters,” she continued. “who’s that J.G. person?”
   Mum chuckled. “I wondered when you were going to ask about that. J.G. is a missionary. The initials stand for July Groot. She’s such a sweetie. Her, and her twin brother, Jace, who is not so much of a sweetie, are heads of the communication functions. Meaning, they’re the ones who arrange the pick-ups and drop-offs, and deliver news.

   “Like yesterday, they sent us a note, warning us that their sources suspected James had found our house and wasn’t wasting time trying to reach us. I thought we’d have a bit more time, but after you saw that person by the library, who I assume was Shannon, she’s never been too good at hiding, we knew it wouldn’t be that long.
  “Last night, or a few hours ago, Cause was able to contacted us through a new device I’ve been working on, and barely had time to warn us that James and his hoodlums were closing in on the house.”

   “Wait, wait, ‘a device you’ve been working on’? What does that mean? You… invented something?” I asked, my eyes wide with surprise.

   Mum scoffed with a smile. “Of course! I’m not a total loser.” She opened up the glove box and pulled out the tablet-like device she’d used earlier. She pressed her hand on the screen. “It scans your hand, and you type a password using these buttons on the side, then, if you’re accepted, it lets you access the internet, or whatever files are on it.” She handed it back to Kylie, who cradled it with both hands. We watched as the black screen faded into a blaring bright blue, quite a change from the dark cab of the pick-up.
    I looked away and blinked hard. “I think you just burned my retinas out. My eyes are screaming…” 

Kylie ignored me, and kept talking. “Can’t it be tracked, like all our other stuff?”
  “No, that’s the beauty—”

“I think I’m blind…”
   “—of me inventing it. I, or we, control everything about it. Cause has been working on linking up their own network, and recently finished, allowing us to communicate freely, using our own devices without worry.”

   I rubbed my eyes and tried to adjust to the light of the tablet thing. “So you basically made your own mobile network, like Verizon or T-Mobile?”
   I didn’t, the workers at Operation Cause did.” Mum answered, pausing as I squinted to try and take a better look at the tablet. “Your father and I, along with a handful of other people, are the inventors. I created the master plans around 10 years ago, and we’ve been experimenting with different sizes and devices since then. Only last year did I finally come up with something that would be compatible with our network. It’s a very complicated process.”

  I leaned over towards Kylie as she waited for a page to load. “What’re you doing?”
  She shrugged. “I didn’t do anything, it was like this when Mum gave it to me. What’s it doing, Mum?”

Mum twisted in her seat to face us. “Right now, it’s acting as a homing device. The other people at Cause are watching us, so they can get to us if something goes wrong.”
   Kylie handed the tablet to me. “How long will it take to reach your secret bunker place?”

Dad laughed at that. “It’s anything but a secret bunker. To be honest, I’m actually surprised it hasn’t been discovered yet.”
    “Why? Where is it?”

“You’ll see when we get there.” He smiled at us through the mirror.
   I thought about it, and the thought of meeting and interacting with a bunch of goody-goody missionaries was not particularly at the top of my list of things to do today. But I figured they’d be nice people, and let me have my space. I gathered it’s a great moral organization, but I really hoped Mum and Dad wouldn’t make me participate in any of it. Sure, that God stuff is nice, if you’re into it. I was raised around it and don’t have a problem with it, as long as you keep it to yourself.

   Mum and Kylie were discussing the network and tablet a little more. I pulled my mobile phone out of my jacket pocket and studied it. “What about our phones? Aren’t those the main things that can be tracked?”
   Kylie pulled hers out as well, handing the tablet back to Mum. “No, I rigged those up when you weren’t looking. If you had internet on your phones, things might be different. But since you use the computers at the library, we can’t really be tracked through that.” Mum began to tap and press more buttons, but soon just looked at the screen like she was reading.

   “Whatcha reading?” Kylie peered over her shoulder.
 “Some verses a friend just sent me.”

   “What kind of verses?” I knew Kylie was going to ask that, and wished she wouldn’t. I didn’t want to hear a sermon this earlier in the morning.
   “Oh, a bunch of different kinds. Mostly ones about strength and perseverance.”

 “Why do you need verses like that? What about that thing about God never giving you more than you can handle?”
   “That statement is not biblical. There is nowhere in the Bible that says that. There are many places where He assures us He will help us through tough spots, but nowhere does He say He’ll never give us more than we can handle.

  “If God never gave us more than we could handle, how would we ever be drawn closer to Him? Why would we need to ask Him for help, if we have everything under control all the time?”
   “I never thought of it that way.”

 I gave an annoyed sigh. “I didn’t know you thought about it at all.”
   She gave me a you-will-die-a-death-of-flames-if-you-speak-again look.

 Dad’s voice made us all jump. “Ethan, I don’t want to hear you start arguments again, and stop acting like this is going to be a torture festival.”
   “Yes, sir.” I mumbled, turning my gaze out the truck’s window and putting my headphones in.

   Beautiful colors danced over the tops of trees and hills as the sun started to rise. Clouds were moving in quickly, and I knew that it would probably rain before the day was over. More cars began to appear on the roads, and traffic increased slowly, then more quickly. Soon, we were going so slow, I swear I could crawl faster through peanut butter. We moved at the same snail pace for an hour, and the traffic thinned a bit.

   I kept my headphones in, drowning out the sound of everything. At around 11:30, we were in Oregon, driving through Portland. My stomach growled, and I pulled out my headphones. “I’m hungry. When can we eat?”
   Dad motioned to a restaurant a block away. “We can eat there, but we can’t stay too long. After everyone’s settled, I’ll come back and sit with Fili and Kili.”  When we pulled to a stop outside the restaurant and Dad scanned the area with Mum’s tablet. He finished and put it in the glove box, an alert, focused expression on his face. “Okay, let’s go. Don’t forget to lock your doors.”

   Kylie stopped before she closed her door. “Weew be back een a meeneet, sweetsies!” she cooed to the dogs.
   We followed Mum and Dad into the restaurant, and were shown to a corner booth. Dad and Mum remained standing as Kylie and I slid into either sides of the booth. “Order anything you want, your Mum and I will be over by the door talking. If you need anything, do not hesitate to come get us.” Dad lowered his voice. “Ethan, watch your sister. No running off. Stay here, stay together.” Kylie and I nodded.

A few minutes later, a pretty brunette waitress took our order. After she left, Kylie sunk deep into the bench.
   “What?” She crossed her arms and looked around.

 “I’m in my pajamas!” she hissed.
   “Don’t you have clothes in the truck?”

“Yeah, but Dad told us to stay here. I can’t believe I’m the only one not properly dressed, in a public place.”
  “Why don’t you go ask if you can go out to the truck and get your clothes?”

 She watched Mum and Dad on the other side of the restaurant. “Fine. But you have to come with me, Dad said you can’t leave me alone.”
   I rolled my eyes. “Whatever. I’m not your babysitter.” We were about to get up when I spotted our food coming. “Wow, that was fast. Kylie just run over there real quick, I can watch from here.”

“Just tell Dad I needed to stay with the food.”

   “Ugh! Why do you have to make everything so difficult.” She pushed her way out and walked towards Mum and Dad, anxiously looking around her.
   As the waitress brought our food to the table, I had to do a double take. Then, I just stared. The girl looked just like Kylie! She smiled “Something wrong?” I looked behind her at Kylie and my parents, then back at her, than back at the others. Mum was on her way out the front door with Kylie, I supposed they were headed to the truck to get Kylie’s clothes. “Hello?” the waitress asked.

  “What? Huh? Oh, no, nothing’s wrong, you just… you look like someone I know, that’s all.” The waitress wasn’t wearing a name tag, which I thought unusual, but maybe she was new.
   “Ah. So is it just you, or is there anyone else at this table?” She asked, distributing the plates of food.

   “No, I’m here with my family.”
 She looked up. “Your whole family?”

   “Why?” I asked, cocking my head.
  She smiled again, “No reason.” She grabbed the empty food tray, turning on her heals and fast-walking to the kitchen area. Weird.

   Kylie was just coming in with Mum, carrying a plastic bag with a change of clothes inside. She headed to the restrooms and returned shortly dressed in jeans and a tee-shirt with a plaid button-up over it. She came back and sat at the table, running a hand through her hair, but Mum and Dad stayed where they were by the door.
   “Kylie, you’re never going to guess what just happened! The waitress who brought our food looks just like you!”

   “Really? Where is she?”
“She went back there,” I pointed in the direction of the kitchen.
 Kylie bent into the isle trying to get a glimpse of the waitress, but then her face scrunched up and she pulled herself back in. “Do you smell something burning?” 
 I sniffed, then coughed. “Wow, yeah, what the heck is that? It smells like the building’s on fire!” People around us began waving napkins and covering their mouths and noses with their shirts. 
Kylie coughed a few more times. “I think it is!” My nose started to burn and I covered my mouth and coughed. I scanned the area , but now the place was filled with smoke, I couldn’t see Dad or Mum anywhere. People screamed and shouted and ran in every direction, but the doors wouldn’t open.
   “Kylie!” I croaked, grabbing her arm and pulling her to the ground. No sooner had I done that when a deafening sound and a blast of fire and debris exploded from the front of the restaurant. Kylie screamed and I yelled (guys don’t scream, remember), covering our heads, as pieces of glass and wood fell on us. I had no time to react before strong, menacing arms grabbed my hands and handcuffed them behind my back, then pulled me to my feet by my hair and slapped duct tape over my mouth. Another person did the same to Kylie, pointing a knife at her back. “Move quietly.” He growled through a gas mask. Kylie looked at me, her eyes brimming with tears from the smoke and full of terror. We were pushed toward the back of the restaurant, Kylie practically being carried, and out into the light of day. A fire alarm sounded from across a street at a different establishment, making me wonder why the restaurants own alarms didn’t go off. We were marched through a small parking lot toward a white minny van, parked, but still running. The waitress who looked like Kylie stood off to the side, a big smile on her face.

   We were shoved in the van, which had no seats and the front was blocked off by a metal sheet. The windows were painted over. Kylie was shoved in first, making her hit the other side of the van. She curled up and shut her eyes tight. A rage swelled inside me. I glared at the guy who threw her in, and swung my leg hitting the backs of the guy’s knees. He cried out and hit the pavement. The guy who had me kicked me in the van. I face planted right next to Kylie, and the door slammed behind me.

  So there it is! Sorry I haven’t posted in a while, stuff has been super busy around here, with the Holidays and all. Last time I posted, I didn’t include the things I’m thankful for, so I’ll do that this time. J I have a long list, but I’ll narrow it down to five. (P.S. I apoligise for all the big spaces in between lines. I write my story on Microsoft Word, and then copy and past it onto Blogger, which screws stuff up. So it will look perfect on MW, but it looks weird on here. Sorry if that's annoying. :/)

-C.A.U.S.E., to whom all the glory goes. My main inspiration. This story would literally be nothing without Him. I try, and struggle, and fail, daily, but I’m learning to love and lean on Him more and more each step of the way.
-My amazing Mum. She has the patience to deal with 7 kids, 19 chickens, 4 goats, 3 dogs, and 3 cats, and still be mostly graceful at the end of the day. She reads and helps edit my story, while encouraging me. You rock, Ma!

-My awesome siblings, who put up with my weird ramblings whilst I blast my Lindsey Stirling CD and wish I could play like ThePianoGuys, and for all the times I’ve had breakdowns at the hands of a Fandom…

-Mah bestie, Darrion, who, alongside Willow, came when I needed it most. They helped me out of a dark spot, and caused me to look at the brighter side of things. They inspire and encourage me in everything. D and W, I love you girls! Thank you so much for being there and being a friend to me! J

-And for all of you, thank you for reading and letting me know your thoughts on this book. You girls/guys (do guys even read this blog??) are awesome! Thank you!

For the Will of Cause,


Postscript // Note from Willow // Ammelia asked me to look this over yesterday {her regular posting day} and like an idiot I totally forgot, so that's why you're reading it a day late. So if you see this, Ammie, I'm really sorry. We were watching Dr Who, and the Master might've warped my brain...

Friday, December 27, 2013

Friends and Enemies // Quotes

"And the pain still hurts. All these years later..." Willow took in a shuddering breath.

You see, Willow, D, Darren and Warren, all of the Chosen Four, went through a terribly hard time, throughout the period of about four years they struggled to end a great evil in another world. 

"I know. But the pain is still there. It always will be there." - Willow

There were things that happened there, that held to them for the rest of their lives. 
Friends they made and became like siblings with were killed in battle. They never forgot them.

"I've changed. I'm not the same person I was four years ago. I was young, naive, scared and foolish. Now I've seen things and done things that have changed me forever. But I know that the Author changed me into who I am now, and he will continue to change me into who I will be."

"He betrayed us."

Yes, there is going to be a betrayal. 
There are actually going to be a few. You can't be trying to change something big without turncoats.

"I believe in Providence. And I know that that's what's brought me here today." -Willow

Okay, I know that was super confusing, about the people that the Four knew. But you will find out, soon enough. I just might have that story coming up in the next chapter. Depends on if it flows. But anyway, Merry late Christmas, Happy late Boxing Day. And I will post next year.

-Be a Friend, Not an Enemy-


Friday, December 20, 2013

Friends and Enemies // Chapter Fifteen // Getaway in the Night

    Wow, that was a loooonngg time coming. I know I promised that it'd be up a couple weeks ago, and I had about half of it done. But then procrastination came, and I didn't finish it. It was kinda complicated, and I only finished the last 1/3 last night, so be grateful it's here at all ;)
 Willow stared at the candle flickering in her window. It was almost completely dark, and the single candle's flame was the only light in the dark grey stone turret room.
   She sighed deeply. My help comes from the Author, and he alone, she thought, trying to muster her courage.
   A knock sounded at her door. Aliatha poked her head of chestnut brown hair around the rough wooden door. "It is time," she stated plainly. Willow nodded calmly back to her.
   "Than let's get on with it," she whispered.

   "Are you afraid? I mean, afraid of Tash?" Aliatha asked slowly as she helped Willow into the black dress made of crows' feathers.
   Willow shuddered as Aliatha laced the horrible dress up from behind her. "I am a little," she admitted. "I mean, I don't want to be tortured, but I'm not absolutely terrified. Tash can't really hurt me, but he will try. I have people counting on me, Aliatha," her voice broke. "I can't die. When people count on you..." her voice trailed off.
   Aliatha squeezed her shoulder. "Do not worry about that, because it is not going to happen." She turned to face her dark-haired friend. "You must draw your courage from your faith in the Author, not yourself. Trust in him."
   Willow nodded. "I know," she whispered, then threw her arms around Aliatha's neck in a tight embrace. "Thanks."

   Tajoreth knocked softly on the old wooden door. Aliatha opened it and smiled softly at him. "Oh, good. We were beginning to think you had gotten intercepted." She beckoned him in. Reaching into his tunic, he produced Willow's elven dagger. Offering it to her, she smiled weakly.
   "Thanks Tajoreth." She tucked it under a long slit in the skirt, hooking it onto the belt loop of hidden trousers beneath the skirt. The slit was overlapping, and Aliatha had sewn it so that no one knew it was there. Willow needed the trousers so that she could run and ride. The black dress was rather restricting in that regard.
   "Now, is everyone sure of the plan?" Willow inquired as she adjusted her skirt back over the slit, covering completely and then some. Tajoreth nodded, but Aliatha looked nervous.
   "Would you please remind me? I forget things all of the time," she requested.
   "Sure," Willow nodded, then spread out a Tajoreth-drawn map of the castle and surrounding grounds.
   "First, they'll make me stand before that creepy Tash guy, and right before they can hand me over, Tajoreth will open a window, which will extinguish all of the candles because of that dreadful windstorm outside," she commented, glancing at her shuttered window, which the wind howled against.
   "Then, while that's happening, Aliatha will distract the guards somehow, and get Teclemith out. Then they'll both get to the stables, where no one will probably be. Then Teclemith will take Tajoreth's horse, and we'll "borrow" the one that was stolen from Aliatha's family."
   "Shadowlight," Aliatha nodded.
   "Pardon?" Willow arched an eyebrow at her in confusion.
   "Shadowlight is the name of my horse."
   "Okay, whatever. Anyway, then, while all of the candles are out back in the grand ballroom, Tajoreth and I will be making our escape through that window, down the trellis, and run down the path to the stables. How's that?"
   Aliatha twirled a piece of her nut-brown hair around her finger. "How will we ride away, again?"
   "We'll do just that. Ride away. No one will notice, because we'll use the back gate," Willow explained patiently.
   Aliatha scrunched up her face for a minute, then nodded. "All right. I am ready. When do we start?"
   "Now," Tajoreth offered Willow his arm. "I am to escort you, young rebel." His eyes remained serious, but a smiled threatened at his mouth.
   Willow couldn't help it, and smiled back. She took his arm importantly. "Let the games begin, Sir!"
   She pretended to be cheerful, but deep inside, fear gnawed at her stomach. What if none of this worked? What if she ended up actually being dragged to that horrible Lorthin place and being tortured to give up her Author-given ring. She had a responsibility for it. She was not to let anyone, absolutely anyone put it on.
   Glancing down to look at the golden ring shining on her right ring finger, the elvish script on it lit up briefly, as if to remind her of her faith and calling. Right.
   Striding down the dark stone hallways next to Tajoreth, Willow muttered prayers under her breath. Tajoreth, sensing her nervousness, gave her arm a light squeeze. She managed a small grin at him, and he smiled back, hoping to encourage her. Her grin widened into a more genuine smile.
   "Good, Tajor. You managed," Zemerah nodded, glaring coldly at Willow, who returned her gaze with measured courage. He nodded.
   "It is not very hard," he explained, purposefully letting his voice grow loud enough to echo through the hall. "Once their spirit is broken, they cannot fight anymore." To emphasize, Willow lowered her eyes to the plush navy-blue carpet, and tried to look worn down. She was even shaking. Tajoreth could feel her shivering as she held tightly to his arm. Once his sister turn her back to hurry up the elaborately carved stone steps, he whispered, in a tone so low only she could hear it. "Trust me."
   She nodded ever-so-slightly.
   "Good, Tajoreth. You are here. Now we can begin," Tashmath grinned. Willow clenched her jaw and willed herself not to say a word.
   The giant chandelier in the middle of the room glowed with at least a hundred candles, and provided light for the entire space. Willow glanced at the window out of the corner of her eye. The wind seemed to have died down. Uh, oh! Big uh oh!
   Tajoreth gave her once last reassuring look before Kedemeth grabbed her arm and Tajoreth had to let go. He gave her a firm nod. He almost wish he did believe in the Author, for if he did, he'd be praying as hard as he could right now. Instead, he took to standing next to a large but easy to open window.
   Willow climbed the stairs to of the viewing platform slowly, as slowly as she possibly could. Kedemeth tugged impatiently at her arm, not pleased with having to wait.
Aliatha had been busy all evening, cooking a lovely roast and worrying about the plan. Now it was her turn.
   "Good evening, gentlemen," she remarked politely to the guards of Teclemith's room. They nodded back to her. "I was just wondering, if any of you young men would be interested in that roast that I just finished cooking..." she trailed off as she gazed out the window, pretending to be distracted by the torches on the castle wall. She could almost sense their ears perking up.
   "A roast?" the first guard asked. She nodded vaguely, still pretending to admire the torches' light.
   "For us?" the second guard asked.
   "I thought that you would appreciate it, since no once seems to appreciate you! Is it not very had to guard a rebel?" she commented. That did it. The guards were down the stairs before she could even turn around.
   Fishing some rusted keys from her apron pocket, she stuck the largest key into the locked and turned it. It seemed to take an eternity to turn, but it did, finally. Teclemith rushed forward eagerly. But then...
    Willow finally reached the top of the steps, and was looking up at the seven-foot-tall dressed-fully-in-black figure of Tash. She gulped nervously. He looked down with his piercing beady black eyes, giving her chills. Waiting for the signal, she threw a pleading glance towards Tajoreth, who nervously watched. Something wasn't right.
   "Move girl!" a burly guard demanded, elbowing Aliatha out of his way as he thumped into the room.
   "Excuse me!" she sputtered indignantly.
   Teclemith backed up to the wall, but there was nowhere to run as the burly guy grabbed him by the arm in an iron grip. "Come on, Rebel. You're goin' to see Tash tonight."
   "Now," the at-least-seven-feet-tall Tash thundered down at petite little Willow. "Give me your ring, girl, and your life and limbs will be spared."
   What a lovely way of putting things, Shadow scum, she mentally retorted. Stubbornly she shook her head, clutching her right hand against her chest, her fingers curled into a fist. No way she was giving that ring up. No way.
   Tash then turned and gave Tashmath a slight nod, who nodded to a guard at the door. The guard in turn jerked open the ornate door. And in tromped a big-burly-mountain-man guard dragging Teclemith. This can't be good.
   "Well than," Tash sniffed. "I suppose this youth will have to pay a price. Bring him up here," he ordered.
 Teclemith tried to resist, but the huge guard practically carried him up the plushly carpeted steps.
   "No!" Willow burst out, her mind racing.
   "Well then?" Tash's cruel long-fingered black-clad hand hovered before her. "Your choice is before you. Make it."
   Her decision made, Willow glared into his masked face. "I've made it."
   Tajoreth, trying to be discreet, unlatched the large window and pushed it open as hard as he could. The wind whistled loudly as it wooshed through. All of the candles were out in an instead, plunging the vast ballroom into pitch-blackness.
   For a split-second, there was complete and utter silence. Then Tashmath started shouting, Zemerah started shrieking, and Tajoreth {to add to the commotion} started yelling.
  Tajoreth felt someone grab his arm, and then another, smaller hand grab his other arm. Silently, he guided those hands to the windowsill. He heard the rustling of feathers {Willow's creepy dress} and the creaking of wood as they climbed hand over hand down the trellis.
   Teclemith waited impatiently as Willow ducked behind a shed to change. He could hear her muttering to herself about the idiocracy of the dress. And the sound of fabric being sliced by a dagger. She wasn't a patient one.
   "I'm done," she whispered, appearing about a minute later, now clothed in dark brown trousers and a dark blue tunic, her long hair twisted neatly up into a bun.
   "Lovely. I thought you had up and left me here standing in the dark," he grinned, breaking into a jog as they made their way down to the stables. The immense windows of the ballroom above them were still dark, so it was obvious they hadn't been discovered yet.
   "This way," he pointed down a worn footpath to their left. "That's the servant's path. It will get us there quicker, if we hurry." 
   "They're gone!" cried the big burly guard that had been holding Teclemith. When Teclemith had wrenched free, he'd hollered, but no one had heard him.
   "Blast it!" muttered Kedemeth. He glanced at his elder sister Zemerah, who was staring at the open window. She nodded slightly at him, than at the window.
   "Go," was all she said. Kedemeth couldn't even hear her, but he read her lips. He nodded. He knew exactly where the duo would head.
   "Hurry!" Teclemith called softly over his shoulder as they raced towards the stables. Willow nodded, but didn't call back because she was saving her breath. He disappeared into the stables as she leaned against the doorway and panted. Stupid long path to the stables.
   "Halt!" a male voice interrupted her thoughts. Willow whirled around, her hand on her elven dagger. Kedemeth was about thirty feet away on the path, holding a sword pressed against Aliatha's throat. Her terrified face was frozen with fear.
   "Do not call out or she dies," Kedemeth ordered. "Put down your sword."
   Willow nodded slowly and lifted her dagger from it's sheath and dropped it to the damp grass.
   "Now-" Before he could finish his sentence, a sword appeared out of nowhere and hit Kedemeth on the back of the head with the flat. Crumpling to the ground, Kedemeth let go of Aliatha, who's knees buckled. But the sword-bearer reached in and caught her. Tajoreth stepped into the torchlight and half-carried Aliatha to the horse that Teclemith was leading out.
   "Thanks Tajoreth," Willow grinned, grabbing Aliatha's other arm to steady her.
   "I am all right," Aliatha assured her shakily. "I will fetch Shadowlight. Thank you, Tajoreth." She threw him a grateful smile. He smiled back.
   "Let's go, guys," Willow directed as Aliatha led Shadowlight into the puddle of torchlight.
   "Come, Shadowlight. Quickly now, we musn't be caught," Aliatha whispered. She slid her foot into the stirrup and swung her leg over the saddle. Willow grabbed her offered hand and pulled herself easily into the saddle.
   "Thank you again. Friend," Willow gave him a playful salute as Aliatha dug her heels into her mare's sides.
   "You are welcome. Friend...." he waved as they galloped off into the dark night.

 Whew! That was longer than I usually write. I hope you liked it. I like it, even if no one else does ;)
 By the way, I still haven't named the character from my last post, so if you still have ideas, you can hustle over there and comment.
   If you have any questions, of course, feel free to ask.

-Be a friend, not an enemy- 


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Watchmen Files // Half-Chapter Ten // Turning Point

Hey everybody!

It's D.

   And I have come to a difficult conclusion.

   As you know, next Wednesday is Christmas Day. And we will (as everyone will be) be extremely busy with the holiday season and all. And I'm suppose to be writing the Watchmen Files: A Holiday Special: The Christmas Edition that week.

   And, as Willow would testify, I can get really stressed (and a bit cranky) when I get behind on my chapters. It totally freaks me out because I'm always nervous that I won't be able to finish a chapter in time, and I told you that I would.

   And now, I have realized that I can't be in the Christmas spirit and be madly writing five more chapters at the same time.

   So, I'm so sorry to say this, but I'm not going to be able to post the special this month, or until I finish the first file.

   Now I really, really wanted to write this. But I really, really don't want to ruin Christmas (or at least make it unpleasant) for the rest of my family.

   I am so, so sorry I got everyone's hopes up. Please forgive me!

And now, as an I'm-so-sorry-thing, here is the beginning of The Watchmen Files: File One: Chapter Ten. Now this is the first half, not the whole thing.

   Days, weeks, then three whole months passed Mason and the rest of the squad by in a blur of training, training, and more training. And whenever they weren't training, they were either eating or sleeping. There was no time to laze about, not when your training Sargent is Mike Graham. He had them train hard, and his work payed off.
   Mason could pass nearly every test that was thrown at him. He excelled in anything physical, his ability did all of the work. Also, he didn't have any huge 'freak outs' for a time. He did get very angry at Duke on a daily basis, but Conner kept him pretty calm if he had too much trouble with that.
   Conner himself was also doing better, he could keep up with the others more easily, though it was still quite a challenge for him.
   But then, disaster struck.
   It all started the day Sargent Graham burst in to their barracks earlier than normal telling them that there would be a cadet training squad shadowing them around for the day.
   Mason thought that was stupid, and said so. "I'm not here to show the Watchman-wannabees around town."
   Duke rolled his eyes dramatically. "Oh come on, Kruger! It won't hurt to have some kiddies follow us around for a day."
   Mason scowled back. Duke just wants to show off, as usual.
   "Cut the chatter," Graham rebuked them. "I want all of you to be on your best behavior. Show them how it's done."
   "We should tell them to head for the hills," Conner muttered from the bottom bunk where he was groaning about his achy back. He was obviously still having a hard time with the exercises. Apparently, he didn't do much of that in Ireland. Which explained why he weighed more than everyone else. Mason was kind of skinny, but it wasn't that big of a deal to him. But for Duke, it was the perfect target for rude jokes.
   And those kind were what Duke S. York mastered in, or at least, he thought so. And since no one wanted to tell him otherwise, he continued to harass Conner about his weight, height, and faith.
   "Okay boys," Graham snapped Mason out of his character run-over. "Let's show 'em how it's done."
   After Graham left the room, Mason opened up his trunk and rummaged around for his uniform. While shifting everything around to get to it, he found one of the items he had asked for from his apartment: Ava's teddy bear. Gently pulling it out, he examined the stuffed toy fondly. Ava had gotten that from her daddy, a long time ago. She would sleep with it every night.
   But not that night. She was probably in some super secret Hydra base out in who-knows-where with his freakish Nazi cousins. 
   Sighing, he began to stuff it back into the trunk when he noticed a hole ripped in its side. "Huh, that wasn't there before..."
   Sticking his finger into the small gap and feeling about, Mason found a wadded up piece of paper.
   He unfolded it and read what was written in spidery letters written so lightly that they could barely be made out.
We have the M├Ądchen. If you want her to live, give yourself up. She will not be harmed. It is you they want. You are a Hydra. It runs in our blood. Embrace who you are, save the child. Live to tell.
Cut off one head, two more will take its place. Hail, Hydra.
    Mason read quickly, his blood pulsing and that blinding anger welling up in him again. How could this happen? Why did they want him in the first place? And what would they do to to Ava if he didn't do what they wanted? What should I do? Sighing, Mason followed after the others and tucked the note into his pocket. He would tell Graham about it later. At the moment, he had kiddies to show off to.
   "Hey everyone," Jason Gray called the giddy eighteen year olds and younger scuttling about in the hall to attention. "As you know, name is Jason Grey. I'm the Junior Director of Special Forces, but you can just call me Mr. Jason if you'd like. I recruit a lot of Watchmen, and since you're all going into the system in a few years, we're going to shadow a squad around the training grounds to see how it's done," Jason smiled in a friendly fashion at the skinny, some of them barely out of puberty boys. They were the next generation Watchmen, and he planned to set a good standard.
   "Um, sir?" A teen with styled brown hair raised his hand gingerly.
   Jason glanced around the group until he spotted the tall, wiry eighteen year old and nodded. "Yep? Wait... are you Jeremy Stone?"
   "Yes sir," Jeremy beamed proudly at being noticed.
   "Ah yes," Jason smiled back. "You were saying?"
    "Um, who will we be shadowing?"
   "An experienced Sargent for today with his squad," he answered patiently. "Anymore questions?" With no more raised hands, Jason asked, "Are we ready?"
   A ruckus of yes sir's followed with exuberant nodding from the teens.
   "Okay, follow me!"
   There was a pack of jubilant urchins ready to see the world awaiting them right behind Jason, following after him like puppies to their master. Jason showed them down the hall with a sign that read Main Training Room C in bold, dark lettering. Once inside the massive room, he lead the wide eyed boys to where a team was standing in formation with their Sargent.
   "Hey Graham!" Jason hollered at the tall Sargent, who turned from his cadets to the small troop.
   "I see you've got your Watchmen-to-be's," Sargent Graham noted with absolutely no expression on his face at all. Taking his height, piercing green eyes, and the serious way he held himself into consideration, he was quite an imposing figure.
   The other boys shrunk around him, but Jeremy stood tall above the others with a ready expression. He'd been waiting years for this opportunity.
   Graham immediately noticed him and made note of how he kept his cool. It was, after all, a very important quality in a Watchman. "My name is Sargent M.B.G., but you will call me Sargent Graham, or sir."
   All of the cadets nodded enthusiastically in return as he continued.
   "I've been a Watchman since I was 19 years old," Sargent Graham informed them sternly as he done on his squad's first day, "I've been on more missions than I care to count, and I've trained 17 squads and will train many more. And all of my trainees have passed, except two, in which occasion an unfortunate event occurred."
   The teens all gaped in awe at every word as if their lives depended on it. Mason smirked at their excited faces.
   But looking next to him, Conner was still catching his breath and had a look of pity. "We should tell them to get out while they still can," he suggested jokingly (hopefully).
   Mason just shrugged and kept listening. After he finished his welcome speech, Graham let the boys watch as the team went through various courses and hand-to-hand combat, which, of course, Mason was the winner of. Though he did kind of have an unfair advantage over the others, with his ability and all.

And there we have it! Since next Wednesday is Christmas Day, I shall not be posting the rest of the chapter until the Wednesday after Christmas, which would be the first of January, 2014! Awesome, no?
And again, my deepest apologies for not keeping up on my promise to write the special. I'm so sorry I couldn't keep up with it.

So the next half-chapter will include lots of Mason and Duke and the name of the chapter will be made clearer. But let me give you a little hint... it has something to do with the chapter cover.
Well, have a very merry Christmas, and a happy New Year!

Always Watching,

Monday, December 9, 2013

// Without Cause // Chapter Three //

//Without Cause//

//Chapter Three//
//Criminal Minds//


   I fell asleep thinking about the day’s earlier conversation, but woke up at 3:30am to creaking and someone shuffling around downstairs. I tossed and turned for a few minutes, trying to get back to sleep, before I relised  sleep was a lost hope. As I sat up and rubbed the sleep from my eyes, the noises got louder until it was clear everyone was up downstairs. Before long, thumping footsteps came running up the stairs, followed by a soft knock on my door. Before I could answer, my Mum opened it quickly and rushed in. She went straight to my closet and pulled out both my suitcases and a backpack. 
   When she saw me already awake, her eyes brightened in what, to me, looked like relief. “Oh good, you’re up. Listen, I’ll explain later. You need to get dressed and help me pack. Grab everything important that you would need for a long trip. No—I’ll do that. Kylie get up, hurry!” 
   I was still groggy and could barely make it compute. “Wha…?” 
   She grabbed my arms and pulled me out of bed. “Kylie, we need to go. People are coming to the house, and we need to be gone. Help me by gathering up blankets and pillows and putting them in the truck. I’ll get your clothes.” 
   I didn’t hesitate to get started. Throwing my bathrobe oving er my pajamas, I ripped the comforter and pillows off my bed and began folding the blanket as a walked down the stairs. When I reached the bottom, Ethan was carrying a box full of dishes and food through the front door. When he returned, it was apparent that he was as equally confused as I was. He just shrugged as I hurried past him. I walked out the front door and stood on the porch admiring the sky. The stars twinkled overhead like someone had dropped an ocean of glitter on the heavens. This is my favorite time of night.
   But the stern voice of Dad pulled me out of my daydreaming… err, nightdreaming. He was tying down various household items (Mum’s hope chest, the computer, which was in a box, etc.),  in the bed of his truck. Dad told me to hurry, and directed me to put the bedding in the backseat of the cab. “You’ll need it,” he said. “We’ll be driving for a while.”
   I chucked my blanket and pillows unto my seat and returned to the house. Mum was pulling the suitcases toward the door. I moved out of her way and she told me to go get the backpack that she accidentally left in my room. I flew up the stairs and grabbed the backpack. When I turned around, I gasped at a dark figure in my doorway. 
   “Ethan? Is that you? Don’t scare me like that!” But as I walked closer, it became clear that was not Ethan. I stopped dead in my tracks and backed up. I wanted to scream, but I just couldn’t. The person walked right into my bedroom and walked towards me.  
   An evil female voice with an Australian accent purred, “What’s the matter? You scared?”
 She probably would have said more, but my Mum’s Convers size 7 ½ came from behind and planted itself in the middle of the woman’s back, sending her to the floor. Mum grabbed my arm and yanked me to the door and we ran down the stairs. We heard the woman yell then she was hot on our heels. When we reached the front door, and I heard Dad fired up the truck. Mum pushed me through the doorway and told me to get in the truck. I jumped in behind the driver’s side. Ethan was on the other side. The taillights of the truck gave off enough light to see the other girl, who looked around 19 or 20, and had dark hair pulled back in a high ponytail. 
   The other woman threw a fist at Mum, but Mum ducked and knocked her over, then ran for the truck. Dad started pulling away before Mum reached it, but she soon caught up and was in the cab, gasping for breath. Dad peeled off the curb and down a side street, going the opposite direction as our house. Ethan and I looked back in time to see the woman level a gun at us, her figure now eerily illuminated be the streetlights. We ducked, smacking heads, and heard the shots, but we felt nothing, so we assumed she missed.
   My eyes watered and I rubbed my forehead where it had slammed into Ethan’s. “You okay?” he asked, sincerely concerned.
   “Yeah, totally. Just a little bump.” I replied, ending it with a nervous/painful chuckle. (In truth, I felt like he had just hit me with his baseball bat.) A sudden thought struck me. “Fili, Kili!” I screamed. 
   “Shhh!” Ethan whistled through his teeth. “They’re right here.” He pointed under the front seats, where you could see their little curled tails sticking out. 
   I let out a sigh of relieve but then gasped again. “What about all the other animals? The goats and chickens?”
   “They’ll be fine, Kylie.” My Mum reassured. “The Smiths next door are going to watch them.”
  Dad shushed us and slowed the truck and pulled up behind an old barn. The barn was usually used for swap meets and the like. It’s close to a small baseball diamond, where Ethan and his buddies sometimes practice. 
   Dad turned off the engine and we all held our breath. 
 “What’s going on, Dad?” I asked in a whisper. Fili and Kili whimpered under the seats. 
   “Some old, ahem, friends, have discovered where we’ve been hiding.” He answered. “Are you alright, dear?” he asked Mum, with no small amount of concern. 
   She nodded and smiled. “Never been better.” 
 Dad just chuckled and shook his head.
    Less than half a mile away, a young woman gasped into a walkie talkie for backup. She had failed her simple mission, and now needed help finding the target before they got completely away. She knew they couldn’t be far; this was a small town after all. Her lookouts at either end of town hadn’t informed her of anyone leaving. 
   “I need backup, Mark #4.” She spewed, rubbing her sore back from where she’d been kicked. 
 A low voice with an Australian accent gave a curt reply. “Don’t tell me you lost her, Shannon. The job was easy.”
   The woman named Shannon took a deep breath before answering. “They knew. Somehow, the whole family knew.”
“What happened?”
“Shannon, what happened?!” the man demanded fiercely. “Answer me!”
   “I did everything I was supposed to. That old witch came from behind and attacked me. I told you we should have sniped her off! She isn’t good for anything! We only need him.”
   “You’re wrong. Now be quiet, I’ll be the one who decides what to do! Your plans always stink and end in disaster.”
   “Oh yeah? Well since you’re the favourite, Hugh, you can come find them yourself!” Shannon yelled into the mouthpiece. 
   Hugh was poised to strike, about to send a nasty comment or two Shannon’s way, when a third voice with a German accent boomed through the walkie talkie. 
   “Stop bickering like children! No, you are children. I should never have sent you. I should have gone myself.”
   The man known as Hugh scoffed. “Wow, you’re really going to pull that, you’re-such-a-child line? You are not much older than me, and you could have done no better if you were here yourself.”
   “I said SILENCE!!
 Both lines were now quiet.
   The German inhaled, and exhaled with a growl. “You will find them, and you will complete the task. I can, and will, hurt the people around you. That little town you are in? I can easily make it non-existent. You wouldn’t want all those insignificant people, whom I personally think are a waste of air, to be hurt, now would you? Do things right the first time, and do it the way you are told! GET IT DONE!”
   On one of the other ends of the line, Shannon rolled her eyes and cursed, replacing the radio back on her belt under her jacket. People from around the town had heard the commotion and shots and peered out their windows or doors to see what the fuss was all about.  Shannon slunk back to the Robard’s house, making sure to be seen by no one. The backup had arrived and were quietly ransacking the house, looking for something, anything. “Well?” Shannon snarled. 
   “They took all the electronic stuff. All that’s left is the telly and radio.” One of the evil-doers mumbled in a British accent. “No paperwork either. They knew what they were doing.”
   “Look harder!” Shannon screamed. “They had to have left something behind.”
 “Look boss. We’ve searched the whole house. There’s nothing here. They didn’t leave anything behind, I’m sure of it.” 
   A dark shadow grew in Shannon’s eyes. “I said, LOOK HARDER! What part of that don’t you understand?”
   British Minion started to protest, but Shannon quickly drew a handgun from her belt and silenced him in one shot. She glared at the body before ordering, “Alright, everyone. Clear out. Find the target and discover their destination.” Everyone exited, and she holstered the gun. She looked around the room before grabbing a cookie from the cookie jar on the kitchen counter, and casually strode out the back door, letting it slam behind her. A black SUV screeched up to the curb and she jumped inside. The driver sped away from the house and a man in the passenger seat turned around. “Did you find anything?” 
   Shannon shook her head with disgust. “No. There’s nothing there, Hugh.”
Hugh cursed and smacked his forehead with his hand. “You know how mad he’ll be.”
   Shannon smirked. “He wouldn’t kill his own family.”
 “I’m very inclined to doubt that. Why do you think he’s given us this assignment? He’s certainly not going to ask them out for tea. Stop here.” They pulled to a stop just outside of town, and turned off the engine. “We’ve been watching all let-outs to this town. Nobody’s seen them leave. They must still be here somewhere. If we’re patient, and I’m assuming you will be, they will probably give themselves up.” Hugh spoke into a walkie talkie, “All eyes open for the Target. They’re here somewhe--”
   Sirens sounded in the distance and a voice cackled on Hugh’s radio. “Sir, there are two police vehicles headed this way, sir.” 
   Hugh cursed again and jerked around to face Shannon again. “What did you do?!”
Shannon gave him a blank stare.
She held her chin up and answered him with confidence. “I didn’t do anything, you pig. Someone must have heard the shots I fired.”
   “You fired your gun?!” Hugh screamed in bewilderment.
“That one dude was getting on my nerves again! I took him out. You’ll thank me later. I also tried to hit the Target’s truck. All’s I got was the tailgate.”
   Hugh was seething. “No, Shannon, I won’t thank you later. Don’t you ever use your brain? Think! We could have gotten away quietly! Don’t speak!” he yelled when Shannon opened her mouth to counter his attack. “You’ve done enough damage already. Dan, get us out of here.” He demanded to the driver. They pulled out of the town just as the police sped past, lights flashing, sirens wailing.


    “Who was it?” Dad asked Mum. 
 “You won’t believe it.” She answered. “It’s Shannon. And it’s very obvious she’s not here on her own terms.”
   Dad whirled to face her. “You can’t be serious. Now she’s mixed up in all this?”
“Wait, who’s Shannon?” Ethan asked, speaking exactly what was on my mind.
 “You know that girl back there? Who is she?” was my inquiry.
   Mum hushed us as Dad pulled a tablet-like computer thing from the glove box of the truck. He handed it to Mum, who turned it on and clicked several buttons on the side. She then pressed her hand across the entire. The screen lit up bright blue, and a bunch of numbers and letters flashed across the screen in rapid motion. Mum tapped something on the screen a few times before saying, “Police are coming, something must have happened back at the house. Not to mention all that noise she made with that gun. If I’m correct, that will spook Shannon and whoever else she’s with and send them running, which will give us time to slip onto the back roads and get to the freeway. We need to make it to the meeting spot in Oregon, and David can fly us out.” The screen made a bleep noise, and Dad started the truck up, but kept the lights off. He slowly drove out of the barn and picked his way onto the back roads, just as we saw police lights careening in the direction of our house. 
   As we slunk towards the end of down, Dad turned the headlights on drove a little faster. We got on the main road and Dad sped the truck up.
Ethan cleared his throat. “You still haven’t answered my question.”
   Mum sighed. “She’s someone who we used to know a while back. I’ll tell you more later, it’s… it’s complicated.”
   “When is later? If we’re going to be driving for a while like you say, then you should have plenty of time to explain.” There was a hint of sarcasm in Ethan’s voice.
   Mum sighed again and Dad glared at him through the rear view mirror. “Ethan, please, not now.”
“When can we go back to the house?” I threw in, noticing the argument was getting a bit heated.
Dad straitened in his seat. “I don’t know, not any time soon. We’ll be going to the base of Operation Cause.”  

So there it is! Tell me what you think, and don't forget to read Willow and Darrion's latest chapters. :)


2 Corinthians 5:7 ~ (For we walk by faith, not by sight.)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Friends and Enemies // Name Help!

Hey, my lovely and awesome readers!

I promise that the chapter will be up later.
Probably tonight, because of our computer situation. But it will be up.

It will be Chapter Fifteen // A Dangerous Escape. But as for now...

Today I have a request for help from you!

A name.

For this dude...

   Yep, I've decided to use that guy in my book. But I need a name. 
   I really liked the name Ganymede, but that's the name of a star, and sounds a little silly for a character. 
I thought that the name Ether might work too, but I'm still in doubt. Would you please help me?
Please don't feel offended if I don't use the name you picked. 
If you don't want your name to be rejected, I would recommend not suggesting one, because I'm rather picky in choosing names, and because only I really know the character, only I can choose the proper name.

I know that he plays Merlin in some BBC show, so you don't need to tell me. Also, please don't comment to tell me what a great show it is or basically anything about it.
 I'd just rather limit comments to my book, not a show.

 Also, next Friday is Durin's Day, and the premier of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug! 
We have a choir concert that day, but we will definitely see it within that week.

Well, that's all for now.

Be a friend, not an enemy,