Chapter IX: An Oblivion Tail
"By the way..." Jonathan started as the elevator headed up. "What do you call yourselves when you're in these forms?"
I stared at him then at Alexandria who stared back at me in confusion.
"I thought so... I'm Dog, she's Cat." He continued.
"Um..." I said and didn't really know what to say as we never really thought of any code name for each other.
"Alexandria, you're Alie." Jonathan said as he got that name from when I called her that earlier. He stared at me and at my right white tiger ear that had a single spot on the back. "You're Spot, at least until I can think of something else."
I made a face, involuntarily. I didn't really like the name as it reminded me of a Dalmatian or something.
"Can I be Tye?" I asked. "Like short for Tiger."
"Sure...Tye." Jonathan replied.
I looked at Alexandria who was busy staring at Jeff.
"What's he called?" She asked and pointed towards the curly haired boy.
"Mexican." Jonathan said as his voice sounded like he was holding back a laugh.
"Hi, Mexican." Alie said and waved as Jonathan broke into laughter. Alexandria pulled her waving hand back and looked at Jonathan then at me in confusion.
Jeff punched Jonathan in the arm as the door behind us opened.
We turned around and walked out. I stared at Lilian's green hair as it bounced on her back. It wasn't naturally green; my sister had showed me how to tell. Some silver, not gray, roots were barely visible from the top of her head. I was broken from my fixation on her hair by my sister who pulled on my tail. I turned to look at her then noticed that she was staring in front of her. I turned and saw everyone staring at something in front of us. I looked forward and my heart sank as I saw Grayson sitting in the middle of the room as he stared at us. He had probably seen us as we talked to Jonathan and Lilian and decided to wait for us.
Grayson smiled and stood up and I had a nagging voice in the back of my head reminding me that I should be standing on all fours and guarding the entrance and not here. The voice in my head wasn't mine; it was familiar...male...but not mine.
"I wondered how long would I have to wait till you came crawling back, Talbain." He said.
I saw Jonathan jerk right suddenly as he had heard something that I was too distracted to have paid attention to.
"Who's that?" Jonathan asked and stared back at Grayson.
Grayson turned to look at us indifferently. "You two may leave now." He said and turned to sit back on his seat. He raised an eye brow when we flinched but didn't move. "Leave!" He practically yelled and I flinched again but stood my ground. Alexandria took my hand in hers.
"I'll follow you if you want to go back, but I really do want to leave." She whispered in my ear.
Grayson stared at us as we refused to go back down the elevator. He began to say something then stopped when Jonathan took a few steps closer.
"Where are Christine and Samantha?" Jonathan asked.
Grayson frowned, in an irritated kind of way, and spoke out something that I wasn't able to make out.
I felt something rush passed me and slam Jonathan, our leader, onto the wall. I turned quickly and saw Rewall hovering in midair. He hung there for a while and I ran towards Jonathan to help and hoped that Grayson didn't call out to me as I would hesitate if he did.
I reached Rewall just as blades extended from his fingers and moved to stab Jonathan in the midsection. I grabbed Rewall by his torn leathers and threw him back as hard as I could.
Rewall flipped in midair and extended his long leathery wings and began to gain momentum as he headed back towards us.
I turned to see Lilian as she saw what was happening and turned then fell backwards on all fours. She kicked her lower half up, just as Rewall passed by, and kicked him as hard as she could. Rewall was knocked out of midair and hit the other doors in the elevator. Alexandria quickly ran into the elevator and ran out a second later as the doors closed and headed back down as Rewall banged at the door loudly.
"Where are Christine and Samantha?" Jonathan asked again as he made his way towards Grayson.
Somebody knocked loudly on the reinforced glass that viewed into the labs. It was Samantha, the girl with the gray feathery wings, except that her wings were missing at the moment. She was naked as she banged the door with both hands in desperation. I thought about how Phil, Deon, Alexandria and I broke the safety glass with some effort and decided against mentioning it to anyone.
Jonathan ran forward and threw himself at the glass but simply bounced off it. I saw the two doctors in lab coats and a biohazard mask appeared and pulled the girl away.
"We are here to prevent the Darkstalker race from growing." Grayson said with a tired expression. "Darkstalkers are a plague on this earth."
I stared at Grayson who stared at Jonathan who was currently ignoring him and rammed repeatedly into the glass in hopes of breaking it.
"Jonathan, there is still time for you to join us. You could help us make this dream come true." Grayson continued.
Jonathan stopped ramming into the wall and turned slightly to see Grayson through the corner of his eyes.
"Go fuck yourself, Grayson. Open this door." He said.
Grayson mumbled something then yelled "Get him!"
A wall in the back opened and the man, who came down and attacked us while Carl was living here, popped out and ran towards Jonathan who jumped to the side. The man had large bull horns protruding from his head which made him a bull Darkstalker.
The man turned and headed towards us as he gained speed. Alexandria simply moved out of the way as Lilian jumped to the side. Jeff fell to the floor and rolled out of the way at the last second then looked at me. I flipped and pushed myself off the wall and landed behind the man as he ran passed. Jonathan moved and stopped in front of the elevator. The bull man turned and ran back towards Jonathan who didn't move as the elevator, behind him, opened slowly. Rewall stood in the elevator and pulled out a large scythe from his person and swung it at Jonathan who quickly jumped aside. Rewall barely missed Jonathan and frowned in anger then looked shocked when he noticed that he dug the scythe into the bull man who wasn't able to stop in time and ended up spearing Rewall through the midsection with one horn.
The dead bull man fell limply as he pulled Rewall down with him. Rewall groaned and reached for help as my sister pushed the button and sent them back down.
Grayson had an enraged look in his face as we turned to look at him.
"We just want to save our friends. Open the door..." Jonathan said softly.
"LIES! You want to stop me from changing the world.
Grayson said and put his hand into the back of his pants and pulled out a hand gun that he pointed at Jonathan for about a second before pulling the trigger twice.
Jonathan jerked back and hit the rear wall. I stared at him wide eyed as he stood on his feet. I stared at the bullet holes inside of his muscle shirt and in his arm. The bullets didn't leave his body as they stopped inside of him.
Jonathan jerked slightly and the bullet in his arm slowly made its way out and eventually dropped to the floor.
Alexandria stared in surprise and then turned to look at me. "Jonathan..." I started. "You're okay."
Jonathan groaned as he stood back up then jerked back three more times as Grayson shot again. I began to call out to him when Lilian got shot once too for moving close to Jonathan.
Lilian yelled and fell on all fours when the bullet penetrated her skin. Grayson grinned as both Jonathan and Lilian were bent down on the floor. I heard a small clank that was followed by another and another. A bullet rolled from under Lilian as the small drip of blood stopped. She stood up and the hole that the bullet had penetrated was closed now with only the blood on her blouse indicating that it was ever there.
Jonathan stood up with one bloody bullet in his hand and flicked it aside then grinned.
Grayson flinched and struggled to reload so I ran forward, on all fours, and punched Grayson when I reached him. I heard Alexandria gasp as Grayson hit the floor. Grayson looked at me and I didn't see anything that might have been his old self, the part that Alexandria and I loved.
Grayson seemed to be this evil thing as he finished reloading his gun and pointed it at me.
It took me a second to realize that I had a gun facing me and was barely able to fall out of the way when Grayson pulled the trigger and sent the bullet passing passed my face.
I fell on all fours and began to run around so Grayson couldn't actually hit me.
"Tye!" Jonathan yelled. "We recover because of the werewolf blood in us, you two would die!"
I had already thought of that. I was just happy that Grayson didn't think of bringing silver bullets along.
"I kinda guessed that, Dog." I replied and slowed my pace when Grayson stopped and turned abruptly then shot Jonathan, who had been moving closer, once again.
Grayson turned his gun and moved it toward Lilian again... 'No, not towards Lilian.' I thought. 'He's aiming it at...'
"Alie!" I choked out as Grayson now pointed the barrel of the gun towards Alexandria. "No!" I yelled when Grayson pulled the trigger then ran forward and tackled him to the ground.
I looked up and saw Alexandria standing wide eyed and towards the wall as Jonathan crouched down on the floor as he held his hand that had blood running from it.
"Tiger, get off me!" Grayson said as he tried shaking me off.
"My name is not Tiger." I said as Alexandria bent down toward Jonathan who held his bleeding hand.
"Get off me." He repeated and I flinched slightly but held onto him.
"Big brother..." I heard Lilian say then jump on all fours and ran towards Grayson and me.
She jumped and extended her foot to kick Grayson in the head when she froze in midair. She looked at Grayson then at me in surprise before she was tossed towards the safety glass of the labs. She didn't hit the floor as she hovered there, upside down.
I felt like something jerked me off Grayson then tossed me towards Jonathan and Alexandria and was pinned on the wall too, but I was upright. Grayson stood up and dust himself as Melissa, a girl that Rewall had convinced Grayson into recruiting, step out of wherever she was hiding and stood by Grayson.
Grayson stood up and picked up his gun and aimed it at me.
I struggled but was unable to move as something pinned me to the wall. Grayson hesitated for about a second before pulling the trigger.
I saw the bullet as time slowed down: inching closer and closer as it cut through the air.
Time froze as I stared at the bullet that was right in front of me. Except that time wasn't frozen, I noticed, as Grayson lowered his gun and Jonathan stopped moving towards me and Lilian struggled in place.
The bullet was frozen in front of me. Melissa must have stopped it for some reason.
"You said that we weren't enemies with Darkstalkers. You said we wouldn't hurt them." Melissa said.
"These are different!" "Replied Grayson." These must die!"
Melissa turned to look at Grayson. "You lied to me." She said as the bullet that had been frozen in front of me fell suddenly. "You said that you only needed Christine and Samantha as hostages... That you wouldn't experiment on them."
"They are bad." Grayson practically yelled as his face reddened. "They need to be stopped." He continued as he finished reloading his gun with his shaking hands.
"No they're not; these are the nicest people I know." Melissa replied and looked at Jonathan with something very much like a smile.
Grayson said something then turned his gun towards Melissa. He pulled the trigger and Melissah's hands moved quickly as they became blurs. She blocked and defected every bullet with great ease.
I remembered seeing the file for Melissa Anderson a while back when Grayson was asleep:
-Anderson, Melissa: female, 18.
5'7". Nationality: American. Species/powers: psychic. Level 10/10.
"She can help us with your goal, Robert." Rewall had said in a conversation that had happened a week before Melissa was recruited. "She can help you with want you want."
"To change the world?" Grayson had asked in a dreamy voice.
"Yes... That is want you want."
"No...It's what you want."
"No, my friend, it is what you want."
Grayson didn't say anything for a few seconds. "How do we get her?"
"She is home schooled by her father who is about to let her join a public school where those werewolves that you want are. We recruit her one day after class."
The conversation had happened during close doors but I had snuck away from bed and crawled through the vents to hear it.
Melissa deflected all bullets, one of which almost hit Jonathan.
Grayson pulled the trigger for the last time and Melissa flicked her hand and the bullet flew back towards Grayson's head and impacted, making his head jerk as he fell and hit the floor and lay motionless.
I turned to look at Alexandria who held her pawed hands over her muzzled mouth in surprise as her eyes shine with tears. I was released and fell on all fours and saw Lilian flip and land in a similar position then stood up.
I ran towards Alexandria and hugged her close to me.
"Alexandria... Alie, look at me." I said as Alexandria began to cry. "That wasn't Grayson. Our Grayson died a long time ago."
Alexandria nodded quickly as she dried tears on my arm.
"He isn't the same man we once knew, he is someone else, someone who didn't care for us, a stranger." I said as my sister slowly calmed down. I never expected to have her see Grayson be taken down.
I knew that I might have to kill this current Grayson so we could leave but I wasn't going to let Alexandria see.
Jonathan now held a key card in his hand and walked towards the door towards the labs.
He slid the card twice, because he slid it backwards the first time, and the doors opened.
"Come on, they're going into the labs." I told Alexandria who sniffed once and nodded then wiped tears from her eyes.
She was careful to not look at Grayson as we moved closer to Jonathan, Lilian and Jeff, who I had forgotten about until now.
We all turned as the elevator started again.
It took a few seconds before the doors opened. A werewolf with blue and white fur walked out. He had some blood splashed through his fur. A woman walked next to him. She had cat fur, ears, pass and a tail. They both looked at Jonathan and Lilian and smiled as I was able to see a resemblance with Jonathan and Lilian and this older couple.
"Mom, dad. What happened?" Jonathan asked.
"One of those bloody multiplying guys came at us with a knife. I had to rough him up a bit." The werewolf said and tried brushing some of the blood off his fur with his hand.
The woman looked at us for a few seconds then smiled when I waved slightly. The werewolf simply stared at us through the corner of his eyes.
"Where is Christine?" The older werewolf asked.
"Through here." Jonathan said and the older werewolf sprinted forward with the cat woman in his side.
I held Alie's hand as we walked towards the door.
A figure held a scalpel towards Jonathan when we entered the room.
It had to be the scientist who worked with Veronica, I couldn't remember their name.
Alexandria stared at me then at Jonathan who probably could have just slapped the scalpel off the man's hand and tackled him to the floor with ease.
Jonathan held his hands up as he moved closer to the naked girl who was strapped onto a bed.
The two lab doctors moved back until one of them stepped back onto a lab coat hanger and it revealed her biohazard mask.
Alexandria and I looked at everyone who stared at the female lab doctor.
"Archer..." Alexandria whispered in my ear. "The lab doctor's last name is Archer, just like that girl that Rewall brought in."
I stared at the woman as Jonathan lowered his hands and pointed at the man who flinched.
"Take off your mask." He said with authority in his voice.
"No, you need to leave." Mr. Archer, the man behind the mask said.
The older werewolf placed a hand on Jonathan's shoulder and said something before his werewolf fur began to shrink into his body. He lost a few inches in height as his fur and muzzle sank back into his skin.
Jonathan, Lilian and the cat woman did the same. It took a few seconds before there weren't any more animals in the labs. Only people…and us.
Mr. Archer dropped his scalpel and took his mask off.
He looked older than the last time we visited him, tired even.
"I...but Grayson said that all Darkstalkers were bad. But you guys..." He said in amazement.
"No, we're not all bad." The older werewolf said as he walked over and put his hands on Mr. Archer's shoulders. He then turned and smiled at Mrs. Archer.
Jonathan took the time to release Samantha, the naked girl who covered herself. Jonathan took off his muscle shirt and gave it to Samantha.
"Are you okay?" Jonathan asked her.
"I'm fine." She replied.
Jonathan turned around as the girl jumped up and kissed him on the mouth.
"Must be his girlfriend." Alexandria whispered in my ear. But I couldn't help but hear a slight tone of disappointment.
"Thank you." The girl continued. "Thank you for helping me, again."
"I'm always here to help a friend." Jonathan replied.
"Maybe not." I whispered to Alexandria.
"I helped too!" Jeff said.
Alexandria and I stared at him then towards Jonathan before helping Jeff out of the room.
"Awe, come on guys!" Jeff said to us.
"You need to stay out here, Mexican." Alexandria said.
"Awe, but there are naked chicks in there." He replied.
My sister didn't slap him because she didn't know him well enough or else she'd let him have it.
Melissa was sitting on the floor as she hugged her knees to her chest as a man crouched next to her right and spoke in a soothing voice.
I walked away from Alexandria and Jeff, who talked about naked chicks and perverts, and walked closer. The man flinched and stood up when he saw me.
I held my hands up, as Jonathan had, to show that I was harmless.
The man sighed then looked at his daughter again.
"Let's go home, honey." He said.
Melissa simply sat there with her knees up to her chest and stared at a pencil span on its tip in front of her. The pencil balanced itself on its lead tip as it span and let small writing on the floor.
The words "WHAT AM I?" we're written on the floor in ragged and redrawn lines.
"You saved us, Melissa, thank you." I said.
The pencil stopped spinning and fell sideways as Melissa stopped concentrating on it and stared at me.
"You're not mad?" She asked me. "I just killed your dad."
"He wasn't our father." I said.
"But he said he was." Melissa said.
Those words hurt me more than I thought they would. Had he really introduced himself as our father to her? And if so then how many people knew us as his children?
"For a while he was our father figure... But that person died when Rewall met him." I said, trying to sound cold and distant.
"I'm sorry, Richard..." She said and stared at her pencil that bolted upright again.
"It's okay; he would have killed us if you didn't come along. Thank you." I said.
"See honey, you helped out..." The man said. "I'm her father, Drew Anderson." He shook my hand then scooped his daughter into his arms, she didn't protest or move. Instead she simply wrapped her arms around her father's neck and closed her eyes. "Can you thank Jonathan for me?" He said and walked into the rear exit.
I smiled then stared at Grayson's dead body. A note hung out of his right side pocket so I walked over and pulled it out of his pocket and opened it.
"Dear Dick and Alie." The note began. "I have not been myself lately, and I apologize. I fear that something or someone is messing with my head. I have no proof of this though. I just want to say that I love both of you as if you were my own. I love both of you as if you were my real children and hope, in a different life, that if I had children then they would turn out like you two did. I feel as I had been away for a long time and have returned for a little bit. I don't know how long I'll be able to think correctly so I just want to tell you guys to not trust Rewall. There's something wrong with him. Fiona, even though her memory still isn't fully intact, has flinched when I mentioned him to her. I feel the lingering darkness serving over me again so I am ending this. Please know that whatever is to happen, that I will always love you two.
-Robert W. Grayson."
I sniffed loudly then folded the note and placed it into my shorts. I headed back towards Alexandria and Jeff and smiled when I saw Alexandria on top of Jeff as she pinned him into the ground. She held both his hands behind his back with one of hers and had one clawed finger extended as she had lifted his shirt and lightly scratched his back.
"Say 'naked chick' one more time!" She said as she placed one clawed hand on his back.
"Naked chick!" Jeff said.
Alexandria swirled her finger on his back as she scratched him in a zigzagging formation.
Jeff kicked and jerked and even laughed but he wouldn't plea.
"Imma carve my name into your back, Mexican!" Alexandria said and gently scratched the beginnings of the letter A on his back.
"Go ahead, we like it rough, chica." Jeff said.
"Can't you see he's enjoying this?" I said as I saw the people in the labs staring at us. I grabbed my sister by the arm and pulled her off Jeff who quickly stood up and rubbed his arms.
I stared at Jonathan's human form for the first time. He was fair skinned with masculine features, even though he looked more like his mother than his father.
Lilian also looked like her mother but had her father's eyes. She looked slightly different in her human form as all feline features were missing; her hair was still green though.
The cat woman looked like a regular woman would in her late 30's. Her extremely long blue hair had a single strain of white.
The man had long spiky silver hair and his slightly tanned face looked shockingly normal. He smiled and I expected to see fangs but the only thing that was out of the ordinary was that he had a chapped lip.
They walked out and looked at us. All except for Lilian who glared at my sister for having her hand wrapped around Jeff's and giggling as she asked him what Mexican meant.
Jonathan walked over to us as he carried the scrawny girl, Christine, in his arms. "Mr. and Mrs. Archer have agreed to take you guys in, if you'd like."
"Really?" I said. "That would be cool."
"That is so nice of them!" Alexandria said as she let go of Jeff and walked next to me.
Jeff walked over to Lily who crossed her arms, cocked a hip then turned around and walked behind her parents.
"Yeah, we're going home now." Jonathan said. "Where's Melissa?"
"Her father came and took her back. He says 'thank you' by the way." I replied.
Alexandria and I went back down the elevator to get the few things we still possessed: Pictures, clothing, a music box.
One of the other guards, a man with a large scythe, tried blocking our way and I punched him out with a single strike. We left HI for the last time and didn't look back as we tossed our trash bag with stuff into the Archer's SUV and fought with the seat belts for about two minutes before Mrs. Archer helped us.
We lived with your Aunt Christine's family for a few years until I met your mother while I worked as a cashier with your aunt Lilian.
"You met mom in a grocery story?" Joanna asked.
"Yup." Aye said and took my hand into hers. "I had just painted my hair glow in the dark silver because my parents didn't want me to. I did it only because they told me not to but I hated it. I passed by the store and the manager lady moved me over to your father's line who casually commented on it."
"She thought I was messing with her." I said. "So she walked out and left the hair dye she had paid for..."
"It was Noir. Noir is darker than black." Aye corrected me.
"How can anything be Darker than Black?" I replied. "So she thought I was making fun of her and stormed out."
"I got half way down the parking lot and forgot that I paid for the dye but forgot about it." Aye said.
"I ran out and handed it to her. Then, like a guy, apologized for making her feel bad." I continued.
"I felt like a bitc...jerk and offered to buy him dinner." Aye replied as I kissed her hand.
"Cool! What happened after that?" Desirée asked.
"Well...he got to see my hair glow in the dark a few days later..." Aye continued.
Several of my kids made uncomfortable noises.
I laughed and pulled Aye, my wife, onto my lap and kissed her. "We got married three years later and somehow ended up with you four monsters."
"Dad!" Jimmy and the girls said at the same time.
I ignored them and kissed my wife, as I'm entitled to do once in a while.
I woke up as a bird hit the window of our minivan.
"It's effing night, why are birds flying at this time?" Aye hissed as she drove our minivan.
We should stop in a motel, Alie is must be falling asleep too. I said and looked through the side mirror to see the SUV behind us swerve slightly before getting back in the road.
"Good idea. We just passed a Best Western back there." Desirée said as she played a game on her cell phone.
"Where are we?" I asked.
"Calallen, about 20 minutes away from Corpus." Aye said in a yawn.
"There's a...Laquinta? La Quanita?" I said not able to really pronounce the motels name.
"La Quinta." Desirée said. "It means 'The Fifth' in Spanish."
"How would you know Ms. Spanish speaker." I asked.
"I took a few years, plus you left us with Uncle Jeff a lot when we were younger. We used to make him angry just so he'd yell at us in Spanish... He goes all Ricky Ricardo after about five minutes. That and Raul is Hispanic."
"Who's Raul?" I asked.
"Desirée's boyfriend." Aye said as she signaled that she was about to get off exit 10 on the 37 freeway then took a left then another left to go back the way we came but on the street as the entrance of the motel was on a one way street.
"You have a boyfriend?" I asked her.
"No, he's just a friend." Desirée said almost immediately.
"Oh...and here I thought that I would finally see some grandchildren." I said.
"Dad!" Desirée complained.
"What?" I said. "All I'm saying is that if a child is to pop out of...there, nine months after you and your...quote unquote friend spend a weekend together and preferably if it's a boy that I would get too mad."
"So I'm a breeding machine now?" Desirée said. "Just here to give you grandchildren?"
"No...of course not...you are also here to send us some money once in a while and let us stay in your guest bedroom when we come over." I said smartly.
"Stop it, you're making her angry." Aye said.
"What? Oh great, now you made my white mage die, thanks dad." Desirée complained as she shifted to put her cell phone in her pocket.
"Why a grandson and not a granddaughter by the way?" Aye asked me.
"Because you can't play baseball with a girl." I said.
"Girls play baseball." Desirée said.
"Did you play baseball?" I asked.
"I played softball."
"Point proven." I said.
"Okay, grandpa, we're here." Aye said.
We stepped out of the minivan as my sister jumped the curve with the front right tire as she turned too quickly.
I laughed and pointed at my sister as she parked near us. She pretended to laugh and flipped me off as she parked.
We rented four rooms, because Desirée, Joanna and Senna needed a girl's only room. Jimmy, Poe and Erika (Poe's girlfriend) slept in another room. I wasn't too worried about them because they were 13. Worse thing they could do is watch a TV-M movie behind my back. Aye and I slept in our room (I say sleep because we eventually got around to that). Ray and my sister slept in the other room.
Morning eventually came and Aye and I went round two before getting dressed and walking out then got a dirty look from my sister when we got downstairs and ate from the buffet they offered.
We all talked about whatever came to mind when we finished.
"We should go; the base is about half an hour from here." I said and stuffed two breakfast sausages into my mouth and got up then took a third.
"Alright, on the way back though, we're sleeping on a different floor from you guys, though." Alexandria said.
"I don't think that'll work." I said as Aye beamed red.
We reached the military base that I spent most of my teenage years in. It was still destroyed but at least someone had removed the broken and loose parts. We walked around as our "young adults" (because they hate being called kids) walked around and paid attention to the tank cannon that was in the ground.
"Where was your bunk?" Ray asked as he stood on top of a 2 by 4.
"I don't remember... Over there I think." I said. "The woman's bunker was in that direction."
"The dining hall was right there." Alexandria said as she pointed towards a destroyed building.
"You people can't be here." A man said as he walked up to us.
He was an older gentleman with the beginnings of white hair. He wore some baggy pants and a striped dressing shirt.
"Sorry, sir." Ray said in his military voice. "My wife and her brother grew up here so we came to visit. We came all the way from New Mexico."
"Really?" The man asked.
"Yeah, I'm Richard Oblivion. That's my sister, Alexandria Ayalando, Oblivion back in those days." I said.
"Dick and Alie!" The man said. "It's me! Herbert Longfist!"
"Longfist?" Alexandria asked as she hugged Longfist. "Holy crap you look different!"
"Lost a lot of weight after the base burnt down, I saw it as a sign." Longfist replied.
"Well you look good!" Alexandria said.
"Thank you, you kids... I mean grown-ups changed. You're no longer the two little white tigers that hung around Robert all the time. How is that old dude, must be pushing 60 now."
"Grayson?" I started. "He's dead. Has been for more than 20 years now."
"Has he?" Longfist started sorrowfully. "That is a shame; he was always the better of us."
We told him about our lives without telling him any of what happened in HI.
"Have you talked to Fiona lately?" Longfist asked.
"No, we actually haven't talked to her since we left Huyton Industries."
"Really? Well she woke up a week after you guys left Huyton. I visited her a lot and she always asked if I had heard anything from you guys. She married my brother... Late brother. They had one child together. She already had one when they got married.
"She had a child?" Alexandria asked.
"That's right, you guys didn't know. I think she should be the one that explain." Longfist said and gave us directions.
The directions lead to a two story house in town. I drove up to the drive way and stepped out.
"Who lives here dad?" Jimmy asked me when we walked out.
"An old friend, wait here guys." I said as Alexandria and I walked up to the door and knocked twice.
"How do I look?" Alexandria asked as she adjusted her hair.
I was spared having to answer by someone opening the door.
A girl in her early 20's now stood in the doorway. She had long black hair with a purple stripe here and there. Her hair covered one of her eyes as she stared at us. She looked slightly disappointed to see us, as if she was expecting someone else.
"Hi, can I help you?" She asked.
"Hi." I started. "Is Fiona around?"
"Sure..." She said and opened the door. "Come in."
Alexandria and I walked in and looked around the wall was covered with paintings and pictures. The name Longfist was written on the refrigerator door with some alphabet magnets.
"Please wait here." The girl said and began to walk off. "Mom, you have company!"
"I guess that's her daughter." Alexandria said.
A woman walked out of the kitchen and stared at us for a few seconds then gasped.
"Richard! Alexandria!" My God, I thought you guys died with Grayson, a long time ago!" She said and ran up to us. She threw her arms around us and hugged us tight.
We all laughed as she held us close.
"What happened to you guys? I haven't heard from you two in years and years! What happened?" She asked.
We took about 40 minutes explain our life story in quick details about Grayson, Rewall and Veronica. She gasped loudly when we told her about Veronica. She only nodded when we told her about Grayson.
"I thought that might happen, when he stopped calling Gina I thought something was wrong. Rewall was very manipulative.
"He was. He used the kids in Huyton as experiments." I said.
"That is probably... Oh my God, are you guys married? Not to each other though, right?" She asked as she examined the rings on each of our fingers.
"What? Ew, no!" Alexandria said and looked at me. "Shut up, Richard, don't say anything."
I laughed and shook my head. "No, Fiona, I'm married to someone and she's married to someone else." I said and texted my daughter.
"Bye mom!" The girl said as she walked up and hugged her mom then waved at us and ran out the door.
"That's my daughter. I changed her last name to Longfist when I married Herald. Her original name was actually Emily Belmont..."
"Well yeah if she's your daughter." Alexandria said. "Who was her father? If you don't mind me asking."
Fiona smiled and stared at us. "Well if I would have married the father, then her name would have been Emily Diana...Grayson."
Alexandria and my jaw dropped immediately. "She's Grayson's daughter?" Alexandria asked.
Fiona smiled and nodded. Robert and I spent some time together before you guys left. I wasn't actively having sex then so I wasn't on the pill and Robert didn't use protection... So yeah."
"Did he know?" I asked.
"No... I wanted to tell him but he seemed so distant the last time I called him, all those years ago, and I never got the opportunity to tell him. I married Herald when she was 14 months so she doesn't remember Grayson at all. Herald died in combat, while in the army, when she was 17. Joe, our son, was 15."
"Wow..." I said and got up as my daughter texted me back. "I got a surprise for you." I said and opened her door as Aye and my "young adults" walked in gingerly.
"Oh my God, is this your family?" Fiona asked as she got up and hugged everyone. Ray and his kids, Felix and Senna, walked in after and they all got hugs from Fiona.
"I don't remember you telling me that she was this beautiful, Richard." Ray said and Fiona laughed and tapped his shoulder playfully.
We all talked for a few hours as our "young adults" were in the other room.
A buy in his early 20's opened the door and walked in.
"'Mom, I'm home!" He said and tossed some keys into a tray.
"Joe! Come here, there's someone I want you to meet." Fiona said.
A boy with long brown hair walked into the room and shook our hands.
"This is Richard Oblivion and Alexandria Ayalando Oblivion. I told you about them, remember?" Fiona said.
"Ah, the famous Oblivions!" Joe started. "Mom has told me countless stories about you two. It's nice to finally meet you.
"Mom, I'm going to the car to get my... Oh... Hi." Desirée started then mumbled the rest when she saw Joe.
"Hi, I'm Joe; it's nice to meet you." He said.
He walked to my daughter and shook her hand...and shook her hand...and shook her hand. They both chuckled but didn't let go.
"If you hold on for any longer, people are going to think you guys were holding hands." Alexandria, Fiona and I said at the same time. We all laughed when we realized what we just did.
Joe and Desirée let go and smiled at each other.
"How did work go?" Fiona asked.
"Huh? Good, too long." He started then looked at Desirée. "I work in a grocery store, boring I know, but it brings money home."
"Grocery stores are cool, my parents met in a grocery store." Desirée said.
"I like your earrings. Zodiac signs right? You're an Aries I take it?"
"Yeah, Aquamarine, March." Desirée said and pointed at her ear lobes that each had a Sapphire earring.
"I'm a Shamrock Spinel, May." Joe said and looked at her ears and reached then touched one of the stones on her left ear. "There it is."
"Joe... Joe!" Fiona said.
"Huh?" He asked.
"Did you bring what I asked?"
"No, I forgot. Let me go back. Do you want to come with me, Ms.?"
"Sure! I'm Desirée. Desirée Oblivion."
"Joe. Joe Longfist."
I noticed the rest of our children leaning on the door that lead into the next room as they stared at Desirée and Joe.
Desirée stared at me in her "can I go dad, please!" look and I simply pointed at the door.
She giggled and led Joe out of the door.
"Did, they just?" Fiona asked.
"Yup." I replied.
"Wow..." Fiona said.
"She's like that. I mean not in that way but she sees something she likes and makes it hers." I said.
"What's with all the earrings?" Fiona asked.
"Something about the zodiac signs." Aye said. "Each stone represents a month. The ones on her right ear means that they're not compatible with her sign while the ones on her left means that they are."
"Wow... Well I hope she likes anime and videogames because that's all he does." Fiona said, chuckling.
"He's like a male version of our daughter!" I said and we all shared a laugh.
An hour and a half later we left Fiona's house and headed towards the sea side cemetery. Joe and Desirée still didn't come back so I suspected that she was actually getting on continuing the family name.
We left the kids with Fiona as a babysitter, as she always did want to babysit our kids one day, and headed towards the cemetery. It took us a few minutes to find the twin graves with the white tiger on it.
"Hi mom, hi dad..." Alexandria started and sniffed.
We each took hours explaining what we had done in the last 20 something years. I glanced once towards the general direction of the gravestone that Fiona's parents were buried in but never saw anyone.
"My daughter might have found herself a boyfriend." I told my deceased parents. "Just now actually. I would have like for you guys to meet them. They would have made you proud."
Alexandria kept updating them as I looked up and saw a figure standing where the Walker graves were. The figure slowly dissolved into shadows as a note fell to the floor.
My heart skipped a beat and I excused myself from Alexandria and my deceased parents. I noted Aye and Ray talking in the background as I walked over to the Walker grave stones.
I picked up the note that was in cursive but had all the appropriate letters dotted with an o instead of a dot.
The note read:
I'm glad that I was able to see you guys again. Where to begin? How about with "I love you guys." I suppose that I do owe you guys an explanation on what happened. Well...
To begin with I didn't die, that's probably obvious by now, but I teleported somewhere, my powers weren't as strong as they are now but I was able to teleport, a few feet at first then miles at a time, until I was able to teleport from New Mexico to Maine (which is where I live now). I married a good guy, who I always wonder if he's related to you guys as his name is also Oblivion (no I did not marry him because of that).
I kept working on a cure for the Dark Gene and finally was able to submit it to a pharmaceutical company and they were able to refine it into a usable antidote that lasts about 25 hours. It will hit the market in about a year under the label Darmagene. I'm not going to use it as I grew quite fond of my powers in everyday chores; yes I became a housewife... Now that you've stopped laughing, I have two daughters now: Amelia and Loretta. Both take after her father and don't have any powers, not that that's a good thing but it's not a bad thing. I'm doing great now and I know you two are too as I...well checked up on you guys. I'm sorry that I took the music box that one night but when I heard it, I just had to have it. Lilium...it brings back so many memories. Funny thing is that after I teleported home, I listened to it for hours on end. My daughters thought there was something wrong as I didn't do anything but listen to the melody until my husband came home. I do miss you guys every day. I wish things could go back to what they were but I've made a new life for myself here and I know you two have there. I should go now. My phone number is (207) 211-8987 if you want to call me.
Thank you for being my best friends,
Veronica Walker Oblivion.
PS. You would not believe how many um...TOYS your sister and her husband have in the attic. Ask her who "Sargent Retendo" is.
I choked out a quick laugh and folded the note then placed it inside of my pocket. I arranged the flowers on the walker's grave stone then walked back and said goodbye to my parents as Alexandria wiped some tears away with her arm.
"We should do this more often." Alexandria said.
"Yeah, we should. It has been about twenty years since we last saw them. We should make a yearly trip." I replied.
We headed back to Fiona's house to pick up the kids but ended up staying the night. Fiona's kids slept in one room so Aye and I could sleep in Emily's room while My sister and Ray slept in the guest bedroom.
Joann, Poe, Felix, Senna, Jimmy and Erika slept in the living room. Desirée went to sleep in her new boyfriend's room. I was sure they didn't do anything other than sleep as I had changed into my white tiger form to listen in on them. I might joke around about wanting grandkids but I was still a father and all fathers wanted to make sure that their daughters weren't sexually active.
I fell asleep with Aye sleeping in nothing but her panties as we had a quiet but fun night.
I awoke next morning as Aye was getting dressed. It took a while for me to remember that we were sleeping in a girl's room. The peach colored walls actually looked nice.
Fiona had prepared a large breakfast for us that morning. She was really happy to see us, I observed.
We were half way done with breakfast when Joe and Desirée, who swore that they didn't shower together, joined us.
I really didn't mind Desirée being this attached to Joe as he was Fiona's son. That alone meant that he had to be a good kid.
"We really didn't." Desirée said.
"Mmhmm." I replied and bit into some eggs.
"Really, we were watching some Bleach." Joe said.
"Okay, let's just eat..." Joanna said. "I don't want to hear about my sister and her boyfriend's shower stories."
"We didn't shower together." Desirée repeated.
Fiona chuckled. "Yeah, these are your kids, Richard. Alexandria's are quieter. Felix here hasn't even said a word today."
Felix simply smiled and continued eating.
"Senna here is great help. She helped Emily and I prepare the breakfast this morning." Fiona continued.
"Just wanted to be helpful." Senna said.
"Yeah, see!" Alexandria boasted. "Even Fiona agrees that my children are better!"
"Hey!" Aye protested.
I held her arm so she wouldn't go over and claw my sister's eyes out.
"You're delusional; all our children have good traits." Ray said.
"Yeah but ours are better." Alexandria said.
"Really?" I asked. "And why is that?"
"Because they just are!" Alexandria replied.
"Really?" I asked and smiled my sinister smile and Aye stared with me as she knew I had some snappy come back. "Alie, my dear sister... Who's Sargent Retendo?"
Alexandria spat out the eggs, that she had been eating, across the room and landed at the far end wall as she fell backwards on her chair and hit the floor.
We all laughed as Alexandria stood back up as she beamed red in embarrassment. She tried to speak but couldn't say anything. I notice her glance move from me to something behind me.
I turned around and stood up when I saw the picture in its frame.
The picture, that had some chewed egg on it, showed five people in it:
A man in his 30's with a military uniform that showed off his Sargent title. He smiled and had his arm around a woman in her late 20's that wore an elegant and sophisticated dress as she stood in heels. An uncomfortable looking 13 year old tanned boy with a pair of dress pants and shirt. A 12 year old tanned girl with a pink dress and a flower on her hair and a 13 year old fair skinned blond girl who wore a pair of dressing pants and an elegant blouse.
I stared at the picture as Alexandria and Fiona joined me as I stared at the picture of us when we were younger. Back when we had simpler lives.
"I kept a copy of this picture in my bag at all times. I have no idea what happened to the original." Fiona said and passed her hands over the image of Grayson's face.
"I have it. We found it when we visited the base after the attack." I replied.
"Good times" Alexandria said and moved closer to whisper in my ear. "How did you find out about Sargent Retendo?" She asked.
I simply smiled and stared at the picture.
Wow this story turned out a whole lot longer than I originally planned! At first I thought it would only be four, five chapters at most. Nope...well I enjoyed writing this series for you guys, hopefully this makes certain people really happy, as they did request it. Again thank you do much for the support and encouragement by some of you. I am 99% sure that I'm done with the "A Talbain Tail" series as continuing it would honestly be like beating on a dead horse... A very familiar and wonderful dead horse. I am not sure what I'm going to work on next, well actually I do; I'm going to work on Untitled (which I still need a title for, a loyal fan has suggested one already but I'm still open to suggestions). Okay, I'm digressing now...anyway thank you guys for the comments and messages, I hope to see you in other stuff I write and I'm going to sleep as I work at 7am tomorrow! Goodnight and once again; thank you.