Hey guys! Guess who this is? Mistali! Hi! *waves*. Did you miss me? Probably not. I'm sorry this wasn't up yesterday. Technical difficulties delayed me. And I had the chapter ready and all especially for yesterday too.
To give an update as to what I went on hiatus for:
1. My Leaving Cert is finally over! It went okay, but it was a long three weeks of pure studying. Hopefully I'll get what I'm looking for in August.
2. Because of the above matter, water polo and swimming stopped. My college that I'm hoping to go to has an Olympic sized pool beside it so I can go there as swim to my hearts content when I'm not doing college stuff.
3. My computer is fixed! I got a new hard drive installed for Christmas just gone so now I'm a happy bunny to have my baby working again.
4. Obviously, I got my inspiration back.
5. I learned to drive! Well, mostly. My dad is teaching me in his car (Honda CRV, newer model if you're curious), and I'm driving up and down my lane and through the neighbouring forest/horse track so I'm happy enough with that. My dad is taking some time off work soon now that Ireland has some good weather (finally!), so I'm going to steal some of his time and finish up so I can get a provisional licence.
And that's the end of our author update.
Anywho, I was thinking. If you guys were interested, I was going to make a Twitter profile for my FF account so I could put updates up about my stories and the progress and to get you guys more involved in it. You could be my inspiration, not just for this fandom, but any that you're a part of. I'd love to talk to you guys more. Let me know what you think. I'll put up a poll, or you can message me with your thoughts.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy.
"Leslie!" I jerked up out of bed at the sound of my name being screamed. I was in my old room on Earth, only this time the ceiling was shrouded my dirty black smoke. It streamed in from around my door, and in through the keyhole.
"LESLIE!" Alex. Alex is in trouble. I jumped out of bed and momentarily noticed that I was in the white clothes that Seth, Sara and I wore when we were captured by Burke before. What the hell? Alex screamed again and I darted towards the door, throwing it open. When I did, fire jumped at me, physically pushing me back. I fell onto my back, and the door slammed shut again, locking itself.
"God dammit." I cursed. I got up again and tried the door. It wouldn't open, so I used the already existing fire outside my door to burn it down. I watched the fire engulf the door, and impatiently waited for the wood to turn to ash so I could get out, but with a wisp, the fire disappeared and the door remained intact, with only minor burns on it.
"Let me out of here NOW!" I heard myself scream. I don't know what I was screaming at. I just did it.
"Or else what?" I turned, almost twisting my ankle in the process. "In case you haven't noticed, not even your own element can help you." Tyrane. He stood there in his jail clothes, his hands clasped behind his back and his expression utterly calm. "Hello Leslie."
"What do you want?" I snarled. "I'm not in the mood for your crap." I produced a flame in the palm of my hand, ready to melt his skin.
"You can put the flame away Leslie. You're dreaming. You know well enough at this stage that you can't hurt me, and I can't hurt you. Well, much." Tyrane told me.
I extinguished the flame with a heavy sigh. "So what's the point in all of this? Huh? Just like me seeing my home being burned down and there's nothing I can do to stop it?"
Tyrane clapped. "Well done Leslie. You're getting quick at this game."
I clenched my fist. "I hate you."
"So you've told me before." He acknowledged. "And I can only presume you'll continue to do so every night like you have all the others." I opened my mouth to say something, but Tyrane held up his hand to cut me off. "Wait, let me ask a question first. Did you tell Seth yet? That I visit you in your dreams every night." He asked, a smirk creeping onto his face.
"I've had enough. Get me out of this dream now." I snapped. Tyrane did nothing. My temper got the best of me and I felt the room around me get even hotter. "WAKE ME UP NOW!"
Suddenly, Tyrane put a mirror between him and I, the glass facing me. I saw dark orange veins crawling up my neck and touching my jaws and my pupils were blown wide. Just as quick as the mirror appearing, I felt myself being sucked away into consciousness.
I sat up in bed, my whole body overheating. Immediately I jumped out of bed and went to the mirror across the room, checking my skin for veins, or seeing if my eyes were wide. No change. Just a sleepy, fresh-out-of-bed looking me.
Someone knocked on the door, pulling me out of my reverie.
"Come in!" I called, moving away from the mirror and going back to my wardrobe to find something to wear for the day.
I felt arms loop around my waist and Seth rested his chin on my shoulder. "Morning." I smiled, leaning back against him. "Morning yourself."
"Did you sleep okay? I heard you talking to yourself last night." Seth asked, nuzzling my neck. "Another nightmare?"
I tensed. "What do you mean another?" He doesn't know. He can't.
"I've heard you muttering nearly every night the for at least two weeks. Is something on your mind?" I shook my head, stepping away and turning to face him.
"Nope. There's nothing wrong." I kissed him. "Go down to breakfast. I'm going to change, we can eat then find something to do."
Seth smiled at me. "Okay." He took my hips and pulled me to him, planting a firm kiss on my lips. It became deeper, Seth slowly wrapping his arms around me and holding me against him. I put my hands on his shoulders, and after a while, I gently pushed him away. "Downstairs." I grinned. "Otherwise we'll never get anywhere today."
Seth grinned back. "See you in a few." He left, closing the door behind him with a click. I turned back around and pulled out a clean vest and jeans. Quickly, I was dressed.
Before I left, I looked in the mirror again. My whole body radiated tension. No wonder Seth was worried.
You have nothing to worry about. I assured myself. Tyrane is still in jail. There is nothing he can do to you, or your family. Either of your families. Now, get that ass off your mind, go downstairs and treat Seth with the love he damn well deserves.
My whole body relaxed, and I skipped down the stairs to the breakfast table. I didn't subconsciously check the mirror one last time to see if there were any veins creeping up on my skin of my eyes had changed.
"Morning Leslie." Terice greeted me from the kitchen table when I came down. She was in her lab coat with a mug in her hand, reading a letter. "Sleep well?"
"Like the dead." I answered, grabbing food from a cupboard beside me before sitting down.
"Have you and Seth got anything planned today?" she asked, not looking up from the letter. Her eyes danced across the paper lazily, only taking in what mattered to her.
"I think we were going to meet the others for a few hours. Travel across to the other end of the planet and go exploring. I'll be learning how to fly the ship as we go along."
"Good. I need you guys out of the house today anyway. The research I'm conducting at the minute needs my full focus. You guys can bring Morgan with you. He hasn't been out that far in a while." Terice winked. "It would do him good."
I nodded, slowly eating. "What are you doing your research on?" I asked casually, trying to understand the Inquirnian language that the people of Retha spoke. It was difficult so far, and I could barely make out what was being said. All I understood was support, project and free. Terice moved the letter out of my view, making me focus back on her.
"Eat up. Seth should be back soon with the others, and you need to pack a bag to bring with you. There isn't much over at the opposite side of Retha." Terice said, folding up half a dozen letters that were scattered across the table and slipped them into her lab coat before zipping it shut. I finished eating and went back to my room to grab a light jacket and my shoes. I faced the mirror so I could tie up my hair, doing a quick scan of my skin when I pulled my hair out of my face. Clear. Actually…very clear. My skin has never been that clear before.
I ran my hand across my facial features and neck and chest. It was all perfectly smooth with a slightly high temperature, but that could be because of the energy stored inside me. And I could have sworn that I was getting a spot on my cheek last night or the night before. Now there's nothing to be seen.
I'm probably being delusional. There's no way the dreams are affecting me physically. That's stupid, even my Tyrane's standards.
The front door downstairs opened, and a crowd of voiced flooded the living room and kitchen. I grabbed my bag off my bed and went downstairs, ready for the day out.
Leslie came down the stairs, her expression looking troubled like she was this morning when I came in to see her.
"Ready to go?" I asked, slipping my hand into hers and giving it a squeeze. She gave me a small smile and nodded, her free hand rubbing the back of her neck.
"Great! Let's go!" Ethan declared, leading the way out of the house.
The group of us walked through the town towards where Leslie's beloved ship was parked. She insisted on leaving it in the forest among the trees where she could easily go for a while if she wanted a break away from the house, or if she wanted me to teach her how to fly.
I slipped the card key of the ship into the back pocket of Leslie's pocket, then patted her butt. "You're flying us today."
The steps following us stopped. I turned, and saw Damien, Oliver, Ethan, Shane and Liam stopped, staring at me with wide eyes.
"Leslie's flying?" Ethan asked.
Leslie rolled her eyes. "Will you guys get over it? That was one mistake. I've flown perfectly since. Even ask Seth!"
"But Seth will be biased. He's afraid to say you're a bad flier because you'll beat him up otherwise." Oliver pointed out. He jumped to the side, avoiding a flame Leslie threw his way.
"And he wouldn't want to stab his own ego by calling himself a bad teacher." Damien added with a lazy grin.
Leslie harrumphed and walked ahead to walk with Ryan and Sara. I turned back to Damien.
"You're in trouble." I told him. His grin dropped and he went running in the opposite direction. I sprinted after him, trying to tackle him but his longer legs made it easier to get away from me. He ran to Leslie and wrapped his arms around her. Surprisingly enough, given their rough start, they became best friends. They get along really well, and he helps her train and keep up her fitness when I'm working in the lab or doing something else.
"Leslie, make him stop bullying me." he pretended to whimper, cowering behind her. She grinned and produced a flame in the palm of her hands.
"Fight! Fight! Fight!" Ethan began to chant, and one by one the others copied him.
With a grin, Leslie lunged at me in an attempt at a tackle. Bracing myself a little, I caught her, used her momentum to turn 180 and tossed her onto a patch of especially lush grass. The manoeuvre startled Leslie and she landed with a faint gasp.
"Should I have mentioned that it was my dad who had taught Damien and I how to fight, so I know every move he can make and how to counter it?" I teased. Leslie stayed where she was and gave me her best 'come hither' look. I cocked an eyebrow and set on her stomach, anticipating her next move. Suddenly the grass around her, which had dried up in the good weather and lack of rain, exploded into flames. I jumped back out of surprise and Leslie leapt onto her feet. I fell back onto the dirt and she sat on my knees cutely and innocently.
"You don't know how to counter your girlfriends blaze though, do you?" she teased in return.
"We have a winner!" Oliver called, and everyone cheered. Leslie stood up, her feet either side of my thighs, and held out a hand to help me up. I took it, but instead of going up, I pulled Leslie down so she straddled my stomach and I brought myself up to kiss her,
"Get a room!"
Silence fell and I pulled back from Leslie to look at Liam, who was blushing heaving around Shanes hand clamped over his mouth, almost like he couldn't believe he just said that.
Leslie got off me and didn't offer a hand a second time, a lesson learned. Looking up at her, I squinted at her neck. The sun must have blinded me, because I nearly could have sworn there were lines of orange spreading across her neck. I got up and glanced again, but there was nothing there. Must have been the glare of the sunlight.
We got to my ship and found it was already opened up and there was a faint sound of the Beatles, drifting out through the door. I let out a relieving sigh. Earth music never sounded so good.
I hummed along with 'Hey Jude' as I went up the steps to the ship and found Morgan reading a newspaper, reclining on a deck chair with a sun visor on.
"Dad, your Earth is showing." Sara told him as she walked in after me.
"Thought Leslie might actually appreciate the Earthian behaviour. She needs a break away from you weird aliens." Morgan beckoned me over. "C'mere a second. Look at this. Is it really true that the current US President is dark?"
I nodded. "Yeah. And nearly everybody loves him and his family."
"I must pay a visit back to America. It's certainly starting to open up. What about gay rights?"
"It's a slow progress. Only a few states allow gay marriage, last I checked." I explained as Morgan nodded along.
"Shane! Liam! We're bringing you to America on holiday." He suddenly yelled, startling us. Ryan sniggered, only to be cut off by Saras elbow jabbing his ribs. Shane dipped down his hat and shoved his hands deep into his pocket. Liam blushed like a teenage girl meeting her idol, stuttering and fidgeting.
Sara rolled her eyes at the laughing of the others. "Dad, I don't think-"
"Nonsense Sara. You of all people should know about those two." Morgan let out a laugh. "Anywho, are we going? We can get a good couple of hours in before we dig into the munchies." He closed up the deck chair and put it away with a huge backpack in a corner of the ship. "Take it away Leslie!"
I sat down in the pilots seat, Seth in the co-pilots seat and started up the ship. I went methodically through the steps of closing it up, turning on the ships computer and getting it into the air. Once up in the air, Seth murmured instructions to me to get me moving and directing the ship. There was mild chatter in the background, Ethan and Damien teasing Shane and Liam about their 'undying love for each other'.
"Where do you want to land Dad?" Seth asked, looking back over his shoulder.
Morgan opened up a hologram map and pointed at a pin pointed map. "There." Seth took the map off him and typed the co-ordinates into the computer.
I looked out, admiring the scenery of the rural part of Retha. It was like a jungle down there. I was half expecting Tarzan to swing through with nothing but a rag around his waist,
About an hour later, Seth caught my attention. "Start the landing process." He told me, watching the map. I did, slowing the ship down and lowering the altitude a little. Seth pointed out where I should aim for, and I put out the landing gears.
Carefully, I lowered the ship down into a clearing with a small bit of help from Seth. The ship touched the ground with a small thud, and the sigh of relief was audible behind me.
"Alright young aliens and human, time to go exploring!" Morgan announced, mounting his bag onto his back.
We followed Morgan around the mass of bushes and trees following some path he and Terice used to use before they got married and had Seth and Sara. Apparently it led to a 'cabin-hut thing' that the pair used to spend time in when Terice managed to get out of work with her parents and aunt and uncle. It was rare, given the surge of scientific discoveries at the time.
"There's a lake and a cave beside the cabin-hut thing too. You have to get into the water to get to the cave though. The water surface is about a metre off the floor of the cave, then it splits up from there, one going further into the ground, the other up. Terice and I didn't get a chance to explore the whole thing – we were too busy consummating our engagement that her parents didn't know about – so we can do it now that there's no distractions." We gagged at the mention of Seth and Sara's parents 'consummation'. "Oh grow up you immature brats. Ah, here we are."
The thick overgrow seemed to melt away as we reached a bare clearing. The tall trees around the clearing kept the place sheltered from wind, and the heat of the nearest star (it has some Inquirnian name that I can't pronounce, so I just call it the sun like the Earth one), brought a pleasant warmth to the area. The cabin-hut thing that Morgan told us about actually looked like an Earth-style bungalow, red brick and slate roof and all. It sat at the edge of the clearing, the edge of the lake about ten metres away from the front door. The lake itself was shimmering blue under the sunlight, a very attractive sight with the heat we all were feeling after the couple of hours trek we had through the stuffy forest. On the far end of the lake there was the cave etched in a cliff face (about five or six metres high), which had a soft waterfall pouring from the top. We couldn't see far into it, just deep darkness.
"Want to set up in the cabin before you go swimming and exploring?" Morgan asked, producing a key card out of his utility shorts and unlocking the cabin. The locks snapped open and the heavy duty shutters began to rise over the windows.
"Terices father like to have his baby safe. He thought I attracted trouble." Morgan replied to my unasked question.
We went inside and let the sunlight come in and illuminate the room. It was all open plan, with a put in the middle, presumably for a fire. Along one side, there was a fridge to store food and a few cupboards for everything else, a small shower room and toilet through a door opposite it. Not far from the pit was a large table surrounded by chairs. The cabin was obviously made for short-term stay.
"The sleeping bags should be in that press there." Morgan pointed to a wooden door across the room.
"There are at least ten there and plenty of extra blankets to go around if you get cold during the night and haven't got a cuddle-buddy." He threw a wink at Shane and Liam. "Just if you want to know."
Ryan and Sara, who actually seemed to be the responsible ones on this trip, went to the press and handed out the sleeping bags, rather than everyone going for them at once like a group of bold kids. We picked a part of the room that we wanted, Sara and I taking out own small area to sleep in and let the boys mess and fight over their own space.
Everything set up, we went to change into out swim gear so we could explore the cave. Sara and I changed in the bathroom away from prying eyes. Over our swimsuits we wore shorts and old trainers so we could put stuff in our pockets while we were exploring the cave.
Once everybody was dressed Morgan called us all to the main part of the house for a prep meeting.
"Okay everyone, a couple of things before we get going. Has everyone got equipment? Ropes, knives, pickaxes, food, water helmets, the works?" We affirmed. "Good. Now, this is some new tech that I've been working on in my free time." He held up a very small, short, cylindrical tube. There was a sort of net in the cylinder. "This is a respirator. You swallow it, and it sits near the top of your trachea. It takes the oxygen from water and filters it into your system, and as you breathe out, the water goes with it. You can only breathe with your mouth using this. I designed it so that it doesn't trigger your gag reflex and that it doesn't choke you should you swallow it. If it gets caught in your throat and you want it out, press against the side if you can. This will reduce it in size and it will go into your stomach, where the acid will dissolve it and it will pass through your system like any other food. It has been tried and tested and it has passed them all, so you have absolutely nothing to worry about. Any questions?" Nobody spoke up. "Good. Here. Take and pass them around." He handed Oliver the bag and he took one, then handed the bag to Liam.
"You don't need to put it in yet. Only when you're going under water." Morgan pointed out, taking the one he was using for demonstration and pocketed it before going across the room to grab other things.
The bag came to Sara and I, and we took one each. The respirator was small and really light. I put it in my pocket and went to get my small bag with my equipment.
Morgan stood at the door with the key in his hand. "Alright, everybody out! We're losing daylight!" he shouted cheerily, and we quickly left. He shut down the bungalow and put the card away safely, since that was our only way of getting into the house.
We got to the shore of the lake and everyone took out their respirators. Ryan was the first one to swallow it and he dived into the lake. He was under for a few minutes before surfacing. "It works!"
Satisfied, the other respirators were swallowed, and into the lake we went.
And that concludes the returning chapter! What do you guys think? It's more of a filler than anything exciting, but I did lay down the foundations to the plot of Part II. Don't forget to answer the poll or tell me in a review what you think about the Twitter account.
Until next time!