I am so sorry for the huge delay, I had massive writers block! And thank you so much for all the reviews for last chapter, you lot made me feel extra guilty, so that spurred me on. Hope this is okay, it's longer than usual.
I woke up in the blinding sunlit room with a blinding headache to match. Glancing at the digital clock beside my bed tells me I only got four hours shut-eye so theoretically Matt should be home. Oh joy. More questioning from the master of interrogations. It's not that I don't love the guy, it's just that I'm not up to explaining what happened to make me flee from such an event.
A buzzing of voices swirl in my aching head as I yank on a pair of old jeans and a faded-with-age T-shirt. Someone must have left either the television or radio on.
As I blindly make my way down the creaking stairs the voices grow louder, amazingly loud but the TV isn't on and a quick look into the unoccupied kitchen reveals the radio isn't either. I press my hands tightly over my ears practically praying for it to at least make some difference. But it doesn't, not even a tiny bit.
The angry swirl of voices clash against each other as more enter into the fray. Where the hell are they coming from? They grow so noisy I have trouble concentrating, barely even able to focus on my own thoughts.
The pain accompanying the voices increases to such an extent that I feel like I'm about to throw up. Racing over to the bathroom, I'm thankful to have made it in time. If only the voices would leave so easily! They threaten to overpower me but I can't make out what the hell they are saying, each one is overlapping the others making it impossible to pick out a single one. Oh god! I'm going crazy! As if to confirm it black and red dots dance in front of my watery eyes.
Blindly I stumble outside into the fresh air, something my free mind vaguely remembers is meant to be good for making you feel better. Although I'm not quite sure if it applies to insanity.
Perched on my doorstep with my head grasped in my trembling fingers I watch as a woman pushing a pram glances across, I have enough wits left to read a look of concern on her face.
'… wonder if I should offer to help? But she might be contagious and the baby hasn't had all her shots yet, best not…'
I hear her voice as clearly as though she is standing right next to me rather than across the street. She tugs the cover of the pram lower, saying to her herself 'I wonder if it's an airborne disease.'
I freeze. Not because of her protectiveness of her child - I was used to it form Matt- but because her lips didn't move.
Forcing myself to become detached I consider the possibilities. Either I am going crazy or I can read minds. Pushy minds that won't shut up, I might add. Although the normal conclusion is to assume voices in the head means insanity and that it's time to book yourself a spongy white room, I think it might be something more unusual. Surely it couldn't have been coincidence that the woman just happened to pass by when that particular 'voice' grew stronger?
Covering my face with my hands I groan. I wish I could just talk to Arkarian about this. He'd know exactly what to say and do. But just realising that I can't talk to him about it sends another wave of pain over me.
The voices again increase in volume. Gritting my teeth I realise I can't cope with this much longer, but I have no choice, I have to and will. I'm not about to give in to the pain.
I struggle my way back into the kitchen to find Matt sitting at the wooden table cradling a mug. As I enter he jumps up, 'there you are! Why did you leave so suddenly?' but his words are meaningless as they mix with the din inside my head. Just nodding at him I pull out a chair and to collapse into as my knees crumble.
'Isabel!' I feel matt putting a hand on my forehead to take my temperature and the other pushing a glass of cold water towards me. 'Are you okay?'
'I'm fine,' I lie sounding feeble even to myself, as I raise my eyes to meet his worried gaze. He has enough on his plat to worry about without me adding to the list.
He lifts his eyebrows disbelievingly but goes on with what he was going to say since he knows how stubborn I can be.
'there's another meeting today,' he finally says after a long calculating gaze.
With one of my own I notice the bags under his eyes that hint at the nights of sleep lost due to the Guard business. We both stare evaluating at each other. Each of us trying to figure out what the other is withholding. At last Matt draws a sigh and offers me his arm. 'Shall we?'
I raise my thundering head with a little flinch to meet his slight smile. 'We shall.'
In mere seconds we are transported to the area outside Arkarian's chambers. Instantly I feel relief as the voices in my head dwindle away and the immense pressure is lifted.
As the stone wall disappears to admit us a clear voice calls 'Matt?' echoing slightly in my head.
'It's okay, Neriah, I didn't tell her anything yet,' Matt replies. Tell me what, I wonder? About to ask I quickly realise I never once saw his mouth move meaning he must be holding a mental conversation. I chew lightly on my lip, considering how many times the truth seers could do this. They could be talking about all sorts of things right in front of us and we'd never know. Arkarian welcomes us into a different room than usual, Matt with a squeeze on the arm and me with a cautious hug that grows stronger when he realises that I'm not pulling away. He must have picked up on my expression because he instantly asked if I was okay, his gorgeous violet eyes never leaving mine, probably thinking I was still upset over the discovery in Athens.
'I'm fine,' I reassure him, shrugging out his grip, my previous upset seemed a little trivial now, compared to what's been going on, but I can't just accept it. Someone I trust with everything, not telling me such a massive thing was more than a little hard to get over.
Matt proceeds to take his seat next to Neriah as I do the same beside Arkarian, opposite Rochelle, Ethan, Shaun and Jimmy. Just as Matt stands up to begin Dillon dashes in, apologising constantly and cursing 'bloody bus drivers' in his head making Neriah and Rochelle giggle as I smile to myself, seeing the possibilities of being a Truthseer, now that I'm almost 90 certain that's what's going on.
Matt swiftly starts talking before Dillon can explain. 'The reason we are in here and not through in the usual chamber is because I didn't want to alarm you. The sphere has started spinning again.'
A shocked silence greets this alarming announcement. I doubt anything he could have done would have made it any less alarming. But then the floodgates open, everyone's thoughts pouring into my mind at once as they drop the barriers to their minds in shock, causing me to groan aloud. As they vocalise their worry Matt holds up his hands to stop the bombardment of questions.
'First things first. It appears to be showing France around five to six hundred years ago. We can't pinpoint the exact time because it isn't showing a particular event. Another problem is that the Citadel isn't fully rebuilt, but the biggest one …' he breaks off.
Great it gets worse.
'Is that,' Matt swallows as if unsure of how to explain, making us all edgy, wishing he would just spit it out.
Arkarian quickly picks up where Matt left off. 'Is that instead of the usual method of time travel Marduke has opened a physical portal linking the present to the past, like the 'doorway' he used to take Matt to the Ardennes, which means if we go into there we'll be doing so in our mortal bodies.
If we were shocked before, I don't know what we are now. As backwards as it seemed I still wanted this mission. I know I can go safely since I could heal my body if I have to, and the added danger made it all the more exciting.
Abandoning my own guarded thoughts I eavesdropped on Matt's and Neriah's which Arkarian and Rochelle were politely ignoring. They seemed to have also picked up on the fact that I could heal myself and whoever else might go.
Matt stands up again. 'Although this mission is exceedingly dangerous there is no chance we can't not go, since Marduke is sure to take advantage,' he pauses sighing heavily. 'We already know where the portal is-' he glances to Ethan '-it's where Sera died, at the falls.'
Ethan and Shaun both turn chalky white as Rochelle and Jimmy anxiously try to console them. Matt hangs his head apologetically and continues. 'I'm afraid that most of will need to go. Isabel to heal those that will suffer in the different time, Arkarian because you know the time period, Neriah to draw a portal in case they get stuck, Ethan because of his experience and gift of instinct, and Shaun and Jimmy to protect them. I'll stay because we can't leave the present undefended, as will the rest of you.' Matt swallowed and I can see he was struggling at the idea of letting both Neriah and me go in such difficult times. 'Also because of this group the cover story can merely be that you're all on a camping trip since we don't know how long you'll be.'
The rest of the meeting was spent discussing how we would get clothes for the time period, but apparently that wasn't such a problem since they had been recovered from the Citadel, along with the dust that would help us fit in and know everything we needed to. It suddenly hits me how much responsibility they're trusting me with. What if I can't heal everyone? It's going to be hard enough trying to block out people's thoughts and I need to concentrate to heal. At least everyone is still in shape physically so we aren't entirely caught off guard, which is fortunate since we are leaving soon so as not to let Marduke gain an advantage.
We are leaving tomorrow night.
Please review and let me know what you think and what I can improve on. Thanks SO much to everyone who reviewed previous chapter: ThePurpleRose, FMA4EVER, Lunalux, Tonixxx, SplatteredEggs, Sakuraangel1327, Emawa, Cam, Elise and call me Richardson.