Scathed 4th flashback chapter coming out on May 13th, EST
I glance left and right and dart down the deserted alley. The convention was right below me, and the thumps of the music every so now and then sidetracked me from why I was really here. Get in, get out, I tell myself. Don’t get lost in the void. I laugh at myself.
This would be anything but quick.
Arabelle creeps in after me, her black figure stealthy and flexible. “Coast is clear,” I whisper. “I’m heading down. Stay on the lookout until I find our inside man.”
If I was even gifted with the opportunity of having an inside man. All Arabelle knows is that there's a rave going on down there, and she wants in.
Arabelle’s light eyes, almost as if dusted with silver shine, seem to glisten with excitement. “Look out initiated,” she whispers and slinks off to a nearby hideaway.
“Updates,” I remind through my earpiece. “I’m going in.”
Carefully, I remove my silent shoes and put on some party heels, and replace my skin-hugging black top with a loose sparkly dress and a pair of large hoop earrings. I bring my hair down into its natural curly form and put on some dashing red lipstick.
Time to party.
Breathing heavily, I plaster myself against the damp walls of the sewer tunnel and rethink what I’m going through with. The first phase of my plan was already complete, fool Ara into thinking that I’m really going to get her into here.
The rest of the plan was a bit... undecided.
The sewer was a dreary shade of beige, and mold coated some parts near the ceiling. There were some wooden slats nearby, acting as underground doors leading to various parties or dance floors, some having graffiti and paint all over the doors.
I lift up the skirt of my dress and head towards one door titled “Sacred”, the name of the party area up in Atlantis.
“This is crazy, Zelle,” I hear Ara’s voice whisper into my earpiece. “I can’t believe you’re getting me tickets into an Atlantis Night-Convention!” I can imagine her jumping up and down with excitement, her eyes shining.
I smile slightly, even though the whole idea of the convention was to threaten Ara into giving me what I want--though that’s hardly what matters right now.
“You’re so welcome, Ara,” I whisper, covering my mouth with my hand, muffling the sound a bit. I glance down at my assortment of defensive and offensive gadgets tucked around my wrist. I twist the cuff on my wrist to change my fading levels to 0, focusing my concentration on preserving the color I had in the back of my mind. I keep them in my mental cabinet, stored away until I need them.
I take a deep breath and push the door open, hearing the music blare and pound on my ears. I grip my purse, knowing it has the couple elixirs I need to change my appearance. One hour, I tell myself. I have one hour before they wear off.
I glance at the door marked “Entrance”, and the receptionist-esque desk nearby. It’s now or never.
Quick as a flash, I take out three elixirs and down them all at once, keeping a poker face. I nod at the security guard and walk inside.
It’s now or never.
“Zelle, have you at least found the right door? Remember, the Atlantis Night Convention has Sacred written on the door,” I hear Ara saying over my earpiece.
“I’m working on it,” I close off all sound around me by creating a knot of electricity around my wrist and pull tight, almost like handcuffs blocking out the pounding music from my sides. I pretend to pant. “Where exactly was the Atlantis Night Convention? I got sidetracked by the Railway.” I twist the cuff controlling my fading levels back to Level 5 and pour out my concentration so I’m visible again, though most of me flowed back when I nodded at the security guard.
I carefully creep closer the the stage, keeping my electric cuffs tight around my wrists. There is no way that Ara can know about my plan.
“Here, pull up your visualizer so I can show you,” Ara says, her tone slightly impatient. “The concert starts in fifteen minutes, try to be quick.”
I twist my hands in a quick circle to drop the charges in my hands and install the visualizer so Ara can show me the building layout.
“You take a left underneath Pike Avenue and head directly straight,” Ara snaps. “I didn’t know it was hard to find a door that says Sacred in bold letters!”
“Calm your horses, Arabelle,” I growl. “I don’t recall getting any money from this, or did I forget?” I drag my red, dagger like fingernail across the wood behind me. “Only you would know,” I say sweetly.
“You watch your mouth, Zelle,” Ara seethes. “You’re doing this for me, and we both know you owe me.”
I glance at the stage. The band members are getting on now, and they’re setting up all their instruments. And somewhere in there lies the only thing my mother had left behind for me. “I don’t believe you’ve heard the saying, the past is in the past,” I whisper dangerously. “And I wouldn’t bring up the past if I were you, Arabelle Crowne.”
My vision starts to blur.
I gasp and my mind dims and flickers. I sit down.
Flashback to 3 years ago:
It was almost the Celestial Festival, and Zelle’s family was set on planning something big. They wanted to stop all light. All of it.
The plan was seemingly simple; get in get out. It required almost zero preparation, minus getting rid of revealing emotions the moment before.
Zelle and Ara were friends, nearly sisters. They were so close, they had to be sorted into different classes because of their non stop chatter, much unlike the Zelle we know today. They were inseparable. They looked similar, and attempted to stick together their whole life, and though their parents despised each other, they were (what they would consider) good people. They knew that their kids would end up splitting anyway.
And they were content on moving up that timeline to breaking apart their friendship that night.
The plan was intense yet easy, and involved a heavy duty piece of technology for Agnus Delaware to keep on him at all times during the mission. The rolling stone.
Zelle glanced at her father suiting up, eyeing his adler-altered face. He was carefully putting on heavy work gloves, after trucking around in cargo jeans and a human black shirt. He shrouded his face in shadows, inky and deep, and disappeared.
Zelle kept a watchful eye on her mother as she started talking to Arabelle’s mother. She wanted to enjoy her fifth festival, but she knew it may very well be her last.
Zelle readjusted the black cloak she had been instructed to wear, and glanced down at her neon pink frilly top and her white leggings. She thought she looked festive.
Now she looked stupid.
She shoved the emotions aside, knowing something bad was going on and she needed to stop it. Plus, the bad thoughts were nothing new. A Charger was set as evil, why would they have good thoughts?
Zelle’s mother guided them to a gentle grassy patch of the hill where the light show was going to take place. “Wish your father good luck,” she whispered, red lipstick and hoop earrings surrounding her face.
“It may be the last time you see him.”