Friday, November 29, 2013

Friends and Enemies // Chapter Fourteen // A Change of Heart

 "Tajoreth," a sharp voice snapped. "What are you doing?" Tajoreth looked up with surprise at his eldest sister, Zemerah, who glared down at him with piercing eyes.
   She narrowed her eyes. "Reading that," she declared, pointing at the book in his hands with her ghostly pale hand.
   Tajoreth waved the book at her. "It is a pamphlet, Zem. And you're not Mother, you cannot boss me around."
   Zemerah's taunting laugh echoed through his room. "Little brother," she sighed, placing an icy hand on his. "Mother is irrelevant to this situation. You are royal. And that means no reading Rebel propaganda," she purred, plucking the slim book from his hands with surprising strength. Tucking it under her arm, she glided away.
Tajoreth rubbed his forehead. His elder sister was the one most involved with the Shadow lord. His brother was too, but Zemerah was definitely the darkest of heart among his siblings.
   Tajoreth glared out the window. What was his position on these so called, "rebels" anyway? They hadn't hurt anyone. He had noticed their extreme caution about not hurting any people. Goblins, orcs, etc, made no difference if they were killed, but no people had perished at the hands of the rebels.
   He ran a finger down the black feather of the crow that had been tethered to the stand next to his chair. The crow cawed at him angrily. Tajoreth bit his lip. Closing his eyes hesitantly, he tried to pray. All right, Author. I need to know who to trust. My father and siblings trust the Shadow, who seem to have good answers. But what about the Resistance? They do not kill recklessly. They have justice in their hearts. He opened his eyes. This wasn't the first time he had tried praying to an Author that he wasn't sure existed. He had discussed him with his cousin, but he still wasn't sure. Perhaps Mother has some answers.

  Willow glared down at the courtyard far beneath her. How was she, Teclemith, and Aliatha to escape? There was no way. Climbing down the tower hand over hand was a possibility, but for someone who was afraid of heights {and, not to mention, had a sprained foot!} it didn't sound so good.
   Drumming her fingernails against the cold stone, she closed her eyes tightly, and tried to think of what advice certain people might give her. Unfortunately, the only mental-friend-advice that she got was "All will be well", which was one of Estburn's favorite phrases. But "All will be well" doesn't help you much with escape-plan sessions.
   Her eyelids grew heavy. Maybe I should get some sleep, she mused as she folded her arms on the windowsill and laid her head down.
   "Mother?" Tajoreth rapped on his mother's door lightly.
   "Come in, Love," she invited, her voice sounding hollow and empty.
   Pushing the door open, Tajoreth stepped into his mother's apartment. She was reclining on a couch, looking much older than her years. His eyes filled with tears at seeing her so sad looking.
   "Mother, how are you faring?" he inquired, taking her hand and stroking it.
   "My heart is pained within me. Your father will not allow me to leave my apartments, nor allow many visitors," her gaze dropped from his eyes to the cold stone floor.
   "Mother, I-I do not know what to do. Cousin Emmeth fights for what he believes is justice, but I do not believe anyone in our family sincerely wants what is best for our people. Father keeps bringing up some kind of ring, and he says that it will hep him gain control of Tashra. I just..." Tajoreth squeezed her hand as he struggled to go on.
   "I know, Love. You want to justify your father's actions. But I can tell you now that you cannot. He is beyond the point of no return, and must be stopped. I know that you are the most just-hearted of my children, so this I plead with you. Save the girl in the turret. She is the new hope of this planet. She must not be used by the enemy to find that ring. If it is found, I shudder to know what will be done with it. Please, Love, save her. She must escape if there is to be any hope for justice," his mother squeezed his hand as she finished her impassioned speech.
   Tajoreth allowed her words to sink in and pierce him to the bone. "I will Mother. I know which side I am on now. The side of justice. And love," he grinned down at her. "I will help the Resistance. But I will rescue you as well. You cannot stay here alone."
   As he turned and raced out the door, he heard her say softly, "I am never alone."

   Tajoreth pounded up the grey stone steps to the turret room. His thoughts swirled. What should he say?
   He thrust a rusty key into the lock and turned it quickly. The lock protested, but gave way and he stood in the doorway, looking into a sunlight filled round room with a dark-haired girl sitting at the window.
   Willow jerked herself out of her almost-sleep and stared at the door. A young man stood there, panting and his eyes flashing. She reached for the only weapon there was in the room {a pencil} but he shook his head.
   "I wish to know more about the Rebellion. I am Tajoreth, son of Tashmath," he informed her, as if that would impress her. She peered up at him through her dark bangs. "I do not believe that Tash is true and right. He is enslaving my people. Please, I know you can help. My mother is a Codebearer, but I am not. But you can still trust me."
   She nodded, her dark eyes piercing into his, assessing, wondering, weighing the risk. Can I trust him? she silently prayed.
   Then slowly, she nodded. "Alright. How do you want to help us?"
   Tajoreth lifted something out of his tunic pocket. Turning the handle towards her, he offered it. Eyes still locked with his, Willow reached out and grasping the handle of the dagger, unsheathed it. It glinted in the warm afternoon sunlight. The elvish words inscribed on the blade lit up and glowed. A light from the shadows shall spring. The phrase echoed in Willow's mind. Maybe Tajoreth was that light in these shadows. Maybe indeed.
   Aliatha trotted hurriedly down the steps towards the armory. But she wasn't alone this time. Prince Tajoreth, son of the brother of the king, was right beside her. She had been hesitant when Willow had agreed to trust him, but her trust for her new friend was so deep, that she would have followed her to Lorthin, if that's what it took.
   "Here," Tajoreth motioned her into the armory. Gently lifting the lid of a trunk in a far corner, he lifted a dagger out. "Aliatha, would you please give this to Teclemith?" he asked, handing her the sheathed weapon.
   Aliatha nodded. "For what?" she inquired, tucking it gingerly into her apron pocket.
   Tajoreth glanced around, then leaned in. "For the escape."
She blinked with confusion. "How are we going to help them escape?" she whispered, taking care to keep her voice down.

   He laid a hand on hers and shook his head. "Not here. We will discuss it later. But we must do it soon. Tash is supposed to return from Lorthin within the week, and if Willow falls into his clutches, rescuing her will be near impossible."
   Aliatha nodded. "I understand. But how will you help with the escape? Will you go with us to Essgarothe?"
   Tajoreth shook his head. "No. I will stay here. I can serve the Resistance here better than there."
   "What if you are discovered to have helped with the escape?" she questioned.
   He shook his head. "Maybe the Author will protect me."

    Yay! I finally got that done. Now comes the fun part. The escape!
   Unfortunately, I don't have time to do more. My family is going to go find a Christmas tree! Yeps!
   The reason, also, that I'm up so early is that my Mom accidentally triggered our security system's alarm a seven. Yeah, fun. I pretty much knew if was her, though. I didn't think it was a burglar.
   Anyhow, here's what I'm thankful for.

   My awesome family: D, my soundboard for ideas and the Stayin' Alive to my extreme.
   Mom, for her occasional spelling corrections and lurve.
   Dad, for his ideas and positive reviews.
   Ammelia, for her suggestions.
   Catherine, for her super positive reviews on my book.
   Everyone else for reading!

   Be a friend, not an enemy,


   Postscript // I added Tajoreth's mother and Zemerah to the characters post that you can find on the characters page.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Watchmen Files // Chapter Nine // Enemies, Anger, and Gorillas

Yo everybody!

    Yes, it is Wednesday. Yes, tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Yes, I my posting my chapter anyways.

     If you're scheduled is being filled up by your mom, then please, don't hesitate to ignore it and read my chapter anyway.

   Just kidding :) Please, finish your tasks, and then read on :) So if you're suppose to be vacuuming, get off the computer and do it right now! Then hurry back! I do not want to get in trouble with your mums (and mine!).

  So now that you've finished, have a happy Thanksgiving, and here's chapter nine!

Enemies, Anger, and Gorillas

   "So then the guy tried to rush me! But he, like, totally had it coming to him..."
   Mason did his best not to yawn as Duke droned on about his 'run-in's' with Hydra, about how he had 'taken care of them', how he was so cool and all. It was making Mason sick. Really, whatever he was bragging about always seemed to be something not worth mentioning anyway, and it was almost always elaborated.
   Conner looked as if he was trying to listen, but his eyelids just kept drooping.
   "Hey, McKee? You listening to me?"
   Conner jerked up once he was called upon and nodded groggily. "I'm sorry, I'm just tired..."
   "Aw, poor little boy needs a nappy," the squad laughed along with Duke as Conner turned pink again. "Do you need your mummy to sing ya to sleep?"
   "Hey, I thought only Americans were allowed in the Watchmen," Hank pointed his question at Conner and the French twins.
   Felipe nodded. "Oui, we are Americans. We emigrated from France with our parents when we were but les petits enfants."
   "As am I," Conner added. "But I came on my own a month ago, my parents and dear sister will remain in Ireland."
   "Ireland? From your accent, I assumed you were British," Jean-Claude observed in a friendly fashion.
   "Well, my mum is from Britain, yes. But my father is part Irish, part Scottish, and we live in Ireland."
   "Ah," Hank nodded between gulps of food, "so you're Scotch-"
   "Scottish, it's Scottish." Conner corrected him. "Scotch is a type of drink. Scottish is a person from Scotland."
   "Oh who cares?!" Duke groaned. "I wasn't finished yet."
   Mason, ignoring the others, turned around in his seat part ways to check the clock on the far wall of the cafeteria as the others finished wolfing down their meal consisting of some sort of soupy meaty thing, lots of vegetables, and a glop of what looked like macaroni and cheese. It was pretty gross. But it was what they got, and after the long six hours of exercising, they needed it.
   Finally, the overhead speakers blared what he was longing to hear ever since Duke started chattering: "Squads One through Six are ordered back to Training Room C immediately. Repeat, squads One through Six are to be back in Training Room C at 12:45 sharp."
   With a sigh of relief, he and the others raced back to find not Graham, but the guy that had escorted Mason to the squad on his first day. Mason squinted, raking his mind for his name.
   "Cesar Russell," The man answered Mason's unvoiced question. "Graham's got something special for you boys to play with."
   "And why should we listen to you, your majesty king Cesar?" Chris mocked with a smirk.
   Mr. Russell narrowed his eyes and began to look a bit intimidating. "I'll tell your Sargent, my former teammate, you said that."
   Chis gulped and Mr. Russell lead them out of the training room and down another hall labeled Simulation Hall before entering through the door at the end.
   Once inside, Mason found that the room extended on either side of the door but the back wall was up close. It's dark gray walls and silent air added to the intimidating feel that made his skin crawl. "Where's the Sargent?"
   "He's down here," Mr. Russell called from the other end of the long hall-like room. "First, get into these."
   Jean-Claude grimaced at the black uniforms, "Oui! Those are hideux!"
   "They're for the simulation. Now get. In. Them."
   Without further complaint, the guys changed into the clothes and followed Mr. Russell through a door into a smaller room where Graham was hunched over some controls on a dashboard in front of a long severance screen next to another man who was tall, around Mr. Russell's age (probably a bit younger) and had dark skin.
   "Dad!" Jared suddenly cried out, and the man ran up and gave him a man hug.
   "I've heard you're doing well in training, son."
   Jared smiled proudly and nodded. "Guys, this is my dad, L.R.W."
   "You can call me Mr. Leon." Glancing around at the rest of them, his face brightened when he spotted Duke. "Hey, it's Duke, right?"
   Duke nodded with a questionable expression.
   "I knew your dad real well, back in the day. He was a great guy. Real good at drawing, too. You look just like him."
   Duke gave up a smile, not like his usual sly and smug smirk, but a proud one, a normal one.
   "And I knew your dad, too," he noted when his attention turned to Mason. "He was a good Watchman. Amazing inventor."
   Mason nodded back, remembering all the time his dad had spent in his office on those brilliant inventions of his.
   Mr. Leon first bumped with Mr. Russell and then all three of them began to reminisce about how they use to do training like so, and how young and naive they were back then, how their kiddies were doing now and how they were all growing up, blah, blah, blah.
   "I hope I don't do this when I get old," Jared hissed to Hank, who snickered in return.
   "Okay, we get it," Chis bucked in. "You all know each other, you're all old."
   "Hey, we're not old," Mr. Russell answered.
   "Right, well, we should get back to it then," Graham nodded and had them stand in formation. "Alright, now this is one of many team training exercises we're going to have. I'll randomly split you up into groups of twos and you will need the help of your partner to get through this course. You are to help each other, note each other's weaknesses and give them a hand. Notice how you work together and see if you're a good fit for the time. Grab a cell phone, it'll tell you when how to navigate the tunnels. There will be gorillas from the Amazon chasing you, so run fast. Got it?"
   "Um, d-did you say gorillas from the Amazon?" Conner squeaked from the end of the line.
   Graham nodded and randomly split them up with an app on his phone. "Alright, Jared and Felipe, Chis and Jean-Claude, Hank and Mason, Conner and Duke, and Gabe will be with Mr. Leon here."
   They paired up, some of them begrudgingly (i.e. Duke and poor Conner), and they had a sixty second wait before the next team could follow. Mr. Leon and Felipe went first, Gabe and Jared next, then Conner and Duke, Hank and Mason, and lastly, Chris and Jean-Claude.
   The maze of tunnels was extremely dark, only mini lights grounded into the floor that were lining the walls gave any visibility. The cellphones Graham had given them were set to the lowest back-light possible, so they didn't help much at all. And, to make things worse in the lighting department, there were crates, trip wires, and pit falls all through the coarse for them to trip over. There would be a room or a hall that they would walk into and there would also be some tools they could use to get past them, like a wrench or a small window to boost each other up through.
   Meanwhile, in the control room, Graham and Mr. Russell were tinkering around with the angry gorilla noises, and having quite a bit of fun doing it, too. Severance screens lined the walls, giving them every possible view of the course.
   "A little more on that guy," Mr. Russell snickered as Chris glanced around concernedly. "He called me king Cesar earlier. And nobody calls me that and gets away with it."
   Graham smirked and upped the sound bar a tad more. "Hey Cesar, are there really gorillas in the Amazon?"
   "Nope, they're not native there. But that doesn't mean they can't be imported," Mr. Russell reasoned. "Some crazy scientists were testing on them there. I was on the mission to shut it down."
  "Sometimes," Graham daydreamed, "I wish I was still in the field. Like you."
  "Me? In the field? Ha!" Mr. Russell laughed. "No, I just work in pick-ups and drop-offs, the tame, lame missions. Nothing serious. You've got a far more important job here, with the trainees."
   "Yeah, I guess so," he consented with a sigh. "Anyway, Kruger's condition hasn't been acting up lately."
   "That's good! We wouldn't want to relive the old days when Hans was still here."
   Graham sighed at the thought. He wished he was still there, working with the. But now, where was he? No one knew. But it was his job to watch out for his son Mason now. Somebody had to.
   "I shouldn't have brought that up," Mr. Russell commented. "Sorry about that."
   "We all miss him, in some way," Graham shrugged in response, them gave a sly smile. "Now, back to terrifying trainees."

   Back in the training course, it went pretty well at first, with Mason smashing through walls and breaking down doors. Hank admitted that Mason could be quite handy is such a situation, and Hank's military knowledge and skill also came to be useful.
   But about three quarters way through, they reached the end of a hall where the top of the wall had been removed, giving some space for a teammate to boost the other up and to the other side. Hank had a running start, jumped, grabbed the edge and pulled himself over to the other side. He was sure Mason could get over it too, if not quicker.
   But Mason paused when he found Conner standing at the bottom of the wall calling for Duke at the top of his (rather shrill) lungs. "Duke?! Duke! I can't get over by myself! Duke?!" He glanced around, bewildered, and began to hop, attempting to grab hold of the top of the wall by himself. "Curses! Why does everyone have to be so bloody tall?!" Clapping his hand over his mouth, he shook his head. "I shouldn't have said that... that's not proper a'tall. Oh, there's got to be a stool or a lift around here somewhere..."
   "What's wrong?" Mason inquired, approaching him from the dark hall.
   "I can't get over," Conner sighed with frustration. "And by the sound of it those gorillas are getting closer," he muttered frightfully.
   Mason could hear them better than Conner could, and it was clear: they were close and angry. But really, he doubted they were even real. Conner didn't seem to think so, with his eyes wide with fear. "Where's your partner?"
   "Duke?" he scoffed aloud. "He got over himself, and I can't get him to come back."
   Mason's cellphone pinged and a message came up, M.W.K., where r u? Im ovr. hury! -H.P.S.
   Sighing, he knelt down and cupped his hands together. "Wanna lift?"
   Conner nodded enthusiastically and carefully stepped into Mason's hands and grabbed the top of the wall to pull himself over. After he made it, Mason followed and sprinted ahead of him to catch up with his own teammate.
   "What were you doing?" Hank hissed at him.
   "Con was stuck by himself, he couldn't get over."
   "Let's just focus on ourselves right now, okay?"
   Mason nodded in response and they continued, climbed over another wall, and reached a spot where the pit falls were super deep, nearly six feet down and up and down and up again. It was tough work to get through, and by the time they had made it half way, they found Duke clamoring around by himself. "Hey York?!" He hollered at him from the other side of a large pothole.
   "I'm busy," Duke continued to make his way through the coarse until Mason got close enough and grabbed his shoulder.
   "What d'you think you're doing? You left Conner back there!"
   "He's a big boy, he can take care of himself," Duke reasoned in response.
   "You're suppose to help each other through this. Didn't you hear Sargent Graham?"
   "Hey, you don't boss me, Kruger!"
   "Conner was calling for you-"
   Duke threw up his hands in defense. "I didn't hear him! Not my fault!"
   In the near distance, one didn't need Mason's super hearing to hear Conner calling (apparently, he still hadn't gotten over that last wall #shortpeopleproblems), "Duke?! Duke?! If you wouldn't mind?!"
   "You're telling me you can't hear that?" Mason couldn't help but roll his eyes. What a pitiful excuse. You could hear that guy from miles away he was so loud, and not to mention persistent and a tad shrill, like a girl would be.
   "It's none of your business what I do with myself!"
   "Guys-" Hank tried to cut in, but the two continued to bicker until he took things to more drastic measures. "Sargent Graham?!"
   Suddenly, the gorilla noises stopped and the lights turned on, nearly blinding them for a moment before Graham appeared next to them. "What's the problem here?"
   Mason and Duke both stepped forward and started, "Duke won't-"
   "Mason was sti-"
   "-and he's being a jerk again-"
   "-what a moron-"
   "-needs help-"
   "-none of his business-"
   "Wait!!" Graham cut in. "One at a time, boys! One at a time! Okay, Mason?"
   "Duke isn't helping Conner ov-"
   "I was too! I can do what I want!"
   "Okay, okay!" Graham shouted again over the arguers. "I think I get it. First of all, it isn't your business to mess around with other teams."
   "Ha!" Duke gloated in Graham's rebuke.
   "But as a team, you're to help each other through difficult situations. You're going to have bigger problems than just climbing over walls when you're in the field. Obviously, York and McKee wouldn't make a very good team. I can see that. But as I said before, it's the differences that make the team. Understood?"
   Mason nodded begrudgingly, but Duke just glared bullets into his skull. Ugh, Krugers.
   "Now would someone help McKee? I think my ears are bleeding..."

   Around ten o'clock that night, Conner opened an eyelid and checked on his teammates. All of them lay quietly, except Jared, Chris and Hank, who all snored like wild boars. Duke was making some sort of groaning/snorting noise as Conner peered up at the top bunk, where he could see Mason sleeping soundly, though drooling all over the pillow. He grimaced. Ew. He needs a handkerchief.
   Taking great care not to wake the sleeping bears, Conner gently lifted the lid of his trunk and slid some paper out, tiptoed over to the desk and sat down. Grabbing a pen, he started...
   Dearest Mum,
   I sincerely send all my apologies to you and Bernadette for not writing to you two as much as I would wish. This month has been filled to the brim with our training, and I have not had the time to pick up my pen. No, I have had time, but after all of the stresses of this life, I do get very tired and especially achy.
   But do not worry for me, I think I will make it, with the Lord's help and guidance.
   Conner paused momentarily to rub the sleep from his green eyes, yawned, then continued to write.
   I am in the book of Job in my Bible readings. It truly is a wonderful book. And in response to your question, yes, there is another Christian in my squad. Although I am not allowed to reveal his full name, I can tell you that his first name is Jared. Though he is not solidly grounded in the Word, he and I are the only Christians here, other than our Sargent, who I also cannot name.
   I also spoke to another young man in our team of eight about Christ, and he seems generally interested. I do ask that you would pray for him, he has been through so much in his lifetime. And for me, that I would be an example of a good Christian.
   And I do thank you for your continual prayers for me, I truly do need them. And I continue to pray for you, father, and my dear sister. I miss you all very dearly.  Please tell Father that I am alright, and yes, I do plan to stay and become a Watchman. I am hoping I will be able to come see you all sometime soon.
Your son,
P.S.  I apologize for the short letter, I promise to write more at next week's end.

   When he had finished, he slid the letter into an envelope, licked it shut, and placed it into the small mail box to be sent out the next day.
   "What're you doing?"
   Conner spun around to see who had startled him, but no one was there. "H-hello?" he stuttered, eyes darting from one end of the room to the other, searching.
   Suddenly, Duke appeared out of thin air (literally!) in front of him. "Right here."
   Conner sighed with a mix of relief and dread for the smart comments that would be sent his way at any given moment. "Would you please not do that? You startled me."
   Duke didn't reply, but peered around Conner at the mail box. "What's that?" Without even waiting for an answer, he reached around Conner, snatched the letter up, and began to tear it open.
   "Duke?! Stop, that's mine!" Conner insisted with a flash of fear in his eyes. "Give it back!"
   "No way, blondy. You shouldn't be sending this."
   "What are you talking about? I didn't say anything wrong. And my hair isn't blond, it's caramel," he reminded him, running his hand through his hair self-consciously.
   "Whatever," Duke muttered, tearing the letter open and beginning to read until it was unexpectedly plucked from his hands from the top bunk.
   "This isn't yours," Mason stated, handing it back to a relieved Conner.
   "Idiot," Duke commented for no apparent reason, just to be spiteful. "All that Jesus garbage is so little kiddish and dumb-"
   "Hey!" Mason hopped down for his bunk and stepped in again. "Just because you don't believe in it doesn't mean you've got to make fun of it like that."
   "Oh, yeah? And who's talking, Hydra?"
   "I really wish you'd stop saying that. You don't even know what you're talking about."
   "Really? Well I know that your dad was a traitor who liked to kill people, innocent people!"
   Mason stepped back in surprise and retaliated in defense, "That's not true! Sure, Dad might not have been the greatest, but he's not a traitor!"
   "Maybe you should look at your family history a little closer then. He didn't care about his 'test subjects', real, human people! He did what he wanted! He didn't care!"
   Mason, now put off and not to mention really quite ticked, drew himself up to his full, non-slouchy height (six-foot two-inches) and got up into Duke's face. "Like to repeat that, York?" The intimidation factor was on high.
   Duke's face showed no fear, but determination, as he stepped forward, taking on the challenge. "He did what he wanted. He. Didn't. Care!"
   Mason felt the blood boil within him, and he felt like all he wanted to strangle him right then and there.
   Conner's eyes widened when he noticed Mason's skin pulsing a glowing red, and his eyes filled with a rage Conner had seen in him when they first met and he had tried to... well, he had tried to kill him. Something was wrong, really wrong with Mason Kruger.
   "Gents, stop," stepping in between them, Conner tried to keep the calm. Staring into Mason's flaming eyes, he spoke as gently as possible and kept his cool. "Let's just calm down now. It's alright, he doesn't know what he's talking about."
   "Speak for yourself!" Duke tried to push him aside, but Mason stopped him, and moved in front of Conner protectively.
   "Leave him alone! Your fight's with me, York."
   "Both of you, stop," Conner continued. "I'm serious. Mason, I think you should just lie down now-"
   "I'm fine," Mason seethed in retaliation.
   "I'm serious. Just take a deep breath."
   Surprisingly, Mason obeyed and took a deep breath in, calming himself down a bit.
   "I think we should all just go back to bed now," Conner recommended in a level tone.
   "What?" Duke scoffed. "No way, I'm finishing this-"
   "Don't listen to him, Mason. Duke, if you don't stop, I'm going to get the Sargent."
   Taking another deep breath, Mason nodded and pulled himself up onto the top bunk as Duke, having no one left to argue with, begrudgingly went back to bed.
   Mason ran his hands through his thick curly hair and continued to breath until that feeling, that anger, was virtually gone. And with its absence came an exhaustion that he hadn't felt before, and a worry. What happened to me?
   "Mason? Are you alright?" Conner inquired from the bottom bunk carefully.
   "Yes... no... I don't know."
   "If you're not feeling well, I can go fetch the Sargent if you'd like?"
   "No, I think I'm okay," Mason sighed. "I think that was my condition...?"
   "Well if you have anymore trouble with it, wake me, alright?"
   "Sure. Thanks, Con."
   Mason breathed a sigh of relief and eventually dozed off to Conner's whispered prayers, "Oh God, please help him. I think something's wrong. Thanks you for giving me courage at that time, and please, continue to give it. Help him Lord, help him."

Okay! There we have it! Chapter nine has been completed :)

Now that you're done with that, I must make a few announcements...

Willow thinks she may post her chapter the day after tomorrow (Friday), if she finishes, of course. So make sure to come back and check :) I also added a character onto the character's page, so make sure to look at that as well.

Hum... I think that's everything for now :)

Oh wait! Don't go! I'm going to list some things I am thankful for :)

I'm thankful to God for my readers :) Thank you so much for all of your support and interest, it helps so much!

I thank God for giving me words to write, and a creative mind. For saving me, and for giving me my family. They are so good to me and supportive, I couldn't wish for anymore! Okay, I could wish for an Xbox, but you get the idea :)

I thank God for my sister, Willow, who has given inspiration to write on! Without her, this story wouldn't even be here. Like, literally. It wouldn't have ever gotten out. Someday, I have to make a post about how this idea came to be...

I thank God for my mom, who is the editor of the Watchmen Files. She's the greatest, and a true inspiration. She's taught me so much about God, I hope to pass some of it on through my writings.

I thank God for my dad, who reads my story every week. He's great :)

 And I thank God for my friend, Ammelia. She's a great friend, and she came along when I had none. She's a great encourager, and we help each other with our stories a lot. You're awesome, girl!

And I thank God for my characters. An odd thing to thank Him for, you think? No way! Without them, there would be no story! And I put them through a lot, mind you :)

Well, I could go on and thank Him for everything else, but I think I'll stop there.

Thank you all for reading, and have a fantastic Thanksgiving!