Authors: Courtney Nuckels,Rebecca Gober
By: Rebecca Gober and Courtney Nuckels
2012 by: Rebecca Gober and Courtney Nuckels
Cover Photo: Copyright
Valua Vitaly, Yusuf Yilmaz
, Dash, and Roman Krochuk,
Cover Work: Marya Heiman @
Strong Image Editing
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Chaos abounds all around us. Tony, my protector, stands before me in a defensive stance while Zack’s sinister glare penetrates me to the core. To say that Zack and I don't get along is a bit of an understatement. He and his dad tried to turn me into a lab experiment after they attempted to kill my friends.
I shiver at the sight of his bizarrely formed eyes and I grip Lily, Connor’s little sister, a bit tighter to my chest in response. Thankfully, she's still passed out and is completely unaware of the danger we are in.
For a few seconds no one moves or breathes; we just wait and watch to see if the other will make the first move. Even though I desperately want to, I don't dare break away from Zack's gaze. I watch in horror as the colors continue to swirl through half of his iris, while the outer half turns a crimson, blood red. He grins eerily and Tony raises his gun a little higher.
Suddenly a sound like a freight train breaks our staring match. We all turn in unison to watch a multitude of helicopters begin surrounding the area.
Large black SUVs pull up around us on all sides, entrapping us like circus animals. I find myself stunned, in awe at the sight of working vehicles. It seems like forever since I've seen any type of running automotive, much less an aircraft.
Not wasting any time gawking, Tony yanks my hand and rushes Lily and me into the nearby brush while Zack is distracted.
I watch as Zack turns around quickly and realizes we are gone. He looks royally pissed, but he starts moving in the direction of the SUV's.
The brush that we are hiding in is still a few hundred yards from the tree line and, truth be told, I don’t think we could make it without someone spotting us for sure.
Some of the others we’ve rescued, around fifteen in all, huddle around us, trying desperately to hide as well. We all try our best to find cover between the wispy blades of grass, but it seems futile.
Something bad is about to happen, I can feel it in my bones. The brush offers us little protection and I know that if I don’t turn us invisible, and soon, our chances of being seen increase tenfold.
I've never tried to mask this many people before, but I have no choice but to try. I look around and, unfortunately, I don't see any other purple eyes amongst us. Realizing that it's up to me, I have everyone that is with us place one of their hands on me. Tony holds my left hand and I hold Lily tight with my right arm. The poor thing still hasn't woken up, but that's probably best right about now. Tony links his fingers between mine. I don’t have time to process how intimately he’s holding my hand, so I concentrate on turning us invisible.
“Did it work?” I ask Tony, since I can still see us even if we are invisible. It's one of my other gifts.
He looks down at our hands and whispers, “Yes.”
I fight back the feeling that I am being drained of power and energy, focusing instead on what is happening just twenty yards in front of us.
The helicopters are hovering over the clearing and the trucks sit idle, apparently waiting for instruction. The masses of people are still one big blur of confusion.
I spot Zack and his father, Dr. Hastings, standing off to the side next to one of the SUVs.
Dr. Hastings holds what looks to be some sort of remote control in his hand. Zack is holding his right hand high up in the air, watching for what looks to be a particular moment to release it. As soon as his arm comes down, all of the helicopters open up and ropes fall fluidly to the ground. Men in black uniforms begin rappelling out of the helicopters, making their way down to solid ground. Simultaneously, the SUV doors begin opening and swarms of men in the same black uniforms begin piling out of the vehicles, armed with automatic weapons.
I watch as Dr. Hastings pulls an antenna out of the remote control device and presses several buttons.
At the same time, Zack pulls out a large pair of headphones and places them over his ears. Within a few seconds, to my dismay, all of the Reapers that had been fighting up until this point begin dropping to the ground, cupping their ears as a high pitch noise reverberates around the mountainside.
I must have cringed a bit because Tony instantly becomes worried.
“Willow, what’s wrong?”
With my hands full, I attempt to rub my ear against my shoulder, trying to get the sound to stop.
“It’s the noise,” I tell him. “It’s hurting my ears.”
He looks at me in confusion.
I furrow my brow, trying to understand why I hear the noise and he doesn’t.
I look back out to the field and note that, indeed, only the Reapers are affected by the noise. Dr. Hastings's remote device must be omitting a sound that only a Reaper could hear. That has to be why Zack is sporting the headphones.
Everyone else has stopped fighting each other. They stumble about, confused, as the army of men circle in on them.
It only takes a few seconds for the peacefulness to reinstate itself back into chaos. The people that are in the clearing begin running away from the men holding the large ammunition guns. The ‘soldiers’ are indistinguishable, with black fabric covering every square inch of their body. The only thing you can see is their eyes that peer through small slits made in their masks.
When the first shots ring off, I instantly duck and cringe while hiding my face in Tony's chest. He puts his other hand around my lower back and holds me close. Everyone else seems to huddle closer to me in fear and I struggle to keep my powers going. My body starts feeling weak.
I’m not sure if it’s the fact I am sharing my power of invisibility with all of these people that is draining me or the fact that I can feel the fear permeating through their pores and into mine.
I look back up to find that the ‘soldiers’ are grabbing people and shooting them point blank with their weapons.
My heart begins to race knowing my parents are out there somewhere. I can’t for the life of me figure out how they’ll escape.
With all the worry and anxiety that is flooding through my veins, and with the added stress of keeping this many people invisible, I begin to weaken more and more.
I close my eyes and pray that my parents are going to be okay. As soon as I open them though, I see that my prayer has not been answered. To my horror, I watch as my parents struggle against two armed men who have them each in a chokehold. I watch as they point a smaller gun at their necks. Tony must see what I’m seeing because his hand covers my mouth the second I am about to let out a panicked scream.
I hear a gunshot – maybe it was two – and watch as my parents fall to the ground in a heap.
Tears sting my eyes as I try to convince myself that this isn’t happening. The urge to run to them is so great that I can barely contain it.
Tony glances over at me, his face red with fury, and asks me if I’m okay.
I don’t know how to respond so I don’t; I just try to tell him with my eyes what my heart wants so badly to say. It wants to say that I am in utter disbelief; I just saw both of my parents shot point blank a few yards in front of me. All of this heartache, combined with the people around me who are draining my powers, makes me instantly weak. My head drops a few inches as I rest it on the top of Lily’s head.
Tony asks me again in a more intense whisper, “Willow, are you okay?
My eyes begin closing against my will.
Between the slits of my closing eyelids, I see a pair of men in black coming our way. I can't let go now. They will surely see us if I do.
“Willow,” Tony whispers again, looking from me back to the men who are gaining on us.
“My…powers,” is all I can manage to say. The men are only a few feet away now.
Suddenly, Tony lets go of my arm, turning visible. I want so badly to protest. I try to reach my hand out to grab him, but my arm doesn't move, it's too weak. He can’t let go… he’ll get himself killed!
Tony leans over me very briefly and says, “I can see your powers slipping.
Please get these people to safety. I’m going to see if I can help your parents. God willing, I will see you again.” He kisses the top of my head and runs towards the men. I try to say something to stop him, but I’m just not strong enough. He tackles the men to the ground effectively and manages to keep from getting shot. I begin hoping against hope that he can make it through this.
I use all the energy I have to keep the people around me safe, while Tony works to lure the other soldiers away from our hiding place.
All I can do is watch helplessly as person after person is shot and falls to the ground. Tony reaches the area where my parents lie. He bends down and looks at them, then looks back in the direction where we hide. His expression seems perplexed and I wish I could hear what he's trying to tell me with that look.