Scene 1.17 - A Fatal Mistake
Chase was beyond tired this evening, yet her mind had not stopped racing since leaving the hospital. She'd called out sick for the rest of the day after driving off—which was not far from the truth as she'd been overcome with an intense bout of nausea the moment she pulled out of the parking lot.
She'd waited for it to pass during her lunch break, fearful of another run-in with Kyle upon returning. Oh my God, no There was no way she could resume her duties without looking over her shoulder every minute when someone passed by. Seeing him again was only going to freak her out all over again.
Even after returning to her apartment, nothing helped ease the visions repeating in an endless cycle in her head. Now it was nearing bedtime and she felt completely drained of energy.
Those eyes! The ones she had seen in her dream. They had haunted her throughout the morning as she attempted to complete her rounds on the floor. However, it was the sight of the being standing over his shoulder that had scared her beyond reason. She'd never seen anything so frightening in her life!
His hair, black as midnight, set over a frame clad head-to-toe in leather, had been something straight out of a nightmare. Even with a face as beautiful as anything she'd ever seen, the menacing wings arching over his shoulders warned her that he was a creature sent straight from the depths of hell itself.
Demon… The words of the Source rebounded over and over again in her head. The answer arose unbidden and she found herself taking flight from it all, as far and fast as her feet could carry her.
Even now as she forced herself to lie down on the bed, the image of it reappeared in her mind. Her eyes scanned every corner of the room, unwilling to fully close no matter how badly she wanted them to. She felt so uneasy in the room, expecting to see his form rising out from under the bed itself, coming to devour her very soul. She was helpless to lay there, feeling as frightened as a child who had once feared the boogieman itself.
Breathing pensively, she willed herself to lower the light several notches to try and sleep. She had rounds early tomorrow morning. She couldn't afford another sleepless night like the last one. Still, no amount of reassuring words to herself seemed to help. For the first time in many years, she made the sign of the cross over herself and prayed the words she'd been taught in childhood as she asked the Lord to protect her soul as she slept.
Staring restlessly around at the shadows in the room, no matter how long she lay there willing it to be so, her mind refused to quiet down by even the slightest of degrees.
* * * *
For the second night in a row, Kyle sat in his car and stared up at the building. He could feel her unease as he opened his mind and trained his thoughts solely on her within the apartment. The lights had dimmed in her apartment, yet he sat there anxiously waiting for her mind to calm down and sleep to overtake her.
Even as he remained focused on her, he felt a change in the air overhead. A thick cloud bank was rolling in ever-so-slowly, filling the night sky in silent display of an approaching summer storm. Heat-lightening reverberated within it, charging the air with static electricity as it loomed closer. They were in for a storm this night—or so it appeared…
She does not yet sleep, he sent silently to the Elders. His mind was fully open to them now, warning them it was not yet time to make a move.
It does not matter, came the reply. The words flew into his mind as though one of the Greys were sitting right in the car beside him.
After a long day wondering whether or not they would show, he was amazed to see that they were here. He'd heard nothing in reply to his repeated requests for assistance. Much as he tried to relate what he could in order to explain the situation to them, he wasn't sure how much they really understood. He had hoped, but until this very moment, he had no idea what they would make of his request.
She had seen too much. He knew that as he read how pensive her thoughts were as he sat there focusing on her. She was frightened. He was sure of it.
He wanted the memories of what she'd witnessed wiped from her mind—which he knew the Elders were more than capable of doing. Their talent for mind-play was legendary. The things he was capable of were child's play compared to the things innate in the purebred race. Power of the mind was a thing they had perfected long ago. For them, easing her suffering would be as simple as breathing to a human.
The truth of what he really wanted ran so much deeper than that, however. It was a completely selfish desire on his part, without any redeeming value whatsoever.
When the Elders connected with her, he wanted to see if they would recognize her for the hybrid that she might be. He wanted to know if what he saw in her was real or just fantasy. If she was not one of his kind, then he was willing to accept that she simply had gifts of a very different nature, indeed. He would then decide whether or not he could let it all go. However, if she was a hybrid like he was… That idea held more appeal for him than he dared to admit.
It was a gamble, pure and simple. He knew that. Calling them here to eradicate her memories when what he wanted was something else entirely—it was risking so much, yet he couldn't let go of the fantasy. It was filling an inexplicable void in his soul that he hadn't even known existed until now.
He swore to himself that he would find a way to make this up to her when it was over. Perhaps he would reintroduce himself to her in a few days, finding a way to engage her in a way that would not fire off her penchant for nervousness in his presence. In her dream, he had sensed her intense attraction to him. He was not oblivious of it even now. Surely, he could find a way to put her at ease when they met again in the light of day when this was over.
Damn, his nerves own were on edge. He had no idea if the feelings were entirely his own or something mixed with what he felt emanating from her. It finally brought his hand to the door to pull on the handle. He simply couldn't sit there a moment longer.
The cloud bank was nearly overhead now. He could feel their presence without even needing to see the lights flashing brightly within the thick mass. They were really here. They'd come!
"What is this?"
"Jeez!" Kyle braced a hand over his heart as he whipped around. Ashen! "Don't do that!" He tried to calm his beating heart, failing miserably as he reflexively stepped backward.
"Seriously," he said as the back of his index finger tapped a little packet in the palm of his hand. "I found this on the desk at the hospital."
Incredulous eyes started down at it and Kyle fought the urge to rip it from his grasp and throw it across the street. "It's cinnamon gum, Ash! Would you get lost?"
"I was just asking," he argued as he gave the packet a curious sniff before stuffing it into his pocket. "Back here, I see," he remarked, sounding as if he were chastising a child who was caught misbehaving.
"Is that what you meant today? Were you here last night?"
Tilting his head with a note of sarcasm, Ashen didn't deny it. Still, his eyes were silently judging Kyle in a peculiarly serious light.
"That why they're here now?"
"They're here to correct a problem. She has memories of things that she shouldn't."
"I could have solved that issue with a single bite," he suggested, sounding perfectly serious as he turned to stare up at the clouds directly overhead.
"Not an option, but thanks," he groaned. "I'd like to keep this one alive."
"Would have solved the problem," Ashen insisted without remorse. "You're a fool if you think you can trust them with this."
"What? I should trust you? You just suggested killing her." Unable to believe he was even having this conversation, he shook his head at him in complete objection. "Why do you work for them if you distrust them so much."
"You keep saying that as though any of us has a choice."
"Didn't you tell me that you are over four-hundred years old? Have you ever read demon folklore? Do you know what you're supposed to be capable of?"
Ashen suddenly stepped forward, looming within inches of him then. "Maybe you should read your own Grey folklore, then you might have a clue. They can find us anywhere."
"No they can't," he insisted, pointing to his own temple. "Not all of us. Why are you even here?"
"To try and keep you from doing something stupid—" he suddenly licked the length of one fang hidden behind his upper lip. "Like getting yourself killed."
"Kill me? Who would kill me for this—" All of a sudden he broke off from the argument and turned his head to stare up at the sky. Abandoning the conversation altogether, he said, "They're ready. The fact that she is not asleep doesn't seem to matter to them."
"Why would it?"
"I just figured it would be necessary," he shrugged.
"Not for them."
In that moment, Kyle realized Ashen might know more about the Elders than he did. Four hundred years of experience…
"God," he swore. "I need to be there. I need to know what they see."
"See?" Ashen viewed him closely, seeking some sort of clarity in the moment.
Unable to understand why it mattered to the demon, he impatiently decided to elaborate. How could it hurt to tell him what he suspected.
"I think she might be one of the hybrids—like me. She's gifted in ways I can't even explain. She can hear things, like conversations playing outside her own mind. And, she saw you. Doesn't that tell you something?" Unwilling to accept there could be any other explanation, he insisted, "She saw you!"
"Maybe," he agreed. Then the challenge rose in his eyes when he added, "You can't though. That alone should tell you something, because they don't just lose track of their experiments like that—not that it's impossible."
With a grunt of aggravation, growing much too impatient, Kyle warned him to wait right where he was. "I have to see it for myself."
He could sense their presence within her apartment and without another thought for the consequence, he shifted from the ground, moving as quickly through time and space as he ever had in his life. In the time it would take for a human to blink, he had already penetrated the room to stand by the same window he'd visited the night before.
What he'd expected to see as he looked over at the bed was Chase slumbering in suspended animation. He had supposed she might be lying in peaceful repose, just as she had been when he'd entered the apartment before. What he saw was anything other than what he'd envisioned.
Her eyes were wide open, her mouth hanging agape as though caught mid-scream. She was struggling against the mental bonds of paralysis they'd placed within her mind. The two Elders in the room were whispering to her in soothing tones, trying to engage her mind to relax and let go of all thought and feeling. In response, Chase's eyes widened further as she took in every aspect of the scene playing out in her bedroom.
Her eyes flew from the two entities standing over her to suddenly see him standing by the window. The horror in her eyes threw him, catching him completely off-guard. A silent plea on her face, perhaps—but there was nothing he could do to stop what was happening. In just moments, he promised himself, it would be over done with. She would remember nothing of this event in the end.
Confident that was the case, he stepped forward to try and hasten the process. He could not help a sickening lump that arose in his throat when he saw her panic increasing with each passing second. It began to escalate frightfully when he stepped closer to them.
He allowed his eyes to darken to their natural state, attempting to penetrate her mind with his own as before. He wanted to add his own power to theirs in an attempt to calm the hysteria evident in her eyes. It was impossible though. She was effectively blocking his efforts with a will he had never encountered before.
All at once, chaos descended upon the scene. Despite the power of the Elders coupled with his own, she let loose an inhuman shriek in the room that quite literally curdled his blood. She was heaving and struggling against the bonds that held her, unable to be silenced by any means at their disposal.
The thought struck him blindly that he had in fact met one other being quite recently who was capable of defying the odds, shielding his mind with an impenetrable barrier that could not be breached by any means. Impossible! It simply was not possible!
Kyle's mouth opened, his eyes widening, as the insane thought broke out in his mind and it left him reeling. The Elders standing before him seemed to read his thoughts like an open book and before he could even think to object, he felt them suddenly conferring between themselves. They knew!
"She is not one of them," he objected in an instant. "She cannot be one of them!"
Even as he said the words, he turned to stare back down at her struggling form. It hadn't even occurred to him to look within her until this very moment. His mind withdrew from its attempt to penetrate hers and instead he began to look within her physical form. His eyes opened to see the very essence that made her what she was and what he saw made his head spin.
The energy beings in the world below! The Kindred! She was one of them!
Now, the Elders knew it too. Every thought in his mind was exposed to them and he wanted to kill himself then and there. He felt panic-stricken, knowing he had to do something—anything, to stop what he knew was about to happen.
She must be taken, one of the Elders warned him. She cannot remain free in this world. She will be exterminated with the rest of them.
Kyle slammed the door to his mind shut from them, silencing any further intrusion of their thoughts into his mind. Refusing to let this happen, he shoved the Elder closest to him into the other, sending them both hurtling to the floor. Both looked up at him disoriented, peering up into his eyes for the briefest moment, then suddenly they disappeared. He had no time to react when he felt their presence standing directly behind him. He turned far too late to see they were both at his back, attempting to penetrate his thoughts with their minds. They were trying to subdue him as they had her.
Somehow, Chase was already moving. She had gained her footing as she started to throw the covers off of herself in a wild tangle of blankets. The diversion he'd created must have given her the leverage she needed to fully break away from the mental hold they had on her. She let loose a renewed cry of rage, charging at the first Grey she could grab onto with the entire force of her body. She landed on him, screaming hysterically, beating the ever-living shit out of him.
That was when the second one took hold of him, then the world around him went dark. It took him several seconds to realize he had been shifted back down to the streets below. Above him, he could hear Chase screaming and shouting, unable to fathom what must be happening in the room.
He tried twice to shift back into it, but somehow they were blocking his passage. On the third attempt, he heard the shrill sound of sirens wailing in the distance as a series of flashing lights came barreling down the street at top speed.
The cops? Someone had called the police?
Ashen was staring at him with a mystified expression. It sounded like a war was brewing upstairs, yet he simply stood there with his arms crossed in an oddly relaxed pose.
"Why not just let her go?"
Snarling up in the face of the demon, he shook his head adamantly in defiance. "Not today," he swore.
Just then, the power blocking him from shifting suddenly vanished. Had they taken her? SHIT!
Unable to hold back for even one second to consider an alternative course of action, Kyle braced himself and shifted back into the apartment. What he saw left him wanting to vomit…