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 denoument

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PostSubject: denoument   Sat Aug 26, 2017 8:41 am

PART ONE


Rosalind Miller is supposed to be a leader, a great one at that. She is the perfect headline. Daughter of a drug addict rises from nothing to become the leader of a modern day Roman legion. She’s supposed to have the perfect storybook ending. Yet as she leans on an old beat up subaru, looking out onto the canyon by the side of the empty road, she has a feeling this sunrise is going to be her last.
Perhaps she’s getting ahead of herself. After all, three days ago she was living a normal life. Well, as normal as her life can get.
Thursday mornings are always busy for her. She is constantly rushing around camp, trying to get to her next meeting or obligation. She had finally found a spare moment to head back to her office, when she realized her door had been left ajar. Roz is always careful to lock her door when she leaves, and the only other person who has the key is her co-praetor, who was currently halfway across camp. She wishes she had brought her crossbow with her. It’s stupid of her to be unarmed when there was an actual situation going on.
She probably should go and find someone to back her up, but instead she goes forward, ready to wrestle anyone she finds to the floor.
When she enters the room, she sees the last person she ever expects to see. She is a nepali woman, with high cheekbones and a thin nose. Her hair is longer than it was before, and no longer dyed blonde. Her feet are propped up on the desk, and in her hand she holds Roz’s bottle of whiskey.
“Why does every praetor store booze in the same damn drawer?” She asks nonchalantly in her clear Australian accent, taking a long sip of the whiskey.
“What the fuck Kala?” Roz hisses, she closes the door behind her and takes a seat in a chair on the other side of the desk.
Kala Yadav is one of the first people Roz ever met at camp. She also held the title of senator and centurion for three years before abruptly retiring and disappearing into the mortal world. The move seemed very out of character for Kala, who was known for being rather strict, far more strict than Roz. Still, those who knew her well knew there was a wild side to her. A part of her that was prideful and stubborn and flighty. Maybe it made sense that she’d finally find her way back to her old hunting ground.
“I always knew you’d become praetor. Ever since you made centurion. People like you, you know. Far more than they ever liked me.” She’s adverting the issue, Kala always did that when she was nervous.
“People liked you.” Roz contends, leaning across the desk to take the whiskey from Kala. She takes a sip herself, before going on, “You always knew how to lead, people respected you.”
Kala makes a face that looked like she partially agrees, yet she doesn’t argue.
“So what are you doing back here?” Roz asks, “I’m assuming you didn’t break into my office just so you could have a chat.”
Kala grimaces, like she had forgotten why she was even there in the first place.
“We’ve got an issue.” Kala says, “Pertaining to phantom ranch. It’s back, and we need to stop it”
Roz’s heart skips a beat. She remembers the ranch clearly. It was the quest that earned her position as centurion of the fifth cohort. It was also a place she never wanted to visit again.
Roz remembers the fog in the moonlight, the air growing cold in the summer heat. She remembers Alyssa’s screams and the sick cracking of bone. She remembers Kala calling for Lee to pull himself together. She remembers the taste of vomit and bile in her mouth. She doesn’t want to go back there.
Yet, she knows she needs to.
“Okay.” She says, fighting every urge in her body to just tell Kala to figure it out on her own. Turns out, that quest isn’t over. “Time to get the band back together again.”

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PostSubject: Re: denoument   Sat Aug 26, 2017 8:44 am


PART TWO

The first stop is her own apartment. Not for supplies, no, all of those are kept in her office. Her apartment exists outside her role as praetor. No weapons except for her crossbow, no meetings are to be held within its walls. Back in Camp she might be Rosalind, but here she’s just Roz.
She pushes open the door to be met with the high ceilings and brick walls, with light streaming in through the large windows on the opposite wall. The kitchen and living room are empty, with a couple items left strewn about. She sees books about chemistry and biology left abandoned on the small dining table. An apartment this nice is one of the perks of being praetor.
“Teddy?” She calls into the apartment, “You home?”
Her boyfriend is already done with the legion, and is in his junior year of college. He is pre-med, which meant most of his life is spent with his nose in a textbook. This time, however, he is nowhere to be found.
Roz wanders farther into the apartment, walking past the sliding doors that led off of the living room. In their bed, completely passed out, is a man with sandy blonde hair and a matching beard. Roz can only smile at the sight of Teddy looking so peaceful. Part of her just wants to let him sleep some more, but she knows there isn’t time. She has more people to see.
Roz takes a seat on the bed gently nudging Teddy, “Hey, babe, wake up.”
Teddy stirs and his eyes blink open. His lips curl into a smile, and he props himself up on his elbow to give her a kiss on the forehead.
“You’re home early,” he comments, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen you off work before five.” His smile falters though when he sees the look on Rosalind’s face.
“What’s up?” His brow furrows, and Rosalind sees him searching her face for some kind of answer.
Rosalind tells him the situation, and she sees all color leave Teddy’s face. He was there too, he saw what happened. He left that place just as changed as the rest of them. Unlike her, he refused to be promoted to centurion of the fourth cohort. He wasn’t the only one from their group that refused the leadership position that was being offered to them if they succeeded.
“I’ll do it.” He says after a minutes silence, “there’s no sense in sending some poor kid in who doesn’t know what they’re doing.”
“Really?” she asks, she was certain everyone was going to refuse. Yet here she sits, watching this man that she loves hold her hand and tell her that he was going to go back into that canyon with her. For a second, this doesn’t seem impossible.
“Yeah.” He says, and he squeezes her hand and gives her a look that reminds her why she fell in love with him in the first place. They could do this.
“Guess you gotta convince the other two now.”
Shit. She almost forgot about that.
Roz bids Teddy goodbye sooner than she really wanted to. She wants to climb back into bed with him and spend the rest of the day just laying there and forgetting about that fucking canyon. Instead she has to leave him and continue on her recruiting mission.
Her next stop is across town, within the walls of New Rome University. She walks there, so it will take as long as possible for her to have to face another person who was in that canyon that fateful night. She takes her time walking down the main stretch of road, towards the mix and match of old roman buildings with new modern structures. That’s what New Rome is, the old and the new, coming together as one.
She finds her way around as best she can, as she wasn’t too familiar with the grounds. After asking around she finds her way to the education building, walking past classroom doors until she finds the right one. She’s thankful that she stopped by the administration building and asked for a class schedule. She walks in on a medium sized lecture, with about eighty people scattered throughout the seating. There’s a man up front who stops his sentence about essays to stare at Rosalind.
“May I help you?” He asks, with a twinge of annoyance, although he seems to recognize who she is. Roz locks eyes with a girl in the third row. She’s about Roz’s age with short black hair and a look of curiosity.
“I need to speak with Margot Zhang.” Roz announces, and the girl stands up, quickly grabbing her things and jogging to meet her.
The two of them start to walk down the hall, and Margot looks over at Roz with an amused look on her face.
“So what motivates the praetor to march her ass down to NRU and break a poor ex-legionnaire out of her education lecture?” Margot brushes a strand of hair out of her face, turning to look out the windows that ran along the length of the hallway. Like Teddy, Margot had refused the promotion offered to her upon their return from Phantom Ranch. Truthfully, out of all of them, she seemed to be affected the most. It was no surprise that she had walked away from the legion shortly after. Roz figured the only thing keeping her in New Rome was her mother. Mei Zhang was the dean of medicine at Julius Caesar Memorial Hospital, along with being a daughter of Neptune. Margot had big shoes to fill, but it never seemed like she minded. Mother and daughter were thick as thieves, and Roz was a bit jealous.
Roz is quiet for a moment, knowing that whatever reaction Margot gives her, won’t be a good one.
“It’s about Phantom Ranch.” Roz starts, but those four words are enough to get Margot to stop in her tracks. Whatever carefree smile Margot had on her face is gone and replaced by an expression that Roz can only describe as dread.
“I thought it was dead.” Margot says quietly, and Roz can see her replaying that night in her head, just as Roz had hours ago. Every bad memory that had been neatly packed away is back. She starts to regret even showing up here today.
“I don’t know where Kala got her intel, but I trust her. If she says it’s back, then it’s back.”
Margot nods stiffly, and Roz feels a pang of guilt in her stomach.
“Then I’m in.” Those words surprise Roz, especially when said by the woman who’s face looks like she’s watching a funeral pyre. Margot seems to read the surprise on her face, because she goes on, “I’ve spent the last five years making my peace with that place. Maybe it’s time to face my demons and finally put the nail in the coffin.” Resolution. That’s what she’s looking for.
Part of Roz wants to reach out and give her a hug, but the other half would rather just stand there awkwardly. Her second half always wins. In fact, she is fairly certain any nurturing bone in her body was broken by the legion years ago. She isn’t a motherly type. Instead, Roz sticks with a grateful smile, before saying goodbye and leaving Margot standing alone in the empty hallway.
Rosalind’s last stop is a bit farther out. In fact, it isn’t even in New Rome. The city of San Francisco holds many demigods who elected to venture into the mortal world instead of staying within New Rome. They were close enough to flee back home if anything got too dangerous, but still lived in a city with far more employment options along with the opportunity to masquerade as a totally normal human.
She finds herself passing through the heart of downtown San Francisco, and instead on streets surrounded by older stone buildings that reminded her of many of the buildings in New Rome. She parks her car and approaches one of the most ornate buildings in the surrounding area. Two stories tall with a tall domed roof and large marble columns stands the San Francisco City Hall. On the steps she sees a couple, one clad in a white dress while the other wore a black suit. They were having their picture taken with a certificate, one that Roz assumed officiated their union. It was a very nice building to get married in, yet she is there for other reasons.
It’s not easy convincing his secretary to move all of his appointments back, yet once she pulls out the word “sister” and “family emergency” it seems to do the trick, despite the suspicious look she was getting. Chances are he never even mentioned he had a sister. Maybe she is flubbing a bit, she is his half-sister. Yet the jury is still out if omitting the truth is even lying at all.
Rosalind doesn’t even bother to knock when she enters Lee Elswood’s office. It was pretty nice too. Apparently being on the City Council had its perks. It even has a view of the San Francisco skyline. Yet the view that she is most concerned with is the disgruntled face of her dear half brother.
Lee always fit the politician lifestyle, he even looked the part. The gelled back hair, the sharp suit, the clean shaven face, he had looked the same even in the legion, maybe minus the suit. It was no surprise that Lee had taken the offer of becoming the centurion of cohort two. He led with pride, even when he was very obviously passed over for praetor. He did his time and then left New Rome. However, not before his girlfriend abandoned her post as senator without a word. Lee was bitter, yet he moved past it and found success somewhere else.
“What are you doing here?” He asks, very clearly annoyed at her presence.
“Wow, Lee, thanks for the hospitality.” Rosalind shoots back. Lee might not have been her only half sibling at camp, but everyone else seemed to think they were full siblings. Maybe it was the way that they always seemed to find something to bicker about, no matter the subject.
“Seriously though, I have work to do. If you’re just here for a fun sibling reunion, maybe you should just invite me to dinner instead.”
Rosalind rolls her eyes, “I’m here for a reason, you dick. Your girlfriend is back in town.”
“Ex-girlfriend.” He corrects immediately, but then realizes what Rosalind just said, his face turns even more sour, “Why?” No, ‘where has she been’ or ‘why did she leave’ just, ‘Why is she back?’. His distaste for Kala is evident, she can’t blame him. Kala left him behind, she broke his trust, why should he be jumping for joy that she’s back?
“Turns out we’re not done with Phantom Ranch. It’s back.” Roz studies Lee’s face for any sign of expression change, but none came. Rosalind went on, “We’re rounding everyone up to go back and finish it off. Everyone else is in.”
Lee pauses a moment before saying, “Well, I’m out.”
To be honest, Roz isn’t surprised. Lee only went on that combat mission in the first place to increase his standing in the legion. Currently this mission has no positive effect on his job on city council, so of course he isn’t interest.
“No.” Roz says. “You don’t get to be out. You don’t get to sit there in your tailored suit while the rest of us try to fix this.”
“Have you ever thought that maybe I have more important things to do? I can’t just leave work.”
“You’re not the only politician in this room, Lee Harvey Elswood. Even though you seem to forget that New Rome exists, I still lead it. I’m abandoning my post so I can go make things right, so why can’t you?”
“Okay, first of all.” Lee stands up, “My middle name isn’t Harvey, and don’t act like I don’t know you stole it from Lee Harvey Oswald. Second, its very high and noble of you to go do this, but you can just as easily send a bunch of you greatest warriors, instead of a retired legionnaire. And finally, do you think I want to spend the next how many days driving to the grand fucking canyon with my ex-girlfriend who ditched me because she got bored?”
“Lee, please,” Rosalind has resorted to begging now, and she dearly hopes nobody but Lee will ever witness her doing so. “This is bigger than us. Who knows how many people it’s killed since that day. We know what’s out there, and no amount of warning and training will prepare anyone else for that thing. We’ve faced it, we can do it again.”
“The last time we faced that thing it broke every bone in Alyssa’s body and we barely escaped with our lives. What makes you think we’ll be so lucky this time?”
“I don’t know. But we’re the best chance we’ve got.”
Lee sighs, running his hand through his gelled hair. For a second, Roz thinks she’s lost him, but then he gives her the look he always gave when he knew she had won.
“Fine.”


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PostSubject: Re: denoument   Sat Aug 26, 2017 8:45 am


Part Three

Sleep does not come easy that night. When it does, Roz’s dreams twist and turn, landing somewhere between bad memories and the fears of tomorrow. She is back in the canyon again. Fog seeps up from the ground, gathering around her ankles and rising up, like it’s trying to grab hold of her. She is alone, with nothing to light her way but the waning moon above her. The sounds of the canyon, the crickets and cicadas and the rustling in the leaves of the oak trees, surround her.
A cold breeze passes through her, chilling her to the bone and sending a shiver through her. That’s when she hears it, a voice like the sound of cracking ice and the scrape of metal on stone.
“Rosalind.” In that moment she hates her own name. She wants to run, yet something is keeping her there, no matter how much she strains. She feels the fog creeping up further, past her knees, and then her hips.
“See... You... Soon...” The sound is so close it almost sounds like the words are coming out of her own mouth. She wants to scream, but no sound comes out. It feels like her body is turning to ice, freezing to her core with every staggered breath.
“Roz!” That voice is different, more real. Its coming out of thin air. And then she’s being shaken awake, and the plaster ceiling of her apartment is coming into view. She’s no longer being strangled by smoke, but her sheets are tangled up around her legs. Teddy stands over her, concern etched on his face.
It takes Roz a minute to catch her breath. She’s not there yet. She hasn’t faced it. Yet that dream just reminds her of that night even more.
“I’m fine.” Roz tells him, although she knows she doesn’t sound convincing. He doesn’t press anymore though. There’s a part of her that knows he had a similar night. Maybe it was the guilt of that night bubbling in their stomachs. They couldn’t make the same mistakes this time.
Breakfast is almost normal. They both seem to shake the heaviness that rests in their chest to make small talk and smile, even if it’s only for a little bit. Margot shows up halfway through breakfast, she’s dressed in jeans and a tank top, and her sword is hanging off of her belt. She looks like she’s about to be sick, but she forces a smile for the two of them. The rest of the hour goes by quickly, and soon it’s time to meet Kala and Lee at the border.
They drive there in the camp’s old honda odyssey.
“We’re really driving to our deaths in a soccer mom van?” Margot asks as she climbs in the back.
“Well some campers recently totaled the old hatchback on their own quest, so we don’t have many options.” Roz can’t remember the last time someone had come back from their quest with none of the supplies or transportation they left with in the first place.
They pull up to Caldecott tunnel in time for them to witness quite the spectacle. Kala and Lee are standing six feet away from each other, already in the middle of a screaming match.
“Jesus, this is probably the first time they’ve seen each other in years and they’re already fighting again.” Teddy comments. Everyone who knows Kala and Lee knows what they were like when they were together. Volatile, was a good word for it. As much as they loved each other, they know how to get on each other’s nerves, and that apparently hasn’t changed.
Roz pulls up next to them, stepping out of the car. “Guys, can you chill for like the next couple days, and then you can get back to whatever you’re arguing about?”
Lee grumbles something about Kala’s hair, and Kala shoots him a death stare. It takes five minutes of strategizing to find the best seat for everyone. Roz is in the driver’s seat, with Kala right beside her. Margot and Teddy sit in the second row, with Lee in the back, which he says is “as far away from Kala and my sister as I can be”. Roz rolls her eyes at that. She turns around, and for a second she has a flashback to five years ago. They were all young and eager, ready to prove themselves to the legion. Little did they know they were going to be returning with one less, and too many painful memories.
Roz turns back forward, gripping her hands on the steering wheel. “Let’s go then.”
She gives one last look to the entrance of the tunnel and the two guards standing watch. She knows there’s a chance she might not come back, and for a second it scares her. Yet she pulls onto the road anyway.
They drive for hours, stopping now and then. Roz knows that each stop delays their arrival to the canyon, and she knows everyone in the car would rather take their time getting there.
At some point after lunch, they switch up spots. This time Lee is in the front with Teddy. Margot and Roz sit in the middle, and Kala sits in back. Roz has a feeling they’re just going to be switching spots the whole drive.
“So,” Roz starts, turning in her seat to face Kala, “Where’d you go after you left?”
The question had been eating away at Roz since she saw her. You don’t just leave and come back and act like nothing had changed. She knew things had changed. She could see it in Kala’s eyes. There was a worn look there, like she had been traveling for ages. Like she couldn’t sleep.
“Here and there.” Kala replied, “Went up north first. Then I hit the Midwest. Stayed there for a while. I went through the whole northeast and south in the last year.”
“Were you just travelling?” Margot asks, no longer staring out the window. The attention in the car all seems to be on Kala. Even Lee seems to be listening, or very interested in the article on sun tans in the newspaper.
“Sort of.” Kala leaves it at that, but she locks eyes with Roz, and Roz knows there’s more to the story. Why she isn’t willing to say it in front of everybody, Roz can only guess. She’s about to change the subject, but Margot goes on.
“Why stay in the US though?” Margot asks, “Isn’t your dad back in Sydney?”
Kala shrugs, “Didn’t feel like taking the flight out there. Besides, I talk to him now and then. Living a perfectly boring life.” She says the last part in a way that sounds like she envies him. Maybe they all do, really. They could be normal people in their twenties, spending the night getting drunk at the bar. Instead they’re driving to the grand canyon to fight a homicidal monster.
Things go quiet after that. Everyone seems enveloped in their books or the scenery outside the window. Once or twice Roz makes eye contact with Teddy through the rearview mirror. They share a series of look that seems to communicate a whole conversation.
”You okay?”
”As okay as I can be”
”Same here.”
Soon enough the sun starts to set on the horizon, and they find a seedy motel to stay in for the night. They’re still in southern California at this point, which means another day travel. The motel is part of a small town that looks like it’s mainly made up of a couple residents and plenty of truckers stopped for the night. It looks similar to every gross motel in the middle of nowhere. Roz remembers living in a motel for a little bit when she was younger. Her mother couldn’t pay rent anymore, since she was spending all of the little money she earned on prescription painkillers, and later, heroin. She remembers sitting on the moth eaten couch while her mother laid across the bed with a needle in her arm. It isn’t anything a kid should have to go through.
They ended up getting two rooms, and after a long conversation about how Lee would not be in the same room with Kala, they decided to split the rooms between boys and girls. Both rooms were similar, with two queen beds, and a couch that folded out. The TVs looked like they were from the early 2000s, and when Margot switched theirs on the only two channels available were the local news and a channel that played kid shows. They kept the tv off.
A knock came on the door that connected the two rooms, and when Kala opened the door, Teddy stood there and held up a pack of playing cards.
They all sat in the middle of the girl’s room, even Lee, playing blackjack, and poker. Instead of cash, they gambled the complimentary toiletries that came with the rooms. After Kala had lost her miniature shampoo and conditioner set, she stood up.
“Going out for a smoke.” She said, pulling out her lighter.
“You’re gonna get lung cancer!” Lee called after her, which she responded to by flipping him off before the door closed behind her. It was kind of hypocritical for him to say that, because Roz had seen him smoke when he got stressed out.
They play another round, before Roz is out too. At this point Margot has most of the toiletries, and the boys aren’t very far away from losing. Instead of hanging around, Roz gets up and goes outside to find Kala. She finds her sat at the edge of the pool, which honestly looks like it probably hasn’t been cleaned in weeks. There isn’t anyone else around, and above them the night sky is in full force. The pool lights illuminates the area in a soft blue glow, a sharp contrast to the bright yellow lights that are stationed along the side of the motel.
Roz takes a seat next to Kala, who’s taking a long drag of her cigarette.
“Margot’s winning.” Roz tells her, and Kala chuckles.
“Why am I not surprised.” Kala comments, staring out into the pool.
They’re both quiet for a moment. Roz realizes this was the last night before facing the thing in the canyon. She remembers their last night the last time. They had pulled into a motel like this one and spent the night playing cards, like tonight. Margot was sweeping the floor with everyone, like tonight. The only difference is they had one less person. That night was Alyssa Greene’s last night on earth. She was a nice girl from the fourth cohort. Roz’s age. She had this way about her, like nothing scared her. She might’ve been a little uptight sometimes, a little bossy, but she always had it figured out. Even till the end. She knew what she was doing.
Roz wonders if it was going to be any of their last nights, too. Would this be their last twilight? Would this be her last twilight? Roz looks up, and she has to admit, it isn’t that bad of a last twilight. Maybe she’s stuck in a crappy motel, but it isn’t too bad overall. She has her friends with her. That is enough.
Roz looks over at Kala, who’s still staring down into the murky blue water. She has to wonder if Kala is thinking the same thing. If she was thinking this was her end of the line. She doesn’t seem too upset with it. Maybe she’s had a longer time to come to terms with it. Maybe it feels good not to be alone anymore.
“I have a question,” Roz starts, and goes on without waiting for an answer, “Why’d you go?”
Roz remembers the day Kala left. She just, disappeared. No note, no goodbye. Roz was just a centurion at the time, and recalls the emergency meeting held to deal with the fact that one of their senators was just, gone. For a while, it was thought that she had been kidnapped. Then, pieces started to fall in place. The fact that all her belongings were gone, no signs of forced entry into her apartment or office, and the fact that someone had seen her walking through caldecott tunnel by herself, all pointed to the fact that she was just abandoning them.
Kala used to be a great warrior, and a dignified senator. But now, as Rosalind looks over at the woman taking a drag of a cigarette, she doesn’t see any of that. Maybe Kala was never like that underneath her confident smirk. Maybe she’s always been a woman who is going to run.
Finally, Kala answers. “That’s a long story.”
“We’ve got all night.”
Kala sighs. “Turns out not everyone in New Rome plays on the same team. Learned that the hard way.” She looks over at Roz and stares her in the eye before saying, “What I tell you, you can’t tell anyone. Not Teddy, especially not anyone in power back there. If you go digging, next thing you know you’ll be digging your own grave.”
Roz doesn’t say anything. She isn’t sure what to say. All she does is give Kala a concerned look, and Kala goes on.
“There’s a puppet master in New Rome, as far as I know they’re as old as New Rome itself. I stumbled upon something, something I shouldn’t have. Once they realized that, they made it clear I wasn’t welcome. So I left before they could make a move. Figured I’d go out on my own terms. Better than a coffin if you ask me.”
“What? Who are they? I-” Before Roz can finish, Margot’s voice calls up from the walkway near their hotel room.
“You guys can’t hide down there forever. We’ve gotta bond before we die.”
Kala gives Roz a look that tells her that they’ll continue their conversation later. They walk back up to the hotel room, and all Roz can think about is what Kala just told her. There’s a puppet master in New Rome. Who are they? Just how far does their power go?
The rest of the night is spent playing different card games. Roz can’t pay attention, and ends up losing game after game. Her mind keeps drifting back to what Kala said. By the time it reaches 1 am, she’s in bed, tossing and turning. Sleep isn’t any easier. She’s back in the canyon again, the moon high above her and casting soft light on the trees, who move in the wind like ghosts. The real ghost, however, is standing in front of her.
Alyssa Greene looks exactly as she did on that night all those years ago. The striped tank top and ripped jeans. Her hair still perfectly curled. She had always insisted on looking put together, no matter the occasion. The only difference from that night was the dark circles under her eyes and the blue tint of her lips.
“Why did you leave me, Rosalind?” She asks in her upper class british accent. Rosalind remembers the formality she always spoke in. She was always perfect. It was impossible to hate her.
“We had no choice!” Roz responds, here she is, arguing with a dead girl, “you were gone!”
“You had a choice. You just made the wrong one. This is your fault, Praetor. It’s time for you to fix this.” This isn’t Alyssa. Roz knows that. Yet there’s a part of her that is convinced.
Then screams echo around her, until she’s roused out of her sleep. The first thing Roz does is reach for her crossbow, which is conveniently propped up on the side of her bed. Thankfully there isn’t any intruder, but then she realizes it’s Margot. She’s still asleep, tossing and turning in the pullout bed. Roz is at her side in moments, shaking her and calling out her name. A light turns on, then two. Soon enough everyone is surrounding Margot’s bed.
When she awakes, she’s covered in sweat. She’s panting heavily, and tears are streaming down her face. Roz only kneels by her bed, and pushes the hair out of her face. She looks like she’s about to throw up, and Roz just hopes that she’ll give them warning.
“You’re safe.” She whispers, and she resists the urge to add for now and the end of it.
“It was Alyssa.” Margot whispers, her voice hoarse, and Roz’s heart skips a beat. “She was asking why we-”
“Why did you leave me?” Lee interjects, he’s gone pale, and he looks like he’s about to be sick too.
“Yeah, how did you know?”
“Did we all have the same dream?” Teddy asks as he looks from Lee to Margot to Roz.
Everyone is silent for a beat, before everything seems to go into overdrive.
“Was it him?”
“Must’ve been.”
“He knows we’re coming.”
“Holy shit. He’s been taunting us.”
“We’ve gotta end this.”
The light from the early morning is already starting to stream in through the curtains, and they make a decision. They pack up the soccer mom van and hit the road and they keep on driving for as long as possible. Everyone is silent, the scene from last nights dream replaying in their heads. Roz catches Teddy’s eyes again, but this time she can’t tell what he’s thinking. This time it’s a conversation that she doesn’t understand. She stays silent though.
Its midday by the time they get in view of the canyon. At first it’s just miles of short evergreens, and a two lane road. Then the cliffs get larger and larger, and suddenly they realize they’re there. They pull over at a scenic outlook, and Rosalind looks down at the reddish rock and dirt. It was down there, and it was waiting for them.


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Legends of Fate :: Out of Character :: Stories-
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