Carter Myers…please stop this, Sarah whimpered softly as I sent another jolt of electricity through the chains around her.
I could see her so clearly. Down on her back. No strength left. Living in endless agony. It was exactly what she deserved.
“Your ex should be showing up any minute now,” I said, pulling a black hoodie over my head. “I can’t wait to hear your squeals as I kill him.”
Lying to yourself, she whispered. You know they’re right.
“Shut up,” I said, sending more electricity through her.
You know you can’t win.
“Shut up,” I growled.
Carter Myers…she was barely getting the words out. What are you actually hoping to do here?
“Shut up!” I screamed, sending enough lightning through her that she passed out, or whatever the equivalent to that was when you lived in a soul.
Good, I thought. She’d just be a distraction.
I walked over to the couch, where Shay had been for the last week. She looked so weak. So unlike herself.
“I’m sorry I failed you,” I said, wrapping my arms around her. “It’ll all be over soon,” I whispered in her ear.
Having said my goodbye, I walked past my phone, sitting on the floor. I picked it up and went to my contacts.
I threw the phone back down and walked through the open doorway. Taking in the cold, bitter air that smelled of cold macaroni and cheese, I jumped off the platform into the parking lot.
“Alright Abraham. Come and get me.”
“Is he gonna show or what?” Malcolm asked, tugging on his jacket collar. “We don’t have all day.”
Before answering his question, I sipped on the mai tai I’d ordered. Intense as things had gotten with him, saving Malcolm was nothing compared to what Eve still wanted me to do.
“He’ll show,” I replied, putting my glass down. “We can’t even do this without him.”
“We can’t do this safely without him,” Olivia corrected me, a bag filled with all of Eve’s supplies in front of her.
“I think “safe” is a relative term here.”
Malcolm, who’d been unable to sit still since we got here, sneered at Eve.
“What are you smiling about?”
Eve was sitting with her legs crossed, wearing a killer green dress. I knew she’d be trying to keep her wealth a secret, but the difference in the quality of her wardrobe between when I first met her and now was crazy.
“Just glad to see you up and about is all,” she answered. “Would have been nice if you’d been able to shower, but there’ll be time for that later.”
Bad as Malcolm smelled, it was nothing compared to how his apartment had. I’d nearly vomited while I was in there.
Malcolm shook his head.
“This plan of yours is too damn weird.” He looked to me. “You sure you wanna do this, kid?”
“Don’t really have a choice in the matter,” I answered. “Besides, much as I hate to admit it, I do owe Shay for the time I almost killed her.”
“Do I even want to know when that happened?” a familiar, charming voice said as the speaker walked up to our booth.
“Sammy!” I cheered, getting up to hug him.
My reunion with Sammy had been…something. He’d freaked the Hell out upon seeing my face, but that seemed to be the last thing on his mind once I got around to telling him I was dating Ally. He hadn’t taken it well, but he was still happy for me and the breakthroughs I’d made. We’d agreed to be friends, but he was still totally into me. Not that I could blame him.
“Hey Ray,” he awkwardly hugged me back before letting go. “Everyone.”
“Glad you could make it,” Olivia greeted him, standing up. Malcolm and Eve got up as well.
“Now that we’re all here,” I said in an overly dramatic way. “I do believe it’s time for some dashing heroics.”
“Carter Myers!” Abraham screamed, crashing down onto the snow covered pavement in front of me, creating a small crater around him.
He was dressed the same way as the last time I’d seen him. And his grin was just as wide. Taunting me.
“I know you get a kick out of it, but how about we skip the obnoxious monologuing this time and get straight to the part where I kill you?” I taunted, lighting up my hands with black lightning.
“Confidence!” he exclaimed, tripping the size of his arms. “I like it!”
Raising my arms, palms held out, I prepared to fire.
Sarah…that bitch had seen right through me. She knew what I was really trying to do. But it wasn’t like I had any other choices.
“Goodbye everyone,” I whispered as I launched my first, and possibly only, blast at Abraham.
He jumped out of the way, doing a summersault in mid-air. While airborne, he stretched one of his arms down, the bulk of it looking like smoke, to try and grab me.
Slow on my feet, I couldn’t get away in time, Abraham wrapping his massive hand around my head and raising me a few inches into the air.
“Oh come on, Carter,” he mocked. “You had better reflexes the first time we met.”
He was right. I was slower. More sluggish. I hadn’t been working out.
“Maybe so,” I grunted through the pain as he squeezed my head like a grape. “But I think I’ve got a bit more of a kick!”
Clenching my eyes shut, I unleashed lightning from my head to try and blast his hand off.
“Dammit.” It didn’t work.
“Really?!” Abraham screamed, swinging me around in the air like a ragdoll before slamming me face first into the pavement. “Surely you’ve got better than that! You know what’s at stake here!”
I did. Shay. Everyone else. The city. It was all on me.
And I knew from the start that there was nothing I could do for them.
Spitting out blood and snow, I got to my feet as Abraham put his body back in its normal state, staying in the air.
Staring up at him, I took some breaths. He was going to kill me, but damn if I wasn’t going to throw everything I had at him first.
Shooting lightning out of my feet, I propelled myself off the ground toward Abraham. On my way toward him, I pulled my arms back, charging up both of my fists.
Once by him, I threw a punch, but as soon as I did, he was already out of sight.
“Ahh!” I shouted, his elbow striking the top of my spine, sending me back down into the ground. It felt like I’d made another hole, but I couldn’t tell. I couldn’t open my eyes. Too much pain.
“Damn,” Abraham growled. “You really are worthless.” He sighed. “It’s my own fault. I thought you could actually help me.” Huh. He wasn’t talking like an evil maniac? “Very well…”
Finally managing to get my eyes open, I turned to him, feet back on the ground and his arms in their blade form.
“You’ve doomed the world, Carter Meyers. And for that you must die!”
“He’s getting the shit kicked out of him,” Sammy said as we observed the one sided beatdown going on.
“Try not to sound so happy about it,” Raina groaned.
“I don’t even know what happened to my gang. I’m gonna appreciate the little things right now.”
“Can we get a move on?” I insisted.
I didn’t have time for Sammy’s stupid grudge or anything else. Shay needed saving. And for the kid’s sake, she needed to be saved now.
“Might wanna brace yourselves,” she warned, teleporting all of us from outside the fence around the motel to inside the room Carter was staying in. “Thank you to whoever broke this door.”
“That was so cool, babe! I mean, uh, Ray.”
For the love of… I thought as Olivia thankfully slapped him across the head.
“Shay!” I screamed, seeing her body laid out across a broken, old sofa and running over to her. “Eve, whatever you have to set up, do it now!”
“I’ll go as fast as I can,” Eve said, walking over with the others as Olivia handed her her supplies. “One of you explain to Sammy what we’re doing exactly.”
“I’ll handle that,” Olivia volunteered. “Raina, you should assist Eve.”
She nodded, giving Sammy a glare as she went to get things out of the bag. Among the ingredients for the spell were green bottles filled with a red liquid, what appeared to be real peacock feathers and some old VHS tapes.
“As I informed you previously, Shay was trapped inside her own soul by Abraham,” Olivia started. While they were talking and the others were working, I was just on my knees holding Shay’s hand. “As far as Eve is aware, there isn’t any spell that can directly pull her out. However, there is a spell which will allow her to send someone into her soul and pull her out directly.”
“Freaky. That what he’s doing?” Sammy asked, gesturing to me with his head.
“To enter someone else’s soul, you must have a stronger soul than them,” she gave as a non-answer. “Shay’s isn’t on Carter’s level, but it is well-above average. Only one of us is qualified to make the trip.”
As Olivia finished her sentence, Raina casually lifted up one of her arms.
“Oh nah!” Sammy shouted. “This sounds crazy dangerous. Let me go instead!”
“It’s fine, Sammy,” Raina commented. “I have to do this.”
“Eve read all of our souls…somehow,” I said, my eyes not leaving Shay. “Apparently Olivia’s soul would be burnt up the second the spell started and you and I would die upon entry.”
“It works out best this way anyway,” Eve said,drawing lines with a purple marker on the couch. “See all this stuff is necessary for me to get Raina in there. She’ll be on her own to save Shay once there, but as far as pulling them out goes, I’m gonna need some help. Specifically, I need someone who has a pure love for each of them.”
Sammy had a stupid, awkward look on his face.
“Relax,” Olivia said. “I’m filling the role for Raina.”
“Oh. Right. Then why did Raina say you needed me?”
As she finished laying the peacock feathers around Shay’s body, Eve turned to Sammy.
“Back up,” she said. “Pulling Raina out of Shay’s soul back into her body while also getting Shay out of her own soul is about as simple as it sounds and as such, it’s gonna be a fairly bumpy ride.”
“You can juggle anything, Sammy,” Raina said, wearing that same warm smile she’d shown me before. “We’re hoping that souls aren’t an exception, so if we have some trouble on the way out, you can give us the last push we need.”
The kid looked completely overwhelmed, not that I could blame.
After a few more awkward moments though, he nodded.
“You can count on me.”
“Excellent,” Eve cheered. “You ready Raina?” she asked, putting one hand on Raina’s shoulder and one on Shay’s forehead.
“Ready as I’ll ever be.”
Olivia gave Raina an encouraging nod as Eve started chanting in some other language, beginning the spell. And leaving me to just hope that the two real most important women in my life made it out of this alright.
Alright, let’s see what fresh Hell this is, I thought, opening my eyes.
I wasn’t sure what I thought the inside of a soul, let alone the inside of Shay’s soul, was gonna look like, but I certainly hadn’t been expecting my current surroundings.
For whatever reason, her soul looked like the inside of a really sleazy bar. The furniture was beaten up and torn, there were vomit stains all over the place and their pitiful excuse for top shelf liquor were drinks I’d never put in my body. Also for some reason, there was a giant cage in the middle in the middle of the bar.
“Hello!” I shouted. “You here Shay?”
Eve had warned me that I might have to look for her. And that she might not want to be found.
“I swear if I have to go into this place’s bathroom…”
As I said that, the front door opened up, a blinding white light coming from the outside as someone I couldn’t see well walked in.
Now that kinda looks more like a soul, I thought as the door closed.
Unshielding my eyes, I asked, “Is that you Shay?”
Looking at them though, it was clear that it wasn’t.
Seeing him, my eyes widened and my jaw dropped.
“Not quite,” Takato said.