On the first of October, in the year 1989, something unearthly happened. Some call it a horrific and traumatic event, while others saw it as miraculous and got on their knees. What happened on this early fall day was all around the world, on the twelfth hour of the day, forty-three women all gave birth at the same time. Now this by itself is nothing out of the ordinary. What made this so drastically different was the fact that before these women gave birth, they had not been pregnant at all.
Sir Niall Lynch, an eccentric billionaire, and adventurer set out to locate and adopt as many of the forty-three miracle children as possible. In the end, he got seven children.
The first child, which he aptly named Number One, was born across the Atlantic Ocean to a small village in County Tyrone, Ireland. The arrival of this child brought the town to their knees to pray, some in fear of the wrath of God, and others because of this miracle child. Number One’s parents took some convincing, but along with the child, came the biological brother. Declan was his name, and he stubbornly refused to let his brother go without him coming with him. Niall found this interesting and let the boy come with. He would become Niall’s middleman.
The second child, creatively named Number Two, was born in Virginia, though quite the opposite of the wealthy neighborhoods of D.C. politicians and lobbyists. He was born in a plastic kiddie pool in the backyard of a trailer. The parents who were living below the poverty line and could not afford a child did not hesitate to hand their son over either.
The third child, named Number Three, was born to a Virginia Senator, who also happened to be Majority Leader and looking for higher ambitions, as well as an old money family. The parents, Laura and Richard, horrified of the scandal that would occur if news broke out that Laura had given birth out of nowhere, quickly gave their surprise child to Niall Lynch.
The fourth child, Number Four as she would be named, was located in Portland, Oregon. The mother of the child was a single mother, who claimed to be a psychic. She had a little shop where college students got robbed of their money. The mother was hesitant at first but took little convincing to release the child to the care of Niall.
The fifth child, Number Five as he was named, was born in Seoul, South Korea. His mother recovering from a mental illness and in the circles of illegal selling, and his father a Chinese businessman, it was an easy sell for them to give up their child.
The sixth child, Number Six as he was named, was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia. His parents were officials with the Communist Party, and like Number Three’s parents, were afraid of public scandal. Though they did seem to have more regret handing their child over.
Finally, the seventh child, Number Seven she was named, was born a small town in Maryland. The mother of Number Seven was for long when she decided to give her up, cryptically claiming it was for the best, and that she’d be watching always. The woman seemed sensible.
The seven children that Niall Lynch adopted became known as the Raven Academy.
With the help of his middleman, Declan, and the android that he had built to be the children’s mother, who he named Aurora, Niall Lynch trained these children to become superheroes. Though, the ways of which he went about it could be considered questionable.
When the children hit their early twenties, they broke off from the Academy and their fighting days. The first to leave was Number Four, or as Aurora had named her “Orla”. She was never a fighter, to begin with, though she had impressive visions and levitation powers. She left to become a star in the hills of Hollywood and did not look back.
The second to leave shortly after was Number Two, or “Adam”. The quietest of the group, but easily the most deadly if provoked. The power he had been gifted with was control of a forest that seemed to manifest out of thin air, and some psychic ability. With his forest, also came darkness that could be unpredictable, that he tried to hide. He left to pursue higher education and drift away from the crime-fighting past. He wrote a tell-all about the Raven Academy under a pseudonym, adopting the last name Parrish.
Number Five and Number Seven, or “Henry” and “Blue”, left together. “Henry” had the gift of telekinesis, but with a twist in regards to communicating with electronics. His preferred method was through a small robotic bee. “Blue” had the power to amplify things. It was not as flashy as the others’ powers. Though it was noted that Number Two and Number Four seemed to be in her gravitational pull. The two of them left to explore the world and left their reputations behind in the dust.
Number Three or “Gansey”, left next. Like Number Two he wished to pursue higher education but in a more non-traditional sense. His obsession with Welsh history brought him to the UK to study dead kings. His power, certainly one of the most concentrated, being he is able to persuade anyone into doing his bidding. It was no doubt that he was able to get what he wanted by using that, though he may not have even noticed.
Number Six, or “Noah”, unfortunately, met an untimely death. Though he did remain in this mortal plane as a ghost. Niall found this interesting, as he kept aging with the others though he was not alive. He was tethered to each of the other six students but remained behind with Number Three.
Number One, or “Ronan”, was Niall’s favorite. His power though not useful in the heat of battle, was fantastical. The ability to pull anything from his dreams and into reality. Number Three used that power to create powerful weapons for himself and was the best fighter of the bunch. He stayed behind, to continue to fight crime in the city he had come to love.
The others had forged new lives away from their childhoods. Many took on new last names legally so they could distance themselves from the Raven Academy.
Until this moment, the members of the Raven Academy had not seen each other in some time. All it took to bring them together was the death of the person who took them in, and Orla’s harrowing prediction that the world was to end in eight days.
The mansion that hosted the Raven Academy, was not really a large house as much as it was the world’s largest apartment. The gate to enter the building was simplistic, with the crest of a raven on it, leading to two large dark mahogany doors. When one entered the building, it opened to a large atrium with a staircase that led to the second floor. The scheme of the place was dark and dim. Collections of priceless artifacts littered the rooms that surrounded the atrium, as well as framed newspaper clippings from the achievements of the Raven Academy students. It looked well lived in, but at the same time, a melancholy aura hung around it as if it had been abandoned to time.
When Adam stepped out of the cab, it was drizzling outside. The gray clouds were suitable for the occasion. He looked up at the wrought iron gate before he took a deep breath trying to calm his nerves about stepping foot back into that house. Slowly he pushed it open, the metal creaking loudly before he walked up to the double doors. He pulled out a key he had tucked away deep in his archives back home but brought back out. It slid in just as smoothly as he remembered and the doors slowly opened for him.
His footsteps echoed in the atrium. He looked up at the large chandelier that still hung dimly lit lanterns. He turned his attention towards the living room, where he saw Aurora sitting stiffly in an armchair facing a fireplace. Her golden hair pulled up in a neat French twist. They all knew her as Aurora, the android Niall created to become a pseudo-mother to them. Adam never really saw her that way.
“Aurora,” he called for her. He kept his tone soft. She did not respond. He tried again. Nothing.
“Adam?” He turned to face the staircase where he heard the voice.
Coming down was Blue and Orla. If the occasion wasn’t so serious, Adam would find amusement in the sheer height difference and contrasting personalities just in the way they presented themselves.
Orla was dressed like she was still in Hollywood. A fashionable orange blouse that showed off her toned arms, and dress pants with heels. Blue was in an array of clothes that should not fit well together, but she somehow made it work.
“Hey,” he said in response.
They all stared at each other for a long moment. Then Blue gave a soft smile and enveloped Adam in a hug. Orla quickly joined in. “Missed you,” Blue muttered.
Adam gave a small smile but did not respond.
“The hell is he doing here?” A gruff voice came. They released the hug to see Ronan moving briskly through the atrium.
He looked different than Adam remembered. First being that he had shaved all his hair off. And that he seemed to have more scars than before. Also notable, the peaks of a giant tattoo coming over his shoulders and neck under his shirt. His ice blue eyes issued a glare at Adam, but he refused to back down. That was always how it had been between the two of them. Seeing who would back down first.
“Are we doing this today, really?” Blue huffed in annoyance.
“Yeah. Not after the shit publicity stunt, he pulled. He doesn’t belong here anymore,” he bit.
Adam felt anger surge through him. He could feel Cabeswater coming to his protection, though he didn’t need it. “It wasn’t a publicity stunt.”
Ronan turned with an eyebrow arched. “Oh yeah? Publishing a book detailing all of our secrets for the world to see wasn’t exactly that?” he challenged.
“Explain that to me then, genius.”
“I don’t have to answer to you,” Adam spat back.
Ronan waved one of his magic dream knives at Adam and chuckled. “Yeah, that’s what I fucking thought.”
Then he moved briskly back up the stairs. “Way to dress for the occasion and not for a drag race!” Orla commented.
“At least I’m wearing fucking black.” Then he disappeared.
That left Orla, Blue, and Adam in a tense silence. Blue rubbed her hand up and down Adam’s arm in a form of comfort. “Let’s go sit down.”
Adam did not have to be told twice.
Upstairs, Ronan went up to the master bedroom. Everything was in the same place it had been, but he knew there had to be something else he was missing. Someone had killed his father and he was going to find out who did it even if it killed him in the process.
“I can probably tell you what you already know,” a voice came.
He turned to see Gansey leaning against the doorway, his hands in his chino pockets. He had those ugly boat shoes and for once not a garish color polo, but a dark gray. His brown hair was perfectly styled and he was wearing his wireframe glasses. He gave a rueful smile towards Ronan.
“The windows were locked. No sign of forced entry, nothing out of the ordinary here,” he said pushing up and walking inside.
Ronan grunted, aimlessly combing through the various books strewn on the desk. “You part of CSI now, Dick?”
Ronan felt a twinge of amusement seeing Gansey cringe at the use of the old nickname from childhood. “No, but I already checked. So have the others, and we all found nothing out of the ordinary.”
Then he reached into his pocket and grabbed a piece of paper out of it. He held it out for Ronan to take.
“What is this?”
“The autopsy report.” Gansey had shoved his hands into his pockets again.
“How did you even get this?”
Gansey pursed his lips and looked down at the ground and to his shoes. He let out a deep breath. “I asked for it nicely,” he said.
Ronan scoffed and rolled his eyes. Of course, Gansey did that. Gansey then moved and took a seat on the small armchair in the corner.
“Also nothing unusual in the report. His death was just a normal case for someone of old age. Heart failure.”
Ronan did not let it slip by his notice how Gansey didn’t call Niall his father. None of them did that except Ronan. It was one of the things that irked him to no end. This is the man that raised all of them and they act like he was just some stranger.
He looked down at the document in his hand and read the exact words Gansey just said to him. Heart failure. Completely ordinary circumstances. But Ronan didn’t buy it. He couldn’t understand why when the evidence was right there.
“Nothing about this family has ever been ordinary,” Ronan stated.
Gansey just shrugged his shoulders. “Perhaps this is just the one thing that is.”
Ronan shook his head.
Gansey crossed his legs. He looked like he was about to perform an armchair anthropology study on superheroes,....or ex-superheroes. “Were you the first one on the scene?”
“No, Declan was. Said he couldn’t find dad’s glasses.”
Gansey raised his eyebrows at that. Everyone knew Niall Lynch went nowhere without his glasses. “Continue,” Gansey prompted.
“Dad took those things everywhere. With it missing, it means someone took it.”
Gansey then stood up. “I think you may be stretching it here Ronan. For once, let something ordinary, stay ordinary, okay?”
Then he clapped Ronan’s shoulder and gave him a soft smile before exiting the room, leaving Ronan alone.
In the master office, Noah materialized. The room held so many memories, and unfortunately, not many of them were fond ones. It had been years since Noah died tragically, but it was still weird not being fully corporal. He had felt so much better now that Blue was back and around.
The office seemed to be empty until he heard some soft rustling around coming from behind it. Noah knew who it was immediately but still went over to investigate.
“C’mon there’s gotta be some good stuff in here,” Henry’s voice muttered to himself.
Noah leaned over the large desk to get a good look at Henry. He was too distracted looking for whatever goods he could find to notice Noah.
“Henry? What are you doing?” Noah finally asked.
He watched Henry startle and whip around to face Noah. His hair gelled and spiked up spectacularly as usual. His brown eyes lined in eyeliner, that had seen some better days. Earrings lined the cuff of his ear and when he stood up his hands were adorned with rings. Nothing had changed really. A toothy smile formed over Henry’s face.
“Noah! Wow, it has been some time, hasn’t it? Oh, it never ceases to amaze me how you never look the same whenever I see you next. You look like an actual young adult!”
He held out his arms before lowering them and laughing. “God I wish I could hug you right now, but alas. The thought will just have to count.”
Noah chuckled and shook his head. He missed Henry and his over-dramatic self. “What have you been up to?”
Henry waved his hand, the glint of the rings reflecting. “Oh you know, traveling with my wonderful Bluebird. Finding inner peace, all that jazz. Really, you should join our next leg, we are going to the Amazon.”
“I think I will have to pass on that. It seems just a little too out of my zone.”
Henry frowned comically. “What a shame that is. Really.”
“So what are you doing in here?” Noah asked again.
Henry scoffed and put a hand on his hip. He was acting like he was in horrible pain. “You know I just really wanted to see for myself if the old guy was really dead.”
“Really?” Noah asked with skepticism.
“Yes,” Henry said with a curt nod. Then another smile broke out on his face.
“He really is dead! Yay!” he said clapping his hands together.
Then he pointed to Noah and wagged his finger. “And I know this because if he were alive, no one would be able to set foot near this place for a hundred-yard perimeter.”
Henry then plopped down on the chair and put his feet up on the desk. “The man practically lived in the room! Always planning our next torture-I mean training session.”
Noah knew Henry did that slip up on purpose. And he couldn’t really find himself to disagree. He spun around it in lazily. The large portrait of Niall Lynch stood above the desk.
“I mean, Christ, look at him. That stupid smirk that hid all the dark inside. Thank god I don’t actually look like him, unlike poor Ronan over here.”
Noah looked up at the portrait. It was one of those where no matter where you moved, the eyes always followed you.
“Number Six!” Henry exclaimed in the horrible Irish brogue that their founder had.
“What are you doing in his chair?” Ronan’s voice demanded.
Henry raised his eyebrows and kicked his feet off the desk, looking towards the entryway.
“Oh, Ronan. I like the new haircut! And the tattoo! Really fits that punk attitude,” Henry quipped.
Ronan bared his teeth. “Henry.”
Henry got up and walked over to Ronan. He had to crane his neck to look at his face. “Save the lecture, golden boy. I was just heading out anyway.”
Then he slapped Ronan’s face and before he could make a quick getaway, Ronan grabbed his wrist and squeezed.
“Excuse me, good sir?” Henry cried.
Ronan was never one for many words in Noah’s experience in living with him. He just issued a glare to Henry who dramatically sighed and rolled his head back.
“God, you ruin all the fun. I thought that was Adam’s job?”
He reached into his coat pockets and started tossing various objects to the ground. “I’m just getting a head start on my own fund for my trip around the world, and getting as far away from this place as humanly possible. Relax, numero uno.”
Then Henry pranced out of the office leaving Noah with Ronan glaring at Henry’s back. Noah stayed where he was.
“He didn’t give everything to the ground,” Noah observed. He saw everything. One of the perks of being a dead ghost he figured.
Ronan did his famous smokers inhale. “I’ll get him later for it. Henry is still annoying as fuck.”
“I find it comforting that he still managed to stay the same for so long honestly,” Noah admitted.
Ronan nodded and looked around the office. “Dad really was an organized mess wasn’t he?”
“I’d say so. I don’t want to stay in here any longer though. So I’m gonna go downstairs,” Noah said. Then he left before allowing Ronan the chance to agree.
Slowly, the rest of the Raven Academy kids shuffled into the living room. Adam had gotten up to walk around, taking in all the surroundings again. There was a cover of the first issue of the Raven Academy comic book on a wall. Next to it the seven of them on a pre-teen magazine cover, with their black masks all on their faces. Adam was the only one not smiling in the photo. He had always hated the publicity that came with being a superpowered kid and the adopted kid of Niall Lynch. It was all just a facade. What was hidden from the world was how Niall Lynch treated all of them as variables in an experiment. See how far their powers would take them.
After a particularly nasty incident, Niall had Ronan take some suppressants to keep his night horrors from manifesting into the real world. It had only happened a few times. Then Niall discovered that Ronan and Adam had somehow been connected. The dreamscape where Ronan fell into every night was the same forest that occupied Adam’s body.
Once Adam had gotten wise, and tired of the way Niall treated him, he started to use Cabeswater against him. The forest wouldn’t allow Niall to be close, lest he wanted to be attacked. The darkness that also came with the forest was lurking at the surface. Niall saw this as a threat and kept him locked away. Away from the others. It was then that Adam booked it out of there never to come back. Until now.
On the shelf of books, he saw a familiar spine. The title of his book, and his new name. He picked it up and thumbed through the pages. He had created it as a fictitious novel, but anyone who had a few brain cells knew it was based off the Raven Academy. No one knew it was one of the very students who wrote it, because no one knew what name he went by. They only knew him as Number Two or The Magician. Not Adam, and certainly not Adam Parrish.
“Adam,” a deep voice greeted.
He turned to see Declan standing behind him. His blue eyes just as severe as he remembered. Declan’s dark hair was slicked back professionally and he was in his signature three-piece suit. Adam nodded in acknowledgment.
“I will say, it is surprising to see you back here,” he commented.
Adam scoffed. He closed the book and shoved it back onto the shelf. He didn’t even want to know how a copy ended up in the shelves of Niall Lynch. Especially not after Adam ripped him a new one before he left.
“Your brother already had a few choice words to say. So you can get in line behind the others.”
Declan sighed and put his hands behind his back. He really did look like the middleman in a mafia. “I did not necessarily mean that in a bad way, you know.”
Adam crossed his arms and took a step forward. “Is that your way of saying you missed me?” he joked.
Declan opened his mouth to respond but was cut off. Suddenly an arm was swung around his shoulders, startling Adam and stumbling trying to catch his balance. He looked over to see it was Henry who did it. Adam scowled, the idiot had come upon his deaf side.
“Oh, I missed you Adam!” he exclaimed.
“Hi Henry,” Adam deadpanned.
Henry slid his arm off Adam’s shoulders and his hand was resting there instead. He had a comically dramatic pout.
“Is that any way to greet your companion after so many years? Stop being such a dead plant all the time.”
Then he smiled again, showing off his startlingly white teeth. “See what I did there? Dead plant? Y’know, because you can make plants manifest out of thin air?”
Adam gave him a small smile. “Yes, I get it. Nice to see you too Henry.”
“Getting better!” Then he ran over to the open bar at the other side of the room.
Adam decided to go take a seat on the couch, where Orla was sitting on her phone. Blue walked over to the bar to have Henry make a drink for her. Declan had disappeared somewhere. Gansey came into the room next. When he saw Adam on the couch, his face lit up in a jovial smile.
“Adam! Oh, how wonderful it is to see your face again. Though I do wish it were under more favorable circumstances,” he greeted, in that control and posh tone he always had. The two bumped fists. The greeting the had had since they were kids. The familiar gesture filled him with a little warmth.
Ronan came in and greeted everyone by throwing a knife that embedded itself into a wooden column, close to where Adam was sitting. Adam turned to glare at Ronan who had a smirk that only meant trouble. He sauntered in and yanked the knife out of the wall and sheathed it.
“It slipped my hand,” was his excuse.
Adam chose to ignore him. He hated how Ronan was still such a colossal asshole, and that Adam still found him attractive. Noah materialized next to Adam. His presence sucking all the warmth out of the air and replacing it with a chill. Adam shivered.
“Sorry,” Noah apologized.
“No need,” Adam responded.
Blue came back with a glass and an amber liquid in it. She took a sip and sat down next to Orla. Ronan grunted and stood up.
“Henry, make me one too,” he called out, “and maybe I’ll forgive you for lying about giving all that shit back.”
“Aye, aye,” Henry replied.
The air was tense between all of them. Adam could practically taste it in the room. It had been so long since they were all in the same place together, no less the mansion where they had grown up.
Gansey cleared his throat and stood up. He had always been the leader of this rag-tag group of people. He clapped his hands together, lacing his fingers.
“So I guess we should start. I was thinking we have the memorial in the courtyard at sunset,” he suggested, “just a few words. I know he was rather fond of that spot.”
“Niall had a favorite spot?” Orla asked, her attention off her phone. She had a perfect eyebrow arched.
Ronan came back and took a giant swig of the liquor in his glass. “Yeah, under that oak tree. The one where Henry fell and broke his arm when we were thirteen.”
“Hey! I wouldn’t have fallen if someone didn’t push me out, Ronan ! And if someone else, Orla , used their powers of levitation to catch me!” Henry rebutted.
“Get over it,” Ronan said.
“Never! I shall get my revenge one day. I swear it!” he exclaimed.
“Guys, let’s get back on track here,” Blue suggested. She took another sip and winced. Blue was never really all that fond of alcohol anyway.
Ronan clinked glasses with Blue. Adam had always been amazed by the friendship they had formed. Two sides of the same coin they were. “Yeah, we got some important shit still to deal with.”
“Like what?” Adam asked.
“Ronan,” Gansey warned.
Ronan ignored both of them. “Like the way Dad died.”
Gansey shook his head and pinched his nose. Adam was confused about what was happening.
“I don’t get it. The reports said it was heart failure,” Adam commented.
“Wel,l that’s what the coroner said,” Ronan responded.
“Wouldn’t they know?” Adam asked.
He shrugged his shoulders. “Theoretically.”
Adam raised his eyebrows at Ronan. “You back on drugs again or something?”
Ronan sneered at Adam’s response. But really, what he was saying was making no sense. He saw Blue glare at him from his peripheral.
“Look, something happened all right? The last time we spoke he sounded strange. He was distant,” Ronan continued to explain.
Henry barked out a laugh and swung his wine glass filled with red. “Ronan, my guy, have you been living under a rock for thirty years? Niall Lynch has always been fucking distant to us.”
“Shut up Cheng,” he grit.
Henry perked up. “Oooh, using the new surnames are we? What a step forward from Number One!”
“Whatever. The point is he told me not to trust anyone.”
Gansey leaned forward. “Ronan, that doesn’t seem out of the ordinary. Like I said, I think we should just settle the case, lay the man to rest and move forward.”
“Yeah I agree with King here,” Orla said. “I really don’t wish to be here any longer honestly.”
“I’m not just gonna leave it alone. Dad had a lot of enemies, someone had a hit on him, I know it. He was missing is readers,” Ronan plowed on.
“Who cares about a pair of glasses?” Adam asked, he muttered it to himself, but loud enough for others to hear.
“You of all people wouldn’t understand, would you? Traitor,” he sneered.
Adam gave it right back. “Get the fuck over it, Ronan. Christ. I didn’t even use your damn real names, and it was fiction!”
“Anyone who has lived in the past thirty years knew it was based off of us, shithead. You used us for a money grab, or out of resentment for whatever reason.”
“You don’t know what you’re talking about, and I suggest you stop it.”
Vines had started to gather and wrap around Adam’s arms as Cabeswater came to his call and protection. Ronan eyed it warily and sighed. Adam closed his eyes to relax his thoughts and allow Cabeswater to retreat.
“Like I was trying to get at. Yeah, they’re worthless, so that means whoever took them, it was personal for some reason,” Ronan continued. He took another swig of his drink.
“Where are you going with this?” Henry asked, with a tilt of his head.
Adam, still itching for a fight spoke up. “He thinks one of us did it.”
Gansey looked taken aback. Blue and Orla’s eyes were wide. Henry gasped. Ronan snarled at Adam.
“That wouldn’t make sense, because we weren’t even here when it happened,” Blue said.
“Oh but I mean, if I had the balls, I probably would’ve killed the bastard myself, so I guess it’s not such a stretch” Henry added.
“Why would you even say that?” he asked Henry. “He is the reason for all of this.”
“Exactly! Wasn’t all rainbows and sunshine here at the Raven Academy if I recall correctly. Didn’t even have the guts to give us real names. Instead, Niall relied on Aurora and Declan to do it for him. He won’t be missed much by yours truly,” Henry declared.
“Yeah me either,” Orla agreed. “Didn’t really see him as anything but a Miss Hannigan type character. Took all us poor suckers to ‘care for us’ when really, we were just the lab rats in an experiment of his.”
“I’ll drink to that,” Blue toasted. She raised her glass and clinked it with Henry’s.
“I mean, for God’s sake, he branded us,” Adam said. He lifted the sleeve of his shirt to display the faded Raven tattoo on his right wrist. They all each had an identical one. Niall Lynch had made them all get it at thirteen. Adam wouldn’t forget the pain that came with it still years later. Some sort of messed up metaphor for the pain and hardships of life, or something like that. Adam couldn’t clearly remember.
Gansey looked troubled in his expression. His eyebrows were pinched together, and he seemed to be thinking deeply. “I am inclined to agree. I really think he only saw you as a son, Ronan. Maybe Declan too. He was pretty separated from the rest of us.”
“Are you all serious right now?”
They all nodded. Even Noah silently agreed with them.
“He did monitor us in many ways,” Noah pitched in. “Like our brain waves or whatever. I’m no scientist”
Ronan’s eyes were narrowed and he finished off his drink. He slammed the glass down and stormed out of the room.
“That could’ve went worse,” Noah commented.
No one was inclined to agree or disagree. After a moment they slowly walked to their old rooms in the empty mansion.
17 Years Ago
The news correspondent, made sure to check his reflection before they went on air. He turned to the production assistant, who gave the wireless microphone to him. He pushed the ear piece further into his ear so it wouldn’t fall out and he could hear anchors in the main studio better.
“Thanks,” he said. “Do I look alright?”
The college intern nodded her head and scurried back behind the camera. He turned his attention forward. The cameraman held up his hands to signal they were counting down to air.
“In five, four, three, two…” the Cameraman said, and then signaled they were live.
The news anchor gave his best smile to the camera for the viewers watching. “This is Charles Boyd reporting live for Channel Five news outside the Capital West Bank on Main and Twenty-First. A group of heavily armed men stormed the bank not three hours ago, and took an unknown amount of hostages inside.”
In the background, the faint wailing of sirens was heard. Chatter from spectators was filled the silence as law enforcement continued to figure out how to go about the situation at hand.
A few building rooftops away from the bank, stood a group of figures. A tall man with scruffy black hair, and a dark stubble looked out at the scene with a pair of binoculars. Next to him was a late teenager with the same dark hair, and startling blue eyes. He was also looking through a pair of binoculars.
“They should go in from the roof. There is a glass part of the ceiling that they can fall in from,” the teenager said.
“Hmm,” the man, Niall Lynch, responded. He nodded his head, pulling away from the binoculars and putting on his readers again. His ice blue eyes were startling to look at.
“Yes, I am inclined to agree Declan. But we should have them split up. Number One and Four will go in from the ceiling. Number Four can levitate the two of them down. Number Two and Number Seven will head in the east wing door. Numbers Three, Five and Six will go through the west. There they will meet up in the atrium where the robbers will be no doubt. Take them from all sides.”
Niall and Declan were planning right in front of the students of the Raven Academy, and talking like they were not even in the room. Niall turned around to face them all properly. All seven students were dressed in uniforms, similar to ones seen in Catholic schools. They all wrote dark blue blazers that had the Raven Academy emblem stitched on. The boys wore blue shorts with high socks, while the girls wore skorts.
“Everyone hear the plan?” he asked.
“Yes sir,” they all responded.
Niall nodded his head. “Good. Put on your masks.”
They all reached into the pockets of their blazers and put on the masks they were all given. They were small, and only covered their eyes. The masks were pointed and had white covering the eyeholes, but still made it clear for them to see through.
“Now, go. Hurry!” he commanded.
The group split up into their pairs and went to the area they were directed. Ronan and Orla jumped and ran across the rooftops until they got to the bank.
“Geez, look at all the news press that’s here,” Orla commented.
“Now’s not the time, Orla,” Ronan said.
From below shots could be heard. The others were already inside. Ronan took out one of his dream knives, ready to strike. Orla wrapped her arms around Ronan, and Ronan jumped on the glass, shattering it. Orla stopped them from free falling, but got them to the ground quickly.
From the ground, the news correspondent Charles Boyd, flinched when he heard the shots coming. He turned to the camera.
“We just heard shots coming from inside the bank. It is still uncertain if any hostages have been harmed yet.”
“Look up there!” a voice shouted.
He saw two figures running across the top of the bank’s building. One of them, a girl it looked like, waved before getting tugged back by the other.
Boyd watched the camera move towards them. “There is movement on the top of the building. Possibly law enforcement?”
He wasn’t too sure about that, especially after the glass shattered.
Adam and Blue jumped from the building and ran on foot to one of the side entrances. At the door was a guard with a gun.
“Do it, Adam,” Blue said.
Adam sighed but closed his eyes. He was getting better at calling to Cabeswater, but it still took some concentration. He felt Blue put her hand on his shoulder. The power inside was amplified. He felt the familiar breeze, and the scent of fresh water. When he opened his eyes his arms were covered in throned vines. He walked up to the guard, who looked startled. He raised and pointed his gun.
“Hey!” he shouted. “Who-” he started to ask.
But before he could Adam’s hand shot forward and the vines left his arms and wrapped around the man, pinning him. Adam even slapped some vines over his mouth so he couldn’t talk.
Blue let go of his shoulder. He gave a small smile to his best friend. “Thanks.”
“Don’t mention it,” she responded.
Blue walked forward and took the gun from the pinned guard. She took the magazine out and chucked it as far as she could throw it. Adam pushed a gust of wind to carry it further. They made a good team. Adam opened the door, and let Blue in first.
Gansey, Henry and Noah had a little bit of an easier time. Gansey just walked up to the guard at his door and spoke to him. The power of Gansey’s voice, clouded the brain of the guard into handing over his gun and letting them walk in.
“My good sir. If you would, please hand over your weapon, and how about taking the rest of the day off?” Gansey had asked.
The man’s eyes had clouded over and he nodded easily. He gave the gun to Gansey who then chucked it away. Then the man smiled at the three of them and started to walk down the street and away from the bank.
“Well, that was easy,” Henry quipped. They all walked to the door, that had a lock on it.
Henry put his hand on the door and closed his eyes. He could feel all the technology humming through his body, and easily unlocked the code to get in. Noah, just walked through, turning transparent.
“Couldn’t have waited a second?” Henry asked Noah when they walked in behind him.
Noah gave a large grin and skipped. “Nope! Why wait when I could just use my powers?”
“Let’s go my merry men! We got robbers to stop and hostages to save!” Gansey declared. “Excelsior!”
In the main atrium, one of the leaders of the robbery spoke into a large walkie-talkie. “What do you mean they aren’t there?”
A static response came through. “Kong and Zilla aren’t responding. I sent Lagoon to search, and they are no guards on the east or west doors!”
“Jesus, well find them!” he shouted.
One of his other members of the robbery was being useless too. “Hey, I said to get these hostages behind the counter! What are they still doing out here? Let’s go!”
The two lackeys nodded and started to herd the hostages behind the bank teller counters.
It was then that Gansey came in, and saw the leader. He looked over at Noah and Henry who nodded. This was his part. Gansey came strolling forward and stood next to the leader. The leader startled seeing someone next to him and pointed a gun at his chest.
“Hey, get behind with the others, now,” he demanded.
“My good sir,” Gansey started, which was how he started of all his powered sentences with. The words echoed in the chamber, and the man’s eyes went wide. “I think it would be best, if you shot your colleague over there in the foot.”
The man looked down at the gun and then to his lackey. He raised his gun towards the man.
“Hey, Mummy, what the hell?” he asked before he was shot.
He let out a cry of anguish, and in the process of falling, his gun went off, shooting at all the glass. Screams of fear erupted from the hostages. Then glass shattered and rained down onto the floor. Gansey covered his head.
He saw Ronan and Orla come down. Orla went to the sides, as she was not much of a fighter. But Ronan fell down onto one of the robbers and quickly smashed his head on the counter. Then he jumped over the counter.
“Guns are for wussies. Real men use knives!” he declared. Ronan took out one of his magic dream knives and launched it at his target.
The thing about those knives was that they never missed their target. Ronan was also just really skilled with knives. The leader of the group of robbers went onto the counter and pointed a gun to all of them. Adam and Blue were still not on the scene yet.
The rest of the Raven Academy kids met together and cornered the man. “Get away from me you fucking freaks!”
“Hey, I’d get down from there if I were you,” Henry called out.
“Yeah, be careful,” Gansey said. His words didn’t have an effect, this time around.
Orla looked at her manicured nails. “I’d suck if you fell down or something.”
Noah then took that as his cue to emerge from behind. His power was useful for being able to turn transparent and also move to where he wished at will. He manifested himself onto the counter, sitting cross legged behind the robber.
“We didn’t mean to hurt your ego!” he called with a toothy smile.
The man whipped around and shot at Noah, but the bullets went through him and into the granite. “Try practicing your aim!” Then he disappeared.
In the blink of an eye, he switched a gun with a stapler and appeared on the other side, this time standing. His arms were crossed.
“I don’t appreciate being shot at,” he said with a fake pout.
The man turned again and went to shoot, but confusion rang clearly on his face when he saw a stapler was in his hands instead.
“Staplers can hurt too,” Noah said, and then took the stapler and shoved it onto his forehead, hitting him hard enough to knock out.
After that, there was only a handful of men to be held. Gansey and Ronan got the hostages out from behind. Blue and Adam showed up in the meantime. Blue put her hands on her hips and pursed her lips.
“Damn, we missed the good parts?” she asked.
“What was the hold up?” Ronan asked.
“Had to take down a few guards. And this place is confusing!” Adam complained.
“We have a handful of hostiles. Adam, I need you to do your thing,” Gansey asked, with a hand put on his shoulder.
All the hostages were relatively safe for now, but many held fearful looks on their faces still. Adam turned to the door that led to some offices, where the shadow of the last hostiles were. Adam knew what they were asking him to do. Not just use his power and connection with the forest, but to allow the darkness that came with it out, just for a few moments. Adam dreaded it, because he had been told it was unpredictable.
He turned towards the rest of his friends. “Do I really have to do this?”
Ronan nodded. “There’s more guys by the vault.”
Adam closed his eyes and tilted his head back. “I didn’t sign up for this shit,” he muttered before he walked in and locked the door behind him.
Blue turned to all the hostages. “You guys can go out now,” she said.
They did not take that for granted. They all started to run towards the entrances, and away from the crime scene.
From the other side, the rest of the Raven Academy watched. They could only see shadows of the forest, and the outline of something black. Bodies hit the wall, splattering blood and cracking the glass. It was over in under a minute. Then it was silent, and Adam slowly came out. He was covered in blood and scowling.
“Can we leave now, I’m over this,” he said in a dead tone.
“Great work, Adam!” Gansey said not hesitating to wrap an arm around his shoulder, though his uniform was covered in blood. Then he let go to walk towards the front.
Adam and Ronan shared a look. Ronan smirked at Adam who returned it quietly. “Nice monster there,” he complimented.
“Your knife skills could use some work,” Adam quipped.
Ronan balked and shoved Adam. “Says you. I’ll have you know it’s impeccable.”
“Sure, Ronan. Whatever makes you dream better at night.”
Charles Boyd looked out at the scene unfolding. The hostages had run out of the building, scared but none harmed. He was continuing to look at the front of the bank for anything else worthy.
“I see more people are coming out of the building now. They are not the armed robbers,” Charles Boyd said to the microphone.
“It is a group of children! They all were in school uniforms and had black and white masks over their faces. This is Charles Boyd from Channel Fives news,” he concluded.
The children of the Raven Academy stood on the front steps. Questions from the press were coming at them from all sides, but they were taught not to answer them. Only Niall Lynch could. A few minutes later Niall and Declan came through the crowd to stand in front of them. Declan, stood to the side, a stone face on with his clean cut suit. It made the eighteen year old look much older than he was. Niall greeted the cameras with charm. His voice projected clearly.
“Our world is changing, ladies and gentlemen,” he greeted. Camera shutters were going off, and news cameras were filming.
Niall adjusted his readers and stroked his chin. “Or really, it has changed I’d say. There are some among us ordinary people, who are gifted. Gifted with extraordinary abilities one cannot even imagine past fantasy novels. I have taken seven such children under my tutelage. I present to you all, for the first time, the inaugural class of the Raven Academy!”
Niall stepped to the side and swept his arm so they could all see the seven of them clearly for the first time. The noise of the press escalated.
“Mr. Lynch, what happened to their parents?” a reporter asked.
“They willing gave their children to my care, and have been compensated accordingly,” he answered.
“Are you at all concerned for the welfare of these children?” another asked.
“Of course!” Niall declared. “As well as for the fate of the universe.”
It was dinner time. Aurora had made dinner for all of them, just like nothing had changed in the past few years. And likewise, all the students of the Umbrella Academy filed in to the dining room and sat in the spots that had been reserved just for them always. There was a tense silence between all of them. The argument still simmering between them all.
They all ate in silence, avoiding eye contact. Aurora kept moving around, her blonde hair billowing behind her in soft curls. She walked around and put a soft hand on Henry’s shoulder. Henry looked up and gave a smile to her.
“Would you like seconds, Henry? You look a little thin,” Aurora asked in that sweet voice of hers.
It was the same voice that lulled them all to sleep after nightmares. The soft hands that caressed cheeks and patch up wounds. Though she was an android, she was the more present of the two adult figures in their lives.
She nodded and took his plate to fill it more with grilled chicken and fried rice. Adam took a sip of his ice tea. He missed the way Aurora had made it. It was a perfect balance, not too sweet that he felt cavities forming, but also not so unsweet that it was unpleasing. He fished the lemon wedge out and squeezed some of the juice in before idly stirring it gently with his glass in a whirlpool motion.
It was quiet, and tense. And then it wasn’t.
Orla let out a gasp and toppled out of her seat and onto the ground. Immediately everyone stood up and huddled around her. It looked like she was seizing.
“No one should touch her, it will pass in a minute,” Aurora instructed. She gently shooed everyone back.
“Is she okay?” Blue wondered.
Aurora nodded her head. She was analyzing the situation. “Yes. It looks to be a seizure. If it lasts more than a few minutes, then we should worry.”
“Wait! Look!” Noah cried, pointing a finger at her.
Orla’s eyes were open, and glowing orange. They had all seen it before. She was having a vision. But she had never reacted so violently to one before. They all stood in tense silence waiting for her to emerge from it. Then a minute later, her eyes closed, and she stopped seizing. She sat up and took a deep breath.
“Orla!” Blue cried. She knelt down to her and put her hand on top of Orla’s. “What did you see?”
Orla’s brown eyes were wide and her mouth was hanging open. They had never seen Orla this freaked out before. It was worrying.
“Orla?” Adam prompted softly. Her and Adam always had a bond, both having psychic abilities. “What happened?”
“Something bad,” she breathed out.
“What do you mean?” Adam asked.
She locked eyes with Adam. “The apocalypse. It’s coming.”
Ronan shook his head. “What are you talking about?”
“The end of days. It’s coming, in eight days,” Orla declared.
A new form of a tense silence came around all of them suddenly as Orla’s words sunk into their minds.
Mr. Grey looked at the piece of paper in his hand. It had come directly from the Handler, Greenmantle and HQ. He had to kill someone named Ronan Lynch in order to allow the apocalypse to commence. It was one of those set times in history that could not be changed or altered. And Ronan Lynch was the key to having it being stopped for whatever reason.
He sighed and folded the piece of paper and put into his coat pocket. He looked up at the sign in front of him.
300 Fox Way Psychics. It was a start he supposed.