Fire and Water

- A Serialized Novel -

Enya Royston has hidden from herself and her abilities, fearing the destruction that always comes with using them.

Author’s Note: So there might be more of an explanation in this, maybe. 🙂

Questions and Philosophies

“You here to tell me to go again?”

“And get yourself killed in the desert?” Cress snorted, and he thought he saw a bit of a smile graze her lips as he got close to her. Better. He didn’t have the energy to pull her out if her mood was as dark as Sherwin had made it sound. “It was never about hurting you.”

“I know that.”

“You still hated me for it.”

She shrugged. “I wanted to, I guess, but eventually I saw it for what it was, and I knew I was fortunate. I didn’t have to worry about breaking mirrors or what was behind them because I didn’t have any reason to do it. My life might have been a bit boring most of the time, and at first I hated being so completely alone after always being tangled up with the rest of you, but you were right. I was safe.”

He nodded. “I’m glad. I’m sorry this ruined it for you.”

“Who killed Stone?”

“Enya, playing the blame game is not going to help—”

“Who. Killed. Stone?”

“That’s not an easy question to answer,” Cress told her. He let out a breath. “You could say it was my fault. You could blame it on Terra, since he was trying to protect her, to cover for her mistake. You could blame him, since he ignored orders and went to her.”

Enya shook her head. “That’s not what I meant. I know you might not want to tell me because I could break another mirror and let out a fiery vigilante out into the world, one that would burn everything in her path until she made them all pay, but I’m not after that. I want to know what we’re up against. Who were those men I killed?”

“Best guess is that they work for the agency.”

“What agency?”

Cress had never gotten a good enough look at the badge, and he didn’t have access to any kind of federal database. “I don’t know. Some obscure one meant to deal with the stuff that others laugh about—paranormal stuff.”

“We are not paranormal.”

“Some people consider what we do magic.”

“We’re not magicians.”

“I know that. You know that. Most people don’t. If we can manipulate the elements, we’re gods or magicians or something else unnatural. They don’t even realize that all this comes from some… bizarre connection we have to another dimension, and that none of us understand how it works enough to explain it to our own satisfaction. They’d rather slap the label of magic on it and call it done.”

“That what this agency calls it?”

“I call it one good deed biting me in the ass, and I don’t care what they call it. I just know they haven’t stopped hunting us since I accidentally made the news stopping a flood. It was blocking our path, and for all most of the people around us could tell, I was just watching the river like everyone else. Somehow these people knew, though. They saw something on that video and came to our camp, tried to get me, but that time we got away clean. No one got hurt on our side or theirs.”

“Only they saw your faces. They saw what you all looked like, what you can do, and they want it.”

“Close. They want anyone and everyone like us. A couple times when we were dealing with rogues, they showed up during it or they were there before us.”

She ran her hands over her arms, letting out a breath. “That’s why you called so many times, why you were constantly changing your number and telling me to change mine…”

He kicked the ground, wondering if that would annoy Terra, and then shrugged. “I figured you were still safer if they didn’t know about you. We were all safer. They don’t seem to be willing to quit. I’d bet they captured or killed some of the rogues, but that’s not enough for them.”

“Most of the rogues we saw when we were kids didn’t have half the control over things that you did when you were twelve.”

“I’m not all powerful. I just have more practice than anyone else.”

“You think they’re interested in yanking down the barriers, then? Letting all that’s out there in? Don’t they realize that’s like… calling down the apocalypse?”

“You think they care?”

“No.” She shuddered. “If they had any idea what was really behind that barrier, if they knew the kind of evil that can be unleashed… I used to think that we all had some kind of… counterpart on the other side, but if we do… I don’t like what mine says about me. All I’ve ever been is a monster.”

He put a hand on her shoulder, closing his eyes as he did, hating the lack of moisture around them. Still, he had enough to let that feeling of calm wash over her, and he could feel her relax as it did. “I don’t know that I believe that there’s a direct counterpart to any of us on the other side. All I’ve ever gotten from attempts to understand that is an image of a waterfall and the pond underneath it, with ripples and disturbance on one end but the rest almost as still as a painting.”

“A dual nature to any of us and our abilities. Rogues use them to destroy. We try to help—most of the time, at least.”

“Maybe. I don’t remember you being so philosophical in the past.”

“I’ve lived alone for a long time. I’ve had plenty of time to think.”

He let go of her, turning to face the desert again. “You planning on leaving?”

“You’re not telling me to go?”

“Can’t. Not now. Maybe in a while it’ll be safe again and I’ll ask, but right now… Being alone won’t save you. They know about you, and until we stop them, none of us are safe.”

5 thoughts on “Questions and Philosophies

  1. Liana Mir says:

    This is a beautiful turning, clarifying point. It wraps up a lot of the opening questions and defines the obstacles between the team and peace. I wonder a bit too about Enya and Cress.

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