Issue #6: Myths and Heroes

This entry is part 7 of 15 in the series The Descendants Vol 1: Welcome to Freeland House

Part 5

The previous night’s heavy rain slowed to a light drizzle with the dawn. It was soon after that that the Garfield Zoo was overrun with police investigators and reporters. Channel 16 even had a helicopter circling the scene.

A week of animal disappearances had culminated in scattered destruction and further loss of stock. The structural damage to the roofs of the reptile house and the arctic animal hall, as well as several retaining walls and an ornamental fountain was already estimated to be in the high range of six digits. Worst of all were the biggest losses of animals yet; Joey a twelve year old orangutan; the zoo’s only white rhino, Clara; and over a dozen snakes including a rare species of python.

Security reported terrible sounds in the night and what sounded like explosions. The police had no leads, but the zoo was offering a thirty thousand dollar reward for information leading to an arrest and recovery of the animals.

Warrick quickly changed the channel when he heard someone coming up the stairs.

“Nah, change it back.” Ian said as he crested the stairs. “It’s not like I don’t know what happened.”

Nodding, Warrick turned back to the news, but the broadcast was now discussing traffic. “How long do you think until she’s back?” He asked, not taking his eyes off the television.

“No telling.” Ian said, sitting down on the other end of the couch. “Alexis seriously kicked her ass and Lucian said it would take time for her to bounce back from it.”

“But she will be back.” Warrick confirmed. “And she’s probably going to hunt down some psionics with a little less fight in them next time.” He tossed the remote onto the coffee table.

Ian shook his head. “Look, I know how you feel. I was the one that was out there with a chance to stop her last night and screwed up. But we can’t sit around worrying about the one who got away.” He put his feet up on the table. “For example, school is starting in what, three weeks? Alexis has it in her head to have all of you but Kareem enroll.”

Warrick made a faint, non-committal sound.

“Frankly, I agree with her on this one.” The older man continued. “If you don’t, we’re going to have to do some mental gymnastics to get around the truancy board and that’ll probably be more hindering than homework ever was.”

“How are we supposed to go to school and act normal when Morganna’s still out there, waiting to put us in a jar?” Warrick blinked.

“Same way you’ve managed to make friends, have fun and save the day on occasion with the Academy out to put you in a jar.” Ian said with a matter of fact air. “You just realize that no matter what else is going on, you have to live your life – no matter what evil sons of bitches are breathing down you neck.” He put a hand on the younger man’s shoulder. “You want to be a hero?”

Warrick nodded.

“Then that’s the first lesson. Now teach that to your fellow heroes-in-training and we’ll have no problem dealing with these things when they come up.”

***

“When I was younger, I always thought it would be really neat if magic and fantasy existed.” Alexis commented. She inhaled the scent of her coffee deeply, hoping the caffeine would clear her mind a bit more. “But now it exists and it’s very scary.”

Laurel shrugged. She was back at her computer following a well deserved night’s sleep. “I actually think it’s pretty exciting.” She looked up in time to catch Alexis’s eye roll. “Don’t get me wrong, Morganna is scary. But magic itself could be the discovery of the century. It could revolutionize the world in the right hands.”

Alexis shook her head. “Right now, it’s definitely not in the right hands.”

“I know.” Laurel frowned. “The worst part is that we still know nothing about her; where she is, where she came from…”

“We know what time she came from.” Alexis offered.

“Point.” Laurel started scrolling through a few website entries she had placed in her ‘maybe’ pile. “It’s a start. Not much of one, but it’ll have to do. I’m not giving up on this one, Alex. Forewarned is forearmed and unless one of us miraculously develops a sorcerous knack, we’re going to need something more concrete to use against her.”

***

Lisa sat on the edge of her bed. She hadn’t slept at all that night. There was too much on her mind.

Her family had been relieved to have her back, though concerned about what she had told them about her aunt. Still, she could tell they were still nervous around her; frightened that the ordeal wasn’t over. It wasn’t like Lisa could blame them. It still felt like she had been the one that had cast the spell that left Zack in the hospital.

Of course, her family would come around. They were close and even something like possession wasn’t strong enough to come between them for long. Lisa was more worried about her friends. Not only had she attacked them; hurt them, but she now knew things she knew she was never meant to.

After the chaos at the zoo, she had pretended to faint and forget everything that had happened. She didn’t know why the Freeland House residents were hiding their psionic natures, but she decided not to be one more person they had to worry about telling the world.

Then there was Kay. Apparently even Warrick and Cyn had been unaware that she was psionic – until Morganna had let the proverbial cat out of the bag using Lisa as a proxy. That one stung. Kay had been her best friend since third grade. The two were the founding members of the currently inactive band Snackrifice together. Lisa had thought they were best friends. And yet Kay hadn’t trusted her with her secret.

And worst of all, her aunt was still missing. Both Alexis and Ian had promised to do everything they could to make things right, but the truth was that those two had barely beaten Morganna and her knight. Now that Morganna knew what they were capable of, they’d have an even harder time stopping her the next time.

A week ago, her biggest problem was being upset with herself for pushing JC away. Now that seemed petty by comparison.

With a sigh, she flopped back on the bed and closed her eyes. Even with her eyes closed, she felt the room around her. It was something she recognized from her time trapped in Morganna’s thrall. With some concentration, she picked out her computer by feeling the soft hum of electricity in it. Concentrating more, she could follow the patterns of light coming from her lamp.

Then she felt three presences moving up the hall toward her. Startled, she opened her eyes and sat up. She had felt their heartbeats. Even knowing they were coming, Lisa jumped at the knock on her door.

“C-come in.” She tried to sound like her old self. The door swung open to reveal Cyn, Juniper and Kay.

“Your mom let us in.” Cyn said by way of explanation as she breezed into the room. “Get your stuff together, we’re going to the park, and then shopping, and then we’re going to catch a lame movie and mock the hell out of it.”

Lisa blinked.

Juniper gave her a pitying glance. “Cyn, maybe she’s not ready.”

“That’s the point.” Kay piped up, leaning on the doorframe. She grinned at Lisa. “Don’t mind what she says, if you’re not ready, me and Cyn plan on making you ready.” She pretended to crack her knuckles. “So do we do this the easy way, or the hard way?”

Lisa smiled in spite of herself. “I was worried that none of you would want anything to do with me after all that’s happened.”

Kay waved her hand dismissively. “Evil ghost in your brain. The girls filled me in and we all agree – all is forgiven, okay?”

“You’re taking this way better than I am.” Lisa sighed.

“I think they’ve just agreed that no matter how implausible what’s happened in the last week has been,” Juniper looked around the room at the others, “we know deep down that you wouldn’t do anything like that on your own. And from what I’ve heard, I agree.”

Feeling a small part of her burden lifted from her shoulders, Lisa mustered a genuine smile. “Thanks, guys. Let’s go.”

End Issue #6

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About Vaal

Landon Porter is the author of The Descendants and Rune Breaker. Follow him on Twitter @ParadoxOmni or sign up for his newsletter.

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