Watcher of the Realms Chapter 25

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Chapter 25

My back smacked into something hard. Three bodies landed on top of me. An elbow to my forehead, my gut. A knee to my thigh.

That one hurt the most.

Probably because it was Nick’s. The big jerk probably tried to do it.

“What the heck?” He pushed off me and hopped to his feet.

“You sadmonkey!” Hope yelled.

“Quiet!” Braeden squatted and looked around, his gun up.

Oh, yeah, we’d Jumped.

I grabbed Nick’s shirt at the collar and hauled him to me then slapped my hand over his mouth. He struggled for about two seconds until he took in his surroundings.

Or, I might have been holding him a little tight.

We’d stepped into a world of white. The walls, the floor, even the ceiling. It was all slick-looking, too, like super polished the way the bright overhead lights beamed on them.

Papers floated through the air. Short walls surrounded us and a small desk propped against one of them. I peeked over and the one next to me looked the same. There were some random papers on the desk, but not much else.

There were two more cubicles to my left.

The light above us flickered. Shuffling behind me had me whirling around. Just more paper floating to the floor.

The rest of the space was empty. Open with a couple of tables in the middle, much like The Cave beneath our house back home.

Black top with microscopes. One of the tables had a sink. The other had clamps, like an exam table. Crap.

Nick struggled beneath my grip again, and I said, “No sound, you got it?”

He nodded and wrenched away from me. And then he screamed like a girl!

Braeden tackled him at the waist, just before he bolted out of the cubicle. Nick continued to wail. “I knew you were from another planet. Freak. I knew it! What’d you do to me? Where are we? You—”

Braeden smacked him in the jaw. “You wanna die?”

Nick stilled.

“That’s right. Shut up and we might let you live.”

“Wow,” Hope said. “What a sissy.”

“Watch him.” Braeden stood up and scanned the room again then examined the ceilings. “Can’t see any cameras. But we have to assume this place is watched. Wherever we are.”

I followed him out of the cubie, pushing Nick ahead of me.

What the heck were we going to do with him? What was he even doing near us?

“What happened?” he whispered. “What—”

Braeden whirled around and pointed his finger at Nick. “We’ll tell you everything. Later. Shut up or you’ll get us killed.”

Nick gulped.

“You gonna be able to make him forget this?” I asked.

“Wait, What?” Nick whispered so loudly yelling would have been quieter.

“It’ll be a big one, we’ll see.” Braeden pushed Nick forward. “What the heck were you doing there?”

“Saw you guys sneaking around campus.”

“And what were you doing there?” Hope asked.

“Waiting for Anthony. Saw you freaks and followed you. Where are we and how’d we get here?” His voice was rising again.

I squeezed his arm to shut him up then held up The Coin. “Magic. And I have no clue.”

“Are you freaking kidding me right now?” He pushed off me. “You guys are crazy. Wait ‘til Coach finds out. You’re as good as off the team.”

“Shut up,” Hope whispered.

Nick scrambled away. I ran after him, but he beat me to the door on the far side of the room.

He wrenched it open. Something hissed.

Yeah, like a snake hissed.

“Get back.” Braeden yanked him out of the doorway and tossed him to the side.

Gun at the ready, Braeden peeked in super fast. “Too dark.”

I pulled out my phone. “Got an App for that.”

“Or a flashlight.” Braeden held a tiny mag light up. “Keep him under control, would you?”

Hope backed away.

Braeden nodded to her. “Open every drawer in the desks. Grab anything that looks like it might have information. Hurry. We leave in three minutes.”

“Why three?” Nick asked.

“Because I like that number. Shut up.”

“What am I looking for?” Hope asked.

“Anything about science experiments, genetics, anything computery like thumb drives, discs. Go!”

Braeden flashed the light into the room. I kept Nick pinned to the wall with my hand to his chest. Everything was quiet. Still. Eerie. My gut sunk to my feet. Like I’d been caught eating the last cupcake or something.

“Crate in the back corner. Animal in it.”

“The thing hissed. Is it giant snake?” I asked.

“Can’t see good enough. The crate’s big, though.”

Hope darted back to us, holding up a manila folder. “Drawers all empty except this. Says Subject 41122.”

Oh great. More subjects. My number was 47321. And there was a crate with an animal in that room. No scientists. Dang it something felt off.

Braeden looked again. “Clear. Come on.”

We filed in, well, Hope and I did, but I had to yank Nick in.

“Get off me,” he yelled.

“Can I hit him?” Hope stepped up to Nick. “I’ve always wanted to. Maybe knock him out?”

“You an alien, too?” Nick lunged at Hope. “Wouldn’t doubt it, freak.”

“Shut up,” Braeden said and pointed his light at the cage.

Taloned fingers curled through the wires. The nails weren’t black or anything. But from what I could tell by the way the creature was folded up into that large crate, it was tall. It had red eyes and long, white hair.

Even Nick stopped fussing.

“What the craptastic is that?” Hoped asked.

“Subject 41122,” Braeden said as he touched a small plaque above the door to the wire prison.

The creature swiped its fingers through the openings and let out a menacing growl. He had really long fingers and he almost got a piece of Braeden.

He rattled the cage and hissed, red eyes glaring at Braeden, then Hope and Nick. I stepped forward, wondering if I’d lived in a cage like this. Possible, I guess.

The creature cocked its head and sniffed then clicked his tongue against the roof of his mouth. The noise was loud, and the creature did that for a few seconds then tilted his head again.

More clicking—it sounded like a cluck almost. He shook the cage again and clucked some more.

Then it dawned on me. “Are you talking?”

The creature stopped. He closed his eyes and let out a few more clucks. A subtle glow along his throat zipped to his mouth and eyes, and he gasped.

“Out. Me out.” He spoke English.

His voice was deep, yet quiet. And there was a little accent to it. It didn’t sound familiar, but it was there.

“Please. Out.” His eyes went wide. “Sir.”

“Sounds like you,” Hope said, “I mean the please and sir thing.”

I looked at Braeden. “What do you think?”

“Can you understand me?” Braeden asked the creature.

He nodded. “Please. Out. No hurt. No hurt.”

“You won’t hurt us?” I asked.

“No. Sir. Out please.”

I reached for the lock. “Do you know where the key is?”

“Crap,” Hope said. “I didn’t see anything in the desk.”

“Don’t let that thing out!” Nick shoved me. “You’re crazy! It’s a monster. You can’t—”

“Shut up, jerkwad,” Hope said.

I leaned toward the cage. “Ease back, please.”

The creature did as I said, and I grabbed hold of the padlock. The metal was cold. Hard corners. I widened my stance and squeezed like crazy.

And it crumbled.

I pulled open the door, and the creature crawled out with a groan. I swear I heard bones cracking as he rose to full height.

“Holy cow. How’d he break that?” Nick asked.

The creature stood eye to eye with me. He was thin like me.

“Thank you.” He bowed slightly. “Brother.”

“Oh my gosh,” Hope said. “You’re a fairy.”

He nodded then looked at me. “As are you.”

“You’re talking English,” Hope said.

The Fairy growled. Black lines crept along his temple. A flash of dark red blasted through his already red eyes.

“She’s not a bad human,” I said. “We’re here to help.”

“Realm of the Humans. Bad.” He glanced around and pointed at Nick. “Bad human.”

Nick, Braeden, me, and Hope surrounded him. He was tall as me and as skinny, but his white flesh and wicked-looking eyes did the trick for tripping my scared button. Despite how skinny he was, I didn’t doubt he had some power at the end of his fists.

“Where’d all the lab coats go?” Braeden asked.

He quirked an eyebrow at Braeden.

“Scientists? The bad people in white coats? And yeah, how are you speaking English all of a sudden?”

His fists tightened.

“Talk later, get home now,” I said. “Well, my home. I’m not sure where we are, actually.”

“I heard them say desert. I am familiar with that word. Sand. Isolated.”

“America?” I asked. “There are deserts all over the world.

“Do not know,” he said, stepped toward me. “What are you, exactly?”

“Tell you later.” I held up The Coin. “Let’s get you out of here.”

“Coin of Srupiso.” He stepped back. “You Jumper.”

“Evidently.”

“Get home? My mother. It’s been so long.”

“How long?” Hope asked.

“Many moons. Lost track.” He held up his hands and a glow encompassed them again.

“What is that?” I asked.

“My power. It weak. They did something to me.” He scratched the back of his head.

“Come on,” I said, reaching for Hope as I gripped The Coin. “We should go.”

“But, we need the scientists!” She looked at the Fairy. “Where’d they go?”

He hissed as he towered over Hope. To her credit she didn’t back down a bit.

“Hiss all you want at me, buddy. But if you know something, you better tell because in less than 48 hours, Earth will be vaporized by the King-type-dude of the Realms. So you better—”

“What?” Nick screamed.

I shoved him against the wall beside the door. “Shut up!”

“The Realm King?” The Fairy grabbed Hope’s shoulders. “Tell me what you know.”

“Hey, now.” I pried his fingers from her. “Back off.”

“You’re strong.” He shook out his hand. “But—”

The door behind us burst open. “Freeze!”

“Help me!” Nick darted toward the three army guys aiming guns at us. “They kidnapped me. Help me!”

The guy in front grabbed Nick and snaked his arm around his throat. Nick clawed at the arm and kicked up. “Hey. What are you doing?”

“Dang it, Nick,” Hope yelled.

A guy with black-rimmed glasses, wearing a white coat stepped through the wall of warriors. “You will give us the creature. Or I will take your friend.”

Hope laughed. “He’s not our friend. You can have him.”

Nick squirmed. “You can’t do this. You—”

Army Guy jostled Nick and said, “Step away from the creature.”

“Get ready to run,” Braeden whispered.

The Fairy looked at my foster brother, and he tilted his head slightly to the side. Then nodded as if he’d heard something more than what Braeden had just said.

Braeden waved his hand. Two of the three army guys flew to the side.

The third one’s gun flashed.

The fairy lifted his glowing hands toward the door. Bullets froze. Mid-air.

“Can’t. Hold. Long,” the fairy gasped. Black lines formed along his temple from his eyes. Veins bulged in his neck.

“How do we get out of here?” I yelled.

“Door. Behind them,” the fairy gasped.

Braeden batted the remaining guy to the side. “Grab Nick, let’s—”

“He’s gone!” Hope yelled.

“Run!”

~~~~~~

Join us Friday for Chapter 26 of Watcher of the Realms. Be sure to subscribe to the site to not miss a single chapter of Riley’s adventures.

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See you soon….

About Lynn Rush

New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Author, chocolate addict & ultra runner. Rep'd by Nicole Resciniti of The Seymour Agency
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