|Ghost of Days Gone By
Author: DeathWriter97 PM
Anna Elizabeth Taylor has just moved in with her Mom at Northanger Valley. After years of being on the road with her dad, it's going to be hard to adjust living with her mom, her step-dad, and his son. Not to mention the ghostly stranger that seems to have claimed her bedroom as his.Rated: Fiction T - English - Fantasy/Romance - Chapters: 35 - Words: 70,357 - Reviews: 27 - Favs: 12 - Follows: 18 - Updated: 04-19-13 - Published: 08-31-12 - Status: Complete - id: 3054708
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"I can't erase it because it's with me every day,"
The strangest feeling that never goes away,
Now I have to face it because I can't walk away,
And I'm determined to until I break," – Shinedown
I held on to the phone for dear life as I stared at the lit-up screen. The caller ID was of no help as it only informed me that the call was from a blocked number. The sample from Shinedown's "Call Me" that Seth had set as his ringtone taunted me as I debated answering it.
"Hello," I answered, surprising everyone – including myself. I somehow managed to keep my voice firm; pretty impressive considering my knees were shaking so hard that I had to lean against the Saturn to stay upright.
"Hello, Anna," the voice of an older gentleman came through the speaker and into my ears. I had to hold back a growl as the voice triggered my freshly remembered memories. I could see the grey eyed, grey haired man and I could hear his sickening laugh. "Remember me?"
"I believe you have something of mine," I chose to ignore his question; leaving the answer up to his imagination.
"You still have the same fighting spirit that you had when you were younger," he said as if he was fond of that trait; hearing his appraisal only made me feel repulsed. He added on to his creepiness, "I was looking through your school's records and I came across the photo used for your student ID; I must say you have grown into a beautiful woman."
"What have you done with my brother?" I growled, showing my displeasure with his digression; he chuckled in response.
"Oh, he'll be just fine," he said calmly, patronizing almost. I took a deep breath and squeezed the crap out of poor Simon's hand. "Besides, why not appease an old man with a little chit-chat. I feel as if we haven't spoken in years."
"Seven, to be exact," I spat out, internally chastising myself for playing along with his little game. What exactly did he want from me, again? "I kind of preferred the silence."
"So you do remember," I could just see the wicked grin that had broken out across his face as he thought that he had gotten a piece of information. I had to bite back words that I didn't even know I knew as I came to the same realization.
"I've heard stories," I said calmly, hoping that he'd buy into the lie. "For some, it's an incident that's kind of hard to forget."
"For some, it's as easy as pressing a button," he reminded me oh so cleverly. I had a sudden urge to rip his head off. As I fought the urge, I looked up to see Mason standing directly across from me; his hands tightly curled up into fists as he watched me and listened to my side of the conversation. He knew exactly who was on the other side.
"Look, old man," I said more hostile than I knew I was capable of; the pain in Mason's eyes getting a little more than I could bear. "I'm done with this 'chit-chat'. Where is my brother?"
"I promise that your brother will be released; safe and sound," he sighed; being patronizing again. There was never a person that I wanted to kill up until that moment; he brought out demons in me that were buried so deep that I think that they were supposed to be nonexistent. "But there is a price for his freedom, of course."
"Of course," I sighed; preparing myself for the worst. "What ransom do you have in mind, exactly?" I already knew what he was thinking, but I didn't want to let him have the satisfaction of knowing that I knew.
"Nothing too horrible," Yeah, just the life of your friends, the life of my family, and – just for the heck of it – let's throw in your firstborn as well. "You're friends with Mason Anderson, aren't you?"
"We tolerate each other," I spun the truth a bit; I knew he already knew the answer, but I wanted him to see that I wasn't going to crack easily. "Why?"
"I want you and Mason to come in the place of your brother, or else your brother will die," he came out with it, finally. Now came the deciding moment; the moment where the ball could fall on either side of the court.
"This isn't Mason's fight," I hoped that I had just the right amount of hostility; I didn't want him to think that I was trying to protect Mason (even though I sort of was), but I also wanted to let him know that it wasn't necessary to include him. "I can fight my own battles."
"You're still the stubborn, little girl I remember you to be," he sighed, not so fond of the trait now. "But fine, if you want to play it that way, we can do that. Do you agree to come in peace, to simply trade places with your brother, and to not attempt escape?"
"Do you agree to set my brother free?" I asked instead of answering. "Do you agree to leave my friends alone and let them live their lives with no interference from you?" A moment of silence passed and then he sighed.
"You sell a tough bargain, girly," he was displeased to say in the least. "But I'll be willing to compromise, if you are willing to do everything we say from here on out."
"I can handle that," I said, letting my own discontentment color my voice. "So, how exactly shall this exchange transpire?"
"Write this down," he ordered. I dropped Simon's hand to pick up the notepad and the taunting pen. As I scribbled the address he rambled off, I came to the realization that he was giving me the address of an old abandoned factory; the perfect place for the hunters' base.
I read the address back to him to be sure that I got everything right. "What time should I be there?" I asked before he had too much time to think too hard about the address. I could hear him thinking hard about something through the silence.
"Scratch that address," he said almost panicky; my suspicion for it being the base only grew. What an idiot! I ran the pen through the lines below the written address and ripped out the page to make it seem as if I was following his orders. As I handed Simon the original piece of paper, the man proceeded to give me another address; this one was of a park that was nearby.
"I should be there at what time?" I asked after repeating the second address. Part of me wanted to get it over with and have Seth in safe hands; another selfish part of me wanted to put it off and avoid the hunters for as long as possible.
"Midnight," the man set the date on my fate. I took a deep breath as the reality of everything suddenly hit me. "That seems like a reasonable time, right? That way there won't be too much of an issue with meddling people. We wouldn't want someone to get caught in our crossfire, would we?"
"No, sir," I answered, only really half listening to his words. "Midnight seems like a good time. Is it alright if I have a friend with me? You know, to take my brother home safely."
"That seems sensible," he said as he mulled it over. "I guess that will be okay. I'll see you at midnight, Lizzy." And then, all I heard was a beep, signaling that the call had ended.
"You have no right to call me that, you creeper," I thought aloud as I stared at the black screen of the phone.
"What's with the address you handed me?" Simon asked after a moment of silence. Mason motioned for him to hand the paper over and he did so.
"I have reason to believe that it's the closest hunter's base," I answered. "He accidentally gave it to me the first time." I rolled my eyes at his foolishness.
"It is," Mason confirmed as he inspected the paper; this being one of the rare times his gift kicked in. "We can use this in our planning."
"Thank goodness," I sighed in relief; thankful that things seemed to be going our way. I looked down at the notepad that was still in my hand. "Bethany, can you drive me to this park and then take Seth home at around midnight?"
"Um, sure," she agreed happily, albeit hesitantly. I could see everyone pondering why I asked her to do it, but none of them wanted to question my logic behind it.
"Are your parents here?" I turned to Simon to ask. He nodded and eyed me curiously. "Can you go get them, please? I want to get this ball rolling as quickly as possible."
"Sure thing," he said, giving me a kiss on the forehead before he headed towards the football field where his parents sat in the stands.
"I'm going to guess that you don't want me anywhere near that park tonight," Mason spoke up eventually; deciding he would question my logic.
"You're going to guess correctly, then," I replied, watching his grey eyes carefully; I was worried that he was planning something.
"How am I to just hand you over to them?" he asked, still having an issue with accepting our nearing fate. "Am I to be okay with them simply doing as they please with you?"
"Yes," I answered firmly, afraid that if I wavered in my response it would give him more ammo to prove his point. "You are to be okay with all of this, because this isn't even about us anymore. I mean, yeah; we're a part of it, but we've got to look at the bigger picture."
"This is our chance to fight back," Emma added solemnly; her words from the day at the hospital coming back to bite her. "This is how we can stand up to hunters; to no longer be held down in fear; to make a way for our gifts to be used in the way God intended."
"If we fight back here, the news will reach the ears of every witch hunter and every gifted," Bethany also added. "The world will know that we are no longer going to be subjected to the hunters' annihilation; that we will fight back!"
"This is our chance," I pointed out. I could see the words we spoke slowly registering into Mason's brain, but I could also see that he still wasn't too thrilled about them. "If we don't fight now, we're just going to get killed later."
"You make a good point, girls," Sergeant Hugo's voice caused us all to jump; to turn around and look at the Hugo family as they approached us. The look on the man's face was one of worry; a look that I'd come to know all too well in the past month or so. "Aren't you worried that you might be trying to rush into things, though?"
"I don't have much of a choice, sir," I answered solemnly. "They have my brother." Understanding and sorrow came into his eyes as he looked me over. "I've already agreed to an exchange."
"What do you mean?" his wife spoke up; Sergeant being too stunned by the sudden severity of the situation. Her normally reassuring blue eyes were troubled.
"I'm going to go with the hunters in order for Seth to stay alive," I answered slowly and gravely. Sergeant and Nurse Hugo were both silently processing that.
"But it seems as if this is the push that we need," Mason added begrudgingly. "With Anna in the hands of the hunters, we'll have plenty of time and incentive to finally bring them down."
"How do you plan on finding their hideout?" Sergeant asked. Mason walked up to him and handed him the scrap of paper that held the address. "Is this the address for the base? Where did you get it?"
"Um, the individual that I contacted gave me the wrong address at first," I answered. I couldn't bring myself to call that man a person.
"Are you sure that it's the right address?" Mason nodded in response to Sergeant's question. "Wow! What are they; retarded?"
"You could say that the particular individual in question is," Mason's words were layered with a thick covering of ice; not even bothering to hide his hatred of his grandfather.
"Okay, so what can we do?" Nurse Hugo turned towards me. She had finished processing and knew that I had thought this through to the best of my ability; she wasn't too happy with my decision, but understood that I felt it was the right thing.
"I was really hoping that – after I let the hunters take me – you guys would organize an army," I said timidly, finally realizing how much I was honestly asking of them. "That way they can't use any information that they might get from their research against anyone."
"We can do that," Sergeant said with sudden vigor. "I'll call everyone into the division and start planning; maybe even get some of the other divisions to help. We need to get started if we're going to get you out of there as soon as we can." Tears sprang into my eyes as his sweet words moved me.
"Bethany's going to take her to meet the hunters at midnight," Simon pointed out. Sergeant nodded solemnly as he thought that over; he was now in planning mode.
"That's about five hours away," he commented after looking at his watch and seeing that it was only seven o'clock. His eyes hardened a little as the impending doom dawned on him. "We can do this; it will work!"
As he chanted that to himself under his breath, I realized how much pressure I was putting on the others. I was half-tempted to tell them to call the whole plan off, but I had a feeling that wouldn't go over too well. As we all loaded up and made our way towards the division for an emergency meeting, everything seemed to go by in slow motion to me.
Simon's hand held mine in a protective, comforting embrace as we rode in silence. Bethany decided to join Emma and Mason for the trek; probably so they could plan something. I couldn't help, but blame myself for this situation even though I couldn't find any tangible evidence that it was indeed my fault; my mind was making up reasons. I felt that I deserved punishment and I knew that there was a very likely chance that the hunters would give it to me.