The End that was the Beginning

"Branden! Landon! Rachel! Christopher! Dinner is ready! Come in side, quickly now!" A gentle female voice rang across the mountain side. Emily smiled as her daughter gathered her sowing things off the porch and her three boys raced from the wood cutting, arms loaded down.

"HA!" Landon laughed, "I told you I'd beat you!" he grinned smugly at his twin and younger brother, laying his stack of wood by the door. It was summer, but their mother still needed the wood for cooking.

"What ever Landon, you cheated!!" snapped his dark haired twin, Branden. "You took off earlier than Chris and I!" His stack was also dropped unceremoniously by the door and was followed by Christopher's. Emily sighed laughing as Rachel joined in.

"Boys!" the slim girl sighed disgusted, "Can you please for the sake of our family's sanity at least act like you have common sense? I mean honestly! Your both nearly seventeen and you act as if your Chris' age. He is five years your junior. Ages not IQs dear older brothers." She shook the honeyed dirty-blonde hair that has fallen from its clip out of her face. She herself was only two years older than Christopher, but she was by far the most mature of the four children. She watched her mother laugh and followed her inside. Branden and Landon did likewise, still arguing, with Chris on their heels.

"Boys!" a warning tone from a deep baritone/bass voice silenced the pair. Their father was home. Michael Montgomery, career army man, stood in the door way. His form was still strong and in good shape and contrasted with his graying hair at his age of nearly fifty. He had been a captain when the twins had been born and now stood as a full birded colonel about to be promoted again. The twins new better than to continue, they were young and naïve, but not so stupid as to cross their father.

"Yes papa?" Branden replied shakily.

"Sit down. Landon it is your turn to help your mother with the table. Branden, you will help her clean the dinner things later. Welcome to your evening off Rachel and Chris." Col. Montgomery answered. Landon cursed under his breath, earning a sharp look from his father. Branden smirked when a knock issued from the door.

"Shall I mama?" Rachel asked softly, standing from her place at the table.

"Please dear." Her mother called from the kitchen. The young girl got up and hurried to the front door. The door squeaked a bit before there was talking; then arguing; and a cry of 'papa' ending in a muffled scream and the sound of a body hitting the floor. It was a sickening, lifeless, dull thud that would haunt the twins for the rest of their short lives. The Colonel jumped to his feet as two men burst into the room. Two shots later Emily and Chris fell to the floor, eyes lightless and dead. Another shot, this one from Col. Montgomery's weapon. One of the assassins went down. Landon and Brandon separated, each gathering their fallen family members in the kitchen. They put them together before debating on how to retrieve Rachel, and praying she still lived. Their father argued with the remaining assailant in the background. The man was yelling no one would have had to die if 'the girl' would have just retrieved the twins and come with them. Montgomery returning with a cold dagger like remark, tone clearly underlined with a foreshadow of the man's death if he didn't leave then. That all faded away to the twins as they made a break for their sister unnoticed.

"Branden? Landon?" The soft voice of their sister reached their ears. The life in her eyes flickered feebly as a thin red trickle leaked from the corner of her mouth. A severe stab wound was the source of her pain. The boys nodded whispering comfort. She gave a weak smile. "I see them. Mama and Chris. They are waiting for me and papa." Another shot rang out, another heavy thud, and quiet malicious arguing. "We all love you. Don't miss us too much. Don't cry we are safe. Follow the ones who come. They need you for things of the future of great importance. Do not leave with the man who killed us, wait for those who will come my dear brothers. . ." Her voice faded and her gentle blue eyes closed in eternal sleep. Landon and Branden made their silent promises and farewells to their sister, weeping as they took her to lie with their mother and brother, and apparently their father as well now.

"I'm going to ask you boys nicely, just once, to come with me." The stranger who had helped slaughter their family stood over them. Landon stood and glared; Brandon continued kneeling by their family members and looked up. A gentle hand was rested on each boy's shoulder, two invisible comforts.

A soft voice echoed in their minds, "Be gentle of word and hand now, you can end this without violence. You can bend his will to yours."

Another sweetly soft feminine voice added to the first, "Speak with soft words, a firm tone, and steady eyes. Impress your minds upon his. Have faith." The weight of the small light hands lifted from them and left them to carry out what was theirs to do. They would have two more years.

oOo

"Suri-chan, have you checked in recently? Are they ready?" a soft voice, the same that had spoken first then night of the massacre of the Montgomery family questioned her friend.

"Osei-chan, they have been working hard. It is time for them to come to us I believe. For it has been two years. I think it is time to call them. First though, we must speak to Him." The second voice from that night replied.

"Kamiya, Seizaburo!" a sharp voice echoed.

"Speak of the devil." murmured Suri. Sei spun about in shock before she knelt and bowed low to the ground, Suri following her suit. The two women were bidden to rise by the large man. His jet black hair covered icy red eyes as he looked down at them.

"Go, retrieve the Montgomery twins. They must go now. The girl is in place." He ordered. "Takahashi, Surina. You know your place, go as well. It has begun." The two women made a half bow and vanished their separate ways.

"I don't want my sons near that girl. Must it be so?" A deep male voice emanated from a shadowy corner from which the form of Col. Michael Montgomery stepped.

"Yes. It must be so. I know also you want neither of them near Kamiya-san as well. That must also be. They will not poison your sons, I promise you. Return to Emily, some young man is waiting to see you about young Miss Rachel." The raven haired man replied before also disappearing. Michael chose to walk back to the castle like mansion he had been granted in the World of the Dead for his assistance. The boy could wait. His boys were about to die and join him because the spirits he now dwelled with were given orders to frame them for a murder.

oOo

"Hurry up, fool!" the jailer growled.

"Damn it! I'm telling you we were framed. I beg you grant us appeal before you hang two innocents!" Branden pleaded. Landon was at his side glowering, muttering that he told Branden that they should have stayed at home that day. The trial had taken place an hour after the murder, someone convinced that they had seen the twins leaving the scene had seen to that. Then from there the trial lasted an excruciating two and a half hours, they were sentenced and were to be hanged at dusk. The Jailor ignored their pleadings and led them to the gallows. Minutes later they were standing, nooses loose on their throats, listening to the jeers of the gathered people before they were silenced. A second after the noise subsided there was a sickening jerk and the boys' world went dark.

oOo

"What the hell?" Landon growled, opening his soft green eyes.

"That hurt" Branden concurred. "Now where in the Devil are we?"

"Welcome boys. You have reached the World of the Dead. This is where spirits who are needed come when they are called until they move on to heaven or a new body. Your lives were cut short for a deadly mission to save the future of the world." Their father stood before them looking rather unhappy as the familiar voice of a woman spoke to them. She was relatively tall and blatantly Japanese. "I am Kamiya Seizaburo. You may call me Sei. The spirit of a young living girl from the future is on a mission in the past, erm, well, I suppose for you it would be almost current, Japan. You must go, safe guard her and make sure she returns back to her body intact. You will be able to recognize her-"

Landon shook his head. "Wait, slow down. WHAT? We are dead WHY? And we have to protect WHO?"

Michael sighed and shook his head. "You are special. You are chosen to help protect the future of earth by protecting this girl I am telling you of. You have powers and when you need them they will come. The knowledge of them is locked away in your minds. No training required, though later on you may want to. She'll see to that, but don't worry about it now though. You must go to Japan, maybe ten to twenty years before the time you died. You will be able to recognize her easily. She will look somewhat Asian, but is quite obviously, to you two at any rate, American. She will be walking through the cherry trees in Tokyo. Her kimono is pale pink and deep red. Her hair is a shade or two off from black- oh forget it. Here's her picture." Michael pulled a color photograph of the girl from his pocket. She was a slim girl with pale skin and dark brown hair. She wore strange clothing: a shirt without buttons and almost no sleeves with an odd drawing and some writing on it, many bracelets and four earrings in each ear and an extra one on the top of her left ear, most strange was the fact that she was in pants! She had on a dark blue pair of pants made of a strange material that were tight and then flared out, never mind the funny black and white shoes or the fact that the photograph was in color, the girl was in PANTS!

"Go find her. When you see her, greet her quietly as 'Lady Child'. That way she will know who sent you." Michael finished, noting the surprise on the twins face at her clothing in the picture and seeing also, with great disdain, Landon's awe of Sei and Branden's of the girl. The two boys nodded and left, realizing that their father had been right, they did know how to use their powers when they needed them.