The Enchanted

By Paula Osheroff All Rights Reserved ©

Scifi / Romance

Chapter 14: No more home-sweet-home

I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised, since I had a feeling they had known I was there all along. When we reached our destination I found myself wrapped in a hug from both sides, with sniffles and tears. To this day I don’t know why I couldn’t cry, but I just couldn’t. Maybe it was the anger, or the resolution, I will probably never know, but it doesn’t really matter. The only thing that matters is that the moment that bullet made impact, my life’s goals changed. I would ruin them. Every last one of them. I would be happy to personally be the end of each and every member of the WSGF around the world, and I needed to do it by myself.

The issue now was that we had over a thousand people show up in the middle of the Australian outback. This was not a normal occurrence, and would definitely be noticed. There was no way to backstop them all with identities, so our best bet was to get everyone together in a single hard-to-find location. But first and foremost, we had to move Jessie secretly. The cat was out of the bag for me, and I was getting some strange looks from the others who were standing around with a “what-the-fuck” look on their faces, for ever so many reasons. But Jessie was unknown, and could be protected.

I entered the hotel room next to hers, which luckily had an adjoining door. Jessie was still completely unaware of what had gone down in the last hour. God, it had only been an hour! I knocked on the adjoining door and she answered wearing a towel on her head and a robe. Her baby bump not terribly pronounced yet, but definitely there.

“Jessie, babe, we have to get you out of here now. It’s a long story and I’ll fill you in soon, but for the moment you need to be moved.” I knew it wasn’t going to be enough information for her, but she was going to have to trust me for the moment. I gave her a minute to get dressed and luckily she hadn’t really unpacked much yet so she threw everything back into her bag and I touched her on the shoulder and popped her to the only other place I knew of that she would be tough to find.

The Galapagos Islands didn’t have much in the way of hotels, but they did have boats. Lots of boats moored at various points around the island. I remembered when I was with my family that we had rented a houseboat for a week from an office on the coast. I could only hope it was still in operation, because we were going to pop up in their parking lot in a couple of seconds. The one thing that had gone well that day – the office was still there and open, with a “boat rentals” sign in the window. I went in and rented a small houseboat and got Jessie settled in all in under 20 minutes. Which was probably a new record for the rental agent, but cash was cash, and American dollars were their favorite form of it.

“Jessie, I have to go back for a little while, so rest here and I will be back in a couple hours as soon as I am able to sort out some things.” As of this point Jessie had never left her hotel room so she had no idea of what was happening outside it. That was not going to be a fun conversation.

I popped back to the location in Oz, to find the twins, Ellie and Max organizing everyone. Max pulled me aside for an update.

“Lala, I am so sorry about Shane.” I put my fingers over his mouth and shook my head. I wasn’t ready to talk about it yet. He nodded. “So here’s what we know. As of right now, we don’t think anyone has really noticed us except the hotel clerk. Ellie used the push to convince him he’d seen several busses drop us off as tourists. The twins are researching buildings in the area, hoping we can find a large warehouse or something of the sort to house everyone in. We don’t have a lot in the way of supplies or clothing, but we did manage to grab a shitload of cash, hoping that we could pop to various locations throughout the country to shop with relative anonymity.”

I missed some of the rest of what he said, because I simply stopped listening. He was good at logistics, and I was glad he was taking that part over, but at that moment in time, my head was somewhere else. “Thanks, Max, I appreciate all you’re doing. I’m not sure why I seem to be the person in charge, but it looks like that’s the way it is for now, so keep me in the loop, but I trust you to do what’s right. Let me know if you need anything, I’m in room 104 and Jessie was in 105, but I’ve moved her for now, for obvious reasons. You guys can use the room if you want to, but we’re going to need to figure out how to house a thousand people before it gets dark in just under 7 hours.”

I headed off to my room. I needed to think. And I needed to be alone. Yes, OK, I needed privacy so I could be sneaky, but they didn’t need to know that. As soon as the door closed and I closed the blackout blinds I popped back to the Island. I chose the tiny cove on the east side that had a beach about the size of a picnic blanket. It was secluded, and I was hoping would not be occupied by WSGF minions, and I knew was hard as hell to watch remotely because of the rocky surroundings. What I found was unexpected. I felt no animal life on the island. I hadn’t ever really paid attention before, but I realized now that there had always been a very mild undercurrent of life, lizards, rodents, etc., that was gone now.

The plants appeared to be unaffected, though I knew that wasn’t the case. They quite literally bristled at my arrival, then relaxed. The fauna may have been gone, but the flora wasn’t going down without a fight. I reached over to touch a leave and it pulled out of my reach. I noticed a sticky fluid on many of the plants as I walked through, watching them pull back and away from me. It took me a minute to understand what they were trying to tell me, which was that many of the plants on the island that had poisonous attributes had brought that forward and was using it as a weapon. The sticky substance was probably quite lethal.

As I walked tentatively through the jungle, as quietly as I could, the plants would part in my path, or occasionally block it completely. Again, it took me a minute to realize what was happening. The plants were guiding my course to the safest route, so I could traverse unnoticed. I admit I was surprised at first that the Island wasn’t crawling with WSGF goons, it became clear to me that the island itself had made them feel somewhat unwelcome. I found myself wondering how many they had lost just by brushing up against a plant, or suddenly finding themselves in a sink hole or quicksand. Since we had only been gone a few hours, I guessed that they had learned pretty fast and didn’t try to land anyone on the island that wasn’t absolutely necessary.

I managed to find myself about 20 yards from the closest thing the Island had ever had to being a “town”. While all the housing and buildings were rubble, there seemed to be an order to it. Like it had somehow been sorted. There wasn’t a lot of lumber, really, since most of the buildings had been steel pre-fab, but there didn’t seem to be nearly enough detritus to match the amount of destruction. Where were all the electronics, the furniture? I was curious as to where the rest had gone, but it wasn’t really at the top of my list of shit to deal with at the moment.

I spotted movement out of the corner of my eye and watched as two men (OK, I’m guessing they were men based on their size, I’m just going on statistics, not trying to be sexist!) walked through the clearing in padded orange suits that looked like shiny vinyl, with helmets and some sort of breathing apparatus attached like some kind of bizarre neon space suit. Once again I was impressed with the WSGF’s speed and the learning curve. In such a short period of time they had discovered that the island itself was hostile, and brought in equipment to deal with the situation. They might be a slightly more worthy adversary than I had originally thought. No matter, they were still going down. Even if they took me down with them. Which I had no doubt they would.

I watched as the neon spacemen went about their business, which was apparently to look over all the debris, sort through it to see if they found anything of value, though what they considered valuable wasn’t clear to me, and ignore the rest. They made a point to skirt the plants by a good margin, and it nearly made me laugh out loud to watch the plants reach for the, causing them to flinch every so often. It was some sort of surreal comedy. I’m sure it seemed about as freakish as we had always been portrayed, so at least we were giving them something to tell their grandkids about.

A gentle nudge to the surrounding plants and even the land itself had the desired effect. My two spacemen were hoisted off of the ground by nearby vines that moved just a little quicker than the spacemen did, and the earth swallowed up everything else. I wasn’t leaving them anything. They had taken what I loved from me, and I was going to take EVERYTHING from them. By the time the ground had sorted itself out, my spacemen were placed gently back down in the middle of the clearing. The plants opened a path for them to the ocean and made sure they made a speedy retreat to the beach where their jetskis were waiting.

I didn’t watch them leave, I didn’t need to. I could practically smell the fear on them from here. They weren’t going to stick around. There wasn’t anything for them to sort through at this point, and they weren’t packing shovels, so they weren’t going to dig for any of it – it wouldn’t help anyway. Instead, I walked to the center of the clearing. I knew they had to be watching. Not sure how, just not the least bit uncertain that it was true. So the first thing I did was present the double eagle salute. OK, that’s what my dad had called it. For such a mild-mannered man, he used it a great deal in traffic. I’d never before really had a use for it, but now seemed good. I spun in a circle and yelled “Fuck you – fuck you all! I will end you. You crossed the wrong freak bitch!” with my middle fingers waving in salute.

OK, so maybe it was over-the-top, but kinda like the bad guy in all the bond films – I felt it necessary to let the powers that be know what the plan was. I didn’t really have a plan laid out yet, but the gist of it was that I was going to make their lives hell for taking the man I loved, my daughter’s father, from both of us. That said, I popped back to Oz so as to avoid any opportunities they might see to take me out too, and that, my dear readers, would be bad.

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