Category Archives: Adventure

The Ties That Bind – Chapter 2

 

Chapter 2 — Everything’s Golden, Part 2

Aug 23, 2004 – Los Angeles, CA (North Beverly Park Suburb) – The Home of JT and Justin Poole-Tanner – The Backyard

“You’re acting like a pompous jerk!  I can’t believe you did that!”  Joshua Charles snapped as he and JT walked into the backyard as Justin and Nikki followed behind them, shaking their heads.

“Excuse me, you’re the one that’s known for blabbing private matters to the rest of the world!”  JT snapped as he pointed his finger at Joshua.  “If someone’s a jerk here, it’s you!”

“Come on, you two need to cool it,” Nikki said as she walked around in front of Joshua, grabbing his hand as she pushed JT backwards a bit.  “I’m not in the mood for this little melodrama you two are playing out and it needs to have the credits rolling and fading to black now.  Both of you were in the wrong and we need to move on.”

“Is everything alright out here?”  Josh, JT’s brother asked as he walked over to where everyone stood around.

“Hi Joshua, how are you doing?”  Nikki asked, looking over at Josh.  “How is your day going?”

“It was great until I heard all the ruckus out here,” Josh replied as Joshua and JT both stuck out their tongues as Justin giggled and then shook his head.  “Oh ha ha ha.”

“Whatever,” JT said as he turned and then walked over to the barbecue grill.  “Are we cooking out or what?”

“It seems some things never change,” Nikki stated, laughing at the look on JT’s face.  “Do you really think the natives here of LA, grill out all the time?”

“No, but if they hang around us long enough, they’ll get used to it,” JT stated as he looked at his watch.

“What are you even cooking out for?”  Joshua asked, glaring at JT.

“We have yet to break this place in, in this regard,” JT stated as he looked over at Justin.

“Yeah, but that’s something you could do on the weekend.  This isn’t something you do during the week.  Hell, you guys should’ve done this yesterday or the day before,” Joshua said as JT shot him the bird and then walked over to Justin.

“Fine, I guess we can save it for the weekend then,” JT stated as a phone rang.

“It’s mine,” Justin stated as he pulled his cell phone from his pocket to answer it.  “It’s Howard.”

“Why is he calling you?”  JT asked, looking at Justin strangely as Justin answered the phone.

Justin’s POV

He has a point, why is Howard calling me?  If there’s something wrong, he should be calling JT, not me.  Being that I hardly know the guy, except for his connection to JT, I don’t really know why he would be calling me.

“Hello,” I spoke into the phone, wanting to know why my husband’s lawyer was calling me, instead of my husband.

“Hi Justin,” Howard spoke.  “Are you with JT?”

“Yes, I’m with him.  Is there something wrong Howard?”  I asked.

“I’ve been trying to call him, but he’s not answering,” he responded as I looked over at JT.

“Hold on a minute,” I said as I slid my hand into JT’s pocket, pulling out his cell phone and handing it to him as he looked at me strangely.  “Open your phone baby.”

“Okay,” JT replied as he flipped the phone open.  “Wow, I got twelve missed calls.  How did that happen?”

“Who knows,” I said, turning my attention back to Howard.  “So Howard, what’s going on?  What’s with all the unanswered calls?  Is something wrong?  Is it about Heather?  Is there something wrong with the adoption paperwork?”

“No no, nothing like that at all, has nothing to do with work.  I was wondering would you happen to have the number for the guy that performed your and JT’s wedding?”  Howard asked as I’m sure my eyes widened.

“Howard, are you two making plans to go ahead and get married?”  I asked as JT, Nikki and Josh looked at me.

“Yeah, I’m actually on a plane, heading out to you guys right now, if that’s okay,” he said as I shook my head.

“I’m sure it is,” I said as JT looked at me strangely.  “But why are you coming here?”

“We’re both coming there,” he replied.  “We both know how dramatic JT can be, so we’re going to tell him our plans in person and then we’re inviting you both to the wedding.”

“How sweet,” I said, pointing at my ring and then motioning at the phone as JT’s expression changed to a confused one as I motioned at my ring again and then pointed at the phone as JT just looked at me like the light bulb was still flashing.  I know my husband isn’t slow, so he needs to put the pieces together.  “Well I’m sure he’ll be glad to see you two, when you get here.”

“Justin, what’s going on?”  JT asked, watching me.

“Howard and Chad are on their way here,” I replied as he smiled weakly and then shrugged his shoulders.  Okay, what’s up with that look?

“Okay,” he replied, walking towards the house as Nikki and Josh followed him as Joshua just stood over by the fence, watching things transpire.

“Justin, just tell JT I’ll call him when my plane lands,” Howard stated as I wondered what was going through JT’s head.  “Until later on, bye now.”

“Bye Howard,” I said, closing the phone as I slid it back into my pocket as I noticed Joshua watching me.  “Josh, everything okay buddy?”

“Yeah Justin, everything’s fine,” he replied as he turned around and walked towards the house.

I hope he’s being truthful with me.  Since he’s been here, he’s been acting strange around me.  I still feel like he has an issue or something with us—me.  I still feel like he’s uncomfortable being around the two of us.

Two Hours Later – LAX – The Baggage Claim Area

Howard’s POV

Thank God, my plane just landed and I’m here in one piece.  It seems like each time I fly somewhere, there’s way too much turbulence during the flight.  Now that I’m here in LA, I’m going to grab my bags and meet up with JT and Justin.

“Hi there,” I heard behind me as I turned around to see Joshua Charles, Justin’s friend, standing there with a smile on his face.  “I take it you’re Howard Marshall, JT and Justin’s friend.”

“Yes, yes I am,” I replied, not expecting to see him here.

“I’m here to take you to JT and Justin’s house,” he spoke, looking around.  “Are these all of your bags?”

“Yes, this is everything,” I answered as he smiled and then grabbed the handle of my wheeled suitcase as he gestured with his head towards the door.  “Not to be ungrateful or anything, but did something happen to JT or Justin?”

“Now that I know of,” he replied as we walked down the corridor.  “Justin asked me to come pick you up and here I am.”

“Oh,” I replied, not expecting that answer from him.

Is there something wrong?  I was hoping he would tell me why JT nor Justin were here to pick me up.  When I last talked with Justin, he told me that he or JT would be here to pick me up.  Regardless, I really wanted to talk with JT about some things, but I guess I have no choice but to wait for that conversation.

“Mr. Marshall, are you okay?”  I heard Mr. Charles ask as he stopped walked and then turned to look at me as I noticed the concerned look on his face. “Are you okay?  You’re doing a whole lot of mumbling over…”

“I was mumbling?  I—I didn’t even notice, I—I’m sorry,” I replied as I looked down at the floor.

“I’m sorry I’m not your choice for transportation, but I’m only doing a favor for a friend,” he said, looking as if he was hurt.  “It shouldn’t take long to get to JT and Justin’s place.”

“I’m sorry Mr. Charles, I wasn’t trying…”  I said as he shook his head as we continued walking down the corridor.

To say the least, we walked a bit longer, got outside and he led me to his car.  The ride from LAX was a big grueling, being that neither of us said a word.  I wasn’t trying to upset him or cause a problem.  My goal was to come here and talk with JT, but now I feel like I’ve caused an unneeded problem with one of his friends.  How am I going to solve this unneeded problem?

An Hour Later – North Beverly Park Suburb – The Home of JT and Justin Poole-Tanner – The Family Room

“Sorry buddy, that wasn’t the right answer,” JT stated as he sat next to Caleb, helping him with his homework assignment.

“I can’t do it Daddy,” Caleb whined as JT shook his head.

“When it comes to school work, can’t isn’t a word young man,” JT stated as he took the pencil from Caleb’s hand and then started working the math problem, showing him how to do it.  “See, you have to make sure you remember to carry your remainders over.”

“But it’s too hard Daddy,” Caleb whined as JT shook his head.

“No, it’s not hard buddy, you just need to learn how to do it correctly,” JT stated as he handed the pencil and paper back to Caleb.  “There are more examples of how to work the problem on the worksheet.  If you follow what I just did and those examples, you’ll get it.”

“Okay Daddy, I’ll try harder,” Caleb stated as a door opened across the room.

“Guys, we’re here,” Joshua Charles announced as JT turned around.

“We’re in the family room!”  JT called out as Celeb got up as JT patted him on his back and then sent him on his way.

“Wow, this place looks nice on the outside,” Howard stated as he walked into the room and over to JT, hugging him.  “Not as big as the military complex out in Jacksonville.”

“Oh ha ha ha, this place is just right for us,” JT said with a small smile.  “So, how was your flight?”

“It—it was okay,” Howard replied as he turned around slightly, noticing that Joshua and Justin had left the room.

“Why do I get the feeling that you’re lying to me?”  JT asked, looking Howard in the face.

“My flight was fine, my trip here is another story,” Howard stated as JT shook his head and then rushed out of the room.  “JT!  JT, where are you going?”

“That damn jerk is at it again!”  JT snapped as he walked down the hall, looking into room after room until he found Justin and Joshua in the kitchen.  “You fucking jerk!  What did you do to Howard?  Can’t you just leave well enough a…”

“Baby, stop it, it’s not…” Justin said as JT held up a hand, shaking his head.

“What reason do you have for being an ass to Howard?”  JT asked, glaring at Joshua.

“If someone was being an ass, it wasn’t me,” Joshua responded as he pointed his finger in JT’s face.  “You might want to turn around and talk to your friend there.”

“No, I’m talking to you jerk,” JT said as he pushed Joshua’s finger out of his face.  “You’re going to fuck around and make me…”

“JT stop,” Howard said as he grabbed JT’s hand, pulling him from the room quickly.  “I’m sorry, I’m really sorry.”

“Howard, what are you talking about?”  JT asked as he looked at Howard strangely.

“I—I’m sorry for causing this problem,” Howard replied as he looked down.

“Howard…” JT said as Howard interrupted him.

“JT listen to me,” Howard said as JT closed his mouth, watching him.  “I—I was talking to myself and didn’t know I was.  I said some things and he heard me and after that, he went quiet and that was it.  He didn’t do anything wrong, it was me.   It was all me.”

“Are you kidding me?”  JT asked as he looked at Howard strangely again and then looked back in the room at Justin and Joshua.  “You’re telling me that he didn’t do anything—anything at all.”

“He didn’t do anything at all,” Howard replied as he looked down.  “I didn’t mean to cause any problems here JT.  I was just a bit…”

“It’s okay Howard,” JT stated as he sighed and then shook his head.

“No, it’s not okay,” Howard stated as he looked down at the floor and then shook his head.  “I didn’t want to be a bother to you, but it seems like it’s way past that point.”

“No, you’re not being a bother to me,” JT stated as he looked into the room to see Justin and Joshua watching the two of them.

“Well my heart and my mind are saying otherwise,” Howard said as he sighed.

“Well putting this drama aside, what’s going on Howard?  What did you want to talk to me about?”  JT asked.

“I wanted to talk to you about Chad… We’re going to go ahead and get married and I—we—we want to do it in Canada, where you and Justin got married,” Howard stated as he motioned with his head at Justin.

“I thought you two were going to wait a while,” JT stated as he looked at Howard closely.

“We were, but decided that we can’t wait,” Howard stated with a smile.  “I love him JT and I can’t wait for the two of us to be married.”

“Well you know I’ll support any decision you two make,” JT stated as he and Howard hugged again as a throat clearing pulled them apart.

“We weren’t doing anything,” Howard spoke up quickly as he moved back from JT as the two men looked at him strangely.

“I’m sure you weren’t,” Justin stated as he kissed JT’s cheek.  “Baby, I think it would be nice if you apologized to Josh.”

“It’ll be a cold day in…” JT stated as Justin sighed and then moved back a bit.  “Oh alright, fine.”

“Thank you baby,” Justin replied as JT walked into the room.  “Are things okay?”

“Yeah,” Howard replied as he looked down.  “I didn’t mean to cause any trouble between you guys and your friend there.”

“It’s okay Howard, don’t worry about it.  That’s over and done with for now,” Justin stated as he patted Howard on the back.  “Let’s get your things and get you to a room.”

“Okay,” Howard stated as he and Justin walked outside to get his things.

A Few Minutes Previously – The Kitchen

“You’ve been an asshole for years John, so I’m not expecting anything different now,” Joshua nonchalantly said as he turned his back to JT.  “But I accept your apology none-the-less.”

“I really wasted my damn time, coming in here to apologize to you,” JT stated as he pointed his finger at Joshua. “Why apologize to someone that’s made it a point to damn cause problems for everyone around him.  If it wasn’t for you, most of the damn drama that happened on the damn Mouse wouldn’t have happened.”

“None of that shit was my fault John, it was yours.  You should really learn to keep your dick to yourself and your pants up.  Maybe then you’ll stay on your feet for a change,” Joshua shot back as JT took in a deep breath and then closed his eyes.  “I still wonder what Marc ever saw in you.”

“Well it was something that he didn’t see in you Josh,” JT stated as he moved closer to Joshua.  “It was always you, dissing me, but I never really knew why until Marc told me about the little escapades you two would have when Keri or Lindsey wasn’t available for you.”

“Shut the hell up!”  Joshua snapped as JT smiled.  “You don’t know what you’re talking about!”

“I know what I’m talking about Joshua,” JT stated as he pointed his finger in Joshua’s face, just centimeters from his nose.  “All that anger for me, because I was getting the ass that you couldn’t get anymore.  Was that it Joshua?  Was that the reason why you told Virgil, Fred and Wanda about what was going on?  Was that it Joshua?  Is that why you allowed us to get caught having sex?  Come on Joshua, you getting quiet on me.  Don’t stop talking now, because it was rather convenient that when Marc broke things off with you and started things up with me, those really freaky, strange things started happening on set.  You happened to know why that was Josh?”

“You—you don’t know what you’re fucking talking about,” Joshua said as he turned away from JT.

“Oh, I don’t?  Would you like to call Marc on the phone and verify that?”  JT asked, moving around in front of Joshua, getting in his face.  “I don’t mind calling him, having him tell the sordid tale of your relationship with him.  I’m sure he could refresh your memory about how you would sneak into his dressing room and let him suck you off or how when Keri or Lindsey wasn’t on set and you needed the release, you would even fuck him.  Do I need to make that phone call Joshua, because if so, I don’t mind making it!”

“What in the hell is going on in here?”  Justin asked, rushing into the room, getting in between JT and Joshua.  “We could hear you two arguing all the way outside.  If we heard you, I’m sure Caleb heard you too.  Now, what in the hell is going on here?”

“Why don’t you ask Hall of Mouse Liberace there,” JT stated as he snapped his finger and then walked out of the room.

“Say what?  What does that mean?”  Justin asked as he looked at Joshua and then looked out of the room, watching his husband walk down the hall.  “Josh, what’s going on here?  Besides the obvious, why were you two arguing and why did he call you the Hall of Mouse Liberace?”

“Just let it go,” Joshua said as he walked around Justin.  “I—I’m going home to my wife and child.”

“Josh, don’t leave like this,” Justin said as he grabbed Joshua’s hand, stopping him from leaving.  “Tell me what happened here.”

“No,” Joshua stated as he shook his head as a few tears fell from his eyes as he pulled away from Justin and then walked on out of the room, heading towards the front door.

“Someone’s going to tell me what’s going on,” Justin said as he walked out of the room.

An Hour Later – Out by the Pool

“Hey baby,” Justin spoke as he walked outside as JT waved a hand, not looking up at him from where he sat at the pool with his legs and feet in the water.  “Okay baby, why aren’t you talking?”

“I got nothing to say,” JT responded, not looking up at Justin.

“You’ve been quiet since the blowout earlier between you and Josh,” Justin stated as he sighed.  “Come on baby, talk to me.”

“Talk about what?”  JT asked, still not looking at him.

“Come on baby, why are you avoiding talking to me?  What did I do?”  Justin asked as he kicked off his shoes and then sat down next to JT, kissing his cheek.

“You did nothing,” JT replied, still not looking at Justin.

“Well, if I didn’t do anything wrong, why are you punishing me?”  Justin asked.  “I don’t like it when my husband chooses to close me out or ignore me, the way he’s doing right now.  I don’t like being treated like the scum on the bottom of his damn shoes.”

“I’m not treating… I’m sorry Justin,” JT replied as he sighed and then looked at Justin.  “I’m sorry.”

“What’s going on baby?”  Justin asked as he placed a finger under JT’s chin, lifting it, forcing JT to look at his eyes.  “Talk to me baby.  What’s going on here?  What’s going on between you and Josh?”

“Nothing,” JT replied as he shook his head.

“Come on baby, are you kidding me here?  Every time that you two are in the same place together, for longer than a few minutes, you guys argue and then fight,” Justin stated as he sighed.  “This has been going on since we were all on the show.  I’m guessing it has something to do with…”

“Just let it go Justin,” JT stated as footsteps could be heard approaching them.  “There’s no need in dredging up the past.”

“Hey guys, what’s up?”  Howard asked as he and Chad walked over to them.  “Is—is there something wrong guys?”

“No, there’s nothing wrong at all,” JT replied as he got up and then walked over to one of the chairs to get his towel. “Come on Justin, let’s get back inside, it’s getting late.”

“Fine,” Justin replied as he shook his head, got up and grabbed his shoes, walking towards the house as Howard and Chad both shrugged their shoulders.

“Hey Justin, is there some place around here where I can get some food?”  Chad asked as he looked at Justin closely.  “I’m really hungry and I don’t think my hunger can wait until morning.”

“There’s no need for going someplace, we have a fully stocked kitchen,” JT stated.

“No buddy, no need for making a mess this late at night,” Chad stated as he and Howard embraced.  “A burger place would be okay.”

“There’s not even a burger place in this neighborhood,” Justin stated as he looked at Chad.  “You’d be better off, finding something in the kitchen.”

“Is that okay with you baby?”  Chad asked, looking at Howard.

“That’s fine with me,” Howard replied as he and Chad kissed.

“Come on,” Justin said as he held the door open for the two lovebirds.

To Be Continued…

 

When The Glitter Turns Gold – Chapter 20


Chapter 20 — Quit Playing Games

Aug 17, 2004 – Los Angeles, CA (North Beverly Park Suburb)

“Josh, are you sure you can find the house?”  Nikki asked, looking at Josh as he continued driving through the neighborhood, while looking around as if he was looking for something.

“I’m sure baby,” Josh replied as he stopped the car, smiling at Nikki.  “We’re here, are you ready?”

“Are you sure this is the place Josh?  I don’t think this would be JT’s house,” Nikki stated with a frown as she pulled out here cell phone.  “Maybe I should give him a call and get directions from him or Justin.”

“There’s no need for that, this is the place,” Josh stated as he opened the car door as Nikki frowned again, allowing him to get out and walk around the car to open her door.  “All we need to do is just walk up to the door and…”

“Josh look around, do you really think this is the kind of place that JT would live?”  Nikki asked as she looked around.

“Well, I don’t see a gated fence, a guard tower or any security guards or dogs, running around the property,” Josh stated as Nikki rolled her eyes and then glared at him.

“Don’t start, we don’t need any extra drama,” Nikki stated, sighing as Josh held the door open, waiting for her to get out of the car.  “I don’t think this is the place Josh.”

“Fine, go ahead and call him and see if he comes out to greet us,” Josh relented as he leaned against the door as he folded his arms across his chest.

“About time you showed some common sense,” Nikki said as she opened the phone and pressed a quick dial button as she held the phone to her ear.  “Hey JT, I think we’re here, could you come out to greet us?  Yes, I think we’re here, I’m not sure, being that I wasn’t the one that drove us here.”

“Is he saying something…” Josh said as Nikki waved her hand at him to quiet him down.

“Okay, I figured that,” Nikki said as she popped Josh on his leg.  “We’ll see you guys in a bit.  No, I don’t think Justin needs to come down to get us.  I’m sure we’ll find it.”

“This isn’t it?”  Josh asked as Nikki rolled her eyes again and then motioned with her head for Josh to get back into the car.

“I’m hungry too, so we’ll see you guys quickly,” Nikki said as Josh got into the car, started it and looked at her as she pointed in the opposite direction.

Grand Junction, TN – The Studio Apartment of Laci Greylek – The Front Yard

“Me-Ma, I’m sorry to have to do this, but she’s leaving me no choice,” the sheriff’s deputy spoke as he pulled a pair of handcuffs from a holster on his belt.  “I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to use force to take her in.  Please take PJ from her.”

“Please John Darby, please don’t do that.  Just let her do things in her own way,” Esther Jenson, Laci’s grandmother said as she moved around Laci, standing at the door as she raised her hand.  “Please John Darby, don’t separate her and the baby right now.”

“Alright, for you Me-Ma, for you,” the sheriff’s deputy spoke as he put the handcuffs back into their holster as he hugged her and then turned around.  “I’ll be back later on this evening and she best be in a cooperating mood.”

“Yes sir,” she replied as she turned slowly and looked over at Laci and the little baby.

“Alright boys, let’s head back to the station,” the sheriff’s deputy said as the other officers got into their cars and then left.

“Girl, what did you do?”  Esther asked as she looked at Laci.

“I didn’t do nothing,” Laci answered as the woman shook her head.  “Honest, I didn’t do anything wrong.”

“You had to do something wrong for John Darby and his men folk to be here,” the woman said with a sigh.  “John Darby never goes anywhere with his posse for people that haven’t done nothing.”

“Okay Me-Ma, I beat up someone, but they had it coming,” Laci stated as she sighed.

“Why did you beat up someone?”  Esther asked, watching Laci as the young woman got up and then walked over to a chest of drawers.  “What are you doing?”

“We’re leaving,” Laci replied as she lay the baby on the bed and then started taking clothes out of drawers and then throwing them into bags.  “I’m not letting those fuckers lock me up!  If I get locked up, I’ll never see the light of day again.”

“Who did you beat up?”  Esther asked, watching Laci move around in the room frantically.

“I beat up the mayor’s daughter,” Laci replied as she shook her head and then threw some other items into another bag.  “We can’t stay here, we’re leaving.”

“You can’t just up and leave,” Esther said as Laci walked over and hugged her.

“I have no choice Me-Ma,” Laci replied as a few tears fell from her eyes.  “If I give in to them, I’ll probably rot in prison.”

“You won’t rot in prison,” Esther stated as Laci shook her head.

“You know as well as I do that those spoiled brats do what they fucking want around here,” Laci stated as she shook her head.  “That ho deserved that beating!  She took my last twenty dollars and then said I was trying to cheat her!  She knew what she was damn doing!”

“What happened that lead to you beating her up?”  Esther asked.

“When I was paying for the groceries, she said I didn’t give her the right amount of money and that I was trying to cheat her,” Laci stated as Esther shook her head.  “That was all the money I had left and I ended up having to give that to her and then she had the damn nerve to call the police on me!  Damn right she needed her ass beat Me-Ma.”

“Why didn’t you just explain that to John Darby?”  Esther asked as Laci shook her head.  “He would listen if you just tell him.”

“Those fools work for the damn mayor Me-Ma, they’re not going to listen to me.  You see they came here to lock me up!”  Laci screamed as she continued throwing items around in bags.

“Where you and PJ going to go?”  Esther asked as she looked at Laci.

“We’re going to find his father,” Laci replied as she continued packing things.

Chicago, IL – The Clemons Estates – The Backyard

“Well hello Juanita,” Eddie Clemons spoke as his wife stepped into the backyard to see a party in progress.  “It’s so nice of you to join us here today.”

“Eddie, what’s going on around here?”  Juanita asked, looking around the yard.  “You’re having a damn party, why?”

“Why else does one have a party, but to celebrate of course,” Eddie replied with a smile as he turned his back to her and walked over to the bar and then poured himself a drink.  “Why you here woman?”

“What in the hell are you celebrating Eddie?  Where in the hell did you get the money to throw a party like this?”  She asked, looking around again.  “Who are these people?”

“These are some of my new friends,” Eddie replied as he cut his eyes as the woman.  “Again, why are you here woman?”

“I came here to see how you were doing,” the woman replied as he shook his head.

“Why Juanita?  Why are you here now?  Why do you even care about how I am doing?”  Eddie asked, knocking the drink back and then pouring himself another one.  “How I got the money to throw this party is no longer your damn business.”

“What do you mean it’s no longer my damn business?”  She asked, glaring at Eddie.  “Where did you get the money to throw this damn party Eddie?”

“Hell, you didn’t help me get it, so that’s none of your damn business,” Eddie said as he pointed his finger at the woman.

“What about Skeeter and your debts?”  She asked, folding her arms across her chest.

“Skeeter got his damn money,” Eddie responded as he knocked back the drink he had.

“Why you drinking like that?  Don’t you have wo…” the woman said as Eddie held up his hand, stopping her.

“What I do is no longer your business woman,” Eddie stated with a sneer.  “You left here, remember that?”

“Eddie,” she said as Eddie shook his head.

“Don’t Eddie me woman,” Eddie stated as he poured himself another drink.  “When I damn needed you, you were no fucking where to be found.  Now that I don’t need you, here you fucking are.”

“Eddie,” she said again as Eddie shook his head again.

“No Juanita, wherever the hell you’ve been, take your skanky ass back there,” Eddie said as he took a sip of the drink and then placed the glass down on the bar-top.

“What!  You can’t talk to me that damn way!”  She screamed as others around, turned and looked in her direction.

“I’ll talk to you any damn way I please!”  Eddie snapped, pointing his finger at her.  “Again, wherever the hell you came from, take your skanky ass back there.  You ain’t welcomed here no more.”

“I live here, I’m not leaving,” she said as Eddie shook his head.

“Look, I don’t need or want you here bitch, leave!”  Eddie snapped as more people watched them.  “You can leave here walking on your own two feet or you can go out in a body bag.  Which way do you want to go?”

“What you trying to say Eddie?”  She asked as Eddie shook his head and then lifted his shirt a bit, revealing a gun.

“I’m sure you know what I’m saying Juanita,” Eddie responded with an evil look on his face.  “Get away from here Juanita and don’t you come back here.”

“I have things here, I am not leaving here,” the woman said as Eddie shook his head.

“You had things here,” Eddie replied, his expression not changing.  “Everything that you had here that was personal to you was put out on the street weeks ago.”

“What!”  She snapped as Eddie tapped the gun on his waistband.  “You threw my stuff out?”

“Mr. Clemons, is there a problem here?”  A tall black man asked, looking at Eddie and then looking at Juanita.

“No, there’s no problem here, she’ll be leaving now,” Eddie stated as he smiled and then turned back to the bar, pouring himself another drink.  “Juanita just realized that her usefulness to me has ended.”

“Eddie…” the woman said as he shook his head.

“Your time here has ended,” Eddie stated as he shook his head.  “There’s nothing here for you.  Get the hell on… Get gone!”

“This isn’t over,” the woman said as Eddie smiled and then nodded his head at the black man that was nearby.

“Yes, it is ma’am,” the black man said as he pointed towards the gate to the yard as he took her by the arm.  “You need to leave here and don’t come back as Mr. Clemons suggested.”

“Who in the hell are you?”  Juanita asked, snatching away from the man.  “You don’t know me to put your hands on me.”

“Ma’am, if I have to, my hands on you would be the least of your worries.  Please leave here… Don’t make Mr. Clemons angry.”

“I don’t give a damn about making Mr. Clemons angry!”  Juanita snapped as she pointed her finger in the man’s face.  “Eddie, I don’t know what the hell is going on, but you’ve lost your fucking mind!”

“I’ve heard enough,” Eddie said as he pulled the gun from his waistband and then aimed it at Juanita.

“What in the hell are you doing?”  Juanita asked.

“Putting an end to the headache that’s forming right now,” Eddie replied as he smiled.  “I told you nicely to get gone, but it seems you didn’t want to listen to the nice version of that.  Here’s the remix…”

“Fine, I’m gone,” Juanita said as she moved away from Eddie, being escorted away by the black man as the tears streamed down her face.

A Few Hours Later – Chattanooga, TN – The Bus Station

Laci’s POV

Damn, how long does it take someone to process a damn bus ticket?  I’ve been standing at this damn counter for almost twenty minutes and it seems this stupid fuck-up isn’t finished yet.  I already gave him my damn money, so what’s taking him so damn long?  He needs to hurry the hell up, it’s almost seven and I would like to get my ass on the road, before someone notices me or something.

The way that fool is dragging his feet with setting up my ticket, it’s like he’s being slow on purpose.  Hell, if I didn’t know any better, I’d think the fucker was trying to hold me up on purpose, so I’ll miss the bus and have to wait until later on tonight to leave out.

Damn, this crap isn’t funny, he needs to hurry the hell up.  I’m not looking to stay around in this place any longer than I have to.  The sooner I get out of Tennessee, the better I’ll feel.  Since leaving Me-Ma, I’ve had this strange feeling that I’ll have to put up with some extra drama before I get to where I’m headed.  This fuck-tard needs to hurry up so I can get away from here and not to have to deal with Darby and his damn crew.  Right now, drama needs to keep its distance from me, I’m not in the mood for any of it.

“Sir, how much longer is it going to be?”  I asked as the man turned away from the computer and then looked over at me.

“I’m sorry Miss, but the terminal is being a bit sluggish today,” he replied as he smiled and then went back to his paper as he sipped his drink from the cup.

“Is there something you can do to hurry things along?  I don’t want to miss the buss when it gets here,” I said as PJ started crying.  “Come on PJ, you have to be quiet for mommy right now.”

“Ma’am, the computers act real funny late in the day, there’s no rushing things,” he said as I shook my head and then turned around. Looking at the clock on the wall, noticing that it was already after seven.

Damn, he needs to hurry up.  The bus heading to California will be here within a few minutes.  This shit is taking too damn long.  I’m getting a funny feeling here.  Is he trying to slow me down so the sheriff and the gang back in Grand Junction can catch up to me or what?  Is that what’s going on here?  Then again, how would he know the sheriff is looking for me back home?  I don’t think anyone around here knows that I’m wanted for questioning.  Hell, I think I’m wanted for more than questioning, being that I beat up the mayor’s daughter and almost left her for dead for taking my damn money.

“Alright miss, here you are,” the man said as he handed me the ticket and then smiled.  “You and your boy have a safe trip.”

“Thanks,” I said, reaching down and picking up my bags as I walked towards the door where the bus would arrive.

Pretty soon, all of my prayers will be answered.  I’m going to forget about ever being in this sorry ass state.  I’m saying buh-bye to being the poor little girl and saying hello to everything I ever wanted.  Hopefully, by this time tomorrow, I’ll have a new outlook on life, PJ and I will never have to go without again.

The bus to California should be here soon and we’ll be on our way from this fucking rat trap.  I can’t wait to get out of here and over to there.  I just know that this is the best thing for the two of us.  By the time I’m done in California, things will never be the same for us or for Justin Tanner.  When I’m through with him, he’ll wish he never married that man.  Hell, by the time I’m done, I think a lot of things will change and I’ll end up being more famous than Justin’s ever been.  Only time will tell, but I’m sure that Baby Tanner here will shed some light on a whole lot of things for me.  After all this time, it’s time to put my theory to the test.

Los Angeles, CA (North Beverly Park Suburb) – The Home of JT and Justin Poole-Tanner – The Entertainment Room

Howard’s POV

Wow, when Chad said this place was awesome, he wasn’t lying.  This place looks so great, I wonder how they got it decorated so quickly.  They’ve only been out here for a week and they act like they’ve been here for years.  I must admit I didn’t think JT would live in a place like this, but here he is.  I’m used to JT living in a military complex, not a regular house.  This is so different than what I’m used to, dealing with his insecurities.  I wonder what attracted him to this house, being this house is nothing like the house in Jacksonville or the place he used to live in Albany.

“So, you’re here Howard, what’s on your mind?”  JT asked as he and Justin walked into the room.

“Did you enjoy your flight Howard?”  Justin asked as he took a seat on the sofa and then kicked off his slippers.

“Do you want something to drink Howard?”  JT asked as he walked over to a picture, pressed it as it opened up, revealing a refrigerator.  Damn, that’s so cool.  A refrigerator hidden by a picture on a wall.  JT got himself a soda and then looked at me again.  “Howard?”

“No thanks, I’m good,” I answered as he walked around the sofa and then sat on the opposite end as he put his feet up on the sofa cushion as Justin moved a bit and then started massaging his feet.

“Howard, have a seat.  There’s no need for you to stand up, unless you just want to,” he said as I smiled and then sat down across from the two of them.

“Well to get to why I’m here, there’s been a development with Heather,” I said as he put the soda on the floor and then moved around on the sofa, sitting up.  Okay, is this going to go as planned or what?

“What kind of development Howard?  What’s happening?”  JT asked, his expression changing to a scared one as he looked at Justin and then back at me.  “Is Caleb leaving?”

“No, Caleb isn’t leaving,” I replied as his expression remained the same.  “Caleb is staying forever, from what I have here.”

“What do you have there?”  He asked, looking at me strangely.

“This is a writ from a judge,” I said, his expression still the same.  “This says that Heather’s parental rights have been terminated and you are Caleb’s sole biological parent.”

“How is that possible?”  Justin asked, as he moved around on the sofa and then sat up.  “What’s going on?  Did she do something?”

“Think about the stuff we talked about before you two left Jacksonville and add in the fact that the judge that’s presiding over her case has determined that she’s not capable of ever defending herself in her criminal case,” I stated as JT shook his head.

“Meaning, she’s acting crazy and she’s gotten away with what she did.  I knew she wouldn’t be held responsible for what she did to me,” JT stated as I shook my head.

“No, that’s not the case buddy,” I said as he looked at me strangely.  “The judge ruled that she remain institutionalized, until she is capable of contemplating what she’s done to you and Caleb.  That judge also severed her parental rights to him, meaning that she can’t interfere with your lives in regard to him.  You are free to raise Caleb without her being around.”

“Question,” Justin said as JT looked at him.  “What happens when she is able to contemplate what she’s done?  She gets out of the nut-house and comes looking for us to cause problems and tries to take Caleb away from us, is that it?”

“The judge severed all rights she had to Caleb.  She’s nothing to him and he’s nothing to her,” I said, trying to make that clear as I possibly could.  “Her rights to him have been completely terminated.”

“So, you’re saying I don’t ever have to worry about Heather again, right?”  JT said as I nodded my head as Justin shook his head.

“Howard, you didn’t answer all of my question,” Justin said as he looked at me.  “When she’s capable of contemplating what she’s done, she’ll be out of the nut-house.  She’ll surely come after…”

“No, she won’t,” I said, trying to figure out how to put this into words that both of them would understand.  “With the way the judge worded things in this writ, there’s nothing Heather can do in regard to Caleb being here with you two.”

“Are you sure?”  JT asked, looking down at his hands.  “I don’t want to have to put up with any drama that she could…”

“Buddy, I don’t think you’ll ever have to put up with Heather again,” I said, looking over at him.  “If you deal with her, it’s because you want to.”

“I don’t want to deal with her… Justin, do you want to deal with her?”  JT asked, looking over at Justin as he shook his head.

“As I was saying, you won’t have to deal with Heather,” I stated as I pulled out the other folder.  “With the crimes charged against Heather, when she’s finally able to contemplate what she’s done to you and to Caleb, she’s going to jail and for a very long time.”

“She’s going to jail,” JT said as I nodded my head.

“The crime charges that are pending against her are all felonies,” I said as JT looked down and then shook his head.  “That means she’ll spend time in jail for each offense she’s charged with.”

“When she gets out of the mental place, don’t they have to have a court trial or something to convict her of the charges?”  JT asked.

“They don’t have to, she’s already been found guilty in a sense,” I replied as he looked at me strangely.  “She can’t plead innocent to the charges, there is already enough evidence to back up all the charges against her.  Everything has already been proven that she did the things she’s charged with.  The affidavits from the hospital staff at Penn Med, statements from your friend Ken and his parents about what they knew of Caleb’s conception, from what she told them, Caleb’s existence is evidence and plus she keeps telling people that you two had consensual sex and…”

“So, in simple terms, she’s going to jail, regardless of what she or anyone else does and we don’t have to ever worry about her, right Howard?”  Justin said as I nodded my head.

“You guys don’t have to see her, unless Caleb wants to have a relationship with her, but I surely doubt that, since I’ve gotten some very negative reports from children services,” I said as JT’s eyes widened.

“What kind of reports?  Are those the reports from the shit with Glitter?”  He asked as I shook my head.

“No, these are the various reports from the different state and local area social services divisions that attempted to deal with Heather’s action and abuse against Caleb.  There were numerous complaints filed against her, but she never stayed around in a place long enough for the charges to be substantiated,” I explained as JT sighed and then shook his head.

“What kind of abuse Howard?”  JT asked as he looked up at me.

“It seems she had a pattern,” I said as he just looked at me.  “Everywhere she was, different people made the same complaints about her actions with Caleb.”

“What was the complaint Howard?”  JT asked, looking like he was about to breakdown.

“It was accused that she physically and emotionally neglected him and that she had left him in the care of other people, that wasn’t family.  So, there’s a big red flag there.  There were even reports from her Mom about her care of Caleb,” I stated as JT shook his head.

“That somewhat explains that Shannon woman,” Justin stated as he looked over at JT, got up from his spot and moved closer to him, wrapping his arms around him.  “She acted more like she was Caleb’s caretaker and…”

“He called her Aunt Shan,” JT stated as I looked at him, wondering what he was talking about.  “How long was she around in his life, for him to develop that kind of relationship, to call her his aunt, when she’s not related to Heather in any way?”

“Baby, you know kids develop a liking for people in a short amount of time,” Justin said, rubbing his back.

“Maybe so, but that doesn’t… How much did Heather leave him with that Shannon woman and other people?  The boy doesn’t like to be alone much and anytime that I’m out of his sight for too long, he freaks out.”

“Yeah, that’s been established already baby,” Justin said as he sighed.  “Remember, I had to put up with the crying fit while you were in the pokey.”

“Justin,” JT said, rolling his eyes as I shook my head this time.  “So, he’s been neglected and left alone and she’s facing charges for that?”

“Yes,” I answered as he looked at Justin.  “So, as I said in the beginning, she won’t be around to bother you, either of you.  Once she gets out of the institution, she’ll head off to prison.  So, you guys won’t have any interaction with her, unless you want to.  There’s that silver lining I was telling you about buddy.”

“I guess it is a silver lining,” he replied, half smiling as he sighed.

“Then why does it seem you’re not happy about all that I’ve told you?”  I asked, watching him and Justin.

“I am happy about what you’ve told me—us Howard, but there is so much about Caleb’s life that I—we don’t know about.  When we try to find out what’s happened to him, he clams up and changes the subject or runs off,” JT stated as he looked down and then sighed again as he shook his head.  “We know something happened to him, you just confirmed it in a way, but we don’t know what.  We figured when he was ready, he’ll tell us, but after hearing all of what you’ve said, I’m more concerned about his past.”

“We try talking to him, to get him to open up about things, but that’s not really working.  We figured out a few weeks ago that Heather had to have done something to him, because he keeps freaking out, thinking JT or I is going to leave him and we’re not coming back,” Justin stated as he frowned.  “We both try to get him to open up about things, but it seems we’re not getting through.”

“You two may need to get him into some kind of therapy,” I said as JT looked at me and then looked down as he shook his head.

“I—I don’t want him to get a label attached to him Howard,” he said as I and Justin looked at him strangely.  “Once you get that label, people treat you differently.”

“Getting him some help has nothing to do with labels baby,” Justin said, rubbing JT’s back.  “What we’re doing isn’t working.  We might need to get someone better than us to talk with him and maybe he’ll open up to them about what Heather did and what he’s been through.”

“Maybe, maybe not,” JT said as he sighed.

“I don’t think it’ll hurt buddy,” I said, hoping I wasn’t overstepping my authority as he just sighed and then looked at Justin as I pulled the adoption papers out of my briefcase for Justin to sign.  “Also, these need to be signed.”

“What are those… Oh yeah, the adoption papers,” Justin said with a smile as I handed the papers to him.

“Justin, are you sure you want to adopt him?”  JT asked, looking Justin in the face.

“Baby, that’s the dumbest question you’ve ever asked me,” Justin stated as he took the pen from me and started flipping pages, signing the papers.  “You’re my husband and pretty soon, he’ll be my son.  We’ll be one big happy family.”

“Yes, you will be,” I said, wondering would Chad and I have this kind of life, well not the drama part, but the love part.

“Yes, we’ll be one big happy family,” JT said as he looked down again.  “A bit screwy, but a loving family.”

“Ha ha ha, real funny baby,” Justin said as he flipped to the last page and then sighed.  “Here you are Howard, I think I got all of them.”

“Let me have a look see,” I said, accepting the papers from him as I looked through the ones I had little stickies on, making sure there was a signature and initials.  It looks like he got them all.  “I’ll get this submitted to the courts in Jacksonville and then have them filed here in California also.  Are you sure you want this?”

“Yes, I’m sure I want this,” Justin replied with a smile.  “I want this, and the little man can’t wait for me to become his dad too.”

“You two talked about it again?”  JT said as Justin nodded his head.  “Great, well I guess that’s settled then.”

“Yep, it’s settled,” Justin said with a smile.

“I guess you could say that the glitter finally turned gold,” JT stated with a smile as he and Justin kissed.

To Be Continued…
in Book 4 – The Ties That Bind.

When The Glitter Turns Gold – Chapter 19


Chapter 19 — Mirror, Mirror

Aug 17, 2004 – Los Angeles, CA (North Beverly Park Suburb) – The Home of JT and Justin Poole-Tanner – The Family Room

“Wow, this room is big,” Caleb said, looking around as he, JT and Justin walked into the room.  “Daddy, can I watch some TV?”

“Sure, but only for a little bit,” JT replied as Caleb picked up the remote, turned on the TV and then sat down on the sofa in the room.  “Remember, we have to go check out the new school in a bit.”

“Yes sir,” Caleb spoke as he folded his arms across his chest as Justin and JT walked over to the windows in the room.

“Baby, are you sure you’re going to be happy, staying here in LA, twenty-four seven?”  Justin asked as he looked at JT closely.  “You’ve lived in Jacksonville for a long time and…”

“And as I told you last week, this is a new start for all of us Justin,” JT stated as he leaned in and kissed Justin’s mouth as Caleb giggled behind the two of them.  “What are you giggling about little man?”

“Nothing Daddy,” Caleb replied with a smile as JT walked over and picked him up and then kissed his forehead.

“Did you finish unpacking your things in your room?”  JT asked.

“Yes Daddy, Justin helped me,” Caleb replied as he giggled as Justin tickled him.  “Quit it Justin, that tickles.”

“It’s supposed to,” Justin replied as he tickled Caleb more as a phone rang in the room.

“That’s probably Nikki, she said she would call once she and Josh arrived in town,” JT stated as he fished through his pockets, retrieving the ringing cell phone and then opening it.  “Yep, it’s her. Hello Missy, you make it into town okay?”

Justin’s POV

He’s totally right.  This is a new start for a lot of people.  In the past few weeks, a lot of things happened and with that, he and others made decisions that affected our lives and the lives of others for a very long time.  I just hope with all the changes that have taken place, nothing bad happens.  I’m just happy that I’m still a part of his and Caleb’s lives.

Since the Fourth of July party, our lives have taken a different path than what I expected or planned.  One of the paths taken in our lives have to do with his career.  With the way things were going with his career, I thought he was going to take a break from recording.  Hell, I thought that would be the general thing to do since one of the execs of the record company told him he couldn’t record until they wanted him to.  He didn’t take that as the final say so of his career and he used some of his dad’s connections and bought controlling interest in the record company.  Now that he has control, he made changes to his contract.  With his recent actions, Glitter and Starletta are both unhappy.  Oh well.

Another path we’re traveling is this house.  We’re here in Los Angeles of all places to be in the world, the ultimate place to be if you’re a singer, actor or whatever.  With his resume of being in the spotlight, he has access to all aspects of stardom from here.

After the things that took place with Chris crashing the party, JT decided that he had seen and heard too much drama and that we needed some changes in our lives.  Since this house was already bought and he had been here before, we flew out here a few days later to see if I would like the house as much as he does, and I do.  This place looks great outside and it’s not as big as his military complex out in Jacksonville, but it’s big enough for our growing family.  After touring the house and the neighborhood, it was official that we would live here in LA, while Todd and Wes stayed at the other house.

Speaking of Todd and Wes, they are a really strange couple.  Shoot, with the way things went down with them, especially after Chad had proposed to Howard, Todd seemed to be in a strange funk that no one could explain, not even JT, his closest friend.  That didn’t seem to matter much to JT, being that we’re here and whatever drama they have going on there, won’t affect us here.  The drama I feel would affect us has to do with his brother Josh.  I don’t think Josh is really comfortable being around us, but yet, he agreed to leave Jacksonville and move out here with us here in Los Angeles.  Whatever’s going on with him, I hope it doesn’t cause a problem for me and JT when he finally arrives.

“I think that’s right down the street from us,” I heard JT say as I turned around to see that he was still on the phone, chatting with Nikki.

When he told her that we were moving out to Los Angeles, she jumped for joy.  She thought it was a great idea for all of us getting away from Jacksonville and starting new, some place fresh.  Being that she’s been keeping house in Atlanta with her mother, I can understand why she was so gung-ho about getting away from the east coast.  Things were made even more clear about her decisions when it came out that she and Josh were already married, and she hadn’t told her mother about it.  To say the least, JT was a bit upset that he didn’t get to attend her wedding, but the kicker came when she told us that she had gotten married in a private ceremony, somewhere in Georgia, a few days before they left to go to our wedding.  Talk about jumping the broom first.  Anyway, to keep things with ‘Mutual Attraction’ going great and to keep them together, Nikki and Josh are on their way here, to move into their new home.

As for ‘Mutual Attraction’ as a whole, I don’t know what’s going to happen.  With JT’s actions with the record company, things for them has changed quite a bit.  For Glitter, her solo career has been put on hold until further notice.  When she found out, she went through the roof at the meeting that JT had with the execs at the end of July.  That girl was so pissed off, she threatened to sue everybody around until she got what she wanted.  JT laughed it off and left things as they were.  He stated that once he and Nikki were settled, things with the group would resume.  I don’t know if that’s really plausible, since Mo’ette is a no-show.  She’s been acting really strange since David married the other woman.  She’s been acting—acting like she’s ready to end it all since she’s been hanging around with us.

“Justin, do you have any plans for the rest of the day?”  I heard JT ask as I looked up to see him walking towards me.

“I cleared my schedule for things here baby,” I replied as he smiled and then looked at me.  “Is there something else we need to take care of?”

“Nikki invited us to dinner,” he replied as he looked at his watch and then turned around.  “Caleb, TV time is over buddy, we have to go visit your school.”

“Okay Daddy,” Caleb replied as he picked up the remote, turned off the television and then slid off the sofa as he walked over to the two of us.  “We go now?”

“In a moment,” JT replied as he looked at me.  “Are you ready to go Justin?  You’ve been in here for over an hour, just looking out the windows.  You got something on your mind or…”

“I was just admiring the scenery of our new place baby,” I said, leaning in and kissing his mouth.  “I’m ready when you are.”

“Cool, let’s go,” he said as he took Caleb by the hand as the three of us walked out of the room, heading towards the garage—a garage that is slightly smaller than what I’m used to seeing, like the one out in Jacksonville that seems to have a car for every day of the week.  Shoot, who am I to talk?  At my old place out in Memphis, I had five cars, two shy of him.

Across Town – The Hyatt Regency Century Plaza – The Lobby

Mo’ette’s POV

Why in the hell did I bring my ass back to this damn hotel?  He already made his choice.  He chose that ho over me.  There’s really nothing more for me to do here.  He told me that he married her and that he’s going to be with her.  For the life of me, I don’t know why.  What does that ho have that I don’t?

Why can’t I let this go?  I know what he said, but I don’t believe he really meant any of it.  After all that we’ve been through over the past few years, something deep within me is telling me not to let him or this thing that we have go.  Why Lord, why am I being put through this trial?

“Well, look who it is,” I heard behind me as I turned around to see the ho in question.  “It seems the old whore is still breathing.  Haven’t you cried your heart out and died?”

“Leave her alone Emily,” I heard David say as I shook my head.

“Look here heffa, I’m in no mood to deal with the bullshit that you’re spewing,” I said as I pointed my finger in her face as her eyes widened a bit.  Apparently, she hasn’t taken the hint that I’ll drop her ass in a matter of seconds.  “And furthermore, I don’t need you sticking up for me David.”

“I was only…” David said as I pointed my finger at him.  “Mo, please…  There’s no reason for you to be here, doing this sort of thing.  We already…”

“Since you two are in the mood of thinking that I’m down and out, I got something for you,” I said as I cleared my throat as a song that JT had been working on, flowing through my soul and out my mouth.

[1]Did you think my life would end that day
That you walked out when you broke my heart
Did you think I couldn’t make it through
Ooh, without you
Did you think you’d stop my world with goodbye, oh no
Did you think I’d crumble inside

Not Me, I’m still breathing
And this heart of mine is still beating
I, I’m not feeling any pain
No baby, not me, I’m still breathing
This old heart of mine is still beating
The tears I cried have dried
You are gone and I survived
I’m still breathing

There were times when it took all my strength
To just get through, yeah, through another day
There were so many nights I thought that I was gonna die
Without you
But the tears I cried somehow made me strong, so strong
Did you think I couldn’t go on

Not Me, I’m still breathing
And this heart of mine is still beating
I, I’m not feeling any pain
No baby, not me, I’m still breathing
You are gone and I survived
I’m still breathing

You tried to cut me down
But look who’s still around
Without you
Did you think you’d stop my world with good bye, no baby
Did you think I’d crumble, just crumble inside

Not Me, I’m still breathing
And this heart of mine is still beating
I, I’m not feeling any pain
No baby, not me, I’m still breathing
This old heart of mine is still beating
The tears I cried have dried
You are gone and I survived
I’m still breathing
The tears I cried have dried
You are gone and I survived
I’m still breathing

“Hmph, I got the meaning of the song,” the bitch said as I shook my head as a few people that had gathered around us, clapped and cheered as I took a bow and then walked away, leaving those two fools there as I stopped at the door and then turned around to see that David had tears in his eyes.  Damn it, something’s not right here.

Jacksonville, FL (Arlington Suburb) – The Apartment of Joshua Raymond

Josh’s POV

Damn, what am I going to do with all of this stuff here?  Should I keep it all, putting it into a storage unit some place or should I get rid of it all?  Sighing deeply, I looked around the room, moving over to the different things—things I’ve collected over the years.  The Lord knows I have too much stuff here to faithfully decide about what to do with.  All the stuff here has a distinct memory for me.

“Lord, what am I going to do with all of this stuff?”  I asked aloud as I continued walking around the room, stopping in my bedroom as I looked at the different pieces of furniture in there that I had collected throughout the years.

Where am I going to put these things in my new place with my brother?  I guess I’ll have everything I want shipped out to the new place, like JT suggested and I really don’t know what to do about the rest of this stuff.  I just don’t know what to do about the other stuff that I’m not taking with me.  JT tried to convince me to just get rid of it all and get new stuff when I actually got out to Los Angeles.  I don’t see anything wrong with this stuff… Therefore, there’s no point in getting rid of it.  I don’t see any point of spending money to get new stuff, when this stuff is just as good as anything new I could possibly buy.  The way JT acted, it seemed to me like he was trying to say that my stuff wasn’t good enough for his—our home.

“Am I really doing the right thing here?  Is moving out to Los Angeles with him and Justin the right thing for me to be doing?” I asked aloud as someone knocked on the door.  “Who could that be?”

Putting the picture album down, I walked out of the room and headed to the front door as I looked through the peephole to see my adoptive brother Brad, standing outside with that evil heffa Layla.  What in the hell is she doing here with him?  Sighing, I opened the door, grabbed him by the arm and pulled him in quickly, trying to close the door to keep her out as my cat Sparky put up a fuss at the commotion that was going on.

“What in the hell is going on Josh?”  Brad asked as I finally got the door completely closed as she banged on the door.  “Josh, what’s going on?  Why you didn’t let her in?”

“Because she’s not welcomed here,” I replied as he looked at me strangely.

“Bro, what’s going on?”  Brad asked as the knocking and banging got louder and then she started yelling.  “Why aren’t you letting her in?”

“I don’t want to see her, she’s not welcomed here,” I replied as he shook his head.

“Bro, she just wants to talk to you,” he said as I shook my head.

“Well I don’t want to talk to her Bradley,” I replied as he frowned.

“Why not?” He asked.

“She’s a waste of time,” I replied as he raised an eye.  “She’s done nothing but string me along and break my heart!”

“I don’t think she strung you along bro,” he said as I shook my head at him as the knocking and banging continued.

“Get away from the door or I’m calling the cops!”  I yelled as his eyes widened as the noise stopped as someone outside yelled, ‘Thank You’ as Brad looked at me as if I were crazy.  “Why are you looking at me like that?”

“Why did you threaten to call the cops on your girl like that?”  He asked.

“She’s not my girl anymore,” I replied as he shook his head again.  “So, what’s up bro, what brings you by?”

“I’m here to see if you’ll reconsider leaving,” he said as I shook my head.  “You don’t have to leave here, to have a relationship with—with your real brother.”

“No, I don’t have to leave here to have a relationship with him and my family, but I’m choosing to leave for me and other reasons,” I said as he looked down.

“Does your decision have anything to do with Uncle…” He said as I shook my head and then raised my hand, stopping him from saying more.

“I’m doing this for me,” I said as he sighed.  “I would very much like to have a relationship with my family and I can’t do that here.  There are too many ghosts of my past, lingering around me here to cause problems.  I know my decision to leave here may hurt your feelings, but I…”

“Yeah, it hurts my feelings Josh, but I don’t want to lose you,” he said as he moved closer and then wrapped his arms around me.  “We’ve been through too much over the years and I’m not ready for the man that I’ve called my brother all these years to just up and leave.”

“I’m still your brother and we’ll keep in touch, but JT is my brother too and I would like to get to know my brother, the way I know you as my brother,” I said as he frowned and then sniffled.  “We’ve known each other since I was four years old and you’re my adoptive brother.  JT is my biological brother and—and we don’t know anything about each other.  The stuff I know about him is mainly what I’ve read in the magazines about him.  I know you think I’m making a mistake here, but this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for me to get to know my family, my real family and I aim to do it.”

“He’s not going to treat you like family Josh,” he said, looking down at his hands.  “This is probably just some celebrity pity thing for him.”

“I don’t think it is Brad,” I said, thinking that very thing myself.  “He seems to genuinely care for me.”

“Does he care about you or does it have something to do about how that fans would react to knowing that he didn’t connect with his brother?”  He asked as he placed a hand on my shoulder.

“JT—JT is very family oriented,” I said, looking down at the floor.  “He has a husband, a son, he has connections with mom and dad, our mom and our dad, not your parents and he—he seems to want the family connection with me.”

“Are you doing this because of Layla and Uncle Walden?”  He asked as I sighed.  “Are you doing this to escape the memories of what he did to you—to us?”

“Why are you talking about that Brad?”  I asked as I felt the tears sliding down my face. “What’s the point in bringing that stuff up?”

“He—he hurt us, but he can’t hurt us anymore,” he said with a frown.  “We’re grown now and he’s not here to do anything to us.”

“No, he can’t hurt us anymore, mainly because he’s in prison,” I said as he frowned again.  “When he gets out of prison, I won’t be here for him to try again.  I’m not going to give him the chance to try to make a move on me.  Because of your Uncle Walden, I always wondered about my feelings for people.  Because of him, I don’t know if I loved girls or guys.”

“What are you trying to say Josh?”  He asked.

“I’m trying to say—say that I don’t know if I’m gay or straight,” I said, finally getting those words out of my system and into the open.  “For the longest time, I didn’t know if I liked boys or girls.  Had it not been for your Uncle Walden, I would’ve been able to make that choice on my own, instead I got used and abused by him!  Because of his actions, I don’t understand how to trust my feelings with other boys—men!”

“So, you—you’re telling me that you—you’re gay, possibly?”  He asked as I looked up and then shrugged my shoulders.

“I don’t know if I’m gay or what,” I replied as he sighed.  “I don’t know because I’m scared to trust my feelings around other men.  Each man I’ve been around with, I get scared they’re going to do the things to me that Walden did.  Do you know how hard it is to trust your feelings when you’re scared that someone’s going to hold you down and rape you, if you close your eyes around them?”

“I—I don’t know what to say to that Josh,” he said as I looked down.  “What about Layla?”

“What about her?”  I asked.

“Why didn’t things last with her?”  He asked as I shook my head.

“Because she’s an evil bitch that couldn’t stay out of jail long enough for anyone to build something with her,” I said as he looked at me strangely.

“So, you knew about her being in and out of jail?”  He asked as I nodded my head.

“Yeah, I knew about her being in jail and the prison time,” I replied as he looked down and then rubbed his head.  “She’s another reason why I believe that me being away from here and starting some place fresh would be beneficial.”

“Things could be beneficial here bro,” he said as I shook my head.  “Please Josh, please think about Mom and Dad, think about all of the people here that…”

“You want me to think about the people that allowed your uncle to use and abuse me,” I said as he sighed.  “You want me to think about the doctors that poked and prodded on and in me, because our parents thought there was something wrong with me, because I told them about the things your uncle did to me.”

“Josh…” He started as I shook my head and then kept on going.

“You want me to think about you, Olivia, Pam and Keisha, the people that I’ve always looked up to and thought were my friends, but none of you lifted a finger to help me when I needed it and I ended up here, in this place, a place where I had no choice but to run to, so I wouldn’t end up in a mental health institution.  What am I supposed to see that is so beneficial here Brad?”  I asked.

“When you put it like that, I—I don’t know,” he said as I looked him in the face.  “Does your brother know about your mental health issues?”

“He doesn’t care,” I said as he looked at me funny and then shook his head.

“Did you tell him about your issues Josh?  Does he or that husband of his know?”  He asked.

“Does that really matter Brad?  Why is that a concern all of a sudden?”  I asked.

“It’s a concern because I don’t want anything happening to you, I love you man,” he said as I shook my head at him.  “Regardless of what you think, I’ll always love you, blood or not.  We grew up together man, we are brothers.”

“Yeah, we’re brothers, but it seems I’m the brother that took the brunt of things,” I said as he sighed again.  “Regardless of what you say or do here Brad, I’m still leaving and I’m going to be with my real family.  Good or bad, I’m going to live my life—a life I should’ve lived a long time ago.”

“Josh, I—I hope you know what you’re doing,” he said, shaking his head as he leaned in and hugged me.  “If you need me, you know I’ll always be here for you.”

“I know Brad, but this is something I have to do,” I said, pulling away from him.  “I may not act like it, but I do love you too Brad, but my brother needs some family love and that’s why it’s time I show him some.”

“Well if something goes wrong…” he said as I shook my head.

“Nothing’s going to go wrong Brad,” I said, turning around.  “I’m going to get on a plane tonight and tomorrow, my new life in Los Angeles starts with my brother, his son and his husband.”

“I hope you’re right about things,” he said, hugging me once more as he turned and walked towards the door.  “I love you man, take it easy.”

“You too,” I said as he opened the door, waved and then walked out of the room, closing the door behind him.

Now, I need to get back to what I’m going to do with all of this stuff.  With the conversation I just had, I’ve made up my mind.  I’ll just put everything here in storage and if something happens, I’ll have it to come back to or go someplace else.  I guess that would be my contingency plan if something bad happens and I need to leave Los Angeles.  With that decided, I guess when I get out to Los Angeles tomorrow, I’ll just go shopping and get some new stuff.  Okay new life, here I come.

Somewhere in Grand Junction, TN – The Studio Apartment of Laci Greylek – The Front Yard

“Get the hell off of my damn property!”  Laci screamed as a few police officers stood out in front of the building.

“I’m sorry Ms. Greylek, but you’ve been warned about your actions towards others, plenty of times.  Now isn’t a joking matter,” a sheriff’s deputy spoke as he walked around the car to stand at the edge of the yard.  “Is Me-Ma in there?”

“Yeah, she in there, why you want to know?”  Laci asked, watching the man as he approached the door.

“You might as well leave little PJ with her and come on with me.”

“I’m not going anywhere with you Darby!  You tell that fucker to shove that damn warrant up his fucking ass!”  Laci screamed as the baby cried in her arms.  “I’m not letting you or any of those fuckers take my baby!”

“Come on now Ms. Greylek, don’t make matters worse than what they already are,” the sheriff’s deputy spoke as he hiked up the belt of his pants and then walked up to the front door.  “Go on now, pass little PJ over to Me-Ma and you come with me.  The sooner you take care of this matter, the quicker you’ll get back here to be with little PJ.”

“I said fuck off Darby!  Take your fat ass somewhere else with that shit!”  Laci yelled as she shook the baby gently, trying to get him to stop crying.  “Come on PJ, you gotta stop crying for mommy.”

“Ms. Greylek, don’t make me force you to come with me,” the sheriff’s deputy said, looking over the top of his shades.  “If I have to, I’ll drag you down to the office, kicking and screaming girl.”

“Do it Darby and you’ll fucking regret it,” Laci stated as she pointed her finger in the man’s direction.  “I’m not going anywhere with you or anyone else.”


[1] Song Excerpt = ‘I’m Still Breathing’ by Toni Braxton

To Be Continued…

Limbo Uprising – Chapter 6

Chapter 6 — Devastation Cometh

Jun 2, 1996 – Somewhere in Orange Park, FL

“Venus!  Heart Reflection!”  Someone screamed as a continuous beam of solar light zapped Ryan, knocking him backwards to the ground.

“Neptune!  Aqua Moon Medley!”  Someone else screamed as a strange portal-like phenomenon appeared, dumping water on Ryan, holding him down on the ground, not allowing him to get up.

(<PAMPH>)

“Great, looks like we’re just in time,” JT said as he and his comrades appeared.

“Who are they?”  Telly asked with a smile on his face.

“Not your concern Helix.  Soul Eternal Kiss!”  JT screamed, waving his hand as a sphere of energy flew towards Ryan, exploding on contact with his body.

“Well let me tell you that it hurts so bad… It makes me feel so sad… It makes me hurt so bad to see you again… Like needles and pins… People say “you’ve been making out okay… He’s in love don’t stand in his way,[1]” Diana sang as her body floated as Paul and Telly watched her.

“Why is she singing right now?”  Paul asked, looking at Telly and then over at Kayla as she shrugged her shoulders.  “I first thought she was doing that because she was connected to JT, but he’s here and he’s not singing.”

“It is possible that she could be channeling something else?”  Telly asked, looking at Diana strangely.

“Who knows, but right now, that’s not the biggest concern we have,” Kayla stated as she raised her hands quickly, using her powers to erect a shield to protect all of them as Brett, Amy, A’Mora, Hank and a strange young man appeared next to her.

“Where did they come from?”  Telly asked, looking at Kayla.  “Did you bring them here?”

“No, I have no idea where they came from and who’s that?”  Kayla asked as Celeste appeared next, her eyes crackling with energy as she flew towards Ryan.

“Don’t know what’s going on, but Malaphyion doesn’t look all that happy to be here!”  Paul yelled as JT turned quickly, moved out of the way and then waved his hand as the two young ladies that was fighting with Ryan were moved out of the way also.

“Playtime is over!”  Ryan screamed as he stood up quickly, his body glowing brightly as energy emanated all around.  “Fun and games are now over and done with!”

“Meaning what monster?”  JT asked as Necroloque appeared next to him.

“My boy, this isn’t going to end well at all,” Necroloque spoke just as Ryan gestured with his hand as energy zapped all of them, knocking everyone down to the ground.

“As I said, fun and games are over and done with,” Ryan said as he laughed.  “It’s now time that things progressed as planned.”

“We won’t let you,” JT weakly said as he tried to get up off the ground, but fell back down.  “I’m not going to let you…”

“Silly boy, you’ve already lost, there is no winning for your side,” Ryan said, laughing again.  “You should’ve listened the first time.”

“Good always triumphs over evil,” JT weakly said, falling back down to the ground.

“Tell me mirror, mirror… Mirror on the wall…  Thought you said…  You had the answer to it all…  Never told me I was gonna take a fall…  Tell me mirror, mirror… Mirror on the wall,[2]”  Diana sang as her body floated in place as the ground started to shake.

“Something’s wrong, something’s not right,” Necroloque spoke as his eyes sparkled with energy.  “No, the mirror!”

“What’s going on Uncle?”  JT weakly asked, still trying to get up off the ground as there was a flash of light near them.  “Please tell me that’s something to help us stop Ryan Hall!”

“Fool, I’m not going to be easily stopped.  With my powers and those combined with those of the mighty one, none of you pathetic fools can stop me!”  Ryan snapped as he waved his hand, projecting beams of energy all around as he continued laughing.

“Dear boy, you will be stopped!”  Ryan heard as he turned quickly, spotting an old woman near him.

“Oh come on, are you people serious?  You’ve resorted to sending little old ladies to fight your battles?”  Ryan asked, looking around as he shook his head and then laughed again.  “Is this some kind of joke?  You fools must be kidding me here!”

“Sometimes child, appearances can be deceiving,” the person spoke as Ryan shook his head as he held out his hand, projecting beams of energy at the woman as she held up her hand quickly.

“What is this!”  Ryan screamed.

“Mite of Spite!”  The woman screamed, holding up what looked like a book, using it to deflect the energy projected at her by Ryan.

“No, it can’t be,” JT weakly said, sighing as he shook his head.  “It can’t be her, what is she doing here Uncle?”

“This must be some kind of joke,” Ryan said, holding both hands up, projecting a continuous beam of energy at the woman.

“I can keep this up as long as you can child,” the woman said, continuing to hold up the book.  “I’ll do you one better though, Sash of Suffering!”

“It’s her!”  JT screamed, disappearing from the ground and then reappearing near the woman with scepter in hand.  “This is all your fault!  Silly woman, you didn’t think I noticed your psychic signature in Limbo, while I was there!  All of this is your doing, you evil witch!”

“No!  This isn’t my fault!”  The woman screamed as JT shook his head and then drew back with his scepter, preparing to strike her as Celeste aimed a beam of magical energy at him, knocking him down to the ground.

“No Psychic Warrior, leave her be, she’s helping us!  We can use all the help with can get right now, against this monster!”  Celeste screamed as Hank, A’Mora and Brett got up off the ground.

“Is that… Oh no, it’s his mom,” Hank said, shaking his head.

“How dare you Malaphyion!”  JT screamed as he got up off the ground and then waved his hand as his scepter flew from the ground, entering his hand.

“We don’t have time for this petty squabbling, that monster is trying to destroy this plane of existence!”  Celeste screamed as she was able to get up off the ground.

“This world is surely doomed now!”  JT snapped, shaking his head.  “Mother Divine’s actions here are not for our victory, but for her own!  Everything she does has a secret undertone to it!  She never does anything for others, always for one of her own plans!”

“Dude, that’s your mom,” Hank said as JT shook his head.

“She’s not my mother, she’s just a person I used to know,” JT stated as he floated towards Necroloque as Ryan zapped him with a magical energy beam, knocking him to the ground.

“Another score for me!”  Ryan exclaimed, laughing as JT lay on the ground.

“Sir, what is he talking about?”  A’Mora asked, using her powers quickly to deflect a stray beam of energy from Ryan.

“From what I can understand, he’s saying that the old woman there is responsible for all of this,” Paul said as he pressed a button on his armor.  “I don’t know the lady and all, but I can say, that she’s exhibiting some funky energy levels right now and they match the kid’s energy levels.”

“Meaning what Golem?”  A’Mora asked, looking around at Paul.

“Meaning that she’s using the same powers he is,” Paul answered as he pressed another button on his armor as his faceplate closed.  “We might want to heed Psychic Warrior’s words and take action against her!”

“I am not responsible for this!  I would never do anything to harm…” the woman said as JT got up off the ground and then shook his head.

“I’m really getting tired of people taking pop-shots at me,” JT said as he dusted off his clothes.  “You want to run that line on anyone else Mother Divine?”

“You can’t blame this on me!”  The woman screamed as she projected a beam of energy at Ryan, holding him against a wall.

“Yeah, like I can’t officially blame you for stealing my powers, having me kidnapped by people and having said people trying to kill me!”  JT snapped as his scepter glowed brightly in his hand.  “I’ve had enough of all of this!”

Between Here and There – The Limbo Dimension – A Cavern Far from Castle Limbo

“Come forth my liege and rejoin your most sacred, here in the chosen path,” a young man spoke as he stood in front of an altar, holding a book in one hand and a crystal-like orb in the other as the ground started to rumble and shake as the visual features of his face changed, making him look like a demonic creature and then returned back to normal.  “My liege, your followers await you here, waiting for your commands.  Come forth my liege and…”

The crystal-like orb that the young man held in his hand, glowed brightly as the ground continued to rumble and shake.  An eerie ambient light filled the cavern, enveloping the young man in a glow that made him seen transparent.  The light clearing, the shadows in various places in the area converged on one spot on the ground, taking the form of what looked like a man.

“Welcome back my liege,” the young man said with a smile as he placed the book on the altar and then stepped forward as the form of the man became clearer.  “I await your every command sire.”

“Where am I?  What am I doing here boy?”  The man asked, looking around the area.  “Is this place hell?”

“Somewhat my liege,” the young man answered as he bowed his head and knelt down on one knee, showing respect to the man.  “To answer your question, the chosen one of this realm has been weakened and you can now, with my aid, take back what was once yours.”

“Take back what was once mine?  What do you speak of boy?”  The man asked.

“You can regain control of this realm and the power that goes with it,” the young man replied, standing back up as the man turned slightly and then hauled off, smacking him across the face, knocking him down to the ground.  “My liege!”

“You stupid fool!  You disturbed my slumber for some silly ploy to try to take this realm from destiny, are you mad?”  The man asked as the young man looked up at him with wide eyes.  “You can’t go against destiny boy, you will always lose!  If that’s what you brought me back here for, it was a waste of your power, your time and the use of your misbegotten soul!”

“But my liege, there is a chance that this place…” the young man spoke as the man turned around, moving away from his original spot as his body started to fizzle, seeming to cause him pain.  “You’re not completely whole as of yet.”

“What the hell was that?”  The man asked, moving back to where he originally was as the dissipation of his body stopped.

“It seems you need more of my spirit to maintain cohesion of your body,” the young man said with a smile on his face.

“I would prefer you sent me back to…” the man spoke as the young man interrupted him.

“Not yet, we have things to do.  When I’m done with you, then I’ll return you back, since you don’t want to reclaim what should rightfully be yours,” the young man stated with a sly grin on his face.

“What are these things you want done?”  The man asked, looking at the young man strangely.

“Simple, you’re going to help me get all that I want,” the young man replied as he walked back over to the altar and picked up the book he previously had.  “You’re going to help me obtain the powers of this realm and to help me get rid some annoyances I call family.”

“How am I going to do that?”  The man asked as the young man smiled and then waved a hand at him as the man’s body glowed brightly, his skin-tone, hair and eye color and body mass changing.

“Now that you look like my father, you’re going to Earth and you’re going to take out a few do-gooders that think they can win the good fight,” the young man said with a smile as he flipped some pages in the book and then grabbed the crystal-like orb again as he motioned with the orb over the book as a strange portal-like phenomenon appeared in the area.  “Step through there and go do my bidding.  Once you’ve done what I want, I’ll give you what you want.”

“Fine,” the man said as he stepped through the portal, disappearing.

Jun 3, 1996 – A Yacht off the Coast of Atlantic Beach, FL

“Why are we hiding out on a damn boat?”  Paul asked as he and a few of his friends sat around a table on the yacht’s deck.  “We should be out there, kicking that kid’s ass, not sitting here, sulking or whatever the fuck it is we’re doing right now.”

“We’re not sulking, we’re taking a breather,” Telly responded as he looked at Paul strangely.  “What’s gotten into you man?  Since we’ve been here, you’ve been acting like—like a spoiled baby.”

“I’m not acting like a spoiled baby!  You guys are acting like wimps!”  Paul snapped as he stood up.  “We should be with the others, kicking ass, not here, sitting on our damn asses, doing nothing!”

“No, we should be right here, staying out of the way,” Telly stated as he shook his head.  “The big dawgs are handling things, let them do what they need to do.”

“It sounds like you’re calling the rest of us little pussies or something!”  Paul snapped as he stepped closer to Telly, getting closer to his face.  “I can handle my own in a damn fight!”

“Alright, cool it you two,” Brett said with a frown.

“No, I’m not about to cool anything!”  Paul snapped, pointing his finger at Brett.  “Are you on his side too?”

“I’m on nobody’s side in this,” Brett replied with a sigh.  “There’s no need for us getting all in an uproar, for no apparent reason.  We should be resting up and staying alert, just in case we’re needed.”

“That’s the point man, we are needed!  That kid is probably kicking their asses all over the damn place and here we are, sitting on our damn asses, doing nothing!”  Paul snapped as he shook his head and then turned his back to Telly and Brett.  “Hank, what do you think about all of this?  Do you think we should be here, hiding out or with the others, fighting?”

“I think I don’t want to get into the middle of that argument,” Hank replied as he got up from the table and then walked to the other side of the deck.

“What about you Tamara?  Benji?”  Paul spoke as he looked at two of his other friends.

“Paul, let this go dude,” Benjamin spoke, getting up and walking over to where Paul stood and patting him on the shoulder.  “The super magical people are doing the fighting right now.  Let them get things done and when they need us, they’ll call us.”

“It’s not all about damn magic and shit!”  Paul snapped as he shook his head and then sighed.

“Yes it is Paul,” Tamara stated as she stood up from the table.  “The others are fighting a creature of magic, which is something we can’t do, we don’t have magical powers.  What can our powers really accomplish against a being of pure magic?”

“We can still kick some ass,” Paul stated as Tamara shook her head.

“The right people for that sort of thing is fighting right now.  We’re doing our part in things, we’re waiting for them to call on us, if they need to buddy,” Tamara stated as she placed a hand on Paul’s shoulder.  “That in no way means that we’re weaker or lesser beings, it’s just that our powers wouldn’t be of any use against…”

“I understand what you’re saying and all, but I think all of us could be beneficial to the big picture,” Paul said as an alarm started buzzing on his armor.  “Something’s up guys, be on the lookout!”

“What is your armor detecting?”  Brett asked, moving closer to Paul.

“Something is heading this way, fast!”  Paul yelled as he pressed a button on his armor as he vanished.  “Scatter!”

“Evasive maneuvers guys!”  Brett yelled as all of them left the yacht in their own way.

A Few Miles Away

(<BOOOOOM>)

“Are you okay?”  Necroloque asked, landing on the ground next to where JT lay.

“I’m fine Uncle, don’t worry about me, get to Malaphyion, Phantasma and Illusioness!”  JT snapped as he faded away as Necroloque vanished.

“You pathetic fools!”  Ryan screamed as his body grew in size.  “I’m tired of this game playing!”

“We’re tired of it too!”  Celeste yelled as Kayla appeared next to her.  “Soul to soul, heart to heart, stop this thing, leaving no part!”

“Oh that’s never going to work!”  Kayla stated as she flew into the air, projecting beams of magical energy at Ryan’s body.  “We’ve been at this for only the Fate’s know how long.  We can’t keep going like this!”

“You have a point, but what can we do?”  Celeste asked as she looked around.  “I have no idea where this creep is getting so much power.”

“Something’s got to give,” JT stated as he appeared in the air next to Kayla.  “The kid isn’t that powerful and Celestus’ power shouldn’t be like this.  There has to be something fueling this kid’s powers, but what?”

“Your guess is good as mine,” Kayla stated as Ryan’s foot came crashing down to the ground, creating a dust storm, darkening the area.  “This is ridiculous!”

“Yeah, I’ll say it is,” JT responded as he shook his head as he waved his hand, using his powers, trying to clear the air around them to see.  “Uncle, I have a question?”

“What is it my boy?”  Necroloque asked.

“Is it possible that Ryan is drawing his powers and energy from Limbo?”  JT asked, looking at Necroloque strangely.  “Being that all of this started there, is it possible that…”

“It could be possible, but you would all be wrong!”  They all heard as JT turned around quickly.  “Mr. Hall!”

“Who?”  Necroloque asked, moving quickly to avoid the person that was near.

“You all will die now!”  The man yelled as his eyes crackled with energy.  “Starting with you, the enemy of my enemy!”

“Say what!”  JT snapped, holding his hand up, using his powers to create a shield of magical energy, deflecting the man’s attack, but barely.  “Mr. Hall, what has gotten into you?”

“You shall die now!”  The man yelled, lunging at JT again, striking his shield with a beam of energy, causing it to ricochet and strike Celeste.

“Owwww!”  Celeste screamed out, her body falling towards the ground as Necroloque took off to catch her.

“Mr. Hall, I don’t know what’s going on here, but you need to stop!”  JT screamed, holding up both of his hands in front of the man.  “I… I didn’t know you had powers.”

“Not your place to know!”  The man yelled as his hands glowed brightly with energy as he started attacking JT again, striking his shield as sparks flew in various directions.

“What’s going on here?  Who is this guy?”  A’Mora asked, looking at the man and then at JT as she gestured with her hand, using her powers to wrap the man up in eldritch chains.

“If I’m not mistaken, this is Mitchell Hall, Rebekah Hall’s husband,” JT stated as A’Mora’s eyes widened as she looked at the man strangely.

“Wait a minute, I thought Diana and Donna’s father was dead,” A’Mora stated with a frown on her face.

“I thought so too, but maybe things aren’t as they seem in the land of magic,” JT stated as he turned quickly, using his powers to deflect an attack from Ryan.  “Now we’re under a two-pronged attack!”

“Yeah, is this crap going to get any better?”  Celeste asked as she and Necroloque walked over to where JT and A’Mora stood.

“Until we find a good way to stop Ryan, Celestus and now his father, I don’t think so,” JT stated as he shook his head and then sighed.

To Be Continued…

[1] Song Excerpt = Hurt So Bad by Linda Ronstadt

[2] Song Excerpt = Mirror, Mirror by Diana Ross

Click here for more!

Limbo Uprising – Chapter 4

Chapter 4 — This Mortal Coil Undone

Jun 1, 1996 – Jacksonville, FL – A Few Miles from the Jacksonville Landing

“Help!”  Amy screamed as she struggled to get away from the tree that held her tight.  “I can’t believe I’m calling for help because a damn tree has me trapped!  How embarrassing is this shit here!”

“Calm down miss,” someone spoke as Amy looked around.

“Who’s there?  I can’t see you!”  Amy screamed, struggling with the tree as she zapped a few of the branches with magical energy beams from her eyes.

“You—you have super powers,” the person spoke, moving back from the tree.  “Are—are you a superhero or something?”

“Something like that, I just don’t seem so super right now,” Amy stated as she zapped a few more branches, trying to free herself as Brett appeared in a blur.

“Ames, are you okay?”  Brett asked as he noticed she wasn’t alone.

“I’m fine as can be now Speedster,” Amy replied as she zapped a few more branches and then fell from the tree as a loud booming noise could be heard again as she turned and looked in the direction that Brett had just come from.  “Oh no, that’s not good.”

“What’s not good?”  Brett asked, looking at Amy strangely.

“What was just said isn’t good,” Amy stated as Brett looked at her as if she was crazy.

“Nothing was said, it was just a loud noise,” Brett stated as Amy shook her head.  “Are you saying that loud noise is actually something being said?”

“Yes, it’s demonic magic,” Amy stated as she sighed.  “Where is Psychic Warrior?”

“The last I saw, before Illusion sent me away, against my wishes, he was fighting with the creature thing in the river,” Brett stated as he looked towards the mall.

“Could one of you tell me what’s going on around here?”  The person asked.

“Who are you buddy?”  Brett asked, looking at the young man.

“My—wait a minute, who are you?”  The young man asked.

“I’m Speedster and this is ah… Well, what is your name now?”  Brett asked, looking at Amy strangely.

“Phantasma,” Amy stated with a small smile as the young man frowned.

“I’m Mack,” the young man replied as the ground started to rumble as Brett and Amy looked around as things got dark around them.  “Why is it dark out, is there an eclipse today?”

“No, there wasn’t one scheduled,” Brett sarcastically replied as the young man grabbed a hold of Amy’s hand when the loud booming noise happened again.

“That thing is trying to pull Limbo to Earth,” Amy spoke as Brett looked at her.  “The way things are starting to look, it’s succeeding.”

“What do you mean by pull Limbo to Earth?”  Brett asked, looking at Amy strangely.

“I mean, that creature that JT is fighting is trying to turn this place into Limbo, so that it’s so-called brethren can reign here, as well as in Limbo,” Amy stated as there was a bright flash of light as an image of JT’s face was displayed in the clouds.

‘Everyone, listen to me, this is not a game and it certainly isn’t a dream,’ JT telepathically broadcasted his voice.  ‘A demonic creature called Celestus is trying to turn our world into a place of evil and darkness.  I need your help… I need all of your help to fight this evil!’

“How are we going to help that guy, fight a demonic creature?”  Mack asked, looking between Amy and Brett, still holding onto Amy’s hand.

“Do you even have any powers?”  Brett asked, looking at Mack strangely.  “Why are you still even here?  Why haven’t you gotten away from here?”

“I’m still here, because I believe I can help you guys out,” Mack replied as the loud booming noise was heard again.  “That’s really getting to be annoying.”

“Tell me about it,” Brett stated as he shook his head.

“Speedster, now isn’t the time for the… No, he’s not going to win this battle,” Amy stated as Brett looked at her.  “He’s down!”

“Who’s down?”  Mack asked, looking at Amy closely.

“We have to go, you get yourself to safety,” Amy stated as she grabbed Brett’s hand as the two of them vanished as Mack looked around to see that Hank’s body had disappeared also.

“I don’t know what just happened, but I am not going to leave here, when I can use my talents to help others,” Mack said as he looked around.  “It looks like things are going down at the riverbank.  I guess that’s where I’m headed next.”

Between Here and There – The Limbo Dimension – Castle Limbo

“Listen to me woman, are you behind what’s going on?”  Necroloque asked, standing in front of a mirror in the castle’s catacombs, looking at a reflection of Mother Divine. 

“What are you asking me for?”  Mother Divine asked with a smirk on her face.

“You seem to be the new prankster around here all of a sudden,” Necroloque stated as he sighed and then shook his head.  “Some child popped up here, in this castle, a place he’s not supposed to be able to get into, because he’s not part of our bloodline, but yet he was able to and while he was here, he cracked the guardian mirror and freed Celestus from his prison.  Now Celestus is somewhere on Earth, free, doing only God knows what.”

“And what does that have to do with me brother?”  Mother Divine asked.

“How did that child, who is not part of our bloodline, get into Limbo or this castle?”  Necroloque asked.  “Someone in here, had to let him in.”

“I’m sure there’s another answer,” Mother Divine stated as she shook her head.

“That child had to be let in here, he isn’t part of our bloodline.  Something like that wouldn’t be part of the bloodline, that’s a travesty.   From the images I saw, he and his family tried to kill our sister to keep her from giving birth to our nephew.  So, do you want to tell me how that child got into this place?”  Necroloque asked, watching the reflection of Mother Divine.  “That child and his family are our enemies, they have no way of actually getting into this place without assistance.  So, the only one I can think of that gave them that assistance is you.”

“I assisted no one in getting into here, I am trying to get myself out of here,” Mother Divine replied as Necroloque shook his head.

“You want to get out of here, fine, you’re out,” Necroloque stated as he punched the mirror, shattering it as Mother Divine screamed out as the shattered mirror pieces hit the floor.

“Nooooo!  What have you done?”  Mother Divine’s voice could be heard.

“You wanted to be out, I’m sending you out,” Necroloque stated as the shattered pieces of the mirror started to glow and then the mirror reformed itself.  “Since she wasn’t any help, I think I need to return to Earth and help my boy out.  I think there is something greater than all of us going on here.”

Jun 2, 1996 – Downtown Jacksonville, FL – Roof of the Omni Hotel

“Are you okay JT?”  Tara asked, flying down to where JT landed.  “What’s happening?  What is that damn thing doing?”

“It’s trying to turn this realm into Limbo,” JT replied as he got up from the floor.  “Celestus wants this place to resemble Limbo, so he and others like him can be here.”

“Why are they trying to get here?”  Tara asked as A’Mora, Brett, Hank and Amy appeared.

“It seems, this place has what demons and demonphages of Limbo want,” JT stated as he sighed.

“What is it that they want here?”  Brett asked as he looked over at JT.

“The same thing Chaos wanted,” JT stated as he shook his head.  “They want to have their greatest emotional wants granted.  They can’t get that without a damn soul and here, there are tons of souls to choose from.”

“What!”  Brett snapped as he threw his hands up.  “Those mofos are trying to get here so they can chow down on the souls of normal people, is that what you’re telling us?”

“Yeah, that’s what they want,” JT stated as he sighed.  “As long as this realm remains the way it is, they can’t freely walk this plane, but if Celestus can complete the spell he’s trying to cast, this place will go up in smoke and every mortal around here will become demon lunch.”

“Oh that’s just fucking great, thanks a lot JT!”  Brett screamed as JT’s eyes widened as he reacted with his telekinetic powers and then slammed Brett into the wall.

“JT!”  Tara screamed as she grabbed him by the arm.

“I’m not going to stand here and allow him to blame me for this!”  JT snapped as he pushed Tara backwards.  “He want to blame someone, he can blame Ryan Hall or Mother Divine, but not me!”

“Who is Ryan Hall?”  A’Mora asked, looking over at JT strangely as she assisted Brett up off the floor.

“He seems to be a very sketchy character that tried to kill me as a baby,” JT stated as A’Mora and Amy looked at him strangely.

“Wait a minute, this person tried to kill you when you were a baby?”  A’Mora asked.

“Well he and his family tried to kill my mother, to keep her from having me, but it’s still the same damn concept,” JT stated as he glared at A’Mora.  “Had it not been for me and my uncle, they might have succeeded in getting rid of me.  Hell, the way things are, maybe I should’ve let that fool and his family kill me, then I wouldn’t have to constantly deal with the fallout from you guys!”

“Come on JT, don’t be that way,” Tara stated with a frown as there was a loud booming noise.

“Great, that fucker has started again.  He must’ve found what he was looking for,” JT stated as he flew up into the air as his body emanated magical energy as he streaked through the sky, flying as fast as he could as he made a connection with Celestus, setting the sky on fire.  “Stop!”

// You pathetic fool, you can’t stop the righteous of this world, // Celestus spoke as JT shook his head, spun around and then threw a ball of magical energy at the creature.

“You are not the righteous of this world,” JT stated as he reached behind his back as his scepter appeared.  “Saturn!”

(<PAMPH>)

“No!”  Necroloque screamed as he appeared behind JT, grabbed his scepter and then flew away with it.  “I have to put a stop to this madness.”

“Uncle, what are you doing?”  JT asked, flying towards Necroloque as he held out his hand as a magical energy barrier surrounded him, blocking JT from getting near him.  “What are you doing?  Give me my scepter back!”

“No my boy, it’s time that I did something with this, that should’ve been done a long while ago,” Necroloque stated as he closed his eyes and then held the scepter high above his head.  “Necroloque!  Soul’s Desire!”

“What did you just do?”  JT asked as the scepter disappeared from Necroloque’s hand and then reappeared in the sky above the both of them.  “What’s happening?  What did you command my scepter to do?”

“You’ll see,” Necroloque responded as the whole area was bathed in a gold-colored light as JT fell to the ground, hitting it like a sack of potatoes being tossed away.

“What in the hell is going on?”  Tara asked, flying closer to Necroloque as the light hit her and then she fell to the ground also.

“I just hope in this dream, my boy doesn’t end up in the hospital, that would be a nightmare to him and now I want him and his friends to have a beautiful dream,” Necroloque stated as he floated towards Celestus.  “Now it’s just the two of us monster.  Let’s do this.”

// Do you really think your puny magicks can compare to mine?  You don’t have the Sword of Legions to help you imprison me this time, // Celestus spoke as Necroloque projected a beam of magical energy at the creature, knocking it backwards a bit.

“I don’t need a toy to deal with you Celestus,” Necroloque stated as his hand crackled with energy.  “I am the sovereign supreme magical being of Clan Chosen, I am the power that can imprison you.”

(<PAMPH>)

“But you won’t imprison him!”  Ryan screamed as he appeared in a burst of light behind Necroloque, thrusting forward with a dagger, stabbing Necroloque through the chest.  “I finally found you my lord.  How may I serve you?”

“Fool!  What have you done?”  Necroloque screamed as magical energy emanated around his body.  “You don’t know what you’re doing!”

“I know pretty well what I am doing,” Ryan stated as he grabbed Necroloque by the neck, holding him tight.  “I am not going to allow you to destroy my master.”

“Your master has already been destroyed, same as you,” Necroloque stated as Ryan shook his head and then threw his body down to the ground.  “Owwww!”

“Master, I am here for you.  What should I do for you?”  Ryan asked as he reached out his hand to Celestus, making contact with the creature as the two started to glow with magical energy, their bodies becoming one.  “Yes, the power, I feel the power.”

“What have you done child?  You’ve doomed us all!”  Necroloque screamed as energy projected from his mouth, setting things near him on fire.  “Damn it, I must get myself under control before I destroy this plane, like they intend to.”

“My master and I are now one, what he wants, I want,” Ryan stated as he moved towards Necroloque.  “You may call me Devastation from this point on.”

“I will continue to call you a damn fool,” Necroloque stated as he smiled and then raised his hand, projecting a beam of magical energy in Ryan’s face, knocking him backwards to the ground.  “I’m not going to let you and your so-called master destroy this plane of existence!”

“You can’t win this,” Ryan stated as he got up from the ground.  “This has already been prophesized by the ancients!  This world will be ours!”

“This world already has owners and they are already here,” Necroloque stated as he gestured with his hand as the wound on his chest started to repair itself.  “You are no match for me child.  You were no match for Legacy Saturn, how would you be a match for me?”

“With the Master’s powers added to my own, I am more powerful than your whole collective,” Ryan stated as he waved his hand in Necroloque’s direction, using his powers to knock him backwards to the ground.  “I am a match for your pathetic attempts of using magic, so don’t waste my time here.”

“Child, you have a lot to learn,” Necroloque stated as he waved his hand, using his powers to create an eldritch shield around himself, deflecting Ryan’s use of magic against him.

“How dare you stand before one that has mastered all three powers of the so-called mighty one!”  Ryan screamed, lashing out with his powers, striking Necroloque’s shield, almost shattering it.

“Oh Papa Toony, we got a loony,” Necroloque stated, shaking his head as he held up both of his hand, maintaining his eldritch shield as he projected magical beams of energy from his eyes.  “There’s something wrong with you child.”

“There’s nothing wrong with me you vile cretin!”  Ryan snapped as he got closer to Necroloque, striking at his shield.  “There seems to be something wrong with you!”

“There’s something wrong with you child,” Necroloque stated as he vowed his head as duplicates of himself appeared around Ryan as the original disappeared.  “Child, thinking you have mastered the powers of the Mighty One, you must be out of your mind!”

“My Master mastered those powers long ago,” Ryan stated as Necroloque shook his head.  “Resurrection, he is back from the dead.”

“Your so-called master was never dead, he was just imprisoned elsewhere,” Necroloque stated.

“He mastered seeing into the future,” Ryan stated as he lashed out with his hand at Necroloque, striking him with magical energy.  “How did you think I was able to figure out where the great power would be?”

“You haven’t figured out where the great power is,” Necroloque stated as he struck Ryan with a bolt of magical energy, knocking him down to the ground.  “It seems there is a misconception about what the great power is.”

“There is no misconception fool, that lazy nephew of yours has the great power!”  Ryan screamed as Necroloque shook his head.  “He should’ve never been privy to that power!”

“Think what you must child,” Necroloque spoke, using his powers to wrap Ryan up in eldritch chains.  “I am not going to allow you to continue walking this plane of existence, thinking, what you are thinking.  You are totally mad.”

“I am not mad, I am confident in my Master, your soon to be savior!”  Ryan screamed as he projected beams of magical energy at Necroloque, enveloping him in an eldritch cage.  “This is over and done with!”

“Yes it is,” Necroloque stated as his hand crackled with energy.  “Ankh…”

“We have no time for your parlor tricks,” Ryan stated as he gestured with his hands as the eldritch cage shrunk in size.

“Ankh!  Egyptian Cruxata!”  Necroloque screamed as his body glowed brightly as energy emanated all around, causing the eldritch cage around his body to dissipate.

“No!”  Ryan screamed out as Celeste Preston appeared in a burst of light.

“Maybe I can be of some assistance to you,” Celeste spoke as she stepped over to Necroloque.  “Where is the Psychic Warrior?  I am not able to…”

“I put him and his friends into a beautiful dream,” Necroloque replied as he snapped his fingers as his costume changed.  “I didn’t need them getting involved in things, so I put them some please else, to keep them all busy.”

“I think it would be best if you undo what you did to them,” Celeste stated as she looked around.  “This child isn’t going to stop, mainly due to his soul isn’t the one at play here, but that of another.”

“He merged himself with a centuries old demon called Celestus,” Necroloque stated as Celested nodded her head.

“I know what he did, but you sir, need to undo what you did to the others,” Celeste stated.  “They are needed here, not where they are.”

“They have no magical might that would make an actual difference here,” Necroloque stated as Celeste shook her head.

“That’s where you are wrong,” Celeste stated as she gestured with her hands as JT, Amy, A’Mora, Hank, Brett, Tyler and the young man named Mack appeared.  “Who might you be?”

“What just happened to me?  Where am I?”  Mack asked, looking around and then looked at Celeste strangely.

“I guess I am responsible for you being transported here,” Celeste replied as she stepped closer to Mack.  “How are you mixed up in this matter?”

“I don’t know,” Mack replied as he looked at Celeste strangely.  “Strange clothes you have lady.  Are you going to a costume party or something?”

“No,” Celeste replied as she shook her head.  “My ambition now is to figure out why you are here, amongst them.  Do you know these people?”

“Not personally,” Mack responded as he looked around again.  “I saw a tree grab the lady over there.  The darn thing was trying to eat her, like she was some kind of meal for it or something.”

“A tree tried to eat her,” Celeste spoke as she looked at Mack and then back to Necroloque.  “It seems that things on the mortal plane has come undone.”

“Yes, they have and if things don’t get back to normal soon, this plane of existence will cease to exist,” Necroloque stated as he stepped over to where Celeste and Mack were.  “We don’t have time for…”

“No sir, we have no time for games,” Celeste stated as she looked at Necroloque closely.  “Please, use his scepter and undo what you did to them.  Wake them up from where you put them.”

“It’s not that simple,” Necroloque stated with a frown on his face.  “They have to wake up from the dream on their own.”

“What!  We need their help now, this plague isn’t just going to go away,” Celeste stated as she pointed her finger in Necroloque’s face.  “There has to be a way for you to undo what you’ve done to them!”

“The only thing that can wake them up from their beautiful dream is them,” Necroloque spoke as Celeste shook her head.

To Be Continued…

Limbo Uprising – Chapter 3

Chapter 3 – Disturbing Behavior

Jun 1, 1996 – Jacksonville, FL – The Jacksonville Landing

“So, why are we here at the mall again?”  Hank asked as he, A’Mora, Brett and Tyler walked around, window browsing at different stores.

“Dang man, we talked about this yesterday,” Tyler stated as he shook his head.

“Yeah, are you really that much of a scatter-brain or what?”  A’Mora asked, looking at Hank as if he were crazy.  “We’re here to find a birthday present for JT.”

“This is really a big waste of time you know,” Hank stated as he sighed and then stopped in front of a store, cupping his hands up to the glass, admiring a clothing item.  “That looks nice, I would love that for myself.”

“What are you looking at?”  Tyler asked, stepping up besides Hank.

“That,” Hank replied as body shimmered with light, a sign that he was using his morphing powers.

“Are you looking at the cool jacket over there, the black leather one?”  Tyler asked as he nudged Hank in the side.

“Yeah, I am,” Hank replied as he looked over at A’Mora and Brett.  “We could be doing something else with our time, instead of being here, looking for a birthday gift.”

“Is there something you would rather be doing than hanging out with us?”  A’Mora asked, glaring at Hank.

“There are tons of things I could be doing right now,” Hank sarcastically replied.  “And none of those things involve looking for birthday gifts for people that haven’t been around.”

“Man you need to lighten up a bit,” Tyler stated with a sigh.

“Why?  No one has heard from JT in months,” Hank stated as he sighed and then folded his arms across his chest.

“Because we haven’t heard from him, it doesn’t mean that he’s not our friends and that we forgot his birthday,” A’Mora stated as she rolled her eyes, following Hank’s line of sight, noticing that he was eyeing some guys across the way.  “When JT returns from wherever it is he is, I want him to see that things are still the same and nothing has changed.”

“Ha, things have changed A’Mora, but in a way you are right about that.  We can all hope for him to return and things be normal, but that’s just wishful thinking.  In reality, we all know that nothing has really changed.  This is JT we’re talking about.  He does the same thing all the time.  When he’s pissed off, he runs off to Limbo and no one sees or hears from him for a while, like now,” Hank explained as A’Mora shook her head.

“If memory serves, had you not said the things you did a few months ago, he wouldn’t have left the way he did,” A’Mora stated, pointing her finger in Hank’s direction as her hair changed a lighter shade of purple as he sighed and then glared at her.

“Hey, you two need to cut it out, you’re drawing unneeded attention,” Brett stated as others started to gather round them.

“Babe, I didn’t start this, but for you, I’ll let this drop,” A’Mora stated as she turned to face him.  “I wonder would JT like that jacket.  Brett, what do you think about the jacket?  Do you think he’d like it?”

“I don’t know,” Brett replied with a frown.  “I’m not in the know about what he likes and don’t like.  Why didn’t you just ask Drew to come with us?”

“I didn’t ask Drew, because he’s not feeling things right now,” A’Mora stated as she looked at Brett strangely.  “For a telepath and being the sibling of a twin, you sure are clueless about your brother’s emotions.”

“I’m not clueless about his emotions ‘Mora, I try not to meddle in his life, like others do,” Brett stated as A’Mora shook her head and then rolled her eyes.

“I don’t see it as meddling, if you’re trying to help him cope with what happened in the past,” A’Mora stated as Hank sighed and then rolled his eyes as he walked passed his friends.

“When you two are done squabbling about mundane things, I’ll be on the second level, in the arcade, having some fun,” Hank stated as he walked towards the escalators.

“Let’s just pick up something and go,” Brett stated as he sighed.  “I’m in no mood for being in this place.”

“Fine, we’ll get him the jacket, get it wrapped and then we’ll leave,” A’Mora stated as she walked into the store, went over to the display case and waved at the store sales person to get their attention.

The Second Level – The Food Court

Hank’s POV

What in the hell was A’Mora thinking, tricking us into going shopping for a birthday present for JT.  Hell, she could’ve just used her magic and zapped up a present for him.  There wasn’t really a need for this public outing of sorts.  I would’ve been fine, just lazing around the complex in my room.  Hell, he’s been gone for months, what makes her think he’s coming back for a damn present for his birthday?

Damn, he’s been gone for a few months and it’s like nothing’s really changed among any of us.  There’s just too much damn drama.  When he’s around, there’s drama around us.  Hell, he’s gone and there’s still drama.  How are we going to stop all the damn squabbling?  I used to think he was the cause of all of our problems, but now that he’s not here, what’s really the cause?  He’s not here for an argument to be started, so maybe something else is the fault.

“Hank, didn’t you hear me?”  Tyler asked, walking up behind Hank.

“Ah no—no I didn’t hear you Ty, what’s on your mind?”  Hank asked, looking at Tyler strangely.

“I asked did you want to get something to eat first,” Tyler stated as Hank shrugged his shoulders and then looked around.

“Okay, sure, why not,” Hank said as he looked over at one of the vendors.  “I could go for a burger and some fries, maybe some pepper steak and rice.”

“Both sounds nice,” Tyler stated as he walked towards the food court.  “I think I’ll get me a couple slices of pizza.”

“Pizza sounds good too,” Hank responded as screams could be heard nearby as people started running around them.  “Oh come on, I didn’t get to eat.”

“Eating can wait, it sounds like something is going on,” Tyler stated as he rushed towards the level railing.  “Something’s happening in the river.”

“What’s happening in the river?”  Hank asked.

“It looks like there’s a giant hole in the river and all the water’s being sucked into it,” Tyler replied as Hank joined him at the railing.

“Man, that looks like some freaky…” Hank started as A’Mora and Brett appeared in a burst of light next to them.

“We have to get over there, something of a magical nature is happening,” A’Mora stated as she pointed out at the water.

“Oh that’s just great,” Hank stated as he shook his head.  “Would you happen to know who could be behind that?  Is it Setterwynd?  Tallisman?  Halloween?  Is this really happening right now?”

“No, I don’t sense Setterwynd, Tallisman or Halloween around here,” A’Mora stated as she shook her head.  “This magic is somewhat ancient, but it’s also new.”

“Meaning what woman?”  Hank asked as A’Mora glared at him.

“It means that someone new to the craft is using old magic,” A’Mora stated as more screams could be heard as more people are observed running away from the riverbank.

“Do you have your communicator on you?”  Brett asked, looking over at Hank.

“No, I left it back at the complex,” Hank replied as he glared at Brett.  “What was the point of bringing it to the mall, we weren’t looking for something to happen.”

“But here it is, we need it to call in the others,” Brett stated as he shook his head.

“But yet, you’re a member of the team, just like I am, yet you don’t have your communicator either,” Hank stated as he shook his head.  “To solve this problem, A’Mora, just teleport me back to the complex, I’ll send out a distress signal to the others and then I’ll come back here.”

“Works for me,” A’Mora stated as she gestured with her hands as energy enveloped Hank and he was gone.  “Now the three of us need to go out there and see what we can discover.”

“That’s our biggest problem right there,” Brett stated.  “When we go being nosey, trying to discover something, we end up getting our noses cut off, di…”

“Honey hush up, this is no time to be arguing,” A’Mora stated as she touched Brett’s shirt as his clothing changed into his costume as her hair color changed and she was wearing her costume.  “Tyler, do you want me to change your clothes?”

“I’m fine with what I got on,” Tyler responded as he pulled some shades from his pocket and put them on.  “I’m ready to go.  Let’s go be nosey.”

A Few Miles Away – The Roof of a Nearby Hotel

(<PAMPH>)

“Where are we?”  Tara asked as she and JT emerged from the portal.

“Apparently, we’re in Jacksonville,” JT replied as the light faded away from their bodies.  “I’m sensing strange magical harmonics around here.  I’m guessing Celestus is nearby and he’s responsible for what I’m sensing.”

“What about the kid?”  Tara asked as she looked around.

“I can’t sense Ryan around here at all,” JT stated as he sighed and then spun around in a circle as his costume changed into his regular costume.  “But we do have some old friends near.”

“We have some old friends near?  Who?”  Tara asked.

“A’Mora, Brett and Tyler are near Celestus,” JT stated as he gestured with his hand as a portal opened.  “Come on, let’s go get them out of harm’s way.”

“Naw, I think I’ll fly on my own,” Tara stated as she cut her eyes at JT.  “I’ve seen way too many demons, traveling with you is almost a heart attack in the making.”

“Those things can’t hurt you and you know that,” JT stated as he sighed again.

“They may not be able to hurt me, but just the sight of some of them is a bit too much to deal with,” Tara stated as she jumped into the air, taking flight as JT sighed and gestured with his hand again as the portal disappeared as he jumped into the air, taking flight also.

“The sooner we get to Celestus and stop what he’s planning, the sooner we can figure out what’s going on with the Ryan kid and what he has up his sleeve,” JT stated as he and Tara streaked through the sky, flying towards the river.

“Look, it’s Wonder Woman!”  Someone screamed as Tara sighed as she landed on the deck of a yacht that was anchored in the river.

“I’ll be glad when people call me Amazon, I am not Wonder Woman,” Tara stated as she sighed.  “It really hits a damn nerve when I get compared to some white chick on TV, that I don’t even look like.”

“I know Tara, but you have to remember, when I gave you the powers you have, I envisioned you as Wonder Woman and others see you that way as well,” JT stated as Tara shook her head.

“Don’t get me wrong bro, but I love saving lives and kicking ass, but I don’t like being idolized as some comic book, cartoon character you idolized as a kid when you were growing up,” Tara stated as she looked out at the water.

“You idolized her too, so come off it girl,” JT stated as he floated above the yacht, paying attention to the hole in the middle of the river that the water was flowing into.  “There seems to be a portal on the river’s floor that’s sucking the water into it.”

“Where is all that water going?”  Tara asked.

“I don’t know,” JT replied as there was a flash of light near him as A’Mora appeared on a floating disc with Brett next to her.

“Hi stranger, long time no see,” A’Mora stated as she smiled at JT.  “Do you happen to know what’s going on here?”

“Not everything,” JT responded as Tyler flew up to where he and the others were.

“Hey buddy, long time no see,” Tyler spoke, waving at JT.

“Hi,” JT replied as Brett cleared his throat.

“What’s going on here?  ‘Mora said she sensed a magical presence here.  Now that you’re here, are you the presence she sensed?”  Brett asked.

“Probably not,” JT replied as he sighed and then shook his head.  “Look, I’m here to find out what’s going on and when I do that, I’ll be out of you guys’ hair.”

“There’s no need for that kind of talk,” Tyler stated with a frown.  “We all just need to sit…”

“No time for that,” JT stated as he flew higher into the sky, putting distance between himself and the others.

“That went great,” Tyler stated as he shook his head.

“Well considering how things ended when we last saw him, I don’t think he’s come to terms with all that’s happened,” A’Mora stated as she looked down, noticing Tara on the deck of the yacht.  “Wonder Woman, what are you doing down there?”

“The name’s Amazon and I was just admiring the scenery,” Tara replied as she flew up to the others.  “My name is Amazon, remember it.”

“But we’re so used to calling you Wonder Woman,” Tyler stated as Tara glared at him.

“Why do you want to call me that?  Do I resemble a white woman on TV that fights crime?”  Tara asked, watching Tyler as he held up his hands and floated backwards.  “I didn’t think so.  Amazon is my name, don’t’ forget it.”

“Yes ma’am,” Tyler stated as A’Mora shook her head.

“You do know that everyone sees you as the character on TV, right?”  A’Mora asked as Tara looked at her strangely.

“What do you mean?”  Tara asked.

“When you are Amazon, people don’t see you for you, they see the image of Wonder Woman.  They don’t see you as the strong black woman you are, they see you as the white woman that used to be on TV,” A’Mora explained as Tara cocked her head to the side and then punched her hand into her fist.

“That’s what he meant when he told me that no one would ever see my true identity,” Tara stated as she sighed.  “When this is over, I’ll have to have him remove that from me.”

“Good luck with that,” A’Mora stated as there was a loud booming sound as they all covered their ears as JT and a tall creature came into view.

“You must stop!”  JT screamed as he floated in the air, projecting beams of magical energy at the creature.  “What you’re speaking will destroy this world!”

“What’s going on?”  Tyler asked as there was another loud booming noise as they had to cover their ears again.  “What in the hell is going on?  What’s that damn noise?”

“Stop damn it!  You’re using magic that shouldn’t be used on this plane of existence!”  JT screamed as he continued projecting beams of magical energy at the creature as there was yet another loud booming noise.

“What’s going on?” Brett asked as he looked at A’Mora.

“That creature is speaking in an ancient tongue, one that could destroy us all,” A’Mora replied as she kissed Brett’s lips and then gestured at him as he disappeared.  “Now that I’ve sent him away, I don’t want him to see what I can really do with my powers.”

“Stop it now!”  JT screamed as he flew higher into the sky as he looked around and then stopped.  “I’m not going to let you continue what you’re doing monster!”

“How can I help you with this?”  Tyler asked as he flew up towards JT quickly.

“You can’t help here Stryker,” JT replied as he created a ball of magical energy and then threw the energy ball at the creature.  “You need to leave, get as far away from here as you can.”

“You’re here, fighting this thing buddy, I am not leaving,” Tyler stated as JT shook his head.

“There’s nothing you can really do here, you have no magical powers,” JT stated as he created another ball of magical energy and then threw it at the creature as there was another loud booming noise.

“Whatever that thing is, I’m not going to let you face it alone,” Tyler stated as he grabbed JT’s hand, stopping him from moving away.  “I’m here to help you buddy, I am your friend.”

“Friend or not, you have nothing to help in this matter,” JT stated in a harsh tone as Tyler frowned.  “Again, you need to leave here quickly.”

“I am not going to leave,” Tyler stated as JT shook his head and then gestured in his direction as some strange energy wrapped around Tyler and then he vanished.

On Land – The Jacksonville Landing

“Hey Sarah, when did the Landing get another level to it?”  A young man asked his friend as they stood on the sidewalk in front of the mall.

“It hasn’t gotten another level to it, why do you ask?”  The young woman asked as the young man pointed at the building, noticing that it was growing in size.  “Oh my God, what in the hell is going on with that?”

“I don’t know, but I don’t think that’s supposed to be happening.  I think we should be going now,” the young man stated, grabbing the young woman’s hand as he drug her towards the parking lot across the street as Hank landed in front of the mall.

“Onyx here in front of the Landing and things don’t look right,” Hank stated, pressing a button on his communicator.  “I sent out a distress signal to the others, but so far, I don’t think the signal is getting through to anybody else.”

= The signal is getting through, there seems to be a barrier around Jacksonville, keeping others out. =

“A’Mora, do you think that’s JT’s doing?”  Hank asked as he shook his head.

= It could be his doing, but no one has established that just yet. =

“How are we going to stop this thing without help?”  Hank asked as there was a strange phenomenon near him as Amy Ramsey appeared next to him.  “Amy, what are you doing here?”

“I don’t know what’s going on.  One minute I was at home, minding my own business and the next, I’m here, seeing you,” Amy replied with a frown as she looked around.  “What’s happening that brought me away from my calm and peaceful existence?”

“Something of a magical nature,” Hank answered as Amy looked at him and then shook her head.

“So I guess me being here right now is JT’s doing.  I guess I’m here to be Phantasma,” Amy stated as her hand sparkled with energy as her clothing changed and she’s wearing her costume.

“Look out, that damn thing is alive!”  Someone screamed behind Amy and Hank.  “It’s trying to get us!”

“What the hell is that?”  Hank asked as he turned around to see what looked like a power pole grabbing people of the street.  “Amy, are you seeing the same thing I’m seeing?”

“Yeah, I see it,” Amy replied as she sighed and then leapt into the air, taking flight as she headed towards the people that were in the grasp of the power pole.  “So apparently, what I can gather, inanimate objects are coming to life because of all the ambient magical energy around in the air.”

“Yeah, whatever you say,” Hank said as he grabbed the pole, trying to hold it in place while Amy got the people from its grasp.  “You might want to work a bit quicker.”

“Is there something wrong Onyx?”  Amy asked.

“I don’t know, but something seems to be zapping my strength.  I feel like I haven’t had sleep in days,” Hank replied as his visage changed, revealing his normal, everyday appearance.  “Damn it, I’ve changed back to myself.”

“Are you able to change again?”  Amy asked, looking at Hank strangely.

“I don’t know, I feel so weak,” Hank responded as he fell to the ground, passing out.

“That’s not good,” Amy said as she waved her hand at the pole, using her powers to slash through different sections of the pole as the people held in the pole’s grasp fell to the ground.  “Run all of you, get away from here!”

= Phasing Girl, what’s your twenty? =

“I’m down by the bus depot, I’m trying to save people that are being dragged off by inanimate objects,” Amy spoke as she pressed a button on the communicator on her belt.  “Onyx is down, I’m going to need some help out here, quickly!”

= I’m on my way, keep your eyes open for me. =

“Okay, Brett, I’ll be looking for you,” Amy said as she looked around as she stood there as a tree grew arms and then grabbed her, trying to hold her in place.  “What the hell!  Get the fuck off of me, you fucking tree!  This can’t be happening!”

To Be Continued…

The Awakening – Chapter 16

Chapter 16 —End Game 

Washington, D.C. – The Pentagon – The Restricted Prison Cell Area

JT’s POV

Damn it, my head feels like someone used it to play a damn drum solo out on.  Did I get my ass beat or what?  What in the hell is going on?  Where in the hell am I?  The last thing I remember, I was on a date with Brian and now… Well, now I don’t know what’s going on and I can’t seem to get a fix on where I am.  Why can’t I get a psychic lock on my surroundings?  Are my powers working or is there something hindering me from using them?

“Uhhhh,” I groaned, opening my eyes but I didn’t see anything around me.

Am I in the dark?  I must be in the damn dark.  I can’t see anything, so I must be in the dark, duh.  But, being in the dark doesn’t explain why I’m not able to sense anything around me or where I am.  What in the hell is going on?  Where in the hell am I?

“Is there someone there?”  I heard a woman’s voice, but I didn’t know where the voice came from.

“Who are you?”  I asked, not able to get a psychic fix on the person the voice belonged to.

“I asked you first,” the woman spoke as I tried again to get a psychic fix on where the voice came from, but it seemed nothing worked in the mental power department for me.

“My name is Malevolent, what’s yours?”  I asked.

“What kind of name is Malevolent?”  The woman asked.

“It’s my name and it’s the only one you’re going to get out of me,” I replied, not knowing what to really expect, since I had no clue as to where I was, who this person was and who else was around.  I’m going to be using my codename until I get more information here.

“Fine, my name is Elaina,” the woman replied as there was a clicking sound and then there was light.  Finally, I’m able to see where I am and I’m not happy.  I’m in a big open space, a damn prison cell.  “You!”

“Me what,” I said, moving back quickly as there was a buzzing sound as she got up from where she sat and then moved into a fighting stance as her eyes glowed.  “Look, I don’t know who you are, but I’m not trying to get into a…”

“You don’t want to get into a fight… It’s way too late for that,” she said, waving her hand in my direction as I felt something lift me up off the floor and then I was thrown across the room, slamming into the wall.

“Owwww!”  I screamed, sliding down the wall.  “Look lady, I don’t know you.  I’m not going to allow you to do that again!”

“You have no choice in the matter!”  She screamed, raising her hand again as I shook my head, holding my hand out, trying to use my powers to block what she was doing.  It seems she’s psychic like me.  I wonder how psychic she really is.

Getting up from the floor quickly, I moved around, doing my best to avoid what she was throwing at me.  She’s trying to ram me with telekinetic energy.  I can feel the waves of energy from her, trying to push me backwards.  I have to stop this quickly, before it goes any further.  There’s no reason for the two of us to be fighting like this.  I don’t know her, she doesn’t know me.  Why did she come after me like that?

“Come on lady, I don’t know you.  I don’t want to fight with you here!”  I snapped as she took flight, floating over to where I stood as she attempted to punch me as I ducked and then pushed her backwards as she fell to the floor.  “Stop this!”

“No, I can’t!”  She snapped, getting up off the floor as she flew towards me as her hand sparkled with psychic energy as a mace materialized in her hand.

“Oh here we go!”  I snapped, using my powers to create my psychic sword, preparing to do battle with this unknown woman as she lunged at me with the mace, trying to pummel me in the head with it as I blocked her and then swung at her with my sword, knocking her down to the floor.  “Look, I don’t want to do this!  You might want to stop!  I am way more experienced at this than you are!”

“Don’t be so sure of that,” I heard someone else say as I looked around, trying to find out where the other voice came from.

“I’m not going to be easily defeated here,” I said as the woman got up off the floor quickly and then created a second mace in the other hand as she aimed both of them at me as I shook my head and then lashed out with my telekinesis, knocking her backwards to the floor.  “I take it that you are psychic and all and can pretty much do the same things as I, but I am far from just being psychic.  I am not going to let you hurt me damn it!”

“You don’t have a choice in the matter Malevolent.  She’s been mentally enhanced to your level, so she can defeat you,” the other voice spoke as I shook my head.

“I’m still not going to let her hurt me,” I said, keeping my eyes on her as I tried to detect anything else that could possibly happen around me as she tried to lunge for me again as I ducked out of the way as she fell to the floor.

“Are you going to use your magic on me Malevolent?”  The woman asked, getting up off the floor again and then lunging towards me again as I knocked her backwards again.  “Was that the use of your magic against me?”

“No, but it seems you’re looking for something,” I replied, waving my hand at her, holding her in place as I tried to think about what happened before I ended up in this place.

What in the hell did happen before I got to this damn prison cell?  How did I end up in this prison cell?  The last thing I remember happening, I—I was fighting… That’s it, I was fighting with someone, but who?  That’s it, I was fighting with Darren.  Damn it!  I can’t believe that fool was trying to take up for Ranger!

What in the hell is wrong with him?  I showed him all the things that Ranger did.  Why does he believe that Ranger is a good person and doesn’t mean us any harm?  I used my telepathy to show him all the things that Ranger had been doing to our kind of people, but it seems something else happened.  Damn it, Ranger must’ve done something.  What did that fucker do and how did I end up here with this damn woman, trying to kill me all of a sudden?  Then again, why is she asking me about my powers, mainly my magic?  Is there something else at play here?  Why do I get the feeling that there’s a bigger agenda going on?

Another Prison Cell Area

Tara’s POV

“No damn it, I would like to know what in the hell you were thinking!”  I snapped, looking over at Darren like he was crazy.  “What’s the deal with you and Malevolent?  Did you actually think you could win against him in a fight with magic?  He’s all powerful in…”

“I was thinking that I couldn’t allow him to use his magic to kill someone,” he replied, looking up at me.  “If he would’ve used his powers to kill that man, he would’ve thrown this world’s spiritual balance out of whack, dooming us all.”

“How do you know that?”  I asked, looking over at him.  “What’s really going on with you two?  A long while ago, he told me that there was more than meets the eye with you.  What did he mean by that Conjurer?  What is it that you’re hiding from me?”

“I’m not hiding anything from you baby,” he replied as I shook my head.  “I don’t know what he’s talking about.  He’s your friend, only you can decipher his cryptic messages.”

“Don’t be funny with me Conjurer,” I said as he looked down.  “I have a feeling you know what he means and you’re holding back something.  So, what is it?  Is there something about your powers that I don’t know?”

“Come on babe, you know everything there is to know about me and my powers,” he replied as I looked over at him strangely.

“I know everything,” I said as he nodded his head with a grim look on his face.  “I don’t’ really believe that Conjurer.  So, why don’t you enlighten me a bit.”

“Enlighten you in what way Darling?”  He asked as I shook my head again.

“You know what, I know you’re hiding something from me, but that’s okay.  I’m not going to worry about it right now, being that we’re trapped someplace with the enemy and we can’t seem to get out,” I said, hoping that would spark something in him to get him to use his magic to get us out of wherever it was we’re being held.  “We shouldn’t be trapped here like rats; we should be out of here, saving the others.”

“The others can save themselves, especially Malevolent,” he said as I shook my head, pissed off with his revelation.

“I’ve had enough of this!”  I snapped as I felt something deep within me open up as I slammed my fist into the wall, knocking a hole through to the other side, revealing a room where Zee, Walden and Caleb were being held.

“Darling!”  He exclaimed as I glared at him and then looked around quickly as I stepped through the hole, going to check out what was going on with the others.

“Alpha, Champion, Cat, are you guys all right?”  I asked, running over to where Walden lay on the floor.  “Alpha, can you hear me?”

“Yeah, I can hear you,” Walden replied as he opened his eyes and then looked up at me.  “What’s going on?  Where are we?  Am I on the floor?”

“Yeah, you’re on the floor, but I have no idea where we are or what’s going on,” I answered him as I looked around to see that Darren was helping Zee as I helped Walden stand.  “Have you seen Chase?”

“I haven’t seen the Speedy Gonzales wannabe since—since, I don’t remember when I last saw him,” Walden stated with a frown.  “What day is it?”

“That’s something I don’t know,” I replied as Zee and Caleb walked over to where we were.

“So, no one knows where we are, right?”  Zee spoke as I nodded my head at her.  “Something’s not right here.  I—I can’t change into the cat.”

“I don’t think any of our special powers are working,” I spoke as Walden looked at the wall and then back at me.

“If none of our powers are working, how did that big ass hole get there?”  Walden asked as Zee and Caleb looked at me strangely.

“I don’t think what’s going on here is effected by magic.  My powers come from magic,” I stated as Zee and Caleb raised an eye at me.

“You’re not like us?”  Zee asked as I shook my head.  “Well, isn’t that special.”

“Right now, it is,” I said as I looked around at Darren.  “We need to get out of here and find Malevolent and Chase.”

“We need to find the Asian guy also,” Caleb stated as I looked at him, wondering who he was referring to.

“What Asian guy?”  I asked.

“The one that tried to help me out.  He was fighting with General Ranger’s men when they were trying to get me, but he got knocked down.  That was the last thing I remember,” Caleb stated as he looked down.  “I—I think I know him…”

“Well, I guess that’s another person to add to the search list,” I said as I walked towards the opposite wall and then punched it, knocking a hole through it, so we could leave the room.

Zee’s POV

What in the world is going on around here?  Why am I not able to transform into the cat right now?  Is there something wrong with me?  Everything that JT taught me how to do, it’s not working right now.  What’s wrong with my powers?

Where in the hell are we?  Are we somewhere with the government?  I don’t know where in the hell I am and I’m scared as hell right now.  I can’t take this.  I need to get out into the open and be free.  I need to be free to be me!  I feel like I’m closed in, but I don’t know if that’s the case or not.

All I know right now, I’m someplace, scared and it seems the people I call my friends have some issues of their own.  The way Tara and Darren are looking at each other right now, I can tell there’s something going on between them, I just don’t know what that something is.  Walden is a bit quiet, but then again, he always seems quiet where I’m concerned and when I’m around.  I wonder what that means.  Caleb on the other hand, he’s very vocal, but what he’s spouting off right now isn’t worth listening to.

All of this is just not working out for me.  Not knowing where I am right now is scaring the hell out of me!  Then again, that’s not really scaring me, not being able to transform into the cat is scaring the hell out of me!  I can’t do this.  I need to be able to transform into a stronger, more confident version of…

“Cat, are you okay?”  I heard Caleb say as I felt something tapping my shoulder.

“Not really, but we need to find the others,” I replied, looking around just as Tara stepped in front of me and then punched the wall a few times, creating an opening for us to walk through as we stepped  into what looked like some kind of barbaric arena where we found JT and some woman, the two of them duking it out like there was no tomorrow.

“What in the hell is this?”  Tara asked as she jumped into the air, taking flight.

“No, stop that woman!”  Someone yelled as some military men rushed into the area, surrounding us and then firing their rifles into the air.  “Stop all of them fools, don’t let them escape!”

“No!  Get away from me!”  I screamed as one of the men grabbed me, trying to hold me tight as I struggled to get away from him.  “Don’t touch me!”

“Saturn!  Anima et Mens concursorum gravium![1]”  I heard JT yell as a sphere of energy appeared above his head as he reached up with his hand, grabbed the energy and then threw it at the man that I struggled with as the guy screamed out.  “Cat, are you okay?”

“I—I’m getting there,” I replied as he smiled weakly as I kicked the guy and then moved away from him.  “What’s going on here Malevolent?”

“I would like to know that myself.  What’s going on here Mal, are you okay?”  Tara asked, floating down to where he stood as there was a blinding flash of light as I had to shield my eyes.

(<SPLINGKKKT>)

“Well, there you are,” I heard someone say as I moved my arm to see a black woman standing in front of JT and Tara as he moved quickly to avoid the other woman that was trying to hurt him.

“Miz Melody?”  JT spoke, looking at the woman closely and then moved around again as he grabbed her by the arm, pulling her with him as Tara moved out the way also.  “What are you doing here?  How did you get here?”

“No baby, what are you doing here?”  The woman asked as JT raised his hand, using his powers to deflect the other woman’s attack.  “What’s going on here?”

“What’s going on here, that woman is trying to kill me because a mad man named General Ranger told her to!”  JT snapped, moving again as he raised his arm, using his powers to deflect what the woman was doing as she slid across the floor.  “Her name is Elaina Burns, she some kind of psychic that Ranger and his people have genetically tampered with and brainwashed.  She’s exhibiting different types of powers, but I don’t know what her true power is.”

“Hey, why are your powers working, but the rest of ours aren’t?”  I asked as he looked at me strangely and then ducked quickly to avoid being hit.  “I can’t change into the cat right now!”

“My best guess is that they have a power dampening field around you, that’s stopping you from changing,” he replied as he shook his head and then stood in one spot as he held up his hand.  “Enough!”

“Uh oh,” I heard Darren say as JT’s body glowed brightly, crackling with energy.

“I’ve had enough of this madness!”  JT snapped, gesturing with his hand at the woman as she floated in place, struggling against an invisible barrier.  “It’s time that I put an end to you and everything wrong here.”

“What are you going to do baby?”  The black woman asked as she moved closer to JT.  “You seem to be displaying a whole lot of power right now.  Don’t you do something that will cause a bigger problem.”

“That’s the problem Miz Melody,” JT stated as he shook his head.  “Me, not using my powers fully is why that mad man is in control of things now!”

“Baby, don’t do something that’s going to make things worse,” the woman spoke as there was a blur next to JT and then Brian appeared.  I wonder where he’s been all this time.

“I’m going to do what I should’ve done a long time ago,” JT stated as the woman grabbed his hand as his eyes glowed brightly, projecting beams of energy through the area as everything got too bright to see.

“Malevolent, what are you doing?  What’s going on, I can’t see!”  I heard Brian yell as I heard others screaming around me.

I can’t see anything and I would like to know what’s going on to make people scream like that.  Attempting to open my eyes again, the light was still too bright and I wasn’t able to see anything.  What is JT doing?  What did he mean by he was going to do what he should’ve done a long time ago.  What should he have done?

“Malevolent, please stop!”  I heard Brian’s voice again, but still didn’t know what was going on.

“Baby, you might want to do what he says.  I’m not liking what I’m feeling right now,” I heard that strange looking woman say.  “You need to stop what you are doing and just come back with me.”

“I’m not going to stop and I’m not going back with you!”  I heard JT snap as someone else screamed.  “Those people are trying to take advantage of our kind and I’m not going to allow them to do that.  If it was all up to Ranger, he would want nothing more than for us to be his damn slaves! I am not going to be his slave!”

“Well if you’re not going back with me and you’re not going to stop, how can I get you to see the big picture here?”  The strange looking woman asked.  “You must stop what you’re doing or you’re going to destroy this world!”

“I am not going to destroy the world, it’s going to be cleansed—cleansed of this damn evil that monster created!”  JT screamed as I felt something deep within me tingle.  “That monster has plagued this world for far too long!”

“You stopping this monster will only open the door for more monsters baby,” I heard Brian’s voice next.  “There’s got to be another way.  Please stop what you’re doing, there has to be another way.”

“There isn’t another way!”  JT snapped as the ground started to rumble.  “Ranger and his followers will only continue doing what they are doing.  They don’t care about people like us!”

“But you killing him, will make you just like him,” Brian said as JT sighed and then there was another scream.  “Don’t be like him baby.  I don’t want to be married to a killer.  If you love me and want to marry me, you’ll find a different way to stop him.”

“Fine,” JT spoke as I heard what sounded like things falling to the ground.

“Thank God, I can see again,” I heard Tara’s voice as I moved my arm and then opened my eyes to see that the light generated by JT was gone.

“Stupid fool!  You should’ve killed me when you had the chance,” General Ranger spoke as he got up from the ground and started walking towards all of us as he laughed.  “You fucked up freak!”

“Guy, your life was spared, you should be thanking the stars that you are alive,” I said as the guy kept walking towards us, like he didn’t care.

“Condemning me to death would’ve only ignited a war between the humans and your kind.  Had that freak killed me, it would’ve only destroyed your kind in the end,” General Ranger spoke as Tara shook her head.

“Big talk for a small man,” Tara spoke as General Ranger turned and looked at her.

“As I was saying, you should’ve killed me, but now that you haven’t, a war will be waged and I’ll be victorious freak!”  General Ranger exclaimed as he raised both of his hands, laughing maniacally.

“Stand down General,” someone else spoke as I looked around, trying to see who it was as I noticed a man walking from the shadows.  “I’ve witnessed too much here and what I’ve been witness to, needs to change.”

“Who are you?”  JT asked as he stepped back a bit, taking on a defensive stance as his hands sparkled with energy.

“You needn’t worry about who I am,” the man spoke as he got up close to General Ranger and then punched him in the face, knocking him out as his body fell to the ground.  “What you need to worry about is getting out of here now, all of you.”

“You—you’re just going to let us go?”  I asked, looking at the man like he was crazy.

“This is a restricted military operations base, none of you should be here right now.  I’m going to disavow all knowledge of you all being here,” the man said as JT shook his head.

“Why are you going to do that?”  JT asked, looking at the man strangely as I moved closer to him, seeing that his eyes were glowing an eerie purple color.

“You’re not supposed to be here, any of you,” the man replied as he looked down and then stepped over General Ranger’s body.  “The longer you all remain here, the shorter that directive will go.  What I’m saying is, the quicker you get out of here, the less time it would take for someone here to take action to arrest you for breaking laws against the government.”

“We didn’t break any laws against the government, that fool…” JT spoke as the man shook his head.

“From what I saw, you young man did break the law.  A few days ago, you flew upon these grounds, using unknown, destructive means to destroy government property,” the man stated as he looked over at JT.  “That action alone would get one arrested, but seeing that in some strange sense, you were defending yourself against the moron’s past actions against you.  For now, I’ll look past that, but you all must leave here now.”

“Malevolent, I think we need to just call this a win and leave,” Tara stated as she grabbed JT’s hand.

“Come on baby, let’s just end this and leave,” Brian said as he grabbed JT’s other hand.

“He’s not stopped,” JT spoke, looking over at General Ranger’s body that lay on the ground.  “He’s an evil man that needs to be completely stopped.  He’s only going to resume what he was doing.”

“He’s not going to resume anything here,” the man stated as he dropped the cigar he smoked on the ground and then put it out with his foot.  “I can assure you—all of you, that you don’t have to worry about General Ranger.”

“Sounds very good to me,” the strange looking woman said as she looked over at JT.

“Come on, he’s stopped for now, let’s just take this for a win,” Tara spoke, tugging on JT’s hand as he sighed.

“Fine, you deal with that monster.  If he rears his ugly head again, I’ll take him down, that’s a promise,” JT stated as he looked at Tara and then at Brian as his eyes started to shimmer with energy as everything around him got bright.

An Ending…

[1] Translated from Latin = Saturn!  Mind and Soul Shock!

Operation Magic – Chapter 3

 

Chapter 3 — Silence of the Heart

A Week Later – Arlington, VA – The Home of John and Roland Donovan – The Backyard

John’s POV

“Did you think it was such a good idea, having a barbecue bro?”  Ramona asked, walking over to where I stood.  “I just told you last week that I saw you guys’ death and here you are, having a barbecue, with everyone in attendance from both your jobs.”

“We’re having this get together for a reason sis,” I said, smiling at her.  “This way, I can read everyone’s soul and see if there’s anything we have to worry about from the people we work with.”

“Clever bro, but I thought you told me once before that you couldn’t read everyone at your job,” Ramona stated, looking around as I frowned.

“That’s where you come in,” I replied, looking at her closely.  “Whatever I can’t see, you possibly can.”

“So, you want me to force visions out of people?”  She asked as I nodded my head.

Hell, if I can’t read their souls, to determine if they’re the cause of our untimely deaths, I would rather she see a vision of what they may possibly do to us in the long run.  Just the thought of us dying, leaving the boys to be raised by strangers has put a bad feeling in my spirit.  Having that bad feeling in my spirit isn’t a good thing right now.  I love those little boys with all of my heart and I’m not about to allow them to go through the same hell that me and Ramona went through as kids.  Had it not been for our gifts and our friends, I don’t know if either one of us would’ve made it this far in life.

“Hey baby, how are things on the grill looking?”  Roland asked as he walked over to where I stood, bringing over a tray of hamburger patties.

“Things are looking great and they smell good too,” I replied, turning a piece of chicken over as he handed me the tray so I could place the burgers on the grill.  “Where are the hot dogs?”

“I’ll bring those out on the next tray,” Roland replied with a smile as he fanned his hand in front of his face, breathing in the aroma of the meat cooking.  “I can’t wait to dig into a piece of that.”

“Hmmm, I say that about you sometimes baby,” I said, smiling as his face went red.  “I love it when you blush like that.”

“Baby, one of the boys could’ve heard you,” he said as I looked around, not seeing any kids near us.

“Oh cut it out, the boys aren’t even in earshot of us, they are off somewhere, playing with the other kids around here,” I said, patting his ass quickly as he looked around, the blush on his face darkening.

“You know I love it, when your face changes shades like that,” I said, turning another piece of the chicken on the grill as I picked up my water bottle and spritzed a few of the chicken pieces and then grabbed the bowl with the sauce.

“Wait baby, I want a piece without the sauce on it,” he spoke quickly as I noticed Gavin James, one of my co-workers, walking towards us as I spotted Ramona, hopping up from her seat quickly.

Okay, what’s going on here?  Is there something I should be concerned with?  Why did Ramona just jump up that way and why does she have that mean look on her face?  Is Gavin a person of interest I should be worried about?  What’s going on?  I’m not hearing her thoughts right now, so what has her on edge like that?

“Ramona,” I spoke as she looked at me and then looked around quickly.  “Ramona, is there something wrong?”

“Bro, something’s not right,” she replied as she looked at me and then turned and looked at Gavin.

“Something’s not right with who?  Is it Gavin?”  I whispered as she looked back at him and then back to me.

“Bro, I think you need to keep your eyes and ears open around him,” she said as she moved backwards as he got closer.  “If I have to, I’ll knock his ass out, before he gets to us.”

“I don’t think that’s necessary,” I replied, wondering what it was that she saw in a vision that has her acting this way right now.  “Roland, why don’t you go check on the boys, I’ll speak with Gavin and if there’s a problem, I’ll mind-call you.”

“Okay baby,” Roland replied, leaning in and brushing his lips across my cheek as he walked in the opposite direction.

“Bro, are you sure about this?”  Ramona asked, looking around again.  “You know I can solve this problem real quick.”

“I’m sure I don’t want you to create an incident that’s going to create a bigger problem,” I said as Gavin stood in front of me.  “Well hi there Gavin, are you having a great time?”

“One of the best,” he replied, looking around nervously as if he was waiting for something to happen.  “Ah John, I—I need to talk with you… I need to talk with you privately for a moment.”

“You need to talk privately about what?”  I asked, looking around, trying to keep my eyes on where Ramona stood and where Roland and the boys were.

“Can we go someplace else?”  He asked as he moved around the grill to get closer to me.

“Ah, I guess,” I replied, putting the fork and spray bottle down as I led him to an empty part of the yard.  “What’s on your mind Gavin?”

“Oscar Saunders,” he replied as he looked at me strangely as I wondered why he brought that fuck-up’s name up.

“What about him?”  I asked.

“John, we’ve known each other for a long time in different circles, but there’s a problem and you need to know what that problem is,” he said as I wondered where he was going with this.

“What about Oscar Saunders?”  I asked.

“You know him, don’t you?”  He said, getting closer to me, his eyes never leaving mine.

“Yeah, I know the fuck-up, why?”  I asked.

“Currently, he’s in danger.  There’s a bounty on his head,” Gavin stated as I wondered what that information had to do with the two of us, talking about him of all people.

“So what, he’s in danger and…” I said, waiting for him to say more about why I was here with him, talking about this.

“You worked with him in the past, right?”  He said as I crossed my arms across my chest, waiting for him to go into more detail about this.

“Gavin, why don’t you get to the part of what this has to do with me.  One, I can care less that Oscar is in danger, that’s something he’s good at doing.  Two, Oscar is…”

“Weren’t you two in a relationship together at one point?”  Gavin asked.

Why in the hell is he asking me something like this?  How could he have possibly known about the short-lived relationship I had with that fucker?  Why is he telling me about there being a hit out on Oscar of all people?

“Gavin stop, what does any of this have to do with things as they are right now?”  I asked.

“The bounty on Oscar’s head is very specific,” he replied as I shook my head.

“Specific how?”  I asked, looking at him closely as I tried to pry into his mind, but something was blocking me from getting the information I wanted to see.

“The contract I heard about, wants him and his family gone,” Gavin stated as he looked at me with a sad expression on his face.

“Okay Gavin, what does that have to do with me?  I’m not part of Oscar’s family,” I stated as he looked down again.

“Apparently, you’ve been out of the ‘know’ for far too long,” he said as he sighed.  “The person, whoever that may be, listed you as one of the people connected to Oscar and you are to disappear too.”

“What!”  I snapped as other people around in various places in the yard, turned and looked at the two of us as he waved his hand, trying to quiet me down.  “Are you fucking serious?  I’m not related to Oscar, I have no connection to that fucking bastard!  How did you find out about this?”

“One of my contacts saw you at the office last week and showed me the information about the bounty,” he answered, looking around quickly as I thought about who his contact could’ve been.  “The person that put the hit out on Oscar, he wants everyone connected to him, gone.”

“Oh God, that could be the cause of everything,” I said, waving my hand at him, using my gifts to freeze him and everything around me in place.

Oh God, how could this be happening?  My life… my family’s lives are in danger because of some damn fool I fucked around with for a weekend!  That damn fool broke my heart and almost caused me to do the unthinkable and now this!  How could this be happening to us?  Why would someone think that I’m connected to Oscar Saunders of all damn people?  I haven’t seen that fucker since that damn night he walked out on me.

Hell, if someone would look at things logically, I should be the one putting a hit out on his damn life.  That fucker tricked and used me!  He left me in a damn hotel in the middle of Peru!  A place where where wars were breaking out all around!  At the time, he was a double agent and I didn’t know he was working for the other side.  I had no idea that he had taken a pay off to get secrets against me and my team.  Had I not used my gifts, we all would’ve perished over in Peru.  Because of me, I let my heart, emotions and lust cause me to let my guard down.  I won’t make that mistake again.

‘Baby, is there something wrong?  Did you happen to freeze time or something?’  I heard Roland’s voice in my mind.

‘I just heard some bad news that I’m not happy with,’  I mentally spoke to Roland, extending my thoughts to him and to Ramona.  ‘I was just informed that there’s a hit out on someone else and that someone else extends to me… possibly to us.’

‘Bro, what are you going to do about this?’  I heard Ramona’s thoughts.

‘I need you yo come over here and see if you can pull a vision from him.  I want to see what his future holds,’ I mentally spoke to her as I waved my hand in Gavin’s direction, using my gift to pull him away from our world into another one, but something wouldn’t allow us to leave.

“Apparently, I am not able to pull him into the other dimension,” I spoke out as Ramona made her way over to where we stood as she grabbed his head as her eyes shimmered an eerie gold color.

“He’s not the cause of what happens Bro, but he has a secret that involves all of us,” Ramona stated as she touched my hand, allowing me to share in the vision she saw.

What in the hell is this?  He’s not the cause of what’s going on, but he’s a big part of things.  He’s not who he claims to be.  He’s not mortal, he’s like us… he’s one of us.

‘What are you talking about babe?’  I heard Roland’s voice.  ‘If he’s like us, then why didn’t you detect that sooner?’

‘If he’s like us, he could be using his gift to hide that.  Maybe someone put a spell on him to keep him from being detected,’ I mentally stated as I looked around, wondering how this guy was able to get close to me all those years ago and I never knew he was like us.

“Bro, something’s happening, he’s unfreezing,” Ramona spoke as she took on a defensive stance as Gavin looked around.

“Trying to pull me into another world isn’t a good thing to do when you have a yard full of guests,” Gavin spoke as he frowned at me.

“What are you talking about Gavin?”  I asked, looking at him closely as I waited for him to tell me more.

“John, I know you aren’t mortal,” Gavin stated as I looked over at Ramona and then back at him.  “I know about you, your sister Ramona and your husband Roland.”

“What is it that you supposedly know?”  I asked as he frowned and then stepped backwards as his eyes shimmered and then he was gone.

“Bro, what the hell just happened here?”  Ramona asked, looking around.  “Did he just slide away?”

“Apparently so,” I replied, frowning as I used my gift to unfreeze the area, making sure that no one would notice the body that was now missing from the yard.  “If he’s like us and he can slide away, that’s a threat all on it’s own.  That means he can be anywhere he wants to be and being that I can’t detect him, that means you guys can’t either.”

“Makes for a bad enemy,” Ramona stated as she sighed and then looked around.  “What are we going to do?”

“I don’t know,” I replied, looking down.  “Maybe we should consult with…”

“Don’t go there Bro,” Ramona stated, shaking her head.  “The last time you tried to talk wit them, they almost trapped your spirit with them.”

“How else are we going to find out who this guy is?”  Ramona asked.

“Don’t know, I’ll find a way,” I said as the smell of something burning grabbed my attention as I rushed back over to the grill to see about the chicken.

Huh, freezing time didn’t actually stop the chicken from cooking.  I guess there’s even things that my gifts can’t control.  I think I better work on that.  I wonder what else went unfrozen when I thought things were frozen.

Somewhere in Sierra Leone, West Africa – An Unknown Village

Gavin James’ POV

Why do I get the feeling that I just made a big mistake, revealing myself to him and his sister that way?  I was trying to help him, but I fear I’ve made things worse than what they really are.  She has the powers of the mind, just like he does, but he’s an ultimate, like I am, I wonder what they were both able to see about me.

Now that I’ve left them the way I did, how am I going to fix what I did?  Damn it, I really need my head examined.  The others are going to really freak the hell out when I tell them what I’ve done.  I shouldn’t have been so quick to blurt out that I knew about him, his sister and his husband.  They probably think they are the only ones in the world like them, but I’m sure by now, they are figuring things out.

As I think back on how things started, I should’ve just stayed on the topic at hand, dealing with Oscar Saunders and not letting it slip that I was like him.  The way he and Ramona looked at me, I knew they had used their powers on me.  But then again, I should’ve just eased him into the conversation and not blurting everything out.

“Where in the hell am I?”  I asked, looking around as I spotted a few things that looked familiar.  “It can’t be… Oh God, I didn’t… I did…”

I guess in my frenzied state of trying to get away from John and his sister, I slid all the way to Sierra Leone, one of the worst war torn places in the world.  I haven’t been here since 1991, when civil war broke out.  Had it not been for Liberia and some secret help from me and the others, this place wouldn’t exist right now. 

“Why did I end up here of all places?”  I asked aloud, wondering if there was another factor at play here.  Did I slide here of my own will or did John or his sister send me here?

Looking around again, I didn’t sense anything out of the ordinary and I’m not able to feel any hostile thoughts pertaining to me.  So, if someone else is responsible for me being here, I’m not able to sense their spirit.  I’m just shocked that I ended up here.  Why does this village look like a war has been fought here?  Since the government was overthrown, there shouldn’t be any military of any kind around here.

“You there!”  I heard behind me as I turned around quickly to see a military officer there with his gun pointed at me.

“No thanks man, you can save that for someone else,” I said, gesturing with my hand as he floated into the air and then was slammed into a nearby building.

I’m not going to give him the chance to hurt me or raise any alarms.  I have to get out of here quick, before something else happens.  I just need to concentrate on getting home so I can get the hell away from here.  The sooner I get home, the sooner I can attempt to smooth things over with John, his sister and his husband.

The Home of Oscar Saunders – The Bedroom

Oscar’s POV

I’ve been gone a whole week and it doesn’t seem like things have changed at all.  What am I going to do to solve this problem?  I can’t keep running, looking over my shoulder at every turn.  I have to find the person behind this and convince them to undo what they’ve done.

Now that Anne and her parents are safe someplace else, I can concentrate on trying to solve this problem.  My problem is, who is behind this?  Who do I know, that has the guts to orchestrate something like this?  Who has the pull and the money to put such a bounty on my head and my family?  For anyone to actually act on this hit, they must hate me or there’s tons of money involved.  So who’s the richest person I’ve pissed off?  Who’s the person that I’ve pissed off the most, that would want to take me out just for the hell of it.  Hell, I can think of only two people that fit the bill for wanting me gone, John Donovan and Max Kingsley.

Damn it, I just saw John last week.  Is he the one that’s going to kill me?  Hell, with what I did to him, he has plenty of reasons to hate me enough to kill me.  I left him stranded in the middle of a war-torn village of Peru, where he would surely die, but somehow he didn’t.  I wonder how he was able to get out of that.  I only got out, because I had people smuggle me out of there, but how did he get out?  That’s another mystery that I haven’t been able to solve about him.  I wonder does how he got away from Peru have anything to do with how he was able to slam me into a damn wall without touching me.  How did that fucking shit happen?

I haven’t seen Max Kingsley in a few months, but the last time I saw him, he wasn’t too happy with me.  He’s one of the richest guys I know and for the right amount of money, I’m sure he would take my ass out too, for what I did to him.  Damn, is that what I’m only capable of, just screwing guys over?  Is that the reason for there being a hit out for my life?  All I seem to do is use guys, get what I want out of them and then I leave them alone.  It’s no wonder that I’m alone right now, in this big ass house.

“One day, I’m going to have to work on changing that part of me.  I can’t keep on doing that to guys, especially those that I really like,” I said, sighing as I walked over to the closet and grabbed a few things hanging up.  “Had I not been such a prick to John, maybe I would be married to him right now.  I would have the family life he has right now, a loving husband and kids.  I’ve always dreamt of having that kind of life, but being an agent, really fucked all of that up… well I guess it didn’t fuck that up for John, he seems to have it… or is that a cover he’s playing right now?”

Does John really have that kind of life or is that a damn cover?  Is he really a happy man with a husband and kids?  Or is he currently undercover, trying to take someone down?  Maybe I looked at things all wrong.

To Be Continued…

When The Glitter Turns Gold – Chapter 11

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Chapter 11 — Start of a Scandal

Jun 10, 2004 – Jacksonville, FL (Baymeadows Suburb) – The Home of JT Poole – The Kitchen

JT’s POV

“You don’t want to go where?  I didn’t know we were going anywhere, Justin?”  I said, looking up at Justin, not knowing what was happening here.

“I don’t want to go back to Mommy,” Caleb said as he wrapped his arms around my neck and held on tight.  “I want to stay here with you!”

“Calm down Caleb,” I said, rubbing his back, hoping he didn’t scream in my ear again.  “Nobody said you had to go anywhere.”

“I—I been with you already and—and I don’t wanna leave you.  I like you Daddy and I don’t want to go,” he said, sniffling as I saw Todd and Wes leave the room.  “Please Daddy, please don’t send me back to Mommy, I wanna stay here.”

“I’m not going to send you anywhere Caleb, I’m going to keep you as long as I can,” I replied, not knowing how much longer that would be, being that I don’t fully understand what was going on with Heather and her situation.

“You promise Daddy?  Do you promise that you won’t send me away?”  Caleb said as I just looked at him.  I didn’t know if I could make that promise or not.

“Caleb, I’m going to keep you here with me as long as I can,” I said as he looked me in the face.  “I can promise you that I’ll do my best to keep you here with me, but I have no control of your mother’s actions.”

“Daddy, what does that mean?”  He asked as I sighed.

“It means that I love you very much and I’ll do everything in my power to keep you here with me, as long as possible,” I said as he looked down, his bottom lip looking like he was going to explode.

“Uncle Ken said that you’ll keep me forever and ever,” Caleb said as I looked at him and then up at Justin as he shrugged his shoulders, but continued working with the chicken.  “He told me that I never have to go back to Mommy, that you’ll keep me forever.”

“Caleb, I—I wish I could keep you forever, but I have no idea what your mother will do to stop that,” I said as he looked down. “I have you right now, but when things with your mother settles down, I don’t know what she’ll do.”

“She doesn’t care about me, she didn’t want me!”  He yelled as he sniffled and then turned away from me.  “She only cares about herself.  You—you not like that.  You care about me, more than she does.”

“What are you saying Caleb?”  I asked, taking his hand and pulling him to me.  “Why do you feel I care about you more than she does?”

“She always leaving me, she never home.  She never around,” he said as he shook his head.  “She always left me with Aunt Shannon and she—she crazy!”

“She’s crazy in what way Caleb?”  I asked, looking at him as he sniffled again.

“She—she…” He said as all kinds of thoughts flashed through my mind.

“Stop,” I said as I stood up quickly as Justin dropped the chicken leg, it sliding from the counter and hitting the floor, making a mess.

“Baby,” Justin said as I held up my hand and then rushed out of the room, heading to the bathroom down the hall.

Oh God, was my son about to tell me he was abused?  Did Heather allow him to be abused by that friend of hers?  I thought the woman was a lesbian, but maybe I was wrong about that.  She seemed kind of bossy in that damn hotel room.  I just thought she was upset about things with Heather, but did I read those signs wrong?  Oh God, what happened because of Heather’s actions?

“Okay JT, you have to calm down and get yourself cleaned up.  I can’t let my son see me like this.  He’s already crying, and I can’t have him see me like this,” I said as I turned the water on and splashed my face, trying to get my nerves calmed.  “Come on JT, get it together buddy.”

“Baby,” I heard Justin’s voice as he knocked on the bathroom door.  “Baby, come on… Open the door.  We need to talk.”

“I’ll be out in a moment Justin,” I replied, taking in a breath quickly as I turned the water off and then turned the door knob, opening the door to see Justin and Caleb standing there with matching sad faces.

“I’m sorry Daddy, I didn’t mean to make you cry,” Caleb said as he wrapped his arms around my leg.

“You didn’t make me cry Caleb,” I said as I heard a phone ringing somewhere in the house.

“Honest Daddy, I didn’t mean to make you cry,” Caleb said again as I felt wetness on my leg as it seems his tears were seeping through my pants leg.

“I am okay Caleb, it’s alright,” I said, rubbing the top of his head as he moved back as I knelt down in front of him.  “I—I just had a moment of sadness is all Caleb.  I am okay, honest I am.”

“You promise Daddy,” he said as I nodded my head.

“I promise Caleb, I’m okay,” I said as I stood back up as he took my hand and the three of us walked back down to the kitchen as I noticed Wes standing outside the room with the phone in hand.  “Is there something wrong Wes?”

“You have a phone call,” Wes stated as I sighed and then walked quickly so I could get to the phone.

“Who is it?”  I asked as he shrugged his shoulders and then handed me the phone.  “Hello, this is JT.”

“Hi buddy, it’s me, Ken.  How are things going?”  I heard Ken’s voice on the phone.

“Ken, are you okay?  Where are you?  Are you still in Toronto, in the hospital?”  I asked as Justin and Caleb watched me.

“I’m okay buddy,” he stated as I moved over to one of the stools and then sat down.

“Where are you?  Are you still in the hospital in Toronto?”  I asked.

“Yes, I’m still in the hospital,” he replied as I shook my head.  “How are things going with you and Caleb?”

“Things are fine, but I’m more concerned about what’s going on with you,” I said as Justin knelt down, picking up the piece of chicken that had fallen to the floor and then tossing it into the trashcan.

“Cool it buddy, there’s nothing going on with me,” he said as I shook my head.

“Are you out of your mind?”  I asked as Justin motioned at Caleb with his hand as Caleb walked over to the table and then took a seat.  “You’re laid up in the hospital and everyone thought you were going to kick.”

“I’m not going to die, I’m okay,” he said as I shook my head again as I walked out into the hallway.

“Ken, I was arrested for attempting to kill you at the hotel,” I said, throwing my hand up as I turned around.  “The damn police took me away because they thought I did something to cause you to end up in the hospital the way you are now.”

“You didn’t do anything to hurt me; you wouldn’t do something like that.  Besides, I didn’t call you to talk about that; I called to find out what was happening with you and Caleb.  That’s all I want to talk about and nothing more,” he said as I shook my head again.  Why is this man avoiding that damn subject of his health?

“The two of us are fine, nothing wrong there,” I said, pissed off that he didn’t’ want to talk about what happened in Toronto to cause him to be hospitalized and me to almost be imprisoned for life for a crime I didn’t commit.  “Since you don’t want to talk about what almost killed you, could you at least tell me when you’ll you be getting out of there?”

“That’s something I—I don’t know,” he replied as I wondered what he wasn’t telling me. I’ve known Ken for a long time and I know when he’s hiding something from me.  “Have you spoken with Heather since Caleb has been with you?”

“No Ken, I haven’t spoken with her, I can’t,” I replied, wondering if he knew she was in jail.  “Haven’t you heard about her current predicament?”

“What predicament is that?”  He asked as I shook my head.

“She’s unable to talk to anyone for a while,” I replied as I looked into the kitchen to see Caleb, still sitting at the table, watching Justin as he prepared the chicken.

“Why can’t she talk to anyone?”  He asked.

“She’s in jail,” I answered as I leaned against the wall.  “She was arrested while she was in Philly.  The last thing I heard about her, she’s still locked up.”

“Ah, so the tramp finally got what she deserves,” he said as I shook my head again.  “I’m glad I was able to help with that.”

“You’re glad you were able to help with that?  What do you mean Ken?  What did you do?”  I asked as I moved away from the wall and then walked further down the corridor, so Caleb wouldn’t hear me.

“I wrote a statement about what she did to you and handed it over to the police,” he said as I shook my head.  “When I spoke with the detective that arrested her, he told me that she would be arrested for her actions against you and that she would pay for all the wrong she’s done.”

“Why do I get the feeling that you had that whole scenario set up Ken?”  I asked, wondering how she was actually able to be locked up when Howard told me that she couldn’t be arrested in the first place.

“That’s something you don’t need to worry about.  Besides, you should be happy the heifer is locked up and not able to cause any more problems for you,” he said as I sighed.

“I could care less about where…” I said as he interrupted me.

“She’s in jail and she’s not going to bother you anymore,” he said.  “She can’t cause you any more trouble, especially since she’s locked up.”

“I’m not worried about her causing any problems for me,” I said.

“You finally have the family that you’ve always wanted and there’s nothing she can do about it,” he said.

“Nope, there’s nothing she can do about that.  I’m married to Justin now and I’m getting my life together, the way it should be,” I said, still wondering what it was he wasn’t telling me.  “She should get it through her head that there’s no chance of the two of us ever being together.  Because we have a child together, it doesn’t mean anything.”

“You only have a child together because she raped you,” he said as I looked down.

“Ken…” I said as he interrupted me.

“Buddy, that’s not the start to a happy family, but I’m glad you have yours finally.  You have what you want, the man you love, a son… You have the life we were meant to have, had she not interfered and ruined things for us so long ago.”

“Ken, that’s the past.  There’s no point of us talking about that,” I said, thinking about his motivation of writing a statement and giving it to the police against his sister.  He’s still pissed off about what Heather did so long ago to break us up.

“Come on buddy, you have to admit… If she hadn’t lies to my parents and did the things she did, we would still be together today,” he stated as I shook my head.

“I don’t know Ken, maybe we would, maybe we wouldn’t, who really knows,” I said, looking up to see Justin standing in the doorway, with a strange look on his face.

“I know, but like you said, that’s in the past,” he said as I sighed.  “Okay buddy, I’m getting tired.  I’ll talk with you later on.”

“Okay Ken, you have a good evening and take it easy,” I said as the phone clicked, signaling that he had hung up the phone.

“This is just too much to…” I said as Justin interrupted me.

“You okay now?”  Justin asked, looking at me closely.  “Dinner is ready and Caleb and I are waiting on you.”

“Okay,” I said as we both walked down the hall to the kitchen.

Jun 19, 2004 – The Parks International Building – A Conference Room

“Hello ladies,” Darren spoke as he walked into the room.

“Darren, could you please explain to me and these ladies, the reason for why we’ve been summoned here?”  Syndi Perry-Lambert asked as she stood up from her seat at the table.  “We’ve been here for a while and I don’t…”

“If you’ll be quiet Mrs. Lambert, I’ll tell you why you ladies are here,” Darren stated as Marc Prestige walked into the room behind him.  “Marc, let me introduce you to the ladies of ‘Desire’.  That’s Syndi Lambert, that there is Lisa Irwin, she’s Dana Bullard and you already know Starletta London.”

“Oh look at this shit right here.  It seems a damn rat has crawled from under its fucking rock to appear in front of us this evening,” Syndi stated as Starletta stood up.

“Please tell me that Marc isn’t supposed to be the new person managing this group,” Starletta said as Syndi, Lisa and Dana looked over at her.

“Say what?  Why is this guy here Darren?”  Lisa Irwin asked as she stood up next and then looked over at Darren like he was crazy.  “That fool tried to ruin his last client’s career.  Why do we want him managing ours?”

“Okay ladies, before we get to the reasons why Marc is here, we need to have a talk about all of your contracts with the label,” Darren stated as Syndi shook her head.

“There’s nothing wrong with our contracts Darren,” Syndi stated, glaring at Darren.  “We just had this conversation a month ago.”

“Yes we did Syndi, but that was before a new development within ‘Desire’ took place,” Darren stated with a sly smile.  “Lisa, you’re out!”

“What!”  Syndi snapped as she walked around the table to where Darren stood.

“Plan and simple, she’s out of the group.  The label has no use for her talents any longer,” Darren stated as he smiled at Syndi.  “The label believes you three can carry on as ‘Desire’ without a problem.  If you feel you need Lisa to remain in the group, then we’ll have to replace you as well.”

“What in the hell is going on here?”  Lisa asked as Syndi looked down and then shook her head.  “Why in the hell am I getting kicked out of the group?  Did you guys know about this?  Well, did you?”

“I—I didn’t know about this Lisa,” Syndi stated as Darren laughed and then shook his head.

“Come on Syndi, you knew someone was going to be removed from this group,” Darren stated as he sat down at the table and then opened his briefcase.  “So, now that issue is out of the way, we can get on to the real business at hand.  Let’s get this started.”

“This isn’t over with, not by a longshot,” Lisa Irwin said as she shook her head and then walked out of the room, slamming the door behind her.

Atlanta, GA – The Home of Brian Lake – Brian’s Private Studio

“Welcome to my Studio JT,” Brian Lake greeted as he shook JT’s hand, ushering him into the room.  “It’s so good to finally meet you in person.”

“It’s nice to meet you as well,” JT replied, walking into the room.  “Cool layout you have here.”

“Thanks,” Brian replied as he walked over to a control panel in the room and then pressed a button as some more lights activated in various parts of the room.  “So, Justin tells me that you’re looking to collaborate with other artists.”

“Yeah, I’ve been looking to branch out a bit and do a solo, duet album, away from my group,” JT stated as Brian smiled.  “I’m trying something a little different, but new to keep my name fresh with the fans.”

“Yeah, I know what you mean man.  It seems you’re off to a great start with that,” Brian stated, walking around to a desk and picking up a newspaper, showing it to JT.  “I really liked your last single.  It brought the spotlight back to some other things going on.  I liked how you pulled that off without any company backing.  It just popped up out of nowhere.”

“Yeah, that’s how I planned it,” JT stated as he looked around the room again.  “With all the drama the company execs had created over the past few weeks, I decided I’d had enough of the theatrics.  I had to do something different to keep the media off of the drama and put it on what really matters, the music.”

“Correct me if I’m wrong, but weren’t you drawing attention to the ones that were creating the drama?”  Brian asked as JT nodded and then smiled.  “I like that.”

“Glad you do,” JT stated as he pulled a CD from his pocket and then handed it to Brian.  “Hopefully, you’ll like this also.”

“What’s this?”  Brian asked.

“Hopefully it’ll be a number one hit,” JT stated as Brian pressed a button on a console as a CD tray opened up as he placed the CD into it and then pressed the button as the CD loaded into the player as music filled the room.

“Nice tune, it’s very catchy,” Brian stated as he snapped his fingers and bopped his head to the beat of the song.  “What’s this called?”

“Mischievous,” JT answered as Brian smiled again.

“I like it,” Brian stated as he walked around the control booth as he motioned for JT to follow him.

“Do you think you would like to accompany me on this song?”  JT asked as Brian turned, facing him with a strange look on his face.

“I—I like the song JT, but do you really think this is the song I should sing with you?  This seems like the kind of song you would sing with—with your husband Justin, not…” Brian stated as JT coughed, interrupting him.

“Excuse me Brian, why do you think that?”  JT asked as he looked at Brian strangely.

“From what I’ve heard so far, this seems like a song that you would want to… Well, you know,” Brian said as he motioned with his hands at JT as JT just stood there, watching him strangely.  “A song that would make you want to do the… Come on, you know.”

“I don’t know,” JT stated as Brian shook his head.

“JT, I think this is a song that would make people want to get busy,” Brian stated as JT’s eyes widened as he shook his head.

“That so wasn’t the way I was headed with this song,” JT stated as Brian pressed a button on the console as the music stopped, started playing backwards a bit and then started playing forward again.

“Are you sure about that?”  Brian asked as he pressed another button on the console as the music stopped as he pressed another button and then the music started to play again. “Listen to the words and tell me what you think is the right answer here.”

Come on over baby, let’s get things ready
Once the sun goes down… we’ll hit the town
We’ll be heating it up… while others eat it up
The night is all we have… so let’s get down
So come on over baby, let the fun times begin
Are you ready?

“Okay, I see your point there, but I was looking to sing this with someone else, not Justin,” JT stated as Brian looked at him strangely.

“Seriously JT, if I were to sing this song, I would sing it with my wife or another woman, not with a man,” Brian stated as he looked at JT with a neutral expression on his face.  “I’m sorry to say it this way, but I’m not going to sing a song that could have the fans thinking I like men.  I’m not trying to make this sound harsh or anything, but I’m not gay.”

“I—I didn’t mean to imply that you are, if that’s the way you took it,” JT stated as he looked down.  “I—I think I better go.”

“JT,” Brian said as JT shook his head.

“No Brian, you have a point,” JT stated.  “There’s no need in ruining your reputation and career because of a song.”

“JT, please don’t be that… I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said it the way I did,” Brian stated as JT looked at him.

“It’s totally fine,” JT replied as he accepted the CD.  “I guess I should sing this song with Justin.”

“Don’t get me wrong, I would love to work on a project with you JT as long as the music doesn’t create a problem for my career or my reputation.”

“Well I think us working together in any way would present a problem for your reputation,” JT stated as he walked out of the room, leaving Brian standing there with his mouth open.

A Few Hours Later – The Home of JT Poole – The Studio

“Baby, are you okay?”  Justin asked as he and Caleb walked into the room.

“No, I’m not okay,” JT replied as Justin looked at him strangely.  “My meeting with Brian Lake didn’t go over well.”

“Really?  What happened?”  Justin asked as he moved over to where JT sat, busy writing in his song book.

“He doesn’t want to ruin his reputation,” JT answered as Justin’s eyes perked up a bit and then he frowned.

“What?  How did his reputation come into play?”  Justin asked.

“He didn’t want to sing ‘Mischievous’ with me,” JT replied as he shook his head.  “He stated that if he were to sing a song like that, it would be with his wife or a woman, not with a guy.  He said I should sing the song with you instead.”

“Wait a minute, Brian said that to you?”  Justin asked as JT nodded his head.  “I—I don’t know what to say.”

“I do,” JT stated as he got up from the desk and then closed the song book.  “I’m not going to waste my time with a closet case.”

“How—how did you know he was a closet case?”  Justin asked as JT raised an eye at him.

“Justin, I’ve been gay for a very long time and I know how to spot another gay man,” JT stated as he turned and pressed a button on a panel.  “Besides, if he’s not ready to brave the waters of the gay world, who am I to help him cross the bridge?  I’m not the one to force him to do so.”

“I—I just thought he—he were…” Justin stammered as JT interrupted him.

“You thought he was ready to come out, because you two fooled around in the past,” JT stated as Justin’s eyes widened.

“How—how did you know that?”  Justin asked.

“Justin, how long have we’ve known each other?”  JT asked as Justin frowned.

“We’ve known each other a very long time baby, but what does that…” Justin replied as JT interrupted him again.

“Besides liking me, I know the type of guy that you would fall for Justin.  You’ve always had a thing for the cute, short and blond,” JT stated as Justin’s cheeks reddened.  “But, I’m not going to hold that against you… I once had a thing for that man, but that disappeared when he married the woman and they had a child.”

“I don’t like you baby, I love you.  Besides, things with Brian was short—very short.  It was just a fling during the time we were on tour with his band,” Justin stated, moving closer to JT and leaning in and kissing his mouth.  “I love you and Brian Lake doesn’t compare to you, at all.”

“That’s so sweet and very good answer,” JT stated as he groped Justin’s ass as Caleb giggled.  “Hey little man, what are you doing over there?”

“I’m just waiting for you two to stop being mushy so we can go have some fun,” Caleb replied as JT shook his head and then laughed.

“What kind of fun were you trying to get into little buddy?”  JT asked with a smile.

“I want to go to the Jacksonville Landing,” Caleb stated as he stood up from where he sat.  “Some kids at camp were talking about the video game arcade there and I would like to go.”

“Oh really?  Is it better than the video game arcade here?”  Justin asked as he looked over at JT with a smile on his face.

“Yeah, is it better than the arcade here?”  JT asked with a pout.

“I don’t know Daddy, I would like to go find out,” Caleb stated as he walked over and wrapped his arms around JT’s legs.  “Please Daddy, please… Can we go?”

“Yeah, I guess we can go,” JT responded as he and Justin pulled apart.  “Oh and Justin, I’m sure we’ll talk more about the Brian thing later on tonight.”

“I’m sure we will,” Justin replied with a frown as the three of them walked out of the room.

To Be Continued…

The Chaos Factor – Chapter 8

Chapter 8 — Chaos Goeth

Mar 15, 1996 – Jacksonville, FL – The X-Ternals’ Compound – The Infirmary

“What is the point of all of this?”  Tara asked, trying to catch her breath.

“You said you didn’t know any of these people, so I’m introducing you to them,” the other JT stated as his eyes started to glow again as Tara turned her head away.

“Please continue,” Tara stated, looking down.

“Moving along then.  I’m sure you remember the wimpy Carter Sellars,” the other JT stated, looking down as he sighed.  “For all the power he has to control the weather, he was never able to handle a fight as Cyclone.”

“He’s not a wimp, he just doesn’t believe in fighting like the rest of us do,” Tara stated as the other JT shook his head.

“If it wasn’t for his actions, the Prince never would’ve been injured by Master Power and had to wear that suit of armor that Paul Stanton now wears as Golem,” the other JT stated as he and Tara floated to the next person.  “Do you remember little Jordan Logan, if not, here he is, all grown up.  He’s not so little now.  He’s a full-grown man, he even has hair down there now.”

“Psi Lad,” Tara stated as a few tears fell from her eyes.

“No woman, don’t you shed tears for that little fuck up!”  The other JT snapped, his eyes flaring with energy as Tara screamed out.  “Everything happens for a reason… Doesn’t it?”

“He didn’t deserve to lose his family the way he did,” Tara stated as she sighed and then sniffled.  “Why are you doing this?”

“I’m doing this to show you why I’m here right now,” the other JT stated as the room shook as debris fell from the ceiling.  “Shall we continue now or do you want to whine some more?”

“I wasn’t whining,” Tara stated as the other JT looked at her as his eyes flared with energy, shocking her as she held her composure, not giving him the satisfaction of her screaming out.

“Now we come to Barbara Parks, the joke of the team,” the other JT stated as he shook his head.  “All she was ever good for doing was making mixed drinks with her powers.  She could’ve been so much more, but she was scared of her potential.  Glad I finally put her out of her damn misery.”

“What’s really the point to all of this Chaos?”  Tara asked as the other JT shook his head again.

“Don’t interrupt me!”  The other JT screamed as his eyes flared with energy as Tara screamed out this time.  “Moving along now, we get to Telly Scott.  He’s been going by the name Helix, but he doesn’t know what that really means.  He’s been the resident teleporter for the team for a very long time, but the Prince could’ve provided transport for you all, without the drama and the comedic antics that he created for so long.”

“You have a point there,” Tara stated as the other JT looked at her again.

“That guy has the biggest and rudest mouth of the south.  You know the guy thinks he knows everything, but he really doesn’t, but I do.  Sometimes I wonder why the Prince allowed him to remain around here for so long.  Then again, I wonder why the Prince remained here with you all for so long.”

“He remained here because he likes u and he likes helping people,” Tara stated, closing her eyes, fearing that she would be punished for speaking.

“Maybe you are right,” the other JT stated as the two of them floated over to where A’Mora was suspended.  “The Princess of Endor, A’Mora Asland… a real princess, a real princess, just like the prince and she’s here among the rest of you.  I think she could’ve used her magical powers differently, but instead of making herself happy, she chose to fight like the rest of you do, keeping the prince from experiencing his desires.”

“There are other things in this world besides experiencing desires Chaos,” Tara stated as the other JT shook his head again and then turned to face her, slapping her across the face.  “Did you enjoy hitting me Chaos?”

“Yes, I enjoyed that,” the other JT replied, smiling.  “You’re making Chaos very happy with your actions.”

“Much obliged, I’m sure,” Tara stated as the energy cage around JT and Necroloque’s bodies flickered a bit.  “Who’s this guy?”

“This is Benjamin Kane, his name is Lightspeed.  I thought you knew him,” the other JT stated, looking at Tara strangely as they floated past the man.  “This is his stripper girlfriend, Tamara Knight.  She’s a superhero by day and a stripper queen at night.  Instead of calling herself MidKnight, she should’ve just called herself Stripper Girl.  It seems all she’s good for is taking her clothes off.”

“I already know Tyler,” Tara stated as the other JT smiled and then shook his head.

“I don’t know what you saw in Stryker to even bother trying to sex him up.  He’s a confused young man,” the other JT spoke as he shook his head and then laughed.  “Ezra Tyler Sheridan hasn’t been able to make up his mind about what he wants since the day he set food in this place. One minute he likes girls and the next he likes guys.  I guess it depends on how big the dick is that he has to take up his ass.”

“Okay,” Tara said as a few tears fell from her eyes.

“And then we come to that bitch… I mean the witch named Celeste Preston, also known as Malaphyion.  I don’t even know why she came here.  Did she think her puny magicks could stand up to the might of Chaos?”  The other JT asked, moving towards her as he waved his hand at her face as her mouth reappeared as a few energy cages behind them flickered.  “Ah yes, the coveted Mara Drake or what’s her name again… That’s right, her name is Masquerade, like that bad seventies TV shoe.  Mara Drake has been a thorn in my side for a very long time.  Because of her actions, the Prince has been confused about his life, mainly because he believed that if he married her, she would produce the magical children that he met years ago, as if that would ever happen in this life…”

“And that guy there,” Tara stated, noticing that the more the other JT spoke, the more the energy cages behind them flickered.

“This is Kevin Page; he’s an Indian with the ability to heal what he touches.  The Prince met him at a gay activist place and the two became quick friends, but that changed when Kevin Edenfield got in his way.  It seems the Mystic Healer didn’t want anything to do with this team when Kevin Edenfield was around.  Come to find out, the Healer was in love with the Prince, but couldn’t handle his feelings,” the other JT stated as his eyes flared with energy as Tara screamed out.  “That was for you trying to distract me with meaningless thoughts of the past of you and that terrible freak back there.  So, we’re moving along.  We get to Henry Hart, the so-called prankster of the team.  Onyx really cracks me up, but he looked better as a cute little puppy dog.”

“He looked better as a cute little puppy dog?  I didn’t know Hank could change into animals,” Tara stated.

“He can’t, but I changed him into the cute little puppy dog myself,” the other JT stated with a smile.  “So, be careful about what you say to me, I could easily get offended and change you into a mink coat and leave you on a nightstand somewhere.”

“Noted,” Tara stated as the other JT turned around and then waved his hand as a few of the cages moved around.

“I know you remember Kayla Reyes, you were here when she was rescued from the accident that gave her the powers she has right now,” the other JT stated as Tara shook her head.

“What accident are you referring to?”  Tara asked.

“Come on Wonder Woman, I know you remember the fight between Talisman, the Prince and the rest of you that resulted in this young girl gaining her magical powers,” the other JT stated as more energy cages behind him flickered as the one around Necroloque disappeared completely.

“I—I think I remember it now,” Tara stated as the other JT floated over to the next person and then waved his hand as she moved next to him.

“This is Laura Lynn, she is known as Plastyque, but you know that already.  You already know how the Prince met her, since you and Laura hung out in the same places, growing up, both of you being the little common thieves you were on the street,” the other JT stated as Tara shook her head.  “Anyway, that bulky guy there is Mack Unger, he goes by Rock, but I think he’s more like Mud.  The Prince met him in a hospital a few years back, after he was attacked by some thugs at the Mall that you guys used to frequent a lot.  Like you, the Prince used his magic to grant a wish and the pathetic fool wished to be strong so no one would ever pick on him again and viola, that’s what you get in return.”

“I didn’t make a wish to become the way I am,” Tara stated as the other JT shook his head.

“No, you didn’t make a wish, but the Prince did use his magic to give you the powers that you have now, did he not?”  The other JT asked, waving his hand through the air as the area shook.  “Stop interrupting me damn it!”

“I’m sorry,” Tara stated as the other JT’s eyes flared with energy as she screamed out again.

“Now, where was i?  Oh yeah, this is Daniel McCulloch, he gained his powers from his Indian ancestors. On the day of his birth, his grandmother blessed him with the powers of the bear, hence the name Running Bear,” the other JT stated as he smiled and then moved over to where a woman was suspended as Tara gasped.  “Then we come to Amy Ramsey, Phantasma…”

“What happened to her?”  Tara asked.  “Is—is that her arm at her feet?”

“Why yes, that’s her robotic arm down at her feet,” the other JT replied, smiling as he shook his head.  “I told you to stop interrupting me!”

“I’m sorry,” Tara replied as the other JT’s eyes flared with energy once more as she screamed out again, her torture session lasting longer than the others.  “Please… Please stop!  I—I can’t take any more of this!”

“Now we come to the famous twins… who, in their right mind, would give their children the same damn first name?  I guess we would have to ask the mother of Andrew Brett and Andrew Bradley Claybourne to get that answer,” the other JT stated as Tara smiled weakly.

“He prefers to be called Andy and he prefers to be called Drew!”  JT screamed, stabbing the other JT in the back with his psychic sword as Necroloque floated down behind him.

“You!”  The other JT screamed, moving away from JT and Necroloque quickly as he turned around as the wound in his chest emanated psychic energy from his chest and back.  “How—how are you free right now?”

“Nope, we’re asking the questions now,” JT stated as he looked around.  “It seems you have everyone here, but where is Donna?  Why isn’t she here?”

“She’s not here because I couldn’t find her again,” the other JT replied as he looked up at JT.  “Is that because she went crazy and killed herself or…”

“What did you do to her?”  JT asked, floating closer to the other JT.

“I didn’t do anything to her at all,” the other JT replied.  “She did it to herself.”

“No, you had to do something to her!”  JT screamed, holding his psychic blade out in front of him.

“The only thing I did was remove the psychic blockers you had in her mind, restricting her powers from her use,” the other JT stated with a smile as the psychic energy continued to flare around his wound.

“Oh no, you didn’t!”  JT screamed, shaking his head.

“What’s that for JT?”  Tara asked as JT frowned.

“She—she couldn’t handle all the power she possessed,” JT stated as he shook his head.  “She—she probably went insane and…”

“And killed herself because she couldn’t handle all the voices in her head,” the other JT said with a smile on his face as he got back up on his feet.

“You monster!”  JT screamed, lunging towards the other JT again as he stabbed the psychic sword through his head.

“Oh God, no, the deathblow!”  Necroloque screamed as the other JT screamed out as energy and ribbon flared around JT’s body.

“What—what’s happening?  My—my transformation is coming undone!”  JT screamed out, as he, Tara and the other JT fell to the floor as all the energy cages above flickered and then disappeared.

“Tara, I think you need to do your thing,” Necroloque stated as Tara got up off the floor and then spun around in a circle as her body exploded in light, changing her into Amazon.

“Necroloque, what’s going on here?”  Tara asked, looking at JT and the other JT’s body that lay on the floor.

“I don’t know, but I think we’re about to get some answers,” Necroloque stated, moving over to JT’s body, kneeling down and caressing his face.  “Come on my boy, talk to me… What’s going on here?”

“It—it’s a demonphages,” JT spoke as the energy and ribbon hung off his body.  “It’s a demonphages that was created from my psychic essence that was left behind in Limbo that had mingled with the soul energies of Limbo also.  In a sense, it really was me, just not the flesh and blood me.  I—I did this Uncle, I did this.  I hurt so many people with my anger…”

“No my boy, you didn’t do this,” Necroloque stated as he shook his head, a few tears falling from his eyes.

“Donna, I can’t sense Donna anywhere on the planet,” JT stated as Necroloque’s eyes glowed.

“That’s because she’s not on this planet anymore my boy,” Necroloque stated as JT screamed out as psychic energy emanated around his body, taking on the form of a giant bird as it expanded so much that it enveloped all the people in the area, connecting their minds and souls to one another.

All it once, all the things JT felt was experienced by all the members of the X-Ternals that were in the room with him.  Screaming out, his tears fell as psychic energy set the building on fire.  Moving away from Necroloque, JT moved into a standing position and then reached behind his back, grabbing for air as his scepter appeared.

‘My boy, what are you doing?’  Necroloque telepathically spoke to JT, not getting a response.

“Necroloque, what’s going on?  What’s he doing?”  Tara asked as she and A’Mora moved over to where Necroloque stood, figuring out what was about to happen and then making a move to get to JT, not reaching him in time.

“I can’t allow this… Saturn!  Silent World!”  JT screamed as he threw the scepter into the air as it glowed brightly, the energy bathing everything around them all.

“No!”  Necroloque screamed, flying through the air as fast as he could, grabbing the scepter as he struggled to hold onto it as the energy expelled from it, blinding him, keeping him from seeing what was happening around him.

“JT, what have you done?”  A’Mora asked, reaching him first.

“All of this is my fault,” JT stated as he shook his head.  “None of this would have happened if I’d just stay away from you guys and never met any of you.”

“So, you think destroying the world is going to change that?”  A’Mora asked as JT nodded his head.  “You’re crazier than any of us ever thought!”

“Maybe so, but when I’m done, none of you will know me, never have met me,” JT stated as Necroloque landed down on the floor a few feet away from him.

“My boy, you have released energies that must be stopped,” Necroloque stated as JT shook his head.

“Let the world be rewritten without me in it,” JT stated as Tara and A’Mora looked at him strangely.

“You are crazy!”  Tara screamed.  “I didn’t let you turn me into Wonder Woman, so you could just off yourself!”

“You turned into Wonder Woman so you could help people that couldn’t help themselves,” JT stated as he shook his head.  “I can’t be helped anymore.”

“Destroying this world isn’t the answer damn it!”  Tara screamed, grabbing JT by the collar of his shirt and shaking him like a ragdoll.  “Stop your damn scepter before it kills us all!”

“I won’t,” JT stated as everything froze around him and Tara.

“What the hell is going on?”  Tara asked, noticing that things around them had stopped moving.  “We’re still moving, but everything else has stopped.”

“I take it this is one of the Elders’ doing,” JT stated as he got up off the floor as he turned around.  “They don’t want this place destroyed; they are doing what they need to—to keep this place protected.”

“They have a right to do what’s needed to keep this place protected JT,” Tara stated as she looked around as Necroloque appeared next to them as he handed JT his scepter.

“My boy, this belongs to you, but I suggest you undo what you’ve already done,” Necroloque stated as JT shook his head and then accepted his scepter as it glowed brightly.

“I’m not going to undo what I’ve done,” JT stated as he shook his head as the ground rumbled underneath them.  “Because of my actions, a demonphages took on my appearance and tried to kill all my friends and succeeded in driving one to kill herself!  That’s unforgiveable damn it!”

“But you aren’t responsible for this my boy,” Necroloque stated as JT shook his head.  “You are not responsible for the creation of that demonphages.”

“I might as well be,” JT stated as he shook his head again.  “It was my powers, it came from my domain… It was my anger… My anger caused all of this madness!”

“No my boy, you did not cause this,” Necroloque stated as JT shook his head.  “Your anger was created by another factor, a chaos factor that had nothing to do with you.”

“A factor that created a thing that called himself Chaos, used my powers against all of my friends and only the heavens know what he did to…” JT trailed off as psychic images were displayed in the area around him as the other JT’s body dissipated into nothingness.

“Let’s just say he did a good job torturing most of us,” Tara stated as she looked down.  “That thing enjoyed zapping me… I can’t say what he did to the others… Besides, it told me that it turned Hank into a dog.”

“Yes, we know about that,” JT stated, shaking his head.

“Well then, I still can’t tell you more than what he told me, except giving me a brief history on how you met most of the team and how he felt about certain members,” Tara stated as JT’s eyes glowed an eerie purple color as Tara’s glowed the same color, indicating that JT used his powers to link with her mind.

“I remained around here for so long because there are times I feel I have no place else to go, that I don’t have a home elsewhere, but here,” JT stated as he looked at Tara.  “Most of you are my friends and after tonight… I don’t know how long that will last.”

“JT, they are your friends… Because of what happened tonight, that’s not going to change,” Tara stated as people started moving around in the area behind them.

“How do you know that for sure Tara?”  JT asked.  “When I got here, they were all blaming me for what happened… What makes you think they’ll believe me when I tell them that a demonphages was behind all of this?”

“Because we all saw things with our own eyes,” A’Mora stated, walking over to where JT and Tara were.  “We all saw and heard the things that went on.  When you connected with us telepathically, we all felt what you felt… We all saw what you saw… When you stabbed your psychic sword through its head, we saw what truly happened.”

“And I still don’t know what to think about what happened to Donna,” JT stated as he looked down as a few tears fell from his eyes.

“You didn’t do it JT,” A’Mora stated, rubbing his shoulders.  “You have to keep in mind that you didn’t do it, but the demonphages did.”

“I know that, but it had my face, my powers,” JT stated as he shook his head.  “When you guys think about all the things it did, you would see my face, not someone…”

“As I said JT, we all know the truth here,” A’Mora stated, leaning in and giving JT a hug as JT looked over her shoulder to see Drew and Andy moving towards them.

“There’s the truth and then there’s the things that happened with all of you,” JT stated as he looked over at Drew and then turned around and looked at Kevin.  “I don’t know what I can do to…”

“There’s nothing anyone can do,” Necroloque stated as he stepped up to JT and looked at him.  “You’re the only one that needs to do something right now.  You need to take back that energy that you released into the universe, before things unfreeze and the world ends.”

“I—I don’t know if I can,” JT stated as he looked down.

“Think about all of us,” Hank stated as he walked up next to JT.  “Thank about all the things none of us would get to do, if the world is destroyed!”

“Think about the lives we would never have with the ones we love,” Andy said as he stepped up next to A’Mora, taking her hand as he looked over at JT and then at Drew.

“Think about our future,” Drew said as he took JT’s hand.  “Think about what we mean to each other.”

“Think about how good life can be, with you here, living it with your friends my boy,” Necroloque stated as he patted JT on the back.

“Okay,” JT stated as he held his scepter up in the air as his eyes glowed brightly.  “Saturn!  Soul, Eternal, Change-Up!  Wise ones of the universe, give me the wisdom, the strength, and the power I need to undo what I have done!”

THE END… For Now At Least