Monday, July 31, 2017

Thank You

Thank you to all of those who read until the end. You can visit the new website called Zherosha Chronicles. The story is one of the many, which brings me to my indeterminate hiatus. The story is far from over but I have a book to write.

I started this story more or less for practice. I had to decide, for each post, what is enough detail and what is tl;dr. I learned, by using grammar tools like Grammarly, that I had a lot of bad habits from years of posting to chat rooms, forums, Facebook and Twitter.

Eventually, I decided that it would be best to keep a lot of details out of the story for now and write the book that precedes this timeline first before continuing on.

In the meantime, I will keep you up to date of my progress on the website. It's likely the continuation of Elusive Retrospection will be there, too.

If you like my work and would like to support what I do (Elusive Retrospection is free to read), consider donating.

Friday, July 28, 2017

The Will

Stanley finally found them. They were standing facing each other arguing in an abandoned railyard.

"Stop here!" she said.

Mr. Carter pressed the brakes, but before the car stopped completely, Amanda opened the door and started running. Roger, Trisha, and Stanley were right behind her.

"I took over because you abandoned us," Amanda could hear Brian yell at Todd.

"Do you think I had a choice? They gave me an ultimatum! I didn't see you facing off with the Ostosiens; You left as well!" Todd yelled back.

"I did what I needed to protect the city," Brian said, "and since Amnika doesn't want to lead, I'm taking over!"

"You don't know she doesn't want to," Todd responded, "We haven't even had time to make it official."

"You know as well as I do she has limited time," Brian said. Amanda could feel his energy increase.

Amanda could see Boris with Camellia standing behind Todd. They were Natisiens and could not contribute to the fight. A stronger Brian will easily overpower his weaker brother. If Todd doesn't back down, he could die.

She couldn't let that happen. Not here.

Amanda glanced at the substation as she ran, she entertained the notion that she might be able to pull energy from it. Then immediately nixed the idea. Even Inersiens are not immune from electrocution. She'll have to make do.

She finally caught up and got between them. Then drawing on what little rikta energy she could find, and brought out her own energy in full force. It was enough to cause her to glow even in the bright afternoon sun.

"Enough," She yelled at both of them. She felt Todd immediately backed down. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see Todd and the others shift their positions behind her. Roger, Stanley, and Trisha joined them. Mr. Carter soon followed.

Brian hesitated, looked at everyone behind her, then finally backed down. She dropped her energy.

"Listen to me," Amanda yelled, "Our city is gone and with it the traditions we all hold dear. The Government here has given us a second chance, and for now, we follow the rules and traditions here." Amanda paused to make sure everyone understood what she was saying.

"But because you are so insistent on holding these traditions, I am claiming leadership for as long as I have the mental capacity to do so."

Brian stepped back indicating that he was willing to accept.

She took a breath and looked at the group behind her. Then she continued, "But know this: I am not Amnika, I'm Amanda Conway. That's Todd, Trisha, Stanley, Roger and you are Brian. For all intents and purposes, we are not Inersiens, but humans and we will act that way as long as we are here."

"We have our papers," Amanda continued, "We will use them to do business here. Take advantages of the markets and use what we can get to rebuild."

Brian scoffed, "Yeah, those IDs that we got have strings attached. You know they'll demand payment in some form of loyalty test." He points to Amanda and continues, "And don't think just because you were born here, you are immune to them stripping you of your citizenship."

"I know this," Amanda said, "I also know humans. We can use this to our advantage to bring those more like us together so we can go home."

She can hear Todd sigh, "The Ostosiens won't let us back, they never trusted us, in spite, I mean," Todd stopped. He couldn't finish. Amanda caught a brief glimpse of what he had to deal with, but then he hid it.

"I know," She said gently.

"Even if we could build a fleet, their firepower is much more superior to ours. They'll obliterate us before we even reach our borders," Trisha added.

Amanda scoffed, "Where there is a will, there is a way. As long as we all have a will to go home, we will find a way."

She could finally sense hope.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Losing Control

Amanda and Roger reached the apartment complex in good spirits. That changed, however, as soon as they got out of the car.

Amanda sensed that something was wrong. She could tell once she got inside the apartment complex. Everyone seemed to be on edge.  Mr. Carter was standing in the doorway, looking concerned.

"Where is everyone?" Amanda asked Mr. Carter.

"Brian and Todd were yelling at each other again," Mr. Carter said. "Then they left. Boris and Camellia followed them."

"Probably to find some isolated place," Roger said.

"Where's Trisha and Stanley?" Amanda asked.

As if on cue, Stanley ran down the hall.

"Amanda, I am so glad to see you," Stanley said.

"Why haven't you gone with them?" Amanda asked.

"Because Trisha and I support you, but you weren't here to make it official."

"You do realize that you put Todd's life at risk, right?"

Stanley looked down. "He insisted."

Amanda put her hand on his shoulder. In spite of everyone willing to listen to her, there was no second in command. Either someone takes charge, or no one does, creating chaos and confusion.

She looked at Mr. Carter.

"Get your car and meet me out front. Stanley, you need to get Trisha."

They all nodded and left.

"You don't think that they're going to," Roger started.

"Knowing those two, yes," Amanda said solemnly, "Yes they are, and we don't have any time."

They ran outside to Mr. Carter's waiting car. Amanda directed Stanley to sit in the front seat. The two women and Roger sat in the back.

"Stanley," she said as they got in, "It's been awhile. I need you to see if you can sense where they are and direct Mr. Carter where to go."

Stanley nodded. Closed his eyes for a moment then opened them.

"Go North," He said, and Mr. Carter drove.

"You don't think Brian will actually kill Todd, do you?" Trisha asked. "They are brothers after all."

"The Creator wills," Amanda said, "I hope not."

Monday, July 24, 2017

Draw

Roger and Amanda picked a secluded area just outside of town.  The Uber driver warned them of wandering too far from the road. It seemed that he did this before.

"I've got GPS," Amanda said holding up her phone, "and a full battery."

The driver shook his head and drove off.

When they got far enough from the road, Amanda though "Test."

Roger chuckled. "I don't think anyone can pick us up out here."

Amanda turned around and smiled at him.

"You know," Roger said, "When I first saw you, I knew that you were a strong one."

"Really?" Amanda said, "I didn't think I was that strong."

"After years of mentoring," Roger said, "I found higher the level the student is, the less likely they think they are. When I tell them how high of a level they reached, they're baffled."

Amanda nodded. She remembered.

"There is rikta energy here, but it's weak," Roger said.

Amanda paused for a moment, then shook her head, "I don't feel it."

"It's there. Once you feel it, you won't be able to ignore it," Roger said.

Amanda nodded and closed her eyes. At that moment she could sense Roger trying to guide her.

He was right, it was there, but it was faint. Amanda tried to draw from it.

"Ugh!" Amanda said, "It's like trying to get the last few drops of water at the bottom of a glass cup through a tiny straw."

She realized that she was too tense and shook her hands to relax.

"You are right, though. I can sense it now. I just don't know if I can pull some out of so little."

"You can do it," Roger said, "Try again."

Amanda took a deep breath; then she had an idea. She took her sneakers and socks off.

"What are you doing?" Roger asked.

"Rikta energy is generated underground. If I have less between me and the ground, I may be able to find enough to draw on."

Roger nodded, and Amanda closed her eyes again.

Sure enough, she felt it on the ground more. She worked with that and was able to pull enough energy to give to Roger. She knew that the tumor was draining him.

"You did it!" Roger said happily. He was nearly in tears.

"I did," Amanda said, "Didn't I? Unfortunately, it's not enough. I can't use it to work on our tumors. There's got to be areas where there rikta energy is stronger."

Roger nodded, "Unfortunately, in this part of the planet, people have pretty much paved over every abundant source. It's as if the humans were attracted to it without realizing it. Since no one considered the energy when building the cities, most of it is barely inaccessible.

Amanda was disappointed.

Roger took out his phone and started to walk in the direction of the road. Then he stopped.

"You know," He said, "There's a lot of national forests that might have some pockets. Maybe we will find one of them sometime soon."

Roger started walking again, and Amanda ran to catch up.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

End of Time - Soon

Amanda dismissed the group.  She exited first and waited at the door while everyone walked out. Brian stopped before leaving.

"I was so relieved when I found out you were still alive," Brian said.

"We all were,"  Trisha called out. She already with Stanley near the apartment entrance. Brian nodded.

Amanda felt his fear.  The same fear she felt the day she left the vault.  She put her hand on his shoulder.

"Brian," She said, "I'm not dead yet. As long as I'm alive, there's still a chance I can get rid of the tumor."

Brian put his hand on hers and nodded. Then he left.

Roger was the last out of the room. She stopped him.

"How much time?" She asked.

Roger stopped. "You noticed?"

"Yeah," Amanda said.

"There's no telling," Roger said, "I've lived a long life. It shouldn't be long, now."

"That's why you asked me to teach you."

"I knew you would need help to get back up to your old self. I just wanted to be able to buy myself some time."

"Perhaps we should go to the countryside today. Find a spot with no people, and maybe I can try to relearn some of my talents. After all, I'm also on borrowed time."

Roger nodded.

Todd stood behind Amanda. She turned to him.

"We need to go out. We'll get an Uber and go to the countryside, and I'll try to see how much I can remember."

"You don't need me to go with you?"

Amanda walked up to him and put her hand gently on his arm. "I need you here. You are supposed to be building manager, remember?"

She then kissed him on his cheek and left the apartment. She passed Stanley and Trisha, who were obviously enjoying each other's company. Amanda took her phone out and ordered an Uber.

Roger, who was watching the couple for a few minutes leaned over to Amanda and said, "How much do you want to bet we will be celebrating a union tomorrow?"

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Protective Gear

While everyone was discussing how to get the crystals, Amanda noticed something in the corner of her eye.

One of the drawers in Todd's dresser wasn't fully closed. A small piece of dark cloth hung out. Amanda recognized it and pulled the drawer open.

Brian scoffed. "You brought your leadership clothing here?"

"That's all I had!" Todd snapped back.

"No," Amanda said softly as she stroke the smooth, silk-like cloth. "It's good that he brought it."

Amanda pulled one of the pieces out. It was a hooded cape.

"I think I found our first trade," Amanda said.

Brian and Todd cooled off.

"Yeah, I think the humans won't want to help us for nothing," Brian said.

"Besides," Todd added, "If they can reproduce this, we can solve the room shrinkage problem."

They all laughed. It was true. Todd's room is three quarters of its normal size thanks to the insulation.

Amanda folded the cape. Then she held in her hands, brushing the fabric lightly. "We may need to change our style, too."

Everyone in the room became quiet. Amanda put the cape back into the drawer.

"Is there anything else we need to discuss?" Amanda said.

"Moving?" Roger said.

Amanda sighed. "Let's not talk about that until we hear from the agents again. In the meantime, you cannot cast thoughts outside of any insulated room."

"I've already told Mr. Carter to bring in humans that have an ethnic background," Stanley said, understanding where the conversation was going.

"Well then, we must inform the others. We don't want to be discovered by the local population." Amanda said.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Back Up

Todd opened the door to his apartment.

Amanda walked in first and put her phone onto the peninsula counter. "Put your devices here."

They all obeyed.

As the five of them waited, he opened the door to his bedroom. The insulation was so thick that the door didn't open all the way.

"I was going to change the direction of the door," Todd said sounding apologetic as they entered the room sideways, one by one.

"Well," Amanda said, "There is something I need to tell you. I didn't want anyone outside of our circle to know this yet."

"It is about time," Brian said, "They should know this."

"Let her speak," Todd said, annoyed.

"For all intents and purposes," Amanda continued, "Zenthan is dead."

"How could an A.I. die?" Trisha asked.

"Well Zenthan became self-aware," Amanda said, "Sometime soon after Todd left."

"Why are you telling this to us now?" Roger asked.

Amanda looked at all of them.

"I backed up his memories," Amanda said.

Trisha and Todd gasped.

"I thought you only backed up his core memory," Brian said, and he pointed to her pendant.

"No," Amanda said. "The Ostosiens insisted that I back all of it up."

"What are they planning?" Brian said, suspiciously. Amanda could sense that Todd was also agitated.

"They think that there might be strays from the last battle," Amanda explained.

"You believe that they can make it here?" Brian asked, "We had a hard enough time getting here ourselves. I don't trust what the Ostosiens say. Not after what happened."

"I don't know," Amanda said, "But, just in case, we need to get the rest of the crystals."

"Where are they?" Todd asked.

"Guess."

Todd groaned and facepalmed. "We were just there."

"Maybe we can talk to the agents in retrieving them?" Trisha mentioned helpfully.

"I don't know," Amanda said. "I'm not sure if I want anyone to pick up the box other than one of us. My foster family is selling their house. I could go to help them out."

"I could go with Roger," Stanley said, "You'll just have to give me the exact location."

Amanda noticed something was off with Roger. Instead of standing upright and looking attentive, he was leaning against the wall staring at the floor. After a moment, he straightened up and looked at Amanda.

"We might need to wait until the excitement dies down again," Todd said.

They all murmured in agreement.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Paring

"Wait, no speech?" Agent Cohen said.

"When we understand each other, we don't need speeches," Amanda responded.

Moments after they were acknowledged, everyone dispersed to do their own thing. Trisha went back to helping another Inersien move into their apartment. There was still some tension between Todd and Brian, but they kept themselves restrained for the moment.

"So, if I understand this properly," Cohen said, "You have this level thing going on?"

"Well," Amanda said, "Used to. We have no means to level anyone at the moment."

"Okay, If I got this right from talking with Todd, The strongest ones have to be in charge."

"Well, for the most part," Amanda said, "but-"

"So the strongest would be the leader, right?"

"Not exactly," Amanda looked at Trisha who was directing Boris in moving a large piece of furniture.  "Inersiens who are artists usually aren't that strong. However, because they are more likely to be empathetic and see things from an unusual perspective, they make good leaders. Traditionally, they pick a strong advisor to help."

Roger handed Amanda her bag, and she opened it to check its contents.

"Or they pick a strong husband," Stanley said.

"Well, it's common for a lower level Inersien to choose a higher one. They balance each other out," Amanda added without looking up.

"Looks like someone's smitten," Cohen said as he left to follow Gibson out.

Amanda looked at Stanley. He was watching Trisha. He was clearly enamored.

"Well," Amanda said to him, "What are you waiting for? Go over and talk to her."

Stanley looked at her for a moment then back at Trisha.

"I should, shouldn’t I?" He said, and he walked over.

Todd came up to Amanda. "Well," he said, "There's a pairing waiting to happen."

"What are the odds," Amanda said, "That a pairing would happen so soon."

Right after the words were out of her mouth, there was an awkward silence. Then Amanda said, "You told me you have an insulated room?"

"Yes," Todd said, "I did. It's my bedroom. Actually, I've done several bedrooms so far."

Amanda nodded and motioned towards Stanley and Trisha. "We'll let them talk for a bit, then I need you, Brian, Roger, Stanley, and Trisha in that room."

"Of course," Todd said.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Arrival

Amanda stepped out of the SUV at the apartment complex. She first she noticed was the cops who already dispersed the curious crowds.

The next thing she noticed was Trisha, standing on the steps, waiting.

Amanda started towards her. At this point, Trisha knew and ran from her spot and greeted her.

"I was so worried about you," Trisha said as they hugged, "I'm so glad it's over."

"Well, I'm not out of the woods yet," Amanda said. Trisha looked at Todd who shook his head slightly.

"Oh, Amanda," Trisha said.

"I have some time," Amanda said, "but I'm not sure how long, so we have a lot of work to do."

Trisha nodded.

Agents Cohan and Gibson walked over. They were in the car behind them.

Amanda spied some people, with their phone cameras out, walking over. "Let's all go inside," She said.

Gibson motioned to one of the cops, and they immediately went over to the video bloggers.

Amanda was inside before she could see what happened.

Inside the apartment complex, Amanda looked around. She was surprised on how many Inersiens were there. Some she recognized from before she left. Some Amanda never saw before.

In front of her, standing at full attention, was Boris, his wife, and Mr. Carter.

Amanda felt a little saddened. "Those are the only three Natisiens?"

"They're the ones who came with me," Todd said sadly. "With no hope of going back home, nobody wanted to leave."

"There might be some that are here with the other Inersiens," Brian said hopefully.

Just then Agent Cohen walked in. "Wow!" he exclaimed as he saw the Natisiens, "Those guys are big!" Then he looked at the six standing in front of the doorway. "You know, I thought you would be happy to be home."

Amanda turned to him and said solemnly, "We are missing our other half."

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Never Lost

The seats in the SUV were facing each other. Amanda then realized that they were in a state car.

Roger and Brian sat across from Stanley, Amanda, and Todd. Amanda could feel Todd still seething from whatever fight he had with Brian. She knew she would have to address this later, but at the moment, she had more important things on her mind.

She put her hand onto Todd's hand, and he looked at her. She could feel his anger melt.

"Roger," She said sadly, "My pendant is missing."

Brian's anger immediately turned to panic, but Roger put his hand up.

"It's okay," Roger said, "It's right here." He leaned to his right and pulled out her laptop bag. He sat on it when he hurriedly climbed into the vehicle.

"You got everything," Amanda said, relieved.

Roger rustled through her bag for a moment and pulled out her pendant. Then he dropped it into Amanda's outstretched hand.

Brain relaxed, and he sat back in the seat. "So now, are you going to explain that to them?"

"What?" Amanda said. She motioned with her eyes to the driver and security detail that was with them in the front seat. "It's just a pendant that Trisha made me a long time ago."

Brian got the hint and didn't say anything more.

Amanda leaned up against Todd and thought out, "Test."

Neither the driver or the security guard flinched.

"We need an insulated room," Amanda thought.

"I got one," Todd thought back.

"No discussions about anything until we get there," Amanda thought.

They all remained silent the rest of the two-hour ride.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Vultures

There was a knock on the door, and it nearly startled Amanda out of her bed.

"Ma'am?" the voice on the other side said, "I am to escort you to the deck."

Amanda got up and grabbed a bag that was given to her to put her dirty clothes in. Then she got up to open the door. A young sailor greeted her and motioned her to follow him.

By the time Amanda got to the deck, Todd, Brian, and Roger were already there. Brian and Todd were both red-faced, and it was apparent that they were arguing. Roger looked tired and sad. Stanley looked on.

They all turned to look at Amanda as she approached.

Master Chief Taylor was there, along with a few state police officers. There were also a few other decorated officers there standing in attention.

"It's a madhouse down there,"  he said, "Those vultures will do anything for a story."
Amanda looked over the railing to see the crowd of reporters waiting.

"Well," Roger responded, "The elections are close, I'm sure we'll just be a short memory."

"You will be escorted off the boat with these fine officers to a waiting vehicle." Master Chief Taylor continued. "Don't slow down, or you'll be run over by the mob."

Amanda stepped away from the rail and joined the other four Inersiens. The hostility from the Master Chief was no longer there.

After a moment, Amanda realized everyone was waiting for her to say something.

"Whenever you are ready to leave, say something," Roger thought to Amanda.

Amanda took a deep breath, "Well then, we should be going then." She was still confused on what was going on, until the Master Chief and the other decorated officers saluted her.

She glanced back at Roger who did a half shrug. She Stepped up to the Master Chief and shook his hand.  He seemed pleased and somewhat relieved.

But then he leaned over and whispered, "You may want to talk to your men, they were arguing over something."

She knew immediately who he was talking about and what happened.

"Sibling rivalry," she said, "I'll deal with it."

They disembark from off the ship and into the crowd of waving cameras and phones and yelling reporters. The police kept them back.

"I bet you are glad to be home!" One reporter yelled. Amanda acknowledged that reporter.

"Do you think you will be attacked again?"

"Are you going to post about this to your blog?"

"Do you have anything to say about the possibility of Russia hacking our elections?"

Déjà vu.

Amanda stopped short and said out loud "What the h-"

Roger firmly grabbed both of her shoulders and put her inside the car.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

That Voice

"Get undressed," a voice said. Amanda couldn't see who was saying it, but she knew who it was.

"What? Why?" She asked.

“If you are found naked, they are more likely to help you.”

She remembered the dream about this very moment, mixed with other memories. Now that she had her memories, she can think of the moment again accurately.

Amanda saw a view of space through the window. Through all of the space debris floating, she saw a planet.  She suddenly had a deep sense of loss.

The door behind her opened. She turned to see an Ostosien in human form walk into the room. He was holding an open storage box. In a small compartment were four tubes that each contained a flat crystal. Next to it was a smaller box that had wires protruding out of it.

"Why? You'll wear yourself out," Amanda said.

"I know," The Ostosien said, "My brothers and I thought this form would be more relatable."

Amanda began unbuttoning her protective cape. The Ostosien set the open box down and waited until she had her clothes off.

"Are you sure you want to do this?"

"There's nothing I want to remember about this place. It's too-" Amanda stopped. After all of these years, she couldn't control her emotions well. She glanced at her cape, now on the ground.

The Ostosien put his hand on her shoulder. "You don't have to hide from us."

Amanda cleared her throat. "Make sure my clothing is in the box. I'll set the code so that only another Inersien who understands what it is can open it."

The Ostosien put something around her neck.

"What?!" Amanda said, "This is supposed to go into the box. With the rest of it."

The Ostosien let go of the necklace. Her pendant dropped to her chest. "You'll have to trust me," he said.

The Ostosiens were to drop her off in a small capsule on earth in one of the lakes. Just before, they put a thirty-minute "time bomb" of sorts in her brain. She had to get to shore and hide the box. Then she had to cause injury to herself to make it look like someone attacked her before her memories start to fade.

By the time Amanda reached the shore, it was almost dark. The sun was already below the horizon, casting a bright orange glow over the Adirondacks in the far distance.

Amanda almost put her pendant into the box, but she started to feel light-headed and realized that she didn't have time. She buried the box, then telekinetically picked up a rock and sent it soaring to her head.

She thought she saw a light whiz by in the distance and stumbled down the steep hill, hitting a few trees on the way.

By the time she walked out onto the smooth asphalt, she no longer knew who she was. The the rest played out like it did in the dream.

Amanda sighed. She knew she had to apologize to everyone. She put them in the mess they are in now.

She instinctively put her hand to her chest, but the pendant was gone.

She began to panic. How could she not know it was missing.

If there were any hope of going back, it was gone now.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Sensitives

"What's a 'sensitive?'" Agent Paul Cohen asked nervously.

"Some humans can pick up on our energy, thoughts, and emotions," Todd explained, "although not necessarily all three."

"Yeah, well," Master Chief said, sounding dismissive, "We have more important things to talk about." He motioned towards the agents. "Cohen, Gibson, what do you have for us right now."

Agent Randall Gibson cleared his throat. "We have a small problem," he said. "It appears that the apartment complex we set you up in is now under scrutiny."

"Oh?" Todd leaned forward in his seat. "How is that?"

"Well, complaints are starting to come in for discrimination," Cohen responded.

"Oh," Amanda said quietly, "right."

Todd looked at her, waiting for an explanation.

"Well," Amanda said, "Where we are from, there's not enough sunlight to cause our skin to develop enough melanin to darken us."

"But we know that there are some here that are not full Inersiens," Gibson said, "You couldn't find someone that has an ethnic family background?"

Brian scoffed.

Amanda and Todd looked at him.

"Well," Todd said, "We only found a few. It was a short search." He looked back at the agents. "We need more time."

"I'm afraid there is no more time," Gibson said. "The city wants to do an investigation on Carter for unfair housing practices."

"This is ridiculous!" Brian exclaimed, "Humans are humans. There's no difference! Why would you force them to be-"

"Brian!" Amanda said sternly.

Brian stopped and looked at her in shock. Todd and Stanley were also surprised at her commanding tone. Roger sat back with his arms crossed, looking smugly at Brian.

Amanda's head started to hurt. She put her hand on her head.

"I know that there are empty apartments," Amanda said, "maybe we can get a few in there now to curb the suspicion."

"Amanda," Todd said, "We run the risk of being discovered. We don't know if they're sensitives until after we exchange thoughts."

Amanda nodded, "We can move." She was starting to feel sleepy again. She can feel Todd put his arm on her back. She can feel a little energy come her way.

She took a deep breath. "Maybe to a town that's dying in the Midwest."

Gibson nodded. "I could arrange for one of our cover companies to start buying houses. Then we can start moving your people out there."

"I already have a town in mind," Cohen said, "It's in Texas."

"Well, that is a bit hot," Brian said.

"Why don't we look at our options first," Amanda said, "I know we don't have a lot of time, but I don't want to move only to have to move again."

Master Chief Taylor cleared his throat.

"What happens when there are a lot of you together," Taylor said. "You don't plan on …"

"Again," Brian interrupted, annoyed. "We are not like that. We are here because of that assumption-"

Brian stopped and looked at Amanda who was looking wearily at him.

"With all due respect," Amanda said turning back to Taylor, "you watch too many super heroes, villain movies."

"Well then," Master Chief said, "You will be home soon. Hopefully, we'll get this sorted out soon. Y'all will wait in your quarters until we come get you."

All of the people in the room stood up. Amanda could sense the Master Chief's hostility. She grabbed Todd's arm.

"Get these people an escort to their quarters," Taylor said to the Petty Officer.

"I wanted to be able to talk to you alone," She thought to Todd.

"Humor him," Todd thought back, "We'll be home soon."

They both looked at Paul who was staring at them. Then he shook his head and headed out of the room.

Five sailors walked the room and escorted each of the Inersiens to their quarters on different parts of the ship.

When Amanda got to her room, she wasn't sleepy anymore. Todd had given her enough energy to wake her up.

She sat on her bed. She had no phone, no internet, and no paper and pencil.

Then she realized that she was trying to "run" from what's important again. She laid down on her bed, closed her eyes, and tried to call up as many memories as she could.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Stanley

Master Chief Taylor didn't wait.

"First of all," He said, "We now know that the weapon is destroyed. If you want to find out how you'll have to discuss it with each other on your own time." He motioned to Amanda.

Roger was relieved. Brian, who knew more about what happened, stared at Amanda. She knew that he didn't believe her. Instead of becoming defensive, she just looked at Stanley. He was watching the Officer.

Amanda will have to talk to Brian when they are alone.

It bothered her that Amanda recognized Stanley but couldn't remember where she saw him before.

"So you call yourselves Inersh-ans?" Master Chief asked.

"Inersiens," Todd corrected him.

"Isn't that what I said?" Taylor asked.

Stanley, who was sitting next to Todd whispered, "Accent."

"Sorry," Todd said nodding.

"Zonstan!" Amanda blurted.

"Excuse me?" Master Chief Taylor said sounding a little indignant.

Brian scoffed. Todd put his hand over his mouth to keep from laughing. Stanley blushed and turned away.

The two agents looked confused.

Amanda realized what happened and blushed. "Oh," she exclaimed, "I am so sorry."

Agent Cohen laughed.

"How often is this going to happen?" Taylor didn't find it funny.

"Hopefully, not again," Amanda said quietly. "I'm still recovering. I'm sorry."

At least now she remembered who Stanley was. She remembered the day his father died of the brain tumor. Stanley was six. He and his mother were one of the first Inersiens to disappear.

"How many are there of you?" Master Chief asked.

"As far as we can tell," Todd said, "the ones at the Apartment complex are the ones that we know about."

"So there's probably more," Taylor said.

"Well," Roger said slowly, "It is possible that there are a few that have amnesia. I'm sure that Amanda isn't the only one."

Amanda looked down at her hands.

"You mean that there's more of her?" Master Chief asked.

"Well," Todd said, "not like her specifically." Amanda looked up at Todd.

"She's a high-level Inersien. Most are fairly low level."

"So we won't have one go nuclear on us again?"

"We are not like that," Brian snapped, "It was your people who refuse to listen!"

"Calm," Amanda directed her thought to Brian. "They don't understand."

Master Chief opened his mouth to respond when suddenly, Todd, Stanley, Brian, Roger, and Amanda looked at Paul Cohen. He looked a little uncomfortable.

"Then there are the sensitives," Todd said.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

All Together - sort of

Todd stepped outside to let Amanda dress. She was glad that they placed her into one of the officer's quarters for some privacy.

When they were a few feet from the meeting room, Todd stopped and grabbed Amanda's arm. She stopped and turned to look at him.

"Listen," He said, "I'm sorry. I know I could handle things better. I was afraid and-"

Amanda stopped him. "I think we are going to have more problems ahead of us. We have enough to deal with now."

Amanda paused a moment to gather her thoughts.

"I've made my share of mistakes," she sighed, "If I get angry at you, I might as well as be furious with myself."

Todd paused for a moment. Then he looked past Amanda towards the meeting room door. He took a deep breath and nodded.

Amanda was the first to step into the room. She wasn't surprised to see Brian and Robert there.

Stanley was also there. While she suspected as much, she became concerned.

"I," she stammered, "I recognize you, but I can't-" She stopped.

"I think the last time you saw me, I was in my sixth cycle," Stanley said.

"Well, that explains some of it at least," Amanda chuckled nervously, "I guess I wouldn't recognize you even if I didn't lose my memory."

It still bugged her.

Then there sat at the table, Paul Cohen and Randall Gibson.

"I'm surprised that Trisha isn't here."

Amanda remembered Trisha. It was hard to forget a childhood friend.

"Well," Todd said, "Someone has to hold down the fort, so to speak."

Amanda nodded.

Just then Master Chief Taylor walked in.

"Is everyone here?" He asked. "Good, let's get started."

Everyone in that room had some explaining to do.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Key Rehashed

"We can't let anything get into the wrong hands," Brian said as he reached for her pendant. He studied it for a moment, then let it drop.

Amanda knew what he was insinuating. "Zenthan had assured me that I would survive," Amanda said, devoid of emotion.

"What if he's wrong?" Brian asked.

"I don't think he has ever been wrong," Amanda said, "Even if he was, I don't think I would care, either way, I will be dead."

Amanda woke up and sighed.

Zenthan, she thought as she grabbed her necklace and looked at it. Zenthan was an artificial intelligence computer that she created years ago. The same AI that designed the warship that would eventually save her life in one last explosion.

Then Amanda looked around her and realized that she was still on the boat. She knew she slept for a few days, so by now, she should be in a hospital or at the very least a hotel. She figured she would know sooner or later.

"The key," she thought. "They have no clue."

"How long have you been awake?" Todd asked from the door.

Amanda jerked her head up. She was so deep in thought that she didn't notice Todd until he said something.

Todd stepped into the room for a moment and stopped.

They looked at each other for a moment. Finally, Amanda got out of bed, practically leaped over to Todd and threw her arms around him. He wrapped his arms around her.

"So you aren't angry?" He whispered.

"In short, no," Amanda responded, "I didn't know then what I know now."

She could feel Todd's relief.

Someone approached them and cleared his throat.

"Hello, Todd, Amanda," The man said, "I'm Master Chief Taylor. There is something I need to know."

Todd and Amanda looked at him but didn't let go of each other. He was an older gentleman, dressed in his well-decorated officer's Uniform.

Todd looked at Amanda in her eyes and said, "Do you remember what happened to Zenthan?"

She had a hard time bringing herself to say it.

"He's - " Amanda started, "He's gone, destroyed."

"My life's work," She said weakly. She noticed that the officer appeared to be relieved.

"Both Roger and Brian were all in a tiff over it." The officer said. "They were implying that the weapon could destroy an entire planet."  He laughed as if to dismiss the idea.

"Well, theoretically, it could," Amanda said flatly.

The Officer stopped smiling.

"Well," he said, "I'm glad that is no longer a problem anymore." Then he changed the subject. "You will be in the conference room in 10 minutes, right?"

Todd nodded.

"Yeah, we'll be there," Todd said.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Birthright

Amanda was tired but conscious on the way home. The soldiers and the others got into a little boat, which took them to an aircraft carrier. On the way there, the soldiers described the scene as they congratulated each other for a successful mission.

The soldiers got to Todd and Brian first without raising any alarms. When they got to the room outside of where Amanda and Roger were, the captors immediately turned their guns towards the insulated room, trying to kill them both.

If it weren't for Roger's quick thinking, they would both be dead.

They reached the navel carrier boat. Amanda looked up at the side of the ship. She could see the name of the ship emblazoned on the side. As they passed the massive wall of steel, Amanda thought it reminded her of something, but she couldn't think of it at the moment.

Amanda looked at Todd. He was watching the soldiers navigate the boat onto the floating dock. She knew that she needed to talk to him, but she needed talk to him alone.

By the time they docked the boat, Amanda felt a little better. She was able to stand up on her own, with some help. So a few of the sailors on the Dock helped her and the others off the zodiac boat.

She looked at Todd again. This time he was looking at her.

"I'm not angry," she thought.

He looked relieved, but before she could do anything else, the medics arrived and started asking questions. Two of the medics took Brian out on a stretcher.

"Do you feel pain? Are you hurt?" One asked her.

"I'm fine, physically, anyway," She said.

"She needs to rest!" Roger shouted from the boat. He was the last one to get off.

"No, I'm just a little beat up," Todd told another medic.

"Well, we should check for internal injuries, just in case," the medic responded.

Amanda thought she recognized the medic working with Todd. She turned to Roger.

"How many of us are here?" She asked.

"The ones that are not born here?" He responded as he walked over. Then he shrugged.

Amanda started to feel dizzy again and started to lose her balance. Roger caught her and repeated to the medic, "She needs rest."

The medic motioned for a stretcher and one rolled up next to them.

It wasn't until they rolled the gurney to the medic bay before Amanda realized the significance of Roger's answer.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Reformable

 "Why? Why would you do such a thing?!" Amanda yelled at Roger.

"Do you realize what is going on?!" Roger yelled back and pointed to the door. "He's giving away our city!"

"You think we will exist long enough to hold onto it?" Amanda asked.

"Who do you think has caused our demise?" Roger asked quietly.

Amanda sighed. "You are reformable, but I was told to sentence you to treason and execution."

Roger sat down. "The counsel?"

Amanda nodded. "They're afraid," She said, "It's why you couldn't get support."

"What are you going to do?" Roger asked.

"I will go to the counsel for banishment," Amanda said and held up her hand to stop Roger from responding, "There's a place you can go that seems to be ideal for us. I recommend you head that way."

"What? You are not going to do anything?"

"Todd's right," Amanda said, "Things are already in motion. There's no stopping what is coming now."

At that moment, something grabbed Amanda and pulled her away. The images around her began to distort and bend. She knew something was wrong and began to struggle to keep the images.  Roger reached through the distortion and grabbed her hand.

Amanda woke up gasping for breath. She was still on the floor. Roger was holding her up with one arm while grasping her hand with the other.

"Wait," an unfamiliar voice said, "You can bring people back from the dead?"

"I wasn't dead," Amanda still gasping for air, "yet."

She looked at Roger who put his forehead to hers. Just behind Roger, she saw Todd. He looked relieved but didn't say anything.

"She'll need someone to carry her," Roger said.

"I got it," one of the soldiers said. He pushed past the other men. Roger put Amanda down and got up. The soldier picked Amanda up and headed out the door.

They were going home.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Culprit

There was a long awkward silence. Amanda was too weak to speak. Roger seemed to be waiting for something. He stood by Amanda, leaning on the table facing the door.

Suddenly, Amanda heard a loud thud outside of the wall.

"They're here," Roger said.

"Who's here?" Amanda asked.

Roger didn't answer right away. He continued to look at the door.

"The navy seals," Roger said, "I work with the US government. They're here on a sting. I am their informant."

"It was you who made that website and spread the rumors?"

"Yes."

"And was you, who sent Brian with that guy to come after me?"

"Not exactly. Brian was only supposed to track you. Sometimes people act on their own accord."

Amanda was baffled. "At least try to learn your lesson?"

"No it's not like that," Roger started. There were muffled yelling and more loud, sharp sounds from the outside.

Roger grabbed Amanda and threw her to the ground, using himself to shield her. Some bullets pierced the wall and insulation. The Door wasn't attached to anything. It blew out completely, sending bits of Styrofoam and a plastic polymer everywhere.

The noise stopped.

Roger got up and made his way to the door.

Amanda was still weak and could not get herself up off of the floor. She could see Roger carefully make his way to the door. He opened while standing off to the side.

"Get on the ground!" Amanda could hear someone shout.

Roger put up his hands and lowered himself to the ground.

A man, clad in black and body armor, carrying a rifle comes around the corner. He looks at Amanda and walks over.

In spite of all of the armor and gear, she knew that she was safe.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Almost

Roger sat down in the chair across the table from Amanda.  Neither of them took their eyes off each other. Finally, Amanda said, "I saved your life."

Roger didn't say anything. He seemed surprised.

"So, your memory returned," Roger said.

"Some," Amanda responded. "Most of it is still vague."

"Your tumor," Roger started and stopped. Amanda could sense his concern.

"It's still there," Amanda said sadly, "I may have stopped it from growing, but I don't remember how to get rid of it."

There was some silence.

"Please figure it out soon," Roger said. He sounded disappointed.

Amanda gave him an odd look. Then she looked back at the door.

Roger sighed. "I'm sorry I put you through this. I had to find out if our tech could get into the wrong hands."

"It was you with the website and the rumors," Amanda snapped, "And you put my friends and me in danger. Doing the wrong thing for the right reason is what …" She stopped. She didn't know if she should go on.

Roger looked fearful. "Is what?"

"It's what lost our city," Amanda whispered.

Roger slowly stood up. He was visibly upset, but not surprised.

"Then it wouldn't have mattered what we would have done. You were doing the right thing, weren't you."

Amanda was too weak to her hide her emotions.

"No," she said. "The right thing would have been to bring up a challenge."

"You didn't?" Roger asked. "Why?" He sounded as if he was genuinely curious.

"I didn't do what I needed to do because I was afraid," Amanda said weakly then paused for a moment, finally processing what happened. Then after thinking a moment, she scoffed. "I am just as bad."

Roger walked over behind her and untied her hands.

"It's almost over now," Roger said.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Betrayal

Two large men came down the stairs and picked up Amanda from either side.

She could hear Todd begin to struggle.

"It's no use," Brian said to Todd, "It's too late, now."

Amanda felt Todd's heartbreak, but she couldn't let him know that there was still hope. She needed the calm man to be on her side first.

They took her to a room that was apparently modified. The walls were too thick. Even then, the padding wasn't sufficient to block out all energy noise, but it was enough to keep the other two from finding out anything.

They sat her down in a chair. She didn't put up much of a fight. Instead she let her eyes droop a little, conveying non-responsiveness to her handlers.

Amanda looked past a third man, and she could sense his panic.

"Now all of you leave," The calm man said.

"Wha-" the third man started, then stopped.

"You did enough already," the calm man said, "You need to get out so I can do my job without distractions."

The third man glared at him and left.

The calm man picked up a large block that was made of a foam-like material and put it in front of the door. It fit perfectly.

Amanda noticed that the foam blocked most of the energy from the outside. Now she had her chance.

"What is your name?" Amanda whispered.

It was an odd question from someone who was nearly a vegetable, but the calm man answered, "Just call me Roger -"

He stopped and looked at her shocked. In his mind, he saw the two of them standing in a similar room where she was the interrogator. He wasn't thinking of it. Someone pushed that image into his mind.

She remembered.

She remembered Everything.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Grave Truth

When Amanda came to, it appeared that she was out for only a few minutes. Brian was still looking at her, and she noticed the ringing wasn't as loud, but it still made things hard to hear or focus.

Amanda closed her eyes and concentrated on the ringing. Gradually, it quieted down. She replayed the attack over and over in her head. She didn't dare to think about the dream, knowing what would happen if she did.

She looked around. It resembled a living room or some form entertainment room.  She tried to look up the stairs, but the daylight that shone through the stairwell aggravated her headache.

"Where are we?" Amanda asked Brian, "What happened?"

Brian looked disappointed, but then he responded weakly, "A group of men attacked and kidnapped you and Todd. Now, we are on a boat. Rather, we are on a large yacht." He coughed. "Someone paid a lot to get you here."

"But what happened to you?" Amanda asked him.

Before Brian could answer, they heard from the top of the stairs.

"Three of my men are dead!" on voice yelled angrily.

"I told you it was unwise to approach her," another voice responded calmly. "It's likely you sped up the process. She probably will never remember where she put it. What's more, she'll probably be dead in a day or two.

Amanda recognized the voice, but only some of her memory returned. The rest was still vague at best.

"What are you talking about?!" 

"Your men, confronting her against my advice, sped up the tumor. She has no control over her energy and isn't able to heal herself. The tumor that killed us off is going to kill off the only hope we had for survival."

"But you can heal it."

"No, she is the only one who figured that out. Well, before you practically killed her."

There a loud yell and suddenly some gurgling.

"I did what I could, but you refused to listen to me," the calm voice said among the gurgling, "You chose to go against what I said, and now there are consequences."

The gurgling stopped and then there was a gasp for air.

"I may be able to extract some of her memory," the calm voice said, "but if there is too much damage, I may not be able to get anything."

"Then we go down," the other voice growled, "and we get that information."

Amanda heard Todd sputter. He was awake.

"No," The calm voice said, "All three are awake. The other two will block me. Bring the girl up into the padded room."

Amanda finally remembered who he was and realized that she would have to remind him.

Monday, June 12, 2017

The Vault

Amanda heard Brian sigh. After a moment of silence, he said, "The Natisiens should be done filling the vault. We need to be there to see it sealed."

Amanda agreed and followed Brian down a corridor to the underground cavern that housed the vault.

Two 7ft guards stood guard on both sides of the entrance. When they saw the pair, they immediately stopped talking to each other and stood in attention.

Brian and Amanda went into the vault. Flat crystals lined both walls. In the center were more of them above some storage containers. Light from the back of the room filtered through the crystals and created patterns of rainbow colors on the wall. All of their records, their mathematical and technology secrets stored here. All, except for one.

"We can't let anything get into the wrong hands," Brian said as he reached for her pendant. He studied it for a moment, then let it drop.

Amanda knew what he was insinuating. "I was assured that I would survive," Amanda said, devoid of emotion.

"What if he's wrong?" Brian asked.

Amanda remembered not caring. She remembered how she was no longer angry with Brian for his past deeds. As a matter of fact, she no longer cared about them.

In the next moment, Amanda was watching a large wall come up to her. The front of the vehicle that she was in crumbled. Flames engulfed the window before her.

She woke up. She was sitting upright and realized that her hands were tied behind her back. She looked to her right and saw Todd, unconscious. He was also sitting on a chair with his hands behind his back.

In front of her was Brian, looking worse than Todd, except he wasn't unconscious. Instead, he stared at her, as if waiting for something.

Amanda couldn't hear him. The ringing in her ears was too loud. She passed out.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Unlocked

Amanda looked past the blue lady. Then back at her hand. At that moment, she knew what she had to do. The ringing in her ears was unbearable. She tried to look up at the box, but everything seemed to be darker.  She forced herself up with great difficulty. None of her limbs wanted to move.

A random flash of light. It was as if someone shined a flashlight into her eyes and moved on.

Amanda took a couple of steps. It was as if she was in a slow motion sequence. Her mind was going at normal speed, but her body moved as if someone slowed the video down.

Another random flash of light.

Amanda knew that she didn't have much time, but she couldn't reach the box. Each step seemed to get her nowhere. Her breathing was labored. Her footsteps echoed as if they weighed three times more than they did.

Then, she had a revelation. "It's just a dream," she told herself out loud. Then she closed her eyes and made herself closer to the box.

She opened her eyes, and for a moment, the ringing stopped, and she could move freely again. Right in front of her was the clear box held the pulsating orb. It was much smaller than it used to be.

She looked around and saw that she was still in a huge underground cavern. Over to her left, was the vault, wide open. It was still massive, and a multi-colored glow emanated from the opening as if a light was passing through a prism.

On seeing the vault, she became afraid again, and the ringing started. She realized that she would have to face what is in the vault or die.

She slid the flat crystal into the box and the box dissolved. The pulsating orb hit Amanda in the chest, and she fell back into blackness.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

His Face

Amanda, for a moment, could only see his face. Todd's scruffy look transform to a clean shaven and short hair Todd. Then it would transform back again.

Where did she see him before?

She remembered when they first met. Todd had a cast on his arm. At first, he tried to convince Amanda that he was doing some "sick" moves on the skateboard. When Amanda rolled her eyes, he finally confessed to tripping over an uneven part in the grass while bringing in packages from the delivery truck.

He covered his face with embarrassment.

"If only I lifted my foot higher a half of inch," He moaned.

When he removed his hands to reveal the clean-shaven version of Todd that was backlit by some bright light. He put both of his hands on her arms.

"You can come with me!"

Amanda began to panic. She knew that she couldn't go with him the last time, but this time, she will follow. She didn't want to lose him again.

He said something else, but this time she couldn't hear him. Her ears were ringing, and it was getting louder. She tried to get him to repeat himself, but she couldn't speak. He talked again. She couldn't hear him.

He then dropped his hands and walked past her. She turned to follow him. She tried to follow him into a corridor, but all she saw was a glimpse of him as he turned a corner at the end of the hallway. She ran to try to keep up. As she rounded the corner, she saw the vault.

It was larger than she remembered it.

She stopped and stared. She remembered it. She remembers its construction, but she couldn't remember why or where it was

The ringing was now painful. Amanda dropped to her knees and put her hands over her ears. She began to see spots of white light as if someone was shining a flashlight in her eyes.

"You can't delay any more!" A voice said. In spite of the ringing, she heard it loud and clear.

She turned and saw a figure standing over her. She knew it was the blue lady. Just beyond the figure was the orb. It was small but still there. She looked down in her hand; there was the flat crystal.

Then another memory surfaces. Amanda remembers going through this before: The extreme tiredness she felt, how everything seemed dark before she passed out, the flashing lights, and the ringing in her ears pointed to one fact.

She was dying.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Traumatic (Backstory)

"I'd put her at the age of 16," The Doctor said. "She's cleared to go whenever you're ready."

"So no one came to claim her?" The woman asked. She was writing something down in a folder of paper. Leaning up against her leg was a bag that had "Rutland County Department of Children and Families" emblazoned on the front.

"And you haven't found anything in the missing children database?"

"No, no we haven't," The detective said. He was "Tragic."

All three of them looked through the door at a girl who seemingly was too busy playing video games to notice.

"No one reports her, no one claims her," The detective said in a lowered voice, " and no evidence of foul play. So her family doesn't want her, and she obviously doesn't want to go back."

"Wait," the doctor said abruptly, "Are you saying that you think she's faking it?"

"Well," the detective said as he leaned back at the reception desk. He's seen a few cases like this one when he worked in the Bronx. "Not exactly."

"If she saw something traumatic enough, she could have repressed that memory," The social worker said.

"Dissociative memory," The detective said.

"I know what you are getting at, but I've seen her brain scans," The doctor said, "she has a lot of evidence of brain damage. It's possible that the damage may not have any bearing on her memory loss. It's just," The doctor trailed off.

"Just what?" The detective asked.

The doctor waved off the detective, "I really can't explain it until I consult with the MRI technician again. There are some unexplained anomalies, that's all. It's why it took so long to release her. They seem to be healing, and as far as I can tell, there are no serious long-term effects."

"Perhaps it's both?" The Social worker said, "If she had a family, they didn't bother to report her missing, or maybe they couldn't report her missing. The damage could reinforce it?" She ended the last sentence with a question when she remembered who she was talking to.

The doctor shrugged and was about to respond when the detective put his hand up to stop him.

The detective nodded. "No, you're right. My next move was to check the murders in the neighboring states. It is possible that the damage could have been done during that time. She may have been able to get away before, well, the perpetrators could get to her. Perhaps if I can find how she got by the lake as she did, we may be able to solve this case."

Then he chuckled, "And to think, I transferred to Vermont to get away from murder cases."

"Well, if she saw a murder, it certainly wasn't here," The social worker said, then sighed. "Criminals are too high on heroine to kill each other here."

The two men murmured in agreement.

"Well, I have more work to do," the detective said just before leaving, I'll keep in touch."

The social worker looked at her notes for a few minutes and then said, "Shall I go introduce myself now?"

When there was no answer, she looked up to see the Doctor looking intently at the girl.

"What is it?" She asked.

"What kind of trauma would cause someone to want to forget what happened?"

"For everyone it's different. It depends on what the person affected thinks is traumatic," The social worker paused and thought for a moment. "The only case I had that worked with turned out to be pretty bad."

Sunday, May 28, 2017

From the Forest

Amanda followed Todd into the woods. Unlike last time, she was the one who couldn't catch her breath. It seemed that the woods were darker than last time.

Probably the time of day, she thought, but even in the sun, it seemed dark and cold.

She had to stop and rest at a tree. After a moment, she realized it was the same tree that Trisha had rested on.

Todd walked over to her.

"Are you going to make it okay?" Todd asked. He sounded worried.

Amanda nodded. She couldn't understand why she wasn't feeling well. She knew she had to go on.

They did finally reach the top. Amanda walked to where she could see the lake and stood right where she dreamed that she was naked, holding a case.

The case. She could feel it's coldness pressed against her chest. She glanced at a tree stump that was only a few feet to her left.

At that moment she heard voices. She couldn't exactly make out what they were saying. She walked towards the direction that they seem to be coming from.

"Amanda?" Todd said

"You hear that?" she had to speak over the voices. They were getting louder.

Todd stopped and listen for a moment.

"No," Todd said. There was a hint of panic in his voice, "What? What do you hear?"

Amanda could make out some parts of speech now. It sounded like four or five people planning, but none of them were actually speaking to the other. Sometimes the voices overlapped.

"We need to go," Amanda said. She glanced at the stump, only to have the memory of a rock, flying by her head. A migraine seemed to come out of nowhere. She palmed her temple and looked towards Todd. Behind him, three men appeared and before Amanda could say anything, one of the men hit Todd in the back of the head.

She tried to keep control. She could feel some sort of energy well up inside of her. Then someone grabbed her from behind and everything went white.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Hesitation

Todd looked up into the woods for a few moments, and then he looked at Amanda who was also looking up into the woods.

"It's something you have to do," he said, "I don't think it could be put off anymore."

Amanda didn't budge. It was no longer the fear of the unknown, but the dreaded sense of being in grave danger that made her freeze.

"Amanda," Todd said, and Amanda slowly looked at him.

"I know," Amanda said. "I know. I just have a feeling that something is about to go horribly wrong."

Todd looked at her for a moment. "I don't know what's going to happen either. I'm afraid of what might happen if you got back your memories. What if based on those new memories you don't want me back in your life anymore?

Amanda gave him an odd look. "Why would I not want you in my life?"

"Well, we are the sum of our memories, right?"

Amanda looked him in the eyes.

"New memories sometimes override the old ones, she said quietly. I don't think any memories will change my mind about you."

Todd cupped her head in his hands and kissed her. Then he put his forehead on hers.

"I sure hope so."

Todd sound strained and on the verge of tears. For a brief moment, Amanda felt fear. It was the same fear that she felt when she encountered the blue lady. Then it was gone.

Todd got up and pulled Amanda to her feet.

"This must be done," he said, and he turned towards the forest. Amanda sighed and followed.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Second Thoughts

The drive seemed longer than last time. Amanda was exhausted but couldn't sleep.  Todd was also quiet. Both of them were anxious about the trip.

The sun filtered through the trees then glare through the driver side window, then move through the windshield. Then it would move back and hide behind the mountains as the car turned the curves.

When the sun hit the windshield again, and Todd readjusted the visor for the umpteenth time he scoffed.

"I should have gotten sunglasses!" he said, annoyed. Amanda chuckled in agreement. At least she can take her eyes off the road to get away from the blinding light. Todd could not.

They finally reached the parking spot. Todd got out of the car, but Amanda hesitated. Part of her knew that she had to go. However, Amanda was afraid. She had a feeling that her past involved a lot of pain. Pain that she did not want to experience, again.

However, she was concerned that if she didn't learn about her past now, things are going to get much worse.

Todd opened her door.

"You are not having second thoughts now, are you?" He asked.

Amanda turned and swung her legs over onto the dirt.

"It's just," Amanda said then trailed off. She really couldn't put it into words precisely what she was feeling.

"I guess everyone is afraid of the unknown," Amanda sighed, "I'm not sure if I'm ready to face it yet."