As always please rate and comment. This chapter starts out a little slow but I just couldn't find a way to avoid it even after redoing it three seperate times. Regardless I hope you enjoy.
Chapter Nine: Calm Before the Storm
Gabriella had spent a good four hours that night crying to herself on the couch while Anna tried her best to console both her and Janice, who was also quietly sobbing on the other side of the room. When the tears finally stopped she was stolen by sleep, hoping for peaceful dreams to wash away the worry that was digging into her hard but sadly her dreams were nightmares, disjointed images of her parents fighting and dying over and over again like her mind was stuck on repeat. When the first rays of the sun started to peek through the window and fill the small room with light Gabriella decided she had had enough with being tormented in her sleep and sat up, a brutal headache building at the base of her spine from the lack of rest.
When she had enough energy to look around the room she found everything had been changed while she had been sleeping and for a moment she wondered if she had been taken somewhere else by Anna. The once sparse living room was now spruced up with new items like a very large flat screen television set, surround sound, a couple of different gaming consoles, a Blu-ray player, pillows and blankets on a new larger couch, and the smell of coffee brewing wafting in from the kitchen. Janice had already been awake for a while it seemed and was sitting on the opposite end of the new couch, wrapped up like a baby in a bundle of blankets and her eyes glued to the television.
‘Where did all this come?’ Gabriella asked through a sore throat.
‘Anna said something about needing to make this place liveable and then she just took off, randomly popping back with this stuff and connecting it all. I really couldn’t keep up with it to be honest, she was moving way too fast.’
‘Where is she?’
‘She mentioned she had to talk to some girl named Samantha and that she wouldn’t be gone long.’
Feeling like she had to get up and move around a bit she pushed herself off the couch and ventured into the kitchen to find that it had been completely remodelled as well. Besides a brand new top of the line coffee pot there was also a microwave, a blender, deep fryer, a stand up mixer, and the fridge and every cupboard had been packed to the gills with food. It was always beyond her why all the immortals would always try and over feed her, it’s not like they hadn’t been mortal themselves at one point in time. They had to know offering her eight meals a day plus double that in snacks was just a little overkill.
Her stomach still in knots she just grabbed herself a large cup of black coffee and walked back into the living room to find her friend hadn’t moved an inch since she had left. She walked around a new glass coffee table and took a small sip from her cup before sitting down next to Janice, their shoulders touching. Gabriella would have to stop feeling sorry for herself soon and focus on her friend who was so far out of her depth that it wasn’t even really funny. It was really Janice who needed to be consoled, ripped away from her life and parents because she had learned too much about Gabriella and her family.
The television was tuned to one of the large news networks and as a clock somewhere in the house chimed a new hour the add that had been on vanished as an attractive young female anchor adjusted the papers on her desk and turned to face the camera in a dramatic yet fake way. The next thing to catch Gabriella’s eye was the scrolling words at the bottom of the screen as she caught the tail end of the text and saw her own name in bold red letters.
‘Today’s top story comes to us from a small town in Northern British Columbia, Canada,’ the woman said with a strong voice, ‘where at approximately five after twelve yesterday afternoon at the local high school an altercation occurred involving two female students. Details are still limited but sources from the Canadian Government have stated that they are looking into what happened and are expected to release a statement sometime later today. What makes this the top story for the second straight day are some of the statements students and teachers alike have been making about what happened. One student who saw the incident first hand has been reported as saying he saw a woman wearing gold armour appear in the cafeteria when Gabriella Morrison pulled out a knife and attacked her. The student goes on to say that three more people appeared in golden armour and weapons before vanishing literally into thin air a moment later.
‘Police are still currently questioning everyone who was present and have released no official statement as to what really happened. However an arrest warrant was issued for Gabriella Morrison, pictured here, but police have not been able to locate her and they believe she has fled. Another student has also gone missing from the same school yesterday and it unclear whether Janice Derby has been kidnapped by Gabriella or the others who were reportedly present or if she is on the run as one of them. What makes this whole thing stranger is that multiple governments have joined the investigation and are urging all local authorities across the globe to keep an eye out for the two students. They are to be considered armed and extremely dangerous so if you happen to spot one, under no circumstances are you to approach them. Call the local authorities immediately and stay out of sight.’
Pointing an elegant looking remote at the TV Janice changed the channel to MTV and tossed it across the room in a huff. ‘We’re considered dangerous now?’
‘Sounds like it,’ Gabriella answered before she took another small sip from her coffee cup, enjoying the warmth of the liquid as it slid down her throat. ‘They government is desperate for answers to what happened before we were even born. I guess it’s a good thing Anna went and got all this stuff for the apartment because I don’t think we’ll be leaving it any time soon.’
‘Are the aliens really coming back?’ Janice asked after a few minutes of silence in which they were both staring blankly at the television.
‘They’re not exactly aliens, well I guess anyways. I’ll level with you; I don’t really know that much about it all but what I do know is that they were demons created by a Fallen God to destroy everything in existence. My parents fought them when they attacked the first time and barely managed to close the gates, but it had come at a cost and out of all the immortals that had fought only a few survived. All they did though was close the gates and stop them for now, so yes they will be back.’
‘No one knows really. It could be today, next week, or even in another thousand years.’
Janice didn’t really seem to know what to say to that so she turned her head back towards the TV and watched some dumb reality show that was probably more scripted then big budget movies were. As time ticked by at a surprisingly quick pace Gabriella began to get a little worried that she hadn’t seen Anna yet at all today, all the bad things that could possibly have happened were threatening to play through her mind as a small knot began to grow in the pit of her hollow stomach. After a solid half hour had passed she pulled out her cellphone and quickly the speed dial for her sister’s number hoping she had it with her wherever she was. It hadn’t even completely rang once when there was a soft pop and a tall and stunningly gorgeous woman with strawberry blonde hair with perfect curves and a small spattering of light freckles across her button nose appeared right next to her.
‘Are you in trouble?’ she asked and quickly looked around the room. When she didn’t see anything out of the ordinary she looked back at the girl with an almost exasperated expression.
‘I was just trying to call Anna,’ Gabriella answered, ‘Where is she Sam?’
‘She’s giving me some time off from running across the world constantly and gave me her phone in case something happened with you.’
‘Why would she do that without even telling me?’
Samantha moved closer to Gabriella and put her arm around her shoulders gently, almost too gently, before whispering in her ear softly, ‘She told me what happened between you two and said she wanted more time to think about everything.’
‘She told you!’ Gabriella blurted out almost making Janice jump off the couch.
‘Keep it down Gabby,’ her sister hissed, ‘and yes she told me. It’s not like she would go to your mom or Erin for advice would she? Yes, I know she is closer to Lucy then me but being married to Francis has made Lucy kind of loose lipped after they go at it, and as we all know Francis and your dad are like best friends. Besides, I’m the only other immortal left in this galaxy now too.’
‘And you’re not going to tell anyone?’ she asked curiously. Out of all the immortals Samantha was one that Gabriella rarely ever saw or spoke to but she had heard from the others that she was kind of a gossip when it came to big secrets so she wasn’t really sure she could trust her keeping this one.
‘Cross my heart and hope to get wrinkles,’ she laughed, ‘Like you and Anna I go for the girls as well. Bet you didn’t know that did you?’
‘Really,’ the girl smiled, ‘it’s not really something I go telling everyone. What I do in my personal life is my business and no one else’s. So if you keep my secret I’ll keep yours okay?’
Gabriella quickly nodded her agreement and received a warm smile from her sister before she got up and walked into the kitchen. While they heard the woman rummaging through the cupboards Janice looked over at her and asked what that had been about but the only answer she received was Gabriella shaking her head without saying a word. Samantha walked back into the living room a minute later with a half-smile on her lips.
‘Where’s all the junk food?’ she asked, ‘There’s nothing but healthy stuff in there!’
‘I’m fairly certain Anna thinks I’m a rabbit or something,’ Gabriella replied limply and Samantha laughed.
‘She probably just doesn’t want all the sugar to go to your hips or something,’ the immortal replied with a wink which Gabriella thought Janice had seen before quickly looking back to the television. ‘Should I make a quick run to the grocery store and get some chips and chocolate?’
‘I wouldn’t mind some chocolate,’ Janice said with an impish grin.
‘Sounds like a plan,’ Samantha smiled sweetly making her face light up.
Samantha took off to the store to make up for the imbalance Anna had left in the kitchen. As Gabriella sat there on the couch she became acutely aware that Janice was looking over at her from the corners of her eyes, and each time she so much as shifted in her seat her friend would quickly look away and try to pretend she wasn’t doing anything creepy. After about five minutes of this Gabriella was starting to have enough and was just about to get up and go hide in the bathroom for a bit when she finally spoke.
‘Damn it! I’m probably going to regret this but I think I want to know everything about what is really going on.’
‘It’s not a good idea Janice,’ Gabriella replied quickly using the standard answer now but Janice just shook her head and continued.
‘Don’t you really think that’s my choice? I am here because of the choices I made so it’s not like this is nothing that I didn’t ask for in some way. It’s been made quite clear that I can’t go home any time soon and on the news they are making it sound like you and I are some kind of crazed serial killers or something! Don’t you think I deserve the truth for all of that?’
Perhaps Janice was right, maybe she did deserve to know why her entire life had changed literally overnight, it was only fair right? Gabriella mulled it over for a few minutes while her friend watched her expectantly, trying to figure out what the right thing to do was. She knew if she told Janice everything she knew the rest of the immortals would be mad at her, especially her parents who were pretty much the leaders of the group along with Erin. There was no doubt that she was getting tired of keeping the secret that she had been born with and she just wanted to be honest with someone who wasn’t part of her family for once. What was the worst that could happen? Her parents sit her down for another lecture?
So she dove into the story of the immortals, or what she knew of it at least. A lot of the stuff before her generation was mostly a mystery to her but she did know there had been twelve immortals in the beginning. Due to her father’s indiscretion with a mortal woman he was stripped of his immortality in a sense and forced to live as a mortal over and over again for all of eternity and that’s where things apparently started to fall apart. Ares, The Betrayer had been corrupted by the Dark God and began down the road that led to the events of the last invasion where he and his followers helped the demons destroy everything they had been created to protect.
The events of the last few days of the attack were sketchy at best when it came to what she actually knew, her mother had somehow become an immortal and her father had gotten his full complement of abilities back, but they would never actually tell her how they managed to do that. Apparently that was something for her last birthday and none of the other immortals would talk about it either, which led Gabriella to believe she was being treated differently because she was certain beyond a doubt that Anna knew every little detail from a much earlier age considering she had been there with Gabby’s mother in the final moments.
Having told Janice about the past she moved onto the present and explained who the woman in the cafeteria had been and the warning she had brought with her. It was still beyond her though why someone they considered an enemy against all creation would just surrender like that to her and why she would warn them about what her husband was doing out in the universe. She knew the original immortals were made in pairs and that they were destined to fall in love with their counterpart, a love that could never be broken. Erin had lost her husband thousands of years ago but you could still see in her eyes that she mourned him every day of her life, so why would Andromeda openly betray the one person she would ever love like that? Two immortals had died at her hands on the last day and yet here she was now, swearing to protect her with her life if it ever came to that.
‘So how come you don’t use your powers?’ Janice asked when Gabriella had finished her story.
‘I don’t have any right now and I won’t get them until my eighteenth birthday, on the exact second I was born,’ she explained.
‘Oh, well that kind of sucks then,’ Janice replied just as there was a soft pop near the kitchen and Samantha appeared.
‘What sucks?’ the immortal asked curiously, shaking her hair out as she placed half a dozen full grocery bags on the counter.
‘We’re just bored,’ Gabriella lied, ‘Can’t we go and do anything?’
‘Sorry Gabby but for the time being you guys are under house arrest. But hopefully what I just brought home should make it a little less depressing, two hundred dollars’ worth of candy!’
Samantha hadn’t been joking, every bag she unpacked was loaded with junk food in every variety, and there was even one bag that just had boxes of Twinkies in it, nine of them to be exact. It seemed that the eldest of the new immortals had quite the sweet tooth and in half an hour she had already devoured two boxes and was eyeing a third with a hungry look in her eye. Janice couldn’t help but look a little envious at the immortal that could literally eat whatever she wanted without gaining a single pound.
Around noon Anna appeared in the apartment and Gabriella found herself almost giddy to see her. That giddiness quickly evaporated though when she noticed that Anna barely looked at her and seemed a little distant. ‘Try not to lose this again,’ she said flatly and held out the dagger that Gabriella had left back in Canada.
‘How did you get it? I figured the government would have it locked up in a bunker or something.’
‘They did, I had to break in and get it for you. I should get back to my patrol.’
‘Anna wait!’ Gabriella called out and reached towards her sister, wrapping her slender fingers around her wrist at the very moment Anna teleported away, ripping the girl off her feet as she held on for dear life as she was dragged through space.
When she landed it was with so much force that she was tossed off her feet and fell flat on her stomach, her chin hitting solid ground and bouncing back up before crashing down painfully again. Blinking tears away she pulled herself to her feet and looked around, expecting to find herself in some foreign city on the top of an extremely tall building with a massive view, but instead she found herself in a place she had never seen before but had heard of on a few different occasions. She was standing on some kind of invisible floor surrounded by space in every direction. In the distance she could see multi-colored planets, asteroids ricocheting off each other, and thousands of swirling purple and red gases and billions of tiny sparkling stars. It was the most awe inspiring and beautiful places she had ever seen before, the private sanctuary of The Betrayer Ares.
‘Gabby!’ Anna roared bringing her back to the small bubble they were in, ‘What the hell did you do! You’re not supposed to be here!’
‘Sorry, I grabbed you when you tried to leave,’ she apologized, but she could feel a little bit of anger and hurt seep into her body. ‘Why are you trying to avoid me?’
‘I’m not trying to avoid you,’ her sister defended but again couldn’t look her in the eyes, ‘Someone has to keep a look out you know.’
‘Samantha was supposed to do that while you watched over Janice and me! Is this because of what we did?’
Anna had been moving closer to her to send her back to the apartment but when she heard what Gabriella was saying she stopped and lowered the hand she had held out, her eyes once more dropping to the ground and a hard look crossing her face. She stood there in silence for a few minutes and Gabriella was stunned by how absolutely quiet this place was, there was no sound at all and it was a little eerie to be honest.
‘Gabby look, what we did was great and I really enjoyed it but I don’t think it’s the best idea,’ she began but before she could continue the anger that had been welling up inside of Gabriella finally spilled over and she started yelling.
‘Are you kidding me? I thought we got past this already! If you didn’t think it was such a great idea then why did you keep doing it? Did you just want to torture me or something? Did you think it would be funny to hurt me like this?’
‘No, it’s not like that at all! I think it’s pretty obvious that I actually like you in a way I probably shouldn’t, but it’s a lot more complicated then what you know okay. Can we just please leave it at that?’
‘Is this about mom and dad? Cause I am pretty sure mom actually might know more then she is letting on!’
‘Gabriella please, I’m begging you to just leave it alone for right now. Look I need to get you back to Earth right now,’ she sighed sadly and before Gabriella could so much as open her mouth Anna disappeared and she felt a hand land on her shoulder a second before she was tossed back through space.
When she landed alone in the apartment she found Janice still sitting on the couch in her usual spot, her eyes wide with the sudden appearance of her friend. ‘Where did you just go?’ she asked.
‘Where’s Samantha?’ Gabriella barked, not meaning to take out her anger on her friend but unable to bring her emotions back in.
‘She’s uh… she finished off the last of the Twinkies already and went to get some more. Are you okay Gabby?’
‘I need some fresh air,’ she growled and walked over to a garbage bag near the front closet finding it filled to the top with clothes from her bedroom. Finding a hoodie she threw it on and pulled the hood up to obscure her face as much as she could before heading towards the front door.
‘Wait for me!’ Janice yelled out and before Gabriella had even opened the door her friend was beside her in another black hoodie she had found in the bag, pulling her hair under the hood and drawing it around her face like they were expecting glacial weather outside in the middle of autumn.
Gabby didn’t really want any company but she didn’t have the heart to tell Janice that, so they left the apartment together and made their way out onto the busy New York streets, picking a random direction to go in. Gabriella could tell Janice wanted to know what had gotten her so upset but thankfully she didn’t say a word and followed her through the crowds silently. Gabriella had no idea where she was going right now, or even how to get back to the apartment when she was finally ready to go back, and right now she didn’t really care. She was angry and hurt and beyond confused by what was going on with Anna and it was all she could think about right then. She hated not knowing the real reason behind Anna’s decision to pull back and the lame explanation for it. She was always being left out of the loop when it came to big things and she had thought Anna was above that, but apparently she was just like the other immortals.
As they ventured deeper into the heart of the sprawling city the throngs of people going about their day grew bigger and bigger until they literally had to push past people roughly just to keep moving. There was a never ending parade of vehicles and bicycles on the street moving at a snail’s pace as the noxious fumes spat out of their engines clogged the air and left a metallic smell that stabbed at Gabriella’s nostrils. Her mother and father had attended the University in town for a single day before the demons arrived and she was beginning to wonder how they could stand all the noise and smells of the city.
Gabriella didn’t know how long they had been walking but her feet were starting to hurt a bit and as she looked around she realized they were nowhere near where they had started from. She stopped on the side of the road and wiped the sweat from her brow, far too hot underneath the heavy hood she had decided to wear. She considered taking it off but was pretty sure she didn’t want the attention if some stranger happened to recognize her from the picture they had shown on the news. Looking over at Janice she saw that her friend was also sweating a bit and huffing as she was out of breath.
‘You know you didn’t need to come,’ she said to Janice.
‘Yes I did. I don’t know what is bothering you but I know you shouldn’t be wandering around the streets on your own. After everything you told me earlier this is the last thing you needed to do.’
‘I’m sorry Janice; I just needed to clear my head. Let’s go find a place where we can get something to drink.’
They found a small convenience store a block away and with the last of her change she bought them both a large bottle of ice cold water which they almost drank in one attempt. Feeling a little bit better but still very tired from walking so much they found a small bench on a small patch of grass with a single small tree providing shade from the sun.
‘Did you want to talk about it?’ her friend asked softly from her side.
‘Not really,’ Gabriella sighed and took another drink from her water bottle.
‘It’s about Anna isn’t it?’ she asked and at the mention of the name her face grew hard and inadvertently gave Janice an answer, ‘It’s not like you’re actually related you know.’
‘What are you talking about?’ Gabriella asked fiercely.
‘I heard what that girl Samantha said this morning Gabby, and to be honest it’s not that big of a surprise. I’ve never really seen you with a guy before.’
‘It’s kind of hard to date when your parents won’t really let you go out late at night, even on weekends. Besides you don’t know anything about what’s going on with Anna!’
‘Don’t I? When your mom came to get you to meet that woman who showed up at the school Anna was the only one who was against it. For a minute I thought she might actually attack your mom for even suggesting it. She was that angry. Then what I overheard today, and when you went with Anna and came back a couple of minutes later pissed off.’
Gabriella had never known Janice to be so perceptive before, but it wasn’t really that surprising. They had only been friends for a few years now but she always seemed to know more than she was letting on and it was one of the things that made her such a good friend, she could anticipate things. Gabriella was just stunned she had managed to pick up on this so quickly.
‘I don’t know what’s going on with her. Last week we were having such a great time and I was finally really happy, but then she gets all cold and distance and I don’t know what to make of it! It’s driving me nuts!’
Janice scooted closer to Gabriella on the bench and said gently, ‘Maybe it’s just the stress of everything that’s going on right now. She might just be freaking out.’
‘I think it’s more than that, I mean she won’t even look me in the eyes anymore! I just wish she would talk to me you know? But no, instead of doing that she is hiding in a place I can never get to and keeping everything to herself just like everyone else does! Did you know for my entire life people have been telling me about my destiny but no one has ever actually gone into detail about it? They just keep saying when the time comes I will know!’
‘I really can’t imagine what that must be like Gabby, I really can’t,’ Janice answered slowly as city bus rolled past kicking up even more polluted air and dust, ‘If everything you’ve told me is true then the weight of the world literally rests on your family’s shoulders, and that can only cause stress. Maybe you should just give Anna the benefit of the doubt for now, I’m sure she isn’t trying to intentionally hurt you.’
Gabriella mulled that bit of advice over and could see the merit of it. Deep down she knew her sister would never hurt her like that if she could avoid it, and with all but two immortals on the other side of the universe that meant a lot more work trying to keep an eye out for any signs of the next attack. Forcing a small smile on her lips she put her arm around her friends shoulder and pulled her into a tight hug.
‘What would I ever do without you?’
‘I don’t know, but I guess in eighty years you will find out,’ she laughed and Gabriella actually found herself laughing as well. ‘Just promise me that no matter what happens you will visit me from time to time when I am old and senile.’
‘You can count on it. I should probably call Samantha to come pick us up before we get mugged or something.’
Gabriella reached into the pocket of her jeans to grab her cellphone but couldn’t find it, and as the horror set in she could vividly see the couch back at the apartment where she had tossed it when Anna had sent Samantha instead of herself.
‘What’s wrong?’ Janice asked when she noticed the look of horror on her face.
‘I forgot the phone back at the apartment!’
‘Let’s go find a payphone or something then,’ her friend said cheerfully but the look of shock never left Gabriella’s face, ‘Oh god tell me you know her number from memory!’
‘It’s really only for emergency! I’ve only had to call it a couple of times since she first got it hooked up!’
Panic set in for both girls now as they tried to retrace their footsteps, but Gabriella had been off in her own little world when walking and had literally no knowledge of how they had gotten here. Janice had been paying a little bit of attention but after they had gone to get something to drink she lost track and didn’t even know which direction to go now.
Knowing that they wouldn’t get anywhere good by panicking Gabriella forced herself to take a deep breath and calm herself down. It wasn’t easy but she knew she had to and had even been practicing to do such a thing from a young age knowing that when she became an immortal her emotions would be a million times more consuming then they were now. So with a forced sense of calm she picked a random direction and started to lead Janice through the streets once again hoping they could at least find their way back to the convenience store, which would be a good place to start.
When they didn’t find it the first direction they headed back to where they started and went in another, doing this multiple times and still not finding the place they were looking for. Gabriella had to quickly squash the fear that was threatening to take over again when they had given up looking for the damn store, making them even more lost then they had first thought. A couple of young women from a small town in the North of Canada found themselves lost in one of the biggest cities in the United States would have been bad enough, but they were also wanted by almost every authority on the planet as well and everywhere they went it felt like they were being watched by someone. There was now a constant chill running up and down Gabriella’s spine and her eyes darted back and forth as she began to feel like a trapped rat. She had a very bad feeling this day wasn’t going to end well at all.
It was when they rounded a corner at a fairly small intersection she began to realize things were already going wrong. While every other street they had been down had been packed with people and bustling with cars, this one was devoid of all activity giving it an eerie feeling of almost complete silence. As Janice went to move past her Gabriella held out her arm and stopped her, the feeling of being scrutinized intensely seeped into her brain.
‘Everything,’ Gabriella whispered back, ‘Let’s find another way.’
Grabbing Janice by the wrist she quickly turned on her heel trying to make a hasty escape from whatever was trying to trap them. They hadn’t even taken two steps though before the street exploded in a flurry of action and noise as police vehicles with flashing red and blue lights screeched to a halt twenty feet away from them in every direction as men in various uniforms rushed out pointing automatic rifles at them while yelling at them to get onto the ground.
As soon as she saw what was happening Gabriella used one arm to pull Janice behind her body and the other to grab the golden dagger strapped to her back, pulling it out and holding it in front of her sideways just daring anyone to get close enough. She could hear people yelling constantly and feel Janice tugging on her sleeve saying something directly into her ear, but with all the noise around her nothing made any sense. A couple of police officers in SWAT vests had moved into an elevated position on top of the large black vans and pulled out high powered rifles with large scopes attached and she knew they were aiming directly at her head. Anyone else in her family could have with stood a barrage of bullets from the police, but she was just a weak mortal and they would have cut right through her flesh and bones like they were nothing at all.
Every fibre in her body was telling her to drop the knife and surrender herself but something in the back of her mind, something dark and dangerous was yelling out at her to make her stand and not be coward. She knew if they came at her she could potentially kill half a dozen men before they subdued her, or they could just open fire if they saw her making a move and put her down for good, but she really didn’t care. She wanted to prove she wasn’t such a weakling like everyone treated her, she could fight and survive and she didn’t need any of their help! The dark thoughts grew blacker and it shocked her with some of the things she was actually thinking about. She could feel her body conflicted as well and the tip of the dagger dip a bit in her hand as it began to tremble, the noise crashing down on her like a tidal wave bent on crushing her. One sound rose above the others, shaking nearby windows and sending people to the ground as a shot rang out. A fraction of a second later something hit her in the shoulder hard, piercing into her skin with blinding pain as it rocked her entire body. As she looked down and saw the tip of a dart sticking out of her shoulder her eyelids began to droop and she lost her balance. She was out cold before her head smashed into the sidewalk.
Gabriella opened her eyes as a splitting headache screamed through her tired brain and caused every little sound to be amplified to agonizing levels. She was handcuffed to a metal chair by a large metal desk in the center of a dark room with only a single light hanging directly above her. Sitting in another chair right next to her she found Janice, her hair matted and her head resting on her chest as she blinked tears from her eyes and mumbled something Gabriella couldn’t hear. Like her, Janice’s hands were handcuffed behind the chair and from the look of her wrists she had struggled against the bonds for some time as the skin had been worn away and chaffed, leaving bright red lines in her tender alabaster skin and threatened to bleed.
‘Where are we?’ Gabriella asked through a rough throat, the sound of her own voice grating on her nerves.
‘I don’t know,’ Janice whispered back never looking up.
Before Gabriella could struggle against her own handcuffs a small black door across from them opened up and two men in cheap looking suits walked into the room, tossing a beige folder onto the table loudly as they sat down across from them. The first man was a little big around the waist and was already starting to lose his hair as it receded back further from his pasty forehead, giving him an almost comical look. The second man however appeared to be in peak physical shape and in his mid-thirties, with broad shoulders and a strong chin that demanded respect.
‘I want my phone call,’ Janice said softly through her tears.
‘No,’ the older looking man said flatly without even looking up from the file he had opened up.
‘I have rights you know!’
‘I’m sorry but you actually don’t, not anymore,’ the young man said with a wide smile and Gabriella already hated him. The way he carried himself was all wrong. His outward looks screamed nice guy, someone who would help you move if you asked him to, but the way he was acting right now, leaning back in his chair, his hands balled in tight fists even though he was smiling, and the dangerous glint in his eye made him seem almost menacing.
‘You’re not the police are you?’ Gabriella asked while trying to keep her voice strong.
‘Homeland Security,’ the balding one said flipping through a page, ‘But at this point in the game it doesn’t really matter. How about you tell us where the others are.’
‘What others?’ Gabby replied quickly. Something was definitely wrong here and she knew they both were in grave danger.
‘The other immortals,’ the young man said still flashing his smile, ‘In particular your mother and father, Gabrielle and Amy.’
Gabriella’s eyes narrowed at her father’s old name and she realized what was so wrong about this, these men knew a lot more than they should. Only two people outside of her family knew of her father’s real name, Ares and Andromeda. ‘Who are you?’ she breathed through closed lips.
‘Homeland Security Gabriella,’ the young one laughed, ‘Or did you mean who are we really?’
‘If you answer the question now we promise to make your death quick and painless. Well as painless as we can anyways,’ the eldest laughed.
At the same time both men blinked their eyes and when they were visible again they were crimson red, boring holes into Gabriella’s chest as fear gripped her heart. As they both laughed loudly, the horrible sound bouncing in the small room she pulled at the cuffs on her wrists with all her strength, feeling the cold hard metal bite into her skin brutally. No matter what she did she couldn’t get them off and it turned out the chairs had been bolted to the ground so she couldn’t even try to move it around in her struggle to get away from whatever the hell these things were.
‘Back off you bastards!’ she screamed.
‘Oh come now, can’t we be civil about this?’ the balding one asked as he licked his lips, ‘We only want a few questions answered, then it will all be over for you two.’
The younger looking creature got up out of his chair and walked around the table until he was only a few inches from Gabriella, his hands reaching out to grab her by the throat and squeeze the life out of her. Before the things fingers could touch her skin as she tried to lean back as far as possible there was a flash of gold that moved straight though his head and then another slashed through the older man’s neck. It had all happened faster than she could comprehend and before she fully knew what was going on the man who was still reaching out to her started to fall to the ground, the top half of his head slipping off an invisible line as it fell into two pieces. The balding man started to topple right while his neck and head fell to the left, black blood pouring out from the wound.
Before the severed heads had even landed on the floor the handcuffs both girls were wearing were shattered to pieces, bits of metal flying through the air from the force. A woman with long golden blonde hair and dark eyes appeared before them a second later, a long golden sword held tightly in her hand as little drops of black blood splattered to the ground.
‘What the hell are you doing here Andromeda?’ Gabriella asked in shock as she took a step back from her.
‘I swore to protect you with my life child,’ she said softly and a gentle smile snaked across her lips.
‘But you’re supposed to be halfway across the galaxy with my parents!’
‘I could sense something was happening to you so I had to come back and see for myself,’ she said and took a step over the dead body at her feet, ‘Come with me and I will take you to your mother and father.’
Andromeda held out her slender hand towards Gabriella but Janice quickly pulled her back against the wall, ‘Don’t even think about it! You told me she was the bad guy!’
‘You don’t have to fear me,’ Andromeda whispered, ‘I swore to protect you and I do not take oaths like that lightly. I can bring you to your parents safely in a flash child; you just need to trust me.’
Janice continued to tell her not to do it but Gabriella wanted to see her parents more than anything else at that moment. She wanted to be hugged and kissed by them, told she would be safe and loved. She just wanted this day to be over and to go back to her old life and the only people capable of giving that too her were her mother and father. There was nothing they couldn’t do! Andromeda had been an enemy once but hadn’t she redeemed herself with saving them just now?
Her mind still not totally made up she reached her hand out and Andromeda clasped on to it, the world twisting around them in a sickening way that she had never experienced before. Just as she felt her feet lift off the floor Janice grabbed onto her arm roughly and was dragged along with them. She had expected to appear at their destination and see her parents smiling faces in under a second but was shocked when she had counted to five and they were still flying through space at a blazing speed that rocked her very bones. It had never taken this long before, not even when they were just travelling from one continent to another and she couldn’t imagine how far away her parents really were.
Suddenly the vortex around them disappeared and the momentum of the trip tossed both girls flying through the air and landing heavily in the dirt. It was when Gabriella pulled herself to her knees that she realized they weren’t standing in dirt but black ash that exploded into the air at their arrival. The sky high above them was pure black with tendrils of red lightning flashing through the heavy clouds with no thunder chasing it. She found herself standing on the top of massive hill and no matter where she looked she could see billions of fires raging as it consumed everything around them. Far below them she could make out what looked like plains that seemed to be crawling and with horror she realized the things moving around were actually demons, so many she could see them moving far into the distance and would guess it just kept going. It was an invasion force the likes of which no one had ever seen before in history.
Hearing the ash get kicked up from something moving behind them Gabriella quickly turned to face the threat, her hand reaching back to where she kept her dagger before she realized she no longer had it. What she saw standing before her turned the blood in her body to ice and her heart contracted in fear. Standing at almost ten feet tall with pure black skin, large dragon wings stretching out from his back, massive hands with deadly talons, his body entirely comprised of rippling muscle, and a twisted smile that showcased row upon row of long serrated teeth was Ares, The Betrayer.
He dwarfed Andromeda who stood by his side, her gleaming golden armour in stark contrast with the new Ares. The things her parents said about him proved true, he had utterly lost himself in the madness induced by The Dark God and he had given himself over to it. He was more nightmare then immortal now and the very sight of him drove terror deep into Gabriella’s heart.
‘I did as you asked Ares,’ Andromeda said and flashed the monster a wide smile.
‘You have done well Andromeda, better than I had anticipated. Did Gabrielle give you any trouble?’ he replied and his voice was more of a growl than anything else.
‘Not at all, I led those fools to the planet you set up the ambush telling them they would find you there. Your troops will tear them to shreds!’
So she hadn’t only betrayed Gabriella but had led the others into a trap as well. The fear that had been filling her entire being slowly started to seep away only to be replaced by hatred, her blood boiling at what this traitor had just done. Immortal or not Gabriella wanted to tear this woman apart, piece by piece and make her feel all the pain she had caused her.
‘Your god is happy with what you have done for him Andromeda and will grant your wish to be like me under one condition, kill the abomination.’
Andromeda stepped away from her husband, weighing the golden sword in her hand as she stared directly into Gabriella’s eyes. As the young girl readied herself for the only attack she would ever get against an immortal, Janice suddenly jumped in front of her, holding her arms out straight at her shoulders.
‘I won’t let you hurt her!’ she screamed. Gabriella could hear the fear dripping from each word and knew it was all her friend could to not to just run in the opposite direction right now.
‘Silly girl!’ Andromeda laughed and charged at that them, nothing more than a golden streak against the black and red background of the demons home world. In a moment of pure instinct Gabriella threw her shoulder into Janice’s back, tossing her aside just as the golden sword slashed through her side tearing clothing and skin like a hot knife through butter. It was a brutal wound but missed killing Janice by mere inches as she plummeted towards the ash.
In the next moment Gabriella grabbed the blade of the sword in her hand and flicked her wrist up feeling the godly metal snap like a twig under her strength. Holding seven inches of the long blade in her hand she stepped in with her left foot, feeling her shoulder connect with Andromeda just as she brought the shard up into her chin. With grim satisfaction she watched as the piece of gold shot through the immortals skull and stuck out at the top, golden blood dripping back down the smooth metal as the traitors eyes rolled into the back of her head and she fell at Gabriella’s feet.
Before Andromeda’s now lifeless body hit the ground Ares was upon Gabriella, a massive black spear streaking through the air as he thrust it towards her chest. Gabriella knew she was dead, she had somehow gotten lucky against the immortal but nothing could protect her from the monster that Ares had become. It didn’t bother her though, she had done what she had wanted to do and the golden blood that was pooling at her feet was proof of that. She closed her eyes and held her hands out as if welcoming the attack, her mind at ease with everything that had happened, but the death blow never came. She should have been impaled at the end of The Betrayer’s black spear by now, but when she opened her eyes she saw the monster standing above her with his spear mere inches from her chest.
‘It appears I underestimated you!’ he barked, ‘And so has my god. You will serve a new master now!’ Before the words could penetrate her mind Ares spun his spear around and struck her in the back of the head with the blunt end so hard she was out before she even felt the earth shattering pain behind the blow.