Lina steered them away from the exiting crowd, off to the left where there weren’t many campsites, being instead things like the utility shack and the groundskeeper’s hut and other such unsightly things that kept the place going. “So,” she murmured a little while later, “who-?”
“My aunts. My dad’s sisters.” Ethan made a face. “They’re uh, the Handmaidens of the Organization and they’re the reason my dad and mom got into it. They’re pretty —”
“Creepy,” Dylan put in. “And the stuff with your parents,” he gestured at Lina, “that’s the sort of stuff the higher-ups in the Organization – my dad, his aunts, you know – they don’t want people to talk about. Or even really think about.”
“What did my parents do? I mean, okay, folding space. But that’s not-“
“Your parents were trying to start a splinter group,” Ethan cut in. “Not quite the same thing, and I’m sort of surprised they’re here, because they had a different interpretation of the prophecy. And what the Organization was supposed to do. And who should be in charge-“
“What, Dad?” Lina asked bitterly. Continue reading
Lina wiggled her fingers. “Can you feel that?”
“Feel what?” Ethan stared at her fingers as if they were made of magic. Well, they kind of were.
“I can feel — little tingles of power. In — in eight of my fingers.”
“That’s going to be interesting when you add more people.” Jackson hrrmed.
“When?” Lina wrinkled her nose at him. “Are you planning on me saving more lives?”
They were walking — casually, slowly, like they weren’t in any hurry at all — through the sort of befuddled crowd, currently past what remained of the catering tables. Jackson was handing Lina mini-quiches while Dylan and Ethan grabbed sushi rolls for themselves. Continue reading
“-Might have noticed how you didn’t fall to your doom.”
Ethan was the best at being menacing; Jackson was the best at being logically charming, and somewhere in between the two of them, Dylan smiled at people and they seemed to agree with him.
There were five of them Jackson had noticed, and they were starting with the three that might need the most convincing, as far as he was convinced – one of those had been almost all the way to Lina when the shield caught him, so he might have thought that he’d have been fine, discounting the huge crowd of people that were also clawing towards him.
They’d let Dylan have him, Jackson convince the one who seemed to know nearly as much about the Organization as he did, and then aimed Ethan at a creepy woman who declared that she owed nothing to anyone, ever.
Lina – watched. Truth be told, she took mental notes, too. She had some idea how to handle people, from school, from bullies, from watching her parents, but watching the three of them work was a completely different matter. If all three of them weren’t so sure that they didn’t have magical powers, she’d have – given what she knew now – suspected some sort of magical charm going on with all of them. They just headed in to what they were doing and came out the other end with a smile and the response they wanted. Continue reading
“Lina. Lina.” A hand waved in front of her face. “Catalina?”
She blinked. Jackson had a hand on her back and a hand in front of her face. Her hands — her hands were on Dylan and Ethan’s necks. And down in the gorge, the whole place was glowing blue.
“What—” She stared. “Did—”
“You got everyone safe. Separated. And down on the ground. Might have gotten a couple broken arms while you figured it out, but a broken bone is a lot better than — well, than what was happening.”
“I don’t have that sort of power!” Continue reading
Jackson was watching her intently. She pressed her thumb to Dylan’s forehead and felt her power in her hands, the way the force flowed through and out of them, the blue tingly light that seemed to come from somewhere deep inside of her.
Dylan stumbled slightly and blinked at her. When she pulled back her hand, there was a faint glowing blue light on his forehead.
“And the neck,” Jackson urged. “Same thing. Back of the neck.”
“Not the neck,” Dylan protested. Even as he was complaining, though, he was kneeling. Continue reading
They ran into a riot.
Lina had used the word before in that sort of semi-ironic way that she used a lot of words. It meant people were complaining or people really wanted that TV.
This was an as-seen-on-TV genuine screaming riot.
Nobody was breaking windows, sure, but that’s because there were no windows. The amphitheater was this great (normally) natural bowl-shaped formation that opened to a waterfall in the back and the lake on the left. It had three bottleneck entrances and, at the moment, it looked like the guards were trying to keep people from leaving, so nobody tried to stop Lina and Jackson from entering.
She wasn’t quite sure why they did, but even as she had that thought she pulled up a shield in front of them. “What the – what the hell?”
She couldn’t be heard over the shouting. She could barely hear herself over the yelling.
She grabbed someone who was carrying a third of a broken lawn chair. “What’s going on?” Continue reading
“Think about it.” Jackson grinned brightly. “Showing them this when you’re already good enough to do something like that!”
Lina twisted her face up. “I’d uh, rather not. I mean. If they wanted this, they’re going to be pissed. If they didn’t want it, ditto.”
“Why would they be pissed if they wanted it?” Jackson’s brow furrowed for a moment before he frowned. “Oh.” He sounded like it tasted bad. “Because you didn’t tell them?”
“Yeah…” She watched him carefully. Was he mad at her about keeping it a secret? What would she do if he was?
“So you have to have a reason that it’s okay to tell them now and not before. School? I mean, hrrm…” He shook his head. “No, they’d have lied to school and you probably can’t pretend to not know that.”
Lina found herself smiling. “You’re gonna help me find a way to tell them?” Continue reading
Lina and Jackson got to the parking lot, or, rather, they got to the campground side of the parking lot — a strange stretch with some Uhauls and vans, box trucks and the like cheek to jowl with Bentlies and Beemers, Mercedes and Corvettes.
Another woman in a robe stopped them. “Sorry, kids. Nobody in, nobody out, we’re locking down. The boss got a bug in his bonnet and we’re getting ready for the final — well, you know.
Lina didn’t know at all, but she looked at Jackson, who looked guilty and huffed. “We just want to go into town for a couple hours?” he wheedled. “It’s not like town is dangerous. It’s barely downhill from here.”
“Sorry, no exceptions. Go to the water if you want some recreation. If you want some recreation, I won’t notice if the pavilion behind the food storage gets its lock picked. Just lock it again behind you if you can.” Continue reading
Warning: Discussion of racism
“We could all—” Lina flailed her hands, “– be sitting here & die while some other Hill Top is safe?”
“Well, if so, we’ll be in the majority?” His smile was crooked. “Most people agree that this is the place. That’s why Dylan and Ethan’s fathers are here. And my mother — my parents — and probably your parents. “
“Dylan said I didn’t belong here,” she muttered. “So did his buddy.”
“Yeah, well, they’re assholes. You literally held them in the air with the power of your mind. You belong here. And if they’re stupid about your mother — because that’s probably the problem, between you and me,” he sighed. He caught himself and huffed. “Sorry, that’s—” He stared at his pizza, attacked it, and was quiet for a moment, mouth full.
Lina took the chance to take a couple bites of pizza herself, thought about what he was saying and not, and grabbed the soda to wash down the pizza.
“So you’re saying they’re racists.” Continue reading
It wasn’t even a very long dream!
“Look.” Dylan shifted a little, trying to get comfortable with her shield wrapped around his throat. “You actually belong here, I mean, your family belongs here, your father is on the board. He is,” he added sideways to the tall one. “And your mother — I figured out who your mother is. You belong here.”
“Not what you were saying earlier,” she pointed out. She was not feeling charitable and they were not listening.
“All right, so — well.” The third person came up behind her. She was out of hands. Lina made a soft grumbling noise of warning, but she didn’t dare turn around.
“Okay, I think I convinced the guy that he tripped really badly trying to get up here. It’s just a pizza, you know, guys. It really wasn’t — Miss? I think Dylan’s lips are turning blue.”
“He has air.” She didn’t spare him a look yet. “They’re missing the point.” Continue reading