The Larson Chronicles
Kyle Larson was getting rather bored with school, more so than he had ever felt in his sixteen years, and it was putting his academic future in jeopardy. It wasn't that the he was having trouble with his work, or even that the assignments were beyond him—it was completely the opposite. Kyle had already been advanced twice, now in his final year of high school, and, to be frank, he was beyond his assignments.
There was rarely a time that Kyle actually had homework, usually he had everything done before he left school, and his friends weren't the only ones that thought that strange. Kyle himself sometimes wondered about his heightened intelligence, the way that he just seemed to know…a lot. Too much, actually.
The top collages in the country were already trying to score his signature, and he'd be in one right now if his parents hadn't held him back, refusing to let him advance more than two years in his schooling. At first, he had agreed with them, not really fitting in all that well with students that were a couple years older than him, but lately, in light of what little challenge he felt, he was questioning that decision.
Four more months, he thought, not even listening to Mister Black, the biology teacher rattle on. Four more months, then I can look forward to some real challenges. MIT, Stanford, something with the hard sciences.
Kyle was so caught up in his thoughts, day dreaming about the future, that he failed to notice that his counselor, Misses Pooling, had come into the room and was talking with Mister Black. Neither did he hear her call his name, twice, trying to catch his attention. Finally, she walked to his desk towards the rear of the room and tapped him on the shoulder, snapping him out of his thoughts.
"Kyle, will you come with me, please," instructed Misses Pooling, something in the sound of her voice enticing worry in Kyle.
"What's wrong?" asked Kyle, gathering up his books and sliding them into his pack.
"The Principal needs to talk to you," she responded, drawing a few "ahs" from his fellow students. She looked about at the other students and added "on a private matter."
Kyle knew that she was lying, but that it was for his benefit, and he left the argument die, a knot beginning to form in his stomach. Something was seriously wrong, he just knew it, but he wasn't about to bring it up in front of everyone else. He followed her out of the room and down the main hall towards Principal Stevens' office, each step getting harder to complete, his senses feeling more and more numb.
What ever it was that they wanted to talk to him about, Kyle knew that it wasn't just serious—it was devastating.
Three Days Later…
Kyle stood before the caskets of his parents, his head hung low as he looked down on them, his mind still reeling from the fact that they had been killed in a car wreck. The last three days were still a blur to him, a hectic and tormented time that he thought would never end, his future no longer his main concern.
Mayor Philman, a long time friend of his parents, had stepped in to take care of all of the funeral arrangements, and to give Kyle a place to stay. Scott Philman had been around for as long as Kyle could remember, always treated like a member of the family. For that, Kyle was extremely thankful—he hated to think of what would've happened to him if he had had to of been handed over to the State, since he had no other living relatives.
The services went smoothly, considering the huge turn out—the Larsons had been very popular and respected members of the community—and when things were finally over, Kyle felt a deep sense of closure. The last year had seen him mature at a rapid rate, and that maturity was now helping him keep his emotions in check, though he really wanted nothing more than to set down and cry for a very long time.
It was Kyle's lack of response, his apparent holding in of his emotions, that were causing Scott and his wife some concern for the young man. Unable to have children of their own, the Philmans had always treated Kyle as their own, and it had strengthened the bond between their families, something that Kyle had always taken for granted—until now.
"Kyle, honey, do you want to talk?" asked Cheryl, Scott's wife. "You've hardly said anything the last few days. I know that this has been terrible for you, but you can't keep it all in."
Kyle sat starring out the side window of the limo, watching the scenery pass by as they finally headed home, and he briefly thought of trying to say something. When nothing came to mind, nothing that would sooth Cheryl anyway, he simply muttered that he was fine, and continued watching the city pass by.
Cheryl looked over to her husband, who sat in the seat opposite them, and frowned as he shrugged, neither of them knowing what they could do to get through to Kyle.
Lightening flashed through the sky, promising to fulfill the predictions of rain for the evening, and Kyle thought it fitting of his mood. As the first heavy drops of water began to fall, he could only think of how his mother used to love rain storms, some times making the strange comment that she had never seen one as a child.
Two Days Later…
The rain had not let up all week end, and the dampness had managed to invade the spacious house of the Philman's, giving it a spring time feel even though it was only February. Ferguson, the butler and chauffeur, was continually stoking the numerous fireplaces of the house, keeping them going at all hours, and the burnt wood smell mixing with the dampness kept reminding Kyle of times his family had gone camping.
Kyle was supposed to return to school tomorrow, though he really wasn't looking forward to it, and he was finding it harder and harder to focus on the here and now. It seemed no matter what he did, no matter where he went, he was constantly reminded of his parents, and he was beginning to think that it was going to drive him mad.
For the first time since he had learned of his parents death, Kyle was finally by himself, the Philmans having to go to some political dinner thing, and Kyle decided that he had to get out for a while. The house was big enough that Kyle simply had to wait until Ferguson was tending to the fires in the west wing, then he slipped out the front door, pulling the hood of his jacket tight against the drizzle that was still coming down.
Originally, Kyle had just wanted to get out and walk, to let the fresh air try and clear some of the smog from his head, but in the end he found himself where he never thought he would want to go again—home.
The house was a simple two-story brick structure, his parents never one to flaunt their wealth or success, and Kyle stood on the front walk starring at it for nearly an hour before he trudged up the steps. The front door was, surprisingly, unlocked, and Kyle walked on in, the resolve that he had felt the last few days crumbling away.
Tears began streaming down his cheeks, his eyes burning with exhaustion, and Kyle sank to his knees, sobbing uncontrollably. His cries turning into a wail, Kyle lowered his head to the floor and began smashing a fist against its wooden surface, asking "why?".
"Why, damn it, why?" screamed Kyle, finally looking up.
"Because of who they were," said a voice from further in the house.
Kyle remained kneeling, trying to quite the sobs that were still forcing their way out of him. Squinting through tear-filled eyes, trying vainly to penetrate the darkness of the house, Kyle could vaguely make out a shape standing in the living room.
"Because of who they were," repeated the voice, growing clearer as the speaker stepped forward, "and because of who you are."
"Who are you?" asked Kyle, wiping a sleeve across his eyes.
"Your new Guardian," replied the shape, a blue glow suddenly blossoming to reveal them.
The light that had parted the darkness was coming from a tiny, blue orb that the speaker was holding in the palm of his hand, glowing brighter than Kyle would have thought possible from something so small. The light showed that the speaker was a dark haired man in his late forties, dressed in a tired looking suit that had seen better days, and Kyle recognized him instantly.
"Mister Black?" wondered Kyle, confused as to why his biology teacher would be in his house, in the middle of the night, sprouting out cryptic statements about his parents. "What's going on? What are you doing here?"
"This will explain every thing," said Mister Black, a flick of his wrist sending the orb into the air.
Halting in mid-air, hovering a few feet off of the ground, the orb began spinning madly, its blue glow increasing in intensity until Kyle had hold his arm before his eyes to block out the light. Still the light grew brighter, seeming to burn into Kyle's very psyche, penetrating his firmly shut eyes, and his blocking forearm.
Kyle screamed as the otherworldly light merged with his very being, tearing him apart on a molecular level, and ripping him from this realm of reality.
The city was a sprawling work of art, in complete harmony with the surrounding landscape, and a majestic sight to view. Towering structures of glass and metal, twisting walk ways, vast expanses of greenery. All in all, it was home to a civilization that was extremely advanced and wise, and which had achieved a balance between technology and nature.
Kyle marveled at the sparkling vista, turning in a slow circle, drinking in all that his senses would absorb, and feeling strangely a part of the beautiful, alien world.
The awe that Kyle had felt became horror as the city transformed before his very eyes, shimmering into a sea of destruction, ruined buildings and smoldering rubble stretching to the horizon.
Where once the sky had held graceful vehicles that defied gravity and flew with leaving no pollution, there were now bulky, boxy looking machines that spit death at the ground below.
Where once their had been patches of green life, there were now small deserts of burnt grass, the only vegetation left being that which was distant from the ravaged city.
Where once there had been a city of peace, there was now a battle ground that none had ever suspected would come to be.
"This was Midgrawn," said Mister Black, suddenly standing at Kyle's side. "This was your home."
"For a thousand years, we knew a peace unlike any race in the galaxy," said Mister Black, his hands held behind his back, his eyes locked on the scene of devastation before them. "Ampherous, one of your father's most trusted aides, led a revolt in an attempt to overthrow your father and claim the thrown for his own."
"An attempt? You mean he failed?"
"Of a sort. He managed to managed to gain control of the city, but not of Corrington."
"Who's Carrington?" asked Kyle, strange memories flooding through his mind, causing him to accept all that he saw, to know that it was the truth.
"Corrington," corrected Mister Black, "is the bio-mechanical computer that controls our world. While Ampherous has seized control of the people, he does not control our world. The codes that your father used to lock down Corrington are too complex for anyone person to even hope of breaking."
"My father, my real father, he was king of this world," said Kyle.
"And your mother our queen," confirmed Mister Black. "They died securing your safety. Your's and…your sister's."
"Stephanie," whispered Kyle, images of young girl flashing through his mind. He saw her as she was now, the same age as he, with the same reddish hair and grey eyes, and he knew that she was also on Earth. "My twin sister."
"Very good, Master Maylon," said Mister Black, smiling at Kyle. "Maylon is your true name, if you have not already recalled. Much of the information that you are becoming aware of, was genetically implanted in your cell structure, designed to be awakened should you return here."
"My parents from Earth, who were they?" asked Kyle, thinking of the only parents he had ever truly known.
"Guardians, such as myself, sent there to look over you, to protect you from Ampherous' forces."
"I don't understand," said Kyle, shaking his head. "Why would Ampherous send people after us?"
"Corrington is sealed from tampering by locks that your father placed on it—genetic locks. The only key is the genetic material of you and your sister. Ampherous knows this, and he has dispatched men to all of the know realms in an attempt to located the two of you."
"Why did father place both of us on Earth? Surely…"
"You father believed that Ampherous would never think that he would do such a thing. As callous as it sounds, your father thought that if one of you were discovered, then the other would remain hidden, Ampherous concentrating on searching the other realms."
"That's why they wouldn't let me advance any more at school," said Kyle, realizing that his 'parents' had been trying to conceal his abilities. "They didn't want me attracting attention."
"Precisely," confirmed Mister Black. "Someone, I don't know who, has apparently become suspicious of you anyhow. Your Guardians were killed in hopes that it would drive you to somehow reveal if you were truly the heir to Midgrawn."
"What do we do now?"
"We return to Earth, and we continue on with our lives. You must not do anything out of the ordinary, Master Maylon…"
"Please, call me Kyle. It's the only name I've ever known."
"Master Kyle it is. You must do your best to lead a normal life, to appear as just a human. I will assume Guardian duties over you, but I can not interact directly with your everyday life. I am, after all, just a high school teacher."
"What about the Philmans? Will this put them in any danger?"
"Of that, I can not say," admitted Mister Black. "The mayor is most likely too prominent of a person to be targeted. You are the one that they will be watching, hoping to see some sign of your heritage."
"Our world is vastly different from the one that you have grown up on, Master Kyle. Our way of life, our sciences, our physics, our very beings. They are all more so advanced than humanity, or its realm of existence, as to seem nearly like magic."
"That doesn't explain what you ment by my heritage."
"Our sciences are a part of our genetic being, and one science, the most powerful science, is solely part of your family's genetic structure."
"What science is that?"
"I should not be telling you this, Master Kyle," admonished Mister Black. "Should you be tempted to use your gift, you may very well reveal yourself those that seek you."
"And if I don't know what it is, I might inadvertently use it, and end up giving myself away anyhow."
"A point well made, if somewhat flawed. Very well, I shall put your mind at ease. Your family has the ability to manipulate the very laws of man and God. To alter reality, if you will."
"I can change things?" he asked. He swept his hand towards the city and asked "why don't I change all of this, then?"
"Allow me to elaborate…" started Mister Black.
"I can alter all of this. Change it back to how it was."
"Before you over excite yourself, please, let me explain. Your gift is very limited, affecting only what you can touch, and is limited to things technological in design."
"How is that altering reality?"
"Let me use Earthly terms," said Mister Black, thinking how best to explain Kyle's power. "A remote control. You could, if you so desired, use not just for television, but for real life."
"That'd be cool," thought Kyle. "But couldn't I use that to fix this?"
"No. The affects would be very limited, maybe a hundred meters at the most, and would take too much concentration on your part."
"Okay, so let me see if I've got this right. I have a remote control…"
"Which you must see in your mind as being able to affect the real world. You have to envision it as more than a device for controlling a television, you have to see it as a device that controls everything."
"…and I could hit pause, and everything would stop."
"Everything within your range of influence. However, everything out side of that range would continue on as normal. Not only would you be noticeable to those not affected, but you could cause some serious harm if it were used improperly."
Kyle nodded in agreement, mostly following what Mister Black was telling him.
"Nearly anything that you can think of, you can alter. A radio could become a communications device. A flash light, a laser. A television, a means of travel. The only limitation on your power is your imagination."
"Wow. This is too much."
"You must not use your gift, Master Kyle," stressed Mister Black. "There are still those that are loyal to your family, and are trying to undermine Ampherous' rule. It is imperative that you, and your sister, are kept safe."
"What's so important about Corrington that Ampherous needs us? What does it do?"
"Everything. Your father spent decades building it, one piece at a time, using his gift to form the components of it. If we are ever able to penetrate the core, to gain access to it, then you and your sister can unlock Corrington and use it to achieve what alone you can not."
"It's an amplifier," whispered Kyle, some of the technical details of Corrington forming in his mind. "It can amplify our abilities. If we can get to it, then we can change all of this. We can restore our city. Our parents."
"No," exclaimed Mister Black, nearly with panic. "You must never use your gift to try and reverse death. Your father stressed that very strongly. Once a life is gone, it is to remain that way. To try and bring it back would upset a balance to the very existence of everything."
"Why? What's the point of having this power, this gift, if we can't use it to undo…"
"No, Master Kyle," restated Mister Black. "Your father had his reasons, of that you can be sure. It's possible that, should the situation ever arise, you will know what they are. If he placed them in your genetic memory. But you must never willing try to do so."
"Okay, okay," muttered Kyle, though he still didn't understand why not. "No raising the dead."
The air around them began to shimmer, filling with the same bright blue that had transported them to this realm, and Kyle looked about frantically, trying to take in as much as he could. He wanted to remember this world, his birthright, and what it was that he was waiting in hiding for.
"When we return, I shall have to look in on your sister, make sure that her Guardians are still with her."
"Where is she?"
"I am sorry, but I can not tell you," said Mister Black, the blue glow nearly blotting out his image. "I am the only Guardian that knows where both of you are, and it must remain that way."
"For her safety," acknowledged Kyle, slowly vanishing in the blue light.
"And yours. I've adjusted the orb to take you back to your room at the Philmans' house. I shall see you tomorrow, at school."
"Yeah, I'm looking forward to it," groaned Kyle, remembering how much he really didn't want to return to school.
The blue became everything.
At The Philmans' House…
Kyle's eyes popped open to see the darkened room that had been given to him by the Philmans. The room was twice as large as his previous one, and currently held only a dresser, a desk, and the bed that he was laying on. Setting up, looking about at the boxes of his personal items that had been brought over so far, Kyle immediately thought that he had fallen asleep and had had a very weird dream.
"Yeah, that's it," he said aloud, reassuring himself. "It was a dream. A really twisted dream."
Climbing out of bed, Kyle froze as he suddenly realized that he was wearing his jacket—the same jacket that he had put on before sneaking out—and that it was still wet from the rain.
"Just a dream?"
The Next Day…
Kyle hadn't been this excited to be in school in a long time. He had tossed and turned most of the night, running over his 'dream' again and again, thinking of dozens of questions that he wanted to ask Mister Black. He thought that the day would never progress, the morning dragging on at a snail's pace, and he breathed a sigh of relief as the bell rang to end lunch, freeing him to head for fifth period, and Mister Black's class.
Darting through the throngs of students filling the hallways, slowing only to avoid a reprimand from vigilant teachers, Kyle bolted into the biology classroom only to slide to a stop.
A completely unknown woman was seated at Mister Black's desk, looking over his class schedule and jotting down notes.
"Where's Mister Black?" asked Kyle, striding up to the desk.
"Sick, I guess," said the woman. She was young, obviously newly turned out to the field of teaching, and full of that unbridled passion that most teachers lose within a few years. "I'm Miss Strine, the substitute."
Taking his seat, Kyle looked to the clock and groaned, thinking that he had two and half more hours before he could try and contact Mister Black. He could easily hack the school computer and get Mister Black's address, that wasn't the problem that was causing his trepidation.
No, the thoughts that were plaguing him were much more darker. Thoughts that his sister's Guardians had also been killed or, worse yet, that his sister had been discovered.
The way that the morning had dragged was nothing compared to the rest of the afternoon.
Kyle had his computer unpacked and set up in less than half an hour, thankful that his parents had paid up their ISP through the year, and it didn't take him much longer to hack into the school's data base. A few keystrokes, a couple of simple passwords, and he was in the employee files, retrieving all of the personal information on Mister Black.
"Shit," he swore, noting that one Mister Thomas Black lived on the other side of town. There was no way that he could head there on foot, and he doubted that he could convince Ferguson to take him there.
Kyle was about to look up bus schedules when he was suddenly struck by the thought that he couldn't publicly go to Mister Black's residence. He had never had an extracurricular relationship with the teacher, and to be going there now would be out of the ordinary—something that he had to avoid.
"Think, Kyle, think," he chastised himself. A moment later, smacking himself in the head, he said "idiot. Always making things complicated."
Kyle picked up the phone and dialed Mister Black's number. After three rings, an answering machine picked up, Mister Black's voice asking for the caller to leave a message so that he could return their call later. Kyle started to say something, then thought better of it, not knowing who might be listening in.
"We've got to find a way of communicating after school," muttered Kyle, pacing his room as he tried to think of something to do.
Pausing, Kyle spun around and looked at the phone, thinking of movie he had seen on cable a few weeks ago. Some sci-fi flick about people moving in and out of a computer generated world, using the telephone to traverse the real world and the artificial one.
"The Matrix," blurted Kyle, remembering the name of the movie. He didn't watch TV a whole lot, preferring books, but his…dad…had asked him to watch it with him.
Sobering somewhat, thinking of everything that Mister Black had told him, Kyle picked up the phone and hit redial. As soon as the answering machine picked up, Kyle thought of how the phone bridged two locations, linking them, serving as a conduit.
Focusing, concentrating on the phone being able to transfer not only sound but also matter, Kyle thought of how he could travel from his current location to the one on the other end. He saw it in his mind, as he had in the movie, his body transcending its mortal bindings to transport itself through the phone line, and before he knew it, he was laying on the floor of an unfamiliar room.
"That was a rush," said Kyle, shaking his head to try and clear the dizziness that was swimming through it.
Standing up, Kyle looked about his new surroundings, surprised to see that they were rather Spartan. He was obviously in the living room, a sofa, end table and lamp, coffee table and TV visible, with the phone and answering machine setting on a small stand next to the front door. A stairway and short hallway were on his right, a swinging door at the other side of the living room probably leading to the dining room or kitchen.
"Hello," he called out, hoping that maybe Mister Black was home and had simply been too involved in something to answer the phone. "Mister Black?"
A quick circuit of the down stairs turned up little, revealing only that Mister Black lived very modestly, with almost nothing in the way of personal possessions. Having circled around to where he had arrived, Kyle turned to the stairs, hoping that he would have better luck finding some clues up stairs. Something to tell him where Mister Black was, or what was going on. He doubted that he would find anything telling him where his sister was, Mister Black had been too adamant about keeping her location a secret.
Kyle paused at the foot of the stairs as a blue glow began building in the living room, the same quality as the light from last night, and he turned expecting Mister Black to suddenly appear. His expectation was fulfilled, but not as he had envisioned it.
Mister Black did indeed materialize in the living room, but it was three feet in the air, and he dropped like a brick, smashing into the coffee table with a loud crash.
Even as he ran to the fallen Guardian, Kyle's mind already registered that something was very wrong, dark red blotches covering Mister Black in several spots. Panic clawed at Kyle as he saw that one side of the Guardian's face was bruised and swollen, blood trailing from the corners of his mouth, and his nose, his eyes tightly closed.
"Mister Black," cried Kyle, trying to ease his head up. "Thomas, it's Kyle. What happened?"
"Kyle?" rasped Mister Black, his eyes become thin slits as he tried to open them. "Kyle, I made such a mistake," he managed to get out, before breaking into a coughing fit that produced more blood.
"Oh, God, hold on, I'll call 911."
"No," gasped Mister Black, grabbing a hold of Kyle's arm. "No. Too late for me."
"No, don't say that," pleaded Kyle. "I can get help."
"It…it wasn't you that…they found…" more coughing, more blood, and Kyle was ready to go into a full blown panic. "It really was…an accident with…your Guardians."
"What are you trying to say? Did they find Stephanie? Do they have her?"
"She's…safe. I…teleported her. You have…to find…her."
"Where? Where is she?"
"I don't…know. Gave her…an orb. She used it." Mister Black's eyes slid shut, his breath barely coming now, and Kyle knew that he wouldn't be alive much longer.
"Thomas. Thomas!" Kyle shouted, stirring the Guardian. "How do I find her?"
"Get…out of…here…Kyle," he gasped. "They…they might have…might have tracked me. Had to…lead them…from…her trail."
The Guardian fumbled for Kyle's hand, placing in it his orb, smeared with his own blood. The orb felt warm in Kyle's hand, pulsing with an alien energy, and glowing softly as he held it.
For the second time in nearly a week, Kyle had to face death, the lifeless form of Mister Black cradled in his arms. Kyle began crying for the man he had barely known; a man that had shown him his true heritage; a man that had given his life to save a sister that Kyle had never met.
A sister that Kyle now had to find…somewhere out there in the world.
After gently lowering Mister Black's body to the floor, Kyle stood up, and wiped a blood stained sleeve across his eyes to clear his tears. Looking down at the body of Thomas Black, Kyle whispered a prayer for him, wishing that there was something that he could do.
Kyle's eyes fell on the remote control laying on the floor, apparently knocked there when Mister Black smashed into the coffee table, and his mind immediately when back to their conversation of the previous night.
"You must never use your gift to try and reverse death. Your father stressed that very strongly. Once a life is gone, it is to remain that way. To try and bring it back would upset a balance to the very existence of everything," Mister Black had warned him.
Kyle thought the matter over, pondering what the possible ramifications could be, hoping to summon some memory buried in his mind by his father. Unable to form any scenarios on his own, and with nothing leaping to mind, Kyle decided that he would try it.
I have to, he told himself. I don't know how to find Stephanie. I don't know what I'm supposed to do. Hell, I don't even know who I can trust.
Slipping the orb into his pocket, Kyle picked up the remote, thinking it ironic that it was a universal one, with buttons for…everything. Smiling, he imaged the buttons working exactly like they were labeled, literally able to perform the task they were designed for.
Kyle focused on reverse. He imagined that it not only changed the direction of the tape, but also of time. He pictured in his mind, Mister Black coming back to life, of his wounds being undone, of his return.
His eyes closed, his concentration steady, Kyle moved his thumb to press against the reverse button. He felt the small edge of the button, hard against his skin, but as he went to push it, a tremendous explosion ripped through the house, breaking his concentration.
Kyle was thrown to the floor by the force of the explosion, smoke and debris swirling about him, and he rolled over to see the front door completely destroyed. The door frame was burning, the flames licking at the men entering the house, and Kyle starred at them with a sick feeling, their armor and weapons stirring more of his hidden memories.
"Your Highness," mockingly greeted the first man that had stepped through the door, bowing slightly. "When Trillion helped your sister to escape, I never thought that he would lead us to you."
"Trillion?" asked Kyle, then realizing that that must have been Thomas' real name. "Oh."
"Get a sample of his DNA," ordered the man, waving a hand at one of his lackeys that was carrying a small, black box.
"Yes, Berch," acknowledged the man.
"I don't think so," snapped Kyle, holding up the remote control and pressing the pause button.
The men in black armor froze, fearful of what trick Kyle might be trying to pull, and they looked at each other nervously. When a moment had gone by in which nothing happened, the leader snarled at his men to move in.
Kyle focused on the remote and tried it again, smacking against his other hand when, still, nothing happened.
"Maybe the batteries are dead," offered Berch, chuckling as his man stepped up to Kyle's prone form.
Kyle lashed up with a booted foot that caught the man in the stomach, sending him stumbling backwards and groaning. The man collided with two of his comrades, bowling them over.
Rolling backwards, Kyle leapt to his feet and grabbed up a small lamp off of the end table. Focusing, thinking of how the light generated heat, believing that that heat could be amplified, focused into a powerful, laser-like beam, Kyle pointed it at the group of invaders and turned it on.
The cone of light that emitted from the lamp was like a giant beacon, blazing with such intensity that furniture, and other materials in its bath, ignited instantly. Half the living room was set ablaze before Kyle directed the beam at the men, three of them nearly vaporized in an instant. The fourth man, Berch, leapt down the side hall as Kyle had moved to catch him with the light, screaming out in agony as the beam briefly touched upon the right side of his torso and face.
Running to the left, to avoid the rapidly expanding fire, Kyle tried to reach the hallway so that he could finish off the leader, wanting more to avenge Thomas than to eliminate the threat to him. The light continued to blaze, setting fire to more of the house, but it died just short of the hallway, Kyle spinning around to see that he had pulled the cord from the wall.
Hearing a door slam shut, Kyle dropped the lamp and raced down the hallway, rushing into the kitchen in time to catch sight of Berch in the back yard, vanishing in a flash of blue light.
The air growing thick with smoke, more than half the house on fire, Kyle charged out the rear door, coughing and choking. He sucked in fresh air, the slight pain that had been building in his chest quickly dissipating, and Kyle looked about for a way of escape, desperate to flee before someone spotted him.
"Damn it, I need to get home," muttered Kyle, ducking behind some bushes at the rear of the yard.
He felt a warm, tingling sensation on his leg, generating from his pocket that contained the orb, and the back yard flashed away in a wash of blue to turn into his bedroom.
It wasn't his bedroom at the Philmans' house, but his bedroom, at the house he had grown up in. Spinning about, not believing what had just happened, Kyle let out a whoop of joy.
A thought suddenly blossoming in his mind, Kyle pulled the orb from his pocket and held it before him, praying that it would work with any command. Closing his eyes, hoping beyond hope, Kyle uttered a new location to the orb.
"I need to be where my sister is."
Slowly opening one eye, Kyle let out a sigh of disappointment as he saw that he was still in his old bedroom.
Okay, that didn't work, he thought. Maybe…
"I need to be in my new bedroom."
A flash of blue and Kyle was in his room at the Philmans.
"Must only work with places I know," he muttered, both disappointed and delighted. The orb would be a powerful tool, but ultimately he could only rely on himself to find his sister.
Kyle looked sadly about the room, already deciding what items he would take with him. He knew he couldn't stay there, with the Philmans, that they would be coming for him soon, led by the one that had gotten away. They might not know who he was—yet—but they now knew what he looked like, and that was all they needed to get started.
Grabbing up his pack from the end of his bed, Kyle began gathering what he thought he could use.
He had a long journey ahead of him.
Two Weeks Later…
"Thank you, Ferguson," said Cheryl Philman, as Ferguson sat down the tray of tea and snack cakes. "That will be all."
Ferguson nodded then left Misses Philman to her company.
"As I said, he disappeared about two weeks ago," she said, continuing with their conversation. "He never seemed to really grieve over his parents' death. We could hardly get him to say a word. I mean, we'd known Kyle's family for a long time, ever since they had moved here, and we had no thought that he would be the type to run away."
"You have no idea where he might have gone? Who he might have turned to for help?" asked the officer seated across from her.
"No, not really. We gave you people a list of what friends of his that we knew of when we filed the report. I was hoping that you might be able to tell us something."
"Sorry, Ma'am, but I'm just doing a follow up. See if maybe you'd heard from him. A phone call, a letter, anything."
"No, nothing," she said, a slight tremble to her voice. She forced herself to smile at the officer, trying not to grimace at the sight of the right side of his face, heavily scarred as it was, and offered "of course, I'll call if we do hear anything."
"We'd appreciate that, Ma'am," he said, standing and fishing a card out of his shirt pocket. "You can contact me at this number, day or night, if you do hear anything. Anything at all. Believe me…I want to find him as much as you do."
"Thank you, Detective Berch," said Cheryl, walking the man to the front door. "It's so nice to see that someone cares about finding Kyle."
A/N: The further adventures of Kyle Larson will probably appear some time down the road, though I've got nothing specific in mind right now.
And, as always, please take a moment to leave a review, and let me know what you think about it all.