Fiction Relay — Part 39

To catch up on the last few episodes:

Fiction Relay — Part 34 (by me)

Fiction Relay — Part 35 (by KC)

Fiction Relay — Part 36 (by TRG)

Fiction Relay — Part 37 (by Joanne)

Fiction Relay — Part 38 (by KC)

To catch up on the entire story, you can link to the very first post, and all subsequent posts, from the Fiction Relay Homepage. (Or, you can cheat and read the cliff-notes on the Fiction Relay Summary page.)

—–

Sanderson — or whatever his name really was — directed his gray gaze at Meagan. His smirk deepened. She cringed beneath the weight of his stare. His words, the things he’d insinuated, were a jumbled, confusing mess in her brain. Melissa wasn’t her sister, except maybe in the sense that they’d been raised together in the orphanage. Melissa had been the daughter of Sanders, the orphanage’s director — the man who’d run insidious tests on all of them until that night of the fire — and there was no way Meagan was related to him.

Then again, she couldn’t remember anything about her own parents…. Wait, no, maybe she could… it was right there, on the edge of her mind, just out of reach….

And if Sanders was the orphanage’s director, and Sanderson was his son…. Only the man in front of them said Sanderson was his son, which would make him Sanders…. How would that be possible? He didn’t look anything like the Dr. Sanders she remembered — and she’d never forget the man who’d tortured her for years! Only… what if, somehow, he was? And he’d had her own daughter under his thumb for the past eight years!

A cry escaped her lips. “I don’t care about your stupid Club or its secrets! I want my daughter!” She pounded her fist on the table. “Where is she?”

“She is here, in this building,” Sanderson said. An amused quirk tugged at his lips. “Interesting that you cannot sense her. And I must point out again that it is similarly interesting that you did not track her here. Rather, you were tracking something else. Perhaps it was fate: maybe you were tracking the mission to fulfill my request.”

“I’m not going on a mission for you! I — !”

She was cut off by a scream of pain that filled the room. Meagan, Jose, Ephraim, and Sam jumped and looked around. Everyone — even the three brick-wall guards — seemed unnerved. Everyone except Sanderson.

Sam suddenly saw an image inside Sanderson’s head: a blue-haired teenager strapped to a table, just like the one he’d been strapped to so many times. She was being probed, like he’d been. Like they’d all been.

“Samantha!” Sam gasped. “No!” His blood boiled. With a snarl he elbowed his captor, broke free, and lunged at Sanderson. Grabbing the man by the throat he pinned him up against the wall.  Sanderson began to gag. He clawed at Sam’s hand. Sam forced his way into Sanderson’s thoughts, searching for the man’s darkest fears to unleash on him. But, like before, he was met with only a bottomless abyss. He pulled back, only to see Sanderson glaring at him with malicious gray eyes that turned black. And a face that was turning red. “Let her go, you sick fuck!” Sam growled.

Suddenly Sam’s own airway was cut off as his brick wall yanked him backward in a choke-hold. As soon as Sam was clear of Sanderson, another brick wall came up and smashed a fist into Sam’s jaw.

“Sam!” Meagan screamed as he went down. She jumped to her feet and ran toward him. Ephraim ducked low, sending his own brick wall into a flip, and turned toward the fight. Sanderson held up a hand. The brick walls instantly re-grabbed Sam, Ephraim, and Meagan, holding them in place, even though it was clear they wanted to beat the shit out of them. For a second, Sam thought he saw Sanderson’s eyes go black as he glared at him again, but then the man turned his attention back to Meagan.

“I need you to retrieve something for me,” he said, sounding as calm and unruffled as though he hadn’t just been proved human. Or at least part-human. “A small box. It is there.” He stood aside, allowing the distant, blue mountain to come into full view, and nodded toward it.

The room swam before Ephraim. Scenes flashed before him:

Time before time. Blood. An angry young man, straining to get near the mountain. He had a mane of dark hair, and his skin glowed golden, like a god. But his eyes burned black like hell-coals. An aura of red surrounded him. The young man tried again and again, over many ages, but the force that had been set to shield the mountain was stronger. In a final rage, the young man tried one more time. The strain turned his hair white. He fell to the ground, weakened, and was only saved from nothingness when he absorbed his form into a passing coyote. For several years, he rested inside the coyote, regaining his strength by eating humans, sometimes savaging entire villages. He was feared, like a god, and this assuaged some of his anger. But then, when he tried to arise and break free, he discovered he was tethered to the earth, and his form to the coyote’s. From then on his blood-lust truly knew no bounds. Through years, a coyote-man in various stages — sometimes more coyote, sometimes more man — approached the mountain. Always he was turned away, as if by an invisible force. His rage, however, only grew.

Ephraim shuddered, still feeling the coyote-man’s rage as the flash dissolved. He heard Sam speak, next to him.

“Your damn box is on the mountain? Get it yourself.”

“Not ‘on,'” Sanderson corrected. “In. It is inside the mountain. And you,” he turned back to Meagan, “are uniquely qualified to retrieve it for me. Do you have any idea how rare a gift it is for one to be able to teleport?” His eyes danced with greed. “It is a talent I’d wished your darling daughter had possessed. Alas. Well, you are back with me now, and you do seem to have demonstrated this ability a few times recently, haven’t you? Bring me my box, and you can have your daughter back.”

“This isn’t really a request, is it. I don’t really have a choice.” Meagan said.

“Choice, no choice. Semantics.” Sanderson waved the notion away with his fingers.

“Fine,” she agreed with a scowl. “Your box, my daughter.” Sanderson smiled; her brick wall released her.

“She’s not going alone,” Sam growled.

“Agreed,” Ephraim nodded.

Sanderson shrugged indifference, and their brick walls released them, though they hovered at the ready for a false move by Sam or Ephraim.

“You will need a guide?” Jose asked, rising from his seat and walking toward them. He paused, the question in his eyes.

“Yes,” Meagan said. “Thank you.”

*****

“Yeah, that’s what he said, but….”

“But what, Spencer?” Blue asked.

“Well, it’s like it wasn’t really coming from him. Like, I don’t know, something’s just off.” He plopped on the sofa in his room, stretched out, and glanced over at Blue, who lay sprawled on her stomach across his bed. “What-evs.”

“So, basically, you stopped me from going back to get my bike because of ‘what-evs?'”

“Uh… yup.”

“You suck.”

“Love you, too, babe.”

“What about my mom? How did she look? Was she okay?”

“As far as I could tell. Your dad might’ve been roughed up a bit, though.”

“Couldn’t give a shit,” she muttered. “He deserves it.” Suddenly, she propped up — arms straight, palms on the bed — alert. “She’s leaving the building!” Blue scrambled to her feet.

“Who?” Spencer asked, swinging his feet to the floor.

“My mom! Come on, let’s follow!”

—–

Next at-bat with the Relay: TRG! 🙂

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12 thoughts on “Fiction Relay — Part 39

  1. It just keeps getting better and better! Especially love Ephraim’s vision, I’m fascinated with the coyote man and how he came to be and the way the mountain won’t let him in… I can’t wait to find out what’s in the box ;-D
    I’m so in love with the story! And the way it evolves with such perfection is mind blowing 🙂

    • Really great chapter Dawn! Now i have the traditional feeling of “how do i follow that?” which we all seem to have each time haha!

      i agree with Joanne, the story on the mountain was genius. Once again a chapter answers our questions whilst asking so many more and opening up new possibilities.
      And I like that Jose is playing his part too, his distrust of Sanders/Sanderson intrigues me. Maybe we will find out more on their mountain trip??

      • Thanks, Boss! 🙂 Yeah, in addition to the teenagers, Jose is kind of a wildcard, isn’t he? I always wonder what his story is…? And the mountain is another “character,” too. It’s a real mountain, with its own, pre-existing lore, but I’ve made up this particular backstory just for us.(Set-up nicely by KC, with her coyote-imagery of Sanderson.)

        • Jose is one of those who were there to serve a purpose for moving the plot but have become something more. A bit like Spencer.
          i like the idea of the mountain as a character, it fits the mood of the whole piece. and that shows how we all take parts of each others’ chapters and blend them together!

  2. Yay! That was so awesome there are (almost) no words!

    I am a huge fan of boxes…treasure chests, mysterious secrets, the complete unknown but you know it has to have -something- good, because so many people want it…unless it’s a “One Tin Soldier” kinda thing… :p

    Thank you for bringing “Sanders/Sanderson” down to earth a little…I was afraid he’d get too powerful and that would be boring. *eg*

    I love the “Blue-being-tortured” scene…naughty man. Worked, though. Got them going in the direction he wanted. *g* And of course he had lots of material to work with…

    Also thanks for noticing and using the sister thing…I wasn’t sure if I’d made it too subtle…apparently not. :p

    And last but not least, I -loved- Ephraims vision…that’s a whole story right there! *hugs*

    Now it’s just to wait and see where Boss-man takes it… *eg*

    KC

  3. (Ooh! Thanks for reminding me: I forgot to link to TRG at the bottom of my post! 😦 Going to fix….) Thanks so much, KC — I’m never sure if someone’s going to get upset b/c I took their idea in the wrong direction, or that I took it the wrong way. I feel bad that I kinda made a ruckus w/ the whole Blue/Spence sex scene; didn’t mean to make anyone feel bad! And, truth be told, I’m not a hundred percent sure where you WERE going w/ the Melissa/Meagan/Sanders/Sanderson relationship, so I used my own confusion as Meagan’s confused state of mind on that topic. 😉 Giving Sanderson a small weakness seemed more interesting to me than having him be a totally omnipotent-baddie. (And, who knows, maybe I’ve revealed more than one of his weaknesses in this scene…? 😉 ) Glad you liked Ephraim’s insight into Sanderson’s back-story, too.

    Now, on to TRG…!

    • I like the fact that the story doesnt always go where we expect it to and leads that we feed out are taken in different ways. Maybe this isnt what KC had in mind re Sanders(on) but to me that doesnt matter – the reason i wanted to start the Relay was to give each person a prompt from the chapter(s) before that they could use however they were inspired to.
      I saw the sister question as adopted sister, but the question in Meagan’s mind gives us a tiny insight into what might have been, or what Sanders(on) wants her to THINK might have been 😉 dot dot dot

  4. I just want to slip back in here for a sec and ask you a question/favor, Dawn…and it goes for all the other FR’ers as well. I feel like I’m sort of…I dunno, pushing the story, acting instead of reacting, which is good in real life but not so good in a shared story. >.< If anyone else feels that this is true, or notices me doing it, will you please tell me? I'll be happy to rewrite, or edit, to correct any such mistakes.

    The reason I feel like it is that it seems like a concern to people that they aren't going in the direction I may have wanted…that gets mentioned -a lot- in the comments since I started playing…but as TRB (The Reclining Boss) says, it doesn't matter what I wanted them to do. Most times I don't have a want for them, except to see how close to the edge of something I can drive them before someone else turns the wheel. *eg*

    KK, just wanted to say…oh, and speaking of, finished #42…someone go look and tell me if I'm getting bossy again, huh? *sighs*

    KC

    • Hey, KC — wow, I hope I’ve never made you feel like that! And if I have, I’m truly sorry. I do tend to comment (I think) when characters do what I wasn’t expecting, or when another author throws me a curveball. But my intent has always been to convey surprise/delight (with the exception of my negativity on the Blue/Spence sex scene — something I feel kinda bad about opening my mouth about, in the first place). I love it when people do things I wasn’t ready for, because it forces me to push myself harder when it comes to my turn. This entire experience has taken me out of my element, and as a writer we should always be looking to test our own boundaries and find new limits.

      Thoughts, anyone else?

      • Whew. I really tend to over-analyze myself…a -lot-…it’s part of the whole Borderline Personality Disorder stuff…and sometimes I’ll get into a silly “apologizing for apologizing too much” or “worrying if I’m worrying too much” kinda cycle, especially if my “real world” stuff is getting on my case. -This- is my real world, with my writing, and the people who can see -me-, not the RL mess. So I get a bit panicky when it seems as if I might be doing something to “lose” it. I’m going to bite my tongue on the apology for angsting too much about my angsty angstingness, and run away quickly to let you get back to what is going to be a spectacular new piece in the FR puzzle. *hugs*

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