Great stories about good people caught in difficult situations.


Chapter Five Hundred and Ninety : Far from home

CHAPTER FIVE HUNDRED AND NINETY

Katy arrived back in the crypt.

This time she was face to face with a fairy warrior. Katy took a step back. She opened her hand and her new knife appeared in her hand.

“Leave me alone!” Katy said.

Katy’s words echoed through the crypt. The Vanquisher, her new “sword”, appeared in her hand. Katy pointed it at the fairy.

“Be gone,” Katy said.

The fairy warrior gave a squeak of fear before disintegrating with a “pop.” Katy stood there for a moment, waiting for the fairy to return.

Nothing happened.

“Paddie?” Kay called. “Keenan?”

Her voice echoed through the crypt. She was about to call again when …


Holding her phone, Jill came into Katy’s room to wake her. Katy had only been in a light sleep, after a few times of living through this, Katy forced herself awake.

“Mommy,” Katy sat up in bed. Shocked, Jill stopped talking on the phone and gawked at her. “I’m caught in a time loop. The fairies are trying to get the Sword of Truth. I have a new sword called the Vanquisher.”


Katy was standing in the middle of the crypt.

Alone.

“Paddie?” Katy’s voice squeaked. “Keenan?”

A skeleton stood in the middle of the crypt. Katy remembered that Edie had told her that they’d buried a few fairies in this crypt to trick Maughold, when Maughold was a bitter, angry, old man.

“What do you want?” Katy yelled at the skeleton.

The skeleton raised its hand and pointed to Katy’s sword. Terrified, Katy turned in place and ran through the dark cavern a long away from home, under an ancient church on the Isle of Man.

~~~~~~~~

Paddie landed in the middle of an aisle of the crypt.

“Katy?” Paddie called to his best friend.

Instead of Katy, a fairy warrior appeared in front of him. Paddie gave the fairy a grin.

“I bet you want …” Paddie opened his hand and the Sword of Truth appeared. “ … this.”

The fairy leaned forward as if to take it from the boy.

“Catch me if you can!” Paddie said.

He spun in place and ran.

For a while after being trapped here, Paddie had had terrible nightmares about this dark, smelly place. That kind of thing doesn’t go unnoticed in his household. With his family’s encouragement, Paddie had made a point of learning everything about this crypt. His Uncle Jimmy had gone to the crypt and videoed of every inch of the crypt. His Uncle Max had helped him use his mapping computer program to make a map from the video. His Auntie Alex had even gotten secret government radar to show the hidden places of this crypt.

Paddie Hargreaves was no longer afraid of this place. He was prepared for anything.

Well, anything except having to deal with Maughold on his own.

That was a scary guy. As his mom always said: “Scary people are just scary.” That’s it.

Fairies, on the other hand, didn’t scare him at all.

“I’m coming for you, Katy!” Paddie yelled as he ran.

~~~~~~~~

Thursday early-morning — 5:37 a.m.

“The Vanquisher?” Heather asked. “You’re sure that’s what she said?”

Jill nodded. They were sitting on Katy’s empty bed.

“Do you know it?” Jill asked.

“No, but that doesn’t mean anything,” Heather said. “I can never keep that kind of thing straight. Did you ask your Dad?”

“No,” Jill said and gave an emphatic shake of his head. “He wants to kill the entire tribe, down to the last fairy. I guess Áthas gave up the location of Asteria. You know, Cleo the cat? Hecate’s mother? His first wife?”

“She did,” Heather said.

“He wants revenge,” Jill said. “This would just send him over the edge. Can you ask your grandfather?”

“Ares is working with Edie,” Heather said. “He can’t help with this kind of thing.”

Heather nodded and looked at Jill.

“Let’s call Nelson,” Heather said. “He’s been so weird since his dad called from Poland. Maybe this will give us a clue as to what’s going on.”

Heather took out her cell phone and placed the call. Tanesha showed up while the phone was dialing. Jill told Tanesha what was going on. Tanesha’s anger increased with every word.

“Fairies,” Tanesha said, with disgust.

“Nelson?” Heather asked. “Sorry to call so early.”

“I was up,” Nelson said. “Just finished working out. Is something wrong? Blane? The kids?”

“We’re okay,” Heather said. “I’m calling about Katy. I’m in Katy’s room with Jill and Tanesha. You’re on speaker phone.”

“Did those fairies come after Katy now?” Nelson asked. He covered the mouthpiece and repeated his words.

“Who’s there?” Heather asked.

“Mari,” Nelson said. “The fairies came for me too.”

“I’m sorry about that,” Heather said.

“I’m not,” Nelson said. “It would never have happened if I wasn’t in this family.”

“That’s the truth,” Heather said.

“I don’t mean to be rude, but I have to keep moving,” Nelson said. “Ava expects us to be at a meeting by 8, breakfast in …” He paused. “Well, now. I had to work out so.”

“Okay, then I’ll get to the point,” Heather said.

“Please do,” Nelson said.

“Katy seems to be caught in a time loop,” Heather said. “She thinks that they are trying to get the Sword of Truth.”

“Of course,” Nelson said. “I should have thought of it before.”

“Thought of what?” Heather asked.

“If they can get the Sword of Truth before it links to Paddie, then it’s possible that they could win the war,” Nelson said.

“But that’s not true,” Mari said in the background.

“It’s not true,” Heather said. “The sword choses who it will go with. It waited for Paddie Hargreaves for more than a thousand years.”

“They either don’t know that or they think that they can get it from him because he’s human,” Nelson said. “That’s crazy too.”

“Why?” Heather asked.

“The Sword of Truth was made for a human,” Nelson said. “It’s had many masters of all kinds from Titans to a variety of Gods. But it is a human sword. It will always abandon a non-human master. It’s likely that a human in Paddie’s bloodline had the sword made. Is Paddie’s family from France?”

“Mostly Ireland,” Heather said.

“But that’s likely it,” Nelson said. “The sword was made for some ancestor of Paddie’s.”

“Katy has found a sword,” Heather said.

“Oh?” Nelson asked.

“She said it was the ‘Vanquisher,’” Heather said.

They heard Mari gasp.

“She’s wrong,” Nelson said. “That’s just not possible. The Vanquisher was destroyed a long time ago.”

“Why?” Jill asked.

Nelson gave a heavy sigh.

“I really have to go,” Nelson said. “Call my father. He can tell you all about the Vanquisher. I just … I …”

“What is it?” Heather asked. She took him off speaker and walked into the main loft. “You’re off speaker.”

Unable to not respond to a direct question from a Goddess, Nelson gave another heavy sigh.

“Dad wants me to take my ‘rightful place’ at the head of the Templars, give up my career to join some bullshit …” Nelson said. “He says that there are too much at stake with all of the new swords. We need to show strength.”

Nelson sighed.

“I just want to do some forensics, help some people, go home to my family at the end of the day,” Nelson said. “But that? It would be …”

“I understand,” Heather said. “Thank you for telling me. I’ll speak with him about this sword and the rest.”

“Wait,” Nelson said. “I didn’t tell you so that you could …”

“I know,” Heather said. “Trust me.”

“One last thing,” Nelson said. “If Katy actually has the Vanquisher, it makes her a very, very dangerous little girl.”

“She was that already,” Heather said.

“Yes,” Nelson said. “Have to run.”

“Call tonight when you can,” Heather said. “I know the boys will want to talk with you.”

“Will do,” Nelson said.

“Love you,” Heather said.

Unused to anyone saying those words out loud, Nelson simply hung up. Heather smiled and went back into the bedroom.

“What do we do?” Jill asked.

“We need to get the kids up and off to school,” Tanesha said. “I need to get to school.”

“Nelson said that we should talk to his father,” Heather said. “Why don’t I call Pierre? I can meet him for lunch.”

“I can too,” Jill said.

“I’ll set it up,” Heather said.

“We leave Katy to deal with this by herself?” Jill asked.

“If she’s in a time loop, she’ll never know we left,” Heather said. “We might just learn something that will help us turn the tide in this war.”

They heard one of Jill’s twins let out a hearty yell.

“Time to go,” Jill said.

She gave one last look at Katy’s bed before jogging to the nursery. Tanesha and Heather hurried off to get their own children off to school.

~~~~~~~~

Thursday morning — 8:05 a.m.

“What are you talking about?” Fin asked Tanesha in a heavy whisper

They were squeezing their way past people’s knees to get to their usual seats next to Cody.

“You’re late,” Cody said, as he moved aside for Fin to pass.

“Family drama,” Tanesha said, sitting down next to Cody.

“Don’t I know it,” Cody said. “The TA came in and said he’ll be a few minutes so you have time.”

“Thank God,” Tanesha said. “I have to talk to Fin a bit.”

Cody nodded and looked away.

“Katy says that she’s in a time loop,” Tanesha said in a low voice. “She specifically mentioned that the fairies are trying to get the Sword of Truth from Paddie.”

“Not our fairies,” Fin said. “No one would be that stupid.”

Tanesha gave him a quick shake of her head. Fin sighed.

“Swords of power find their owners,” Fin said. “There’s nothing that can be done about it.”

“Nelson said that they are trying to get the sword before Maughold gave it to Paddie,” Tanesha said.

“I know that all of you tell this story that Maughold gave the sword to Paddie,” Fin said with a shake of his head. “That’s impossible. It might have felt to the child like Maughold was giving him something, but …”

Fin shook his head.

“Why?” Tanesha asked.

Fin look at her as if she were an annoying child.

“Maughold was, and for all I know may still be, the keeper of the remains and artifacts in that crypt,” Fin said. “He cannot give it away.”

“Why?” Tanesha asked. “Pretend I’m a child who doesn’t know anything.”

Fin shot her a look that confirmed that she was in fact an annoying child. She smiled and nodded to encourage him.

“Like everything in the universe, swords vibrate,” Fin said. “Swords of Power vibrate at a singular energetic wave. They can only connect with a being that has the same vibration. Our Paddie has that vibration. Now, Maughold may have recognized that the sword and Paddie went together, but he could not just give the sword to anyone. That person must have the proper vibration.”

“So it won’t surprise you that Katy says that she was given the Vanquisher?” Tanesha asked.

“What?” Fin asked in such a loud voice that the entire class turned to look at her.

At that moment, the professor called the class to order. He lowered the lights and started his lecture.

“Impossible,” Fin said in a low whisper.

“Why?” Tanesha asked.

“It was destroyed,” Fin said.

“Clearly not,” Tanesha said.

Fin visibly shivered. Tanesha put her hand on his arm.

“What is it?” Tanesha asked.

“If the Vanquisher still exists, the entire universe is in danger,” Fin said.

“Why?” Tanesha asked.

“And you’re telling me that it’s in the hands of a six year old human child?” Fin asked.

Fin shook his head. He would say no more. He pointed to the professor and fell silent.

~~~~~~~~

Standing in Maughold’s workroom, Katy stood very still. She could hear the skeleton creak its way through the catacomb. She closed her eyes and tried to remember the map.

Paddie’s aunts and uncles had made him a map of this place so that he would no longer have nightmares. Paddie’s bedroom was tucked under the eaves of the house. The map hung over the bed. Katy had seen it a thousand times.

She was too scared to remember it now. She shivered with fear.

Opening her eyes, she saw that a light was coming from the tip of this sword she was holding. She bent over to look. The sword was projecting the map from Paddie’s room onto the floor of Maughold’s workspace.

“Thanks,” Katy whispered to the sword. “Where am I?”

A red dot appeared. The sword also had a suggestion. A red line went from where Katy stood to a hidden compartment under Maughold’s workspace. In tiny script, it said “Sword of Truth.”

“Paddie,” Katy said.

She scrambled under the workspace. After a few minutes of pushing, the sword in her hand lit up the position of the latch. Katy pressed on the spot and it shot open.

“Katy!” Paddie said in a whisper.

He grabbed his friend and pulled her inside of the compartment. He closed the compartment.

“We can rest here for a while,” Paddie said.

Katy nodded.

“Do you think we’ll go home again?” Paddie asked.

“Ever?” Katy asked.

Paddie thought for a moment and nodded.

“I think that we’re on the Isle of Man,” Katy said. “Where Fin lives. Auntie Tanesha will tell Fin and they will come to rescue us.”

“Even though we’re back in time?” Paddie asked.

Katy had no idea if they would be found so she didn’t say anything. The children held onto each other and waited for whatever was next.

Denver Cereal continues next week…

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