“What…what are you talking about?” I gasped out, barely breathing with the weight he had placed on my stomach and barely conscious because of all the blood I’d lost.
“Did you plan this?” Abraham snarled. “No, no you couldn’t have. You wouldn’t have. Not with what you’ve become.” He sighed. “What I thought I needed to make you.” He lifted his leg up to stomp down on me again. “Whatever that girl did inside my head, I can’t kill you at this moment. But her power has a time limit. And when that’s over, this ends.”
Abraham pulled his foot off me and began kicking around the snow.
This our chance, Sarah said. He can’t kill us. Let me out. Let me fight with you! Hit him with everything we have!
I shook my head as much as I still could, closing my eyes fully and laying my head deep into the snow.
Abraham seemed remorseful. As if everything he’d done to me was some greater plan gone wrong. Whatever. We were all dead anyway.
“Hmm,” I could still hear Abraham hum. “What is going on in there?”
“What is going on there?!” I repeated myself, much more loudly.
Eve opened her mouth to answer, but she quickly shut it, her hands shaking as quickly as the bodies of the others.
“Well that’s helpful,” Sammy mocked. “Olivia, you know what’s going on?”
“I do,” not Olivia, but Salaran said, stepping forward. “Now that we’re so close I can smell it clearly.” She turned her head to me. “You attempted to send Raina Davenport’s consciousness into Shay Myers’ soul. I suppose in an effort to save her.”
“How did Abe not know they had someone skilled enough to pull off a spell like that?” Gordon asked himself under his breath.
“We did,” Olivia answered. “You wanted Carter at his max power and we needed to save Shay to do that.”
“The effort is appreciated, but like I tell Gordon, he shouldn’t expect anything from mortals.”
“What are you talking about?” I asked, the rumbling getting louder.
“Your witch didn’t just send Raina Davenport’s consciousness into Shay Myers’s soul. She sent her soul as well.”
“And what happens when a soul goes inside another soul?”
Eve screamed at the top of her lungs, her eyes now flashing through bright, solid colors.
“Shay!” I shouted from the floor. “Listen, we don’t have much time and we need to…” she cut me off while I was standing up, kicking me in the side to knock me back down.
“We have all the time in the world,” Shay said, smiling down at me. “You’re not going anywhere.”
Strings shot out of Takato’s hands, wrapping around my arms and legs to constrain me. Neither through sheer force or my power could I get free.
“What the Hell is going on?!” I asked.
Takato crouched down, grinning in my face.
“We’ll let you get to finishing your mission here and all, but first we really need to chat about something serious…Queen.”
Just hearing him call me that sent a chill down my spine. It was such a generic word, but I’d given it so much power.
“How much do you actually know about magic?” Shay asked.
“Considering what I’m doing right now?” I asked rhetorically, trying to hide the effect Takato’s word choice had had on me. “Less than I should.”
“That’s what I thought,” Shay laughed, pacing around the cage. “Okay honey, here’s what’s going on. You’ve been trying to rack your spoiled little brain trying to figure out who or what we are.”
“You had some good guesses, but didn’t ever hit the mark,” Takato continued. “We’re you.” He tapped me on the nose.
While the cage remained the same, everything around it started shifting. What looked like whirlpools formed all over the place, colors and objects mixing together. I suddenly found myself longing for the days when the existence of demons was the weirdest thing in my life.
“I’m sorry, that was probably confusing,” Takato continued. “It’s not that we’re really you, but manifestations of your soul.”
Because that’s so much less confusing, I thought.
“So if you’re my soul or whatever, how do you know more than I do?” I asked.
“The consciousness and the soul are separate,” Shay answered. “We know more than you just by instinct.”
Still not getting any of this bullshit. I sighed. Need to get through this already.
“Okay, fine, you’re my soul and you wanna talk about something. What is it?”
Takato stood up, standing shoulder to shoulder with Shay.
“Admit you haven’t changed,” he said, no more light-heartedness in his voice.
“Excuse me?” I snapped, struggling against the string.
Both of them were now scowling down at me and I could practically feel the desire for vengeance in them. No, I could feel it.
“This whole “new you” and “no more apologies” thing you’ve got going on,” Takato snarled. “We don’t like it. You’re lying to yourself.”
“And since this is our only opportunity to talk to you directly, we need you to accept that.”
I inhaled trying to get some air, but there didn’t seem to be any of that here. Regardless, I need to figure out what exactly what was happening here. I knew in my heart that they were wrong. They couldn’t be me. This had to be Abraham’s trick. Or maybe Shay hated me even more than I thought she did.
“If I say it, will you let me go?” I asked.
“No, we need you to accept it as fact,” Takato said. “I am still in Hell because of you.”
“And maybe if Carter hadn’t felt the need to protect you, he could have stopped this from happening to me.” Shay paused. “Maybe Joey would still be alive.”
My heart skipped a beat.
“No, no he…he wouldn’t have been enough,” I shook my head.
“You don’t know that,” Shay said. “He was definitely stronger than ever before when he came to save you.”
“Shut up,” I growled, trying with all my will to get my power to work.
“If not for you,” Takato started again. “I would be living a happy, normal life with my parents and baby brother. Shay wouldn’t be in this situation, Carter wouldn’t be about to die, and Joey and hundreds of other innocents would still be alive.”
“You can’t just walk away from all of that and “move on,” Shay said. “You will always be evil. We know that. And we’re you.”
No. I’ve been over this. This isn’t me.
The space around us continued to shift, all the different colors and shapes disappearing completely as they were flushed down the whirlpool. Leaving us just in darkness.
Nothing around us. Nothing here. This is too much!
My heart skipped another beat.
It was hurting. Hurting in a familiar way.
And then I lost feeling in my arm.
Oh god, I’m having another heart attack! Is that happening to my actual body too?!
“Eve,” I gasped out. “Pull me out!”
Takato stepped on my head.
“You’re not going anywhere until you accept who you are once and for all!”
As I opened my mouth, unsure of what there was to say, one last whirlpool formed amidst the darkness.
“Haven’t you been down this road already?” a voice asked.
“No, that’s not…” Upon hearing Shay’s voice, the Shay that was in front of me exploded into bits of string.
“What?!” Takato screamed.
“Seriously, I’m looking at your mind right now and damn you’ve already had a ton of soul searching moments, the last one seeming pretty final.”
Looking at my mind?
“Silence!” ‘Takato’ screamed, his face morphing into mine, his body staying otherwise the same.
“Shay?” I asked. “Is that really you?”
“No, I’m Harrison,” she mocked. “You’re here to save me, right? So how about you move past these doubts and get to that.”
“I won’t let you stop us!” my soul screamed, one of the walls of the cage vanishing. “I won’t let this opportunity go to…”
They were shut up by a tentacle emerging from the darkness and dragging them down into it.
“You’re always gonna have doubts about who you are. You’re always going to feel at least a little bad. And you should. But after everything you’ve been through? You should know that those thoughts don’t affect who you really are.”
My heart feeling better and my arm becoming less numb, I casually broke out of the string.
“Why do you sound so nice?” I asked.
“Well, there’s the obvious part where I want to get out of here, but more importantly I meant what I said. Right now, I can feel you, soul, consciousness and all, here. Gives me a look into your head.”
I started nodding slowly.
“Glad that’s not a two-way street,” my attempt at mocking her being drowned out by the sadness in my voice. “I’d hate to see what goes though…your disgusting mind.”
“I’ll take that as a thank you,” she replied, a stone path leading up to the whirlpool emerging.
As I began walking down it, there was something I needed to ask her.
“Shay, when you were going through my mind…did you see anything about Joey?”
There was silence for a moment.
“Yeah, I did. Everything came pretty quickly, but…I saw it all.”
She sounded like even more of a sad sack than even me now. She hadn’t known before what kind of man Joey really was. Or how he felt.
Arriving at the end of the path, I reached down into the whirlpool. I could feel something grip my hand back.
“We both care a lot about the same people,” I said.
“And I don’t think the other me was too off the money when she said we both have a need to feel superior to others,” she replied.
I felt my hand tingling, hopefully a sign that Eve was getting us out of here.
“You think this is the start of a beautiful friendship?
“Phh, Hell no,” she answered, breaking out of her sad tone with a laugh.
“Okay good,” I said. “That would just be weird.”
“She’s got her!” Eve shouted.
“Thank god,” I muttered, catching my breath as Sammy screamed, “Yes!”
“Raina’s blood flow is returning to normal as well,” a relieved Olivia said, huddled over her body.
“So you’re gonna get them out now?” Gordon asked.
“That’s the plan,” Eve replied, the colors in her eyes fading away and returning to normal. “Babe, carefully apply the contents of that purple vile to my hands.”
Olivia complied, doing as she was asked.
While she did so, we heard a voice shout from outside.
“Gordon! Salaran! What are you doing?”
“Shit,” I growled. “I know we’ve all been in panic mode but has anyone heard Carter scream in awhile?”
“He’s alive,” Olivia commented. “Though they haven’t been fighting for a time so I’m not sure why.”
Gordon and Salaran exchanged a look. They then glanced at Raina and I respectively.
“Whatever the reason is, we’ll see if we can buy you some time,” Gordon said.
“Couldn’t you just tell him to wait?” I asked.
“If there was any arguing the master once he was angry, we would have done that already,” Salaran answered. “Good luck, mortals.”
As she finished, the two went from the room to outside in an instant.
“Done,” Olivia said, finishing the task Eve gave her.
Eve tapped on her throat with her fingers.
“Can everyone hear me?” she asked, her voice having an echo.
“Eve! Never thought I’d be so happy to hear you!”
It was Shay, her voice coming from Eve’s hands.
I probably looked like as much of an idiot at Carter, but my entire face lit up.
“Shay! Shay, can you hear me?!”
“Sorry, they can only hear me,” Eve disappointingly told me.
“Fine,” I said. “Just free them then.”
It was just a matter of moments now. In just a matter of moments, I’d have the love of my life back.
“Brace yourselves you two.”
The purple stuff on Eve’s hands started glowing, Eve gritting her teeth.
“Are we supposed to just be spinning around a lot?!” Raina screamed.
“Damnit,” Eve growled. “Your soul going in with you must have thrown the whole spell off.” She turned to all of us. “Sammy, showtime!”
I took a deep breath.
I’d really been hoping we wouldn’t actually need to use Sammy.
“What exactly do I need to do?” he asked, stepping forward. “Cause just ‘juggling’ what’s inside there is pretty vague.”
“Wish I could be more specific, but no one understands your powers better than you do,” she said.
“Who are you talking to?” Shay asked.
“Sammy,” Eve answered. “Since things are going haywire, he’s our last chance.”
“Fuck you,” Raina told Shay. “You got this Sammy!”
I put a hand on his shoulder.
“I don’t get all this crap about souls and consciousnesses. But I do know you’re going to put them all back where they belong. Cause if you don’t, Abraham won’t be the one who kills you.”
Eve and Olivia stared at me.
Sammy took a nervous breath, stepping away from me, raising up his hands.
“Here goes nothing.”
“Enough!” Abraham screamed at his lackies, the three having been talking for a short time. “I can feel the command has gone away.”
He turned his right arm into its blade form.
“Please just wait a little longer,” Gordon plead, grasping Abraham’s other arm. “I’m telling you the others…”
“The others will die as well!” Abraham screamed. “Dying at my hands will likely be quicker than whatever Adam would have in store for them.”
I wasn’t really thinking anything. Didn’t feel the urge to say anything. Or move. I’d just been laying in the snow. This fate was inevitable.
Abraham violently pushed Gordon away from him.
“For the last time Carter Meyers,” he said. “Goodbye!”
My eyes opened wide, turning to look at Shay, standing atop the motel’s platform alive and well.
I didn’t know whether to cheer or cry. But it didn’t matter.
Abraham had stabbed me through the heart.