The choice was made the moment that I teleported myself out of the elevator when my cousin went on his murderous rampage. His death was unnecessary. If Ryan had just listened to me, then maybe my choice would have been different. Not having him at my side to influence my decision drastically changed the stakes for the Darkness. I had felt my power shift at the moment of the decision, the Darkness losing its grasp on my soul, once and for all. Now, I had to find my little brother and help him in his final battle. I was already in the correct universe, I just needed to find the right time.
I searched through several months before I found the feeling of Zyan being overwhelmed by his abilities. He was just beginning to face the final rift when Denly and Gavin were both pulled through the rift and murdered. Then, Kyan was pulled through the same rift and was slaughtered by the same creature that had murdered Zyan’s other companions. His grief pulled me to him like the most powerful magnet I had ever felt. My power had become part of his before I could even take complete shape in my human form.
It was too much power for Zyan to contain as he screamed out in agony and fell to his knees. I tried to wrap my power around his like a shield, but all it did was delay the inevitable. My little brother threw his hands to the side of his head, his body beginning to glow as the energy coursed through his body. Then, Zyan’s skin began to fade as the energy burned brighter, and brighter. Just when I could barely see him, his true human form, there was a flash of light from Zyan’s eyes and he screamed. His skin shredded apart as the power overwhelmed my little brother. Then, as our powers reunited with each other, we were pulled through the rift into the Void between the Realms.
I could feel the evil of the Darkness as our energy passed through the Void, scaring me enough to try and pull my body back together, but Zyan was in control, now. He was holding me prisoner with his own powers, and he didn’t even know I was with him. I could feel his loneliness emanating from his soul as his energy spread throughout the Void. He would never be able to pull himself together if he continued to believe that he was alone.
‘No, you’re not,’ I sent my thought into the Void, not even certain if he would be able to hear it.
‘Who’s there?’ Zyan’s timid voice came back to me, wrapping around my mind like a warm blanket.
‘Don’t you recognize my voice, little brother?’ I asked in a smug tone.
Meanwhile in Crater Lake, an old friend of Zachary Brody was trying to keep up with his older brother, not knowing that his entire life was about to be taken from him. How could he know that his future had already been decided for him? A plan put in motion a millennia ago, when the timeline had first separated from Alpha-Prime, was beginning to pay off as Kellan ran forward towards his ultimate fate. A fate that not even Destiny could change any longer.
“Jordan, wait up!” Kellan called out after his older brother.
“Hurry up, squirt!” The sixteen-year-old stated without looking back. “Mom shouldn’t have even let you come with me.”
“I can’t help it my legs are shorter than yours, Jordan!” Kellan whined in his impish voice. “I didn’t ask to come along with you either! Mom made me!”
Jordan turned around quickly and glared at the eleven-year-old boy following him.
“Don’t fucking lie to me, Kellan!” Jordan said with a growl that made Kellan freeze in his place. “All you ever are is a pain in my ass!”
The older boy turned and started walking just as fast as he was before. Kellan stared at the back of his brother’s head in disbelief.
“Fuck you, Jordan!” Kellan screamed as tears started falling down his smooth cheeks. “I fucking hate you! I didn’t ask to be your little brother!”
Kellan turned and disappeared down an alley as the tears continued to fall from his eyes. Jordan didn’t even glance back to make sure his brother was still following him as he continued on to his friend’s house. Jackson and Jordan met two years prior when Jordan’s family had first moved to the small city, and the two boys wound up sitting next to each other in their morning Homeroom. Their conversations at first were mostly made up of small talk until both boys learned they had more in common than they both originally thought. Jackson was more of the athletic type than Jordan was, but their love for music and comic books brought them together more than anything. The two friends would spend hours at each other’s house talking about the latest comic book being released, or their new favorite song that they had just heard that morning for the first time. Jordan knocked on Jackson’s door and smiled when the door opened, and he saw the deep brown eyes that he had fallen in love with. Jackson’s wide smile was enough to make Jordan’s heart melt when the boy invited him inside.
“I thought Kellan was coming with you, J?” Jackson asked as he took a glance out the door.
“Fuck that pain in the ass, Jack!” Jordan groaned, obviously displeased with how he had been forced to babysit.
“Umm, Jordan,” Jackson began hesitantly. “He’s eleven. . .”
“Jesus fucking Christ, Jackson!” Jordan bitched unceremoniously. “He shouldn’t have come along if he couldn’t keep up.”
Jackson frowned at his best friend as his opinion of the boy slowly started to dissolve.
“Jordan, it’s dark out. . .”
“So fucking what?” Jordan practically screamed before he started walking towards the door. “Never mind! I’m out. I have better things to do than listen to people bitch about my whiny ass little brother! He probably walked back home anyways!”
Jackson said nothing as Jordan stomped back out into the settling darkness and slammed the door shut behind him.
“What’s your problem, bud?” Jackson jumped at the sound of his father’s voice coming from the hallway behind him. “What did I say about slamming doors?”
“Sorry, dad,” Jackson replied meekly. “It wasn’t me, though. It was Jordan.”
“What was his problem?” Steven Morris asked as he sat in his favorite recliner with a sigh.
“I’m not sure, dad,” Jackson said softly. “I don’t think we can be friends anymore, though.”
“Why, bud?” Steven asked. “You guys have been practically inseparable since his family first moved here. . .”
“I know, dad,” Jackson said with a slight whimper in his voice. “I just. . . I don’t know anymore. Jordan was supposed to be watching Kellan tonight. . .”
“Kellan’s here?” Steven interrupted.
“No,” Jackson said with a frown. “That’s the issue, though. Jordan snapped when I asked him where Kellan was. He started bitching that Kellan shouldn’t have come along if he couldn’t keep up. . .”
“Wait,” Steven said, interrupting his son again. The man felt his temper flare for a moment. “Jordan lost his little brother on the way over here?”
“Yeah, dad,” Jackson said with a slight sniffle. “What’s worse is, he didn’t even care that it was dark. He only accused me of bitching about his whiny ass little brother. I don’t know what to do, dad.”
“I do,” Steven said with a growl. “Get your shoes. We have to go find that little boy before something happens to him. It’s not like we live in the safest town in the world.”
Jackson nodded with tears in his eyes before he went to grab his shoes. While Jackson was out of the room, Steven pulled out his cellphone and called Jordan’s mom.
“Hey, Melissa.” Steven greeted the woman answering the phone. “It’s Steven.”
“Hey, Steven!” Jordan’s mother returned the greeting pleasantly. “Did you get a new phone? I didn’t recognize the number.”
“I did get a new phone,” Steven said. “That’s not why I’m calling, though.”
“What can I help you with, then?”
“Did Kellan return back home?” Steven asked the question he didn’t want to ask, knowing full well that the boy wouldn’t have made it back yet.
“Umm, no,” Melissa said cautiously. “He’s supposed to be with Jordan at your place. Let me talk to Jordan. . .”
“That’s the problem, Melissa,” Steven said calmly. “Jordan showed up here without Kellan and when Jackson questioned him about it, Jordan screamed at Jackson and left.”
“Oh, shit. . .” Melissa stated in disbelief. “Wait, but that means Kellan is. . .”
“I know, Melissa,” Steven said, trying to keep the woman from getting frantic. “Jackson and I are going to go look for Kellan, now. I’ll call and check in within a half hour. Call me immediately if either Jordan or Kellan show up, please.”
“I will, Steven,” Melissa stated gratefully. “Thank you.”
Steven ended the call and stuffed his phone into his pocket before he motioned for Jackson to follow him outside.
“Do you know the route Jordan takes to get here?”
“Yeah, dad,” Jackson replied with a nod. “I know it.”
“Good, let’s get going,” Jackson’s father said grimly. “The longer we wait, the less chance we have of finding Kellan.”
Jackson nodded grimly as the reality of the situation began to hit him.
“What about Jordan?”
“He’s old enough to take care of himself,” Steven said pointedly. “But if we happen to cross his path, I have a few choice words to say to him.”
“Yes, sir,” Shyan mumbled quietly as he was held back by his great-grandfather. “I understand what is expected of me.”
The elderly looking man knelt in front of the blond-haired boy and took his chin in his hand. “You may be separated from us, Shyan,” the man said in a warm voice, “But you will never be forgotten. You will always be one of us, no matter how this turns out in the end.”
“I’ll never choose against my brother, though!” Shyan stated fiercely.
“You may decide differently in the future, grandson,” the man smiled. “Life has an unexpected way of governing the way we think, sometimes.”
“I’ll prove to everyone who I support, grandfather!”
“Relax, Shyan,” the man said as he pressed his forehead against the boy’s. “You have several years before any of this matters.”
“Then, why can’t I go with Zyan and Kyan?” Shyan asked, tears filling the corners of his blue eyes.
“I love you, grandson,” the old man whispered before he embraced the child one last time. “Don’t ever forget that you mean the world to us, and Zyan would trade places with you in a heartbeat if it was permitted.”
Shyan glanced over to where his two brothers were standing next to a flickering portal of light. Zyan looked back at Shyan with a sad grimace on his face before the boy was pulled through the portal by the father of the triplets.
‘Goodbye, Zyan,’ Shyan pushed the thought to his younger brother before he relayed the same message to Kyan. He received a mental embrace from the two brothers that seemed far away. Then, Shyan stumbled as the portal closed and he felt the bond that he shared with his brothers being severed. Garus was quick to catch the child before handing him off to his uncle. Shyan glanced up at the brown-haired man with green eyes. He looked resentful for having a child forced into his care, making Shyan worry about what the man had in store for him.
“Let’s go, boy,” the man said gruffly as he headed towards another portal that had opened in the place of the first one. “We need to get settled in our home.”
“Yes, sir,” Shyan acknowledged as he followed along behind his uncle. Shyan took one last look at his grandfather before he stepped into the swirling pool of pure energy and felt his body get pulled apart, molecule by molecule.
Kellan stared at the different buildings as he tried to figure out which way was home. After Jordan had so obviously not wanted him to be around, Kellan ran and ran while the tears streamed down his face until a painful stitch in his side brought the eleven-year-old to a stop. The boy kept one hand to his side as he slowly walked down the main street before he turned down another side street.
‘I know mom has taken this way before,’ Kellan told himself as he tried to find something familiar in the darkness.
It didn’t matter, though. After a few more wrong turns, Kellan was officially lost and slumped down on the sidewalk with his back against a building. His tears came unhindered now as the boy struggled to maintain the control he held over his emotions. Kellan was scared and alone. His mind couldn’t grasp the fact that his brother wanted nothing to do with him and had left him behind without even turning around once. This thought alone made Kellan cry harder.
“Are you okay?” Kellan stiffened at the sound of the deep voice from nearby and looked up to see a man with glasses and a worried expression looking back at him. “You’re a little young to be out this late by yourself, aren’t you?”
Kellan sniffled but wasn’t sure if he could bring himself to talk to the stranger like the man obviously expected.
“It’s okay, kid,” the man said with a gentle smile. “I’m not the one you need to worry about.”
Kellan felt a soothing wave of peace wash over his mind and his entire body started to relax.
“Now,” the man continued. “Let’s start again. My name is Gabriel. What is your name, little one?”
Kellan sniffled again before he answered the man.
“Kellan. . .”
“It’s nice to meet you, Kellan,” the man replied with a brief nod of his head. “Now, why don’t you tell me your mother’s phone number, so I can help you get home?”
“I. . . I. . .” Kellan stuttered before another fresh wave of tears began to fall from his eyes. “I don’t know it. My brother knows it, though.”
“Where’s your brother, Kellan?”
“He ditched me,” the boy stated before he felt the rage beginning to flow into his body. “He fucking ditched me to hang out with his friends! I told him I didn’t want to go with him, but our mom made me. Jordan didn’t believe me. . .”
“Did you say ‘Jordan’?” The man interrupted curiously.
“Is your last name Moore?”
Kellan nodded again as a look of confusion settled on his face. The man frowned.
“I think I already know your mother’s phone number, Kellan,” the man stated reassuringly as he pulled his cellphone from his pocket. “Give me just a moment to call her.”
“How do you know Jordan?” Kellan suddenly found the courage to question the man in return. “Where’s my brother? Why did he fucking abandon me?”
“That’s not for me to answer, young one.” Gabriel said sadly before he entered a number into his phone and held it up to his ear. “It’s time. The split is about to occur.”
“Can’t you stop it?” The voice on the other end of the line asked.
“You know just as well as I do that it’s too late for that, Watcher,” Gabriel stated, making the young boy at his side glance up at him curiously.
“Is that my mom?” Kellan asked sheepishly. “Can I talk to her? I have to tell her what Jordan did.”
“It’s not your mother, young one,” Gabriel said as he covered the mouthpiece for a moment with his hand. “I’m calling her next.”
Kellan frowned but nodded as the man returned to his phone call.
“No, Watcher,” Gabriel said before he paused.
“Do I need to send someone else to wipe his memories?” The voice asked in a hushed tone.
“That won’t be necessary. He’s just a boy.”
“As long as you handle it, Gabriel,” the voice stated, the threat hidden in his tone of voice. “Are all of the pieces in place?”
“The other one should be in place now, according to the Words,” Gabriel replied.
“And the mother?”
“Section-14 is handling the mother, Watcher,” the man said as he smiled down at the boy beside him. “The boy will be where he needs to be when the time is right. I can guarantee it.”
“How?” The Watcher asked.
“Because,” Gabriel said with a smug grin. “We’re already here.”
Zyan stared up at his father. The serious gaze on the man’s face told the boy that his comments needed to be withheld for the time being. He was about to be told something important.
“I’m sorry, Zyan,” David told his son. “You won’t be able to remember any of this, until the time is right.”
“Why, though?” The boy asked, his voice filled with sadness. “I promise that I won’t tell anyone where we’re from, though!”
“I know, buddy,” David replied sadly. He pulled his youngest son into his chest and held him tightly. “It’s important for our disguise though, that we change our appearances. That means that you have to take on the full identity, Zyan.”
Zyan sighed and nodded. “Yes, father.”
Then, David kissed his son on the forehead before he turned to Kyan, repeating the process as each boy changed their appearances in front of him. When they were no more than one year in age, David withdrew his magic, effectively sealing the fate of Kyan and Zyan. The man turned to see the same thing had been done to his daughter Sarah by his wife. The woman nodded at him as the five-year-old little girl in her own arms yawned and fell asleep.
“Will they forgive us?” Lauren asked her husband.
“They will eventually,” David replied as he watched the boys fall asleep. “Are you ready for this?”
“Do we have a choice in the matter?” Lauren asked in return.
“Let’s begin this farce, then,” David confirmed with a nod before he pulled the sleeping boys into his arms.
Melissa Moore paced the floor of her living room as she waited for any news of her now missing sons. The brown-haired woman constantly checked her phone to make sure she didn’t miss any calls, and she even called her mother to make sure the phone was still in operation.
“You’ve got enough people looking for the boys, Melissa,” Mary Ann told her daughter calmly. “Just relax, dear.”
“It’s not possible, mom,” The mother of two said in a voice filled with self-pity. “I can’t just keep standing around waiting for them to appear. I… I’m going to go look for them myself. Kellan is too young to be wandering the streets by himself!”
“You need to take a deep breath is what you need to do,” Mary Ann scolded her daughter over the phone. “The boys will be found, Melissa.”
“Okay,” Melissa said as a single tear fell down her cheek. “If Kevin was still in the picture, this never would have happened, mom. all Jordan has done, is push back against anything I say since his dad fucking disappeared!”
“I know, dear,” Mary Ann said softly. “It’s the way of teenage boys. Your brother Allen was the same way when your father died.”
“Kevin is going to wish he was dead when I get my hands on him!” Melissa said with an angry growl.
Mary Ann chuckled lightly before she tried to calm her daughter down again.
“Vengeance isn’t going to help your current situation any, Melissa.”
“No,” Melissa agreed quickly. “But it will make me feel a lot better about everything.”
Melissa sighed before she decided to end the call.
“I’m going to keep the phone free in case Steven or someone calls, mom.”
“Okay dear,” Mary Ann stated calmly. “Just remember, relax! It’s not going to help anyone for you to get worried like this.”
“I’ll try, mom,” Melissa stated with resignation in her voice. “That’s the best I can do.”
“And that’s all I expect you to do is try, Melissa.”
“I love you, mom,” Melissa said with a brief smile on her face. “I’ll call you if I hear anything about the boys.”
“I love you too, dear,” Mary Ann stated. “Just remember to keep yourself calm while you’re punishing Jordan later.”
“I will,” Melissa said with a sigh. “Bye, mom.”
Melissa disconnected the call and checked her phone to make sure she didn’t miss any calls from Steven or the police. Once she was satisfied that nothing was missed, Melissa made the decision to go find her children before somebody else could take them. The thirty-seven-year-old woman grabbed a light jacket before she stepped out into the night air. She could faintly hear music coming from the direction of downtown and decided that walking to get there would be better so she could keep an eye out for either of her sons. Melissa wasn’t going to let herself become one of the statistics she had heard about so many times before. No, she was going to find her boys, and show them just how much she truly does love them both. No matter what it took…
“Use your shield, boy!” The man growled in anger. “Do you think that your rivals are going to give you any quarter?”
“No, Master!” Shyan responded before he wiped the sweat from his brow and pulled up his shield to deflect the next attack from his uncle. The man threw attack after attack at the boy, refusing to relent in his onslaught as Shyan felt his resources growing fainter with each move that he dodged. Then, in a strange flicker of imagination, Shyan knew how to use his weakness to his own advantage. He wasn’t strong enough to attack the man head-on, but he could use the man’s own power against him.
Shyan began to spin to his left as the next blast of energy struck his shield. The boy held it tightly against his own wall of energy as he spun completely around, using his momentum to throw the man’s attack right back at him.
“Now, you’re getting it, boy!” The man chuckled as he dodged the blast. “Get something from the kitchen and rest up. We’re starting again at first light!”
“Yes, Master!” Shyan replied with a quick bow.
Jordan Moore was trembling as he made turn after turn without ever looking up to see where the road was leading him. His anger was making him seethe with fury as he thought about how his little brother had ruined a perfectly good evening of hanging out with his best friend. Kellan was nothing but a pain in the older brother’s ass and Jordan would do anything he could to keep the younger brother away from him. He had never wanted a little-brother, and he made certain that Kellan knew this whenever it came to their daily interactions. Kellan would avoid Jordan just like the older boy wanted, and if Kellan ever had to bug him, the younger brother would simply shout from the door without ever going into his room.
Jordan was sure Kellan knew his way around Lakeside well enough that the boy could make it back home from Jackson’s house without any issues, so Jordan just kept walking. He didn’t care about the pest that was his brother. He never had shared any love with the boy, and only associated with him when he had to. Jordan was a lone wolf, not caring who he stepped on in order to get to where he was going. Not caring who he left behind in his wake.
The teenager continued to walk, his pace getting faster as he let his anger proceed to get the best of him. Jordan was seething by the time he made his next turn and ran into someone that didn’t budge from the force of the impact.
“Hey!” Jordan complained as he bounced off the person and landed on his butt in the alley.
Jordan glanced upwards, ready to give the man shit for not moving out of his way, when he saw how large the man was that he had ran into.
“Do you have a problem, boy?” The man asked with a laugh that sent chills down Jordan’s spine.
“No,” Jordan said quickly as he struggled to his feet. “Sorry, I didn’t see you-”
The man reached down and grabbed the front of Jordan’s jacket, bodily yanking the teenager to his feet.
“You should watch where you’re going,” the man said with a growl to his deep voice. Jordan was trembling by the time he noticed the strange red color in the man’s eyes. “You could run into trouble this late at night, boy.”
“I’m sorry,” Jordan mumbled as he tried to pull away from the man’s grip only to find that he couldn’t break free. “Please, let go of me.”
“Why would I want to do a thing like that?” The man asked with a sneer as he leaned into Jordan and seemed to take a deep whiff of the teen’s scent. The man purred slightly as a sneer spread across his lips. “You smell delicious. I can’t wait to see what you taste like.”
“What?” Jordan asked in confusion until the man’s red eyes flashed in the dim light coming from the nearby storefronts. “What I taste like?”
Jordan began to struggle as the man’s laugh turned maniacal. The teenager’s struggles turned to screams of terror as the man began to bite his throat. Jordan saw his life fading as the darkness closed in on the edges of his vision. Jordan tried to struggle against the man’s touch, but it was useless. The teen’s knees buckled as he felt himself growing suddenly tired. Even the pulling motion against the side of Jordan’s throat seemed to grow fainter as he grew weaker. Then, just before he collapsed to the ground, Jordan saw his mother enter the far end of the alley. He barely heard his mother’s scream of terror before Jordan crossed the thresh hold between Life and Death.
Melissa ran and ran. Searching every street that she could, trying to find her two sons. Her heart was beating rapidly in her chest as the realization that both of her sons might be truly missing began to sink in. She wanted to cry out in anger at Jordan for acting like the child that he did, but she knew it was pointless if he didn’t even know she was doing it. Her oldest son had become a handful since her husband had left two years earlier, blaming her for the rift that had formed in the relationship of the mother and father. It wasn’t Melissa’s fault, though. It wasn’t her ex-husband’s fault, either.
Adam Moore worked for a top-secret agency within the C.I.A. known as Sector-11 and dealt with the paranormal activity that took place across the globe. Melissa only knew what his job was, because she worked for the same organization. Her job now, was to monitor her sons, and report back any unusual abilities that they could manifest after being injected with a serum that altered their DNA. A serum that had been created after the agency found a crashed alien spaceship in the middle of the desert. Adam was forced into seclusion by the agency after he too had been injected with the serum and had suffered an adverse reaction to it. Adam had been transformed into a hybrid of the alien discovered at the crash site. They tried the serum on three more agents, only to achieve the same results. That was when it was decided to try the serum on several children. Jordan and Kellan had been selected to be part of the group of twenty children, all between the ages of nine and sixteen that were injected with the serum. Two of the children died, while eleven of them, all over the age of fourteen, turned into the same alien hybrid as Adam Moore and the other three agents from the C.I.A.
Jordan was fifteen when he had received the injection, and he had spent two weeks lying in the Medical Center on the edge of death. Jordan was the only one of the subjects over the age of fourteen that didn’t suffer any life-changing reactions to the serum. Kellan, and five other children under the age of fourteen, had yet to suffer any type of reaction to the injections, at all. The scientists decided that it had to do with puberty. Melissa didn’t pay too much attention to the details; she only knew what signs to watch out for.
Neither of her sons even knew that they had been given the serum. None of the children knew what had happened to them. It was the one secret that Melissa wished she had never known about. She hated what had been done to her children, and she struggled with the notion that her husband was suffering deep within the bowels of the C.I.A.. Melissa’s goal was to free her husband and children from the government, a goal that she hoped would come true as soon as possible. She needed her family back together.
Melissa sighed in exasperation as she made turn after turn, with still no sign of her sons to be found. She had just stepped out of an alley when she saw Steven’s truck go by with Jackson’s blue eyes studying all of the people as his father drove past. The woman tried to get their attention by waving at them, but she was unable to catch Jackson’s gaze. Melissa continued on her search. She heard screams coming from several blocks away and headed in the direction of the piercing sound.
Melissa turned down an alley just in time to see a man holding Jordan in his arms. Jordan was flailing feebly as the strange man bit into Jordan’s throat, leaving a river of blood pouring from the wound. Melissa screamed in terror and was about to run to her son when a black SUV pulled up behind the woman. She turned at the sound of the squealing tires, only to have a man in a black suit jump out and shove the young woman into the back of the vehicle. Seconds later, the vehicle was gone, and Jordan was meeting Death face-to-face.
Everywhere and nowhere. . .
That’s where I existed with nothing but my memories, the voices of multitudes echoing around me as I drifted through the endless expanse of the Void. My memories were fleeting as the energy tried to capture a grip on each one, hoping it would help me find my way back to reality. Who came with me, though? I knew that I had heard a voice just as I had passed through the event horizon of the rift. Someone had told me that I wasn’t alone.
‘Hello?’ I asked, shutting out the sounds of the multitudes that were infecting my mind.
‘I was wondering how long we were going to be drifting before you finally pulled your head out of your ass,’ the familiar voice scolded Zyan. ‘Are you ready to be free from this hell hole?’
‘Yes,’ I replied firmly. ‘Why are you helping me, Shyan? Won’t you win if I die?’
‘Where’s the fun in letting you die, little brother?’ Shyan countered with a smug tone. ‘Besides, maybe I’ve had a change of heart?’
‘That doesn’t seem like something you would do, though.’
‘You have no idea the sacrifices that I’ve made for you!’ Shyan’s voice was full of anger as it filled my mind. ‘You’ll see though. Very soon.’
‘I’m sorry, Shyan,’ I apologized, realizing that I didn’t know what he had been through to make it this far. ‘How do I fix this?’
‘You’ve evolved, Zyan,’ Shyan informed me. ‘We both have, now. We were bonded the moment you transformed into pure energy, taking me with you. I’m sure that if you think about it hard enough, you can feel the tendrils of energy that don’t belong to you.’
He was right. If I thought about it, I could feel some strands of energy mixing with my own. It felt like the bond I had shared with Kyan, only it had a different touch to it. Shyan’s bond felt warm like it was enveloping my entire being, becoming one with me. Kyan’s bond was a restricting thread that kept me from going anywhere. It kept me from gaining any potential with my powers. Shyan’s bond felt like it was encouraging me to grow as powerful as I possibly could.
‘Now, you’re getting it!’ Shyan acknowledged. ‘I’m the connection that you need, Zyan. We can get back, but neither of us can do it alone!’
‘Let’s do this, Shyan!’ I told my brother. ‘Maybe, it’s not too late to save the others!’
‘We can save Kyan?’
‘Hopefully,’ Shyan responded. ‘Now, listen closely, Zyan. You’re not going to be able to get us home by yourself. You need to find us an anchor.’
‘Yes,’ my brother said. ‘An anchor. It’s not a thing, though. It’s a person.’
‘Do I know them?’
‘No. You’ve never met this person,’ Shyan explained. ‘You can do this, Zyan. Their energy will shine out to you like a beacon amongst the stars, you just have to find them!’
‘How do you know this?’
‘Because Zyan,’ my brother stated patiently. ‘I was supposed to stop you from getting back by killing the anchor.’
‘What the fuck, Shyan?’ I asked, not able to comprehend how my own brother could leave me out in the Void like that.
‘I obviously didn’t do it, brother,’ Shyan said. ‘I wouldn’t be here with you if I had.’
‘Why?’ I demanded. ‘Why are you helping me, instead? Isn’t this risking your own life?’
I had no idea how much time had passed in the endless Void before Shyan finally answered me.
‘I would never have been able to live with myself if the Darkness had won, brother,’ Shyan finally said softly. ‘Especially, if it meant losing you. We’ve been apart from each other since we were toddlers, forced down paths we never would have chosen for ourselves. I was spoon-fed lie after lie, always promised glory and gold for my service to the Darkness. What kind of life was that without my family, though? I’ve been apart from you for too long, Zyan. If it meant giving up my physical existence to be with you, again, I would make this choice every time, little brother.’
‘What do you mean, Shyan?’ I asked hesitantly, afraid to hear the answer. ‘What happened to you?’
‘I turned against the Darkness, Zyan, and now I’m being punished for eternity.’
‘What happens to you when we get back to our universe?’
‘I’ll be a part of you forever, Zyan,’ Shyan whispered. ‘Our energies are forever intertwined like vines, so interceded with each other that we will think and be as one person. We will both be you, Zyan.’
‘Holy shit,’ I muttered.
‘Are you done asking questions, now?’ My brother asked in an annoyed tone. ‘The longer we stay here, the harder it will be to get home, brother.’
‘How do I search for the anchor?’
‘You’ll feel it through one of the rifts.’
‘I thought they were all closed?’
‘All but one,’ Shyan stated bitterly. ‘It’s been hidden by the Darkness, but it’s going to be the largest one, once the Darkness finally sets it free.’
‘Okay, then,’ I said firmly. ‘Let’s do this! It’s time to go home.’
‘Finally,’ Shyan muttered. ‘Now, focus, little brother. The anchor is someone that you’ve met in your life.’
‘How will I know who it is?’ I countered.
‘Search your memories until you feel a draw, Zyan,” Shyan instructed. ‘That’s where you will find them.’
I focused my thoughts on my past. Trying to think of anyone that would stand out to me in my memories, but there was nobody there that even hinted at any kind of feeling towards them.
‘There was one boy,’ I said finally. ‘He moved into my school a few weeks after Arys disappeared. This kid really wanted me to stay the night at his house, but I knew by then that the Monster would never have allowed it. We were getting close, too. I was on the verge of telling him about Harold when this kid just up and changed schools. I never saw him, again.’
‘And his name?’ Shyan pushed.
‘Kellan. . .’ I say with what I think is a whisper. ‘Kellan Moore.’
No sooner than I had said his name, a massive beam of blueish light shone out from a point near us. I felt a sense of elation at the appearance of the light and reached for it just as I heard someone whisper my name.
“Do you see that?” Kellan asked the man as he noticed a strange floating speck of light appear in the air in front of him. The boy was captivated by the tiny object as it seemed to spark with electricity. The light swayed side to side, moving closer to the enraptured child, his brown eyes turning gold from the strange light.
“Don’t touch it, yet, Kellan,” Gabriel told the boy, making the boy freeze in mid-motion of lifting his hand to touch the tiny ember. “I need you to think about something, first. Someone. . .”
“Who?” Kellan asked, unable to tear his gaze away from the light.
“I need you to think about Zachary Brody,” the man stated plainly.
“Why him?” Kellan asked in disbelief, his brown eyes finally meeting the man’s gaze as he spoke to him. The boy fought the urge to run, afraid this man had learned his dark secret. ‘My mom and dad will disown me.’
“Your mother and father don’t matter, any longer,” Gabriel said, looking down at the boy with a dismissive expression on his face. Kellan felt confused by the man’s words.
“What do you mean?” The boy asked timidly. “What did you do to my parents?”
“I didn’t do anything to them,” Gabriel tried to reassure the boy. “Your father is being held prisoner in a top secret C.I.A. prison.”
“What?” Kellan nearly shouted in disbelief. “Why?!”
“They are not the people that you believe them to be, Kellan,” the man informed the boy. “Not by any means,” Gabriel added with disgust.
“What do you mean?”
“If I promise to tell you, are you willing to do as I ask first?” Gabriel negotiated.
Kellan hesitated before he nodded and turned his gaze back to the floating light that was beginning to turn into a ring. He gasped when he looked through the center of the ring only to see thousands, upon thousands of other rings, with other faces staring back through. Between all of the rings of light was an area of distorted colors and lights that seemed to stretch across its very own universe. Beyond that was an area of complete darkness, where nothing but hate seemed to emanate from.
“What’s going on?” Kellan asked, forgetting everything the man had said about his parents for a moment. “Why do I need to think about. . .” Kellan hesitated, mentally scolding himself as his stomach seemed to twist itself into knots. He took a deep breath before he continued. “Why do I need to think about Zachary?”
“He’s the one that you need to save, Kellan,” Gabriel said bluntly. “Without him, the entire multiverse will collapse in upon itself, and countless lives will be lost.”
“It’s what you’re looking at, right now, Kellan,” the man gestured towards the floating ring. “That is a portal that only you can use to travel between the different dimensions. I’m sure that you’re able to see different versions of yourself glancing back at you, as we speak.”
Kellan nodded in agreement, looking at the different shapes staring back at him. The environments behind the other boys were just as various as the boys themselves, leaving Kellan wondering how many other versions of himself there really were.
“What does this have to do with me?”
The man smiled down at the boy and patted his shoulder. “Now, that is the question you needed to ask, Gate Keeper,” Gabriel replied with a firm nod. “Your job is to rescue young Zachary from the bit of trouble that he has found himself in.”
“What do you mean?”
“I’m sure that Zachary will explain everything to you, once his task is complete, Kellan,” Gabriel explained. “Right now, I need you to focus.”
“Okay,” Kellan nodded. “What do I need to do?”
“Put your hand into the rift,” the man instructed Kellan. “Then, you need to call out to Zachary, but you need to use his real name.”
“Zachary isn’t his name?”
“Nope,” Gabriel smiled. “His name is Zyan.”
“Oh,” Kellan replied thoughtfully before he reached out towards the floating disc of light. “I just put my hand through, and call out for Zyan?”
“Yes, Kellan,” Gabriel replied. “Make sure you think about how he used to make you feel whenever you were around him, too. Okay?”
“Yes, sir,” Kellan responded before he slid his hand into the portal, resisting the urge to yank his hand back when he felt a tingly sensation pass over his fingertips. “This feels. . . weird.”
“Hopefully, you’ll only have to do this this one time,” Gabriel acknowledged.
Kellan just nodded as he let himself adjust to the new feeling. He squeezed his eyes shut when he noticed his hand beginning to glow a bright-blue color.
“Now,” Gabriel instructed. “Say his name.”
“Zyan?” Kellan asked hesitantly. “Can you hear me?”
Through his eyelids, the boy saw the light growing brighter and turned his head away from it. Kellan was about to call out for Zyan again when he felt someone grab onto his hand from the other side of the strange portal. The boy quickly yanked his hand back, pulling whomever along with him and sending them both falling to the sidewalk.
I struggled to catch my breath as I lay on the ground after just being pulled through the rift. My vision was blurry, and I couldn’t make sense of what had happened. My memories were filled with images of myself, traveling through multiple timelines as my body reformed itself into a solid being. I saw myself still lying in the hospital bed while I was still Zachary. I saw several versions of myself where I had lost the battle against the Darkness, as well as a universe where I had died after being attacked by Harold Stubbs. There was even a universe where I got to be with Arys because he never returned to his own universe. Now though, I could feel the heaviness of my own universe as I fell onto my side and tried to get myself to adjust.
“Are you okay?” A small voice asked from beside me.
“Huh?” I asked, forcing my eyes open to see a brown-haired boy kneeling beside me. “What?”
“Are you Zyan?” The boy continued; concern filled his hazel eyes as he stared at me.
“Yeah,” I answered the familiar looking boy, trying to place him until another recent conversation popped into my head. “I know you, don’t I?”
“I’m Kellan, Zyan,” the boy replied with a blush. “We were friends until I had to change schools, sort of. . .”
“I remember you now,” I replied groggily, my head was still spinning as tons of memories were flooding my mind. “You’re Kellan. You wanted me to stay the night. . .”
“Yeah,” Kellan replied excitedly before quickly reigning himself back in. “Sorry. You’ve probably been through enough tonight.”
“It’s fine, Kellan,” I told the boy. “I just need to get my bearings, first.”
Kellan smiled shyly.
“Are you going to be okay, Zyan?” Kellan asked. “Gabriel said that I can’t stay, because I have to go somewhere else.”
“Gabriel?” I asked as I sat up, mentally willing the world around me to stop spinning. Apparently, having your body turn into pure energy before becoming whole again, is hard on your person. I looked over to see Kellan motion towards a man that was watching us. “Who’s that?”
“I’m not sure,” Kellan replied honestly. “All I know, is that I was lost, and he found me before he helped me find you.”
‘Shyan, can we trust this guy?’ I asked my sibling that was attached to my mind, but there was no reply from him. ‘Shyan?’
I waited for a few seconds before I finally gave it another chance and tried speaking to Shyan again, with the same response. Only silence. Deciding that I could figure out later why my brother had decided to abandon me, I returned my attention to Kellan.
“So,” I said with a shrug. “Is the world still in need of saving?”
“More than you could imagine, Zyan,” the man standing nearby said. “Are you ready to do what needs to be done?”
“Yeah, but I need to get my friends back, first,” I replied before moving to stand on shaky legs. Kellan was quick to help support me. “Do you know how to bring people back from the dead? I need Kyan, Denly, and Gavin with me, or I won’t win this fight.”
“That won’t be necessary, Zyan,” Gabriel informed me. “Kellan was able to pull you out of the Void before you went to your final battle.”
“What?” I asked in surprise. “What day is it?”
Gabriel smiled before he just motioned towards the darkening skyline.
“If you hurry, you might be able to beat your brother there,” the man stated.
I nodded before I felt a wave of dizziness pass over me as millions of memories suddenly shifted into one. The scene around me flickered between the street where I was sitting and a room where I was busy giving a pep talk to my three companions- Gavin, Denly, and Kyan. Just as I saw them all disappear, I felt the world shift around me, and I was standing in the same clearing from before when my friends and brother had been murdered in front of me. Kellan and Gabriel were nowhere to be found.
“You ready for this, Zyan?” Gavin called out over the roar of the wind that was being stirred up by the rift that was growing directly in front of us. Through it, I could see multitudes of other universes, separated by a darkness that I had already been trapped inside of once. Without Shyan, I didn’t think I would be able to make it out of the Void, again. “Zyan? Dude, are you okay?”
Gavin shook my shoulder, drawing me back to the current situation. The rift that was steadily growing larger in front of us was beginning to spew forth a dark cloud of pure evil.
“No matter what happens, make sure the rift gets closed,” I told the others. “We can’t take any chances.”
“Got it, little brother,” Kyan acknowledged as Gavin and Denly nodded.
“We can’t fail this time,” I said without thinking. The other three each looked at me strangely. I couldn’t stop myself from frowning. “I’ll tell you when we end this.”
“Whatever you say, Zyan,” Denly giggled.
I turned my attention back to the cloud of darkness that was billowing before us, churning as if being controlled by an unseen force. A force that was getting ready to make itself visible to us. A figure that I thought was dead.
The wind seemed to grow still as a chill filled the air just before a black-haired boy with blue eyes stepped out of the cloud. His skin was nearly white, and there were dark circles beneath his cold gaze.
“Hello, Ryan,” I greeted the boy. He grinned back at me, his black lips pulling apart in a sneer that sent chills down my spine.
“Hello, Zyan,” Ryan responded, his echoing voice seeming to fill me with dread. “I’ve been waiting for this moment my entire life. I always knew that it wasn’t supposed to be Shyan that led the Darkness into the battle. My father had read the Prophecy wrong.” Ryan grinned. “He won’t make that mistake, again. I’ve made sure of that.”
Then, Ryan held up his right hand, his palm extended towards me.
“Are you ready, Zyan?”
“I’ve been ready, Ryan,” I replied as I prepared myself to react to whatever he was getting ready to do. “Let’s get this over with, already.”
A black ball of fire shot out of Ryan’s hand, making me step to the side to avoid it, and the second one that he threw right after the first. Gavin, Denly, and Kyan all worked on sealing the rift shut, while I kept Ryan distracted. For every blast of energy I threw at him, Ryan threw two right back at me.
“You’re not strong enough for this, Zyan!” Ryan bellowed after one of my energy blasts had caught him in the shoulder, knocking him backwards for a moment. “I’m going to kill you and make your friends fucking watch! None of you are going to make it out of here this time! The Darkness is going to make sure of that!”
“What’s he talking about?” Kyan asked.
“Not right now, Kyan!” I yelled back to my brother, making myself heard over the ever-growing roaring noise coming from the rift. “I’ll explain it after! I promise!”
I couldn’t worry about my brother at the moment. I needed to focus on the fight. Deciding that I had been on the defensive long enough, I launched my own assault against Ryan. I moved around him in a circle, keeping his attention focused on me as I threw blast after blast at my cousin. Using the energy from the rift to my advantage, I drew upon it to reinforce a vortex of energy that I was forming above my cousin’s head. At the same time, I continued to lob fireballs at him. The last thing I needed was for him to look up and see what I had planned for him.
I threw another blast of energy towards my cousin that he found easy to deflect, and threw one back at me that hit me in my chest. I wrenched my fist downwards, as Ryan’s attack threw me backwards. He turned towards my family just as the swirling vortex of energy engulfed him entirely. I fought to maintain control of the vortex as Ryan struggled against my surprise power. Just as I felt like I was going to lose all control of the vortex, I felt another power reach out and interweave itself with my own. Even though I couldn’t talk to him, something told me that it was Shyan helping me the only way that he could.
‘Thanks, Shyan,’ I thought to myself before I held my palm out towards the vortex, and quickly closed my hand into a fist. I heard Ryan scream out as the vortex tightened its grip on my cousin. “It’s time for you to die, Ryan!”
Then, I slammed my fist against the ground, throwing Ryan to the ground in a heap. My cousin struggled to his feet, his left arm hanging at a weird angle from his body. There was a gash down the right side of his face, and the shirt that he had been wearing was torn to shreds. Ryan began laughing maniacally. I quickly began rebuilding my energy as I prepared for whatever he was doing. The dark clouds began reaching out for his body, like tiny vines that were wrapping themselves around his entire frame. As the vines released, I saw that his wounds were mostly healed.
“We’ve almost got it!” I heard Kyan shout out from nearby. I glanced back to see that the rift was nearly closed. Then, the ground began to violently shake, as if it was trying to throw us from our feet. Ryan threw his head back and opened his mouth just as a beam of black light shot into the heavens above from my cousin’s face. Lightning crackled outwards in every direction, filling the heavens above with electric energy. Ripples of light began to tear open in the skies, revealing multiple universes across the cosmos. My breath caught in my throat as I realized what Ryan was doing. He was going to make universes crash into each other. This would destroy the reality of every universe involved and would sentence every living soul in those universes to death. It wasn’t just Earth that was at stake here. No. It was everything, and the odds were not in my favor.
“What do we do?” Kyan shouted above the roar of the wind.
“We need to keep the main rift closed!” I shouted back. “That’s the most important thing!” I cringed as I felt the souls of several universes pass into the void – their realities dissolving away into nothing but ash and darkness. “We need to hurry!”
Kyan, Gavin, and Denly continued to focus on the main rift, leaving me to figure out how to stop whatever it was that Ryan was doing. I began building up my power and tapped into the extra reserve that had been left with me by my older brother. I manipulated the energy until it was covering my entire body before I launched my attack at the vessel the Darkness had decided to possess.
Everything around me turned into a blur as I threw myself forward at Ryan. A look of surprise crossed his face when he saw me heading towards him, but he wasn’t fast enough to react. I wrapped my arms around my cousin and held on tightly as I released all of the pent up energy into his body. Instead of trying to cut him off from his power, I was overloading him. Ryan was screaming in agony as his skin and muscles contorted from the extra energy pulsing through his body.
‘Don’t stop!’ A voice ordered. ‘No matter what!’
‘I wasn’t planning on it,’ I thought in return.
Ryan’s powers were flickering as the rifts above us fluctuated out of my cousin’s control. Then, when he was on the verge of exploding into pure energy, I did something that I will never do again. Using Ryan’s flickering form, I slid my hand into his chest and grabbed ahold of my cousin’s heart. He gasped just as I sent a surge of energy pouring straight into the life-giving muscle. Then, I squeezed his heart until it stopped beating.
My cousin’s eyes went wide in fear before he gasped once and fell to the ground. The ground shook, and the heavens moaned as a bright flash of light washed over everything, forcing me to close my eyes. I heard Kyan grunt in discomfort from nearby, and for a moment I thought maybe the vine had pulled him through the rift like it had before. Then, everything went still as the brightness faded, leaving me wondering if it was safe to open my eyes, yet.
“Holy shit!!” I heard Denly exclaim in awe. “It’s beautiful!”
I blinked my eyes open and looked up to see that the skies above were filled with colors as all the different rifts between the universes were closing. The wind was blowing gently, as each rift seemed to pull the different colors into them, leaving feathery trails of lights flickering through the air. Then, I looked down to see that Ryan’s body was gone, but I knew the fight was over.
“Come on, Zyan,” Gavin stated, helping to my feet before pulling me into a hug. “It’s done. We won!”
His smile was full of exhaustion as Denly and Kyan joined us in our embrace. After a minute or two, Kyan began to giggle before he sighed happily.
“Let’s go home,” Denly suggested. “I think it’s time for us to rest.”
“Hey, wait!” Kyan suddenly said. “Zyan owes us an explanation. What did you mean when you told us we couldn’t fail “this time”?”
I blushed as I considered the consequences of my unplanned time hop. I had no idea how to even begin, really. The entire thing didn’t even seem possible to me.
“Do we really want to know?” Gavin asked suspiciously.
“I’m not sure you do,” I said uneasily. “It was an interesting experience, for sure.”
“What happened, though?” Kyan pressed.
I sighed before I told them everything about the time hop, and how I had been stuck in the Void without any hope of getting out. Then, I told them about Shyan, and how he had helped me figure out the secret to my escape. It was when I got to the part about Kellan that Kyan stopped me with a confused look on his face.
“Yeah,” I replied. “Do you know him?”
Kyan nodded with a grin.
“He goes to our school,” my brother replied before he corrected himself. “Well, my school, it’s going to be your school this next year.”
I frowned at the thought of Kellan. “I need to go find Kellan, really quick. I’ll meet you guys at home.”
“We’ll see you there, little brother,” Kyan stated with a knowing smile.
“Kellan?” The boy turned to look at me with a shy smile on his face. Before he could utter a word, I pulled Kellan into my arms and hugged him tightly. “Thank you for saving me, Kellan. I’ll never be able to repay you for what you have done.”
“I don’t even know what I did, Zac-I mean, Zyan,” Kellan blushed profusely as he corrected himself.
“There is something that you can do, Zyan,” the man walking with Kellan stated with a sly grin.
“What is that, sir?”
“Kellan doesn’t belong here anymore, Zyan,” Gabriel went on to explain. “There is nothing left for him.”
“Where does he belong? What about his parents?” I demanded in confusion.
“Before you get any crazy ideas, Zyan,” the man held up his hand to stall me and took a glance towards Kellan. “He’s got an entire new life waiting for him in the same space that you do.”
“What do you mean?” I demanded.
“First, you need to send Kellan to join Harris,” Gabriel informed me.
“I don’t want to let him go there, though,” I stated fiercely. Gabriel just smiled patiently at me. “We just found each other!”
“And you will find each other, again,” the man cut me off. “That’s how soul mates work.”
“Soul mates?” I whispered in confusion. Kellan just looked between the two of us like we were speaking gibberish. “How do you know this, though?”
“I know a lot of things, Zyan,” Gabriel acknowledged. “More than you could ever imagine. Now, before we continue this conversation any further, I need you to say your goodbyes to Kellan, please.”
“Yes, sir,” I agreed meekly before turning my attention to Kellan. “Hey.”
“Hey, back,” he grinned. “At least, we’ll get to see each other, again.”
“When though?” I whispered as Kellan slid his hands into mine.
“Soon enough,” he replied before kissing me on my cheek. “Now, do what needs to be done.”
“Thanks again, for saving my life,” I told Kellan before I pressed my lips against his. I used the distraction to create my own rift behind Kellan. Then, with a gentle shove, Kellan was gone. I returned my attention to Gabriel with a salty look on my face. “Now, what?”
“Now, it’s time for you to take your rightful place in the universe,” the man stated. “First, you need to say goodbye to your family.”
“What?” I gasped out in surprise. “No! I just got them back!”
“It’s the only way to protect this universe, Zyan,” the man said. “There is still the possibility of the rifts reopening if you stay here, any longer.”
“Why?” I demanded. “If I’m here, at least I’ll be able to keep them safe!”
“Will you, though?” Gabriel countered. “How long until you run out of energy, and lose your battles, once and for all. You’ve witnessed it happen once. Do you really want to experience it, again, young one?”
I froze at his comment. The feeling of losing Kyan when he was snatched by the vine made my face go pale, and Gabriel had to steady me from falling.
“You know exactly what I am talking about, Zyan,” he stated confidently. “Tell me that you feel like you belong here.”
“I don’t,” I said without even considering it. As soon as the words left my lips, I realized they were true. I had never felt like I belonged here. I always felt like I was missing parts of myself, until recently. Thousands of memories that didn’t belong to me were raging through my mind, nearly drowning out my own thoughts as the foreign memories tried to make their own homes in my head. Each one would make my head feel like it was getting ready to explode as more, and more of the memories came crashing in. Ever since I had closed the rifts, I could feel my own existence shouting back at me from beyond the realm of our own universe. I could see the different versions of me fading away; ceasing to exist in their own timelines as I absorbed all of their memories. Now, I was slowly cascading into an endless migraine as I tried to deal with the thoughts. I looked back up at Gabriel. “How did you know that I don’t belong here?”
“I’ve read the ‘Book of the Stars’, Zyan,” Gabriel replied proudly. “I know everything there is to know about you, young one. I know that your favorite color is blue, and that your favorite song is ‘Let it Be’.” Gabriel smiled down at me. “I’ve been awaiting your arrival for several millennia, Zyan. Everyone has been waiting for you! Now, it’s time for you to claim your reward. Go say goodbye to your family, Zyan. We need to get you away from this place.”
“Yes, sir,” I replied sadly.
Without even thinking about the action, I felt the world twist around me before I was standing in the kitchen of my parents’ house. My mom was humming to herself as she washed dishes, while my father typed away on his laptop, clearly involved in his next book. Sarah entered from the back door and hugged our dad before she kissed him on his cheek. They shared a few words that I couldn’t hear, but nobody seemed to notice me. I was about to make my presence known when Kyan, Gavin, and Denly all appeared in the middle of the kitchen. The trio hugged each other excitedly as my mother and father greeted them. Still, it was like I was watching a silent movie.
“Guys?” I asked, hoping that someone would acknowledge me, but nobody turned in my direction. “Kyan?”
My family continued to talk amongst each other before I saw my mother motion that the other boys smelled bad. They all seemed to laugh before Kyan, Gavin, and Denly each went upstairs. My mother and Sarah left the room, leaving me alone with my father. It was then that the deafening silence was replaced with the gentle sounds of our house on a normal day.
“Hello, Zyan,” my father smiled at me before he stood from his seat and moved around the table. He knelt down and held his arms out to me. “I’ve been waiting for you to get home.”
I couldn’t stop myself from running into his arms and hugging him tightly.
“Did you get your job done?” He asked as he stood with me in his arms.
“Yeah,” I replied sadly. “But it took a few tries.”
“I know,” my father replied. “I’m proud of you, Zyan. I’m proud of everything that you’ve accomplished, and everything that you’re turning into.”
“What am I turning into?” I asked as I fought off tears of pain as another migraine seemed to echo throughout my head. It felt like my brain was trying to tear itself into two separate pieces.
“Something amazing, Zyan,” my father smiled at me. “But in order to do that, you have to leave us.”
“I’m sorry, daddy,” I apologized as a tear slid down my cheek.
“I’m not,” he quickly assured me. “You’re going to be capable of things you wouldn’t believe if I told you.”
I winced as another surge of pain hit my head.
“What’s wrong, Zyan?” My father asked in concern.
“I’m not sure,” I told him. “I’m dealing with memories that aren’t mine, I think.” I tried explaining what I was feeling in my head, and my father simply nodded and kissed my forehead.
“It’s time for you to leave, baby boy,” he informed me with a slight frown.
“Can I say goodbye to the others, first?”
“There’s no time, Zyan,” my father explained softly. “I can tell that you’re barely holding yourself together, as it is.”
“I don’t know what’s wrong with me, daddy,” I whispered in fear. “I feel like I’m being torn apart, again.”
“You’ve got this, Zyan,” I promise. “The Creators would never give you more than you could handle.”
“The Creators?” This was the first time my father had used this term around me, but I felt like a sort of recognition at the title.
“You’ll learn about them in time, my son,” he replied with a smile. “Just know that you are always being looked after, even when you feel like you’re completely alone.”
“What’s everybody going to think when I just vanish, again? What about Wyndel and Marano? What about my friends that are here? Natalie? Greg? Toby is going to be heartbroken!”
I could feel myself beginning to spiral out of control before my father put both of his hands on my shoulders and squeezed firmly.
“Take a breath, Zyan,” he instructed. “You’re losing control.”
“I’m trying,” I whimpered. “I’m just scared, daddy.”
“You are one of the most powerful beings to ever exist, Zyan,” my father told me in a serious tone. “There is nothing out there for you to fear. I will make sure that the loose ends in this universe are taken care of. The Prophecy will handle the rest. Now, you need to get out of this universe before you lose control.”
“Where do I go?” I asked timidly.
“Wherever your heart leads you, Zyan,” he said. Then, my father kissed my forehead before he looked into my eyes. “I couldn’t be more excited for what Destiny has in store for you. Make sure that you come visit us, once you have your powers in control.”
Then, without warning, my father pushed me backwards, and I felt myself falling uncontrollably.
I saw the stars and galaxies race past me, far beyond my reach as I fell through the Land Beyond the Realms. The space of time and existence where physical dimensions didn’t matter. The space where I had witnessed the flow of time as the Tree of Life continued to grow. The place where I had been shown the reason for my existence.
‘That seems so long ago,’ I thought miserably as I continued to fall uncontrollably.
Everything around me flickered as I fell.
One moment, I saw a sky filled with rainbows just before it flickered into a massive black hole that was desperately trying to devour its galaxy. Then, I was falling through a forest with trees that seemed to grow for miles. There were green skies, odd, shaped planets that were clearly built, and other images.
Rift after rift. . .
Universe after universe. . .
With each one that I passed through, my brain was tormented by more memories flooding into my head. With each universe that I encountered; I was being mentally overloaded. I could feel my skin beginning to tingle like it had just before I exploded the first time. What would happen to me falling like this?
I had tried to slow myself down, but it was to no avail. Whatever my father had done, had been done with a purpose. My mind was still racing with memories, leaving me wondering which existence was really my own. Had I really defeated the Darkness? Did I really murder my own cousin just to complete the task? Why did I feel like I was being torn apart? Why wasn’t I allowed to say goodbye?
Then, just as I felt like the falling sensation was never going to end, I felt myself slide through a rift and into another universe. The sudden view of blue skies above me was overwhelming until I realized that I was now falling towards the ground. The wind buffeting my ears wasn’t enough to drown out the shouting voices in my head, though.
“Focus, Zyan!” One familiar voice screamed. I turned my head to my left and could have sworn that I saw Davie falling beside me. “You have to stop yourself!”
‘Focus!’ I told myself. I tried to imagine the wind stopping me, slowing me down until I was only floating.
“You can do this, Zyan!” Another voice screamed. “Think of Kellan!”
I forced myself to think of the boy that had rescued me from the other side. The one that I had sent to live in another universe. He was my soul mate. The one that my soul was destined to spend eternity with, no matter what. For a moment, I was drawn back to my own trials. I thought about the Trial of Love, and how the choices had been presented to me. There was another presence there. I had felt it. I had been drawn to it, but something had told me that it wasn’t the time to decide back then. Now though. . .
‘Kellan?’ I screamed out with my mind.
‘Zyan?’ A startled voice asked in return.
‘I need you, Kellan!’
‘I’m ready for whatever you need, Zyan,’ he said reassuringly. ‘Just take my hand.’
I closed my eyes and smiled as I thought about Kellan standing with his hand outstretched towards me. I reached out to him, feeling his hand slip into mine as the world tilted around me, and the roaring of the wind was replaced by the hammering of my own heart as Kellan pressed his lips against my own.
“Your safe, now, love,” he whispered as he held me against him.
I couldn’t stop myself from shaking as I looked up at the boy that had saved me twice, now. Then, my knees buckled as a groan slid between my teeth and my head felt like it was being torn apart.
“Zyan?” I heard Kellan ask as I slipped into unconsciousness. “Zyan? Somebody help me!”
“I’ve got this,” a tiny brown-haired boy said with a grin as he appeared next to Kellan and pinched my cheek to keep me from losing myself. “You’re cute, Zyan, but you can’t do this without help. So, let’s go help you figure out who you are.”
“Who are you?” Kellan asked the boy.
“I’m Kyle,” the boy smiled, cheekily. “Welcome to Alpha Prime!”
Zyan Montgomery and Kellan Moore will return in Broken Souls!
Kyan Montgomery will return in Be the One: The Reaper, along with the rest of the Montgomery Family!