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
“Nothing with magic. I don’t even know magic.”
Amy held up her hands in front of her, “I know! Do you have anyone who uses magic in the group? Or in the city that you’re friendly with?”
“No. The closest we’ve got to that is Lee, but if he’s magical, no one can detect it—”
“No, no… Wait,” Amy began, clenching her fists, and letting her gloved hands fall to her sides. “That’s it. It’s Lee, somehow.” Continue reading Intrusion: Part 4
Amy had sent it to everybody. As we read the first message, the second came in, “Details next weekend.” With next weekend being a Stapledon weekend, it was the closest we could come to getting everyone together.
Anyone who wasn’t at Stapledon could watch video from the meeting in HQ. We’d almost certainly need the support.
Messages appeared from everyone involved, asking questions, discussing the situation.
“We could ignore it all until tomorrow,” I said.
Haley sighed. “I’m sure we’d regret it.” Continue reading Intrusion: Part 3
A breeze blew across the roof, and I thought about what he’d said. “I’m not making the decisions, but I can bring it up. One thing we’d probably want is that you’d train with us at least a couple times a week. That way we can coordinate.”
Haley added, “We’ll probably have to bring it to a vote, but we know you. I don’t think anyone would be against it.”
She pursed her lips. “Don’t take this wrong, but why now? I know we’re dealing with that gang, but we’ve fought other people over the past year.” Continue reading Intrusion: Part 2
I waited to see what would happen, but after a few minutes, Jeremy texted me, writing, “J’s talking to cops. I’m riding along. You can go home.”
I typed back, “OK,” told everyone what was going on, and drove back to the dorms.
After we got back to the university, we all walked together back to the dorm. After we got there, Caleb and Gabriel walked off toward their own rooms. Courtney hung around with Haley, Camille and me in my room for about an hour after that, talking through everything we’d wished we could have said to each other back in the van. Continue reading Intrusion: Part 1