Hey, readers! It's SignedSealedWritten and her brother, once again. This story, by the way, takes place at the end of book four. Guesses on the twin's godly parent would be much appreciated. While we won't say directly who was right, we'll mention it if there was a correct guess in the author's note. So far there have been no guesses on the parent, but there's been a guess on the monster! You'll see if you were right or not within this chapter. I sincerly hope that you all enjoyed this one - it would have been uploaded sooner but I've (me, the sister) been sick for the past couple of days and haven't gotten around to doing much of anything.
I've got the song "One Week" by Bare Ladies(?) stuck in my head. It's a fantastic song. Also, props to the brother half of this writing team, who did not freak out when I started reenacting myself screaming at random bits of literature. Or making him watch White Collar, one of the most fantastic tv shows ever. (That along with Criminal Minds and Castle, of course. The three best TV shows!)
The two words – her name and a command – echoed as her mind emptied of all other thought. As in a hollow cave, those words bounced, repeating endlessly, ominous, dangerous. She clucked her tongue and felt the presence of another something behind her brother. The sound bounced off of it – and it didn't sound human. He sounded metal, or hollow, like the inside of an empty fridge or shower or the garbage can newly emptied.
Her heart was pounding, and she shuddered. That wasn't human at all. Nothing she'd encountered sounded like that, nothing that lived or breathed and walked and talked. It wasn't natural, and it sent shivers down the eleven year old girl's spine.
She felt the jittery adrenaline of knowing she was about to begin running. Another cluck of her tongue and she could tell exactly where the 'thing' was – 20 degrees to her left, and they weren't far from the one behind Rayo.
"My left, twenty degrees, go!"
Her steps rebounded the sound, telling her where things were located. Rayo's steps soon leveled out with hers and they were running side by side, full tilt. Their steps became one. Night air whipped at their bodies, slowing them down.
"Where are we going, Cielo?" his voice hinted at panic. Rayo never panicked.
The air smelled sharp, heavy, and clogged, like rotten eggs. "Someone's got to see us." She realized and dismissed the irony of that. But it wasn't really July fourth – it was before dawn on July fourth, and not too many people were out. "Just keep running!"
They couldn't get enough air into their lungs, certainly not enough to scream. Instead of hearing the sounds of yelling neighbors at the Taos' twins sudden plight, there was nothing. The night was still save for the sudden faraway booming of fireworks and the steps of their pursuers.
"We can't run forever." He reasoned even as they ran faster, feet hitting the pavement in synchronized slaps. "Where are we?" Rayo questioned breathlessly.
"I.." The footsteps behind them were drawing closer. Either of them could use the echolocation to know where objects were, to tell what the objects were, or to not run into something – but neither could tell what street they were on. It wasn't like seeing.
"Just keep running." He amended, gasping for breath.
They didn't see the first "thing" lift an arm, a dart in his hand. They didn't know if it being released until it hit Rayo's neck and he cried out in the same instant another dart was released.
The twins went down at the same second, poison from the darts running through their systems.
"Tell him we have the demigods." The first thing said to the second. Red eyes glowed in an all too human face. To a normal onlooker, seeing through the Mist, nothing would have been wrong. Perhaps they would have seen four children, simply playing tag.
After all, the human eye sees what it wants to see.
"I will tell him." The second said in the same metallic voice. Dark, glowing eyes were on the unconscious twins. "We have succeeded."
"We will bring them back." Said the first, beginning to advance.
"You will do nothing of the sort. For the love of the gods, some people don't even have half a brain. Really, Annabeth is going to get a kick out of this one."
A girl – a teenager – emerged from the shadows of a line of trees. Moonlight shone down on the speaker. The twins had gotten further than they knew – the side road that they'd landed on was deserted of humans and non mythical life. The girl held a bow and arrow at the ready. Spiky, dark hair mixed with the shadows surrounding her. Another girl moved alongside, and the machines stopped, seemingly frozen. More forms could be seen surrounding the two in front. Whatever little light there was caught on the silver of their dresses, reflecting as if it were moonlight itself. The girl in front wore something on her head.
"A couple of rogue automatons. What's our world coming to? Though technically, Thalia, there's no brain involved. Just wires and electrical mojo. But if I'm remembering correctly, there's a nice little spot that will shut them right down."
"I don't care whatthey're made of at the moment, Marina. I just care that they're goners."
The Hunters of Artemis let their arrows fly.
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