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The Mountains Assassin! chapter 2, part 1:
The forest was like any form of nature, unique. Why can’t Willow wood be as interesting as the forest? Why can’t I feel at ease there?
‘‘You know why you can’t feel at ease, you can’t run away from your past forever. The past is there for a reason and it’s going to haunt you till you accept it.’’ A voice whispered in my head.
‘‘Hey, mind if I join you?’’ Jay said popping out from behind a tree in front of me.
‘‘I was just heading back.’’ I said and looked at him, he seemed at little agitated. ‘‘Are you alright? What are you doing out here?’’ I asked taking several steps in his direction.
‘‘I’m okay; do you want to go for a walk? I have to ask you something and I’d feel better if I was in motion.’’ Jay started walking in the opposite direction of Willow wood manor.
‘‘Sure.’’ I said following him deeper into the forest.
We walked side by side for a long time, walking in silence with Jay wasn’t bad. I had gotten used to being comfortable with silence. Jay stopped and leaned up against a nearby tree. This part of the forest was all green and sun; the tall, big trees and the bright warm sun high above were all you could see. For miles in any direction the forest and its wildlife would all you would be able to find.
‘‘How did you do that, Ally?’’
‘‘How did I do what, Jay?’’
‘‘The knock-over spell, we’ve been working on it for one day and you didn’t even have to say the spell against me. How did you do that, Ally?’’ Jay asked staring at me.
‘‘I don’t know, I guess I was just more intuitive with the spell then everyone else.’’ I said avoiding eye contact.
‘‘No, don’t lie to me, Ally. This you have to tell the truth about, don’t say you can’t because you’re the one who did the spell so your the one who’s going to tell me the truth.’’ Jay said coming to stand just in front of me.
‘‘Jay,’’ I paused still looking away and put my hands in my pocket, trying to think of something to say. ‘‘I can’t. I know that’s not what you want to hear but I just can’t.’’
‘‘Ally,’’ Jay said softly putting his fingers on my cheek and turned my face to look at him. ‘‘Why can’t you just tell me? I’m not going to turn you into Mr. Reily, if that’s what you think.’’ He looked at me and I could see my reflection staring back at me from his blue eyes.
I laughed softly. ‘‘I know your not going to turn me into Mr. Reily and I’m sure he wouldn’t care. He knows about my past, he already knows all about it. How destructive I can be, how I destroy all I ever have.’’ I could feel tears coming to form at the bottom of my open eyes.
Jay whipped my tears away with his thumb. ‘‘What do you mean? Your not destructive, you don’t destroy all you ever have. I’m still here.’’ He added with a small smile.
I backed away from Jay and walked over to the closest tree trunk and slid down to the ground, I rapped my arms around my legs and stared up at the sky. ‘‘You’re not mine to destroy, which is why you’re still here. Oh, god.’’ I said and whipped away some more of my tears.
‘‘Why are you crying? I’ve never seen you cry before.’’ Jay said sitting beside me and grabbed a hold of one of my hands.
‘‘I don’t cry, that’s why you’ve never seen me cry. Right now is just one of those times where, what is it that people say? I’m having a break down? Yeah I think that’s it, I’m having a break down.’’
‘‘Ally, why are you having a break down?’’
‘‘You curious and that’s not good for me, Jay.’’
‘‘What does my curiosity have anything to do with this?’’
‘‘I lie, every day I have to lie, and what I hate most about it is that I have to lie to you.’’ I said looking at Jay. ‘‘Robert’s going to kill me for this.’’ I muttered to myself.
‘‘Who’s Robert? Why is he going to kill you?’’
‘‘You’ll know him in time and he’s going to kill me, metaphorically speaking that is, because I’m really not supposed to tell you any of what I’m about to tell you.’’ I paused, considering how I was going to tell him this. ‘‘Umm, how about we start with the Mountains. What do you know about them, the Mountains?’’
‘‘The Mountains? Well I don’t know that much, I know that they are an organisation that is of higher power over the wood manors and that they can be in charge of rehabilitating its habitants or completely shutting down the manor. How’s that?’’ Jay asked.
‘‘You don’t know that much, I was hoping I didn’t have to go extremely into detail but I think you need to really understand what the Mountains are. I may not have a lot of time to repeat stuff, do you think you could keep up, Jay?’’ I asked.
‘‘Yeah, explain away.’’ Jay said with a small smile.
‘‘The Mountains are as you said but they live under its shadow. They do more then just rehabilitate people and shut down manors, do you know how many manors I’ve lived in?’’
‘‘No, isn’t it like two before Willow wood manor?’’ Jay guessed.
‘‘No, I lived in an orphanage till I was three then I was selected to move into a manor several weeks after my third birthday. Every birthday since then I have had to be ‘transferred’-’’ I put quotation marks around ‘transferred’. ‘‘To other manors.’’
‘‘Wait, why were you transferred to other manors?’’
‘‘The same reason why I was saying that I was destructive was because I was, or so I have become to believe, that I am the reason the Mountains always showed up at the current manor I was taking up residence in and I guess I can’t really say transferred. The days that the Mountains came to the manors, I escaped.
‘‘They were after me so Robert, a very close friend of mine, helped me escape. He had some information regarding why the Mountains were after me and was kind enough to share it with me over the years we have spent together. Robert treated me like a daughter and to me he was like a father. I lived on the road for several weeks each time before I was enrolled into another manor and Robert took up the position of a teacher there. Every year this was my routine that at my birthday I was to escaped the capture of the Mountains but it seems to have taken them a long time to track me down this time, this is the longest amount of time I have ever stayed in one place.’’ I paused to whip the last bit of dried tears from my cheeks.
‘‘It’s also why I don’t like my birthdays so much; to me they always bring me misery. Everytime I moved into a manor I have always had to lie to make sure that the other residents didn’t become too curious of me or my past. That’s why in meeting you, with tones of curiosity, it’s been even harder on me. I’ve become to really like you at times and at other times I hate you. I hate you because I want so bad to stop my lying but I can’t, it’s in my nature now and I need to keep you safe. If the Mountains ever found you and you held the truth, let’s just say it would not go so well for you or for you future.’’
‘‘Ally, then why are you telling me now?’’ Jay asked rubbing his thumb over and over on the hand of mine he was still holding.
‘‘I don’t know, I think it is because I just can’t lie to you anymore. Okay that’s a lie, I can lie to you I just don’t want to. It doesn’t feel right to.’’ I said putting my other hand over his.
‘‘Does Calida know about this?’’
‘‘No, she doesn’t know about this.’’ I answered truthfully. ‘‘And I’m not lying about that.’’
‘‘Well of course she is lying about it.’’ Calida said coming out from behind a tree in the direction of Willow wood manor. ‘‘I’ve known for a long time about how she feels about you, you weren’t hiding it very well.’’ She said turning from Jay to me.
‘‘That’s not wh-’’
‘‘I’m not that good at hiding things, sorry.’’ I said interrupting Jay from speaking.
‘‘Amarantha! Where are you?’’ Said a voice from a little distance away, anxiety clear in its voice. ‘‘Oh, thank god there you are. I was looking for you everywhe-’’ Mr. Reily stopped as he realized Calida and Jay. ‘‘I didn’t see you two, sorry. Amarantha, we have to leave. Now.’’ He said firmly.
Mr. Reily nodded.
‘‘We might have a problem.’’
‘‘Did you not prepare yourself? It’s okay I got some of your things in the car, I packed your bag last night.’’
‘‘I was in our room all night, when did you do that?’’ Calida asked moving beside Mr. Reily.
‘‘I did it when you were sleeping, now Amarantha we really must go.’’ He took a step in my direction as he spoke.
I stood up and pulled Jay by the hand with me, I held onto his hand as I spook. ‘‘We have a small problem.’’ Mr. Reily just stared at me questioningly. ‘‘I sort of, umm, I kind of told him.’’
‘‘You told him?! Amarantha, how could you have told him? You’re not supposed to tell anyone, that was the plan. We spent years preparing ourselves for these times and you just ruined it.’’ M. Reily yelled at me.
‘‘Hey! You can’t talk to her like that!’’ Jay yelled back moving me to stand behind him.
‘‘Robert,’’ I whispered and I could see the anger beginning to drain from his face as I called him his familiar name. ‘‘I’m sorry, I know I’m not supposed to talk about it to anyone but I had to. I couldn’t lie to him anymore. Not even for the rest of the time we were here, I just couldn’t find it in me to do it.’’ I said a little more loudly.
‘‘Mr. Reily is Robert? Oh, I never would have guessed.’’ Jay said turning to face me.
‘‘Wait, I’m really confused. What is all this about?’’ Calida said coming to stand in the center of our small circle.
I walked to stand right in front of Mr. Reily and looked up at him in the eyes. ‘‘Do you still have your minivan?’’ I asked.
‘‘We have no choice now, Jay knows too much and Calida knows my real name. Their going to have to.’’ Mr. Reily said knowing my thoughts. ‘‘Come on. Follow me, Miss Cruz and Mister Hayes.’’
They didn’t move at all. ‘‘Where are we going?’’ Calida and Jay asked at the same time.
‘‘The safest place for you two, come on we don’t have a lot of time.’’ I said and started following Mr. Reily. Seconds later Jay came running up on my right side and took my hand, I turned to look at him and smiled, he smiled back. ‘‘I’m sorry I brought you into this.’’ I said softly.
‘‘It’s okay but you broke your promise.’’
Jay laughed. ‘‘You said that this subject would never come up again, it did and so the promise was broken.’’ He said but squeezed my hand.
‘‘I guess I’m sorry about that too.’’ I laughed too.
‘‘We’re even, I broke my promise too. I said I would leave it alone and I clearly didn’t.’’ Jay smiled and I squeezed his hand.
‘‘Will you two stop? You’re going to make me puke, can you go back to liking him from a distance?’’ Calida said coming up beside us. ‘‘So, is anyone going to tell me what is really going on?’’
‘‘When we get in the vehicle we will explain what can be explained to the extent.’’ Mr. Reily said from up ahead.
‘‘It’s safer if we talk about this kind of stuff in a confined space, such as the minivan. I hope you two like long drives because we are in titled to a lot of those from the future.’’ I said smiling at Calida; we walked in silence for a short amount of time when we reached Mr. Reily’s minivan.
Mr. Reily’s minivan was like most minivans; it was black and could easily blend in with civilians cars. It had nine seats and a trunk in the back which we used as storage space. Mr. Reily opened one of the passenger’s side doors and dug through the bag of stuff on the floor. ‘‘S***! I thought I put it in the car.’’
‘‘Please don’t tell me you forgot what I think you forgot?’’ I asked letting go of Jay’s hand and walked up beside him. I could see it in his eyes that he had.
‘‘Yes, I forgot the Black Book of Spells. It’s in my office, I thought I had left it in the car vault but I guess I moved it inside with me. We need the book, I have to go get it.’’ Mr. Reily said and started turning back in the direction of Willow wood manor.
‘‘I’ll get it.’’
‘‘Amarantha their after you, it would be better if I went to retrieve the book. You three stay here, get in the van now.’’ Mr. Reily said and only Calida got into the van, Jay stood by me.
‘‘You need to stay here; you’re the getaway car man. If I go in I can get to your office without being seen and no one else can go besides you and me because they don’t have enough power to get out.’’ I said and started off in the direction of the manors front doors.
‘‘No,’’ Mr. Reily said coming to stand in my way. ‘‘Your not going in there alone, take Calida with you.’’ He suggested.
‘‘No, I’m not taking Calida with me.’’ I turned in her direction. ‘‘Sorry but you can’t run and I need someone who can keep up with me.’’ I tried to smile.
‘‘Last time I checked you can’t run either, Ally.’’ Was all she said.
‘‘I can run, I just couldn’t show you that.’’
‘‘I’ll go.’’ Jay said coming up beside me. ‘‘I can run and I don’t think you should go in there by yourself either, I’ll go.’’ He repeated.
‘‘No, you are not coming with me. You could get hurt.’’
‘‘Ally, come on. I can take care of myself, I’m going with you whether you like it or not.’’ Jay said firmly. I stared at him and I could see there was no changing his mind.
‘‘It’s settled then, Jayar is to go with you but first we need to get you ready.’’ Mr. Reily said walking back to the minivan and opened the driver’s seat door.
‘‘You have your phone on you?’’ Mr. Reily asked from inside the van.
‘‘Yeah,’’ I said loud enough for him to hear and dug through my sweater pocket for my cell phone and my earphones. ‘‘Got them and my earphones.’’
‘‘Why does she need to get ready?’’ Calida asked from the doorway of the van.
‘‘It’s always safer if I can keep contact with Robert, that way if I need backup I can get it faster.’’ I explained.
‘‘Why do you need your earphones then?’’ Jay asked.
‘‘So she can use her phone and nobody will know about it, do you have your connecting cord?’’ Mr. Reily asked coming from around the minivan to where Jay and I were standing.
‘‘Yeah, it’s right here.’’ I said pulling my connecting cord for my earphones from my back jeans pocket. I put the end of the cord into my phone and connected my earphones on the other end of the cord; I put the left earphone in my left ear. ‘‘Okay, ready? Lets test the mike and reception, we need to make sure it works.’’ I said to Mr. Reily.
‘‘Yes.’’ Mr. Reily agreed and walked into the forest. ‘‘Can you hear me? Is it working, Amarantha?’’ I could hear Mr. Reily speaking through my earphone.
I picked up the mike attached to my earphones and put it to my mouth. ‘‘Check, I hear you. You can come back, Robert.’’ I said and minutes later Mr. Reily came walking out of the forest. ‘‘Okay so we’re ready. Robert, keep your phone on and check in every two minutes, okay?’’
‘‘Yes, I will. Are you wearing your watch?’’ Mr. Reily asked.
‘‘Yeah,’’ I said and pulled my sleeve up to look at my watch. ‘‘It 2:15, so I should be about twenty minutes.’’
‘‘Twenty minutes? Isn’t that a long time to spend somewhere where you shouldn’t even be?’’ Calida asked.
‘‘Yeah it is but I won’t get caught and I need to get some other things besides the Black Book.’’ I answered her and looked at Jay. ‘‘You ready?’’
‘‘Yeah, I’m ready.’’ He said hesitatively.
‘‘Just stay with me and listen to what I say and you should be okay.’’ I said with a reassuring smile. ‘‘Come on.’’ I said grabbing his hand as I walked to the front door; while we were walking I put my phone in my back jeans pocket.
‘‘If you hear me, turn and wave with your right hand.’’ Mr. Reily said in my earphone.
I stopped at the door and turned. I lifted my right hand and waved at him. ‘‘You have always been so paranoid.’’ I said into the mike and opened the door.