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pencils.and.paper.roses

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Christian
NERD
Hopeless romantic
Equally hopeless Fangirl™️
16
Early senior
The Lumineers
Kodaline
Bird lover
Fascinated by Great Britain
Love M. Night Shyamalan movies
In love with
James McAvoy
&
Rami Malek
❤️

Message to Readers

I hope you like this one too! :D I spent a long time on it and it's also REALLY long. :) Enjoy!

Simon Says #CliffhangerQueenContest

January 1, 2019

FREE WRITING

1
PLEASE NOTE: THIS STORY IS THE SEQUEL TO HIDE AND SEEK. PLEASE READ HIDE AND SEEK IN FULL BEFORE READING THIS STORY. THANK YOU! :D

8 months after the events of Hide and Seek…
 
Chapter One
“Now, if the antecedent were used here, what would be the effect on the sentence?”
     Willow was sitting in English class, bored out of her mind. They were having a quiz that day, but her teacher had yet to pass it out. Come on…she thought. Should she use the Power she’d stolen from the Head on him? She decided against it. It was a bit risky.
     Minutes before her teacher passed out the quizzes, the bell rang. He threw his hands in the air in exasperation and dismissed them. Freedom! No more talk of antecedents and types of nouns. It was time for art class!
     As Willow stood up from her seat and grabbed her backpack, she saw the notebook of the girl next to her, Lynn. The page was covered in doodles. One depicted the girl standing next to a redheaded girl and smiling hugely with the words “first place” behind them. Oh, that was right. The Game started in a month. Willow had gotten too old by the time she heard about it, but she hoped this girl did well.
    She left the room and headed to the art classroom, pulling out her latest sketchpad in the process. “Willow, watch where you’re going!” Carson said to her as she walked in and nearly collided with him. Art was one of only 3 class periods they had together. “Sorry,” Willow laughed. “Just trying to think of what I’ll draw today.”
     Carson drooped. “It’s not free art today. We’re getting an assignment we’re supposed to work on for the next few weeks.” Willow frowned. “Well, that sucks.” Carson nodded and their teacher clapped to bring attention to the front. “Alright, class, take your seats!” They sat down and the teacher announced the assignment.
     “So, for the next few weeks we’ll be working on a large assignment: You are going to make a 2 by 3 foot collage detailing your family. It will be worth 40% of your grade for the semester and could be your key to passing or failing, so you’ll want to do well! You can use pictures, words, drawings, newspaper clippings, anything, but it has to do with your family.”
     Hey, that didn’t sound too bad! Willow’s mind began racing immediately, and she pulled out a piece of paper to write down ideas as some of her classmates groaned. Carson was sitting next to her with a somewhat blank look on his face. “I’m not gonna do well on this…” he whispered. Willow turned to him. “You’ll do fine! Come on, it’s just a collage. Collages are easy.”
     “We have such a huge family though! It’ll take forever!” Willow grinned and shook her head. “It’ll be fine, Carson. And Mom’s got a zillion pictures she’d probably be willing to give up, too.” She continued to jot down things on her paper. Carson shrugged and pulled out his own paper, scribbling until class ended.
     The class ended and Willow went to Science only to discover that Mrs. Linz was absent that day due to sickness and they had a free period. “Yes!” she cried. She sat down by the office and continued to plan her collage. So far she had a list of potential mediums and pictures she knew her mother would hand over willingly. She was moving on to the list of people she would need to include when suddenly a thought struck her: None of these people were actually her family. She buried her head in her hands. How had she forgotten? She was Silas’s daughter. Her parents weren’t her parents. Oh, this was a problem. She sat, extremely worried, for a minute before coming to her senses. She would just put her “adopted” family on the collage; she knew it was probably a bad idea to put a known criminal as her father anyway.
    The bell rang, and she went to her next class.
 
Chapter Two
“Mom, I’m home!” Willow called as she walked into the house. She dropped her backpack at the door and headed to the kitchen, where her mother was poring over a pile of papers spread across the table. “Whoa, what’s all this?” Her mother looked up. “Oh, Willow! How was school?”
    “It was good,” she replied. She picked up the piece of paper nearest to her. “Adoption fees? What’s going on?” Her mother grinned tiredly. “Something we’ve been planning since before Rhiel was born. I’ll explain it to you later, when your father and Carson are home.” Willow instantly went on high alert, but decided to take her mother’s word for it.
     “Illa’!” Rhiel toddled in, a bright smile spread across her face. Willow smiled back and picked her up. Rhiel had begun to talk a few months ago, and she’d started walking shortly before that. Willow was thrilled that her sister could begin to say her name when she saw her.
     “How are you, Rhiel? Were you good for Mama? Did you play?” Rhiel grinned again. “Ma-mmmma!” she waved her arms. Willow set her back down happily and went to retrieve her homework. More English…ugh.
……………………..
Willow had to move the papers from the table to set it for dinner that evening, prompting questions from Carson.
What is all that?”
“I don’t know yet. Mom said she’d tell us when you and Dad were home.”
“Do you know where it came from?”
“Nope.”
“Do you know what they’re for?”
“Nope. Stop asking questions, ‘cause I don’t know.”
“Come on! You’ve got to know something.”
Stop asking.” Willow’s eyes glowed, and Carson stopped at her will, rolling his own eyes. “Seriously? Mom’s told you not to use your Power unless you have to!” Willow grinned. “Technically that wasn’t my Power. My Power is to take other people’s Powers.”
     “Okay, you two, calm down and let’s eat.” Their mother turned toward them from the sink. “Where’s your father?”
     They collected their father and sat down to eat. No sooner had their mother put the first bite of food into Rhiel’s mouth than Carson started talking. “So what was all the paper on the table?” Her mother sighed and smiled. “Boy, you really do get to the point, don’t you?” Carson nodded.
     “All the paper on the table was for something we’ve been trying to do since before Rhiel was born. I think you’ll be excited.” She paused and looked and the kid’s father, who nodded. “We’re going to be adopting a baby!” Willow’s jaw dropped in astonishment. “Adopting? Really?” Her mother nodded.
     “He’s a 1-year old boy named Rory. I think we’ll be able to meet him for the first time tomorrow morning.”
    “Tomorrow morning?” Willow cried. “But we’ll be at school!” She was suddenly very, very excited to meet this little baby and disappointed that she wouldn’t be there to see him the next day. She felt that there would be something special about him. But her mother shook her head. “I’ve already talked to your principal; she said you and Carson can take the morning, at least, off. He’s adopted himself, so he understands how important this is to us.”
     Carson had been sitting silently, listening to all of this. Now he spoke. “This is the craziest thing that’s happened all year,” he said slowly. “And I’m so excited! A boy! Not another girl! I’m not alone anymore!” he said the last words in a singing voice.
     Their father laughed. “Well, prepare yourself! He’s only a year old, so he’ll be pretty little. Don’t get too excited yet.” Carson ignored him, lost in his own fantasies. The meal was abandoned, with everyone talking excitedly about the upcoming meeting in the morning.
 
Chapter Three: Rory
Willow stood up, adjusted her jacket and brushed her hair behind her ears nervously as the social worker walked up to them. They were about to meet the baby and his birth mother! “The Rosell family?” she asked. “Yes, the Rosells,” their mother stated. The social worker nodded with a smile and led them to a room where Rory and his mother were waiting for them. The woman smiled as they walked in.
     “Hello!” she said, rocking the baby in her arms.
Willow suddenly got a feeling. It happened whenever a Powered person was nearby, and she usually felt it during the rare occasion that Silas or Diana was there, watching her. She turned around discreetly, but saw no one in the room except the people she knew. No glowing eyes, no faint outlines. So why did she feel like someone other than her was Powered? She shook the feeling off when her father stepped forward to shake the woman’s hand. “Jake Rosell, ma’am. Pleased to meet you and your son.” The woman shook his hand and smiled back. “Well, he’s going to be your son soon, isn’t he? Rory Rosell. Has a nice ring to it. I’m Lise.”
     Willow’s mother shook her hand as well, and then Lise turned to the children. “My, lots of children, hmm?” Willow couldn’t help but laugh as she extended her hand. “I’m Willow.” Carson did the same. The woman looked at all of them with a small smile on her face. “I think you will be a good family to take Rory in.”
     Their mother blushed a little. “Would you like to hold him?” Lise asked. They nodded, and they took turns holding and talking to the baby. When he came around to Willow, the Powered feeling got even stronger. She closed her eyes, hoping to ban it from her mind. Diana? She tried thinking. She had to be sure that they weren’t there. But there wasn’t a response. She opened her eyes to see the baby grinning at her.
    “Aww…” she said. Her heart melted. He was so adorable! He had light blonde hair and brown eyes that looked very easygoing and happy. “How are you, Rory? How are you? You happy to meet me?” He said some nonsense that resembled words, and she laughed. Then she noticed something and looked closer. Holy shoot… She nearly dropped him. “Willow, be careful!” their father admonished. He took the baby from the shocked Willow’s arms and handed him back to his mother. Willow stood unmovingly. The she came to her senses and turned to her brother.
     “Carson, can you come here for a second?” she said shakily. He was about to say no, but then realized how awful she looked. He nodded and they went outside the door of the room. “What is it?” he asked.
     “When we walked into the room, I got a feeling. Every time there’s a Powered person anywhere near me, it happens.”
“Whoa, that’s weird. But what does it matter right now?”
     “When I held Rory, it got stronger. And then I noticed something.”
“What?”
     “His eyes.”
“What about his eyes?”
     “What do my eyes have?”
Carson stood dumbly for a second, confused, and then realized what she meant. “No,” he whispered, horrified. “No way. That’s not possible.”
“But it is, Carson. I saw it.” Willow said. “Rory is Powered too.”
Chapter Four
They stood in silence for a moment, thinking about the incredible discovery. “What are we gonna do, Carson?” Willow finally said. Carson only shook his head and sighed. “Let’s just go back in, and try and act natural and put this out of our minds. We’ll worry about it later.”
     So they went back into the room with their family, talked to Lise some more, held Rory one more time, and then left. Their parents felt that it was a perfect match. Willow, however, was more nervous than she’d ever been. When they arrived back home, she went to her room and sat on her bed.
     How was this possible? Another Powered person? She knew there were more, but she never imagined that she would know another on a first-name basis. Carson suddenly walked into the room. He didn’t say anything at first, but sat across from her at her desk. “You have any ideas?” he asked.
     Willow knew what he meant. “Not yet,” she replied, blowing her hair out of her face. “I still can barely believe it. I never imagined…” her voice trailed off. Carson nodded. “Me neither.”
     Suddenly his eyes looked very troubled, yet hopeful. “Willow,” he said. “Willow, I have an idea.”
…………………..
“Carson, are you out of your mind?”
     Carson had just told Willow what his idea was, and she was reeling. “There’s no way we can do that! Rory is just a baby! How can you even think about putting him through all of that?” Carson looked slightly sheepish.
     “They have experience in that area. They know what to do with Powered people. And maybe it can help him and us.”
    “I can’t believe you’re even saying this!”
“Willow, you did it for me! You went against everything you believed in, everything you’ve been taught, to get me back. Why can’t you do the same for Rory?”
     “Because he’s a baby, Carson! We were 15 when we did it. And what did it do to us? I’m not willing to do it. There’s no way.”
………………….
Willow played in the living room with Rhiel, handing her blocks to build a tower. She continued to roll Carson’s idea around in her head, knowing that she would never do it but still thinking about it. It had helped them when Carson went missing. Willow learned about her Power, which had been immensely helpful.
     But why was she considering it? It had done more harm than good. She was practically traumatized. She’d learned that a literal criminal was her father. And she’d nearly gotten taken away from her family, never to return.
     But honestly, it could help…
………………..
She walked up to Carson, who was sitting at the table and using the computer. “Let’s do it. I’m willing to. But not today. We can’t do it yet.” Carson looked up.
     “Why not today?”
“We need an opportunity to see Rory again. Maybe figure out what his Power is.”
    “There’s no time to wait! Mom said we’ll be having him come here by next Tuesday. And that’s in 4 days!”
     Willow sat down in a chair abruptly. “4 days?” Carson nodded and Willow shook her head in disbelief. “And I thought adoption moved slowly. Boy, was I wrong…”
     “Well, it does take a while. Mom said they’ve planned it since before Rhiel was born. But don’t you see what I mean? We can’t wait any longer.”
     Willow nodded reluctantly. “Let’s do it tonight.”
And so their plan was formed. They tried to act normal for the rest of the day, but ended up staring into space often. Willow put 3 forks at one place while setting the table for dinner and earned a strange look from her mother. Carson walked into his bedroom door and got a black eye in the process. “What’s up with you two today? You’re acting pretty strange.”
     “That’s true,” their father agreed. “I thought we were going fancy when I found 3 forks at my seat tonight.”
     Willow facepalmed herself and shook her head. “Still can’t believe I did that. But I’m just lost in thought, I guess. I’ve got an English quiz I’ve got to catch up on tomorrow, so I’m kind of worried about that.”
    Carson nodded. “Yeah, History test. I was still thinking about the Russian…Revolution. The second one.”
     “Ah, the Russians! Such a long history. It’s understandable. You need help studying? Quizzing or anything?” their father offered. Carson shook his head, glancing quickly over at Willow. “I think I’m good,” he said. “Probably got it all down by now. I studied for 3 hours.” Then he scooped a bite of potato into his mouth.
    They finished the meal while listening to their parents talk about work. It wasn’t very interesting, but it kept their minds off of their plan for later. They cleared the table and played with Rhiel, avoiding the future. But soon Rhiel was in bed, the kitchen was spotless, and they had nothing to do. They went upstairs to Carson’s bedroom with their home phone.
     “Are you absolutely positive that we should do this?” Willow asked.
“No,” Carson admitted. “But I think we should. It’s our best chance to help Rory.”
     Willow nodded and put in the numbers. Suddenly Willow was overwhelmed by the feeling of a Powered person, and she closed her eyes, dropping the phone.
     “Willow, are you okay? What’s wrong?” Carson asked, concerned. “There’s someone nearby,” she said. “Really close.”
      Carson’s eyes widened. “Do you think…” he didn’t finish. It was obvious. Willow nodded and turned. She knew what it was, but still jumped when she saw the person standing in front of her. “Diana,” she stated. “What are you doing here?”
      “Willow,” Diana responded. “Carson.” She stood silently for a moment. Willow noticed that the usual happiness and goofiness in her eyes was gone, and they were very solemn. “I’ve come here because I need you.”
 
Chapter Five
“Why?” Carson asked simply. Willow could tell that he was nervous, but he sounded incredibly calm. Diana looked away. “There’s a problem,” she said. “There’s something else. An extremely dangerous something.”
     “What is it?” Willow asked. “Not a something, I guess,” Diana corrected herself. “A someone.”
“Well, who is it?” Carson said. “I can’t tell you that yet,” Diana said. “Only that he’s extremely dangerous and I need your help to stop him.”
     “I – we – can’t help you unless we know what we’re up against,” Willow told her. Then she noticed that someone was missing. “Did Silas go rogue or something? He’s not here like usual.”
     Diana shook her head, suddenly looking a little perplexed. “No,” she said slowly. “I…I actually don’t know where Silas is. He left shortly after we took you two home a year ago, and I haven’t seen him since.”
     Now Willow was confused too. “What? But I’ve seen him! He watches from a distance through the invisibility, and sometimes he becomes visible for a second when I notice.”
     Diana frowned. “You have? That’s impossible! I haven’t even been able to find his thoughts since the last time we saw each other.”
     Carson had been sitting silently, his eyes getting larger by the second. “Wait, wait, wait. You’ve seen Silas since then? He’s seen you? And you didn’t tell anybody?” Willow shrugged. “I didn’t see a reason to. He’s probably been doing it my entire life and I just never noticed.”
     Carson didn’t say anything, but his eyes returned to normal, no longer the size of saucers. He nodded. “Diana, you have to tell us who we’re fighting before we join you,” Willow said. “Or else we can’t. This isn’t really a good time anyway. Rhiel’s birthday party is next month, and our family is adopting a baby in a few days.”
     The woman’s eyebrows went up. “Rory, you mean?” Now it was Willow’s turn to be surprised. “How did you know? Did you read my thoughts?”
“No,” Diana responded simply. “But I’ve sensed him. He has a Power, and a gold Iris Ring. He’s just as strong as you are. That’s why you’re sitting here with the phone dialed to the Seekers’ number.”
     “You’re right,” Willow said. “But since you’re here now, there’s really no point.”
Diana nodded. Suddenly they heard the children’s mother calling them. They looked at each other briefly, took Diana’s hands, and went into the world of color that meant they were teleporting.
 
Chapter Six
Diana took a very long time searching for a place to stop this time, and Willow almost got bored watching the places flash in front of her eyes. When they stopped, all of them out of breath, they were in a room Willow recognized immediately: The Head’s old office! “Why are we here?” Willow shouted, much louder than she’d intended. “Calm down, it’s empty,” Diana told her. “I’ve been staying here so I won’t be found.”
     Carson turned to her, having caught his breath by then. “Why’d it take so long?” Diana looked downward, looking a bit sad. “I was checking again for Silas.” Willow looked away from her discreetly, knowing she probably shouldn’t mention it. “So what are we doing? Who are we fighting?” she asked, getting back to her original point.
     “Wait, Willow,” Carson said. “We need to tell her about Rory.”
“Oh, you’re right,” Willow replied. She recalled everything she knew about the baby. “Well, you know he’s about a year old. He’s got a Power as strong as mine. We know that we’re adopting him.” She paused. “I think that’s about it. I wanted to wait and find out what his Power was, but there wasn’t time.” She stopped.
     “And his mom’s name is Lise,” Carson added. Willow nodded, and Diana furrowed her brow. “Yeah, I knew most of that. How do you want me to help him?”
     Willow looked at Carson, who had been the one to bring up the idea in the first place. He looked slightly sheepish. “Well, I thought…maybe help him control it? Like, keep him from hurting himself?” Willow looked shocked. “Seriously, Carson? I could do that myself! I have a Power!” Carson’s face went pink.
    “I didn’t really think about that,” he said, eyes to the ground. Willow shook her head. “We can worry about it later. Diana, you wanted us to help you with this person. Who is it and what do they do?”
     Diana sighed heavily. “You are really persistent, aren’t you? I can’t believe I didn’t notice that when I first met you.” Willow smiled, but then made her face serious again.  Diana began. “So his name—“
    Suddenly Willow’s eyes lit up. “Wait! Wait! Diana!” She turned to her quickly. “I know where Silas is!”
Diana’s face filled with hope. “Really? Where?”
     “I last saw him on the way to school, while I was waiting for the bus to finish loading. He was watching from a distance, like always. But it looked like he was in somebody’s yard.”
     Diana looked confused now. “What does that have to do with anything?”
“It means he’s near me and Carson’s house. This was just a few days ago, so he might still be there!”
    “You’re right,” Carson said. “Should we go there, Diana? The bus stop, I mean?” He turned to Diana for confirmation. She was sitting, eyes glowing and not speaking. “Diana?” Carson repeated. Her eyes stopped glowing and she looked at them happily. “You were right, Willow,” she said. “He’s still there.”
……………………..
Silas was feeling conflicted. He was angry, but at the same time incredibly relieved. Why had he not been able to block her in time? He was staying hidden for a reason.  And then Diana had figured out where he was, and now she was undoubtedly coming to find him. But then, why was he really hiding? Was it really a valid reason? He buried his head in his hands.
     He had trained her too well.
………………….
Diana’s eyes glowed as they entered the world of color. She carefully searched every home, every location to see where he was. Suddenly she stopped. She heard his thoughts and saw him. Should she really do it? Maybe he had a reason for staying away.
     “Diana, come on!” Willow suddenly said. It broke Diana’s concentration, and she landed without meaning to. Silas looked up from where he was sitting with no indication of shock or surprise on his face. However, that only lasted until he saw Willow and Carson. “Diana, what are you doing?” he asked, eyes wide. “Why are they here?”
     Diana looked him straight in the eye. “Simon’s back.”
 
Chapter Seven
Silas stared her in the face, a bemused look on his face. “You’re joking, right? There’s no way.” He searched her eyes for any sign of sarcasm or play, but he found none. His face became more serious. “Honestly, you can’t be serious.”
     But Diana shook her head, serious as anything. Silas buried his head in his hands once more. “Oh, my lord, we’re finished…”
      Willow and Carson watched all of this, extremely confused. What were they talking about? “Um…who’s Simon?” Silas only groaned, and Diana turned to them. “Simon is…my brother. I tried to tell you about him, but then you told me about Silas. Anyway, Simon had always been jealous of my Power, which I was born with, so he gave himself a Power when he was 20 years old. But he didn’t use it for the right things. He was a real criminal.”
     “He gave himself a Power?” Carson said incredulously.
“Yeah. He gave himself the power to make whatever he says actually happen. Like, if he said right now, ‘Carson doesn’t exist anymore’, Carson wouldn’t exist anymore. He’d be gone.”
     “And we put him away years ago! We made for sure and absolute certain that he wouldn’t ever come back. How?” Silas was in disbelief. He never could have imagined that Simon would return. “You guys put him in jail?” Willow said. “I thought you worked for the Seekers!”
     “We did,” Silas responded. “But this was a family problem. Diana’s brother. So she decided that she had to stop him, and we did. But it nearly killed us. We had to create a ridiculous explanation to tell the Head after that happened.”
    “Huh,” Willow said. It kind of changed her perspective. She’d thought of Silas and Diana first as her aunt and a creepy person, then as members of the Seekers, then Silas as her father, and now both of them as crime fighters. It was an interesting cycle.
    Diana spoke up again. “I brought them because Willow has a gold Iris Ring and her power is greater than either of us. I thought maybe Willow could take his Power, or at least lessen it so that he isn’t as strong. Carson...Carson just came along for the ride, I guess.”
     Carson rolled his eyes. Silas considered, but then he shook his head decisively. “You can’t make her do that! She’s only 16! She already took down the Head by herself. She’s got no need to do it again.”
     Willow had stood listening to this. “I think I can handle it,” she said thoughtfully. “Like you said, I took down the Head by myself. He was less powerful that Simon, whoever he is, which could pose a problem. But I think I can handle it.”
     Silas stared at her in disbelief. “Are you sure about this? Honestly, you think that you can take down literally the most powerful person on the planet?” Willow had begun to get a little pale, but she nodded. “Scared, but sure.” Silas raised his hands in surrender.
     “Let me come with you all. You might need it anyway.”
 
Chapter Eight (Mini Chapter)
They’d argued for an hour. Right after Willow had made the decision to fight Simon and Silas had decided to come, Diana decided against it. She refused to do it and was second-guessing every decision she’d made about her brother, about Willow, and the choice to find out where Silas was. Carson interjected occasionally with an agreement or a disagreement, and what he said usually changed the course of the conversation.
     Finally, they came to a consensus. Willow and Silas would go to where Simon was and try to stop him while Diana and Carson worked on the situation with Rory, which they quickly explained to Silas. He agreed with their decision to find them, but was also slightly bewildered. “Why would you find us? Why not tell his mother and Carson’s parents?”
     “You were the ones with knowledge on the Powered,” Carson said. “You worked with Powered people for years.” Silas understood and the conversation moved on. “When are we doing this?” Willow asked.
     “Lovely question,” Silas said. “We can’t tell our parents,” Carson replied. “They’d freak out. One time going all over the place with the people who kidnapped Willow is enough for them.” The group nodded, knowing it was probably true.
     They finally agreed to do it the next morning. They would have to skip school, Diana explained, but the kids understood easily. The fate of the world or school? The fate of the world won every time. Diana teleported them back to their house, where they found their parents watching a movie on the couch. “What were you two doing all this time?” their mother asked. “You never disappear for this long.” Willow breathed a sigh of relief. They didn’t suspect a thing. “Playing a game,” Willow said. “We didn’t even get to the end. We’ll have to finish it tomorrow.”
Chapter Nine
Willow woke the next morning before it was light out and pulled on clothes and shoes. She stuffed her homework and schoolbooks in her backpack and took it with her. She needed to be sure that her parents would think she went to school.
     She reached the front door where her brother was waiting with his own backpack and 2 granola bars. They ate on the way to the agreed meeting place, the house Silas had been hiding out in (he didn’t live there. It was just “for sale”.). “Come in quick,” they were told when they arrived. “We’ve got to do this as soon as possible and there’s an Open House here today. We don’t know what Simon’s planning and it can’t be good.”
     Despite the hurried nature of what they were doing, they stood in silence for a moment before proceeding. They looked each other up and down, thinking about what was about to take place. “Carson, if we don’t see each other again—“ Willow started. But she was cut off by Carson. He held a hand up to stop her. “You’ll do fine. You and Silas are gonna take down Simon, and me and Diana will figure out the situation with Rory, and we’ll be home safe and sound to live life.” He stepped back, but then stepped forward again and hugged her tightly. “Good luck, sis,” He whispered. “You too,” Willow whispered back. She and the adults joined hands so Diana could teleport them to the location and Carson disappeared from her view, replaced by the color of teleportation.
     Diana’s eyes glowed doubly bright as she used her telepathic Power to search out her brother. It took her about five minutes, and then they entered it. Diana landed with them for a moment. “Good luck, you guys,” she said softly, a hint of her old goofiness in her eyes. She looked at them both closely with a faint smile before going away. Silas and Willow glanced at each other before stepping forward.
     Gosh, it’s always corridors, isn’t it? Willow thought amusedly as they walked. Her feeling of a nearby Powered person began to get stronger as they went farther. At one point it got weaker. “Silas, go back,” she said. “It’s stronger this way.” He frowned. “What are you talking about? It’s that way.” He pointed. But Willow shook her head. “We need to go this way.” She went to the right, and he followed her reluctantly.
      Suddenly Willow was overwhelmed with the feeling and she fell against the wall. Silas got it too and closed his eyes, but it wasn’t as strong as Willow’s. “Are you alright?” he asked her sharply. She nodded. “He’s really close now. This is the strongest it’s ever been, even with Rory.”
    Silas looked up and his eyes glowed strongly. Then they stopped, filled with fear. “I shouldn’t have done that. He knows we’re here now.” He took Willow arm and pulled her away, back down two of the corridors. But then they ducked behind a wall. “Guards,” he said. He looked around to make sure there were none behind them. “What are you doing?” Willow said. She was livid. “We were this close to finding him! Literally!
     Her eyes glowed as she attempted to make him listen to her. “Go back.” But Silas’s eyes glowed in return, muting his daughter’s Power. “What do you think I was doing? If he knows we’re here, which he does now, he can come find us and we can’t stop him!”
     Willow tried again to use the Head’s Power on him and failed once more. “It’s not going to work, Willow,” he said calmly, sighing. “You know my Power can mute yours. “
     “And you know I can take yours,” Willow responded.
“But you won’t do it unless you have to,” Silas said, looking her in the eye. “Now stop.” Willow complied, looking down to the ground in defeat. “What are we doing now?” she whispered. She sounded terrified. Silas shook his head. “I’ve got no clue,” he said. “But we’ll figure something out. We’ve got to.”
     Suddenly a voice filled their ears, not coming from either of them. They glanced at each other and listened. The voice almost sounded childish, speaking in an upbeat, energetic tone. It spoke poetically.
Whoever you are, I know you’re here! Why don’t you give up now? I can’t be beat, so either learn or retreat.
     Willow and Silas frowned. What the heck were they hearing?
Oh, and Silas…The voice added. It seemed to be smiling. I know it’s you. Might as well give up trying to maintain that air of secrecy.
Willow looked confused, but Silas’s face grew pale. “Oh, my lord, we’re finished…” he repeated his words from earlier. “Who is it? What’s happening?” But she felt that she already knew. Silas looked up at her again, confirming her suspicions. “That’s Simon.”
 
Chapter Ten (Mini Chapter)
“What?” Willow practically shouted. She was in disbelief, even though she’d guessed beforehand. “Then what are we doing here? Why are we just sitting around waiting for him? Let’s go!” She stood up and started for the door, but Silas pulled her back. His eyes were pained and broken.
     “Willow, we can’t,” he said gently. “Don’t you see? He can’t be stopped again. The Powers grow over time, and we stopped him 4 years ago. He’ll be practically invincible by now. And Carson’s parents, they’ll be heartbroken if he wishes you away, or something like that.”
    Willow pulled her arm away. “So you’re just giving up? Sitting here to wait for him to come catch you, torture you? What kind of person does that?” Her voice cracked as she said the last words, and Silas didn’t respond. Willow shook her head. “I guess you are.” She turned and walked out of the room, not caring whether she was seen.
     She headed down the corridor quickly and purposefully, the feeling strengthening as she got closer. It nearly overwhelmed her like it did before, but she took control this time and used it to her advantage. Finally she reached a door. It had no lock, no code or anything that would keep someone out. There was only a doorknob that opened easily. She breathed deeply and pushed the door open to reveal a man standing and facing away from the door.
 
Chapter Eleven: Simon Says (Officially Introducing Simon)
The man in front of her turned. “Hello there!” he shouted. “I’ve been waiting for someone to finally come in, to finally try and stop me!”
     Then he got a good look at Willow. “Wait, is this a joke? Who are you?” Willow narrowed her eyes.
“I’m Silas’s daughter.” It was the first time she’d ever said it, and it sounded strange.
      “You’ve got to be kidding me. I’m the most powerful person currently on the planet and they send a 14-year old girl! Ha! What has the world come to?”
     “I’m 16, FYI,” Willow said. What the heck was he wearing? Willow wondered. Was it a trench coat?  “And you’re not the most powerful.” Simon raised his eyebrows. “Oh, is that so? I’m guessing you’re going to say that you are?”
     Willow’s eyes lit up. “Try me.” They glowed strongly and Simon’s eyes glowed like lightbulbs before starting to fade. But they returned to a normal glow shortly after. “Little spitfire, eh? Gold Iris Ring? Maybe it wasn’t quite as much of a stupid decision as I thought. But…it sucks to be them! Because now your Power is gone.” He raised his hands in the air and snapped his fingers. Willow instantly felt her eyes stop glowing, and Simon’s glowed even brighter with his full Power returned. She felt no different than she usually did…before she found Simon. The Powered feeling had disappeared.
     “What did you just do?” Willow said breathlessly. Apparently, she’d just discovered, the one thing that sapped your energy more than using your Power was having it taken away! Simon laughed maliciously. “Why, I’ve simply gotten rid of your Power! No getting that back now.”
………………….
Silas heard laughing from a ways away and looked up. Willow! Where was she? He stood up quickly and looked around the room. Oh no, no, no…had she gone to find him? How could he have let her do this? What was Simon doing to her? He went invisible and ran down the halls.
     He could never forgive himself.
……………….
Willow was on the ground, trying to breathe normally. She was hyperventilating at the shock of losing her Power and weak from having it disappear so quickly. Simon was still laughing. “Oh, so I’m not the most powerful person on the planet? Are you sure about that?”
    Suddenly Willow felt the sensation of being invisible, and Simon stopped laughing, replacing the sound with a smug grin. “Ah, Silas!” he shouted. “Back again to rescue your poor, powerless little child. Why don’t you show yourself, you coward?”
     Silas’s hand tightened around Willow’s arm, and it hurt. But she didn’t mention. Her own fists were clenching as well. “Don’t do anything,” Willow whispered. Her voice was returning as well as her ability to breathe. “Resist him. He’s so infuriating, but you have to fight through it.” She stood up and moved toward the door, followed by Silas on her wrist.
     “I can feel you leaving,” Simon said ruefully. “You really are cowards. I wonder what Rory’s going to think about his big sister when he’s old enough to find out about this!” At that, Willow stopped dead in her tracks. Rory? She turned around and looked at Simon, who was turning back around similarly to how he was when Willow entered the room at first. Silas pulled her arm roughly, forcing her out of the room. She went, but she was more confused than she’s ever been in her life.
     They reached the exit to the building and Diana suddenly appeared in front of them, taking them to the house Silas had been hiding out in. When they landed, Willow turned to Silas and hugged him tightly. “Thank you,” she said. “You saved my life.”
    Silas hugged her back with a mildly bewildered look on his face. “You’re welcome,” he whispered. A moment later Diana spoke up. “So what happened? Did you stop him?”
     Willow looked disappointed. “He…he took my Power.”
“He took it?” Carson cried. “How? I thought only you could do that!”
“I guess he didn’t really take it,” Willow corrected. “More like he got rid of it. No one has it now. It’s just…gone.” Silas nodded in confirmation. “She couldn’t breathe for a while, because of the exhaustion. You know it’s hard to use it, but it seems like it’s harder to have it taken away.” This time Willow nodded. Carson shook his head in wonder. “He really is powerful.”
    “What did you guys find out?” Silas asked Carson and Diana. The two looked sheepish. We didn’t really find anything out. I mean, we tried, don’t get me wrong, but there just wasn’t much to find out.” Suddenly Willow frowned. “Wait. Silas. Simon said something about Rory, didn’t he?” Silas looked up in revelation. “You’re right!”
    “Yeah. He said something about how he would be…disappointed that I was his sister, or something like that. I don’t remember. But the thing was how he knew about him. How?
     Suddenly Simon’s voice filled the air again, and all of them could hear it, even Carson.
Yes, me again. I can hear you…
The permanently teasing tone in his voice was driving Willow crazy. “What are you doing? How are you doing this?” she said forcefully.
Willow. Poor little Powerless Willow. You don’t have a clue, do you? And you’ll never find out! I’ll take that secret to the grave.
“How did you know about Rory?” Carson questioned. He could see how this person annoyed Willow so badly that she yelled seconds ago.
Rory, hmm? How did I know about him? Why, that’s simple, my dears. He paused here. I chose Rory for you. I’ve planned it all down to the second.
Chapter Twelve
“How dare you,” Diana whispered dangerously.
Oh, Diana. How are you, sister mine? It’s been so long.
“He’s only a baby!” Diana said, ignoring her brother. “How could you toy with someone so young and innocent because you’re bored?”
Boredom? Boredom? Diana, you’re like a different person. You know nothing about me anymore. How could you think I did this out of boredom?
“Why did you do it?” Willow shouted angrily.
You’ll find out, won’t you? It won’t be much longer now…
With those words, his voice disappeared from the air and the group sat silently, shocked. Everyone’s eyes were wide. Willow turned to Carson. “Carson, we need to go home and ask our parents if we can see Rory again. I have to be sure that he’s okay.”
     “What? Do you think they’ll actually let us?”
Willow looked sheepish. “Not really,” she admitted. “But I have to know. He’s just so little and unaware, and if Simon hurts him I’ll never forgive myself, knowing that I had a chance to help him and didn’t.” Carson sat silently for a moment, but then he nodded. “Okay, I see your point. But how are we gonna convince them to let us?”
    “I don’t know,” Willow replied. “Maybe I’ll…tell them I left my jacket or something. In the room Rory was staying in. That might work.”
     Diana and Silas were listening to this as it went down and had appeared to be having a silent conversation. They turned to the children. “We might have a way.”
……………………
“No! Are you nuts?”
     “We think it might work. Dangerous, sure, but it might work.”
Silas and Diana had just explained their plan, and Carson wasn’t having it. He thought they were crazy. Willow, on the other hand, was more sure about it. She’d done crazy things in the process of rescuing Carson from the Head, and while she wasn’t sure she wanted to do something crazier, she was more willing that her brother.
     The plan was that Diana would transport them to Rory and his mother’s room and they would ensure that he was there, plain and simple. Carson’s problem was that they were teleporting again, which he still wasn’t used to, and they were essentially breaking into someone’s house.
     “For the record, Carson, we’ll only be there for a minute or so,” Willow said. “And Diana can take us back out within seconds.”
But Carson still hesitated. “I’m still not sure if—“
   Diana stopped him. “Carson, I know it’s something crazy. It’s something you’ve never done before, and you never would have even considered it otherwise. But Rory’s life is at stake here. And he’s so young.” She paused. “All we’re doing is going in and checking the house to see if he’s there. We’ll literally be in and out.” She took his hand and they disappeared, leaving Silas and Willow. There was an awkward silence.
    They sat that way for 5 minutes by the clock. Then Willow looked around. “Why do you think it’s taking so long?” she asked.
     “I’m not sure,” Silas responded, sounding the slightest bit nervous. “They should be back by now.” He looked around as well.
     “Do you think we should go and try and figure out where they are?”
“I really don’t know.” Silas sighed. “You don’t have your Power any more, and we’ve got no clue where they are. It would take forever to find out.”
    Willow’s heart sank at the mention of her lost Power, and she hung her head. “You’re right.” She looked at the man next to her. “How am I any help at all now? Diana said it herself, she brought me because of my Power. And now I don’t have it.”
     Silas looked pained and he looked Willow in the face. “Willow, you can’t say that. You matter even without your Power. You’re smart, and bold. You are amazing, Willow. A Power doesn’t define a person.”
    Willow gave a small smile. “You know, I’ve started to think of you as my dad. I told Simon I was your daughter. And I’ve heard you saying things like ‘Carson’s parents’ when you’re talking to both of us, rather than ‘your parents’, so I know that, to you, I’m your daughter.” Her face reddened a small bit. “I like it a little bit.”
     Silas’s face was a little red too. “I think of you as my daughter, yes. And I’m so proud of you and everything you’ve done.” He looked her in the face again and set his hands on her shoulders. “I wouldn’t have this any other way.”
     Suddenly Diana and Carson appeared.  “Gosh, I hate doing that.” Carson said, shaking himself off. “He’s not there,” Diana told the other two. “He isn’t in any room of the house.”
 
Chapter Thirteen
     Willow’s eyes went as wide as dinner plates with fear and worry. “Are you sure? You checked everywhere?” Carson nodded. “Even in the basement, where no baby’s gone before. Lise is there, acting normal, but Rory’s not anywhere.” Willow buried her head in her hands.
     “No!” she shouted. But even though she denied it, she knew it had to be true. Carson and Diana wouldn’t lie to her. Suddenly Simon’s earlier words echoed in her mind: I’ve planned it all down to the second. Her eyes became huge, and she sat up.
     “Guys, Simon said he planned something down to the second, and that why he knew about Rory, why he picked Rory.” She looked at everyone in the room. “I’m willing to bet money that he took him.”
……………….
Simon watched the baby sitting on the floor. He seemed fascinated by his own fingers, and he was turning his hand over again and again, laughing hysterically each time. Simon actually found it somewhat funny and cute, and he felt a brief pang at what was going to happen soon. But it was the only way.
………………
Willow let go of Carson and Diana’s hands as they arrived on their front porch. Was she sure about this? No. But her parents needed to know about Rory. She entered the house and the others followed her.  “Mom, you here?” she called. “Dad?” She walked into the basement, where her parents were standing around several pages of blueprints on a table. They turned when Willow came down the stairs. “Willow, what are you doing home?” Mrs. Rosell asked. “It’s only 2!”
     “Something happened,” Willow said. “It has to do with Rory.”
Mr. Rosell started to say something, but frowned before he did. “Who are these people, Willow?”
“Mom and Dad, meet Diana and Silas. Silas and Diana, these are…Carson’s parents.”
     A flicker of recognition crossed Mr. Rosell’s face. “I recognize you, sir,” he said. “But I just can’t put my finger on it.”
     Silas stepped forward. “Silas Shar, sir. Willow’s biological father.” Mr. Rosell shook Silas’s hand as his eyebrows disappeared into his hair. “For real? I never thought we’d meet again after we adopted her.”
     Diana repeated Silas’s actions before explaining the situation. “You know Willow has a Power, right?” The Rosells nodded.
     “Rory, the baby you’re adopting, he’s also Powered. We don’t know what it is yet. Anyway, there’s someone else who’s Powered, my brother Simon. He has the Power to make whatever he says happen. This works unnaturally, because he gave himself the Power years ago. But the point here is, he got rid of Willow’s Power, just by saying so. It’s gone. And he also took Rory.”
     The Rosell’s expressions had been changing wildly throughout this whole speech, and they finally settled on shock-and-horror. “Rory is gone?” Mrs. Rosell said. “Where is he?”
     Diana shook her head. “We don’t know for sure,” she said. “But we might have an idea. We just thought you should know about Rory.” Mrs. Rosell nodded, collapsing into the nearest chair. Mr. Rosell turned to Willow. “Your Power is gone?” he said.
     “Yep,” Willow said. “Like if I tried to make Carson hit himself in the face right now, it wouldn’t work. And I couldn’t steal, say, Silas’s Power if I wanted to.” She turned to Carson and attempted to make her eyes start glowing so the Power would work, but nothing happened. “I’m sorry, hon,” Mr. Rosell said. “That can’t be good.” Willow shook her head and shrugged. “I’ll live. It’s not like it’s the end of the world or anything.”
     They said their goodbyes and hugged the Rosells before leaving on their quest to find Rory. As they did so, Willow reflected on the last 10 minutes; something strange had happened. When she attempted to make her Power work on Carson, it hadn’t worked. But at the same time, she’d felt that it was beginning to. It felt like it was coming back. Was she imagining it? She would have to tell someone later and get a second opinion.
     They were out of the basement now, and Diana moved them into the world of color. “Don’t go straight to him,” Silas said. “We’ll be better prepared if we’ve got at least a bit of surprise.”
 
Chapter Fourteen
The group arrived at the door of Simon’s hideout building and looked up briefly. Then they went forward.
     Unlike the other times she’d been to this place, Willow was scared out of her mind. She didn’t have a Power this time, and her future brother’s life was at stake. If they found him, what would they do? Silas and Diana’s Powers only allowed them to move and hide, so they couldn’t do as much as Willow would have been able to. But that wasn’t what would happen, and she was terrified.
     They were nearing the door where they could go in, and Willow got the Powered feeling. Why did she feel it? She didn’t have her Power! She decided to try something. Carson, lift your hand, Willow thought. She focused as hard as she could. Carson’s hand went up! He looked incredibly confused, and he forced it back down. So her Power wasn’t at full strength yet. But it was back!
     She had to think about that when they faced Simon.
They’d reached the door that Simon was behind. They all paused and glanced at one another nervously before Willow finally took a deep breath and pushed the door open.
     “Back again so soon?” Simon said. Oh, he was infuriating. “Where is Rory?” Willow demanded. She wanted to get it through his head right off the bat. But Simon only grinned and pointed. “Why, he’s right there!” All heads turned to where Simon was pointing and Carson dashed forward. “Ah-ah, can’t have you doing that now!” Simon turned his finger to Carson. “Freeze!
 
     Carson froze in place a mere two feet from the baby, who stared up at Carson with a confused look on his face. The other three whipped back to Simon. “What did you just do?” Diana said quietly.  She seemed to be restraining herself, and with good reason. Simon shrugged, “Just froze him in place for a moment while we conduct business. Say, let’s play a little game, why don’t we? Nobody move.
     Willow suddenly found herself unable to move. Her eyes could still look around, but that was all. Silas and Diana appeared to be in the same position. She glanced over at Rory, who was still watching Carson. “Now,” Simon said. “All three of you have a Power.”
     Willow doesn’t have a Power anymore, Diana said angrily through her telepathy. “Oh, has she not told you yet?” Simon said, raising his eyebrows. “It’s back now. I only took it away to give you all a little scare. She can do whatever she wants. But!” He paused and grinned maliciously. “That may not be the case for much longer.”
     Diana rolled her eyes. What’s that supposed to mean? Simon fake-frowned. “Why don’t you let me explain, sis? That’s what this game we’re playing is. I’m going to pick one of you, and I’m going to allow you to move again. You’ll be free.” He stroked his chin, pretending to be indecisive. “Let’s see here. Who will it be?”
     He walked in a circle around the three of them, all of which were staring daggers at him. “I think I choose…Diana. Come forth, dear sister.” Diana was unfroze and nearly fell forward. “What are you doing?” She went over to Rory and picked him up. “Why are you doing this?”
     “You might want to put the baby down, Diana,” Simon said. “Because you’re about to feel weaker than you ever have in your life.” Diana’s eyes became fearful.
     “What do you mean?”
“You’ve always been the one with the Power, the one who could lord it over me. But now, now that won’t be the case. You won’t be able to do it ever again.”
     Willow was getting a very bad feeling, and she struggled to make her Power work. Her eyes flickered, and she felt her hands move. “Stop,” she said through barely open lips. “Leave her alone.” Simon turned to her with a look of disbelief on his face. “What are you doing?” Willow slowly, stiffly turned herself to face Simon, eyes glowing brightly. “Stopping you.”
     “Oh, quit it. We all know you’re too weak to stop me! I’m stronger than any of you. Now, on with this!” He turned back to his sister and snapped his fingers. “No Power for you. Now, I’m the one on top. I’m the powerful one!” But nothing happened. Simon looked around in confusion and saw Willow watching him with her eyes glowing brightly. "How are you doing this?" he said. He rolled his eyes and repeated his earlier actions at Diana. "You've got no Power now."
     This time it worked, and Diana fell to the floor, nearly dropping Rory in the process.
 
Chapter Fifteen
"Diana!" Willow cried. Now that Simon had ended the "game", she and the others were able to move. She dashed forward and scooped up Rory before he hit the ground, and Silas followed her.
     "Diana, are you okay? Talk to me, talk." Silas said. He was on the ground next to her, holding her up. "Come on, you can't do this! You've got to be okay." But Diana did nothing. She was on the ground, totally unconscious.
     "Diana!" Willow repeated. "Diana, no! Get up!”  She clutched Rory to her chest in a desperate attempt to avoid reaching out for Diana, shaking her to wake her up. She turned to Simon furiously. "Why? Why are you doing this to your own sister?"
     Simon looked a little nervous. "Calm down, I only took her Power away! She'll wake up within a few minutes and she'll be fine." Silas looked at Simon. "Don't you ever do anything like this again," he said. "You don't want to know what I'll do."
     "Is that so?" Simon said, raising his eyebrows. "I doubt that."
"You doubt it?" Silas faced Simon, shaking with anger. "You doubt it? Why don't you find out what'll happen when you doubt it!"
     Simon put his hands up in surrender. "Whoa, whoa, not looking for any violence here!" Silas hung his head and sank to his knees again. “Diana, you have to wake up,” he whispered. “You have to.” His eyes, usually clear and focused, were wet. Willow’s own eyes weren’t exactly dry either.
     Carson stepped forward after watching all this in horror. He took Diana’s wrist in his hand and felt it. “She’s got a pulse,” he said. “So she’s still alive.” The others looked only somewhat relieved. Willow turned savagely to Simon. “You didn’t answer the question. Why are you doing this? Why are you taking her Power away, taking mine away, bringing Rory here? Why?”
    Simon grinned now. “I told you I took yours away for a bit of fun, simply a joke to give you a scare. Plus, it won’t stay away since you’ve got a gold Iris Ring.” Willow’s eyes flared, daring him to continue. “Now Diana, Diana was a different story. When we were children, she was the one who would always show off to our parents that she was the better one, she was the one who could do more. All because she had a Power!” He glared at her sleeping body on the floor, surrounded by Carson and Silas.
     “I was the one who got ignored, neglected when we got rewards for something. And when we were grown, it was the same thing all over again! She was the one who got the job with the Seekers. She was the one who had her name recognized for things. And I was the one left behind!”
   “And Rory?” Willow said. Rory looked frightened now at Simon’s yelling, and Willow rocked him facing away from the man.
     “He’s one of the keys to my plan. His Power…he’s going to have the Power to alter reality. So I need him to use his Power, and I need him to change the world for the better: No Powered. All is equal, all is calm. I’ll be the only one.”
Chapter Sixteen
     Willow’s jaw dropped. “He’s a baby! How do you expect a baby to use a Power they don’t even realize they have?”
    Simon shrugged. “So it’ll take a few years. Eventually it will happen. He will do it. Even if it means I have to do this all over again. It will be worth it to watch the Powered disappear from this world, to watch them suffer as their Power disintegrates.”
     Willow scoffed. “I think you’re crazy.”
Simon smiled. “Many of this world’s geniuses were considered crazy, were they not?”
    “She’s awake!” Carson suddenly announced from Diana’s side. Willow turned and rushed over to where Diana was slowly sitting up. “Diana!” she said. Rory reached out to her, but Willow held him back.
    “Willow,” Diana mumbled. “Silas. Carson. Where am I? What happened?”
     “Simon took your Power,” Silas told her quietly, his voice cracking. The tears were falling down his face now. “But you’re okay now. You’re alright.” Diana opened her eyes, but then closed them. Then she opened them again. “Oh, my eyes hurt. Why is everything dark?”
     Willow was confused. Nothing was dark! Then she realized something and she looked closer at Diana’s eyes. They were clouded with a dusty silver color. “She’s blind,” Willow whispered in revelation.  She turned to Simon fiercely. “She’s gone blind because of you! You took her Power and you made her go blind because of it!”
    Simon’s eyes went wide. “Is that the case? Well then, I’ve done better than I thought.”
     “Better?” Willow screeched. Her eyes glowed furiously and she felt herself getting stronger as Simon got weaker. “How does this feel?!?”
     Simon frowned as his Power diminished. “Not quite good, I’ll admit. But then, isn’t that my goal? To make them suffer?” He snapped his fingers. “Power’s gone again, for longer this time.” His eyes glowed again, back to full capacity as Willow collapsed. “How many times are you going to try and do this?” he questioned.
     Now that she was again weak and Powerless and had seen what Simon was truly capable of, Willow was shaking in her boots. She took Diana’s arm as best she could and whispered to Silas. “Take us out of sight. Quickly.”
     Silas understood her fear, as he shared it, and complied, grabbing Carson’s wrist simultaneously. Willow handed Rory to Carson, and together, the threesome quickly helped Diana off the ground and left the room. “How are we gonna get out of here? Diana was the one who did it before,” Willow said. Silas closed his eyes in anguish. “I don’t know,” he said helplessly. “I’m not that good at this. Diana was the mastermind when it came to getting places.”
     “There’s a place nearby,” Diana said. She was beginning to regain her strength, though she couldn’t see. “Just tell me where we are as we go and I’ll give you directions.” They were at the door by then, so Willow looked around and shifted Diana’s arm a little farther up.
     “Um, we’re at the door now. There’s a sign on the other side of the street that says ‘94th Ave.’ on it.” Diana furrowed her brow. “Okay, go left.”
     So they went left, and they came upon a street where they could go any direction. Silas paused at the corner, breathing hard. “I can’t do this much longer,” he said. “The Power is wearing me out.” Willow looked around worriedly for a sign. But Carson beat her to it.
     “Diana, we’re at 29th St., facing a restaurant called Sandy’s Italian. What do we do?”
“Okay, go straight ahead, then take the next left and there should be a door to the left of you.”
     They followed her instructions and found it. It turned out to be her parent’s house, and they opened the door for her and the rest of them willingly.
    “Diana, what on earth happened to you?”
She looked up in their direction, knowing their faces would be shocked and sad even without being able to see them. “Simon did this.”
     Sure enough, she was right. Their expressions became horrified. “What? When? How?”
“Just a short while ago,” Silas responded for her. “He told us he was jealous of Diana’s Power ever since childhood, so he finally just…got rid of it. Apparently he gave himself a Power years ago.”
     “Simon took your Power?” Diana’s father said. Willow and Carson nodded sorrowfully. Diana’s mother shook her head in wonder. “I just never could have imagined that our Simon would do this.” Her father agreed. “Crazy what life does to us, isn’t it.”
     Willow gazed at Rory, who was beginning to drift off in Carson’s arms. What would the world throw at him as he got older? Would he have to suffer like Diana was now, all because he had a Power? It wasn’t a pleasant thought, and she closed her eyes.
     The other were still busy talking to Diana’s parents, trying to get the story straight. But apparently, so much of what Simon had told them was untrue or only partly true. Their parents had treated Diana and Simon similarly, and Diana had just managed to be more efficient at it because of her Power.  Simon's jealously had gotten way out of hand, and how far he'd gotten from the truth shocked Willow.
    Diana's parents offered to let them stay there for the night, and they accepted on the condition that the children could call their parents before doing so. Diana's parents agreed and showed Willow and Carson the phone.
     "Dad?" Willow said when her father answered. "Yeah, it's me and Carson. Something happened to Diana, and we're at her parents' house. Long story. But anyway, they want us to stay here tonight so we'll be safe."
     She listened for their response. "Yes, we're alright. Oh, and we have Rory too. He's alright. Completely safe. I don’t know where we are, but we’re all fine."
She paused again. "Okay, here's Carson." Willow handed the phone to Carson and went back to the living room, where Diana's parents had sat their daughter on the couch. "They said we can stay," Willow said, and the parents nodded. "Is there a place we can put Rory to bed? I think he was supposed to get a nap today but he never did, obviously."
     Diana's father nodded. "Follow me. We've always got some family member or other staying here, so we make sure to keep an extra crib on hand at all times." He pulled a Pack-and-Play from a closet and unfolded it in a spare bedroom. Willow nodded her thanks and put Rory into it with her jacket as a blanket, and he drifted off quickly. Poor guy, Willow thought. She sat on the full-size bed in the room and fell asleep herself.
 
Chapter Seventeen
Diana fell to the floor again, and Willow dashed forward to catch Rory before he hit the ground. Silas was next to her, begging her to wake up.
     Suddenly Willow's eyes popped open, and she was in bed. She'd just been dreaming. She released her breath. Thank heaven. The same dream had been playing on repeat in her head ever since she'd fallen asleep the night before. Just 6 months ago Willow would never have imagined that she'd be worried about, scared for a person that had helped kidnap her. And yet here she was, worried and scared. She shook her head and got up out of the bed.
     She went down the hallway quietly. It was early in the morning and she knew not everyone was up.  However, when she walked into the living room, Carson was awake and sitting on the couch alone. He looked up when Willow walked in. He sat back. “Couldn’t sleep?” Carson nodded, holding his head up with his hands. "I guess it's just from being here, not even having a clue what city we're in." Willow couldn't help but giggle as she plopped onto the couch next to him.
"You make a good point," she said. "We should maybe ask Diana's parents that when they wake up."
     "Ask us what?" Diana's mother said, suddenly walking into the room. Willow and Carson burst out laughing. "Ask you what city we're in," Willow said through her laughter. "Diana teleported us here before she lost her Power, so we don't have any roads or anything to go off of."
 
     Diana's mom grinned. "You're in Denver, Colorado right now, m'dears. Home of the Rockies and the Denver Broncos."
“Wouldn’t have pegged you as a football fan,” Carson said, amused. “Who’s their rival?” Diana’s mother raised an eyebrow. “The Kansas City Chiefs, of course!” Carson nodded and grinned. “Right on!”
     Willow laughed and stood up. “I’m gonna go check on Rory. I’ll be right back.” She went down the hallway to the spare bedroom where she and Rory had slept. Rory was standing himself up using the walls of the Pack-and-Play and babbling. “Hi, Rory! Hi, little dude! You doin’ alright?” Rory grinned and reached for Willow’s hair as she picked him up out of the crib and left the room. “No, you cannot eat my hair. Leave my hair alone, you little silly!”
     Carson and Mrs. Malloy’s conversation had moved to the kitchen, where Mrs. Malloy was getting a box of Cheerios down from a cabinet. “You want to give Rory some food, Willow?” Willow considered. She remembered the time when she’d tried to feed Rhiel and failed. But that was when Rhiel was only 4 months old. Rory was a year old. It couldn’t be that bad, could it?
…………………..
It turned out that it could be that bad. Rory threw the Cheerios everywhere with a giant grin on his face, and they ended up in everyone’s hair, on the floor, and inside of Carson’s shoes. It was quite a spectacle, and when the others came down, Mr. Malloy and Diana (after they told her about it) laughed until they cried, and even Silas laughed. “Need a bit of help here, it looks like,” he said with a grin. They picked up the Cheerios and ate their own breakfast, then congregated in the living room.
    They sat in silence, except for Rory, who continued to babble and make the others smile. “Well,” Willow finally said. “What now?” She got no response for a second except for Rory’s “talking”.
“I think we need to stop Simon.”
     This came from Diana, and all eyes turned to her. “Don’t be so surprised,” she said, seemingly knowing that they were staring. “He can’t stay like this. It’s too dangerous.”
     “We know he can’t keep doing this,” Silas interjected. “But it’s too dangerous right now. You don’t have your Power, Willow’s Power is still gone, as far as we know, and he wants to keep Rory so that he can get rid of all Powered. And that includes two of you guys.”
    Willow sighed. “I think I’m with Diana on this one. But I also think we should wait, and take a break before we try and get back to all that or it could turn out wrong. It could be worse than it is right now.”
     Mr. and Mrs. Malloy nodded simultaneously. “We’re not looking to have everybody hurt,” Mr. Malloy stated. ”So I think I’m with Willow. You should stay here for a few days, get back on your feet so you’re ready when you go back out.”
     Mrs. Malloy nodded again. “Agreed. As much as I don’t want Simon to get hurt, he’s not doing the right thing now, and he could hurt a lot of other people if you don’t stop him.”
    Rory yelled suddenly, voicing what seemed to be his agreement, and everyone laughed.
 
Chapter Eighteen (Mini Chapter): A Short Stay
So they stayed with the Malloys for another week. Willow’s Power returned, and she practiced using it on Carson, much to his chagrin. Diana got used to walking without seeing, and Rory took his first steps. The children called their parents daily, giving them updates and assuring them that everything was okay and they would be home as soon as they could be—which was the truth.
     However, they were lying about the fact that everything was okay. Willow was getting weaker every time she used her Power, and it took days to re-energize. Everyone was worrying about her, and, though she put it off to the usual loss of energy that happened when her Power was used, she was worried too. Would it eventually become permanent? Despite these thoughts, she continued to practice with it.
     Then one day, Rory began to speak in real words instead of baby talk. “Dink,” he said. “Firsty.” Willow’s eyes widened when she heard him. “Guys! Rory’s talking! He’s saying something!” Everyone rushed into the room. “What did he say?” Carson asked her.
     “He said ‘firsty’,” Willow told him. “And I’m pretty sure that means ‘thirsty’.” Carson quickly ran to get a cup of water, which he held to Rory’s mouth to see if he would drink. He did! Everyone cheered, and Rory shouted something happily incoherent.
………………..
Simon had been listening. Their thoughts and conversations were quite interesting. He hadn’t realized that what he’d done to Willow was still having an effect, that she would lose extra energy when her Power was used. He didn’t know that Rory had begun to talk (which, to him, meant that it was even closer to the execution of his plan).
     He also discovered things about his own family. He was annoyed with Diana for picking their parents’ house as a safe place. Had his speech had any effect on her at all? Oh, wait, she’d been unconscious. Never mind. But his parents were another story. They’d turned against him now, totally on their suck-up daughter’s side.
     He turned back to what he’d been doing. Even if he hated it, it was all working in his favor. The plan was falling neatly into place.
………………..
Willow sat on the Malloy’s back porch, thinking. This was even wilder than her first encounter with Silas and Diana. But this time, the stakes were higher. Lives were on the line, the lives of her soon-to-be-brother Rory, the lives of all the Powered people on the planet, including herself. The scope of what they were stopping was nearly incomprehensible. How would they stop it in time?
     She stood up and went into the house slowly, still lost in thought.
Chapter Nineteen
“We shouldn’t stay here much longer,” Silas said on the 6th day that they were there. Willow had to agree. She’d felt a little guilty about staying at Diana’s parents’ house when she didn’t live there. She’d mentioned this to Mr. Malloy, but he had waved her off. “You’re fine! It’s great to have the house full of people again, not just the two of us clattering around all alone.”
     “I’m with him,” Willow said when Silas mentioned it. “We need to go take care of Simon before he does something major.”
     Rory shouted and Willow smiled, picking him up. “You think so, little man?”
Silas smiled, and Diana turned to them. “I think I’m with you too. When do we do it?”
    “What about tomorrow?” Carson said from the doorway. He’d listened to the conversation while holding a sandwich. “That way we’d have time to get ready, tell our parents we’re going and whatnot.”
     Diana nodded. “That works fine.”
So their plan was settled, and they would leave the Malloy’s house the next morning. Willow practiced her skills one more time, hoping to hone them a little more, but instead found herself wanting to go to sleep due to the new fatigue problem. She sat on the couch and closed her eyes. How had Simon done this? She drifted to sleep before she could think about it anymore.
     When she opened her eyes, it was dark in the room, but she heard voices in the kitchen. She sat up and stretched, about to get up, when something happened.
     Hello again, Willow.
“Simon.” Willow was infuriated as soon as she heard his voice, but she kept her own calm.
     I’ve been listening. You know, I’m learning all sorts of things I never could have found out otherwise. And do you know who prompted many of these lovely, knowledge-filled conversations?
“Nope. Don’t want to know either. Now go away.”
     It was you, my dear. You have created such a fountain of knowledge for me and you have no way of stopping it. I happen to also know about what happens when your Power gets used.
Willow’s heart was suddenly filled with fear. He knew? “What happens, then? What happens when I use it?”
     You’ve been weakened, love. You’re too weak to stop me, no matter what you do! Your Power fatigues you too much to use it for long. Which, of course, works perfectly in my favor.
     “Go away!” Willow shouted. When the rest of the house heard it, they came running, and Simon chuckled.
     Good luck with that.
“Willow, what happened? What’s wrong?” Diana asked her.
     “Simon,” Willow said. “He’s getting in my head again. Apparently he’s been listening to all our conversations and they’re a ‘fountain of knowledge’ for him.” She slapped herself in the face. “Ugh, he probably knows Rory can talk now! That means he’ll start trying to get him to do what he wants as soon as he can.”
     Carson buried his face in his hands. “How does he do this?” Then he looked up and around somewhat nervously. “Wait. Maybe don’t answer that and pretend I didn’t ask.”
Silas shook his head. “We need to stop him as soon as possible. The question now is how.”
     Willow shrugged helplessly. “All I can think of is that someone distracts him so he can’t talk while I take his Power.”
    The others considered thoughtfully. “That might actually work,” Silas stated. Willow’s eyebrows went up. “Wait, what?”
     Silas nodded, appearing to stare into space. “I can see how that would work.” Willow’s eyebrows disappeared into her hair and she raised her hands in surrender. “That was just a thought, but if you think it’ll work...”
     “Let’s do it,” Carson agreed.
………………….
Willow didn’t do any more practice, hoping to regain and conserve her energy for what she hoped would be the final showdown. Mr. and Mrs. Malloy wished them luck before they went to bed that night, knowing that they would probably want to go at an odd time. And they were right: Willow was woken up by Silas the next morning at roughly 5:45 AM and told that they were going.
     “What about the other three?” Willow whispered. But Silas shook his head. “Rory’s too much of a risk to bring, because of his Power. And the other two—as much as I want to bring them, they really aren’t necessary. Diana can’t even see!” Willow considered. She could see what he meant. But it felt like there was another reason that he wasn’t bringing them, and she couldn’t guess it. Oh, well.
     They left the house quietly, joining the morning rush that most people were mixed up in because of work. If only they knew what these two were up to.  They got so lost at one point that they were on the other side of town, and Silas was frustrated beyond belief. “This is where Diana was always helpful! She knew how to get somewhere in minutes, even without her Power.” Willow felt sorry for the man, and she looked around, hoping for something that would help. Finally she gave up. “Should we call a cab and try to get back where we were?” Silas sighed, throwing his hands up in defeat. “May as well. There’s not much else we can do.” So they hailed a cab and asked them to take them to Sandy’s Italian so they would be back where they started. But as soon as they got into the car, the driver panicked. “You! Y-you’re a criminal! I’m calling the cops!”
     But before the driver could pull his phone out, Willow rolled her eyes. “You’re not seeing us, and you won’t remember this. Go to Sandy’s Italian.” The driver immediately faced forward in his seat and began to accelerate. After five minutes, they reached the restaurant. “That was it?” Willow said in disbelief when they were out of the car. “We walked for an hour, when we were only five minutes away?”
     Silas shook his head slowly. “Maybe we should get Diana after all.” They walked back to the house, where they discovered Carson and Diana looking (well, Carson. Diana was instructing in a way) for the two. “Willow, where were you?” Carson cried.
     “We went to stop Simon. But we didn’t even get there.”
Carson’s eyes bugged out and Diana’s eyebrows went up. “Why didn’t you wake us up?” Diana said rather indignantly. “I don’t know,” Willow said. “Silas woke me up and told me we were going, so I went.”
     “We came back to get you now, since we can’t find our way there to save someone’s life,” Silas said, facing Diana. That seemed to satisfy Carson and Diana, and they left again. They left a note for the Malloys letting them know that they might not be back, but they hoped they would.
     “Okay, take a right here,” Diana instructed as they walked. “Then turn left when we reach 29th Street. Then we’ll be there.” They followed her instruction diligently and soon reached the location of the building. It was dark inside this time, and the corridors were very dimly lit.
     Silas took Diana’s arm and linked it in his, walking her down the corridor and trying to avoid running into any walls. They took several wrong turns in their nervousness and haste to find Simon and had to start over. Finally, they reached the door, which opened on its own this time.
Chapter Twenty
     “Ah, back for more now, hmm? Do you like what I’ve done with the place? It took a good bit of time.” Simon grinned as they walked forward into the room. Willow glanced around and clenched her fists, restraining herself from shouting. The others appeared to be doing so as well.
     The lights in the room, which had been dimmed, suddenly came on brightly. The room looked different from the last couple of times that they were there. There was a large white room of sorts above Simon, and it made Willow cringe to see it. How was it not falling down onto his head? It contained a circle of chairs, alternating between transparent light blue and black, along with a white table. There were several glass-walled rooms on the sides of the room, which were empty save two seats in each one. The walls in the main room were now grey, rather than white, and there was a large seat with a peninsula of blue stone walls. A large screen took up an entire wall.
     Simon sat in the chair and frowned. “Where is the young one, Rory?”
“Safe,” Diana said strongly. “Away from you.” Simon grinned.
     “Oh, my dear sister. How are you still so naïve?” He snapped his fingers. “Where are you, child?” Rory suddenly appeared, sitting up on the ground in front of them and looking around, thoroughly bewildered. “Rory!” Carson shouted. He picked him up, and Simon’s grin widened. “Why so protective? After all, I need him more than the rest of you. 2 of you are going to suffer by the time the hour’s over.”
     Silas’s eyes were closed and he appeared to be holding himself back. Willow felt inexplicably scared, and she glanced over at him worriedly as Simon continued to talk. “Now, bring him over here. Your sister, Carson, has, without realizing it, told me exactly what I’ve needed to find out.”
     “What’s that supposed to mean?” Carson said. Then it dawned on him. “You know he can talk now.”
“Ding ding ding!” Simon said. “Now bring him here so I can execute the plan. It’ll all go much faster if you just cooperate.
     “I guess it’ll go slowly then,” Willow interjected. “Because no one’s doing anything you say.” She glanced at Silas, who was now watching Simon intently. He glanced back and nodded slightly.
     “Are you two conspiring against me?” Simon said, raising his eyebrows and looking amused. “Honestly, Silas, I thought I knew you better.” He frowned. “Actually, I quite expected that you would’ve lashed out by now, done something you’d regret later.”
     “Oh, we’re not conspiring,” Willow said, beginning to move slowly over to the right. “We’re just planning something for after we leave.”
     “And what might that be?”
“Can’t say here. It’ll ruin the surprise.”
     Simon clapped lightly. “You know, you aren’t a bad liar. You’ve got a good poker face.”
“Liar? What do you mean? I’m not lying.”
     “Aw, poor you. You’ve just ruined it.” Simon fake frowned. Willow was halfway across the room by then. “Better not to say you aren’t lying when you so clearly are. Now, onward!” He stood up dramatically and pointed to Rory. “Speak!”
     Rory began to babble loudly, with the occasional sound that resembled a word, and Simon facepalmed himself. “Not like that! In English.” This time Rory had more “words” than nonsense. But none of it was helpful. However, Simon smiled again. “There we go! Now repeat after me.”
     Simon gave a long string of words that Willow couldn’t understand. But Rory clearly did, and he started to say them in his tiny toddler voice, his eyes beginning to glow for the first time. “Rory, no!” Willow said, horrified. “Don’t listen to him!” Her own eyes began to glow, and Rory’s stopped briefly. Simon turned to her, looking angry for the first time.
     “Would you stop? You’re not exactly helping matters!”
“If I’m keeping you from doing what you’re trying to do, then I’m helping matters. Just not for you.” Willow was beginning to feel breathless from using her Power, and she felt that she couldn’t use it any longer. But she was on the other side of the room from Silas now, and Simon’s attention was turned toward her. She ended her Power use and nodded almost imperceptibly, and Silas began to move forward.
     Willow didn’t know what he was planning to do, and she was a little bit scared. But she trusted that it would work alright; his face when she’d given the idea had seemed very thoughtful and he was good at planning from what she’d seen.
 
 
Chapter Twenty-One
     Simon turned back to Rory. “Repeat the words I’m saying.” He repeated the words from earlier, and Rory began to say them after Simon did. This time they reached the end, and his eyes stopped glowing. Simon smiled deviously. “And so it begins!” he announced gleefully to the room. “Please turn your attention to the screen.” He snapped his fingers and the screen came to life. It went from tall redheaded women to blonde, curly-haired little boys to men with brown hair. It showed old people and babies, middle aged people and people in their 20s. Who were all these people? It never showed the same person twice.
     Then it stopped on someone. It was a girl about Willow’s age, give or take a few years, with long, straight blonde hair and brown eyes. She looked like she was a bit taller than average, and her shoes had totally flat soles. She wore a t-shirt that said “Power is Overrated”. She was sitting with a group of other girls and laughing at something.
     Then Willow noticed the girl’s eyes and suddenly got a horrible feeling in the pit of her stomach and she felt like she knew what was about to happen. Sure enough, she was right. The girl began to breathe hard, leaning forward and holding her head. Her friends looked scared, and they crowded around her, asking what was wrong, what was happening. But the girl couldn’t do anything, and she continued to breathe hard. Her eyes glowed tremendously, and the girl finally fell backwards, unconscious.
     Willow took a step back, shocked. “Stop,” she said, her voice breaking. “Stop doing this!” But Simon shook his head, a gleeful grin spread across his face. “But it’s already been set in motion, my dear! There’s no way to stop it anymore. And soon it will hit you.” Willow’s eyes grew big with fear, and she continued to step backward until she was facing the wall. “No,” she said. “No.”
     “But it will. It’s going to affect every single one of the Powered in the entire world.”
“But that’s 4% of the entire population!” Diana suddenly burst out. “You’d be hurting, maybe even killing, 4% of the whole world!”
     “So I am,” Simon replied. “Isn’t it wonderful? I’ll be the only one left with a Power.”
“You are a horrible person,” Carson spoke up. “How could you do this?”
     Simon turned to the boy. “Horrible in what way? It’s perfect! The perfect world, everyone equal and no one left to lord their Power over someone else.”
     “I never did that,” Diana said through gritted teeth. “And you know it. Ask Mum and Dad and they’ll confirm it.”
     “Rory, say ‘stop’!” Willow suddenly had an inspiration. But Rory didn’t seem to hear her. He was watching the people on the screen intently, and his mouth was closed and pinched. He looked as though he was about to cry. Willow ran over to him and picked him up, facing him away from the screen and the horrifying images that scrolled across it. “Say ‘stop’, Rory.” Willow’s eyes glowed when she said it this time, and she hoped it would work.
     But it didn’t. Rory was asleep in her arms, already exhausted from using his Power. His small body couldn’t take the use of it for as long as hers could. Tears filled her eyes, and she held the baby close. Suddenly, her head began to throb. “Oh, no, no, no,” she said. Carson rushed to her to take Rory. “Willow, no, fight it, fight it.”
     But Willow shook her head painfully. “I can’t.” She slid to the ground, giving herself up. Silas rushed over now, having realized what was going on. “Willow, no, don’t! You can beat him!”
     “I can’t, though,” Willow whispered weakly, barely able to talk by then. “He won.” Silas shook his head, his eyes filling with tears once more. “He hasn’t won yet.”
     The last thing Willow remembered before her eyes closed and she drifted into unconsciousness was Carson looking at Rory in panic.
………………
Willow couldn’t tell what was going on. Her head was throbbing, she knew that she had lost her Power, and she could sense that something was happening away from her, something loud. Simon and Silas were both yelling, Diana was yelling. It sounded as though Rory was crying. She wished she knew what was happening. But she couldn’t seem to open her eyes to find out, and she couldn’t make her arms or legs move to sit up either.
Chapter Twenty-Two
When Willow woke up, she was still on the floor of Simon’s lair, as she’d come to think of it as. Her head was throbbing. The others were standing in a circle next to her, talking loudly about something.
     Willow made a noise that she couldn’t have imagined herself making before. What was wrong with her? She opened her eyes and saw the others standing above her, looking down. So she could still see! Why could she still see?
     “Are you alright, Willow?” Carson asked her suddenly. He searched her face. “Your eyes are still how they were! You’ve still got the gold Iris Ring!” She did? She sat up and looked around. Simon was in the peninsula chair, unconscious. His face was cut and bleeding, and his arms were bruised. One was at a strange angle.
     “What…happened?” Willow got out. She pointed to Simon. Silas looked away and Diana answered her question. “Silas…attacked him after you blacked out. He was angry about you, and about me, so he just exploded.”
     Ouch, she thought. But she understood. Simon had done the unthinkable. Willow looked around again and suddenly felt terrified. “Rory! What happened to Rory? Is he alright?”
     “He’s fine. Don’t worry.” Carson moved to the right, revealing the baby sleeping on top of a jacket. Willow nodded and sat back on her elbows.
     “So how do I still have my Power?” Willow asked. It confused her profoundly. The same thing had happened to her as it had Diana, but Diana had gotten the short end of the deal. Why?
     “Carson,” Diana said. “He got Rory to say ‘stop’ just after your eyes closed. I guess it worked just in time.” Willow turned to her brother with infinite gratitude in her eyes. He nodded, knowing they didn’t need to talk to express themselves.
     She decided to try and stand up. She leaned forward and took Carson and Silas’s hands so they could pull her up, but nearly fell over when they let go. They forced her to let them support her so they could leave, leaving Simon in the peninsula chair with the lights off in the room. Diana held Rory and directed them back to the Malloy’s home, where Willow was finally able to stand on her own again.
     They were all embraced by Diana’s parents, and Willow and Carson called the Rosells to let them know what had happened. They were worried sick by then, as they’d missed the call for the day. But they were glad everyone was okay, and they asked where they were. Willow laughed at the thought. “We’re in Denver right now, Mom.”
     Mrs. Rosell choked on her drink when she heard that. “Denver? How in the world did you get to Denver?”
     “Diana brought us,” Willow informed her. “But we can’t get home now because her Power’s gone. Simon took it.” There was a silence, and Willow knew that she and her mother were both saddened by the fact. “Send her my regrets,” Mrs. Rosell said. “And tell me the address of where you are. We’ll come pick you up.”
     So Willow gave them the address, the Rosells promised to hurry and get there, and they hung up. Willow sat for a moment after they ended the call. This had been an insane experience. Her Power had nearly been taken from her twice. Diana’s power and eyesight really were gone. They’d stopped a man who was more powerful than Willow, Diana, and Silas combined. It was truly mind blowing. She stood up and left the room to see how the others were doing.
 
Chapter Twenty Three (Mini Chapter)
Willow and Diana were sitting in the living room, waiting for the others to come in. They were going to play a board game that Mr. and Mrs. Malloy endlessly sang the praises of. Suddenly Willow remembered what Mrs. Rosell had told her. “Diana?” Willow said.
     “Hmm?” Diana looked up. She seemed like she’d been lost in thought, and Willow almost felt bad.
“I’m sorry about what happened to you. And I feel bad that it happened to you and not me, even though the same thing happened to both of us. And my mom said to send her regrets.”
     Diana smiled faintly. “Willow, it’s alright. Nothing that happened while we’ve been doing all this was your fault. Simon started all this. And honestly?” She grinned mischievously. “Having a Power is overrated. It’s not even necessary half the time.”
     Willow laughed a little. “That’s true, I guess.” Mrs. Malloy walked in with the board game box a moment later. “Let’s play!” she said. The others trickled in after the board was set up, and they played to their heart’s content, the events of the last few weeks temporarily forgotten.
 
Chapter Twenty Four
“Willow! Carson! We’re here!” Mr. Rosell shouted as they walked through the Malloy’s door. The children rushed to meet their parents after not having seen them in several weeks. “We missed you so much!” Mrs. Rosell told them as they hugged each other.
     Then they came to the adults. “Thank you all so much for keeping them safe,” Mr. Rosell told them. Silas and Diana glanced away, unable to meet the Rosell’s eyes. Mrs. Rosell noticed and raised an eyebrow. “Or did you?”
     Willow and Carson burst out laughing, knowing their mother had called it. “Busted!” Carson shouted, unable to resist. All of the adults laughed too. “I’m sure they’ll fill you in on the ride back.” Mrs. Malloy said, wiping a tear from her eye.
     So the group bid farewell to the Malloys and left Denver. The Rosells did get filled in on the ride back, in a rather broken up and complicated fashion. But it happened. The Rosells got to know Silas and Diana, and Willow and Carson learned things about them that they hadn’t known before. Rory spoke to the Rosells for the first time, and it almost brought tears to their eyes.
    Soon they were all back home in New Orleans, and their lives were back to normal.
Chapter Twenty Five
Willow sat at the kitchen table, working on homework with Rory eating applesauce next to her. He’d been officially adopted into their family just 2 days before, and it was adorable to see him and Rhiel together. “No, Rory, keep your applesauce off of my presentation! I have to do this tomorrow, okay?”
     “Hey, Willow!” Mr. Rosell called from the living room. “Take a break and come watch this for a minute. It’s interesting.”
     So Willow picked Rory up and went to the living room. Her father was watching a documentary on meerkats. “Oh, that’s weird,” she said. The show had just given a piece of trivia and Willow hadn’t known the answer. “I didn’t know they had such a big family. 50’s a lot. Hey, Carson! Did you know meerkats can have as many as 50 members in their family?”
     Suddenly Silas and Diana came into the house, knocking after they opened the door. They’d begun to show up randomly at the Rosell’s house a lot of the time, and they were always welcome. But this time they looked worried. “Turn the channel to the news,” Diana said shortly.
    Mr. Rosell complied, knowing the fear in her voice couldn’t be good. What Willow saw on the screen made her jaw drop. Carson came into the room to respond to Willow’s question about meerkats, but stopped when he saw the TV. “Oh no,” he whispered. But Willow couldn’t say anything.
     “A man named Simon Malloy has arrived on the set of Channel 4 News New Orleans this afternoon with a shocking testimony,” the news anchor said. “Here he is with our head reporter, Lucinda Finn.”
     The screen switched to a view of a woman with brown hair standing next to Simon. Simon’s face was still cut, and some of the cuts had scarred. “Thank you, Mira,” the reporter said. “I’m here with Simon Malloy at the scene of what he describes as an attack by several people with superpowers. Simon, would you elaborate on exactly what happened to you?”
    Simon stared straight at the camera. “Yes, I would,” he said. “There was a man who could go invisible, and a girl who could make people do whatever she says. And they attacked me. They did this to me.” He pointed at the cuts and bruises that painted his face. “They did this to me and then they left me unconscious. I wish I knew where they were so I could give them a piece of my mind.”
A small grin crossed his face, and Willow knew it wasn’t directed at other viewers; it was specifically for them.
    The reporter turned back to the camera. “Thank you, Simon. This testimony has prompted a widespread fear all across the world. The American government is now in the process of initiating a law against all people with ‘superpowers’, and it will require all super powered people to either turn themselves in or be arrested and brought in by the police. Now back to you, Lucinda.”
     The anchor continued to talk, but Willow didn’t hear it. She turned back to the others, who were all watching with a resigned look on their faces. “What are we gonna do, guys?” Silas turned to her, looking her in the eyes with fear in his own.
     “We run.”
TO BE CONTINUED

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  • Quille

    Winners announced! :)
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    6 months ago