Fifteen minutes later, we were parking in the Grand Lake Heroes’ League’s visible headquarters, having taken the underground tunnel from the regular HQ in my van. “We” in this case meant Haley, Camille, Vaughn and me. We’d chosen the group based on the fact that we all lived in the biggest dorm on campus, making it easy to meet up.
“Why is this guy even here?” Vaughn asked as he stepped out of the van’s side door. He wore one of the new costumes I’d designed, but he’d set it to be replacement for his original costume. It looked like black leather, but didn’t have the straps that had made me compare his first costume to bondage gear.
“I don’t know,” I said, crossing in front of the van. “I’m betting that it’s got something to do with The Thing That Eats because the timing is too coincidental.” Continue reading Share The Love: Part 4
I thought about Reliquary. He was head of Stapledon’s magic department, mostly because he was the only wizard willing to associate with Stapledon, and not coincidentally something of a rebel in the wizarding community.
From what I’d heard, he was also fantastically knowledgeable about magic. He’d have been careful with The Thing That Eats’ container. He wouldn’t have let it shatter. Whoever or whatever had taken it had to have been looking for it—though if it were somehow a random heist, the thief got far more than expected.
While I thought about it, Haley asked, “How is Reliquary doing?” Continue reading Share The Love: Part 3
Amy met Vaughn’s eyes. “My father said to wait ten years and if I hadn’t heard anything from him to gather together what allies I can find, and take back the kingdom if I can.”
Her voice didn’t waver, didn’t sound apologetic or uncertain. Her accent even edged toward British though it wasn’t quite. In that moment, I could completely believe that she descended from generations of royalty and supernatural guardians, and would get back what was theirs. Continue reading Share The Love: Part 2
Jaclyn’s voice came over the comm. “Not that that’s not important, but there’s one more thing we need to decide. What are we going to do with this guy?”
She stood over the body of The Thing That Eats’ host. “I’ve checked his pulse, and if he’s got one, it’s too faint for me to tell.”
Izzy turned toward the body, adding, “I’m not sure either, but if I had to guess, I’d say he’s alive, but barely.” Continue reading Share The Love: Part 1
I found myself wishing that Amy had told us about the creature’s talent for manipulating people earlier. We would have had time to come up with a countermeasure. Of course, she may not have known it herself. I had the impression that most of what she knew about The Thing That Eats came from past Bloodmaidens. They had to have their own reasons for choosing when to tell Amy what they knew.
Whatever the case, I had to think of something now. Continue reading Intrusion: Part 10
At the same time, lights came on in nearby houses. Hovering above the fog, I noticed something that I hadn’t before. The bigger houses that stood next to the four-lane road were all different from each other. On the narrower streets behind them stood identical, white two-story houses that didn’t quite look Western though I was at a loss as to why.
Thanks to the light, I could see that they were white boxes with green shingled roofs. Even if I couldn’t imagine them in Michigan, there wasn’t anything especially unusual about them.
Pushing aside speculations about the manufacturing process that led to them and what it might say about Turkmenistan’s culture and economy, I concentrated on the glowing, red ward I’d pulled out of my pouch. Continue reading Intrusion: Part 9
Jaclyn and Izzy went first, followed by Amy (flying), Cassie, who jumped in after her, and finally me.
The Thing leapt as Rod closed with him, aiming for Rod’s abdomen, knocking Rod backward for all his bulk, and throwing him to the floor.
For me at least, this instantly confirmed the “Cabal Reserves” theory about The Thing’s host. Continue reading Intrusion: Part 8
I couldn’t read Amy’s face as easily when the helmet covered half of it. Still, she stiffened. “What kind of powers?”
I thought about it. “I’m… not sure. I think he took over a Cabal soldier. The Cabal’s normal soldiers had a wide variety, and mostly their powers weren’t fully developed, but their reserves were terrifying. Think strong, nearly invulnerable, and they regenerate. Actually, you duplicated one of their descendant’s powers, so you know them better than I do.” Continue reading Intrusion: Part 7
I wondered how much fog Ashgabat saw normally. It didn’t seem likely that a city in a desert would have much fog. We were practically announcing, “Hey everybody, there’s something strange in your neighborhood.”
On the other hand, we’d chosen the team based on strength, not stealth. Izzy, Rod, Jaclyn, Amy, Cassie and I were taking on the The Thing That Eats directly. Daniel, Vaughn, Camille, and Haley would be outside, discouraging interference. Continue reading Intrusion: Part 6
Amy eyed the group of us. “We can’t simply kill it. If we do, it will try to possess someone else, and there’s a chance, however small, that the host hasn’t been completely consumed.
“Knowing that, the wards you’ve been given don’t only protect you. If we can surround the creature with wards, we can trap it.”
Marcus raised his hand and waved it. “What do we do with it after that? Our grandparents stored a spirit of chaos here for a while but it broke out. Nick and I were both possessed—”
At Amy’s look, he added, “We got out of it, but that’s not the point. I’m just saying that we shouldn’t keep him here.” Continue reading Intrusion: Part 5