All Nonfiction Bullying Books Academic Author Interviews Celebrity interviews College Articles College Essays Educator of the Year Heroes Interviews Memoir Personal Experience Sports Travel & CultureAll Opinions Bullying Current Events / Politics Discrimination Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking Entertainment / Celebrities Environment Love / Relationships Movies / Music / TV Pop Culture / Trends School / College Social Issues / Civics Spirituality / Religion Sports / Hobbies
- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
Hell 2012: Part Three
White hair stained with red spilled over a naked body, over crumbled concrete. Chalked skin held the person from falling to ashes. Fingers were twisted and bludgeoned, the nails all torn to a bloody mess. Feet were blackened and blistered, skin flaked and purple. Healed scars and bleeding stab wounds clothed a boney back. A devastating entrance wound through the center of the back would be the beginning of the woman's great fall. The blood pooling from her head had decreased, leaving the Broadway pavement in a maroon pool. The dragon look more like a woman tortured for years than a fierce dragon hunting children.
Eliza finally stepped from the shadows cast upon the base of the surrounding buildings. Her hair dropped behind her squared shoulders. She set her jaw in a narrow line, gathering her will to pull water from the underground spring beneath her feet. The tension deepened as she stopped a few feet from Roderic. She kept her distance, but also put herself within range to attack accurately and precise.
''Everyone can tell a lie,'' she told him. ''You would be wise to forget you met us, and continue on to your destination.''
''I meant no harm,'' Roderic tried to tell her. ''But if I don't find the other dragon, what little people left are exposed to a possible danger.''
''Then I'd say that sounds more like a personal problem, not a group project,'' Eliza answered him. ''I won't ask again, move along peacefully.''
''Mom,'' Ellie began.
''Don't speak,'' Eliza cut her off. ''Eli, take your sister back inside. Hallyne, you go with them.'' The dog snapped out of his murderous stance and trotted to the speakeasy threshold. Runes carved into the door's frame and sidewalk allow passage. The dog sat down, eyes set squarely on his master.
Eli moved quickly to Ellie's side and put a hand on her back. He knew she wouldn't back down from their mother so easily, even when Eliza was acting so protective. He pushed her around their mother and Roderic, toward the speakeasy. Ellie dug her heels in the ground and spun to watch what happened.
''It's not hard to put on a mask,'' Eliza said to Roderic. ''So tell me who you really are.''
''I have no reason to lie to you,'' Roderic replied. ''I am the son of Carter Roderic and Margaret Everwood.''
''Everwood?'' Eliza questioned, pulling her brows together. Meggie Everwood was a name she hadn't heard in many years, not after her best friends death. Eliza felt personally attacked, like this person was trying to provoke her into attacking. She straightened up and stood face to face. She drew a short sword from her waist, holding the tip close to Roderic's throat with an inch to spare.
''Just words. Leave before that dragon has company in Summerland,'' the witch said. ''And stay away from my children, or I'll kill you.'' The threat was settle, like it wasn't meant to be taken serious. But Eliza was business up front, and promise in the back. Her ringed fingers held the dark mahogany hilt steadily, her eyes stormed with anger. Ellie stared at Roderic, looking for the threat her mother saw. Eli watched the boy, feet ready to move if his mother needed him.
''You'll risk lives?'' Roderic asked.
''You've risked more,'' Eliza said through clenched teeth. Roderic was dumbfounded. Eliza was convinced he was someone else, someone posing as a Roderic. He didn't want to bring up the fact that he was the bastard child of Meggie and Carter. After Meggie's murder eighteen years ago, Carter turned the boy away and returned to his wife. But It wouldn't have made a difference to Eliza. Her mind was made up.
Ellie kept her back to her family, pulling the blanket close to her nose. The booth wasn't the most uncomfortable bed she'd ever slept in, but it wasn't the most comfortable either. She shuffled around, trying to keep from turning in the direction of her family, even to get comfortable. Her mind drifted to Roderic. She'd seen him take on a dragon and win. But no one traveled alone, ever. There were worse things in the dark than a starving dragon in broad daylight.
Eliza lay a hand on Ellie's shoulder, making her jump. She didn't hear her move from across the room, or even walk toward her. Hallyne was usually on her heels. And Ellie could always hear his nails scratch the ground with every step.
''You'll understand one day,'' Eliza told her daughter. ''There are some things I can't explain right now. But it's still not safe for us.''
''I don't understand what's going on. How can their be secrets in a world when there are no people to hide them from?'' Ellie question, refusing to look at her mother. ''You . . . I can't even explain it. But you disappear for long periods of time, and what you did to Roderic today. It was like you were convinced he was someone else. I'm so confused. You never hide things from us.''
''I know. Believe me, Ellie, I wish I could tell you everything but I can't,'' Eliza said. Ellie turned around and looked at her mother. She sat with her arms folded on the table top. The U shaped booth was just big enough for Ellie to lay across the longer end bolted to the wall.
Eliza appeared more relaxed without her travel cloths on. She wore just the gray dress and stockings. Her hair was pulled back and bundled behind her head. Her belts and all but one chain necklaces lay over a chair with her vest. The silver short sword lay across the seat. Eliza had found fascination with the weapon after she'd recognized the Greek inscription embedded in the hilt. Eli sharpened the dull blade after years of wear and tear inside the glass case in a museum.
''Why? What's so terrible you can't tell us? Mom!'' Ellie said. Eliza looked her in the eyes now. Eli looked up from the map he and his mother had been looking at.
''The War isn't over. And it's just going to be hell and high waters from here on out for us. We have to be prepared and stick together as a family or we'll fall separately. Ellie, I know you. Do. Not. Follow. That. Boy.''
Roderic sat waiting in the shadows. He had changed out of his ripped cloths earlier, to gear up for now. He wore a white button down shirt under a black peacock jacket. Inside his boots, around his ankles, were small knives he'd once used to climb up a cliff a dragon had knocked him over. Buckled around his shoulders was Excalibur. It had yet to sense the presence of the dragon. It was nearing day breaking, and the dragon would have to come to it's den before then. But Roderic found interest in someone else waiting for the same thing he was.
The black haired, heart-faced woman was all legs with brown glamorous skin. Her dress hem touched the floor. It was red, with gold lining and jewels; such as bloodstone and emerald. A gold sash clung tightly around her waist, pulling the fabric around her body in all the right places. Her diamond eyes, lined with black, light the room with luminescence green. They stay trained on a painting leaning against the wall, unblinking. Her lips quivered as if she were speaking to herself. Her fingers twitch like she were trying to remember a piano composition she hadn't preformed in awhile. The woman was timeless, a natural beauty.
A strong wind blew through the museum's broken windows. Roderic pressed his back to the wall, melting back into the shadows. The woman turned, her long hair swaying around on the slab of rock she had been perched upon. She stood and waited for a moment, her eyes deep with relief as a dark skinned man walked through the door.
He pulled his arms through the sleeves of his brown stitched dress jacket. Underneath was a button down black shirt. He wore black trousers and no shoes. As he fixed the cuffs of his shirt, the woman's eyes still reveal her true feelings though her face shifted to a colder mask.
''Althea, you can never pull those faces with me,'' the man said, a smile playing across his full lips. ''You've softened too much to let that frozen heart shine through.''
''I warn you not play that card tonight, Kai. I know you've lost yet another of your species today, word travels fast through the worlds,'' Althea said, her eyes finally giving in to the anger now hardening her. ''You should never have come here.''
''You know I had no choice. I had to know what Eliza had found,'' he told the Egyptian. Roderic narrowed his eyes at the mention of Eliza Roads. That was strange for a dragon to be on talking terms with a witch.
''And what information had she collected?'' Althea wanted to know. She crossed her arms over her chest, staring hard into Kai's brown eyes.
''She's hit a dead end. The blade tip has disappeared. She imagines it is because the thief is dead,'' he answered her. ''And without anything else to give her, she has asked if you can speak with your friends on the other side.''
''The gods? I haven't heard from them since my parents were killed,'' Althea told him. ''Even Immortal Beings can lose there phone books. Eternity.''
''Well, that does pose as a problem now, doesn't it,'' Kai told her, not a question. They remain silent for a long moment. Roderic had Excalibur drawn, ready to run it through the dragons black heart. But Immortal Being didn't sound too pleasant. Roderic had never heard of the title. Though the woman looked harmless, her eyes told him otherwise. She could be as deadly as she was beautiful.
''I'm not about to put the rest of my life in the hands of a witch,'' Althea finally spoke. ''They've cost us one Dark Age, I'm not about to let them do it again. She can't be trusted. They can't be trusted. Lying runs in the family, from bitch to pups.''
''They're all we have left. Eliza is not like her sisters. She is of Circe blood,'' Kai told her.
''There is no difference. They are both destructive. Look around you, Kai. Your sister is dead because of her own children had slain her. They are no more murderous than the Inquisition. We are not safe in her company and I will not be in it any longer,'' Althea told the dragon.
''I see you are still as cold as the desert winds you grew up in,'' Kai said, stepping toward her. He laid his hands on her arms, trying to reach her past her dark mood. ''You should feel at home again. The world has as few people as your past life did. And the cities are finally quiet again. Have you been home yet?''
''Cairo was just a house. My home is with you,'' Althea said, her green eyes flaring. ''But not as long as that witch stands in the threshold. She is bad news. And these are desperate times.''
''Meaning we'll need all the help we can get. I'm stuck with you on the sidelines,'' the dragon told. Althea let her mouth drop open in disbelief for a moment before she threw her hands to her sides, jerking away from him. She glare at her lover.
''You've made your bed, Kai. Now lay in it alone,'' she told him. Her black hair blew behind her shoulders in a missing breeze. The Egyptian cat charm around her neck set aflame, making it clear that Kai was in hot water now.
''Alth-'' Kai had started to say when the Egyptian's body suddenly collapsed into a pile of gold sand. Roderic was so confused. How did this dragon know Eliza? What was an Immortal Being? And the thief. What had a thief stolen that was so important that a dragon and an Immortal Being had to call amongst a witch for help? Roderic looked at the sword in his hand. He knew this was probably the only chance he would get to kill the only Son of Jabberwocky alive. But he lowered the great weapon and slowly retraced his steps toward the exit. He wouldn't get answers from the dragon. And he didn't know what happen to the Immortal, aside from the pile of sand on the ground.
Eliza was the only person left to get answers from.