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: Theories, twists, and lots of unpleasantness.

Unsettling Thoughts

“Any progress in here?”

“Not much,” Terra said. She shook her head. “It should have been me. It should have been me that got taken because Stone could find me. I can’t find him.”

“Take a break, then,” Oceana said. “Enya thinks she’s found something, and she wants everyone in to hear what she has to say before we go any further.”

Moira was tempted to laugh. “So the internet is more powerful than the elements.”

Sherwin frowned. “Imagine if there was internet on the other side of the barrier. If there was…”

Terra gave him a shove. “We don’t know that there isn’t. All we know is that it bleeds through into our world and because of it, we can manipulate the elements. We still don’t know how that works. Cress knows more than any of us about what he can do, but even he admits he doesn’t understand it.”

Cress pulled himself up from the bed, walking down the hall. “I don’t think we should understand it. I think we were never meant to know what’s on the other side of it, and I don’t think we should have the abilities that we do. If you think about it, we might have been engineered to do it.”


He stopped, leaning against the wall. Moira grimaced, knowing that Occie would have something to say about his condition later. “Two elemental parents, attuned to the same element, just happen to meet, marry, and produce two children attuned to that element. The perfect set, all four elements, all in one place. Seems a bit convenient, doesn’t it?”

Sherwin shook his head. “Cress, I know you’re a bit messed up right now, but don’t you dare start implying things about our parents. That’s too far, and you know it.”

“Is it?” Oceana asked, crossing into the dining room. “Not long before Mom and Dad died, they set him down and gave him a long talk, told him all about the money they’d ‘saved,’ the things they expected of him, dumped all that on him when he wasn’t even eighteen, and a couple months later, they died, and we were all so dependent on him…”

Enya frowned, looking up from the computer. “What are we talking about?”

“Ignore it. You don’t want to know.”

Moira looked at her brother, shaking her head. “Sherwin would like to bury his head in the sand, but I don’t know that we can afford to ignore Cress’ theory, even as unsettling and unpleasant as it might be to acknowledge the reality of it.”

“What reality?”

“That it was no accident that our parents were together, that they were the same element, that they had two kids that were also that same element, and then stopped,” Moira said, taking a seat at the table, exhausted. Their search was useless. She hoped that Enya’s was more successful. “Please tell me we have something better than that to go on with the agency.”

“We do,” Enya said, though she gave Cress a long look. He shrugged, leaning against the back wall. Occie went to his side and dragged him to the chair. She sat him down next to Enya. “Occie told me these men here were a part of the team that you met before. I don’t have advanced facial recognition programs that a law enforcement agency would be able to use, so I just did my best with as many news articles and pictures as I could get a hold of and look at, but I got something off the id.”

“We’re up against the government?”

She shook her head. “No. This is a private organization, which is what I figured after Cress told me about it. I can’t imagine a small government agency would have the resources to track you—or the budget—not when you have pretty much no digital footprints—but a private corporation would have the money to pursue this kind of… agenda. They could hire mercenaries—there are so many of those companies out there thanks to the war on terrorism—and maybe those mercenaries know what they’re up against, maybe not, but they were just hired guns.”


“Well, the id badge that was clipped to that man’s belt said he belonged to this corporation. I like the irony of it. Aether Industries. Some call aether the fifth element.”

“Some call that a movie.”

Enya rolled her eyes. “Shut up, Sherwin. I’m trying to keep this simple. You had former military or paramilitary officers after you, impersonating a government agency. This is not something to laugh about. We’re all in trouble, and we have no way of knowing what they might do to someone like us—to Stone. We assume that they’re after the barrier, but we don’t know that. They might be after something we can’t begin to comprehend.”

“No, they’re after us.”


He swallowed, pointing to the screen. “That’s the owner of the company?”

“Yeah, but Oceana said he’d never been there when you crossed paths with the ‘agency.’”

“That’s not how I know him. The name isn’t ironic, Enya. He’s one of us.”

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