Canton chroniclesrising.., p.16
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       Canton Chronicles:Rising Power, p.16

           Faidra-Foteini Petaniti
 
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  “But I will try as hard as I can. Thanks for the concern Henry.”

  She opened the door and walked, almost run, to her car. So much to do, so little time.

  The engine started and as the sound became distant, Henry thought if all this was just a bad dream. But that was just wishful thinking. His eyes turned on the Coffin, still standing in the middle of his living room, all white and gleam, tightly shut.

  “It’s just you and me then, honey” he said and walked carefully towards it.

  ***

  Almost an hour later, Henry was once again sitting on his couch, the Coffin in the safety of his reinforced basement. The TV was still playing, but he couldn’t listen to it anymore. His mind was so heavily occupied, he didn’t even think of asking before opening.

  The sudden punch in his guts sent him flying across the living room. As Henry cursed himself for being such a huge idiot, trying to get back on his feet again, a hand violently grabbed his hair, lifting his head and forced him to look at the intruders.

  They were the Ribbons, the most notorious gang of drug-dealers. Ted, the local leader of the South-Eastern section, and his henchmen. Perfect timing.

  “Well, Ted, to what do I own the pleasure of your visit at such a late hour?”

  “Oh, nothing personal, Henry. You just have something that belongs to us.” Ted, an extremely tall and muscled man, with an ominously calm expression, hidden under fiery red facial hair, smiled at him with fake kindness.

  “Look, Ted, if you are talking about the dust and the skipped appointments, I am sorry, but I won’t be using anymore. I had some second thoughts. An epiphany, if you think. Turns out, I love my life more than I thought I did.”

  Henry smiled awkwardly and Teddy laughed, a harsh sound. His henchmen joined him, enjoying the whole show.

  “You think this is about the mere grams of dust and your pitiful sorry money we are interested in, eh? You are more laughable than I thought, Henry.”

  Teddy came directly in front of him, his stinking breath on top of his head.

  “We are talking about big money here, son. Noble money. Powerful money, from someone who wants desperately for justice to be served.”

  The realization struck Henry like a thunderbolt.

  The girl.

  They wanted his prisoner. Green had seen this coming. They had probably tailed Vanessa. And now Henry was pinned to the floor, unable to protect himself and his precious cargo.

  “So, I will say it again, Henry. You have something that belongs to me. Where is that little whore?”

  “The hell if I tell a bunch of Ribbons where a little girl is. You can go and kindly fuck yourself, Ted.”

  A base of a knife hit his head, and his eyes watered from pain. Everything was swimming in front of him, his vision blurry. He clang desperately to his consciousness, remaining silent.

  “Search the house.”

  Ted’s three men headed to different directions, tearing the place apart.

  “You see, I don’t get it Henry. The whole drug business. I always thought it was natural, a poor alone motherfucker, away from the world. Just another unfortunate soul. Imagine my surprise, when I learned who you really are. Henry White, from the famous Negator line. A remain of the old days. And look at you, pitiful and sorry, not appreciating what life has given you. You might as well not be living at all.”

  He emphasized the last sentence, and Henry realized he wasn’t going to get easily out of this mess.

  Then a victorious scream came from the basement.

  “We found it boss. Just like they described it. It is amazing. And it follows me, too.”

  “You were really smart once, weren’t you, White? Before the dust destroyed your brain, that is. Too bad.”

  He got up from his chair, his eyes cold.

  “Let’s go, boys. The Negator is coming with us, too. Let’s see how much of your legend is true, Henry”.

  ***

  The Ribbons packed them both in the black trucks and took off. Henry was bound hands and feet. He was almost certain that he could free himself if he really tried, but what about the Coffin? He certainly didn’t want to leave the girl with Ted and his gang. It would be too much for his already mortally wounded consciousness.

  Instead of making a dramatic escape, Henry tried to find out more about their destination.

  “So, a nice touch working for Green eh, Ted? I bet he’ll be thrilled, now that you are going to take us to him.”

  Ted laughed, really amused.

  “Poor bastard, you think a powerful man like Aldus has an interest in seeing you or the vermin in the Coffin behind you? To speak to you? You are totally delusional. The caves are our destination. There you will be judged and executed. No one is ever going to find you there. Not even a small piece of your bones will be found after we are done with you.”

  He smiled a crazed smile. Henry tried to remain calm.

  I am going to free myself. Then I am going to struggle him and take control of the vehicle.

  He’d loosened his ties quite a bit actually, when the car abruptly changed direction.

  “What the fuck are you doing idiot? You are going the wrong way!”

  Ted screamed to his driver.

  “Boss, the wheel, it’s acting up on its own. I don’t control it.”

  The driver started panicking.

  “Look, the others too, they are going the wrong way.”

  The black truck in front of them signalled them, that something was amiss. Ted tried to remain calm. He addressed Henry in a threatening note.

  “If this is one of your tricks, White, too bad. It’s not going to stop me from killing you.”

  Henry remained silent, trying his best to look surprised. But he knew where they were going.

  The caves. Aurelia.

  For reasons unknown the Holy Deity was calling them.

  ***

  The cars stopped abruptly in front of her cave. The large dark opening was less than inviting, scary even, but the Ribbons started walking towards it, mesmerized.

  The inside hadn’t changed at all those last few months. Aurelia was there, of course, a light blue aura, curled up like a little ball, standing mid-air against all laws of nature.

  The Ribbons exclaimed in awe. Ted started realizing what was going on. But instead of fear, his mouth shaped in a crazy grin.

  “The Deity has called us here. Say Henry, aren’t you like enemies or something? Even she wants you dead, it seems.”

  Ted turned around again, facing the blue ball.

  “Don’t worry holy lady, we will do as you wish.”

  The blue aura shook and waved, spreading a beautiful light to the cave’s inner walls. The rest of the Ribbons had fallen on their knees, praying on the miracle that stood right in front of them.

  They are losing it fast, under her influence. I have to do something.

  The ties were now hanging loose from Henry’s hands, but even if he freed himself, he couldn’t face five armed thugs, just with his bare hands. But his prisoner would.

  The girl, a little desperate voice whispered in his mind. She resisted Alice Green and survived. She is probably very fast, and powerful.

  Henry took a sideway look to the Coffin, which was still standing at the far corner of the cave, behind the Ribbons.

  The thugs began to rise on their feet, two of them coming towards him, ready to spread death under Aurelia’s guidance.

  I only have once chance.

  He let his ties fall, freeing his arms and grabbed a rock, which laid nearby. The two Ribbons were closing in, Ted standing right behind them.

  Please, God.

  He threw the rock, which flew straight ahead, passing between the two first heads, hitting Ted straight in the face. The thug fell into his knees, screaming from pain, the two Ribbons now turning around, going to his rescue.

  Henry run as fast as he could, elbowing the two thugs and kicking Teddy’s
belly, as he kneeled screaming on the ground. They all made desperate attempts to grab his arms and legs, but they were in total confusion and Henry was way faster.

  The two remaining Ribbons, having just recovered from Aurelia’s hypnotism and hearing the noise of their fallen comrades, turned around and started giving chase. But Henry was already way ahead of them, reaching the Coffin as they caught up with him. He punched one thug straight in the face, hurting his knuckle in the process. As the second thug pushed him to the ground and was ready to deliver the final blow, Henry extended his head, a crazy smile on his face.

  Too late, fucker.

  He touched the Coffin. The device recognised his fingerprints and opened wide. As the enemy’s fist connected with Henry’s exposed belly, his cargo was finally free. Save me.

  ***

  The whole cave shook. Waves of blue aura light up the dark cave interior, and the ball of light started expanding, transforming into something completely different. Well-shaped, beautiful. It resumed the body and face of a woman, who smiled, utterly satisfied.

  Eva…

  The thugs had stopped dead on their tracks, forgetting Henry and falling to their knees once again, in a worshipping stance. But the Deity’s eyes were on Henry, and Henry alone. She grinned and raised her hand to her chest, in a thanking-gesture.

  No…

  Aurelia raised her hand slowly, pulling the sleeping passenger towards her. Henry saw the girl flying out of his device, her face calm and happy.

  That’s why Aurelia called us here, today. The girl is not only powerful. She is a medium.

  Henry got up to his feet, every cell in his body screaming from pain, running towards the flying victim, trying to catch her leg, in order to break the connection. He was about to grasp her ankle, when he tripped in a rock, falling face-flat on the ground.

  Aurelia was now laughing, the girl standing in front of her face.

  “Hallo, dear. I was waiting too long for you to arrive. I hope the waiting hadn’t been for nothing.”

  “Aurelia, no. Don’t kill her too. Please!”

  His screams were in vain. Aurelia caught the girl with her hand, pushing her inside her newly-formed body, absorbing her. The cave shook again, harder this time, sending a few rocky pieces of ceiling straight to the ground. The Ribbons tried to cover themselves, alarmed for the first time this evening, but Henry just stood there, his face blank.

  And then, the moment of intense connection was gone. The girl was gone too. A minute passed and then another. Nothing happened. Even the air came into a stalemate. Aurelia just stood there, in his wife’s body, sighing deeply, looking disappointed, hurt.

  “Another failure… Why… Why when I was so sure this…” she stopped her sentence midway, her hands suddenly moving on her neck.

  There was second of agony for the Deity, as the earthquake resumed once again and the blue flames surrounding her flew up high, exploding, glowing ever brighter in the total darkness… and the girl flew out of Aurelia’s body.

  Her eyes were open but glassy blue, hypnotising, her face a mask of determination, her lips connected into a straight line. Her whole body was oozing Aurelia’s aura, the blue flames licking every part of her body, forming rings around her arms and legs. She flew above Aurelia’s face, above the Ribbons and Henry, and extended her right arm.

  All of the thugs were pushed simultaneously to the back of the cave, their backs glued to the hard rocks. They all screamed, as the girl closed her fist, pressing the back of their stomachs into the hard wall spikes.

  Aurelia was ecstatic, shaking from joy.

  “I did it. It worked. After all this endless waiting.”

  She turned slowly and faced Teddy and his crew. “You fools. Heathens. You think you are going to get away with trying to kill the chosen Medium? Her face will be the last thing you’ll ever see, as you slowly wither away in agony!”

  The girl, guided from the Deity’s wrath, lifted her right index finger, moving it in a circle motion. The faces of the thugs turned red, as the girl pushed their airways, denying them access to oxygen.

  With her left hand up high, she sent arrows of energy at the ceiling, causing rocks to fall in a steady, fast pace. When the big chunks fall, we are all dead. This can’t be happening.

  Aurelia’s face was distorted with hate and pleasure, laughing hysterically. In the midst of this mess, she screamed to the flying girl.

  “Now! Kill them!”

  A moment of inactivity, and then… The girl stopped her actions abruptly, both her arms falling to her side, like a little robot suddenly being turned off.

  The Ribbons were pulled by the gravity, falling straight in the hard sand-floor, gasping for air. The girl turned slowly, her body humming in a low pulsating light, moving towards Aurelia.

  The Deity’s face changed within seconds. The pleasure was gone. And something else had taken its place, another feeling. It was really hard to believe, but Henry was sure. Aurelia was afraid. Dead scared, in fact.

  The girl stopped for a few seconds, examining the Deity, almost measuring her. Then in the blink of an eye, another final shake of the cave, and the medium exploded in a pool of light, causing everyone to avert their eyes from her glow. She moved, fast as lighting and caught Aurelia’s neck.

  With a swift move, the girl slapped the Deity’s cheeks. Once, twice, three times. And then for the first time in this crazy afternoon, the girl spoke, a furious yell.

  “YOU DON’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO, YOU BITCH. NOBODY ORDERS ME AROUND ANYMORE. NOBODY, NOT EVEN THE GODS. IT’S OVER. UNDERSTOOD?”

  The deafening shout of the medium made the Ribbons pee on themselves. Aurelia shook her head in acceptance, wailing weakly. The girl let go of her neck, and the Deity curled up in a little blue ball, shaking from shock, withdrawing deep in her ground-hole.

  The girl started descending, her feet finally touching the ground with a soft thumb. She looked at the gang, and they cowered up against the wall, in a desperate attempt to disappear inside it.

  “You are to tell Green I am dead. You won’t come after me anymore. Because I will find out about it. And I’ll kill you.”

  They all looked at her, nodding mechanically. She raised her hand and showed Henry, who was still lying face down on the ground.

  “And you are never going to harass this man in your life, ever again. You are not going to come near his house or him. Or else I’ll kill you. Do you understand?”

  They nodded again, more certain this time, still not believing their good luck.

  “Disappear from my sight now. Take only one vehicle. We’ll need the other one.”

  They did, tail between their legs, piss in their pants. Once they were gone, the girl resumed her normal state of being. In front of Henry stood a tall, blue-eyed, brown-haired girl, dressed in black, smiling at him.

  “Thanks”, she whispered, and started falling.

  Henry ran and caught her in his arms, hugging her, as she laid there unconscious. And then he heard a voice, weak but totally frightening at the same time.

  “Take her and leave. Never come back here again, you hear me? Never.”

  Henry didn’t need to be told a second time. He carried the girl in his arms and left the cave at once, a wide grin on his face. He realized now, as he ushered the unconscious girl on his van, that maybe, there was a chance of revenge. Against the Deity who had destroyed his life. Right there in his grasp.

  And just for a few moments, before taking the long way home, Henry White was, once again, the happiest man on earth.

  ***

  Val felt her head heavy. She knew she was waking up, because she felt the light slowly crawling through her eyelids.

  That was a hell of fucking ride.

  The last thing Val remembered was Pete injecting her with a tranquilizer. And then the dreams. Like the black haired-girl crying, telling her not to kill those men, to not let Aurelia take control of her body…

  F
or some weird reason he had believed the girl, even right down to the Deity part. Val had thanked her, kissed her sweetly, and went on her way to face Aurelia. After that she remembered nothing.

  She opened her eyes really carefully, trying not to be blinded by the light above her. A fuzzy shape appeared, hovering just a few centimetres over her forehead. A manly face.

  “John?”

  Val asked, having a secret hope that everything was back to normal by now.

  “Sorry, kid. I am not your boyfriend.”

  Val stood up, leaning against the back of a comfortable, old couch, and came face to face with the man, to whom the voice belonged.

  He looked like he was in his early thirties, maybe even younger, going through some pretty rough times. There were wrinkles on his forehead and on the corners of his eyes and mouth. Still, he was really handsome in a strong, quiet way. His white skin and raven hair and eyes created an amazing contrast.

  “Who are you?”

  “That’s what I should be asking. You are in my house.”

  Val jumped up from the couch, raising her fists in an offensive stance.

  “Where the hell am I? Did you kidnap me? What do you want with me?”

  “Wow, easy there. I guess Vanessa is teaching you all too well in the new Academy.”

  Vanessa... The Academy…

  “Are you Vanessa’s friend? The one who’s supposed to protect me?”

  The smile was erased from at once from the man’s face.

  “Yeah, that’s me, I guess.”

  “Dude, sorry to tell you this, but I don’t feel that protected. You seem seriously beaten up.”

  “You don’t remember?” he asked her, the surprise true on his face.

  Val’s brain froze.

  The Cave. The thugs. Aurelia. The man, picking her up from the ground, helping her.

  “The dream wasn’t a dream.”

  Val looked at her hand and jerked it slowly, carefully. A blue flame engulfed her whole arm, burning bright, a beautiful warmth of pure energy. Aurelia’s energy. It was true. What the little girl was saying was true all along.

  She shuddered and the flame disappeared. Her eyes were now on the strange guy.

  “Tell me what happened.”

  “Not until you tell me your name.”

  Val looked at him, one eyebrow raised questioningly.

  “What? I can’t call you kid forever.”

  “Valentine.”

 
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