Author’s Note: Time for Stone to remember more.
Stone opened his eyes, aware of less pain in his chest but at the same time, he still couldn’t move. They must have been keeping him under heavier sedation than before, and he had no idea how long had passed since the last time he was conscious. This time he was alone, no water elemental hovering over him, though how long that would last was debatable. If his captors knew he was awake, he was sure to find himself getting more drugs.
While he was awake, he had work to do. He had to get his hands on something, get to the earth. He didn’t know that he could get free in his current state, but even the slightest bit of manipulation should send a ripple through whatever let them control the elements to reach Terra. She’d know. She’d know that he was here, and he knew they’d come for him if he couldn’t get himself free.
He would have to—Damn it. He couldn’t do anything, couldn’t feel earth, couldn’t feel anything.
He closed his eyes. The drugs might be kicking back in, or maybe he needed to wait longer before he tried again. He tried to pull up the image of the man he’d seen the last time he woke. He knew him. He had to remember how he knew him, though.
“…Told you not to come here. He’s got enough talent to sense you.”
Stone frowned, stopping in front of the Washburnes’ house, not liking the tone he heard in Mrs. Washburne’s voice. She saw him and waved, a smile on her face. “Hey, Stone. Remember that dinner’s at six, and if you see either of my wayward young ‘uns, tell them they’re wanted at home.”
Stone nodded. Sometimes he thought she tried too hard to be friendly to all of them, and he didn’t like her sudden cheerfulness. It had to be for the guy’s benefit, the one standing on her doorstep, the one Stone wasn’t supposed to know about, or she wouldn’t be bothering with the reminder. “Sure, Mrs. Washburne.”
“It’s Brooke.” She shook her head, guiding the man into the house. “You can call me that. Or something else if you like.”
Stone smiled, though he knew he’d never call her Brooke or Mom, even if she’d had custody of him and Terra for years now. “Right. I’ll go see if I can find Cress.”
She nodded, shutting the door behind her. Stone shook his head, not sure what the deal was with that man, but he figured Cress would. Cress knew too much about everything these days. Stone didn’t think he’d acted like himself since school started up again. Maybe they should blame that on Hannah, though. Too much time around normals.
“Damn it, why is it freezing all of a sudden?”
Stone frowned, walking around the side of the building. He hadn’t been by any of the vacant ones in a while. Not even illegal aliens were willing to live next to all the weirdos on this street. “Cress? What are you doing? You… Are you sick?”
“Not exactly.” Cress wrapped his arms around his legs. “It’s… There’s something wrong with the water. It… It hurts.”
Stone could see that for himself. Cress couldn’t seem to keep from shuddering, and Stone would almost say the other boy was feverish. He looked like he had the flu or something—no color in him, just pain. “Where’s Occie?”
“Here, let me take you home—”
“No! I don’t want to go anywhere near there right now. I’ll be fine. It’ll pass. I just need to—” Cress fell over, curling up into himself. “Can’t fix it. It’s like it’s fighting me.”
“Then don’t try again. You need to rest. I’ll find Occie.”
“If something’s wrong with the water, you want to find her, yeah, but she won’t be able to help him,” Enya said, coming around the other side of the building. She went to Cress’ side and touched his arm, frowning. “Do you think that if we could get you away from here, out to some fresh water like a river or a lake, would that help?”
“Sounds good to me. I think I know how to get us there, but we have to get Occie first.”
Stone looked up to see Moira holding the keys to her mother’s car. He thought about arguing with her—none of them had a license—but if Occie looked anything like her brother… He’d never forgive himself. He picked up a handful of dirt and ran it through his fingers. “I know where she is. I’ll meet you back here in a few minutes. Get him in the car if you can.”
Moira nodded. “Come on, Enya, take that side. We can manage. Go, Stone. Occie needs you.”