So… Who do you like?


I just realized I have a lot of characters XP

I just realized I have a lot of characters XP

Alright, so I did one of these a long time ago, and I decided it’s time I did another one. This is a poll for who your favorite character(s) is/are from my current WIP novels. Note: I probably missed a bunch of characters from The Dark Menace because the cast in that story is huge. Also, you don’t need to have read all my stories, or even be up to date on any of them. Just, if you recognize a character that you liked, place a vote for him/her. I’m curious who you guys like.

Looking forward to the results! 🙂

Tours yruly

More Quotes! =D


Sooo, what in the world is all this about? You might ask. Well, remember how I did the first and last lines of the stories I’ve completed? Well, as a sort of advertising campaign, I’ve decided to do the “best” quotes from my current stories. There are quotes around best because one of the quotes isn’t actually the best, but I made it a point to have at least one quote from the main character per story. Enjoy, and hopefully these intrigue you enough to go and check my stories out. 🙂

I love space. :)

I love space. 🙂

1. Galactic Battles: The Dark Menace

The weak are conquered by the strong, and the crafty take advantage of the naive. Whilst one conquers by force, the other conquers by deception. Tell me, which is the foe greater to be feared?

– Richard Homling

So, yep, Richard is the main character for The Dark Menace, which is a science fiction novel staged in a galaxy of my own creation. It is going to be, by far, the longest story I have ever written, and is very much a work in progress, though there is substantial reading material currently available.

Ah, don't old books look cool?

Ah, don’t old books look cool?

2. The Storyteller

Time is a dangerous subject.

– Phillip

In everyone lies a story, some just never get told.

– Unknown

Our job as storytellers is not to force the story into our mould. We create the story to be sure, and we end it, but what happens between then is merely guided. On occasion, you will find that the story develops itself, and it can take paths you did not intend.

– The Storyteller

To me, The Storyteller has a special place in my heart because it is almost a parallel to what us actual writers/authors do, only with the spin that storytelling is now a super-power. Staged in a medieval world of fantasy, wrought with magic and the like, Philip, the protagonist (and the one with the lame quote), must travel on a journey to hunt down and defeat a mysterious being, the Executioner.

That looks cold....

That looks cold….

3. Heartless: Cold Hands

Lord– It is a troubled age that we live in. You know, God, that we are surrounded by trials and tribulations. Friends fall all around us, yet I know that with faith in You, we will stay strong.

– Anna Flyer

Okay, okay, I’m sorry I wasted a bullet.

– Morpheus

It’s a cold world. A world like this calls for cold action.

– Morpheus

Cold Hands is a lot more than an apocalyptic novel, as the most recent chapter of it just revealed. This is a novel looking at just how bad the world can get, and as you can see, especially from the last quote, the world has become very harsh. Anna is the protagonist, and her quote is actually taken from a prayer. The second quote might not seem like much out of context, but inside of the story it goes far to show the brutality of the new world. (Also, because Cold Hands is the featured novel on my blog, there is a lot of extra content for it. Check out the table of contents (ToC) to find it!)

My own picture! :)

My own picture! 🙂 (Actually my picture composited with another picture)

4. Unseen: Right Behind You

Hope is after all no more than wishes, and wishes, when unsupported by action, are nothing more than empty thoughts.

– Samuel Dalus

As I said when I first started writing it, Right Behind You is not a horror story. XP Not that I have anything against horror stories, it just isn’t one. There is not much in terms of chapters out for this story, though I believe I have written some seventeen thousand words for it. This is partially science fiction, though not too much, and follows the story of wheelchair-ridden genius and billionaire, Samuel Dalus as he discovers a new race, the Unseen.

Alright! That’s it. Hopefully one of these intrigues you. I look forward to seeing more of you guys on my blog. 🙂

Tours yruly

Unseen – Right Behind You – Chapter 5, Deal Broker


Money....

Money….

And my NaNoWriMo novel is back with chapter 5! This was, yes, the chapter that I got stuck on during NaNoWriMo, but I’ve finally completed it. Really acting as more of a build-up chapter, we do end up with several interesting developments. I am also going to start hyperlinking it properly because I was lazy before. If you don’t remember what’s been happening, which you probably don’t, last chapter we had Rose, Hercules, and Ethena infiltrate Samuel’s home to mind-wipe him. Enjoy. 🙂

Chapters: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

“Impossible,” Hercules declared, pacing back and forth. “Our scientists have tried for years to repair the QMB Field. No matter how smart you are, there is no way you can succeed where our scientists failed. We are millennia ahead of you. If we cannot find a solution, then you can’t either.”

Samuel steepled his fingers and watched the muscular man move from side to side. Ethena had by this time, after a polite request from Samuel, taken her weapon away from his cranium. After all, as he pointed out, there was only so much physical damage a wheelchair-ridden individual could do. The calculating man gave Hercules’ implied question a minute to hang in the air before speaking.

“You want to know my solution then, or not?”

Hercules paused midstep. Slowly he put his foot on the ground, then turned to look at Rose and Ethena. Rose’s features clearly said, “Don’t trust him”, while Ethena’s expression told him simply and succinctly, “Hear him out”. Hercules decided on a compromise. He adjusted the rifle cradled in his arms, glanced at his watch and said:

“You have three minutes.”

Samuel eased himself back in his chair. “Let me tell you a story, and you correct me if I am wrong.

“Back in the medieval age, when everyone was still ignorant and barbaric, there was an advanced group of alchemists who called themselves the Seeing, an ideological analogy for their hope of knowing all. Their symbol? A crudely drawn human silhouetted by a closed eye. Devoted to trying to find a formula for turning common metals into gold, they slaved away in their laboratories day and night.

“On one of these nights, the founder of the group, Vortigern Irvine Dareios–”

“Irving,” Hercules muttered automatically, completely transfixed by Samuel. “He was a Scot of Celtic descent.”

Samuel nodded dismissively. “Irving, just one letter off. I am not surprised. Error in oral tradition happens. As I was saying, Vortigern was staying up late into the night. He had discovered something that he felt might possibly be the key to their goal. Hours passed as he toiled over his new chemical formula. Finally, he arrived at the stage which simply required him to mix two last solutions.

“He did so, and lo, the beaker became aflame with light so bright that Vortigern was blinded. The container fell from his hands and shattered on the floor. As the solution grew hotter and hotter, his house caught on fire. He heard a noise like rushing wind, and just as he thought he would be burnt to death, someone picked him up and brought him elsewhere.

“He was blind, so he had no idea who had saved him, or where they now were. But a few seconds elapsed, and he found himself outside his house at the front gate. People gathered around Vortigern, asking him if he was alright, but all he could say was that he had seen. This did not make any sense to his companions, who told him that he had been blind for eighteen years, and that his house was in the town, not in the outskirts of the village.

“Vortigern asked them what had happened to the Seeing, for he heard none of their voices in the group. No one knew of what he spoke, and told him as much. He collapsed with confusion, worry, and fatigue. Someone brought him water, then another asked him what he was doing out so far from home without someone accompanying him as a guide.

“They did not understand when he tried to explain what had happened to him and declared him crazy, having decided among themselves that he had lost his mind completely. They sent him back to his house and left him there. Two years later, Vortigern was visited by his only child, son of a woman he had married twenty years in the past.

“To his heir, Vortigern told this story, and unlike everyone else, his son believed each word. Generations later, we arrive in the modern age, but the story that had been passed on from father to eldest son on the former’s deathbed faithfully every generation before did not get told. Fortunately, however, one in the line of Vortigern kept a written record of the story here.”

Samuel wheeled over to the blackboard and picked up a small, aged volume. “I am the direct descendant of Vortigern Dareios, Samuel Dalus. You can trace the changes in the surname through the genealogy yourself, or you can just look at the board where I have marked out the family tree for you.”

The timer on Hercules’ watch beeped in the emptiness that followed. He didn’t bother silencing it. Finally, Ethena, arms crossed, stepped in between Hercules and Samuel.

“Alright Mister, I’ll give it to you that you are extremely familiar with Unseen history, but proving that you’re the descendant of Vortigern does not tell us how you will repair the QMB Field.”

Samuel shrugged. “I don’t know.”

“You don’t know?” Ethena gave an exasperated sigh and spun on her heel. “You’re just wasting our time. Can we just get on with it now Hercules?”

The six foot six giant lumbered at a deceptively fast pace towards Samuel. He stopped when four feet separated them.

“Tell me,” Hercules said. “Why? Why tell us your whole story simply to delay the inevitable?”

“Is it not obvious?” Samuel asked, raising an eyebrow. “Do you mean to tell me that you don’t see what I do?”

“Enlighten us then,” Ethena said skeptically.

Samuel looked at the three of them. “Rose, tell them.”

“I– Me?”

“Yes, you,” Samuel said, annoyance lacing his voice. “Tell them why it is key that I am Vortigern’s descendant.”

The two soldiers turned to face Rose, who stared down at her Converses self-consciously. She straightened her shirt, then looked back up and started speaking.

“What Samuel’s story shows is that one of the Unseen obviously warped time. There was an alchemistic group known as the Seeing, but in an alternate reality. One of you, an Unseen from the future, must have seen the destruction the dissolution of the QMB Field would cause and so went back in time to change it.

“In the alternate reality, Vortigern died, being burnt to death in his house, but our mysterious benefactor, knowing that Vortigern created a fairly large release of energy in this world, reciprocated in the ninth dimension, opening one of the largest faults to exist, large enough to encompass the whole village.

“He saved Vortigern by pulling the man into the ninth dimension, and there reversed time, placing Vortigern back in a situation where he chose to get married instead of become an alchemist. Then this person accelerated time back forward to where Vortigern was currently in existence and put him back into the real world.

“This is proof that Samuel holds the key because he or she must have known when changing Vortigern’s reality that Samuel would be a descendant of Vortigern, meaning that he had decided Samuel is the person who is needed to stop the QMB Field from collapsing.”

“There is just one problem with that,” Hercules said, when Rose concluded. “Vortigern’s memories should have been wiped when he was sent back in time, and memories should have been created when he was sent back forward. That’s just how time-spheres work. Yet he still remembered the alternate reality.”

Rose was stumped, and she shrugged. Hercules turned to Samuel. “I assume you have some explanation for this nonconformity?”

Samuel laced his thin fingers together and rested his chin on them. “Dual consciousnesses. This mysterious person duplicated Vortigern. He did not put Vortigern in a time-sphere, he put the whole village and an instance of Vortigern in a time-sphere, did his whole time magic, and then removed the instance of Vortigern and replaced it with Vortigern himself. This is the only explanation for how Vortigern’s decision could have changed. Choices are not random, when they are made, they stay made, unless someone changes something. The person who did all this must have controlled Vortigern’s alternate consciousness to choose differently.”

“And he did this how?” Ethena asked scoffingly. “Not even our scientists have ever even proposed the idea of a dual consciousness, let alone given theoretical evidence as to how it might be possible.”

Samuel shrugged eloquently. “It must have been done. It is the only explanation.”

“Or else you’ve just made this pretty story up in that head of yours as an escape from having your memory wiped.”

“You know it’s not made up,” Samuel told her quietly. “I’m sure in your schools, or whatever you have in the ninth dimension, this story is one of the most important history lessons. And you can’t exactly turn me down. I did some calculations. The QMB Field is weakening at an exponential rate. By my equations and their results, the longest you can hope for it to hold out is three months, no more, and very likely less.”

“So what are you proposing?” Hercules asked.

Samuel did not answer for the longest time. Instead, he sat straight, and carefully laid his manicured hands down on the rests of his wheelchair. He remained in that manner, with his head bowed, for a few minutes, then looked Hercules right in the eye.

“I want to see this ninth dimension.”

———————

“We can’t just take him to the ninth dimension!” Ethena hissed.

Hercules glanced over his shoulder at Samuel who sat at the opposite end of the room staring at them around slender fingers.

“You heard what he said.”

“Yes, and so did you. Can’t you see he is simply trying to take advantage of our situation?”

Hercules sighed and closed his eyes for a moment. “I can see that. But his points are valid. We can’t just, on moral grounds, dismiss a possible solution that may save the QMB Field from completely disintegrating. It’s not right or fair to those living in this dimension and our brethren back in the ninth dimension.”

“But we need clearance to take someone back with us anyway, we can’t just up and decide that we’re going to bring someone to the ninth dimension. This is something for the Board to determine.”

Hercules held his head in his hands. Decisions… Choices… Responsibility… It was all so difficult. He did not wish to deal with any of it, but that’s what he accepted when he had agreed to his promotion. He stood in silence for a few minutes, thinking. Eventually he came to a conclusion and turned to tell Samuel when his jaw fell open.

Everyone looked at where Hercules was staring. Ethena saw nothing, but Rose, Samuel, and Hercules all saw. The female apparition was standing before the chalkboard, flickering in and out of existence. She stared past all of them straight at Hercules. Almost pleadingly she extended both hands to the burly man, then she bent over in pain and disappeared.

All the color left Hercules’ face. Ethena knew better than to ask her superior what had just happened. He would tell her in due time. Rose seemed extremely disturbed, while Samuel remained impassive. Hercules stared at the ground, trying desperately not to wobble. The world seemed to be spinning around him. It was her.

Suddenly the Board and clearance did not seem as big of an issue to him. He shook his head, then moved towards Samuel.

“You can save her? If I take you to the ninth dimension you can stop her from phasing like that?”

“Her problem is one completely unrelated to the matter at hand,” Samuel said coldly. “She is being held in this dimension by someone, but because of her unique construct, she phases around between Faults, albeit painfully. Fixing the QMB Field will not rescue her. To help her, you’ll need to find the person behind her binding and stop him.”

Hercules turned sharply away. A minute passed, then he spoke without facing the calculating person behind him.

“Can you save her?”

Samuel laced his fingers together. “For a fee, of course.”

———————

“Hercules, this is madness!” Ethena snapped. “He’s got you wound around his little finger!”

“She’s right, you know,” Rose said. “Samuel is controlling you.”

Hercules’ reply was that of a man trying desperately not to give into emotion. His face twisted as he replied, “I– am very well aware of that– thank you very much.”

“Who is she?” Rose asked softly.

Ethena gave a warning gesture but Hercules waved it aside. “Rose deserves to know. After all, she’s the one playing the major part in all of this.”

“Wait– what?” said Rose, eyes growing wide. “I’m playing a major part? I thought that I’m just one of the informants, on the outskirt. You know, unimportant and minor… I don’t think I can handle any sort of responsibility greater than what I’m already carrying.”

Hercules put a giant hand on her shoulder. “I need your help Rose. I must know if I can count on you. You can go if you want, but if you stay I require one hundred percent conviction.”

“A–alright then,” Rose gulped.

“Good,” Hercules released Rose. “Her name is Chrysalis, or Silvestra Palmer, when she is living in this dimension. We worked together on the force for a long time, before I moved to military. We lost contact. Most recent thing I’d heard before this was that she was having phasing trouble.”

Rose gasped slightly at this. If one of the Unseen was having phasing problems, it meant that he or she had somehow bound him or herself to the fourth dimension, and thus could not properly stay in the ninth dimension. By the Unseen code, this was illegal and could have serious consequences. When Rose looked askance of Hercules, he nodded solemnly.

“But, what we see here is not evidence of phasing trouble. This is someone deliberately trying to bind her to this dimension.”

“Why would anyone want to bind her out of all the Unseen?” Rose asked. “It can’t just be by random chance right? Someone who has deduced enough to realize how to bind Unseen would not just target a random one. He would have some reason for it wouldn’t he?”

Hercules turned away and clasped his hands behind his back. “Yes, she is special. You know that Ethena and I are both obrix, meaning we are guardians. Chrysalis is an inixmius. She is set apart from everyone else because she has the ability to see through time within our nine-dimensional world. What does not make sense is that she is just like any other human when in this dimension, so capturing her here would serve no advantage.”

“You are sure there is nothing else special about her?” Rose asked, her forehead creasing. “Nothing that perhaps a megalomaniac individual would be interested in. Does she perhaps know of any sort of technology or secret that would be of great value here?”

Hercules faced her. “You’re suspecting Samuel aren’t you?”

Rose shifted uncomfortably under Hercules’ inquisitive gaze. “Yeah, well, he seems the prime candidate for all of this. He knows way more about the Unseen than anyone should. He is the perfect person to take advantage of this knowledge to blackmail the Unseen for his own benefits and desires. Of anyone in this side of the QMB Field, he is the most likely to know that Chrysalis is special, though he may not know exactly how she is special, and that would explain why he is binding her.”

“Then why would he offer to help us save her?” Ethena pointed out.

“Well,” Rose said. “I don’t know exactly what he has up his sleeve, but I was thinking that it might be because he doesn’t exactly understand what makes Chrysalis special, and thus hopes to find out through assisting us.”

“That is a very thin bridge to build suspicions on,” said Hercules doubtfully.

Ethena crossed her arms. “So is trusting Samuel, the exact person we came to mind-wipe.”

“Well then what would you suggest?” Hercules asked quietly.

Ethena’s gaze fell at Hercules’ query. Her shoulders moved expressively. Hercules turned to Rose. The girl moved her weight from one leg to the other, thinking all the while, but she could not come up with a viable solution. Instead, Rose looked past the daunting soldier in front of her to the seated individual behind them. Even from the distance she could see her reflection in his glasses. For some reason, she shivered.

———————

Bradley was whistling. That was good. That meant he felt good, which was good. Work had treated him well. He swung open the refrigerator and peered into its artificially lit interior. His beer was missing again. That stifled his spirits somewhat, but what else was he to do with a daughter who was overly and overtly concerned for his health? The operative shook his head and grinned. Rose was a filial child.

In the stead of his alcoholic drink, Bradley grabbed a carton of orange juice. He shoved around in an overhead cupboard for a while and finally removed from it a nondescript glass which he filled. As Bradley sipped on his drink, he scrolled through the messages that had gathered on his phone. Just typical spam messages, the occasional invitation from an old friend to a dinner, and then one from his daughter.

Ignoring all the other messages on his waiting list, Bradley opened the message from Rose. It was short and to the point, just alerting him that she’d gone to the house of her friend, Holly Locke, for an overnight stay. The single father grunted. Some part of him wondered if allowing his daughter to make decisions like this without asking him was a good idea. Then again, she was twenty-one. But in Bradley’s eyes, she was that same little girl that he had brought up with such care.

The phone started vibrating, and the ringtone the late Mrs. Fox had playfully chosen years ago filled the empty house. Bradley closed his eyes for a moment. The melodic cacophony of chirping birds always brought back memories that came with the cost of a pain in his chest that would not leave. She was so beautiful. Even when she lay in the wooden box that was her coffin she had been beautiful. And she loved birds, every single one of them.

A second peal from the phone woke Bradley from his thoughts and he thumbed the answer button, putting it on speaker mode as he washed the glass.

“Mr. Fox?” Bradley instantly recognized the voice as that of Holly’s mother.

“Mrs. Locke,” he said, the curiosity that was inherent in the Fox family tinging his voice. “What is it?”

“Oh.” The woman laughed a little. “It’s nothing really. Just that Holly and I will be going out shopping tomorrow and we were wondering if Rose would like to join us. I wouldn’t bother you of course, but Rose would not answer her phone.”

Neglecting the fact that his phone was on speaker mode, and that his hands were still wet, Bradley seized the phone and put it against his ear. “What was that? Do you mean Rose isn’t there with you?”

“No,” Mrs. Locke said, puzzled. “Rose isn’t here. Why?”

Bradley had already hung up and was scrolling through his contacts for the name of his daughter. He selected it and brought the phone to his ear, tapping his foot impatiently.

Tours yruly

Unseen – Right Behind You – Chapter 4, The 9th Dimension


Atomic Bomb

So, I am behind. That is reality. However, I like where this story is going. Now if I could just get the time to sit down and write a couple thousand words or so… Ah well. This chapter we get introduced to the Unseen, and we learn a little more about Samuel’s past. Enjoy.

Chapters: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Samuel was staying up late. For the first time ever since he had left his teen years, he was ignoring his schedule and not going to bed. The results of his experiment were just too conclusive for him to simply ignore. Suddenly things became clearer. A group of people actually existed in a parallel universe. How long had they been present? Samuel checked through ancient manuscripts. There had been sightings dating as far back as the late medieval age, but they became a lot more frequent after the dropping of the atomic bombs.

What had Rose meant by binding? Samuel sat back in his wheelchair and thought for a moment. Whatever divided the two dimensions had to be weakening for the sightings to increase in such magnitude, and there had to be some correlation between the dropping of the atomic bombs and the weakening of the field. Samuel found himself faced with a puzzle, and that was exactly what he needed.

His mind worked by conquering challenges. It was not the kind of mind that challenges itself for the sake of doing so. No, to Samuel’s utilitarian beliefs, that was counter-intuitive, but his mind was one that appreciated a challenge. It caused him to switch into a mode of careful analysis and breakdown, theory and speculation. By far this presented itself as the most intriguing problem he had ever faced.

He faced the computer again. They say the pen is greater than the sword, he mused, keys clicking as long, slender fingers swept rapidly over them. Well, the mind is greater than both.

———————

Memories. They are curious little things. In this case, they took Samuel back in time, back into high school. Young Samuel did not have a very orthodox scholastic training. The education he first got was survivalist in the extreme, as he had to work hard to battle against the odds of his captured environment. He had adapted, of course, and thus escaped with merely being hamstrung; a lot worse could have happened.

The school Samuel had attended comprised itself of two main factions. Either you were in one of them, or you got persecuted from both sides, so really there were three factions. What Samuel had learned when kidnapped had made him ruthless, cunning, and utilitarian.

Thus upon arriving at the school, his first job had been to join one of the factions. Of course, being himself, that was not what it appeared to be. What everyone saw was their leader, on a strange and inexplicable whim, allow someone who seemed to be a weakling to join their group. He was jeered and laughed at initially, but when the students who did so were mysteriously expelled, the jeering stopped.

Everyone built up almost a religious fear of him. Anyone who even crossed him so much as a little ended up in the principal’s office and came out either so shaken they would say nothing, or were kicked out from the school entirely. Samuel seemed to have his finger in every pie. Any rumor, or spreading talk that went around the school somehow always ended up in his ears. He became his factions biggest asset and their biggest fear.

Yet, no matter how much anyone tried, they found themselves unable to pinpoint anything on Samuel. He was extremely elusive, and when new students saw him, the warnings they had received seemed blown way out of proportion. Of course, they were soon set in their right place.

Through all of this, the ten year old, for he was indeed only ten, remained dangerously implacable. No one, of course, was aware of his agenda, or that he had one at all. His different attacks, as they were known, seemed random, and more fueled by spite than anything else. If anyone had tried to delve deeper into what lay behind his tinted glasses, for he wore them even back then, they found themselves repulsed instantly.

Samuel did have an ulterior motive though, he always did. Never do something without purpose. That was one of the numerous mantras that bounced around in his head. So he had set about systematically finding and eliminating any possible troublemakers, until all that remained was the leader of the opposing faction, a blustery student known as Harry Nord.

Samuel’s influence extended to more than his own faction. He had caused consternation in its opposing counterpart as well. His reign of terror extended even to members within that exclusive group, and none dared withstand him. This naturally made those on Samuel’s side extremely pleased, but the instant any of them exercised their new superiority, the ten-year old’s punishment came swiftly and quickly.

The pride of Samuel absolutely disgusted Harry, but though the technical leader of his faction, he of all people knew best who really sat behind the wheel. Somehow Samuel had got the even the overbearing Harry under his thumb. But Harry was scared. Yes, Harry feared the remorseless mind that resided within the only invalid in their school. He had crossed Samuel, and now he an irrational anxiety gripped him.

It was obvious that Samuel was double-crossing both the factions, playing one against another for his own benefit. It was a two-player game with a third participant, and that extra was breaking all the rules. Harry realized this. Out of desperation, he had attempted to seek assistance from his sworn enemy, Grant Hardy, leader of the opposing faction. But, Grant, the blind fool that he was, had rejected Harry’s supplications, and instead reported them to Samuel.

Harry paused his musing for a moment. Samuel had so successfully undermined the authority of Grant that he had forced the master to report to the servant. He shook his head, odium towards this fiend that had entered their school overcoming all else. The thought of Samuel brought back to the present his problem. Upon hearing of Harry’s insubordination, the disabled boy had demanded an interview. A shudder ran through Harry as he thought about it.

Those expressionless glasses… Impenetrable… Unreadable…

“Harry.”

That one word was all the distracted Harry needed to hear. He knew at that moment his fate was sealed. He looked up from where he sat, slumped against the wall. Samuel, looking as impeccably neat as ever, was smiling at him, and for some inexplicable reason, the smile made it ten times worse.

“You have a choice, Harry.”

Harry just looked at Samuel wordlessly.

“Either you pack your bags and go home quietly, or you run the gauntlet of your followers, and then get expelled by Mr. Pearson tomorrow.”

“My followers?” Harry asked pathetically. Samuel noted absently that that his victim had dark circles around his eyes; Harry had not been sleeping well.

“Yes,” Samuel said patiently. “Your followers. They know of your treachery.”

Harry pushed himself up. “And what’s to stop me from beating you up right now huh? I could hammer you to a pulp and no one would know about it.”

Samuel laughed, a genial, genuine laugh, but his voice froze Harry’s heart. “My followers.”

A group of thirty determined individuals gathered behind the boy. There was silence, then Samuel repeated his original offer.

“My parents,” Harry murmured distractedly. “They had hopes.”

“Well, crush them,” Samuel said, waving his hand dismissively. “Hope is after all no more than wishes, and wishes, when unsupported by action, are nothing more than empty thoughts.”

Slowly, disbelievingly, Harry stood up. “I’ll be gone tomorrow. Not a word from me.”

———————

Yes, Samuel thought to himself gleefully. The mind trumps all. He stared back at his computer screen. What was it that Rose had been borrowing? Scientific books pertaining to alternate dimensions. Perhaps her guess was not very far off. Samuel rolled himself forward and fired up another series of research prompts, all related to multiple-dimensional theory. The results were more than satisfactory.

They lived in a four dimensional world of course, three-dimensional space and one dimensional time. Samuel did some quick calculations on scrap paper. Based on the Theory of Dimensionality, a theory that had been proposed exactly one year ago, the next stable dimension would be nine, followed by thirty-six, then three hundred and twenty-four. That is, according to the Theory of Dimensionality. Samuel had some doubts as to whether it was completely correct, but he saw no benefit to himself in presenting his thoughts, so he kept them to himself.

Now, Samuel thought. What should my next move be? He rolled the idea around in his head for an hour or so, considering multiple factors, such as his importance to the Unseen that Rose had mentioned, their potential capabilities, his own potential capabilities, time, location, downfalls, and consequences. The Unseen, Samuel thought to himself, a fitting name, but he was going to see them, and try as they might, no one could stop him.

———————

Rose felt nervous, even more so than when Bradley had had her try saltimbocca alla Romana, and that had been pretty bad. What if things went wrong? Jessie’s warning bothered her more than anything else. The servant obviously knew things that he wasn’t telling her, and that disturbed the girl’s ordinary presence of mind. She could not stand being left in the dark, yet here she was, prepping herself to infiltrate Dalus Mansion and assist the Unseen in a memory wipe of its owner.

And it was all her fault. This thought upset Rose greatly. If she had not been so quick to jump to conclusions, if she had been more careful with the way she examined things. Samuel had laid bait right on the table, and she had jumped at it without second thought. Well, that’s not happening tonight, she thought grimly. Nothing could go wrong tonight. Mind-wipes were risky enough in and of themselves, but when it involved one of the Seeing, the operation became very delicate.

Rose looked over at Hercules and Ethena. They moved efficiently and quietly, occasionally exchanging words about one detail or another. Neither appeared tense or nervous. Why can’t I be like that for once? she asked herself. Seriously, Rose, have some self-confidence for once.

“Nervous?” Ethena asked, perfect, white teeth flashing in the moonlight.

Rose smiled noncommittally. “Yeah. It’s just– what if something goes wrong?”

The Unseen operative laid a hand on Rose’s shoulder, but her words of encouragement did not leave her mouth as Hercules stepped in.

“He’s in position.”

Ethena took the bulky pair of glasses from Hercules and brought them to her eyes. Shaped like binoculars, they served the purpose of magnification, heatwave-detection, long distance x-rays, and sonar. Very handy to have. Samuel was in his study, facing the blackboard, working on some new idea. She handed the glasses back to Hercules.

“Right where we want him. Couldn’t be better,” she smiled again.

Hercules was slow to be convinced. “When he is mind-wiped and has forgotten the whole incident, then it couldn’t be better. As the situation stands, there are a lot of things that could go wrong. Keep it clean alright Ethena? The Fault is right there. We won’t find a better chance.”

“You got it big guy.”

Rose watched quietly as Ethena hopped into her car and drove off. Now it was her turn.

“Alright Rose.” Hercules’ voice was a soothing, gravelly rumble. “Time to play your part. You ready?”

She tried to mimic Ethena’s dashing smile but failed miserably. Hercules’ massive hand came down on her shoulder encouragingly. She stepped forward a pace at the impact. It felt like a bullet train at top speed hitting her full in the back.

“You’ll do fine. Who knows? They might even promote you to serve a higher position in the office.”

Rose nodded, but her mind was elsewhere. The lone light emanating from Dalus Mansion seemed both beckoning and repelling. From the distance their stakeout stood at, she could not see the commanding figure that was Samuel, but just thinking about facing his marble countenance sent shivers down her spine. He had a way of staring at a person, unmoving, almost as if he was a statue, they made one feel like his eyes shone a cold laser that dissected intentions, motives, and thoughts.

Hercules was bent over a transmitter, shielding it from the strong wind that had picked up. His hulking frame was silhouetted by the moon’s pale rays as he cupped the speaker to his ear. The raging tempest made a noise so loud that it isolated Rose from any other sound. It carried her distracted thoughts away, and left her feeling quieter, and more collected. She looked towards her partner in subterfuge.

He gave her a ready sign, then indicated she should go. She started moving towards the house but he caught her arm. Rose turned to him. He mouthed something at her, but she couldn’t understand, and shook her head. Hercules missed her confusion though, he had already released her arm and was striding off. She shrugged, it probably wasn’t important anyway.

A few minutes later, she was accepted into the mansion by Jessie.

“Samuel is expecting you,” he said quietly, and stepped aside for her to enter.

Rose hesitated. This was not part of the plan. They had assumed she would have to explain herself, and not giving the carefully prepared excuse threw her off kilter. The butler remained completely silent as he shuffled along. Rose gazed unreservedly around her as she followed her quiet guide through the twisting halls of Dalus Mansion.

They passed a multitude of doors, all stern and shut firmly. Dim lighting created a moody effect, and the long shadows cast seemed to stalk them like noiseless wraiths. The atmosphere squeezed in from all around, and Rose felt a sinking feeling as they rounded a corner. Almost like a premonition of evil, it made her lose confidence in their plan. So many factors depended on the variable in the equation.

Jessie paused before a grand set of double doors and pushed them open. Rose entered, and he closed them behind her. As she stepped forward, she heard the barely-audible clicking of a well oiled lock. Samuel was to her right, stretching slightly as he finished chalking out a complicated equation on the large blackboard before him. To his right, on the wall opposite the window through which Rose’s companions had surveyed the billionaire, a large blueprint of the house was mounted.

Samuel ended his equation with a long flourish on the final number. A two, Rose noted absently, her favorite number. Obviously satisfied, her host slowly spun his wheelchair around to face her. He eyed Rose for a moment, then started speaking.

“We both know what you are here for, so let’s just get on with it. Where are they?”

It has to be said that Rose put up a valiant resistance. She went brazen, but Samuel dismantled that defense in a few words. Then she started accusing him, but he deflected the accusations easily, turning many of them around, thus leaving her feeling even more helpless. She finally resorted to an obstinate silence.

Samuel studied Rose for a minute. Then he rolled backwards slightly. She made a slight motion, but when he rolled forwards again, she resumed her original position. Slowly Samuel nodded, and a smile crept across his face. He began clapping.

“Very well played, very well played indeed.”

Then the clock struck twelve and everything happened. From behind Samuel, Ethena phased into existence and placed a sort of gun against the invalid’s head. The doors swung open violently, colliding against the walls with a resounding bang, and Hercules entered, a large rifle in his arms. Rose moved over to the windows and bolted them shut, as a safety precaution.

“You know who we are then?” Hercules’ clipped yet throaty tones seemed to light up something in Samuel.

“Yes, you are the Unseen, a group living in an alternate dimension, the ninth to be exact. During World War II however, the dropping of the atomic bombs weakened your Quasipresent Molecular Bonding Field because of the intense release of energy, and since then, it has been deteriorating, causing an increasing number of anomalies and phasing Unseen, who as they are flickering in and out of existence in this dimension at an abnormally fast rate, can only be seen by people with a mutated eye genome, and those people are known as the Seeing.

“If the QMB Field does fail, then the two dimensions will connect with drastic consequences. Since in the ninth dimension time works quite differently, the result will be a catastrophic merging of different time-spaces. Most of the human population will be decimated. Chaos and anarchy will reign. In a sense, it will be the apocalypse.

“You have come here to memory wipe me of everything I know because I am not on your side. You fear the knowledge that I have gained in relation to you and your culture since it gives me power, and thus you wish to take me out of the equation. In fact, you plan to wipe my memory by taking me into your ninth dimension, putting me in a time-sphere, then accelerating time in a negative direction no?”

Both Hercules and Ethena were well-trained soldiers, but Rose could not resist a slight twitching in her face as she struggled to battle the reality of what Samuel was saying. How did he know all of this? It had taken her months to come anywhere close to a viable solution to the visions she had been having, and even then it had required an actual encounter with the Unseen before everything made sense.

Hercules stepped forward. “Very good, Mr. Dalus. Since you have outlined so clearly for us what is going to happen, why don’t you just fall in with fate and come quietly?”

If anyone could see behind Samuel’s glasses, they would have seen his eyes flash dangerously and a glint of steel come into them, but as he still wore the glasses, all anyone saw was Samuel lean forward slightly. He gazed at Hercules who returned the favor stolidly, then Samuel spoke.

“What if I told you…that I can fix it?”

Tours yruly

The Unseen – Right Behind You – Chapter 3, Chrysalis


Yeah, doesn't make ANY sense.

Yeah, doesn’t make ANY sense.

Soooooooooooooo, chapter 3, I’m sorry, but it is four words from four thousand words, which is one thousand more than I had planned. But, I couldn’t end the chapter any earlier, ’cause of my obsession with cliffhangers. And so, I wrote it to have 3996 words, which I am just repeating myself now, so I will shut up and let you just read it. Enjoy. 🙂

Chapters: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

A week later, after Rose had arranged all her affairs, she found herself standing in front of the intimidating ninety story building that housed the heart of Dalus Corp. The past seven days had been a blur of interviews, discussions, and faces. It all seemed unreal. Bradley had briefed her as to his expectations, and she felt nervous. Taking a deep breath, Rose forced herself to stop looking up and walked toward the entryway.

The receptionist looked up and smiled as she entered. “Welcome to Dalus Corp, miss, how may I help you?”

“I am here because I was offered a job,” Rose informed the lady.

The receptionist did a good job of hiding her surprise as she checked the databanks. “Your name please?”

“Rose Fox.”

“May I see some identification? Thank you, this will do just nicely. Ah, yes, here you are. Go straight ahead, take a left down the hall and you’ll come to an elevator lobby. Take it to the forty-eighth floor. An executive will be waiting there who will direct you to where you will be working.”

Rose returned her card to her pocket and followed the receptionist’s instructions. As she waited for the elevator to arrive, she took a good look around her. Everything was bright and unsullied. Stainless steel elevator doors so reflective they acted like mirrors guarded the elevator car, and the buttons were so clean it felt like a sin to press them. The floor was spotless, and the air smelled slightly like air-freshener.

Heels clicked on the smooth tiles, and Rose turned to see who it was. A tall blonde rounded the corner. She came to a halt beside Rose and they both stood waiting for the elevator to arrive. It dinged a few seconds later, and the doors slid open. Rose stepped in but her companion remained in the lobby.

“Aren’t you going to come in?” Rose asked, stepping aside.

“Oh no, I think I will wait for the next one.” The lady smiled. “Don’t worry, you go right on ahead.”

Rose shrugged and hit the button for the forty-eight floor. As the doors closed, Rose saw the blonde twist a lock of hair around her finger nervously, then the elevator started up. Rose tapped a foot impatiently as she watched the numbers count up.

It was more apprehension than impatience really. How well would she do on her new job? Although Bradley had sent her there not to work but to investigate, a strong sense told her to do a good job nevertheless. As the numbers on the digital display approached forty-eight, she did less foot-tapping and more worrying. Has she made the right choice? Would it have been better if she just left all the detective work to her father?

The elevator came to a stop and the doors slid open. Well, that choice was behind her. She’d have to face the consequences now.

———————

Samuel watched silently as Rose stepped into the lobby and looked around for her guide. The executive Samuel had specially picked out walked towards her and introduced himself. He turned and headed towards the records room. Samuel smiled. Put someone where they most want to be, and they let down their guard, or else they become incredibly suspicious. Samuel didn’t care if Rose became either. He had his own plans.

The CEO put the display down as sharp, clicking footsteps echoed down the long hallway outside his room. Few people had the security key required to take the elevator to the eighty-seventh floor. If one of them was up here, it probably meant that they had something important to say.

He turned and gave a small smile as the familiar figure of his Director of Operations stood at the doors waiting to be let in. Slowly, Samuel rolled towards the entryway. The instant he came within range of its sensor, the doors unlocked and slid apart, allowing the tall blonde outside to come inside.

Samuel smiled at her as she walked past him. She gave him a distracted smile back, then sat on the only chair in the room. Samuel maneuvered himself till he was opposite her. He adeptly began setting up an exquisite glass chessboard. She just sat in the chair playing with her fingers nervously. A few seconds of silence passed, then Samuel extended two closed fists to her.

“Left or right?”

“Left,” she murmured.

He opened his left hand. Inside it lay a white pawn. He set both pieces down on the chessboard, turned it so the black pieces were on his side, then nodded. She started by moving her king’s pawn. He countered by developing his queen-side knight. A few more moves later, Samuel decided it was time enough to broach his thought.

“What are you doing here today? Our next game wasn’t until the twelfth.”

She ignored his question. “Who is that new person?”

“None of your concern,” Samuel told her, developing his bishop. “Personal affairs. I’ll manage her division from the top personally.”

“She’s getting a division?”

Samuel captured her knight. “Do you have a problem with that?”

“N– no.”

“Why did you come here today, Ellie?”

Ellie did not answer immediately. Instead, she pushed forward in the game, capturing and organizing until she had squeezed Samuel’s pieces against the back edge of the board.

“I need all the information for Project Xenocode.”

Samuel moved his queen from its beginning position. “You do do you?”

“Yes,” she said, checking him.

He moved his pawn. A simple move, but devastating, as it revealed two discovered attacks, both indirectly menacing her king, reinforced another piece, and threatened her queen. She picked up her king to move it out of danger.

“Has MI6 been asking for more than you can supply?” Samuel said.

The glass piece in her hand slipped through her fingers and fell to the floor, shattering into thousands of tiny shards. Her hands began to shake, and she bit her lip nervously. Withdrawing from the chess board, she began playing with her fingers again.

“I told them– I told them you knew– I told them– It’s not my fault!”

“Yes,” Samuel said, pushing himself away from the table. It would have been checkmate in three moves anyway. “Making a person think they’re in control is the easiest way to control them. I have known for the longest time Ellie. What I would suggest is that you take this money here, and go into hiding. Disappear for a year. Have someone kill you, start a new life. MI6 will think you have been collaborating with me. They will not let you stay alive for what you know.”

Ellie stared dubiously at the money Samuel had pushed towards her. “Why are you helping me?”

“You play well,” Samuel said, returning his wallet to his pocket. “And trust me, it makes my job a lot easier if you are out of the picture.”

Wordlessly she took the money and stood up.

“You have your gun I assume?” Samuel asked as she turned to leave.

“I’ve always had it with me.” She smiled faintly. “They told me you were dangerous. I see now it is a very different dangerous than what I thought it would be. How did you know?”

“That you carry a gun? You may be a good agent, but you get nervous. Every time you get nervous, your right hand slips down to your hip but finds it empty. You’re looking for your source of security, your gun. Then you remember that it’s not there, but somewhere else on your person, and relax. But not really of course, you keep your hands readily available. Playing with your fingers in front of you is merely an act to keep your hands near your weapon.”

“You knew I was debating on shooting you then?”

Samuel turned and looked out the window at the skyscraper across the road. “I know a lot of things.”

What he didn’t know, was that upon exiting the building, Ellie was seized by masked men and carried away to a deserted tropical island where she would be disposed of. He had been too late, not that it would have mattered much to him. He needed her out of the picture, it didn’t matter much to him in what way she left it.

———————

Rose looked up from sorting the files before her. It was a simple enough task. Organize the files according to the classifications that had been specified. When she saw a file that she thought interesting though, as per Bradley’s instructions, she slipped one of the specially designed trackers into it. Ironic, she thought. That the biggest computer research and development company should still use hardcopy files.

For some reason, Rose had a feeling that she was being watched. She glanced around. There was no one on this floor. The helpful executive who had assigned her this task had long since left to complete another job. She shrugged, then remembered security cameras. Once again Rose looked around uneasily.

She saw no visible signs of security cameras or microphones, but that did not mean they were not present. Suddenly she felt guilty, and rushed through the next few files so that she could stack as many things on top of the bugged files as she could. Paranoia seized her, and she wondered if somehow Samuel had figured out how to simulate invisibility.

Of course not. Don’t be ridiculous. Not even the Unseen have discovered a way to simulate actual invisibility. There are always flaws with the technology. With this reassuring thought, Rose continued working through stack after stack of files.

He was so quiet that she did not hear him, and when his clearly enunciated words emanated from behind her, they sounded as if shouted through a megaphone. She started and spun around.

Samuel sat in his wheelchair, a few feet behind Rose, fingers steepled, staring at her intently from behind his tinted glasses.

“E– excuse me?” Rose asked.

“I asked if the work is alright for you.”

“Oh, yes, yes,” Rose hastened to agree.

A terrible liar, Samuel mused. No doubt Fox senior asked his precious child to try and infiltrate our system.

“Well then, I’ll leave you to it. All the best. I hope your career will be pleasurable and full of quick advancement. We can’t have you sorting files forever can we?”

She smiled plastically. “No, of course not.”

———————

The week flew by for Rose. She had progressed slowly from sorting hardcover files to including digital files in her repertoire. A small part of her wondered why they did not use some sort of algorithm for the digital files, but she made no mention of it. Every time Rose looked up from her work, she seemed to feel his stare boring into her back, and when she turned around, he would always be there, staring at her around steepled fingers.

It got to the point where she started wondering if he had anything better to do than stalk his employees as they completed the jobs they had been assigned. Doubts flew around in her head every time she planted the devices Bradley had given to her. Did he know? If so, why didn’t he do anything? At the end of the week; however, when none of the devices transmitted, Rose knew that they had been removed.

She felt frustration well up inside of her, but had nowhere to vent. Instead, she focused on sorting the files with breakneck efficiency. A distorted reflection on the glass door revealed that Samuel was watching her again. She sighed and dropped the file in her hand onto the table. It was time she faced her employer about this.

Samuel watched impassively as Rose stalked out of the room towards him. He could almost see the frustration flowing out her pores. He smiled inwardly. The time had come. Finally he would get some answers.

“What do you think you are doing watching me everyday?” Rose demanded.

Samuel laced his fingers together and pushed the palms outwards, cracking his knuckles.

“You are a new employee, I have to make sure that you are doing your job correctly.”

Rose crossed her arms and raised an eyebrow. “Surely that does not involve constant supervision by the CEO of the company? Don’t you have better things to do?”

Some little corner of Rose demanded attention, telling her that this was no way to treat a superior, but she ignored it. This constant superintendence had to end, and it had to end soon.

“I am the CEO, so I can do what I feel needs to be done. Really, I should be the one asking the questions here. Why have you been trying to bug our system? Are you trying to watch me?”

“How dare you?” Rose was indignant. All the more so because he spoke the truth. “You don’t know that I have done anything of the sort. How can you bring such accusations against me?”

Samuel’s face darkened. Her flat-out denial annoyed him all the more because she made it blatantly obvious that she had indeed done it. He was not surprised, it was what he had expected, which is why he had made sure no files of importance were handed down to her, and that everything she came into contact with was routinely swept for surveillance and tracking devices.

Rose decided that her best option would be to distract him by returning to her original point. “Why have you been watching me all this time?”

“At least you don’t give up easily,” Samuel muttered to himself. Then he said loudly, “Follow me.”

“The last time I did that, I was pulled out of school into a working environment where I have been under constant scrutiny. Hardly a good thing if you ask me.”

Samuel ignored her and turned, rolling his wheelchair slowly towards the lobby.

Rose held an internal debate with herself. A large part of her wanted to follow him and figure out what exactly he was doing by stalking her movements within his company, but another part deemed it wiser to continue with her father’s original plan of trying to subvert the system that was Dalus Corp. Her curiosity won out, as it always had, and she hurried to catch up with Samuel.

She arrived just in time to join him inside the elevator. He hit the button for the garage level, then sat quietly, waiting for their transport to descend. Rose stood, and for the first time in her seven days since meeting him, really took the time to observe Samuel.

His hair was combed into a casual side part, and he wore a chalk gray pinstriped suit. A silver rolex embellished his wrist, and on his feet he wore black derby shoes which had never touched dirt. His face seemed set in stone, and as direct contact with his eyes was blocked by the round tinted glasses that concealed them, it made it extremely difficult to tell his emotions. His hands gripped the handles on his wheelchair lightly, and he sat straight, but his body was relaxed.

“Why can’t you walk?” Rose finally asked bluntly.

Samuel’s mouth twitched, but he made no reply.

Rose was abashed for a moment, but after another ten floors, put forth another question.

“Do you always wear those glasses? They aren’t prescription glasses right?”

Samuel grew slightly exasperated at her questions. “Do you always interrogate people like this?”

This silenced Rose, and the remainder of their trip was carried out in silence.

When they arrived at the ground floor, Samuel led the way to his expensive car. In the past, when Samuel first made the car, he had designed it specially so that built in heat-sensors would detect if more than one person was approaching it. In this manner, if one of the people was him and there was another, the car would automatically suspect he was being held hostage, and not go into its automatic sequence of preparing itself.

Not only that, but he had also built in a system to the car so that if it detected the chip approaching, but there was no heat source around it, the car would assume he was dead. In this case, it would proceed as normal, but upon reaching a main road, take control of itself, drive to a remote location, and detonate, as a final act of spite from its deceased master.

Rose, of course, did not know any of this. All she saw was a wheelchair-ridden individual leading her to a perfectly normal, albeit expensive, car. Don’t do it, don’t do it, she told herself silently, repeating the mantra over and over in her head. He did it; Samuel went around to the left side of the car.

“Um, who’s driving?” Rose asked.

Samuel turned incredulously. For a moment he just sat and stared at her, then finally he found words to voice his indignation.

“Are– are you doubting my driving abilities?”

Before Rose could reply he cut her off, sputtering. “I am as much a driver as you are, even with my disability, and I am positive that I can drive better than you.”

He grabbed the handle of the door and flung it open. There was a resounding bang that echoed through the parking garage. Slowly Samuel looked down from Rose to the door. It had slammed into a supporting pillar and sustained a large dent in its slick surface. Both of them were silent as the boarding ramp extended.

Samuel did not look up at Rose, but he could tell she was trying desperately not to break out into laughter at his mistake. The ramp touched the floor, and Samuel wheeled himself into the car, calling after Rose to follow. She got in on the side opposite his, and then, starting his car, Samuel drove off.

They pulled to a stop outside Dalus Mansion. Rose was absolutely puzzled. What in the world could he be doing, taking her to his home? Nevertheless, she followed Samuel as he vacated the car. Without a word, Samuel approached the front door. He waited quietly for her to also mount the staircase, then unlocked the front door and pushed it open.

The experiment that Samuel was undertaking rested on a few facts. First, the girl had to be there. He had little doubt about that though. For weeks now she had been there every time he got home; she would be there. No, his main concern was that his hypothesis was wrong, that Rose really had been seeing things, and that he suffered from another case entirely. It was the existence of this possibility that worried Samuel.

However, he needn’t have worried. Rose took one look into the mansion and her mouth fell open. How– how? It is impossible. There is no way coincidence like this can happen, she thought, using denial as a shield from reality. It was impossible though, wasn’t it? She had thought their problem was on a global scale, having it localized made it feel much more– prominent.

The girl extended a hand to Rose, flickering the whole time. She’s suffering, Rose realized. Instant anger flared up inside of her and replaced any other rational thought. The whirled on her heel and faced Samuel. He was not expecting this kind of reaction.

“What do you think you are doing?” she demanded.

“What?” Samuel asked, a puzzled frown creasing his brow.

Rose was infuriated. “How can you bind one of them? A phasing one at that?”

“Who is them?

“Seriously?” Rose asked, her mouth agape. “You can’t fool me. How are you doing it? Electricity? Magnetism? Heat?”

Samuel turned cold. “I do not understand what you are talking about.”

“Are you daft? The Unseen of course!”

“What Unseen?”

Rose suddenly felt a sinking sensation in the pit of her stomach. He doesn’t actually know. He doesn’t know. Oh, what have I done? “Nothing, it’s nothing. Sorry, just a little lapse. I have these mental fits sometimes. Visited a shrink for it.”

Samuel’s mind was working so volubly that it showed on his face. Rose’s comment fell on deaf ears. He remained completely impassive.

“Jessie,” Samuel called.

The butler came from around the house. “Yes, sir?”

“Drive the young lady to her house.”

Rose cut off Jessie’s reply. “You can’t just send me home after showing me something like this.”

Samuel glared at Rose, a spark in his eye, and quietly repeated his order to Jessie. Something about his whole facial expression, his tone, his body language, quieted Rose, and she followed the butler meekly as he led her to the car. When she turned to look back, Samuel was gone.

Inside the house, Samuel opened his personal computer and fired it up, linking it wirelessly to the powerful mainframe in Dalus Corp. This was exactly the kind of big break he was looking for. Suddenly little coincidences throughout multiple texts seemed less like coincidences and more like a cohesive body of information all pointing to one solution. He sat back in his wheelchair and cracked his knuckles.

———————

Rose was extremely nervous. She found herself biting her fingernails, something she hadn’t done in years. What had she done? She had been so convinced that Samuel had deliberately bound one of the Unseen that all logical thought had abandoned her. Now that she thought back about it though, it made no sense. If he had known he was illegally binding one of them, why would he have brought her to his home?

Jessie said something.

“What? I’m sorry, I missed what you said.”

“I was just saying, Miss, that you shouldn’t get involved with Mr. Dalus. It’s not good for you.”

“Why?”

The butler was silent for a moment, then he spoke, “No one stands in Samuel’s way for long.”

“What do you mean by that?” Rose asked, curiosity perked.

Jessie clammed up. The drive was continued in silence for a few minutes, then Rose tried a different tack.

“Why are you telling me this?”

“You’re a nice girl,” Jessie’s voice wafted back to her. “I don’t want anything happening to you.”

The butler dropped Rose of at her house. She waited for his car to disappear out of sight, then turned and headed for the backyard. The front door swung open and Bradley stepped out. He called after her.

“Where are you going? Why don’t you come in and say hi to me?”

“Oh, uh, I’m sorry. I didn’t realize you were home.”

“How is the job?”

Rose’s mind had completely lost track of the fact that she now had a job, and she looked at her father blankly.

Bradley grew worried. “Rose? Are you okay? What’s happened?”

“No, it’s fine.”

Bradley did not believe it to be “fine”, but he put it aside. “Why were you going to the backyard?”

“Oh, I left something in the backyard, I was just going back there to fetch it,” Rose lied.

Bradley nodded. “Sometimes I think you’ve forgotten I work for the CIA,” he murmured as he reentered the house

Rose ran into a shed in their backyard. Its floor was dirt, with a series of thick, exposed power cables. It was where the power surge at their house had occurred and the power company had dug the cables up to repair them. She stood there, waiting impatiently. Seconds passed, and she unconsciously began tapping her foot.

A huge man and slim woman suddenly flickered above the power cables, then phased into existence. They stepped forward silently and nodded in unison. Rose nodded back.

“Hercules, Ethena.”

“What is it?” Ethena asked.

Rose twisted a lock of hair distractedly. “Do you know of an Unseen with phasing problems in this area?”

They shook their heads, then Hercules wrinkled his brow. “Are you referring to a woman?”

Rose nodded.

Hercules’ eyes grew wide. He breathed one word, “Chrysalis.”

Tours yruly