Chapter 9-

Jake's phone rang as the group sat in the apartment, pondering what to do next. He answered it on the third ring. "Hello."

"Hello, Jake."

"Who is this?" Jake asked with a frown.

"My name is Hector. I am the man who made you what you are today, and I have a friend of yours, Vanessa."

"What do you want?"

By now the rest of his friends were studying him worriedly.

"I want all of you to meet me at the Old Mill Road. Tonight. At midnight."

"Why would we come?" Jake questioned angrily.

"As I said I have Vanessa," Hector replied. The line went dead.

"Who was it?" Tina asked with a frown.

"A man named Hector. He claims to be the one who caused the explosion," Jake explained with restrained anger. "He wants us to meet him at midnight on Old Mill Road."

"Why would we?" Nicole asked.

"Because he has Vanessa," Jake replied wearily.

…………………………………..

Midnight

Old Mill Road

Hector stood several feet away from the actual road. He was settled in the shadows of a large willow tree with a pair of night-vision binoculars. Veronica was sitting on the edge of the road, supposedly tied up. Her friends were in for a surprise

Jake focused on the area.

"Do you see anyone?" Nicole whispered.

He nodded. "There's a man under the willow tree and Vanessa's on the edge of the road. Nicole and I will take care of the man. Will, you and Tina get Vanessa."

The others nodded and they went in separate directions.

…………..

"Vanessa, are you all right? Will asked as they came close.

"Will," she murmured.

Will knelt down beside her and began to untie her. He glanced up to meet her gaze, but what he saw stilled his hands. "You're not Vanessa."

Veronica's eyes flashed and she smiled. "Very smart." Suddenly Will was flying through the air. He landed with a thud.

Veronica turned to face Tina. "Your turn," she taunted.

Shocked, Tina didn't have time to react. She found herself flying directly towards a huge tree. She closed her eyes and focused on teleporting

………….

"So, you're the one who did this to us," Jake said just before he tackled Hector.

"I'm not so sure you want to do this, Jake." Hector murmured.

"Oh, and why not?"

"Because Veronica is about to destroy your friends and I am the only one who can control her," Hector said smugly.

"Oh my word." Nicole muttered as she watched her sister go flying.

"See," Hector taunted.

With one punch, Hector was unconscious.

"Let's go," he ordered Nicole. He pulled the gun from Hector's belt and checked to see if it was loaded.

"You can't shoot her," Nicole cried. "What about Vanessa?"

"That's not Vanessa," Jake stated.

With a determined stride he started out from under the cover of the trees. He raised the gun as he approached Veronica.

"Jake, don't!" he heard Will yell.

He ignored his friend and pulled the trigger.

A bluish bubble surrounded Veronica and the bullets simply bounced off. She laughed and shook her hair. "Is that all you've got?" The bluish field disappeared and so did Veronica. A moment later she reappeared right in front of him. She jerked the gun from his grasp.

"Who are you?" he whispered.

"I'm Vanessa, but much, much stronger." She raised the gun and pulled the trigger, but he hit the ground before the bullet hit him. A moment later Nicole materialized on top of him.
Will rushed Veronica and tackled her to the ground. He pinned her down and stared down at her familiar face. "I know Vanessa's in there. She doesn't want this to happen!"

Veronica's eyes flashed and Will saw a trace of the girl he loved. "Vanessa!"

"I'm doing what's best for us," Veronica reappeared.

"No, you're not," he argued.

Her eyes softened and tears filled them. "Will, please….help me," Vanessa cried. She glanced to the gun laying a few feet away. "Do it, Will. Kill me!"

He shook his head and backed away.

"It's the only way," she cried. Her body jerked and her eyes flashed. "Will, I'm not strong enough, she's too powerful! Please do it."

Heartbroken Will just stood still. "I can't, Vanessa."

She stepped towards him and grabbed his arms. "Will, you have too."

He pulled her close and their lips met in a passionate kiss.

"Please, Will, I don't want anything to happen," she whispered against his lips. Her eyes flashed and she pulled away.

"Will, she's too strong." Vanessa cried. Her outlook changed and Veronica returned.

Will felt more than saw, his friends rise to flank him on either side, "Veronica, you can't do this. We have the same powers."

Veronica laughed maniacally. "No, I have yet to reveal to you what I can do!" She closed her eyes, but just for a moment. When they reopened Will felt himself moving forward, lifting the gun, turning towards his friends. His arm raised and his finger closed over the trigger. "No," he screamed in anguish. He struggled with all his strength to resist Veronica's manipulating.

"Who shall die first?" she asked.

His arm jerked and the gun was pointed towards Jake. "Veronica, you're not doing this for Vanessa!" he cried. "She doesn't want this."

Suddenly, the hold on him was released. Stunned, he fell forward. He turned and looked towards the figure behind him. "Vanessa?"

"I can't resist her for long, Will," she whimpered. "I'm not strong enough." She faced him tearfully. "You have to do it."

"No," he whispered.

The gun was pulled from his grasp. He looked up to see Jake standing above him. "No," he cried. "Jake, don't do it!"

Jake looked down, heartbroken. "It's the only way, Will."

"Do it, Jake," Vanessa screamed. "Please….she's too powerful. It's the only way you'll live."

Jake swallowed hard and raised the gun. "Vanessa…"

"I understand, Jake. I know it has to be done," she whispered. She glanced at Will. "I love you," she said quietly.

The sound of the gunshot echoed through the hillside. Along with Will's anguished cry. He rose to his feet and ran to where Vanessa lay, a pool of blood forming beneath her.

"Will, you are amazing…." She gasped. "Don't blame Jak- it ha-ad to be d-done…" Her hand dropped from where she had lifted it to touch his cheek. He screamed and buried his face in her glorious hair.

Behind him Jake had sunk to the ground. Nicole and Tina were on either side. The friends mourned together in the still of the night. They would never forget how their friend had saved them, and they would go on to save lives.

THE END