I was sitting outside on the veranda overlooking the woods. Sara was sitting beside me hugging her knees.
"So that was your mother, huh?" Sara asked
"Will she be able to do that to you a lot?"
"No, that was the first and last time," I said with a hitch in my voice. "She has gone completely, but her gifts and knowledge still remain within me."
"How does all of that stuff work?"
I shook my head, "Long story."
"I have time," she said softly.
I took a deep breath and proceeded to tell her all that had happened. She sat there wide eyed, and interrupted me a few times to ask me to show her some of my skills. Her expressions ranged from shock, laughter, sadness, and horror over the whole story so far. By the time I had finished telling her everything, evening had come and there was a brisk bite in the air.
"You know your dad cried when you left, don't you." Sara stated.
I shook my head. "In all honesty Sara, I was too wrapped up in what had happened to me. I really wasn't thinking about what dad had done or not done."
Sara wasn't convinced at my bravado, but let it pass. She cleared her throat, and I watched as she struggled to find the next words. "If you need help of any kind to get past the rap... trauma, I will do everything in my power to get it for you." Her cheeks were a fiery red from anger at the situation, and embarrassment that dad hadn't offered the same thing.
I looked at Sara and smiled grimly. "I'm made of sterner stuff than that, but thanks. After all, I got my revenge on my rapist," my eyes gleamed at the memory. I couldn't get more `even' than dead. Sara shuddered at the look in my eyes.
Mum had left me with insight; an ability to understand why dad was so angry, and how to cope with him. It wasn't that dad didn't believe that I had been raped by a demon; it was just that he still had emotional scars from the situation he and Simon had gone through as kids. He was angry at how weak he felt he was being, by not confronting this issue, and he hated this weakness within him. With me and the demon, it was like his childhood all over again. He wasn't angry at me, as such; just the situation.
However, he was angry at me for using my powers in what he considered a manipulation of will, and a terrible abuse of them. I had told him the why's of what my power was doing, and that I wasn't consciously aware of how or why my power had done what it had to Leon and Leila at the time. I gave mum's explanation; that my power was trying to get me up to scratch so I could take on those from the other side. It seemed to mollify him some, but there was still a lingering sense of uncertainty.
Dad had showered and shaved by the time Sara and I walked back into the house. He was drinking hot coffee. He looked up at me briefly and then down again. He frowned, and then patted the chair beside him. I walked over and sat down a little stiffly.
"How you got so wise... well that didn't come from me," said dad, trying to lighten the mood. I kept my eyes firmly in front of me, staring at our pine table. Dad sighed before continuing. "I didn't do right by you son. And for that, I am deeply sorry. Sometimes when I look at you, I see your mother..." He stopped, and I looked at him. We were both remembering when mum took me over, and altered my body so it was her face and body instead of mine. I gave a tentative smile and he chuckled with relief. "Well, you know what I mean," he said. I nodded. "You're a lot like her James. You have this quiet strength that doesn't show until you are riled." Dad smiled at this. "Your mother looked magnificent when she was riled."
I looked down at the pine table, blushing. I could imagine just how the outcome to her temper would end up, and seeing my parents "going at it" just didn't turn me on. "Uh, Dad lets not go there," I said, looking up at him pleadingly.
His reminiscent look faded and he stared at me with amusement, before his smile faded. "What I was meant to say was that you had an independent streak a mile wide, and you were so self sufficient that I didn't pay you the attention that I should have." He closed his fists until they turned white with tension. "I failed you, again, the night you were raped. And for that I will never forgive myself, James."
I placed my hand upon his. "Even if you had known, Dad, you would not have been able to help me."
"Yea, but that doesn't stop me from thinking there was something I could have done. You just don't let your child be hurt by strangers, let alone demons."
I shrugged my shoulders. "I have been through a lot of mum's memories, and now remember the supernatural beings she has killed or banished. There are worse things than rape...or death, that could be done to me." I pulled my hands through my hair and leaned my head on the table. "I have learned to control my powers by detaching emotionally, and therefore empathically. This...rape, is merely a lesson I see, that is teaching me to strengthen my control over my emotions. If I allow what happened to me to rule my life, then I will mire myself back in emotions that are too dangerous for me to bottle up while using my powers." I rubbed my neck. "I can't afford that luxury Dad."
"And for that, son, I am angry on your behalf, because you deserve a childhood."
I stopped being a child the day I died and came back. But I didn't say that to dad. He had enough guilt for the both of us.
Leon was in his room, when I knocked and entered. "Hey," I said.
He nodded his head as he lay on his back, arms underneath his head. "I was wondering when you would have the guts to come and talk to me. I thought I would have seen you earlier than this."
"I know," I said simply. "I'm here now."
Leon looked at me as I stood at the end of his bed. "I should be angry at you, the way Leila is, but I'm not. Truth to tell, I don't know what I feel right now," he turned his stare back towards his ceiling. "This trial has changed me, deeply." I nodded my head but kept my silence. I watched as his expression became serious. "Now, I'm going to ask you something and I don't want no bullshit, just truth, James, clear?"
My heart pounded as I stared at him. "I'm listening."
"Are you a fag?"
I froze. I wasn't prepared for this, and my first gut instinct was to deny everything. The second reaction was to punch him. Mum's insights stopped me from doing either. Leon got loud and argumentative when he had to apologise for something, or when he was scared. I was betting on scared and, at the least, he deserved the truth. I held my courage in my two hands. I couldn't speak, so I nodded my head yes, I was gay.
He frowned, raised himself up off his bed and paced. My neck hurt as I watched him move back and forth in front of me. He was almost as tall as dad and, in a few years, he might surpass him.
"Have you and Kev been fucking around?"
I should have expected this question, in light of what Leila knew, but it still hit me over the head when he asked. I nodded my head in the affirmative once again. "Did Leila tell you?" I asked.
He snorted and shook his head in the negative. "Nope, but I figured it out by the way you and Kevin used to stare at each other."
My jaw dropped. I thought my brother was not the observant type. I guess he just proved me wrong.
"You got guts for admitting it instead of bullshitting me, though," he said. "But that still don't mean I like what you do. And why did you pick Kev to mess round with?"
I shrugged my shoulders. "Why did you go try out for the baseball team?" I asked him.
"Because I liked it," he replied.
"There's your answer. I liked Kevin."
Leon shook his head. "Does dad know about this?" I nodded my head. "Fuck, bro!" He muttered putting his hands through his hair, "That's a lot to take in." He looked at me accusingly. "And dad's okay with this?"
I stared Leon down. "He's okay with it."
He looked at me, swore once more, and then scratched his armpit. "I'm not sure how to take this, hey?"
I smiled sardonically at him. "Well, at least you haven't tried to smack my face in."
"Fat good it would do me," he said with a rueful smile. "Besides, you might be a fag, but you aint no fairy." He laughed uproariously at his own joke.
"Shut up, Leon, that's not even funny."
"Get it?" he said still chuckling. "You're a gay Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I think Michele Sarah Gellar might be more butch than you!"
"How about I `butch' my fist, up your ass where you hide your common sense," I said in a flat monotone.
He wiped his eyes, raised his hands in the air in surrender, and kept up a light chuckle. My eyes shot daggers. "Anyway," he said. "That trial thing taught me to look at things in a different light, and I am trying to learn not to judge. But fuck, James, its damn hard!"
"That's all I could ask off you, Leon, and, anyway, how do you know how well I fight?"
Leon blushed, and then frowned at me. "You remember when you had that fight with that kid, Tomas, and I was there watching you? Well...I kinda came to see if you were okay?" My surprise must have been evident on my face because he scowled at me. "Even with all the shit that I did to you over the years, you're still my brother. We're family, and we got to stick together, including Leila."
"She won't forgive me," I said sadly.
"She's jealous." I looked up at Leon. He smiled grimly. "It's not only because of Kevin."
"What do you mean?"
He sighed. "Have you not been listening to what is being said at school about you?"
I shrugged my shoulders. "Not really."
"Everyone is noticing you now. The teachers have always talked about you, comparing your brains to mine, and shit like that. But now, you've got everyone in school talking about how you've changed." He walked over to his dresser mirror and stared at his reflection, posing. "You're looking more buff than you ever did and your face has smoothed out so it looks like a mirror image of mum's. And the fight with that Tomas kid went a long way to showing those watching, that you were no longer bully material. I mean the girls at school talk about how hot you've gotten" he smirked at that, "not that they have any chance of catching your eye." I watched as he tilted his head. He had an idea, and past experiences told me I wouldn't like it. "Hey bro, you hang out with that Christine chick, don't ya?"
I eyed him warily. "I'm not going to be your dating agency, Leon; she's not interested in you."
"Yea, but, how `bout you work your thing on her and whammy her into liking me." I curled my lip, and walked away from him, sitting on his dresser instead. "Come on James, you're my brother, your supposed to hook me up."
"Not gonna happen," I replied emphatically.
"Shit," he said with a mournful sigh.
"You still haven't told me what Leila could be jealous about. I mean, me getting noticed a little is not going to ruin her world at school."
Leon sighed. "See, that's why you and Leila will never see eye to eye."
I looked at my brother confused. "You're not making sense?"
He stared at me, and his eyes turned serious. "Leila has always been the centre of attention. As far as she's concerned, you have taken over her spot at school. She's used to being talked about; it's her bread and butter. But you've taken her thunder."
I was speechless. This more insightful version of Leon was as scary as when he was using his fists.
"So how do I fix this?" I asked.
"You don't," he said, "I will."
We all sat at the table for dinner that night. Leila refused to look at me, but she remained quiet and civil. I glanced around the table at my family. Dad was looking at Sara with affection and love. Leon was smirking and looking at the two of them making `goo goo' eyes at each other, and Leila... well she was sitting at the table with us, having a meal. So it was a beginning.
A sense of danger crept over me, and I looked at my family, dysfunctional and all, and swore to myself that I would protect them at all costs. That sense of danger never left me, even after dinner was finished, and I kept trying to shake it off. I knew it was my precognition working, but it was still trying to locate the danger. I was trying to enjoy having all the family around.
A cold chill travelled up and down my spine. I looked at my family making small talk, being comfortable with each other, and didn't want to ruin it with this sense of danger I was picking up. Yet, to ignore it, after all that I had been through, was much more foolish. I sighed, and opened my mouth.
"Guys, I think we need to go to gram's house for the night," In unison they all turned and looked at me. "I can't put my finger on it, but something bad is coming, and gram's house has protections around it. Mum said we need to keep the family together, so I think it wise if we go somewhere that has a defensive shield."
Dad closed his eyes, and started rubbing his forehead. Leon looked spooked, and Sara was holding Leila's hand.
"I'm sorry to ruin this meal with my talk of danger, but..."
"It's fine, son," dad pinched the bridge of his nose before rising from the table. "Ring your gram's, while the rest of us pack an overnight bag."
I looked at dad, grateful for his understanding, and went to do as I was bid. When Grams answered the phone, she was speechless when I told her the whole family was staying over for the night.
We had all settled in with Elsa fussing over us like a mother hen. Grams watched from a seat with a smile on her face. I walked towards her and sat down beside her. "Something bad is coming, Grams."
She touched my hand. "I know, Grandson."
"Can you sense what it is?"
She looked at me, smiled and squeezed my hand harder. "No."
She was lying. I could sense it. "What aren't you telling me, Grams?"
She shook her head. "Go talk to your brother or sister; let me figure things out. I have every right to my privacy, James."
I would have pushed further, but stepped back. A part of me knew that I wasn't going to get anything more out of her until she was ready to tell me. That was mum's memories giving input. I got up and walked away. It was as I was looking at Leon, laughing with Leila, that the sense of dread came back. It left me gasping and panting. I could feel icy fingers crawling up and down my spine. Someone close to me was about to die; I knew it as certainly as the sun setting outside the window.
I pushed my senses outside the house, gliding over the protections grams put up. The protectors sensed me, reared up, took note of me, and then sank back down into watch mode. Grams had made sure the security guards knew who I was. My power travelled out of the house, scanning for any sign of interference. Not a ripple stirred and yet, the sense of danger increased. My heart pounded, and dad looked at me intently as I sat jerking my head left to right, trying to pin point the danger.
"What is it, James?" he asked.
I looked at him with eyes wide. I knew that, soon, I wouldn't be able to stop whatever was coming. I searched around the room, brushing my senses up against my family. I sensed no dark presence around them, yet my hands began to shake as my stomach dropped.
Whatever was happening, it was happening right now. "Grams! Something is happening right now!"
I watched as Grams turned to me and gripped her staff. "I have been holding the barrier tightly, but something is gnawing at my control." Her face turned pale, and I sensed her power flow around me. Something was ripping a hole in the fabric of the veil, but not from the other side. Someone on this side of the barrier was pulling it down.
"Simon!" I hissed, as I put it all together. I got up, ready to throw a psychic probe out to find him. Grams grabbed hold of my wrist.
"No, grandson, this is a trap. I feel it. I'm just not sure what the other part of the bait is, yet." She grunted as I sensed the Barrier waver, and then strengthen, as she put more of her energy into it.
"How is he doing this? He shouldn't be able to interfere with the barrier at all?" I asked. And then mum's memories came crashing into me. Grams, Cousin Kate, and mum had bound Simon and pushed him into the nether realms. When mum died, it weakened the seal that had tied him into said nether realms. Mum, in the afterlife, had seen this and prepared me for when he returned. If he was hitting the barrier on this side, it also meant that one of the other anchors to Simon's seal was gone.
I looked at Grams as realisation hit. Cousin Kate must have been taken out somehow. I triggered mum's memories once more. Kate had defences placed around her, and yet they still hadn't been enough to stop Simon. In fact, she had been the most protected of the three, and he still got through.
I needed more facts, and I sat down to meditate. I drew deep from my power and became my Oak Tree. I touched on my precognition talent, and did something mum could only do with utmost control. I opened up the past like a movie and sat down to watch. I was slightly surprised when my empathy drew me towards a certain event that took me over the other side of the barrier, into the nether realms.
I looked around me warily. I was in a large opulent room, with red drapes covering the concrete walls. Rugs made from unknown creatures lay scattered all about on the floors. A fire burned bright and steady, without an energy source. Upon a bed, three times larger than King size, was Lucifvar. I gasped, and prepared myself to attack. Yet an intrinsic part of my precognition skills informed me he, and whoever was beneath him couldn't see me. I wanted to test this theory and walked up to him. I could smell his sweat and his hair was wet and stringy with it. I put my hand out to touch, ready to incinerate him if he even looked at me wrong, and nodded my head when my hand went through his body. It was unnerving to be on the other side of the barrier. I heard a guttural moan come from the person beneath Lucifvar, and my eyes were drawn down.
There, being pounded into the bed was Cousin Simon. He looked to be about sixteen. His legs were stretched unnaturally wide by Lucifvar's paw-like hands, while he lay on his back. My mouth went dry as I remembered my own de-flowering from this beast towering above Simon, and my heart began to pound.
I winced, and yet craved the sensation of the god-awful member stretching and jack-hammering Simon's back passage. I shuddered for a second, took a grip of my emotions, and wrapped calm around me like a blanket.
I looked back on the scene with a detached, clinical mind. Yet, my emotions were still on the border of falling into lust. I had to concentrate on maintaining the energy of calm. Judging by the sweat that dripped off the two, they had been going at it for a very long time. Simon seemed almost comatose, and I watched as Lucifvar shouted his pleasure, ramming harder into Simon, making the bed shudder under the bombardment, while holding himself deeply inside and ...moaning his contentment.
Lucifvar obviously had stamina, because he continued thrusting only moments after he had come. "Please, please, stop." Simon begged pitifully.
Lucifvar laughed, and shoved his cock back into him with a savage thrust. Simon groaned. For a few seconds he blacked out, and Lucifvar went wild, ramming hard and fast, until Simon was pulled back to consciousness by the pain. When Simon came to, Lucifvar slowed his tempo down, but it was still enough to make the bed beneath them shudder.
"Give me your mind," Lucifvar hissed.
Even though I didn't want to feel it, I was impressed by Simon. He had obviously held out from Lucifvar, preventing the demon from invading his inner most being, and therefore his powers. Simon began crying and pleading. Lucifvar gripped his thighs tighter and began pushing them back, until I heard his hip sockets pop.
Simon screamed in pain, and Lucifvar pumped harder into him. I shivered as Simon's mind snapped. His face had a look of feral lust, and he grunted like an animal. Lucifvar laughed his triumph and I watched as his fangs lengthened. As fast as a cobra, he attached his mouth to the side of Simon and drank.
Simon mewled and a look of pleasure filled his face. His neck was stretched taught so Lucifvar could get at the jugular easily, but Simon kept moving and thrashing in pleasure. Blood slid down his neck and onto his chest. Yet he didn't seem to feel the pain.
A screech of rage came from behind me. "You'll pay you fucker!" the voice said.
I turned around. There, shinning like a beacon of light, was Cousin Kate. It wasn't the Cousin that I knew, but a young sixteen-year-old, with clear and intelligent eyes, shinning with her anger. Her eyes flashed silver, and she threw blinding light at Lucifvar with a casual flick of her hand.
Lucifvar screamed, and blurred, moving away from the bed. I smelled burning flesh, and wanted to hurl. Oddly enough, the warrior within me cheered. It inhaled the smell, and sat down like a contented cat. With that, my stomach settled. I pushed that unnerving thought away and concentrated on what I was seeing.
Kate raised her hands, and I watched as lightning shot from her in a dazzling display of pyrotechnics. The room shuddered, and began to burn as the drapes caught on fire. Lucifvar screamed as he was hit by the crossfire of her lightning. Simon seemed unaffected, as her power played over him. Not a wound or scar was seen. Mum's memories filled me in. Simon and Kate, were unaffected by each other's power. They had immunity from each other, but they certainly could combine and use each other's talents when necessary. Lucifvar fled, and Kate picked her brother up, as if he weighed nothing. She flashed and disappeared.
Mum's memories were rushing through my brain like a thunderstorm. I was starting to see a picture building. I jumped forward a little more.
Simon was screaming like a madman. Kate was beside him and holding him down forcefully.
"Let me go to him," Simon pleaded. "I need it." He began undulating on the bed, rolling his pelvis. "Let me go, you bitch!" he screamed at Kate.
She stared down at him, unperturbed at his outburst. "You're not thinking clearly; this will pass."
Simon began to cry and writhe, his body shuddering with each breath. Kate looked at her brother with sorrow. "Help me, Sis. Please, help me," he pleaded. "I can feel him calling to me." Another shudder racked his body, and he arched his spine.
I scanned him and pulled back, repulsed. His energy centres were being consumed by a tentacled, writhing mass. It felt, for lack of a better word, evil; pure undiluted evil.
Simon screamed, bucked against Kate, and began foaming at the mouth. Kate looked on with worry and uncertainty. I sat there, puzzling why none of the family was there to help? Mum's memories indicated she had not been aware of this event.
A look of love and determination crossed Kate's face. "I'll make you better, baby brother," she said and kissed him on the forehead. Taking a deep breath, she placed her hands on his forehead. Her face grimaced, and I sensed her struggle against an opponent inside Simon's head.
I switched to scan mode and saw what was happening internally. Kate couldn't fight the evil mass that was building within her brother, but made the ultimate sacrifice. She summoned all her courage and called to that mass. She drew upon her brother's power, along with her own, and used that as bait to lure it to enter her.
Like a parasite that hadn't eaten, it flew into Kate and latched onto her. Her body jerked at the impact and I watched as her throat tried to scream to no avail. Tears fell down her face. Mum's memories kicked in with insights to Cousin Kate. Her mind and personality were stronger than her brother's. She had always been the one to protect him, growing up. She wasn't about to change now. Drawing on the mental discipline taught by the matriarch, Aunt Ilene, (grams) she created a shield around the evil mass. It screeched and thrashed inside of her.
Blood leaked out of her ears and eyes, but her will to cage it was stronger than the pain that was living in her body. She had all three walls firmly in place. It was the fourth, which had her grunting with effort. The tentacled mass was fighting her, and they were at a standstill. She couldn't force the last wall to close in, and the evil mass couldn't push the wall further away.
With an inhuman effort she pulled all the resources available to her, to shut the last wall. She drew upon her own life force and that of her brother. A streak of grey appeared in her mahogany hair. It was enough energy to break the standoff.
As last wall was closing a strand as thin as a hair, broke off from the main mass and escaped. Kate cried out her frustration as she watched that piece escape, but her concentration was focussed on sealing the main evil deep inside. With a wild screech, the darkness was trapped and the wall closed with finality. She had no more strength, and watched as that sliver of evil crept back into her brother.
I sent my empathy and telepathy out to read her emotional and mental state, and touched up against her handy work in the process. With one brush against them, I knew the walls of protection were only temporary. Even now, she could feel that evil raging and pummelling against all the walls as hard as it could.
She was determined to keep this quiet from the rest of the family. Simon had always been adventurous, and was told many times not to go on the other side by Aunt Ilene. That had been a big mistake on her aunt's part. He had always rebelled against authority. Because of his foolishness, he had been captured by the Lord of Darkness.
I could sense her shame and also her determination to hide it as long as possible. The darkness inside lashed against her restraints and she gasped. Kate's shoulders fell. Her and Simon were in serious trouble. For all their power, they couldn't get rid of this pervading evil inside. Her shoulders sank even further. She had to tell the matriarch. If this evil that was contained in both of them was to ever get out, the destruction that the two of them could create would be catastrophic.
Exhaustion was pulling her into sleep and she rested her head beside her brother. He looked at her tired face, got off the bed, smiled, look down at her, and disappeared.
"Thanks sis," he said, his voice echoing on the air.
I watched tears fall down her face as realisation dawned on her, that her brother didn't want to be saved. My mind pulled away from her thoughts as I was taken closer towards my present time. This scene was with Kate and Grams.
"You kept your promise and never told what Simon has done, and I thank you. Now, there is one more promise I need you to make." Kate said.
Grams looked at Kate with sad and pitying eyes. "What is it?"
"Aunt, kill me please," Kate said. Her face was ashen, and dark circles hung heavy under her eyes. "I can't stop Simon from tapping into my powers. He is turning. Slowly, but surely, he is turning."
Grams shook her head. "I can't do that to you, Kate. You're family; we don't do things like that to our family. Besides, the shield that I re-enforced upon your own still holds that evil essence at bay."
A frustrated sound came out of Kate's mouth as her head sank forward. "If I ever turn, I need to know that you will be there to make the killing blow. Promise me, please."
Grams closed her mouth, looked at Kate, opened her mouth, closed it again and, finally, reluctantly nodded. "If this is what you wish." Her voice sounded old and weary.
"Thank you," Kate said, relief evident in her tone.
The next shift in time had me watching as mum, Grams and Kate stood hand in hand, banishing Simon to the nether realms with a one-way ticket. They separated his soul from his body and Grams hid and buried the body where Kate couldn't find it, and mum would never know about it. Not long after that event, I watched as Kate's mind finally broke from the pressure of loosing her twin and fighting the persuasive power of evil that was deep within her.
Grams knew what she had to do, but her heart just wasn't up to killing. In its place, she did something that had never been tried before. She pulled the energy of the nether-barrier between this world and that of the nether realms, and wrapped it around the evil inside Kate. It had contained the evil, but at a price.
The insidious evil had started to soak into Kate's soul, to the point it had become an intrinsic part of what made Kate, herself. When the power of the nether-barrier was used as an additional barrier, it ripped parts of Kate's soul that the darkness had invaded, and drew it in behind the walls that housed the main evil.
A quarter of Kate's soul screamed in agony, trapped behind that wall, and the rest of her felt that torment every day. Kate effectively turned into a vegetable. I was starting to see where Grams fit into all of this, and where her guilt had led her.
The realisation that Grams had hidden her shame left me stunned. Although Kate was snowballing to an inevitable end, Grams had pushed her along that much more quickly, unintentionally of course, but her guilt was preventing her from actively seeing the danger in the present day. Things were adding up, the picture was becoming clearer.
Time moved on.
Mum recognised this era. This was two years after I was born. Kate had turned from a vegetable to the mentality of a little girl, and began to speak. Grams thought her soul had regenerated that which it had lost. But I scanned Kate and knew better. The darkness was pulling free once more. This time, it had morphed and evolved. Kate's soul piece that had been trapped behind the wall was now tainted, and a dark soul was born. Every day, the dark soul was learning to use the energy of the nether-barrier, the same wall that prevented the nether minions from entering our world, to curry its own strength. I realised with a sinking heart what was panning out in front of me. Grams plan to stop the dark from spreading had failed.
I moved on again. This time my precognitive skill notified me I was only three days behind the present day. I was looking out onto our city. The sky was a deep blue with white dots for clouds. The air shimmered, and I watched as Simon walked out of the nether realms. He was only a spirit, yet there was a near physical quality to him that looked like a very well done holograph.
He sniffed the air and turned towards the right. He blinked out of existence and, like a movie in fast forward, I was shot to where he had gone. There sat Kate, her hands pulling out weeds in her garden. Simon snarled, and raced toward her. He plunged his hand into her body and ripped. Kate screamed, and a blinding flash of light had me closing my eyes.
When I opened them, I was back in the present with my legs still folded under me in a meditative pose. That sense of impending doom still hovered, and I looked at Grams accusingly.
"That's not Simon breaking the barrier down, is it?" I asked. Gram's lips thinned as she stared at me. "The key to all of this was right under my nose, and you still refused to share it," I snarled, glaring at her.
"It was my error James, not yours. I had to fix it."
The pieces of the picture came together in a jagged clash of insight, as I stared at Grams. Horror crossed my face as I stared at her.
"Twenty years ago, you deliberately provoked Simon to go through the barrier to the nether realms." I flashed back to Simon impaled upon Lucifvar and shuddered. Grams knew that Simon would rebel against her when she told him not to go across. It was his nature to rebel. Grams knew this fact, like she knew I was gay. How could she have not known he would test her authority and cross over?
"You compounded your mistake, by ripping Kate's soul to shreds." My ire was rising and I couldn't control the anger and rage that was dripping off my tongue. "She endured torment at the hands of Lucifvar's leech thing inside her own soul. And you let her endure that for nearly twenty years, Grams?"
I watched as she gripped her staff, and her lips tightened. "Don't you think I have tried to find every possible way to undo what I did?"
I shook my head. "You should have done what she asked you to do."
Grams looked at me, and her eyes flared with anger of her own. "Kate is not a pet that you put down because they are ill!"
"Look at what her soul has become, Grams. This is not mercy; this is torture, pure and simple."
Grams stood up from her chair, anger vibrating off her. "Don't you dare tell me what I am, or am not, supposed to do. I have seen horrors that would have you screaming every night. And you, who are a mere pup in the eyes of the world, would dare reprimand me!" Her nostrils flared. "You call me cruel, and yet you sit here telling me to kill a person whom I consider a daughter. Where is your humanity James? Have you lost it with the gain in power?"
I was not going to back down. "I do this because you know I am right. And before we start throwing aspersions around about other people's characters, ask yourself why you haven't said anything about the suffering Simon went through, too." Grams remained silent, and I watched as her eyes tightened with guilt and shame. I toned down my voice.
"The barrier is about to fall and you sit here, very nearly drained, trying to maintain it. Why do you think that would be the case, Grams?"
"You obviously have all the answers, so why don't you tell me."
"That evil that you had locked within Kate did not disappear. It evolved. It became that which it craved; a soul."
"No, that is not possible," Grams said, shaking her head in denial.
I continued as if I had never heard her. "Can you imagine the power in Kate's hands, being turned against us?"
Then I realized that, while I might have killed Lucifvar, that dark leech that had remained in Simon and the dark soul Kate had, was still nagging at me. My instincts were screaming that there was a connection between the twins and Lucifvar that was going to hurt me later, if I didn't figure everything out, and soon.
"When I went back into the past, that `evil' had leaked through the walls you set up around it. It has converted the piece of soul that was trapped with it, and accessed Kate's and, obviously, Simon's ability to walk through your barrier."
All the fight seemed to die out of grams, and I felt a pang of guilt as she hobbled back to her chair. "What are we going to do?" she asked, her voice tired and weary.
"Nothing, for now," I said. I knew that the only way to stop the destruction of the nether-barrier was to take Kate out of the picture. I just wasn't sure if I was up to the task: to kill her. But, I would try it if it meant no one else would die; especially my own family, but wasn't Kate family too?