“Not as of yet,” he replied fingers clicking away at the keys of his keyboard. “This is where those fools went wrong. This is a new age and they should act like it,” she said taking a step behind him and looking over his shoulder.
“They were slowly becoming acclimated.”
“Yes at their pace we might have gotten word processors in the next decade or so.”
“Are you not worried about her vow?”
“Have they ever seen any proof that it was a sign of child’s power? Short of that nothing they did could stop her until they reunited her with her chosen parent?”
“You were not there.”
“No I was not, all I have are the fears of old doddering idiots. Tell me what I need to know.”
“Yes Mistress Sana. She was twelve.”Sera had felt a cold dread from the moment they had left Niagara Falls though she did not know why. Something somewhere was very wrong and it hurt her to think about it let alone understand it.
She looked up at the driver seat and her father. It was just ht two of them which was the way she liked it. His current girlfriend had been called off to shoot fitness models in the Caribbean and jumped at the chance instead of heading to Canada in the dead of winter.
They were driving through the trees when it happened. She could not explain what had happened but there was an explosion inside her that shattered her walls and her first conscious thought though the shock was ‘Do not let it hurt dad.’ Her father feeling the lash of power pulled over and turned to her in the back seat.
“Are you okay? Let’s get out of the car,” he said just as quickly.
Hands and most of the rest of her shaking she found it very difficult to focus or even get out of the car and suddenly there were arms around her pulling her to her feet.
“Sera I want you to look at me.”
Slowly she left behind the raging inferno that was her mind and looked up actually seeing her father for the first time. “Dad?”
“What is wrong?”
“My walls are falling,” she whispered and he very neatly lifted her up grabbed the keys from the car and entered into the woods that were surrounding the highway.
“Hold on just a bit longer,” he whispered lifting her into his arm and taking off running as he felt the air around them warming. “We’re almost at the lake, its totally frozen,” he whispered and she began to imagine the lake melting and he could feel the heat racing past them going for the water.
When they finally cleared the tree line Glenn stared stunned. The lake had not only already melted it had starting to smoke. He could see the ground nearest the frozen lake starting to smoke as well and almost wished they were further north it would have taken a lot more to melt tundra.
But looking at his daughter he did not think that would have slowed her down one bit. Sera unaware of her father’s dilemma focused her mind towards the lake and the cold. She felt a solid pulse of cold and fed it heat. Feeling it warm she fed it more heat feeling the unnatural surge start to fade. She started to build her walls again and decided against it. She put walls up, but some were made of barb wire, some were brick with gates that could be opened.
She felt her mind relax and not have the steady throb that she had had so long that she thought it was normal. Her mind had been relaxed. She searched the lake for the object that she had fed such heat and felt movement towards them. Looking up she saw Nasuikaas, Willows, and Dragons all standing there, she had no idea how long they had been there but they seemed to have finally wrestled her father down and she grinned noticing three still bodies around him.
“Dad!” she called in horror when they snapped a silver band on his wrist and he sagged. She rushed towards him not even noticing that she was sending various people flying into the trees with bursts of wind.
“It’s immune to fire,” he whispered when he saw her hands glowing white hot as she kneeled at his side.
‘Then freeze,” she snarled at the band and it did just that becoming fragile brittle metal before she hit it and it shattered against her father’s wrist. A dragon that had finally regained consciousness tossed a band on Sera’s wrist. She rolled her eyes and began to freeze it when a Nausikaa placed one on her wrist as well. A Willow decided not to take a chance on the situation getting any worse and decided to toss one on her as well.
Sera gasped clawing against her father as her vision blackened. The last thing she saw was her father shouting her name.
“What did you idiots do? Oh dear god she stopped breathing get those things off her,” Glenn snarled even as he attempted to do CPR. The enforcers quickly moved into place as Glenn continued to breathe for his daughter.
They removed the three suppressors and life seemed to snap back into Sera as she gasped eyes bulging. Sitting up she looked at he father before turning towards on of the enforcers and losing her breakfast. The enforcer jumped away, disgusted.
“You could not aim?”
“I did,” she snapped holding onto her father for dear life as he helped her stand. “Dad, I think I’m gonna…” Sera fainted into her father’s arms and Glenn glared at the lot of them.
Glenn snarled at them as they parted and he made his way back to his car. The three different groups looked at each other and one by one on silent agreement separated and vanished from the site.
None were there when the body finally pulled itself out of the water. Finally freeing itself of the numbing cold, his clothing has survived the freezing as well and he checked himself over finding his weapons still strapped on. He had no idea how much time had passed but he wondered if it even mattered. This was not his home did it matter if he had been in the ice, days, moments, or years.
Stepping forward his boot crunched into something and he looked down at the shattered pieces of the suppressor sensing the magic and the power on the item. Picking it up he noticed three others lying on the ground and took those as well. Making a decision arbitrarily as he barely knew up from down in this world he took a few Quick Steps and stopped when he reached water. Smiling as the sun beat down on him and he felt the last of the cold leave him.
He had no idea where he was and when he realized he was being gawked at he took a much smaller Quick Step and ended up in what could only be an abandoned location. The quick steps had dried his clothing but he was still over dressed at least by what he had seen. Though no one had looked at him too strangely for his attire and he hoped the stares were more because he was filthy and felt it.
Entering the building through a broken security outer door he expanded his senses and came upon death. He headed that way and entered into a decrepit apartment the door half ajar. He found a human collapsed on a bed, a cord of some kind wrapped around their thin arm.
Ignoring the body he began searching the apartment. He found a messenger bag and emptied the contents on the bed, some small pouches of white powder, some green papers, after a moment’s consideration he looked at the body again and determined that it was in fact a man.
He moved around the room searching and found some more of the green papers, hidden in various locations and decided that they had to have some importance of some kind and placed them in matching piles near the body. He pulled open a door and looked at disgust at himself. His hair was matted and ratty, and he had streaks of some unknown stain on his cheek.
Stepping further into the room he saw something that looked like a bath build into the floor. Looking at it slowly he turned one of the taps and hot water came free. Grinning he pulled off his clothing and with trial an error set both taps at decent temperatures.
There was a bar of soap sitting on the side and he used it to clean his entire body though he wished for a comb to work thorough his hair. Holding it in his fingers he realized he was in dire need of a haircut, it had reached the middle of his back which lead him to believe that there had been in fact a significant amount of time that had passed between his arrival in this strange world and his waking.
He stepped out of his impromptu bath and was pleased to see a clean towel waiting for him. He looked at his black breeches and saw they had been stained grey. He made his way into the other room and opened some drawers until he found some clothing wrapped in a clear paper that easily tore.
Ripping the plastic off the shirt he put on the short sleeved button down, that was gray and shook his head. It was slightly tight across his shoulders but it would do for now. Searching some more he found some pants and a couple of pairs of shorts. Pulling on the pants first he looked at where they stopped a couple of inches above his ankles and shook his head pulling them off.
He picked up the cargo shorts and noticed they looked the same as the pants and decided to put them on. He had seen what some of the males had been wearing and he had learned long ago when in doubt one should blend. Both men and women seemed to wear much less clothing then would have been considered proper.
Adam could have sworn he saw a woman wearing only two triangles of cloth over her breast held in place by string and some pants of some kind that were even shorter than the one’s he had placed on.
After a few moments of thought and care he worked the zipper and easily buttoned the fly. The pants were larger than he would have expected and hung dangerously low but did not fall off or expose him. Though if he raised his arms you could see the beginnings of blond hairs at his waist band, glancing at the body he saw that it had a leather belt around his waist similar to the kind he would wear to hold his scabbard and sword. Returning to where he had found the pants he pulled forth a brown one and slipped it through the belt loops and made slid the cloth through the buckle though it took him a moment to understand the sliding and locking mechanism.
He looked at the man’s feet which were bare and looked around the floor of the bed room. He found some flimsily shoes that simply covered the bottom of his foot and had a small thong that went between his toes and he slid one on. It was slightly large on his foot but it would do.
Climbing over the body in the bed he pushed the curtain aside and looked at the sun high in the sky. He had many hours yet before he would comfortable and fully safe from harm. He searched the place finding things that could only be coins and neatly stacked them again by matching them by type; he was interested to see that they were made, of copper, silver, and a few other metals but no gold.
He found a large duffel bag that was empty and returned to the bathroom. He used the towel to wrap up his weapons and placed them in the bottom of the bag before folding his own clothing and placing them on top of that.
Ignoring the body for the rest of the apartment he shut the door locking it after a few moments of trial and error and looked for more things. A small grey box seemed to dominate one side of the room. It had a series of depressions along the bottom of a bit of glass wrapped in a material he as of yet could not identify but seemed to share some properties with the thin plastic that had been previously used to protect the shirt he currently had on.
Starting from the left he touched each of the depressions and nothing happened until he hit the last one. A light went on behind the glass and suddenly he saw the image of humans. He wondered if this was some sort of advanced scrying device, and sat back surprised when sound came out of it as well. He sat back and was relieved that he recognized the language.
While he did not understand the contest he could fully understand each individual word. He had feared speaking lest these people realize that he was not one of them. Or worse yet that he was not truly in another world just a part of his and word would return to his father that he was alive before he was ready.
He sat and tried to understand what was happening. When he heard laughter, he wondered why those being watched did not react and he decided that the laugher must be the sounds from other scrying boxes.
After two hours of watching daytime television and its romantic dramas he decided these people were clearly not of his world, they had devices that he had never seen before and seemed very attached to two in particular. One that seemed to be able to send voices across long distances and one that looked like a scrying box with many more features that the person referred to as the net.
He wondered if that meant that it was a trap of some sort but decided against it. So far he had learned that people were highly emotional her and did not seem to make rational sense and seemed to live their lives, to music. He had also learned what paper money was and he was pleased he was able to gather so much of it from this strange apartment.
He rolled the body over and found the lump that was apparently the proper holding place for money. As it was not in coin form it was much more sensible than a money pouch. He removed everything except the other green papers, sure that having an image of the dead man would do harm to him later. He piled all the man’s documents back into the pocket and neatly arranged the paper currency before slipping it into his own back pocket.
He looked around the room one last time trying to see if there was anything further he could learn from the location He decided he had gotten as much as he could and left the apartment pulling the door shut behind him. Expanding his senses once more he felt the approach of a mortal and decided to rise.
Climbing the stairs he felt life in different stages of decay but no more death. He took a Quick Step to the left and came up short coming upon water as the sun set he walked along the shore and wondered what to do with himself. He lacked a fundamental understanding of the world around him and such a lack was a dangerous thing.
He needed to find not only a place he could learn about the world but a place he could observe without being observed himself and most importantly how he could begin to live in this society without drawing attention to himself.
And the most dangerous question of them all. How he would be able to feed himself without drawing unwanted attention. He may not cause harm in his feedings but it was not something people tended to forget. His one saving grace was that he had days at least until he would need to feed again. And it seemed if the dead man was any indication and the general stated of where he had found the clothes that some people would be easier to feed from than others. They would speak but like peasants their words would be ignored as the foolish ravings of the poor. Knowing no more what was real and false than they were able to care for themselves.
“Oh dear god,” Joshua muttered from his location at his father’s side.
“What is it?” Lord Nova asked his smile not diminishing even slightly as he kept his eyes directly ahead.
“Lord Poppy, he’s spotted Sera.”
“You fear for her?”
Joshua’s eyes narrowed as he focused on Lord Poppy’s approach. “He thinks she was staring at him. She has no idea he’s coming it will not be pretty.”
“I wish, if you wish any kind of relationship with Lord Poppy you may want to intervene”
“If he can not deal with a mortal I do not need to deal with him,” Lord Nova said, “Though as they say let us watch the fireworks.”
Joshua shook his head but followed his father into the crowd. They stopped a distance away just as Lord Poppy reached Sera.
“I noticed you could not take your gaze off me.” Sera blinked and turned looking at the man, with bright red hair, that clashed with his red tuxedo.
“You met my gaze across the room and were riveted even with my mask.”
“What on earth are you talking about?” Sera snapped actually listening to the words the man was speaking for the moment.
“Do not be shy, I did not expect Lord Nova to have a human that could be taken by us so easily at this gathering but who am I to turn down a gift.”
“Gift,” Sera nearly growled.
“Are you sure that it is you that is the were?” Lord Nova asked with a sight smile.
“Come now you do not want to displease you master now do you?” Lord Poppy said placing a gloved hand on Sera’s bare shoulder.
“I ca not look,” Joshua said in horror waiting for the sound of snapping bone.
“She is merely looking at the hand as if it is the carcass of a dead rat that had the audacity to land on her person. Are you sure she is not royalty of some sort? Few can master such a sneer.”
“She will tell you that is the New Yorker in her.”
Sera carefully lifted the hand with just the tips of her first two fingers before letting it drop away from her arm. “Do not touch me, turn around and go away. I’m extremely uninterested.”
“Of course you are interested, I am Lord Poppy.”
“Poppy? Like the little black seeds on bagels? Well is not that a gay name, go away.”
“Your master will not approve of this; you will be turned away from his side.”
“I’m going to speak very slowly with gestures so you can understand okay?” Sera asked with a nod and Lord Nova put a hand to his mouth to hide his laugher when Lord Poppy unconsciously did just that.
“I,” Sera began pointing to herself, “have, no,” shake of her head, “master. You,” sharp poke to Lord Poppy’s chest, “will turn around,” she spun a finger over her hand, “and walk away, “she mimicked walking with two fingers. “Do you,” she said poking Lord Poppy yet again, “understand?” She asked pronouncing each syllable slowly.
“Lord Nova will here of this insult.”
“Ok go for it knock yourself out. Oh look there he is,” Sera said dragging Lord Poppy to where Lord Nova was standing and smiled. “Here you go.”
“Your servant is without manners.”
“What servant would that be?” Lord Nova asked innocently.
“This one! Standing right here.”
Lord Nova turned his head from left to right. “What servant?”
“This woman!” Poppy said enraged pointing at Sera.
“She is not my servant, what she does is her own concern, she is merely a guest of my son. You know he went to school with humans for eight years, he was bound to meet interesting ones. But as such she is like a sister to him. His sister would be like my daughter would you not agree?”
Lord Poppy paled beneath his mask. “Yes…yes…he stammered. Lovely party, do not mind what I said. Is that Lady Oak there?” He said suddenly very interested in being elsewhere. “Excuse me.”
“I just missed something,” Sera said with a frown.
“I have not been so amused in ages, so I have granted you the protection of the Celestial line. By insulting you and calling you a servant he insulted me and called me a servant. If he had continued I could have demanded retribution.”
“Well its not as if you would kill him.”
“Death would be the least of his worries under my care. Lord Poppy is a fool but he is not an idiot. He will not trouble you again.”
“Do I say thank you?” Sera asked suddenly unsure of what this meant.
“It would be polite.”
“Thanks, I think I get why Joshua likes you a bit.”
“You do not like me? Are you holding a grudge dear Sera.”
“Not a grudge so much as a desire to slam you face into a wall until the blood makes artful splatters everywhere.”
“Interesting imagery. Any others?”
“A couple,” Sera said vaguely glancing at Joshua who looked further mortified.
“Indeed, well I must mingle. I’m sure Joshua will be safe in your care,” Lord Nova said with a smile gliding off.
“Your father is weird.”
“You still do not like him?”
“I want to cause him immense amounts of pain, what do you think?”
“Its been years.”
“I hold a grudge and I hold it well.”
She was too late. She had been too late from the moment that they had left. But even if it was too late she would not abandon her post. They would not stop her and where there was life there was a chance that here would be hope and she would not be too late. Too many things depended on this. She would not fail he would wake and the world would change.
It was hours later when the nurse entered the room and found the small black cat perched on the bed of their coma victim. Asleep for the last three years she wondered how the cat had even gotten in and decided removing it as it had maneuvered under one of the still hands.
“It is the decision of the order that as per the reports that you are a dual elemental and in such case shall be placed in the care of parents who can better teach you control of your secondary elemental powers.”
“No,” Sera snapped and moving towards the seat where her father was.
“This is not up for discussion. Your adoption was unorthodox to say the least, but you had already magically bonded to him and as you shared an element it seemed a fine match. He is not your blood parent; he can not hope to help train you. This is for the best.”
“I do not want to go with some idiots.”
“You’re future family is right over there, it is a much less noticeable family. They life in South Orange New Jersey, have a lovely house, and are of similar ethnic background to you unlike your current arrangement. You do not appear to be related this is not conducive to our ways of not drawing attention to ourselves.
“You want me to move to Jersey with a bunch of idiots because they are the same color I am because you decided I’m an air child.”
“You tossed people aside with bursts of air, not heat. And it was not the complete absence of your element in draining all heat from a location. It has not happened in centuries and you must be properly trained.”
“I do not want to.”
“This is not a decision you get you make. You are a child, adults have to care for you. The documents have already been changed. As far as everyone is concerned you were always a member of the Clarkson family.”
“They are not my family,” Sera snapped wrapping her arms around her father, she could see tears in his eyes and instead of sharing them she wrapped a coldness around her heart. For hurting her father they would be destroyed. They would be sent into a hell of their own making for even daring such a thing.
“They will be taking you home you will be happy enough with them.”
“You should be grateful we are taking you in, you could have gone to a training facility,” The man said and Sera ignored him. She was not interested in him becoming a person to her he was nothing but the thing that was keeping her from her true father and that meant he was simply something in the way.
“You will like it there, we have a pool and you will have a little brother.”
“I ca not swim and I do not like children,” Sera snapped finally shutting the woman up who had rattled on about how she would have her own room and toys and new friends. Nothing that she wanted. “You will love it here.”
“I’ve neither gone, blind or stupid, why would I like Jersey.”
“You will give up that silly notion that New York is somehow better.”
“How late do your restaurants stay open? Can you make a sushi and Ice cream run with your dad at 1am without a problem? If one theater is sold out can you hop on the train to the next?”
“There are no subways in South Orange.”
“So I’m going to the sticks. Why not just name me bubba.”
“Look here miss, you are a part of our family, you will respect us we are your parents.”
“You are nothing but barriers to my real family. Respect is earned and you have done nothing but earn my hatred.”
“You do not mean that.” The woman said attempting a soothing tone. “I know its different but you will see its better for you.”
“Stop speaking to me as if I’m a simpleton and maybe I might believe you have a degree of intelligence. You are just proving the fact that there is something on this side of the water that makes you all think inbreeding is a good idea.”
The adults finally fell blissfully silent as they pulled into the driveway. “I’ll just run next door and grab Mike.”
Sera watched the woman leave and ignored the man. “Get out of the car and into the house.”
“Your house is on fire,” she said simply as she started to hum.
“What! Stop that! This instant you can not burn our house down. You will be punished!”
“What will they do? Take me away from my home and family?” Sera snapped and resumed humming as the woman returned with her child.
“You seem to forget I’m a Fire child as well,” the woman said calmly planning to stop her fire with minimal damage and Sera smiled and began to sing.
“I Fell Into A Burning Ring Of Fire
I Went Down, Down, Down
And The Flames Went Higher
And It Burns, Burns, Burns
The Ring Of Fire
The Ring Of Fire
And It Burns, Burns, Burns
The Ring Of Fire
The Ring Of Fire”
It became a five alarm blaze and miraculously enough never spread to another house. Halfway through the blaze the man had the smart idea to knock Sera out. It took him six years to regain some use of his hand.
“Do you think we will respond to the threats of a petulant child?”
“I do not care what you do, you know what I want and I truly hope you had nothing irreplaceable in you office.”
“My office is immune to all elemental attacks.”
“Sure it is.”
Pushing himself forward looked her in the eye. “We were trying to be kind but you leave us no choice you will be sent to a training facility. You will be treated like one of the trainees and disobedience will not be tolerated.”
Sera said nothing and was pulled almost instantly through a door. Her first trip through Never-Land was disturbing to say the least. She kept seeing things with too many eyes and too many teeth in the shadow as they crossed the few steps to the next door.
She hoped then she would never have to use the middle passage again. She was sure there was something wrong with it and the fact that the people with her seemed oblivious to the snarling and the teeth did nothing to calm her mood or relax her feeling of wary horror.
The fact that her escorts acted as if nothing was wrong did nothing to calm her. And simply made her wonder if they had any sense themselves. They stepped into the building and for a minute the sterility of the place they were in calmed her until the fact that she was not in her father’s office, and would not be seeing him, enough to bring back her rage that had been diminishing slightly.
“Did you all take the wrong door?”
“No by order of the order,” Sera snorted “she is remanded into your custody for fire and air training. The only indication of the man’s surprise was a raised brow. If it was at her age or dual status no one was the wiser.
“What did she do?”
“Burn the house down of the family they sent her to.”
The man fell silent. “Before that?” He asked again.
“She blew aside enforcers.”
“And what were the enforcers doing?”
“They had just placed a suppressor on her father it was a higher grade than normal it staggered him. The three they put on her stopped her breathing for a moment.”
“You can go now.”
“Kid, those guys are idiots,” he began “but burning down every place they send you will just get you another ‘trial’. You ca not win.”
“That’s what they think.”
“You are going to burn this place to the ground,”
Sera glanced at him serenely, “You know, I bet you have not had a full evacuation drill in a while. Now would be a good time.”
Bradford was a solider first and a politician second but even he could see where the order had failed. They had tried to muscle a fire child, and one that was apparently strong enough to out power the fire adults they placed her with. He had a feeling that they had finally bit off more than they could possibly chew.
He supposed they were lucky that she was not younger. He did not want to see what kind of power she could have leveled if she had a child’s magical innocence behind her.
He looked down at the girl, in blue jeans and a white polo shirt and for a moment swore he saw the outline of flaming wings appear as her eyes took on the colors of fire. He broke the emergency glass conveniently in front of them and pulled the bar. As the first alarm started he pulled out his key and activated the secondary alarm so no one would have any doubts that this was not a drill. He could feel the buildings vibrations as they packed and ran. He had set the discovery alarm so at least they could save their work, weapons and other devices as well as lives.
It was then he felt the firs burst of heat, and moved to do his duties leaving the child behind not believing for one second that she was in any danger and that even if she was there was nothing he could possibly do about it that would be of any consequence.
When she was done the building was a molten pile of rock and metal though there was not a single casualty.
“Do you know what is done to elementals that are out of control?”
“How’s your office?” She asked pleased to see the man’s eye twitch slightly.
“They are put down.”
Sera opened her mouth and let out an inhuman cry that was a cross between a bird’s screech and an animal’s roar.
“Do you finally understand the seriousness of your situation?”
Blackness struck the room then and a small flame flickered between the podium of the head of the order and the small table Sera was seated at. A man appeared then and to all those present, dressed in a black suit, with a black shirt and a red tie his hair was the color of natural flames, yellow, orange, gold, and seemed to flicker.
“Who are you to threaten the life of one my children?”
“Mr. Jacobs, I do not know how you got into…”
“My child chose my form. I could show you my true form but it would destroy all that are not my children and this space. You call me the dragon and I am not pleased.”
“What is this nonsense Mr. Jacobs. The dragons are imaginary, a story told to children…”
“Maybe if you change,” Sera said softly from where she was curled into his side. She knew it was not her father but he made her feel safe, warm and comfortable some that her father also made her feel.
With a glance her actual father appeared his arm up to the elbow bloody bending over with a scalpel. The dragon smiled at Sera’s indecision and bumped her lightly towards her father. She ran over wrapping her arms around him as the Dragon allowed himself to take the image of a human dragon hybrid.
Glenn dropped the scalpel and wrapped his arms around his daughter smelling smoke on her.
“What have you been doing?”
“Some Johnny Cash,” she replied innocently and Glenn shook his head.
“Did you bring me here?”
“No, unless I recently picked up a teleporting power.”
“What? I did not…I mean…” Sera stammered.
“Try to appear on the other side of the room,” he explained patiently. Sera did as she was told and a dragon roar sounded as she vanished in a bellow of flame. She appeared on the other side of the room and stared.
“You have aided many of my children. And these fools have a lesson to learn. Did you know that you still have the heart of a child?”
“What does that mean?”
“What do you wish to do to them?”
“I do not want them to bother me any more.”
“That is all?”
“No,” Sera said falling silent and thinking. “I want them to never again interfere in my life, or the lives of those I love, and if they do I want every one associated with them, everyone blindly loyal to suffer what they were trying to do to me and I want their organization to fall down on them and something that is useful and right put in its place.”
“I think you will be one of my favorites. I give you another gift; you can share your mind with everyone. And none can lie to your eyes unless you will it.”
“I do not understand.”
“You will,” he said with a smile and a wave of his clawed hand looking more and more like a human sized dragon. With a wave of his hand both Sera and her father vanished and reappeared in the morgue no one aware of what had just happed.
I was a proper catholic school girl
In proper frock and dress
They told me I’d been naughty
You think that was Naughty
You have not seen Naughty yet
I burned the frock
Tore my dress
Stuck it with pins and needles
But we have not started yet
Bare an arm up to that sexy elbow
Bare a leg to that delicious knee
You called me naughty when I was just being me
Now I’ll show you just how naughty I can be
Pierce the skin add the holes
Have the boys wonder
What are those
Tear the hose
Bare some thigh
Remind them of the difference between girl and guy
You called me naughty when I was just being me
Now I’ll show you just how naughty I can be
Put on the pants, and lets prepare to dance
I’ll take the lead
And you will follow
I will show you how this dance will go
I am your leader and your Queen
You thought you saw naughty
Prepare for the obscene
Sera staggered suddenly and the room around her vanished. She did not know she was moving or who she was standing in front of when she spoke. “Do you know where your children are?” She asked in an eerie monotone before blinking.
She realized then she had grabbed Lord Nova and frowned, not sure what had just happened. She looked at Lord Nova and froze the man looked ready to murder.
“I only have one child that expects me to protect him. He is with his mother now, I must go to him.”
“Wait, I can take you, let’s just get to another room.”
“I do not have time to waste.”
“There is no faster way,” Sera said and Joshua nodded pulling his father towards a room and motioning Salil who always seemed to be nearby when most needed to enter the room as well.
Lord Nova walked over to the wall and gathered two swords. “How will you get us there?”
“Think of wherever he is. Everyone hold on to me. Close your eyes.”
They all did hearing the roar of a dragon and feeling a burst of warmth. They opened their eyes and Sera staggered in horror at the sight she saw. Before it shimmered.
“It’s fake she gasped never so happy to have the ability to see through illusions. “It’s a very good fake, they wanted you to think he was eviscerated,” Sera said refusing to look at the fading images of the small body or the blood spattered walls of what was clearly a play room.
“Because that will not kill him, it will cause immense pain but as I waste precious time trying to heal my son they have him and are doing what they please. Joshua?”
Joshua took a deep breath and his eyes widened. “Oh my god.”
“Shit,” Sera said looking around. “The blood on the walls is real.”
“It’s not Ali’s,” Joshua said quickly as he moved through the room leading the others. Sera suddenly pulled him to a halt. She shut her eyes and waved her hands in front of her nose as if warding off a smell, then clapped her hands before repeating the process on Joshua.
When she turned to do it to Lord Nova he looked at her strangely. “No one will be able to lie to your sight your, ears or your eyes. I do not know how long it will last, my specialty is sight and sound.”
Joshua sniffed and snarled. “The demon scent was fake.”
“I’m not surprised; demons stopped attacking children years ago. I remember one that was called in the eighties got his ass handed to him by Superman. You just do not mess with kids.”
“Then who did this?” Lord Nova smiled.
“There is a scent all over this house that I only just started to smell.”
“Female or male?” Lord Nova asked.
“It could be his mother,” he stated as Sera held up a hand for them both to stop and stomped her foot causing the ground beneath her feet to shake slightly and show a drop a few feet away.
“This house is a walking mine field. Its full of illusions and delaying tactics. I will lead.”
“What is this gift your friend has?” Lord Nova whispered to his son.
“I was blessed by the dragon once. Or thrice depending how you look at it. Now shut up.”
“Bu…” Joshua held his hand up and knew Sera was dropping barriers in her mind. He did not really understand it except she had explained once most of her power was under lock and key. He had never had a chance to find out much more about it.
She started to hum and when it looked like his father would interrupt he clapped a hand over his mouth and let Sera work. A blast of heat wafted around then and Sera took a step forward.
“I want a boy with lips like morphine,
Knock me out every time they touch me.
I wanna feel a kiss just crush me,
And break me down.
Knock me out (knock me out),
Knock me out (knock me out).
Cause I’ve waited for all my life,
To be here with you tonight. (Hmmmm)
I want a boy with lips like morphine,
Blow a kiss that leaves me gasping.
And I wanna feel that lightning strike me,
And burn me down.
“Why is she singing?” Lord Nova asked. “At a time like this?”
“Sera is different she sings for focus she sings for, protection and she sings as she says when the shit is about to hit the fan.”
“I do not understand.”
“She will deny it if you ask her but she likes children. And she may have been older than Ali when the order tried to take her away from her father. This is most likely cutting close to home.”
Sera was oblivious as she allowed the words to come out of her. She had no feeling or sense of time. She knew her goal was to find the child and she would do everything necessary to get that job done.
Suddenly she felt confusion and pain and sadness and her stride increased, things like walls doors and floors not slowing down. As the song reached a crescendo.
Knock me out (knock me out),
Knock me out (knock me out).
Cause I’ve waited for all my life,
To be here with you tonight.
Just put me on my back,
Knock me out again.
I want a boy with lips like morphine,
Knock me out every time they touch me.
I want a boy with lips like morphine,
To knock me out.
See I’ve waited for all my life,
To be here with you tonight.
Just put me on my back,
Knock me out again.
“I do not want to, I’s four!” A voice yelled that was more man than child and Sera frowned. “I want daddy!”
“Never, he will never come back for you he does not want you any more.”
“Then where is he?”
“He’s on his way,” Sera said stepping further into the room and stopping in her tracks as she saw a slightly younger version of Lord Nova. She blinked and stared at him again. “Ali?”
“Did daddy send you?” He asked and Sera looked at the woman and frowned.
Before Sera could respond the door was kicked open and Lord Nova entered eyes widening in surprised as he staggered against a wall. “Lady Coral what did you do?”
“I do not want to spend eternity tending a simpering child. And I decided I had aged a few years too many. I found a way to fix that.”
“Demon magic,” Joshua snarled finally understanding the real blood in the room and the fact that it took Sera a moment to see through the illusion.
“This is an abomination, how can you do this to your own son?”
“This is some fault of the celestial line, no other child of mine has refused to age and come into their full power.”
“You idiot, that is his full power. What because he does not feed on passion? Because he has not grown to adulthood until you forced it on him. Badly I might add.”
“You should be happy; he is well formed and looks much like you.”
“Ali, how old are you?”
“Yet somehow I should be pleased. You have done irreparable harm to my son, you will pay,” he snapped drawing both blades.
“I will not die.”
“I have no desire to kill you,” Lord Nova said, “but you forget, I am one of the few that knows how to do it.”
Lady Coral stood her back to Ali and Sera as she faced Lord Nova and Joshua. Sera shook her head. “Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children.” She said taking Ali’s hand.
“How old are you kid?”
“I’s four!” Ali said with irritation.
“That’s right. Do you know what your mother did?”
“That she did, we are going to make it right.”
“But once you grow’d up you ca not go back.”
“But you did not grow up she made you and its wrong,” Sera said feeling something stir in the back of her mind. She was not’ sure what it was but knew it could help. Mentally exploring she felt old barriers up here. She could not remember what she had hidden behind these walls and chains and let over grow with vines and ivy.
It was not the first such place she had found and usually she left them as they were trusting her mind to know what the danger that lurked behind them could be. But now it called to her and she did not know a way to help Ali but this part of her felt like it did.
She took a moment to look at Joshua who was eying Ali with tears in his eyes as the child continued to flex his adult hands. Taking a deep breath and hoping nothing in her mind could destroy her she pulled apart the vines, surprised to see an iron gate that looked like talons.
Pulling the gate open she felt a waft of heat as memories assaulted her. She blinked stunned as incidents from her childhood came back to the forefront of her mind.
“Shi’ar?” Sera whispered shocked that she could have forgotten such a thing.
“Hello my little flame. You have grown as I slept. Has the danger passed?”
Sera frowned and then remembered she had locked the phoenix away in her mind knowing that the order would search from something after that incident on the lake in Canada.
It had been the first thing she had done when her father had told her of the trial. And apparently she had done it too well.
“It is, in some ways. But I need your help,” she said opening her mind to the entity in a way she had not done in years. It was then she remembered it was Shi’ar that had helped her to create the other unknown areas in her mind.
“We must free one more aspect,” Shi’ar said softly. Sera looked at the image and smiled, she reminded her of a female version of the dragon, with golden skin, flame colored hair, and clothing that was strategically placed. Bursts of flame and nothing else.
Together they walked the landscape of her mind and set about freeing something that had been hidden so well Sera did not know it was hidden.
Joshua felt the assault of trying to keep too many things straight. His father had yet to attack Lady Coral who indeed did look a lot like him, if it was not for the fact that she was sea line he might wonder if Incubi condoned incest.
Lord Nova had drawn his swords but had yet to attack. Sera was holding Ali’s hand her expression focused but distant. Lord Nova seemed to be stalling.
“What deal did you make with this demon?”
“Would not you like to know,” she said with a sneer.
“How could you do this to my child?”
“He is my child as well.”
“When it suits you.”
“You decided the amount of time I spent with Ali. I would have taken him forever, which is clearly what I will be doing now.”
Sera looked at the rock outcropping. “There is something hidden here?”
“Something that does not abide crimes against nature,” Shi’ar said cryptically and Sera placed a hand on the rock and watched as the mountain crumbled. All she saw when the dust settled was an apple.
“Do I have to be concerned with true love’s kiss and sleeping for a century or so?”
Shi’ar smiled. “It takes the form it needs you to see.”
Sera shrugged and lifted the apple brushing it against her shirt before taking a bite and feeling the flow of magic in her. It was heavier and denser than her fire abilities. It also seemed slower and calmer, and had a distinct tie to making things right and the desire to be out in the sunshine.
“What was that?”
“A part of you that had been forgotten, hidden like I was to keep you safe from prying eyes though it was hidden much sooner than I was. It was to only way to keep you with Glenn.”
“I do not remember any of this.”
“You were always an intelligent child. You knew if you remembered you might give yourself away. I was to be the guardian of these places, to remember when you forgot. But we have a child to help.”
Sera nodded though not even five minutes had passed outside of her mind she had no idea what was waiting for her.
“Let the words come,” were the last words she heard from Shi’ar.
“I am the land and the spark, I am the fire and the tree, I am the volcano and the ash. I am the order and chaos and I have been defied! I am mother and I am child. And I do not abide the vile. Nature’s order will be restored,” Sera pointed at Lady Coral.
“I return what you stole. You do not deserve this child or this home. For the pain you caused balance is due and a Happily Ever After is what I gift to you.”
Lady Coral had a moment to scream before her jaw went slack. Sera sank to her knees the room spinning. As her vision faded she noticed that she was holding a tiny hand, she smiled.
“We have to go to the park,” she whispered before blacking out.
Ali peered down at the fallen woman and then up at his father completely ignoring the still form of his mother for his father who had sheathed his blades. He ran to his father’s side as Joshua moved to lift Sera staring a moment at her wrists. She had tattoo that was orange and red of wings and a part of a head and he knew there had never been anything there.
Lifting her into his arms he decided it was a mystery left for later as he looked at his father holding onto Ali who had at some point lost his clothes. It was only the second time he had seen his father crying. The first had been when he found Joshua after his mother had tossed him aside. To this day he did not know how his father had located him.
Following his father they ended up in Ali’s room where his father calmly dressed his son.
“Will she be alright?”
“She over extended herself, she’s done it before. She just needs rest and sunlight.”
“Sunlight? Is not she a fire child? Would not placing her into a furnace be more conducive?”
“Interesting,” Lord Nova said distractedly tying Ali’s shoes as his son played with his hair.
“Father we should leave,” Joshua said looking around.
“That will take some time, unless your friend will wake in the next five minutes.”
“We’re in California.”
“Great,” Joshua muttered placing Sera down on the bed. Ali dressed now walked over to the bed and peered at Sera. He walked over to his shelf and grabbed a stuffed panda and returned to the bed and placed it Sera’s arms.
“Can I stay with you now daddy?”
“Of course,” Lord Nova said with a smile finally pulling out a cell phone to make arrangements to get back to New York.