The first thing she was aware of wasn’t the blaring emptiness of her mind, but the cold surface beneath her numb body. The second was, how she didn’t like the cold air. It was unfamiliar, like she’d never felt cold before. Which she assumed was ridiculous.
Of course she’d felt it before, she was feeling it now.
At least she thought that she’d had. When she’d searched for a memory, there was nothing to find.
All of the sudden she felt empty, hollowed out.
Her thoughts traveled to the fact that she should perhaps be panicking right now. It seemed the right way to go about this situation. But there was no memory to back up the claim.
Besides, she was so very tired.
Her body felt drained, her mind aching with a pain she chalked up as a headache. The cold felt shockingly good against her head, but the rest of her body was screaming to move and get warm. So she pulled her legs up against her flat chest, and put her arms around them. It helped, but didn’t solve the problem.
She racked her mind for what to do.
She could always find a village to take shelter in for the time being. But being as she didn’t know where she was would raise a few problems. Her mind made up, she uncurled from her fetal position. What she left her gaping.
The dwellings were on fire.
Brilliant light streamed through clear glass in what she assumed were buildings. The structures were made of foreign materials, and the fires were so bright. She frowned. Why was no one screaming? Is it abandoned? How are there fires if no ones here? And why haven’t the buildings caught on fire yet? When nothing caught on fire she delved into further confusion. Was this not a natural fire? Her mind spun in circles, confusion clouded her thoughts but also curiosity. What would happen if she touched one?
She stood up on the hard ground—she noted in the back of her head how unfamiliar her surroundings were—and walked over to the closest contained fire.
An annoying problem was presented to her. She was incredibly and irrepetible-ly, short. Her hands, small as they were, still provided the necessary slap against her forehead. The fire was placed well over her head, shining onto the hard road she’d awoken on. The cold metal pole was too big to wrap her arms around.
Her headache was getting worse, the cold no longer helped the thrumming—but fanned it.
Mind made up, she decided to ignore the fire problem and look for a suitable place of rest. Preferably somewhere warm.
When she looked up at the sky, hoping to find placement, all she saw was inky blackness. Yes, it was night—but where are the stars?
Where was she?
She walked back to the empty black street.
Bright lights flashed at her, a loud noise so unlike the quiet she’d been in startled her. The icy fear shot through her veins nearly froze her. She’d jumped out of the way of—what she could only describe as—twin fires on a dark metal shape, moving right towards her. Her panicked dash/stumble caused her to run head-first into the metal pole.
The first thing she was aware of was the overwhelming pain in her head. The next was the heavy weights that seemed to drag her body—down, down, down.
Her eyes shot open, only to cringe at the bright light that shone directly into her eyes. She immediately shut them again. She missed the blessed darkness.
“Oh, good. You’re awake.”
“We believe you may have a mild concussion, along with a large cut over your forehead that needed stitches.” A cool female voice washed over her. The sound level was low enough that it hardly registered through her pounding head.
“How do you feel?” Her voice was closer now.
It was calming, the hand she’d placed on her head was cool.
“Wh-wher… e.” She rasped quietly.
Luckily the woman seemed to understand what she was trying to ask.
“You’re in the hospital. We need your name to find your parents. Can you tell me your name.”
What does she mean?
What’s her name?
Nothing popped up in her head. She desperately wanted her name, but nothing came. She clawed at her mental barriers. Where is it!? Nothing but stark emptiness echoed back at her.
Her panic must have been showing on her face because the mystery woman started to stroke her hair.
“Shhh, it's all right. You're here now, why don’t you get some rest first? I’ll come back, and we’ll try again tomorrow. Ok?”
That actually sounded good. It hurt to think. She’d barely registered the light going out other than the relief it brought. The door shutting jolted her head and brought a whole new wave of pain.
She didn’t trust this place. The woman was nice. But she had a sinking sense of dread that something was going to go wrong. Someone would out her, or something was wrong with this whole situation.
Nonetheless, her body betrayed her. Dragging her mind into darkness.
It’d been three weeks since she’d been taken to the hospital, and her sense of dread had yet to heed any results.
Three weeks of blatant distrust of everyone around her. Three weeks of only talking to Dr. Lake—or what she wanted her to call her—Barbara. Three weeks of waiting for her absent memories to return. Three weeks spent knowing that they were never coming back.
The three-inch cut on her forehead had almost completely healed. Her headaches were practically non-existent by now. Between the medication and reluctant rest she’d made a full recovery—minus her memories.
She was staring at the all too familiar ceiling when her room’s door was opened.
“Hey.” Came the cool voice of Barbara.
Her tense figure immediately relaxed. Her silence was apparently enough of an invitation for her to enter.
“I brought new clothes!” She immediately chirped to the seven-year-old, after slipping through the door.
The child’s face twisted into a surprisingly large complicated array of emotions—surprise, small amount of hope, suspicious, calculating, and back to surprise when she pulled one of the outfits.
“It’s not yellow.” Her voice came out partly sarcastic and partly surprised.
“Hey!”—Barbara dramatically placed a single hand on her chest in mock offense—“I only made that mistake once! And it wasn’t even that bad.”
“It was hideous. It and anything like it should be burned to ash.” The kid deadpanned. The first dress Barbara had bought her had been puke-yellow, with enough frills to smother someone to death. She had thrown her book at Barbara and the abomination. Then blatantly refused to wear it.
Barbara gasped dramatically while flinging the new outfit at her. She caught it, examining the t-shirt and pair of shorts.
“For a seven-year-old kid, you have a really picky fashion sense.” Barbara scolded.
She merely stuck her tongue out at her.
Dr. Lake chuckled at the petty child. Moving on to the next more somber topic.
“There were no DNA matches on your blood test. We have no clue who you are.”
She stopped her inspection of the new outfit. Her face was stoic as she processed this new information.
Barbara mutely shook her head.
“I’d suspected as much.”
Dr. Lake didn’t seem alarmed by her stating it like it was indeed a fact. She just gave her a soft smile and said, “But you still hoped.”
Her blinking eyes holding back tears was answer enough.
“Oh, honey.” Barbara sat on the edge of the bed and pulled her limp body onto her lap.
“I’d hoped” She started stuttering her voice cracking, “Just may- ma-”
She choked up before bursting into racking sobs. Barbara merely pulled her closer, letting her soak the scrubs she wore. Her own eyes were watering dangerously close to leaking. Her arms tightened around the sobbing child.
“Hey—shh—it’s alright.” Her arms drew her further against her body.
“No, n-no it’s not.” Her voice quivered, muffled by Barbara’s shoulder, “Who would want a child who doesn’t even know their own name?”
Her sobs stopped at the so-certain words that had come out of Barbara’s mouth. Still heaving from her breakdown all she could muster out was a quiet.
Dr. Lake drew in a steadying breath before elaborating, “I’ve already signed the papers. If you want—I’m willing to adopt you.”
The girl merely stared open mouthed, at the only person she’d spoken to since she’d awoken three weeks ago, and processed this overwhelming piece of information.
“I-, yo-you want to, adopt” her voice cracked on that word, “me? Bu- I don’t even ha-have a na-name.” She broke down into sobs again.
Barbara softly stroked her hair.
“How about, Abigail?” Her soft whisper took the child by surprise again.
“I-I- what?” She whispered.
Dr. Lake simply smiled softly at her, “Abigail—it’s a pretty name. Don’t you think?”
“Abigail.” She whispered, not believing that she had a name. She made the decision subconsciously, “I do.”
“What?” Barbara questioned.
“I do want to be adopted by you.” A warmth started in Barbara’s chest as she gazed at Abigail, “I want to meet Jim and Toby. And I want to have my own bedroom. Without abominations that people call dresses.” Before the Lake could protest at the attack on her fashion sense, Abigail’s next words rocked her world, “I want a place to call home.”
The two’s sobs had echoed through the room for a while before they’d eventually calmed down from the emotional overload to pack up.
The newly dubbed Abigail Mara Lake had changed into the new outfit (removing the tags as well). Her small black shirt with decorative pink flames dancing around the sleeves and hems. The simple black shorts matched the dark contours of her shirt. Both had left the hospital after signing out, Barbara had received a three week leave to help her new daughter adjust.
Abigail fingered the single belonging she’d been found with, other the clothes on her back. A pendant necklace with a single carved onyx stone.
Twenty minutes later they arrived at the Lake household.
Chapter 2: The World Turned Upside Down
A blue Amulet tries to dictate destiny. Too bad, Abigail can too.
The day quickly turns to shit.
The figure welcomes you back, and hopes you enjoy this painstakingly long chapter.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
She paced around the pile of what appeared to be K-spar at the bottom of the large canal that ran through Arcadia. Her gaze intently focused on a certain piece of the rock in the rubble familiar blue glow from her vision framing it. It wasn’t her hands that had lifted the rock from the pile, yet she debated upon changing fate. Her hand twitching at every pass she made, a nervous tick she had yet to get rid of. She made yet another pass around the rocks, her back to the bridge.
An unsettling sensation raises the hair on the back of her neck. She freezes abruptly, whipping around and staring intently into the shadows. A rumble started up in her throat ripping out of her mouth into a ferocious snarl, as she glared at the seemingly empty shadows behind her. She stared intently through the lightening shadows as the sun rose behind her, warming her back.
A loud ringing pierced the quiet early morning air. As the pink-cased phone of Abigail Mara Lake was answered by one exasperated Abigail, two blood red eyes appeared in the dark shadows casted by the bridge.
Bular the Black, Son of Gunmar the Black, was by no means patient. Watching the weak flash bag whelp stand just in reach of Kanjigar remains and therefore the Amulet of Daylight as well, made him itch with an almost uncontrollable urge to break the fleshbag’s neck and snatch the amulet for himself. But alas, the cursed sun held him back. For all his strength the Dark Prince could not do the one thing that he needed.
Not twenty minutes earlier he had the Trollmarket’s accursed Trollhunter just in his grasp only for the sun and Kanjigar’s foolish sacrifice to keep him from his father once again.
He had raged, slamming the bridge with his fist. Causing the concrete to rattle. He had roared in his blinding anger, while desperately trying to reach the amulet. The sun had managed to burn him multiple times during his failed attempts. After a while of raging the sound of approaching life forms lead him to retreat further into the deep shadows of the bridge. A human whelp had come barreling down the canal sides on top of a small metal contraption he had seen other humans use.
The fleshbag whelp would’ve made a good snack for the raging prince but something was off about it. The whelp seemed to stumble off the metal and lean over moaning in pain.
It looked and seemed to stare directly at him, but the fleshbag’s eyes were silver and faintly glowing.
The human whelp kept moaning and fell to its knees throwing up. He grimaced in disgust at the despicable being who lived on the surface world with free reign that the sun gave them. He snarled softly at the thought. All of that would change once his father was released from his prison in the Darklands.
But first that meant completing Killahead Bridge. And to secure that he needed the Amulet.
The whelp had recovered and had seemed to stare at nothing but Kanjigar’s remains. It approached the dead shattered body and began to circle around them. A minute or so of this made Bular restless and his shifting attracted its attention.
He instantly shut his eyes knowing that it would be able to spot him if they remained open, and he wished to observe further. He nearly rushed out and roared in reply to her challenging snarl. His blood pumped with rage at her defiant challenge.
She dares challenge the Son of Gunmar? How can a fleshbag whelp know a challenging growl? Or is she a wayward Changeling? Her eyes earlier indicated magic, but he had seen enough Changelings flash their eyes. They were never silver, only bright red or yellow, perhaps green as well. The questions piled up in his mind clamoring over each other as he impatiently waited for an indication her attention had switched.
Finally a loud ringing startled his eyes open. None too early either, her attention had turned from him to the source of that infernal noise. The female whelp pulled out a pink rectangle of glass and metal.
He stared at the foolish human who stood next to the remains of what was Trollmarket’s greatest Trollhunter reduced to but a pile of rocks.
The fleshbag whelp spoke into what Stricklander had called a phone. An invention of humanity which allowed them to speak over distances without written letters.
He had attempted to use the contraption, only for it to break within his claws. After that he deemed it a complete waste of time, therefore useless.
The human fleshbag returned the phone to her pocket. She stood staring at the remains of Kanjigar the Courageous as the sun rose higher into the sky and the shadows shortened. The Son of Gunmar would need to leave the bridge’s shadow before the sun erased his path to the safety of the tree line. He would return later with Changeling backup.
No, the Gumm-Gumm Prince was not known for his patience but even so, Bular the Black retreated into the shadows of the trees and planned.
Abigail Lake answered her brother’s call with equal amounts of exasperation and annoyance at being interrupted after one of her visions had struck and sent her here.
“Ab where are you?” James Lake Jr.’s worried voice came out of her phone. She gave a small smile at the nickname.
“Just the canal.” Abigail replied back, “I decided to head to school early to catch up on history with Mr. Strickler.” The lie slipped through her lips as smooth as water.
“I’ve already packed my lunch.” She added on in an afterthought.
“It was another dream, wasn’t it?” Jim’s accusatory voice came through the phone.
She paused. Knowing already that he knew her all too well. A heavy sigh escaped her.
“Alright you got me. But before you say anything this one was worse.” That was the worst possible thing she could’ve said at that moment, as something clattered in the background of the phone.
“How so? Are you alright?” Jim may be her little brother, but he sure did worry over her like an older one. And boy was he frantic.
“It woke me early in the morning I needed to get here as soon as possible,-“ probably shouldn’t mention the fact that she actually hadn’t packed a sufficient lunch (just a small protein bar and a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup)- “and when I got here I had another vision.”
“While awake! ” Jim demanded, “ That’s never happened before! Where are you now? I’m coming over and bringing Tobes.”
“You don’t have to do that, James.” She tried breaking through to her panicking brother, “I’ll just head to school.”
“Oh, no you’re not! ” She could hear the frantic sound of him chopping something, “ You stay right there, and don’t you dare think I’m letting you just eat a stupid protein bar for lunch; and if you think are you’re sorely mistaken!”
“I was going to buy something along with it!” Ab defended her protein bar, knowing that there was no base behind her claim. And Jim, as annoyingly observant of her as always would see right through it.
“Right. ” He drawled, his chopping paused, “ And I’m sure you would’ve loved your Chicken Surprise.”
She winced. No one, and she meant absolutely no one gets the Chicken Surprise. For all of Arcadia Oaks High fifty years running, she would’ve thought they’d get rid of it.
But nope. Everyday they go to school, and everyday the Chicken Surprise is up front wafting fumes that would make any sane person refuse to even breathe. Only those who were truly desperate at it, or if you wanted to skip school the painful way.
She coughed, “Ok, you got me there.”
He sighed from over the line as the chopping resumed, “Just give me fifteen minutes, me an’ Tobes will be there. You still in the canals?”
“It’s Tobes and I,” She corrected his grammar, “but yes, I’m still in the canal, by the bridge.”
“All right, stay right there. Tobes and I will be over soon.” She could almost see his smile as he washed his favorite knife in the sink, twirling it to air dry. She had tried that once, and was terrible at it. Only after accidentally embedding it in the wall did she stop trying.
“Love you!” She murmured into the phone.
“I love you too, and if you ever try to pack a protein bar for lunch again I’m burning the whole box and removing it from the grocery list.”
The call shut off abruptly as she contemplated the threat upon her only healthy snack supply. She could always go grocery shopping herself (although she knew she never would, she was terrible at shopping). With that concluded Abigail returned the neon pink phone to her pocket, and proceeded to stare at the pile of rocks for fifteen minutes straight.
The vision had come abruptly in the early hours of pre-dawn. Jolting her awake with the searing images of a battle under a certain bridge above a canal. Two large creatures had fought. One in armour made of daylight, and the other as dark as night. Daylight had lost just as the sun rose. Turning to stone in the rays of deadly sunlight and smashing at the bottom of the bridge.
She had awoken in cold sweat at five-thirty, thirty minutes before her foster brother would awaken and start his morning routine.
Twenty minutes later she was making a beeline for the canal. The sun had already risen halfway above the horizon.
She had been lost in thought until she realized she was accidentally crossing the bridge instead of taking the pathway shortcut through the woods to get underneath the bridge. She decided it would be a waste of time to backtrack and tough it through the woods on the other side of the canals.
Her eyes watered at the force she went down the canal side, the wind whipped her onyx hair into a frenzy.
Her arch into the sky was interrupted by a searing pain shooting through her skull. She was vaguely aware skidding to a halt at the bottom of the canal, stumbling off her bicycle, falling to her knees, and retching up her breakfast.
An image flashed through her head, a pair of hands reached toward a pile of rocks. Her head jerked up, but her eyes were unseeing. Lifting away one of the rocks that seemed to obstruct a blue glow revealing an amulet. The one that the daylight armored figure had been wearing in her vision.
And it was glowing.
The pain in her head had lessened considerably allowing her to stumble away from her reintroduced breakfast.
She had looked up and seen the pile of rocks that had been in her vision.
Which she was still staring while waiting for her brother and their best friend, thirty minutes later. The telltale sign of a bike's wheels drew her head to the other side of the bridge.
She watched her brother arch in the air, much like she had earlier, but with much more control over his landing than her’s.
“Come on Tobes, Ab needs us!” Jim shouted up the canal side. “If she’s even here.” He muttered, after glancing around and failing to spot her.
He looked around, nearly missing her again on the other side of the bridge. When his eyes found her’s a worried smile appeared on his face as he rushed over.
“Thanks for the vote of confidence little brother.” She called out.
As he passed under the bridge her gaze was drawn to Tobias Domzalski who had reached the crest of the canal.
His bike teetered on the edge while the owner, clearly out of breath, panted heavily. He seemed to realize too late the danger he was in. He panicked for a split-second before promptly overbalancing and shooting straight down the side of the canal. She casually watched him shoot straight past her rushing brother (startling Jim so bad he jumped a whole foot away), completely miscalculating the amount of force he had shot down the canal. Toby barely avoided the pile of rocks still going straight towards her. She saw the panic on his face as he hit the brakes too hard. Without the function of his front wheel the bike balanced on one wheel, Toby holding on for dear life praying the bike would tilt back down onto both wheels to save him from yet another dramatic (painful) predictmant.
His prayers were not answered.
Abigail elegantly raised one eyebrow at Domzalski as he struggled in his complete and utter face-plant. He stopped squirming in the impossible situation that his terrible estimation had put him in, resigned to let gravity to hopefully finish its job and plant the rest of him safely onto the canal ground.
The awkward silence continued for a few seconds before Toby broke it with a definite estimation of their current situation.
“How awesome are we?-“ he tried in vain to get untangled from his bike, wondering why it always had to be him,- “Awesome!”
Abigail couldn’t help it, she started laughing.
Tears were leaking out of her eyes as her sight blurred. She was vaguely aware of Toby scowling at her as Jim rushed forward to help their dear distressed short friend.
“And here I thought you were in trouble!” Toby cried indignantly.
She slowly reigned control of her expression, wiping the tear streaks from her face. Jim was still trying to untangle Toby from his bike (how Toby had managed to get tangled with such short stocky limbs was beyond him at this point). Abigail walked forward to help Jim untangle Toby. She focused on his backpack, which seemed to be a part of the problem. When Toby finally got free he got to his feet with a huff, sending an accusing glare at her.
“Really Ab?” He complained, glancing away from the nonchalant seventeen year old.
She smiled sweetly, “Don’t stress it Tobes, I had a feeling you would be fine.”
He scoffed, “A feeling! Of course you did! But we’re you sure?”
“If you were wondering that’s not what my vision was about.” She shot back.
He started glaring at her again, “Then what was it about? Cause I’m pretty sure that’s the worst possible thing that’s going to happen to us today.”
“Hey, what’s that pile of rocks about?” Jim cut through their slowly escalating argument.
“It was in my visions, both of them.” She spared him a glance as he was getting closer to the pile of rocks, “Don’t touch it, I’m pretty sure that’s a dead body.”
Jim took a rather large step back, with noticeable effort.
“Wait you had two?” Toby sounded worried, discarding their seconds earlier spat.
“Yeah.” Ab groaned, rubbing her temples as the pounding became more noticeable, “And it’s really taking its toll.”
“Is your head alright?” Jim had teared his gaze away from the shattered stone body to watch her, concerned.
“Other than the major migraine impending, I think I’ll be good.” Her sarcasm knew no bounds. Jim gave her the look.
“Do you have your pills?” He hurried over to her.
“Yes.” Abigail had been on prescribed head medication since she had been found at the age of seven.
Wandering Arcadia’s streets alone with no intact memory. She was a blank slate, from the age of seven and back. Her only belonging, a carved onyx gem in a seemingly random pattern.
DNA tests hadn’t matched with anyone. She had been in the hospital for three weeks, getting evaluated for health reasons. They had debated on putting her in foster care, but her extreme attachment to Barbara to the point when she would only talk to her had leaned in Dr. Lake’s favor when she decided to adopt her.
She had gotten even more pills after Jim had discovered that her ‘visions’ caused her tremendous headaches. Telling Mom about them had her in the doctor’s office the next day, receiving pills for her migraines (under the guise of her forgotten memories may be making a comeback).
“James Lake.” A deep voice echoed in her head.
She stiffened along with Jim a sense of dread falling over her, but while he looked around for the source her gaze was drawn to the daylight armored creature’s remains.
“Hey guys, did you hear that?” Jim’s eyes landed back on them. Toby had been feeling his face checking for any dislodged braces, but when Jim asked he looked up.
“Hear what?” He muttered still gingerly feeling along his jaw.
The voice came again suddenly louder and this time, outside her head, “James Lake.”
They all jumped, yelping simultaneously.
“That!-“ Jim pointed to the stones- “That pile of rocks knows my name!”
“It’s a pile of K-spar. Minerals don’t talk.” Toby stared at Jim.
“And regular people don’t have visions of the future, and yet here we are.” Abigail snarked back. He glared at her while Jim sifted through the rocks.
Toby turned and helped Jim look through the pile, “There‘s got to be a walkie-talkie in here or something.
“Didn’t you say this was a dead body or something?” Jim paused in his searching to glance at her.
“Yeah. Well, I mean it’s where the warrior in daylight fell.” She muttered kneeling next to them.
“The what?” Both boys chime simultaneously.
“The warrior wearing daylight. It was in my first vision.”
Toby glares at her in disbelief and confusion. Poor Jim was just as completely lost, just less open about it.
“Then the other vision was someone picking up a glowing clock thingy.” Toby pulled a face at that, Jim just looked as lost as ever.
“But what about the voice?” He stared at the pile of rocks again.
We all yelped, again.
Jim went right to the pile, reaching for the same rock that had obscured the G.T. (Glowy Thingy she had dubbed). Toby got up, not seeing the intense look on Jim’s face, and started glaring around the glaringly empty canal.
Jim pulled the rock back, revealing the bane of my headache, “Huh, looks like an amulet.”
She was struck with deja vu, as Jim lifted the amulet up to get a closer look.
It was Jim.
A sense of foreboding took her over. Abigail was absolutely certain that they were way in over their heads.
“Who’s doing this? Come out now!” Toby yelled behind Jim, not realizing that they had found something.
“I think it is.” She murmured back, staring at the G.T..
Toby seemed to finally realize nobody was out there and turned back to them. Seeing the amulet in Jim’s hands he came back to the duo of Lakes.
“Hello? I’m listening.” They all instinctively leaned in, ears close to it.
A sudden loud ringing startled them, while instilling dread at the same time.
They all groaned in dismay.
“Final bell!” Jim yells.
“We’re so late, our kids are gonna have detention.”
“If you even have any!” Abigail yells back, in just as much terror as the rest of them.
“Come on, Tobes. Come on, Ab. We can still make it!” Jim cuts off whatever retort might of come from Toby’s mouth.
“I’m right behind!”
“Right behind ya!”
The bickering kids called out at the same time.
Man Mondays suck, but at least she wasn’t an art major.
Mrs. Janeth’s homeroom was completely silent as Abigail made her way towards the back, which felt wonderful for the pounding in her head. Luckily Mrs. Janeth herself was still in the teacher’s lounge. Abigail slid into a seat next to whom she believed was someone called Jack Hoffman.
The day slid by in a complete blur, She had been vaguely aware of a senior she had passed earlier in the hallway attempting to flirt with her. Clearly he didn’t get the message of ‘Screw off’ because he was back at it again after Sixth period during lunch break.
Her migraine had only gotten worse from there.
The message made its way into his thick skull when she broke his finger while he was trying to touch her. It had been incredibly bright and noisy in the courtyard which just made the pounding in her head worse. She was hoping to make her way straight back inside, the courtyard was simply a shortcut.
He had then sauntered up to her with an arrogant smirk, mouthing words she didn’t even bother to listen to. He had then tried to put his arm around her shoulders in which she had then promptly grabbed while twisting his finger till one had snapped.
He had too much of an ego to make a noise, although his face had started to turn a deep scarlet red. I grinned at him as he stumbled away, desperately trying to not act like a female Junior just denied him and served him a broken finger along with his broken ego.
After that excitement she made her way to seventh period. History with Mr. Strickler was never boring. The history of the world had always intrigued her, although she had the strangest feeling that some of the accounts were slightly off. She would catch herself from saying something preposterous, like how the Greek figure of Medusa hadn’t used her eyes to turn men into stone, it had been a blade. Despite those strange incidents, she would never fall asleep in his class.
That wasn’t the case today.
She found herself listing off in class. She had barely caught what the topic was (something about a recap of the Greek’s involvement during the rise of Rome). By the time the class had really gotten going the thought of laying her head down in her hands while the light was blocked by her arms sounded like heaven. Now if she… she… could just…
It was the sound of a clicking pen in her ear that roused her from cool oblivion.
“...truly doubt that is what is expected of you in this class Ms. Lake.”
Abigail raised her head from the shelter of her arms. The cold air of the classroom hitting her face after her warm breath from her insulated arms had left her. She squinted around the classroom all of the students were staring at her, so she did what any self-respecting Lake would do. She snarked off.
“You know, Mr. Strickler,” She looked up at him shifting until she was lounging in her seat, ignoring the insistent pounding in her head, “One of these days I’m going to break that damned pen of yours.”
There was a beat of silence as she watched the words register in Mr. Strickler’s head before the class erupted into an uproarious bout of laughter.
She winced in pain as the kid next to her keeled over in a fit of giggles. The loud noise had speared a large wave of pain through her whole head. She struggled to stop herself from keeling over like the kid next to her.
Waltholomow Stricklander is and was many things.
A history teacher at the Arcadia Oaks High School, a man you see from the other side of the street, a Changeling spy, a human, a troll. He even was a kindergarten teacher, once. But he was not the type to get attached.
Sure he may be particularly fond of a relic or sword he had acquired over his eight-hundred-years of existence. But when needed he could easily depart with them.
But the Lake family had quite the impact on his life. He had grown attached to the Lake kids, he’d yet to have the pleasure to meet their mother. Jim had become a constant in his life. He was an excellent student and seemed to care more than most kids he’d seen through high school. His inexplicable need to help others was written in his every action. It seemed to never occur to him that he could refuse to help. That’s what had earned him the title Atlas. He took the whole world upon his shoulders.
Now Young Atlas’s sister was a whole different story.
Abigail Lake was headstrong, and most certainly wouldn’t back down from a fight. Her loyalty to whom she considered a part of her family was stunning. The first time he had ever laid eyes on her had been an example of that, and every other example over the years had been a testament to that.
The Lake siblings had their quirks. Abigail more so than Jim. The Lake Coffee Incident of March (or LCI for short) was dubbed as the craziest day in Arcadia Oak School’s history. He prayed that he would never see the day when Abigail Mara Lake got her hands on coffee, again.
The teacher’s lounge has never been left unlocked since.
He knew she was a troubled student. Plagued with more than a few medical issues, she also got frequent migraines, detachment or spacing out, a severe reaction to coffee, and if his observations were correct; Insomnia.
Abigail’s headaches shaped so much of her life already that he would start to notice her remaining in school even when one would strike. He knew better than to let that slide and he had scheduled a date for when he would get her in his office to discuss the matter. But it seemed he would have to move the date to now.
“Alright everyone, class is over early. Don’t forget I want a quick summary of your notes turned in tomorrow to make up for early dismissal.” Most of the class froze, some were still too lost in laughter to notice.
The Juniors immediately recovered from their surprise and rushed out of the classroom. Practically trampling over one another in their haste to exit.
The threat against his Fountain pen may have startled him, but not enough for him not to notice the cringe the Young Warrior gave as the classroom had erupted into noise. She shifted in what he assumed was a reaction to being uncomfortable; as he sat in the student’s chair, directly in front of her.
“Did you take your pills?” His voice seemed to cut through a reverie when she started forward in shock.
Abigail’s questioning gaze met his as she glanced up. He smiled softly in answer shifting so he faced her more.
“You aren’t as good at hiding your troubles as you think you are, Young Warrior.”
She looked abashed as her gaze returned to the floor.
“No.” Her voice was strained with the effort of hiding her pain.
With any other teacher it may have worked, but centuries of experience told him otherwise. He heard the underlying notes of pain in her voice.
“You should be at home.” He turned and stood, walking over to his desk.
She muttered a string of unintelligible words from her slouched position at her desk. He pulled open the top drawer in his desk. Grabbing the orange bottle he popped the lid open as he made his way back to her.
She obediently held out her hand and he dumped three of the pills in her open palm. She threw back her hand and dumped the pills down her throat. Swallowing with the practiced ease of someone who’s done this a hundred times over.
“Water?” She shook her head, and then winced and grabbed it.
He sighed in quiet exasperation at her stubborn nature. Placing the plastic water bottle he’d grabbed in front of her despite the clear ‘no’.
He returned to his earlier spot as she grabbed the water and broke the seal. Half of it was empty before she broke away for air.
“I understand you’re frustrated with your shortcomings, but that’s no excuse for putting yourself through this torture.”
Abigail muttered quietly to herself, half-words that he couldn’t quite catch.
“I can’t keep missing school for these,-“ She winced again, grabbing her head- “headaches. I’m already so far behind work I’m going to have summer school for the rest of my life.”
“You can’t control your headaches, but you can’t refuse to take your medication as well.” He chastised.
“I just can’t deal with them anymore! None of my memories have come back, but they just keep on getting worse!” She was panting by the time her rant ended. She closed her eyes and leaned forward until her head hit the desk.
“I just don’t see the point anymore.” She muttered into her hands.
“The point is, you are alive. You have a chance to change the world. A chance to do amazing things. Yes, you have your quirks.-“ He could almost see her smile- “Perhaps more so than most people, and yes, maybe you’ve got these terrible migraines. That set you back in your academic career, but it hasn’t stopped you.”
Damn he was good at these inspirational speeches.
“You’ve got friends and family willing to support you. And who knows? Maybe you’ll become incredibly famous!”
Ab snorted, “I don’t want to be famous.”
“Some people accidentally win the lottery.” He quipped back.
She snickered, “You can’t accidentally win the lottery.”
“Maybe you can.”
The laugh sent another spike through her skull. The meds had yet to kick in.
“Ow” Abigail gripped her head like she could physically block the headache.
Stricklander frowned, “You should go home.”
“I’ll sign you out at the office.” He said, tapping her shoulder, “You focus on getting home.” He left no room for argument before leaving the classroom.
She sighed quietly, and walked out of the room. Her trip to the locker room was uneventful. A few kids from Mr. Strickler’s class were drifting around. Some were splitting classes. A couple seemed to be making a drug deal. Nope that’s definitely chocolate. Oh wait, that’s weed.
Disguised as chocolate.
All-in-all a lovely day.
Of course you would expect something to go wrong. She didn’t slam her locker door on her fingers. She didn’t crash her bike into a lamppost. She didn’t forget anything at school. She didn’t slice her finger while cutting an apple. She didn’t hit anything on her way to bed. She didn’t have any trouble sleeping.
She did wake up from a startling vision, with more than a few alarming things. Said alarming things included her brother in the basement with a broom. That unto itself wasn’t too abnormal. The abnormalities were the hulking shapes behind her brother, and the fact they had an honest to god conversation with him (mostly devised of screaming). Which she gathered information from, before being violently flung into waking.
She abruptly sat up in bed, threw her blanket across the room. Stumbled out of bed and rushed down the stairs. Her footsteps grew quieter the further down the stairs she went, until even she could barely hear them.
Her hand snatched up the Amulet Jim had left on the table, and a knife on her way through the kitchen. Then, she darted down the stairs and immediately chucked th G.T. At the one called Blinky.
He gave an absolutely commercial yelp, stumbling back crying, “Violent woman!”
“Don’t touch my brother!” Abigail snarled, taking a defensive stance above his unconscious figure, knife flat against her arm.
The Amulet tumbled back towards her on the rebound from the blue one’s face. It rolled to a stop next to her brother’s limp arm. The one called Blinky was still exclaiming about his (six?) vulnerable eyes. Ab was certain a few muttered words were about what a violent human she was. She took pride in that.
“Who-or actually, what are you?” She puzzled over the two creatures. The larger mossy one (Aaarrrgghh?)had maneuvered himself between the multi-eyed one and herself. Well she had a knife, she didn’t blame him. Though she wasn’t sure how effective it would be against what looked like stone skin.
“What could make you resort to such terrible violence!” The one called Blinky was still going on about something.
Oh right, his vulnerable eyes, which she hit, with a metal object.
“I saw two shady, larger than six feet creatures lurking over my unconscious little brother.” Blinky paused, all eyes blinking simultaneously.
“The Trollhunter has an older kin?” He sounded surprised.
“Protective.” Rumbled the larger one.
She hated that she couldn’t decipher the look passed between the two stony beings, “Yeah I’m damn protective, and I could definitely chuck that amulet at you eyes again.”
Blinky carefully inched behind the larger one in an attempt to make himself a smaller target.
He clasped two of his hands together, “The both of us would very much appreciate that you don’t follow through with such a violent threat.”
Ab thoughtfully spun the knife through her fingers, thanking whatever entity that it didn’t go through the wall, “What the fuck are you guys? What’s a Trollhunter? And what the hell does it have to do with my little brother?”
Blinky had a scholorish look about him. So Abigail wasn’t too surprised when he took a stance she’d seen Strickler perform countless times when he was about to chuck a particularly lengthy lecture at the class.
“Nope!” She held a hand up at him, “Come back in two days when he’s awake and my existential crisis has been resolved. I don’t want to listen to this lecture twice.”
His mouth clicked shut as she discarded the knife, pocketed the G.T., and then proceeded to drag Jim up the basement steps.
She didn’t question how the two had gotten out of the house so quietly that even she didn’t hear them while she’d put Jim into bed. But when she’d returned for the knife they were gone.
Abigail set the knife on the kitchen counter, mulling this over. Sometime during the encounter her headache had made a reappearance. Not that it had ever fully gone away. Especially after her third vision of the day.
She groaned, resting her hot forehead on the blessedly cool counter. Life can wait until after her existential crisis. She trodded back up the stairs, after placing the amulet on the armrest of the couch. She quietly opened the door to check up on Jim.
Ab removed his phone from the pocket of his jeans. Flipped him over onto his back, and brought his blanket overtop his body tucking in the corners.
“Whatever am I going to do with you?” She murmured to his still form.
She watched his chest peacefully rise and fall. He’d hit his head, but wasn’t showing any signs of trauma. His breathing was steady and even. She smiled softly and ruffled his hair before making her way out.
Her feet dragged while she got ready for bed. Pills were barely registered as they slid down her throat. Her phone tossed onto her nightstand, the pink case practically glowing in the dark. She forgot a top before collapsing into bed, and then deciding she didn’t need it anyway.
Her alarm apparently hadn't been set.
She woke up at eight, to the smell of fresh pancakes, and the sound of faint sizzling through her open door.
A small smile appeared on her face as she got up and threw on a shirt. Before thundering down the steps to ruin Jim’s morning.
“What up Arcadia Oaks! I’m here today on an exclusive interview of how I’m going to get my hands on coffee again!” Ab crowed, advancing on the coffee machine.
Her hand reached for the coffee machine, only to be smacked away by a spatula wielded by her brother.
“Really?” She complained, “You know, coffee helps with headaches.”
“Oh does it really now?” He hissed.
“Yes really!” She sniffed jauntily at him, inhaling a heavenly scent, “Are those pancakes?”
She pushed her way around a disgruntled Jim, headed straight for the stack. She snatched three even before he could protest. Dropping them on the plate she’d grabbed with her other hand, before stealing two more.
“You know I need some too.” He sighed.
“Yeah, yeah.” She jabbed a thumb at one of the three pans on the stove, “You’ve got two incoming, plus the eggs and bacon.”
She grabbed the syrup, whipped cream, and a large cup of orange juice. She placed them next to her pancakes and the silverware that was already set out prior.
He huffed, and returned to monitoring the pans. He’d flipped the pancakes and removed the eggs from the pan before addressing the elephant in the room.
“I heard your footsteps before I’d passed out.” He looked up from his vigilant watch of the pans to study her, “What exactly happened.”
Ab put the fork she’d been chewing on down on the table. It clinked against her glass of orange juice.
“I threw the amulet at the multi-eyed one. Then he started into a rant of what a violent woman I was. The big one got between him and me. Considering that I was holding a knife—” She was interrupted (quite rudely since he’d asked for the explanation) by Jim exclaiming.
“You threatened them with a knife!”
“Well I had actually threatened to throw the amulet at the one called Blinky again.” Jim groaned, placing his hands over his face, “The knife was just implied.”
“You threatened giant stone creatures in our basement with a KNIFE!”
“OI!” She glared at him, “I saw two giant monsters standing over my little brother. I did what any sane sister would do and protected YOU!”
He looked absolutely gobsmacked. Abigail just angrily shoved another bite of eggs into her mouth, continuing to eat.
“I would’ve stood between you and an army. Plus I negotiated for them to return tomorrow. The multi-eyed one looked like he was about to bust out into a lecture that would rival one of Strickler’s. The big one was even ready to sit through it.”
She was about to put another piece of pancake lathered in just the right amount of syrup and whipped cream into her mouth when two arms wrapped around her.
Ab dropped her fork in surprise at the gesture.
“Just take it. Don’t make it weird.”
She sighed and relaxed in his grip. The hug started to reach past her tolerance of physical contact and she needed an escape.
“The pancakes are going to burn, little brother.” She placed emphasis on the second to last word with obvious affection.
“What if the plan was to let them burn?”
“Then the whole house would catch on fire, and we’d have to move away from Toby.” She deadpanned.
He yelped, quickly releasing his grip on her, before dashing over to the stove—where indeed—the pancakes had started burning.
She laughed before shoving another bite in, relishing in the fact he would have to eat those exact pancakes. Indeed, he did come over with a plate of slightly burnt pancakes. Ab raised her eyebrows at his plate and then at him. She snickered as he stuck his tongue out at her.
“Toby’s at another dentist appointment.” Jim stated before shoveling in bites of syrup-drenched pancake.
Abs eyes widened in surprise and then an assortment of emotions that Jim was all too familiar with. Abigail Mara Lake was about to break out into a rant.
“The last dentist appointment he had lasted a week!” —“Four days”—he interjected, “I don’t even know how that’s possible!” Ab threw her hands up. Jim glanced up once to make sure she didn’t start choking.
“It shouldn’t even be legal!” She exclaimed.
“Uh huh.” Jim was too busy eating to focus on Ab’s daily spew of craziness.
“There should be a law on this!”
“Totally.” He nodded before shoving another too-large bite into his mouth.
“What abo- are you ignoring me?!” She accused, her quickly escalating rant had barely begun.
Jim saw his opportunity to stop the spew before it became a full-blown rant, “I’m dissociating, there’s a difference.”
“Potato Potatoe.” She waved away.
“There is.” He grumbled around his stuffed mouth.
“Mmhhhmmm.” Ab’s attention was caught by the lack of another plate at the table, “Do you know where Mom is?”
He looked up from his food for a split second before returning, “Me and Tobes caught her on her way out after school.”
Again, with the, me and , it was getting a bit monotonous. She frowned suddenly, as another thought passed through her mind. That means Mom had been asleep, one room away, when Ab had crashed herself. She’d just missed her. Though, Abigail doubted she would’ve been able to form a coherent sentence in the amount of pain she’d been in.
“So what’s your side of the story?” Ab shot at him quickly, changing the subject.
“I wasn’t the only one in the basement last night. And you were talking to them before I came down. Don’t lie, I saw it in a vision.” She pointed her loaded fork at him in an accusatory gesture.
“Three visions!” He half shrieked, “How come you have not collapsed into a ball of pain?”
“I’m fine, little brother. I’ve had a good night’s rest. What you should be focusing on is last night’s little adventure.”
“It was very one-sided and involved a whole lot of screaming and passing out. Oh, and also I’ve been supposedly chosen for a destiny involving that glowy amulet over there.” Jim returned to eating his pancakes, like he hadn’t dropped the craziest sentence she’d ever heard. And she’s seen Steve Palchuk drunk.
“Wonderful, anymore mind bombs you want to drop on me? While you're at it, why don’t you whip up a chocolate cake?” She snarked at his casual figure.
He gave her a glare.
“How are you not completely freaking out right now?” She grumbled.
“I haven’t fully woken up yet. I scheduled my existential crisis for Algebra.” Of course he did, it was common in Mrs. Janeth’s class.
“Well, they’re going to be back here tomorrow, so you have time to process this.” She had barely processed this in the last twelve hours, forget forty-eight.
They ate in silence. Jim was nearly finished, courtesy of only grabbing two pancakes. But then again, Ab had a head start. Jim slowed his bites as a thought occurred to him.
“Why don’t we tell an adult?”
Ab choked on a bit of egg that made a sudden stop at the preposterous words, tell an adult .
She scoffed, “Like Strickler?”
“He’s the most qualified.” Jim protested.
“Qualified to do what? Stone monster handling and a magical amulet destiny? Come on Jim, you know no ones going to believe us!” Her voice rose on the last sentence. Even if she wished Strickler would.
Jim looked more than a little perturbed before blurting, “Except Tobes.”
Ab froze halfway between yelling again or flinging whip cream in a certain direction.
Turning the thought over in her head before emitting, “Joy.”
She glanced at his bag before frowning, “Don’t you have school?”
“OH SHIT!” Jim dropped his fork.
He was gone within a second, running around the place, grabbing supplies and chucking it into his bag. He snatched the G.T. from the couch armrest where she’d left it last night.
“What about you?” He called out half-way through the front door.
“I have a two-day leave, Mr. Strickler would drag me home by the ears if he saw me in school after the latest episode.” He was almost left when her words registered. She could see the outraged expression as it formed on his face.
“You DIDN’T take your pills!” He accused, violently shoving a finger in her direction.
“School.” Was all Ab said before busining herself with the rest of her breakfast.
He sent a glare her way that clearly stated that this conversation wasn’t over before slamming the door so hard it shook the house.
She finished her breakfast and cleaned up her’s and Jim’s plate. Dumping the half eaten pancake into the trash before washing the leftover dishes.
The rest of the day passed in a haze of T.V. and naps. Food came in the form of bagged chips and reheated leftovers. Soda and water were optional.
Before she knew it she was feeling relatively normal. No magical amulets, crazy destinies, or stone monsters running around. Even her headaches were taking a break.
Soon enough the front door opened, and Jim was back home.
“Couldn’t tell him.” He groaned and flopped down on the opposite side of the couch. I looked over towards his bag hung on the banister. It’s pocket was unzipped, showing a very pesky glowing amulet.
“Told ya, Toby’s still at the dentist.” I commented, getting up and retrieving the G.T..
“So, what ya going to do with G.T. over here?” Ab said before snatching it up
“Glowy Thingy over here.” She commented while absentmindedly examining the amulet, “Oi, there are words written on it.”
“I doubt that’s the official name of a magical object that dictates destiny, but whatever.
Ab wasn’t listening to half of what he said. Opting instead to study the amulet in closer detail. The metalwork was impressive, it looked like it could actually tick like a clock. The amulet thrummed in her hands, glowing a bit brighter. The rim had something written around the rim, albeit blurry. She blinked to clear her vision, the words cleared up and she read it easily.
‘For the Glory of Merlin, Daylight is Mine to Command.’ Were inscribed around the rim.
Merlin? That guy’s real? Huh.
“Come read it.” She called.
He snorted, “Outside. You need some fresh air.”
She followed without any protest. She had been inside all day, and fresh air sounded nice. Tossing him the amulet as she passed before perching on one of their decorative rocks in the backyard.
“Alright buddy, go for it.”
He examined the rims of the amulet and stated suddenly, “How were you able to read this?”
He blinked at the G.T. like he was clearing up his vision. She watched in confusion, what did he mean by how could she read it? It was in perfect—
She didn’t get to finish her thought before Jim was speaking again.
“For the Glory of Merlin, Daylight is mine to Command.” He spoke slowly while reading off the Amulet.
Abigail’s stomach dropped as a harsh wind blew by her. Somewhere nearby she thought she heard a cat voice their disgruntlement. The wind whipped her hair away from her face.
Suddenly the amulet glowed, emitting multiple glowing orbs into the open air. They hovered, fluctuating between moving towards her and then back at her brother. Suddenly, as if a decision was reached, they shot into Jim’s chest, right above his heart.
Ab started forward, thinking it was going to hurt him. When he gave no indication of pain she relaxed, but didn’t look away as he floated in the air armor appearing around him.
She had a split second thought of, ‘That shit is way too big for him.’ Naturally, she was right.
The moment he dropped down onto the ground though, the armor shrank into his size after assembling around him. They both watched in fascination as three more orbs shot out of it and into his palm. A sword formed—and just like the armor—it was too big. It shrunk in size until he could barely lift it. Definitely a major improvement.
Their shared momentary awe ended when he got it stuck in a rock.
Ab choked on her spit as Jim desperately tried to pull it out of the rock. He finally managed to pull it out of the rock, only to get it stuck in the rock behind him. Abigail collapsed into hysterics as he desperately tried to pull it out again.
“Need help?” She offered, already making her way over to him. Hopefully to staunch the amount of destruction their property would receive.
Needless to say, it took a combined effort, on both sides, to finally pull the sword out. But when Abigail saw her reflection in the metal as he held it up, she fell into a deep silence.
For the rest of the night, she refused to tell Jim what was wrong.
As she sat in bed that night the only thing she could think of was the horrible realization that had struck her when she saw her reflection in the metal like daylight.
‘Why in the world did her baby brother need a sword?’
The female figure stumbles on stage, visibly drunk and in desperate need of a nap.
She steps on the cards dropped earlier heading for the mic. She half-turns, just noticing the audience.
“‘Ello Lovelies.” She slurs.
She grabs for the mic, misses, curses, trips, and falls onto the floor. And yet, somehow got ahold of the mic during the mini disaster.
“So, who knew? Stricklander can actually give an inspirational speech, Abigail breaks boys’ fingers for fun, and everything is Domzalski’s fault.” She declares to the empty black of the invisible ceiling.
“First book. I’m pretty sure I nailed the first chapter.” Her upturned hand slaps onto her face the next bit comes out a bit muffled, “Critique is welcomed, please point out errors. I must fix them for our collective sanity.”
She releases a sigh, and a concerned audience member releases a sound of pity. The collective force of life had drained her mind, body, and soul.
“Feel free to leave kudos.” She mutters, promptly passing out.
The stage darkens and the audience members silently file out. One accidentally trips but another grabs them by the collar of their shirt before falling and waking her.
Chapter 3: Swords are Now Allowed in School (Rehearsals Only)
Jim brings a sword to school, doesn’t get a detention, Ab is pissed.
Or in which Abigail is a little too comfortable with using knives.
The stage lights turned on as the audience files in. The stage now lit, you could see the figure collecting cards off the ground. The figure starts as the light comes on and drops all previously collected cards.
“Really?” She complains, “I thought being a Narrator would mean you have control over these types of things.”
She grumbles to herself a bit before getting up and dusting herself off. She grabs the microphone off the ground from last time.
“What’s up viewers?” She calls out, “We’re back with a ten thousand word chapter. Enjoy!”
With that said the stage darkens. There’s a loud thump and a curse.
“Why turn off the light when I’m in the middle of the stage? It’s a hazard.”
The lights do not come back on.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
She couldn’t sleep that night.
Her mind made it its mission to throw every possible scenario through her head on loop. Switching between unknown horrors and reimaginings, she couldn’t calm down enough to sleep, much less gain any semblance of peace. The overwhelming fear that something terrible was going to happen to them plagued her through the night.
By the time the faintest edges of pink had brushed across the horizon, Ab was already downstairs staring out the window. She was scrutinizing the front yard, particularly the two gashes on the decorative rocks outside.
So it wasn’t a dream after all.
She felt the warning signs of a migraine impending. This one was going to hurt.
Abigail had, originally, considered grabbing a mug of coffee, but the potential disastrous side effects might not be worth it. Plus, she had off again today. Plenty of time to nap.
She checked her messages for a response from Toby’s contact regarding his dentist visit. Finding no reply, she quickly shot off another text knowing very well it was way too early for him to be awake, much less in any lucid state to reply.
Abigail sighed before turning her phone off and tossing it on the low table in front of the couch. She flopped on said couch and wished it would swallow her whole. She was so tired but her mind refused to rest, and eventually it wandered back to the coffee option. Was it really worth it? It wouldn’t hurt to unwind and cause mass chaos at the same time. Ab pondered the possibility of drinking coffee for the next ten minutes.
Just as she was reaching a decision her ears registered the sound of footsteps upstairs, making the decision for her. There was no way Ab could make coffee fast enough before Jim managed to stop her.
She heard him come down the steps in the loudest manner possible. Causing her head to pound harder. Maybe she’ll take Strickler’s advice and actually take her pills for once.
“Could you be any louder.” She complained.
“Sorry.” Jim said meekly, entering the room.
He looked so much like a kicked puppy in that moment she groaned, “Naw, I’m sorry little brother, I’ve just had a long night.”
His expression grew worried, knowing how bad Ab’s headaches could get. He grabbed the bottle of pills that always rested on the counter for her, sighing when he found it was almost still almost completely full.
“Don’t you dare start. I was already chewed out by Strickler at school.” Ab called from over the sofa.
“It’s been a few days, I’m pretty sure it’s high time for another.” Jim commented while screwing the lid off.
He walked over to her and dropped two of the pills in her waiting hand.
“No fucking lectures.” She grumbled, popping the pills into her mouth and swallowing.
“Just promise me you’ll actually take your pills.” Jim demanded.
“I don’t make pill-related promises.” She muttered.
But after Jim glared at her for three minutes, she relented. Damn, she was rubbing off on him.
“But I promise, for one week—” Jim opened his mouth in protest, Ab held up a hand effectively silencing him—“that’s the best your going to get. I’ll take the pills for one week and we’ll work up from there.”
Jim groaned but nodded, “If that’s the best you can.”
“Then I’ll take it.”
Jim retreated to the kitchen where the sounds of him reheating what was left of the pancakes from yesterday emitted. The pounding in her head slowly receded as the meds kicked in. Five minutes later he dropped a plate of pancakes lathered in syrup and whipped cream in front of her. He placed a glass filled with ice water next to it along with a fork.
“Thanks.” Abigail rasped.
He smiled softly, and kissed her forehead before leaving towards the front door.
Before she could ask about where he was heading off too he spoke up, “I’m going to the dentist. Hopefully I’ll be back in an hour.”
Ha! Ab thought while watching the door close, With our luck you’ll be back in six.
He was back in three, moaning about how Toby’s dentist appointment was going to take all day.
“That doesn’t sound good.” Ab commented from where she was watching the latest episode of ‘Nailed It!’. (Anyone else watch that?)
Jim paused in prepping his late breakfast to respond, “His mouth is a city engineering project.”
Ab chuckled, “So there is time for tacos.”
“Don’t torture him like that.” Jim scolded from the other room.
“What Tobias doesn’t know won’t hurt him.”
“Eight hours! I can’t believe it takes eight hours.” Jim was pacing around in a rant of his own for once.
It was past nine, and the sun had already set. Tension from waiting so long to share the secret practically radiated off him. She couldn’t blame him, Jim only had patience for so long until he snapped like a twig.
“You said it.” Ab muttered.
Tobes seemed unbothered by Ab’s crabby attitude. Her headache had come back in full force after one, and she’d yet to take her pills.
“Two molars, plus insertions, and some cleanup.” Toby ticked off three fingers with each statement, seeming far too unconcerned for the unusual amount of procedures, and time, that it took.
Jim grabs Toby by the shoulders, “Okay, Tobes. You are never going to believe this.”
“Of course he isn’t, just show him.” Abigail grumbled as she watched Toby’s eyes commercially widen as Jim nearly shakes him.
Jim releases Toby only to go to his bag and grab the amulet.
“My mouth. Still feels a little sore.” Toby complains.
She pointed towards the freezer in an unspoken suggestion. When he headed to the freezer she opened the top cabinet and started searching for medicine.
“Check this out.” Jim had grabbed the amulet and was staring intently at it. Ab huffed at his tremption. If it had worked before, it would work again.
Toby complains, “Do you have any aspirin?”
He looked absolutely miserable with the frozen pizza box against his mouth. She took pity on him and tossed the bottle at him. Which then hit him in the eye. She cringed in guilt at the bad shot.
“Ow, Abby!” Abigail shot him a look when he used that stupid nickname. Any bad feelings she’d had about hitting him were gone. She actually wanted to do it again, where it hurts.
“Tobes, pay attention.” Jim calls from where he was—still—staring at the amulet.
“Just say the magic words again, Jim!” Abigail grumbled, she watched Toby suddenly realize what type of frozen box he’d pulled out of the freezer.
Jim begins whatever the incantation was, but Tobes attention was solely focused on the pizza he threw in the microwave. The sudden ding from the microwave interrupted Jim right before the last word.
Too slow! Ab thought cheerfully, and man was that microwave fast. She gave the kitchen appliance a suspicious look.
“Go on.” Toby looked a little sheepish at getting caught, but that didn’t stop him from eating the pizza.
Jim’s face twisted in confusion, “It worked last night.”
He lifted the G. T. in the air to examine it closer.
“Are you fucking with me right now?” Toby seemed rather nonchalant as he attempted to close the microwave, it was common for Ab to play practical jokes, he supposed, it might’ve rubbed off on Jim.
“Okay. Wait, wait, wait, wait.” He started shaking the supposedly malfunctioning device.
Ab rolled her eyes, “That’s because you spoke the full incantation last night, silly.”
Jim took a deep breath in and seemed to be focusing hard, because the next thing she knew her hair started floating along with Toby’s pizza slice and the Aspirin bottle. The hair floating thing was new, she didn’t particularly like it. She glared at the G. T. that had attached itself to her brother’s chest and summoned the armor.
“Holy shit!” Toby exclaimed.
“Oh-oh-o! How cool is that?” Jim was reliving the excitement all over again, this time, with Toby.
“What…” Toby’s mouth dropped in shock as he stared at Jim, “Oh, my gosh! Oh, my gosh! Oh, my gosh! Oh, my gosh!”
He jumped closer, lifting Jim’s arms. Staring at the armor he almost couldn’t believe it, “So cool, so cool, so cool !”
“Dude, you know what this means, right? You have a sacred responsibility here.” Toby exclaimed.
“That’s what they said!” Jim yelled back excitedly.
“Oh, my gosh! Oh, my gosh! Oh, my gosh! Oh, my gosh!” He basically repeated it on loop before abruptly taking a bite of his pizza halfway through another gosh, “You need to use these powers for the benefit of all mankind.”
Ab had situated herself on the island counter for a better vantage point. She had watched in disbelief as Toby started fanboying all over the armor. Then she’d had a sneaking suspicion that the ‘benefit of all mankind’ meant something vastly different from what Jim was thinking of. She saw the look that Jim got when he was fairly certain a Tobes was about to say something crazy appear on his face. She was just waiting for the beat to drop.
“You have to use this to kick Steve’s ass.”
“Really?” Jim exclaims, staring at their crazy friend in disbelief, “I show you a glowing sword and a suit of armor that could only be magic, and that’s how you respond!”
“Seriously!” Tobes gestured wildly with his pizza, “It’s ass-kicking time.”
Ab was getting annoyed at this point, “You know, I already kicked Steve’s ass plenty of times before. Right?”
“No, we need to prove ourselves as men. We fight our own battles!” Toby declared, throwing a bunch of wild flinging motions with his entire body.
“To protect your fragile masculinity I have chosen not to comment.” Ab declared, lazing on the island counter.
Toby pulled a face at that while admiring his pant’s flexibility, “These pants are so elastic.”
“Thank God for that.” Ab muttered.
Toby paused, “Wait. Also, who’s ‘they’?”
“Well that’s the part that I’ve been freaking out over!” Jim said, waving his hands around.
That’s when a knock sounded on the door.
“What, what, what the hell is that? Don’t open the door!”
“I’ll assume that’s the ‘they’. Right on time too.” Ab commented, the kitchen pillar blocked her view of the backdoor.
The knocks escalated and with a crash, she assumed ‘they’ had made their entrance.
“Master Jim!” An overly chipper voice exclaimed.
Oh yeah, that’s them.
“I’m calling nine-one-one.” Toby started panicking like she knew he would, “No. Animal control!”
He dove behind the counter Abigail was currently on, still panicking.
“Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh. They talk!” He peeked over the counter using Ab as a shield.
“I knew it was but a matter of time before the amulet called to us.” Blinky came into view, solely focused on Jim. Ab saw her chance and took it.
“What? G. T. over there?” The surprised yelp was music to her ears, as Blinky jumped away from her. The pillar in the kitchen obscures both ways.
Jim shook his head, used to Ab’s antics he tried to steer the conversation back on track, “‘Called’ to you?”
“Erm..” Blinky figited, still edging away from her, “Actually, no. We’ve been spying on you.”
“Spy on you.” Ab leaned forward to see Aaarrrgghh wedged in the doorway.
“Well, keeping a close watch.” Blinky summarized.
Ab rolled her eyes at his attempt to downplay what they did, “That’s called spying, dingus.”
A large crash from the backdoor stopped whatever retort Blinky was about to fire back.
“Door small.” The giant moaned.
Abigail leaned backward to check on her panicking best friend, “How’s it goin’ back there, buddy?”
Tobes seemed dead set on his phone as he dialed a number, “Animal Control.”
“Monsters, at my best friend's house! I need you to send a squad!” Tobes practically screamed into the receiver.
“Is this a joke, kid?” Was the predictable response.
“Make that the National Guard!”
Ab heard the dial tone.
“Animal Control hung up on me.” He said in disbelief.
It seemed to be going well then.
She returned her focus to the conversation up front.
Blinky turned to Jim with a disapproving face (How he managed that with six eyes was beyond her),“You told your stout little friend about us.”
“You find one of us, you get all of us. Also you barged in.” Ab called out to the duo.
Jim scratched the back of his neck, “Um, is that a problem?”
Polite as ever, I see, Ab thought in exasperation.
She watched as Aaaarrgghh started sniffing around the floor.
“Master Jim, we trolls have gone to great lengths to keep our existence secret from your kind, lest there be panic.” Uh oh, this was lecture mode.
Ab wondered if stabbing him with a knife would shut him up. Before she could get into further debate of which knife to use, Aaarrrgghh leaned over the counter and promptly picked Toby up. You better watch it, she thought, glaring dangerously at him. But other than squealing in a very undignified way, Toby appeared unhurt. She relaxed and called that payback for calling her Abby.
Aaarrrgghh dropped him on the counter with her. He could’ve picked anywhere else. She internally rolled her eyes at him while externally leaning away from Toby as he tried to duck behind her on the counter, again.
“Oh my god. Oh my god…” He frantically chanted under his breath while holding out a metal ladle.
“Like that.” Apparently this proved Blinky’s point.
Jim walked over while reassuring him, “It’s alright Tobes.”
“They're like, nine feet tall.” He whispered frantically.
“This is my best friend Toby D.” Jim introduced.
But before he could do the same for her, she took matters into her own hands, “An’ I’m Abigail Mara Lake, Jim’s older sister.”
“He has like eight hundred eyes! We’re gonna die.” Toby was still definitely freaking out.
Blinky had walked over next to Aaarrrgghh, “Hardly. Your friend is the Trollhunter. His noble obligation is protective.”
Ab did her typical Abigail thing, and reassured Tobes in her own, erm…, special way, “Don’t worry Tobes, I’ve got a knife.”
“Uhh…” Tobes inched away from her when she revealed it and lifted it in the air.
Blinky was quick to step behind a shield, which just happened to be Aaarrrgghh. Toby was nearly falling off the counter in his desperation to get as much space between him and Abigail with a knife. Jim lunged forward, he was quick to grab her hand holding the knife, gently lowering it,
“Let’s put down the knife, Ab.” He said placatingly.
Crisis narrowly avoided, the rest relaxed, although Blinky still looked slightly traumatized.
Toby steered the conversation back on track, “Like ‘protecting’? You mean like a superhero? Oh, can I be his sidekick?” Toby sat forward, his excitement escalating, “With a cool superhero name like Deathblade or Snipersnake?”
Jim tried to slow his roll, “Just wait. Who would I be protecting?”
“Us.” Aaarrrgghh gestured towards the fantasy part of their group.
“And mankind, from bad trolls.” Blinky elaborated, “As well as goblins, gruesomes, and the occasional rogue gnome.”
Toby got a little too curious and started poking Blinky with the ladle.
“Do you mind?” His face got a little too close to Toby’s for her comfort.
“Watch it!” Ab growled, stepping forward threateningly, knife back in her hand. She didn’t believe they were here to harm them, but she wasn’t taking any chances. Abigail was willing to kill to keep her loved ones safe.
Blinky took the clear warning and immediately backed off. He kept several feet between himself and her before beginning, “The mantle of Trollhunter is a sacred responsibility, one which has never been passed to a human before. This is a—”
Ab cut him off, taking a one-eighty with her emotions now alarmed, “Wait! Wait, up a sec. Why does this have to be my brother?”
Before Blinky could answer a sudden flash of light had Jim exclaiming, “Oh, it’s my mother! Upstairs, quick!”
He ushered everyone up the steps. Wood cracking drew her attention back, but Jim pushed her forward. Not before she caught Aaarrrgghh fixing the banister. The bathroom door slammed shut with a boom that shook the entire house.
“Jim! It’s me!” Mom’s voice called from downstairs.
“Great job on being stealthy.” Ab threw at him.
“She’s not supposed to be home until midnight.” Jim panicked.
She heard a great snuffling sound from behind her, “Mmm. You smell like cat.”
“My nana has a Siamese.” Toby replied uneasily.
“Tasty.” He licked his lips, visibly unnerving Toby.
Abigail’s maternal instincts cut in, prompting an immediate reaction.
Ab snarled lowly, “Back away from the Domzalski.”
Approaching footsteps cut her off from launching at him. She watched as Aaarrrgghh quietly inched as far away from Tobes as possible in the tight confines of the bathroom.
“I forgot my phone. Are you in there?” Mom’s voice came from right outside the door.
“Um, fine. I mean, my stomach’s a little, uh…” Toby started using the toilet cleaner to make fart noises, Jim frantically made the ‘cut it out’ motion, while Ab just smacked her forehead, “Uh, you know, I might have a food poisoning situation.”
“Honey, I’ll get you some medicine, okay?” Barbara’s need to help might be their downfall.
Her footsteps retreated down the steps only seconds later.
“Okay, what’s this going on here?” Jim gestured to the stubborn armor still attached to his body.
“The amulet reacts to your emotional state.” Toby turned off the bathroom lights and stared, transfixed by the glowing amulet, “You appear to be in some distress.”
“You think?” Jim snaps sarcastically.
“I have another question.” Toby announces.
“Speak, Theodore.” Ab held back a snicker.
A large stony arm reached out and started flicking the light switch.
“It’s Toby, actually. Or Tobias.” Tobes brushed off the mistake, the bathroom lights started going on and off.
“If Jim’s the first Trollhunter, like you said.” He smacked Aaarrrgghh’s arm away from the light switch, leaving the light off, “Then who or what was the Trollhunter before him?”
“The glorious mantle has been passed from troll to troll for hundreds of years.” Blinky declared excitedly emphasizing with his top pair of arms.
“So, the previous Trollhunter, what, retired?” Jim asked.
Ab started chanting in the back of her head, please be retired, please be retired.
Both trolls saddened, “Was felled.”
It took a second to register in Ab’s mind, “Oh hell to the no!”
She had practically yelled it. Jim covered her mouth and shushed her. She was too angry to care that she may have exposed them to mom.
They all stood in tense silence for a minute, listening for the sound of approaching footsteps. When none came everyone visibly relaxed.
“Felled?” Jim inquired.
“Means killed.” Aaarrrgghh rumbled sadly.
“Turned to stone and smashed.” Blinky emphasized that statement with his two top hands, “Kanjigar the Courageous was his name. Brutally slain by a ruthless troll named Bular.”
Abigail’s mind whirled with the new information. A horrible dread settled over her as her mind quickly fitted the pieces together.
Toby’s hand landed on her shoulder, startling her out of her thoughts, “Don’t worry guys.”
“This Bular guy probably just got lucky.” Toby switched the bathroom light on.
Everything clicked into place. The amulet had been under the bridge within the stone pieces of what must’ve been the predecessor of the amulet. What that meant for Jim, she didn’t know.
“The creature in armor made of Daylight.” Ab whispered in horror.
“The evidence does not suggest—” Blinky’s voice became background noise along with Jim’s response.
Abigail was about to seriously freak out, until she saw Jim’s expression. He was scared out of his mind, his face rotating between terror and disbelief, and if she was freaking out, who would help him? Maybe Toby, but his methods are to be questioned.
“—ost alert and able of all the Trollhunters.” She caught the tail end of Blinky’s words and did not like it.
“But not the best, I’m betting.” Jim asked desperately.
She saw Blinky’s face and had her answer, “Shut it!”
His mouth quickly closed before she continued, “Is there some way he can get rid of it?”
Blinky seemed to at least understand the weight of her question and looked remorseful, “I’m afraid once the mantle has chosen you, you can not refuse it. It is yours, until the day you die.”
Tobes got between her before she could gorge out one of his six eyes, “Is there some sort of training he can—”
Ab turned to see Jim hyperventilating on the bathroom floor, she knelt next to him, “Hey bud, it’s okay. Take deep breaths. I’ll stab them for you.”
That jerked him out of it.
“Don’t do that!” He yelped.
“Aha! There’s my little brother, still not letting me stab people, or… trolls.” Ab muttered the last part.
She heard Blinky behind her, “Great query, Tom. Tobias! It’ll take decades.”
What the heck takes decades? Abigail turned to look behind her.
Tobes glanced at her and Jim before turning to them, “And how long does Jim have?”
“A day or two.” Blinky replied.
“Mmhhmm.” Aaarrrgghh made a so-so gesture behind him.
There was a knock on the door, “Jim, I have medicine and ginger ale. Come on out.”
“I’m fine. Really.” He yelled in exasperation.
Ab grimaced, “Oh he’s so going to get it now.”
“I’m a doctor. I’m going to treat my own son.” Barbara scolded.
Abigail quickly glanced around the bathroom.
“Into the shower!” She hissed quietly to them.
“I just need a little privacy.” Jim replied in a desperate attempt to buy time.
Ab ushered the trolls into the shower, climbing on top of Aaarrrgghh herself. Jim started taking deep breaths, and with a flash of light the armor came off.
“You’re worrying me. Oh” There was a brief pause, “I’m coming in.”
Abigail desperately hoped that Mom hadn’t seen the flash of light.
The door opened and Jim’s blobby figure through the curtain walked out of view, “Ooh! See? All good.”
“Huh, okay.” Mom’s skeptical voice retreated as they both walked downstairs.
There was a great sniff and Toby grumbled, “Stop sniffing me, giant troll dude.”
“Smell like cat.”
She growled warningly from on top of him.
Twenty excruciating minutes later that consisted of Ab barely holding back the urge to stab Blinky, and eventually leaving the bathroom altogether to go wave Mom off passed far too slowly for her sanity.
“Ow. Your cave, too small.” Aaarrrgghh had bumped into the ceiling again, and then relieved the table nearby of its contents.
“So, Master Jim, are you ready?” Blinky clasped his hands together, “We should begin your training immediately.”
Abigail stormed up to Blinky, murderous intentions written across her face, “No, you should get out of this house. After what you’ve dumped on us I have half a mind to stab you with every knife we have, twice.”
Blinky took a good few steps back, looking fairly afraid of her.
For once Jim didn’t try to stop her rampage, “And it’s a school night.”
Blinky leaned around her figure to see Jim, “I assure you, the relevance escapes me.”
“He’s a kid! He has a life, and shouldn’t be running around in a suit of armor, fighting trolls or whatever.” Ab threw her hands up in frustration.
She paused at a fleeting thought, “Take it back.”
Blinky hastily backed away from her, and she had a feeling that what he said next would not be something she liked, “Like I said before, Lady Abigail, this mantle is one for life. Your brother cannot refuse it.”
Jim suddenly snapped from behind her, “Well the whole ‘getting killed by a vicious troll named Bular’ might be a dealbreaker.”
Toby breaks through the conversation with an unwanted comment, in a completely unwarranted cheerful attitude, “Dude! He eats VHS’s!”
“Shut it!” She snapped at him.
“I don’t want to die!” Jim yelled, coming to stand next to her.
There was a pause where everyone was quiet before Blinky burst out laughing, “Goodness gracious. Who does?”
Ab very nearly stabbed him on the spot, and if Jim hadn’t put a calming hand on her shoulder, she would have.
“Maybe you should take this back.” He held the amulet out to Blinky.
“The amulet called to you, Master Jim.” Blinky pushed the held out hands back to Jim, “It chose you. It is your…”
“Please don’t say ‘destiny’.” Jim pleaded.
Jim covered his face with a hand, “Or, that.”
“You cannot refuse it. You cannot give it back. It is yours until you die.”
Ab very nearly screamed in frustration at those words. Why her little brother? Why ?
“And I would like to get a little further past puberty before that happens.” Jim nearly loses his cool again.
“Master Jim, you are now responsible for the protection of two worlds, human and troll alike. If you do not keep the balance, evil trolls like Bular will come into yours and wreak havoc.” She knew he had Jim’s complete attention when he heard people could get hurt.
“You’re saying this Bular could hurt people?” Jim’s voice grew meek at the thought of potential harm coming to anyone.
“Like you.” Aaarrrgghh commented.
“Not helping.” Blinky hissed.
“What is he talking about?” Jim pressed.
“With the amulet now in your possession, Bular will seek you out, and you will face him, one way or another.” Her body went cold at the thought of that shadowy monster seeking out her little brother.
If there was anytime for a vision it would be now. She willed herself to reach out, desperation fueling her attempts to force a vision. An incredibly brief image shot through her subconscious. Her eyes glowed for a mere millisecond, nobody caught it because they weren’t looking directly at her.
“What if there is more than one person who can wield it?” Ab found herself blurting out.
Blinky blanched, “That’s preposterous! Only one may wield the Amulet of Daylight.”
Ab didn’t listen to him, turning to Jim and holding out her hand, “Jim give it to me.”
“Uhh...” He paused.
Toby was over there in an instant, placing a hand on both of their shoulders.
“Maybe what Jim needs is a little time to process all of this.” Toby empathetically explained, “You know, you laid a lot of heavy stuff on him tonight.”
Blinky paused for a second and seemed to think it over, “Fine, fine. We shall return tomorrow then, to begin your training!”
“Awesome sauce.” Toby said unenthusiastically.
Toby was trying to shove Aaarrrgghh out the door, when Blinky turned back and seemed to notice Jim brooding. He made as if to make his way over to him, but Abigail stepped in his path. Her expression was less murderous, but it still wasn’t friendly.
Blinky took that as a good sign and attempted to reason, “I merely wish to talk to him.”
Ab mulled it over for a second, glancing at Jim with worry.
“I’ll be watching.” She warns him, stepping back.
She watched him like a hawk. Whatever he was saying to Jim hadn’t caused a breakdown so Ab decided to help Tobes with Aaarrrgghh.
They finally managed to push him out the door when they both came back. Jim looked marginally better, and Blinky seemed proud of himself for some reason. Ab gave him a nod as he followed after Aaarrrgghh, towards the fence line. He waved enthusiastically at them, and Aaarrrgghh seemed to think he was taking too long. A hand appeared over the fence and yanked him over.
“They’re pretty stealthy. How’s that? I bought you a night.” Toby broke the silence, far too chipper for Ab’s taste.
“A night?” Jim said incredulously.
“Dude…” Toby gestured, “You’re the one who’s always talking about wanting adventure and something more. Well wish granted. Hmm...”
Ab very nearly smacked him for that last remark.
“So, trolls are a thing. Who knew.” Toby headed back inside.
“I did, like—three days ago.” Ab turned following him, leaving Jim to his thoughts.
“Visions don’t count. They could be faulty.” Toby threw back.
Abigail grew insulted at what he was implying, “Once Tobes! Name one time they were wrong.”
“I did get hurt in the canal.” Toby grumbled.
“It was a faceplant! Not a wedgie.”
Jim walked through the door, closed, and locked it.
Abigail had laid awake during the entire night again, and she was fairly certain there were bags under her eyes. Once the sun had rose above the horizon was when she finally decided to move. The early morning light had glinted off the single piece of jewelry she actually owned. It hung on one of the few spare hooks in the room, its onyx crystal shimmering. She’d decided, why not take a little luck along with her. God knows she would need it.
She tucked it beneath her shirt. Ab didn’t make a habit of flaunting her jewelry. She grabbed her latest finished pottery piece off her trimming wheel. She would drop it off at the kindle on the way back from school. Maybe she’d give this one to Nomura, it’s design had been modeled off one of the museum’s. She was definitely proud of the handles, which were actually symmetrical, for once.
The trip to school was uneventful, Toby had started firing off questions the moment they had met outside the Lake’s house all the way to school.
“So what did you decide?” Toby asked for the fifth time.
Jim sighed, “That if anyone finds out what happened in my kitchen last night, we’ll all be committed.”
“I meant about kicking Steve’s ass.”
“Give up the dream, Tobes.”
Ab got a pit feeling in her stomach. She checked the clock on the courtyard wall and cursed.
“See ya guys, I have to split.”
A chorus of byes and see ya later followed her rushing figure. She was late to Homeroom, and did not want to be caught by Mrs. Janeth. So much for luck. Her eyes caught the Romeo and Juliet poster on the wall. Is the date… yes! Thank you, luck!
Abigail caught a flash of brown out of her eyes, right before she rammed right into Strickler. Damn you luck.
Unsurprisingly they both fell to the floor.
“Well, if I didn’t have a headache earlier,” She winced while touching her forehead, “I do now.”
“My deepest apologies, Abigail.” Mr. Strickler was quick to get up to his feet, “But I’m afraid I can’t stay for pleasantries, there is an urgent manner I must attend to.”
“Well that was abrupt.” She muttered while watching him retreat towards the boy’s locker room, wait was that Toby? Pushing Jim?
She decided that she didn’t care enough to find out before heading towards the cafeteria. She had a vague memory of Mrs. Janeth announcing that Homeroom would be moved there because of rehearsals.
A temporary stage had been set up, along with a few rows of metal seats. Someone was already onstage and reading off their lines. She selected her seat in the far back, hopefully out of any main attention. A few of her homeroom classmates were peppered around the rest of the seats.
She was headed towards her chosen seat when her eyes began to wander around the room. Ab’s gaze landed on a very familiar set of pigtails, and she tripped in surprise. All of her books tumbled out of her arms and somehow managed to echo throughout the entire cafeteria.
Her face burned as students turned to stare, even the actor onstage paused and looked in her direction. She quickly ducked down to retrieve them. She was reaching for her science textbook when a different more slender hand lifted the book off the ground.
Abigail prayed to every entity that those hands that were now holding out that cursed book did not belong to whom she thought.
Abigail looked up and met Shannon Longhannon’s eyes.
Lucky necklace, you had one damn job.
“I got your uhh...—” She looked slightly nervous as she read the title— “‘Physical Science’ textbook.”
Ab’s entire face went beet red when she held it out to her. Her mind turned to complete mush at her attempt to form a coherent response. Oh god, she was just like her brother.
“I-uhh… thank you.” Ab sputtered out, thoroughly embarrassed.
Shannon’s mouth stretched into a small grin, “Your welcome.”
“So, whatcha doin in the cafeteria?” Stupid, stupid, stupid! Why the hell did she say that? Lucky necklace, you motherfu—
“Oh.” A red flush flared on Shannon’s ears, “I was signing up for the stage crew. Mom wanted me to join at least one club at school. I was apparently ‘too much of an introvert’ for her tastes.”
Abigail was yanked out of her personal insults and met Shannon’s gaze. Wow, her eyes are so pretty. Wait, WHAT! Abigail nearly smacked her face at that thought. What the hell is wrong with me? Break the silence Abigail, or you’ll look like a dope to her.
“Where’s the sign up sheet?” The words escaped her mouth before she could stop them. She blushed suddenly, hoping Shannon hadn’t caught onto her eagerness. Was that too obvious?
Luckily (ironic, I know), Shannon seemed oblivious and eagerly showed her the way. Abigail wondered if it was too much of a stretch to compare herself to a tomato yet. She followed Shannon down near the stage. A small table was set up with the crew sign up papers.
“So I know that being on the crew isn’t the same as actually performing on stage, but I hear that it's really fun. I can’t speak from experience, but I met one of the regular crew member’s and he tol—”
Abigail nodded along with what Shannon was saying, but never quite heard it. She was too focused on the way her mouth moved and the light in her eyes when she retold her meeting with some guy. She had a small dimple on her left side when she smiled. Ab absently wondered what it would be like to kiss her. What the ever-loving FUCK ! Did she seriously just think that? Ab, control your expression. She was halfway certain that a dopey smile was painted on her face, and she did not want to act like her love stricken brother.
Ab reigned in control of her expression, just as Shannon asked a question.
“Hey, isn’t that your brother?”
No way, Ab thought as she turned towards the stage. But, apparently, there was a way. There was her little brother, standing in the middle of the stage, wearin the daylight armor, fidgeting nervously as he answered Mrs. Janeth’s questions. He was going to have a whole lot more questions to answer from her because she needed an explanation.
“Well, we are all ears.” Mrs. Janeth said, flipping the paper on her clipboard.
“Whoa. What is he wearing?” Ab heard from behind her.
“Uhh…” Jim started nervously.
“Destiny—” He took a deep breath—“Destiny is a gift. Some go their entire lives living an existence of quiet desperation, never learning the truth, that what feels as though a burden pushing down upon our shoulders—” He drew the sword and pointed it towards the audience.
“—is actually the sense of purpose that lifts us to greater heights. Never forget that fear is but the precursor to valor. That to strive in the face of fear is what it means to be a hero.” He lifts the sword up, the audience gasps.
“Don’t think.” He swings it through the air in an elaborate show before sheathing it on the final word, “Become.”
Abigail watched in shock as the rest of the students burst out into applause. Mrs. Janeth was hiding behind her clipboard. She caught sight of Claire in the audience. She gave a small smirk as she saw their eyes meet. Well, that explains the audition, …but not the armor .
There would be an explanation, in serious detail, and maybe a few knives.
“He’s cute.” Shannon commented offhandedly.
Abigail sputtered, nearly choking on her own spit. Her little brother and cute, did not compute together. Nope. She was not going to think about that.
Shannon noticed her expression, and burst out laughing, “It’s okay. I’m not into him like that.”
Her reassuring words were enough to stop Abigail’s coughing fit.
“Plus, anyone can see he’s already taken.” She nodded towards Claire.
Ab grinned, “Yea, he’s had that crush since forever. He gets all tongue-tied when she’s within ten feet of him, that or the dreamy eyes.”
Shannon laughed. It was bright and full of mirth, and it made Abigail’s heart do a flip.
“Yeah, love’ll do that to ya.” She said, turning to look at Ab.
Abigail’s breath caught as Shannon’s eyes met her own. Her heart stuttered to a stop in her chest as their eyes remained locked. She saw something flicker in Shannon’s eyes. It was gone before Ab could puzzle out what it was. Would she like to have a taco later from Stuart’s Taco Truck? Right as she had summoned up enough courage to ask, a cough broke their trance.
Moment ruined, Abigail turned a glare onto a very unfortunate Toby.
“Hey. Uhhh… can I borrow Ab?” He asked uncomfortably after noticing her glare.
Ab’s glare sharpened after Shannon murmured goodbye before making her exit.
“What?” she snapped at him.
He took a quick step back at the venom loaded in her words, “I’m sorry! I didn’t realize you were talking to her!”
When her expression softened he added, “But did you ask her out?”
Ab whacked him with one of her books. She watched in amusement as he rubbed the back of his head with a small ‘ow’.
“Stop being nosy.” She scolded before walking backstage.
Toby hurried after her. She opened the door just in time to see Jim deactivate the armor. The glare she leveled at him had Jim fidgeting with nervousness.
“What ever it is, he didn’t do it!” Toby cried running between Ab and Jim.
“The evidence—” Ab pointed at the G.T. in Jim’s hands—“Is literally in his hands.”
“Great job at stalling, ditto.” Jim hissed at Tobes.
“Sorry man!” He leaned closer and whispered, “She’s scary.”
“Damn right I am. Now, WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING WITH THAT IN SCHOOL !”
“Heh.” Toby chuckled nervously, he patted Jim on the back, “All yours, bro.”
He rushed off, giving her a wide berth as he made his way to the exit.
“TRAITOR!” Jim yelled at the slammed door.
Ab raised her eyebrow at him. Clearly expecting his excuse. Jim gave her a hopeful smile that didn’t deter her stone hard expression in the least.
Jim’s excuse had been fairly acceptable, so she hadn’t needed to lecture him, or steal his phone for the day. Although, she had confiscated the amulet in an attempt to keep the incident from repeating. The last thing she needed was for him to summon freaking armor in the middle of Algebra because Mrs. Janeth made him answer a question he had no idea what the answer was to.
School was almost over when Ab’s thoughts sent her for a spin.
She had realized something just as she opened her locker for fifth period. She’d had an actual conversation with Shannon Longhannon. And she had made her laugh, twice. Abigail banged her head against the locker door, eliciting a few concerned glances from fellow Juniors around her. She simply banged her head again, harder.
“Dude! That was amazing! You were amazing! I’m amazed at how amazing you were!”
They were waiting at the intersection to cross the road. Not even six minutes away from school and Ab wanted to strangle Toby. See how awesome that was, she thought.
“I can’t believe that that just happened.” Jim was just as excited as Toby.
“And did you see how the chiquita was looking at you?” Toby gave an attempt at a sly smile, as they passed the construction zone.
“Toby, this is why you’re failing Spanish.” Ab commented.
Toby rolled his eyes before continuing, “Your armor totally did you a favor!”
“I’m still getting the hang of it.” Jim muttered modestly.
“The multi-eye guy said it reacts to your emotional state.” Toby hit the side of a wooden board on the road and went careening off course, “The armor turns on when you’re in distress.”
They approached the turn, Ab got a pit feeling in her stomach.
“But I wasn’t in distress back at school.” Jim said, still confused over the incident with Strickler.
Before Ab could say anything, a loud roar cut her off.
Jim blanched, “But I am now.
There was a black silhouette at the end of the street they had turned on, two glowing eyes watched them. The figure moved and growled again.
“Trollhunter. Merlin’s Creation—” He snarled, lowering down on all fours—“Gunmar’s Bane.”
Toby leaned out, next to Jim, “I think he’s talking to you.”
It walked forward, the second its hand went into the sun, it sizzled. The figure retreated immediately. A troll? But why the hell is it out here?
Jim pointed, “Look! He’s afraid of the sun.”
Toby cried, “Not for long!”
Ab was frozen as a name crossed her mind.
“Bular.” She whispered, the others gave her a look of horror as the whole situation finally processed in their heads. Ab felt her pocket, where the amulet laid, her distraction.
Bular once again snarled, “The amulet! Surrender it and I will give you a speedy death.”
“Doesn’t know how to negotiate, this guy!”
“Go, go, go!” Jim yelled.
They took off, making a quick left to head away from Main St. Ab heard the thundering footsteps following, not far behind.
“Hide!” Abigail hissed at the two.
They were quick to take cover behind one of the trucks that lined the deserted street. Of all the times for people not to be out, why now ? They crouched behind the chosen truck. Ab could hear Bular searching for them. She flinched at the harsh sound of metal hitting concrete as he overturned one of the trucks.
Abigail knew what she had to do to keep her brother and Toby safe, she just hoped the fucking amulet would listen too. She gripped her necklace beneath her shirt and wished for luck.
Toby clutched at Jim while shaking him whispered desperately, “Armor up, armor up, armo—”
Jim grabbed Toby, forcing him to stop shaking him. He stared desperately into Toby’s eyes.
“I don’t have it!” He whisper-yelled furiously back.
“Oh, we’re gonna die.” Toby lamented.
“Wait!” Jim looked desperately around, “Where’s Ab?”
No sooner was that said when there was a screech of tires from the middle of the street, just out of sight for the boys. They peeked over in time to see Abigail herself reach into her pocket and pull out the amulet.
“Oh no.” Jim whispered in horror.
“OI! YA UGLY BLACK BASTARD!” Abigail screamed from the other end of the street, “YOU WANT THE FUCKING AMULET?”
They heard a snarl, incredibly close to their hiding spot. Both boy’s cringed away. Abigail cast a desperate glance in their direction. Jim immediately realized what she was trying to do.
She held it above her head, “COME AND GET IT!”
Ab immediately took off, a loud roar following behind her. They watched her turn on the next street, Bular hot on her heels.
Jim whirled around, and this time it was Toby’s turn to get shook, “She’s drawing him away from us. She’s going to get herself killed!”
“Oh, shit.” Toby commented, still in shock.
Jim paused in his shaking, looking desperately into his eyes, “We have to go after her!”
Toby’s eyes widened in disbelief.
“You mean you want to run towards the evil troll currently chasing your sister. My best fri—” Toby died off mid-rant when he came to a realization.
“Fuck you James Lake Jr.”
This was a terrible idea.
This was by far the craziest, stupidest, insanest idea she’d ever had.
And she had actually followed through.
Abigail was half-tempted to just dig her own grave at this point.
No regrets though. Her brother and best friend were safe, for now.
Another roar that shook the ground sounded behind her. Her breath came in quick pants as she pedaled faster than she’d ever had in her life. The pounding of footsteps behind her fueled the adrenaline coursing through her veins. Which was good, because that was basically all she was running on now. Her heart pounded in her ears as she took another turn.
“I’ll flay the flesh off your bones, and shred your skin into ribbons!”
Literally, this guy wouldn’t shut up. She meant, the first few times, yeah, it was scary. But now. It’s just getting old. She was half-tempted to yell an insult of her own over her shoulder. Just to watch his reaction. But she didn’t actually have a death wish.
“Suck it bitch!” She yelled, before taking a sharp turn into a narrow alleyway.
Apparently she did.
There was no way he could fit through here, she thought grimly. A loud crash and scraping noise followed her. A frustrated roar followed her into the next street. She could barely believe it had worked.
Biking through the next few streets was tense as she listened for any sound of perusement. When she heard no thundering footsteps she took a right, towards the canals.
When she saw that multi-eyed troll again, she would punch every single one of his six eyes.
Speaking of that troll, she saw all of the four beings she was currently looking for. Ab screeched to a halt in front of Toby, who’s mouth immediately dropped in shock.
“I think I lost him, along with my stomach.” Ab commented wryly, eyeing their stunned expressions.
She saw something shift in Jim’s eyes just before he launched at her. Taken completely by surprise, his momentum nearly made her fall.
“Ok there.” She patted him on the back as he clutched her close.
The hug was reaching past physical limitations when he finally let go. Ab was incredibly confused as to what prompted this action when Toby exclaimed from behind Jim.
“We thought you’d been killed!”
“I’m very much clearly alive.” Ab rolled her eyes at him, “An’ I still have the bloody G.T..”
She pulled it out of her pocket and held it out to Jim. Much to everyone’s surprise he slapped her hand holding the amulet, in her shock, she lost her grip on it and it went flying into the underbrush. Ab stared in shock at his expression. Jim’s face was thunderous, borderline scary.
“WHAT IN THE HELL POSSESSED YOU TO DO THAT!” His eyes were glassy with unshed tears, “DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW WORRIED I WAS?”
“WE—” He choked, abruptly cutting off.
His eyes glistened even more so, “I-I thought you—”
He didn’t get to finish before Ab wrapped her arms around him. That’s when the waterworks broke. He let out a choked sob into her shoulder as he clutched her tighter, his tears soaking her shirt.
They stood there for a long moment, before Ab felt another pair of arms wrap around them. She pulled back slightly to see Toby. His eyes were rimmed with red as well.
They all melted into the hug, overwhelmed by their near-death experience. Blinky shifted uncomfortably and turned to gaze at the ground. Aaarrrgghh seemed to be slightly upset at their emotional display, reminded of the fact they were indeed, just whelps.
“Alright, physical contact is over, people.” Ab declared, detangling herself from the tangle of limbs and silent tears.
Jim stepped back while wiping his face free of any residue tears. He gave a small grin at her. Toby sniffled before hitting her on the shoulder.
“Don’t ever do that to us again.” He grumbled.
Ab hit him in the shoulder as payback and promise, “I won’t.”
Toby immediately turned to look at Aaarrrgghh, shooting off a question, trying to forget the emotional display. Before she caught anything, Jim stepped up in front of her.
“Shake on it.” He demanded, holding out a hand
Ab immediately grabbed it, giving a reassuring squeeze. They looked each other in the eye for a second, both brother and sister knowing that if it came down to it, she would do it again. She would protect them. Jim hated it, but knew this was the best he would get.
Ab’s expression changed at the same second as Jim’s.
“Do you feel that?” Jim questioned, looking at their clasped hands.
Toby focused on them again when Abigail didn’t reply. She released her hold that kept the object in their hands hidden. The cool metal slid into the middle of her palm, revealing the amulet. All three gaped at it for a moment before Ab whipped her head around to Blinky.
“Did you know that it teleports?” She questioned.
Blinky’s observation of the ground ended when he saw the amulet in her hand.
He gasped, “It teleported to you?”
“No, it teleported into both our hands.” Jim piped.
Blinky looked troubled for a second before a loud roar echoed down the street. Abigail nearly got whiplash from how fast she turned.
“Follow me! We’ll be safe in Heartstone Trollmarket!” Called Blinky, the little shit was already getting a headstart.
The trio immediately took off after them, the thundering footsteps giving them plenty of incense to hurry it up. She heard a roar and fizzling, suddenly the light posts started falling past them. She narrowly avoided one by switching to the other side of the road. Ab nearly tumbled off her bike when she saw Toby hit one of the poles, launching off his. She was immensely grateful that Aaarrrgghh snagged him, carrying Toby himself.
“Fucking hell, I thought I’d lost him!” Ab complained, while frantically pedaling.
“Well, it’s very clear that you didn’t!” Toby yelled from Aaarrrgghh’s back as they went off-road, into the forest.
“Master Jim! Don your armor!” Blinky yelled frantically.
Jim swerved next to Abigail after realizing he didn’t have it, “Ab throw it over!”
She immediately yelled back, “No way, let’s get to this Trollmarket before he catches up to us!”
“Lady Abigail, you must relinquish the amulet to Master Jim, or we will all be doomed!” Blinky’s voice unhelpfully added over the crashing of undergrowth.
“Just give it to him!” Toby yelled while desperately trying to keep a hold on Aaarrrgghh’s back.
Ab grew only more defiant as the thundering footsteps grew closer. She saw a flash of light through the forestry. A sense of deja vu came over her, and she knew what it meant.
“No! I know what I saw.” She turned to Jim, “Do you trust me?”
A range of emotions swept across his face, worry, disbelief, a flash of anger, and then realization. His expression turned to determination as the lights grew clearer.
“Do you promise to be safe?” He pleaded.
Ab gave him a mischievous smirk, “Don’t I always?”
“What’s going on?” Blinky yelled.
Jim rode up next to him, “We have a plan.”
“What sort of pla—” Toby glanced at the Lake siblings, his mouth opened when he recognized their expressions, “—oh.”
They burst out of the forest so quickly that Ab barely had any time to stop. She jumped off her bike and kicked it to the side, hoping it won’t get crushed. She glanced over her shoulder to make sure that the rest of them were getting away. The crashing in the undergrowth grew closer by the second.
Abigail unpocketed the amulet and glared down at it.
“You better work.” She threatened.
Abigail knew what she had seen in her vision last night. She also knew that it had portrayed this very picture, along with her own words echoing in her head. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, releasing it, and focused her entire will into the amulet. She envisioned what she wanted to happen before speaking.
“‘For the Glory of Merlin, Daylight is mine to command’.”
‘Bloody hell’ she thought just as she opened her eyes and met another pair of molten ones. The chest plate appeared just as the punch connected, sending her flying through the air. A faint silver clouded the edge of her vision for a split second before suddenly disappearing.
The rest of the armor summoned as she shot through the air, glowing brightly before attaching itself to her body. She noted that the metal shaped itself to fit her more feminine curves before attaching.
The two humans and two trolls gaped in shock as the armor maternelized around Abigail. Their shock was short-lived when reality hit them like a slap as Bular roared again.
She landed on her feet with a crack. Apparently, pavement doesn’t like magic armor. She saw the length between her and the bridge, and then the length between her an—
“Fucking shit.” Was her exact thought.
She took off towards the bridge, hoping to make some headway towards her escape. It wasn’t five seconds past before Bular cut her off. She screeched to a halt, rapidly backing away.
“Use the sword, Lady Abigail.” Blinky’s voice filtered through her panic.
Was it even strong enough to pierce that monster’s stone skin? It sure didn’t look like it.
“I’ll drink your blood out of a goblet made of your skull!” Bular snarled.
Didn’t skulls have holes?
“Incredibly inefficient, you know.” She snarked back.
“Break him like Jerry’s arm, Ab!” Toby yelled.
Ah, poor Jerry.
Jim didn’t yell any encouragement, he was too busy watching her, and hoping she wouldn’t get killed.
“We must work quickly. Open the portal!” Blinky grabbed a glowing orange stone from his pouch, “The Horngazel!”
He threw it to Aaarrrgghh, who immediately started drawing an arch on the canal wall.
“Whoa.” Toby and Jim gaped at the blue cracks as the once regular stone wall spiraled into a blue portal.
Blinky yelled, “Lady Abigail! Lady Abigail, come on!”
Ab glanced incredulously at him. How the fuck did he expect her to get over there without becoming dark-and-scary’s midnight snack?What the hell is going on inside his brain?
Abigail yelled, “Oi, then you come deal with this motherfu—”
“Ab!” Jim cried, appalled.
Bular snarled threateningly, “You are not fit to wield the amulet. I’ll tear the armor off you! Along with your skin!”
“I’d like to see you try, bitch.” If she was going out, Abigail Mara Lake would give them something to write in the history books. Death wish is back.
Bular swung one of his twin swords at her. Ab dodged quickly to the side, simultaneously hefting the sword (while nearly losing her balance which threw off her aim), and lunging forward. He twisted to the side, surprisingly nimble (much to her dismay), and avoided her stab.
Duck, duck, duck. Duck! Her mind screamed as she flung herself to the ground to avoid a decapitating blow. She scrambled up and wildly swung the sword towards him.
Needless to say it got stuck in his arm.
Abigail mentally sighed as she ran in the opposite direction, while Bular was distracted with the shiny new addition to his arm. What wouldn’t she do for a large pot of coffee right now. Jim was standing in front of the portal, not in it like Toby, holding out his hand.
The fact that the portal was closing fast only spurred her on. She realized that Jim hadn’t made a move to go through, even when it started to close. He stood stubbornly outside it, holding out his hand to her.
She heard Toby start to yell, “Come on, come on! Let’s go, Abigail! Oh no!”
“Jim, if you don’t get your ass into that portal—” She didn’t finish before slamming into him.
She shoved him all the way against the concrete wall, hoping it was open enough to get at least him through. She felt him hit the wall. They hadn’t made it. She glared at him, but before she could yell, his eyes widened in fear while looking over her shoulder. Her gut sunk as she turned around, putting herself between him and oncoming danger.
Before she could blink, a sword embedded itself into the wall next to her. There was a sharp stinging across her cheek. She hissed quietly in pain. Bular charged at them, wielding one sword. His roar echoed through the canal. So this is how she was going to die.
“Whoa!” Jim startled behind her as the second sword hit the wall next to his head.
Ab stared head-on at him as he charged them. She was readying to rip the amulet from her own chest and have it materialize on Jim’s, when the sound of stone on stone grinding reached her ears. Just as Bular was upon them, a large stone hand reached through the portal, and pulled her and Jim through.
Ab collapsed onto the ground as a thud rang through the stone wall she’d just passed through. Dust rained from the ceiling as a faint roar made its way through the wall. She heard heavy breathing that she recognized as her own. There was a shrill ringing in her ears as she processed the fact that they’d almost died.
Jim’s voice reached through her reverie, its panicked note startling her, “He nearly…. We nearly…. He almost….”
Jim was stuttering with his hands waving in the air, while Toby had his hands on his knees and dry heaved. Ab stumbled to her feet, bracing herself against the stone wall.
“Almost what? Speak, Master Jim.” Blinky’s sounded from her right.
“He almost killed us!” Jim burst out.
“‘Almost’! A very important word. A life of almost is a life of never.”
Abigail was very ready to throttle him, when the amulet dinged on her chest, glowing for a fast second, before dissipating the armor. Everyone stared at it as it fell to the floor with a clink and rolled over to Jim. He picked it up and pocketed it. She decided to break the silence with some few choice words.
“There’s going to be no ‘almost’ when I stab out each and every single one of your eyeballs.” Ab growled.
Blinky blinked all six eyes out of sync in surprise.
“Heh.” He glanced at Jim, “She’s kidding, right?”
Ab growled menacingly at him, a clear show that she was, in fact, not.
He cleared his throat while walking back a few steps, “This way Masters. This way.”
Whatever Ab had been about to do was forgotten when Blinky stepped on something that glowed a bright blue. She rushed forward on unsteady legs to what had appeared to be a dark ledge that led to nothing, but was clearly not . Her mouth dropped as she saw the giant crystals that went down in a great spiral. She watched in fascination as the crystals continued to light up down below. The cave was awash in a blue glow that immediately calmed her pounding heart.
“Whoa!” Toby and Jim gaped as they came up beside her.
“It’s beautiful.” Ab whispered.
The boys followed Blinky, while Ab stayed behind alongside Aaarrrgghh. She watched her steps carefully as she made her way down the unevenly spaced crystals.
“Are you sure we’re safe in here?” She heard Jim’s voice inquire after a few minutes of awestruck silence.
Blinky’s voice rang out, “Indeed. The incantation forbids entry to Heartstone Trollmarket by Gumm-Gumms such as Bular, for they are the most fearsome of trolls.”
Ab was suddenly aware of a faint pounding through her feet. The feeling was strangely familiar when it should’ve been foreign. Her mind scrambled for what it could be before arriving at something that was completely unbelievable, yet not really.
“There’s—a heartbeat.” Ab whispered quietly to herself.
She didn’t notice the pondering glance Aaarrrgghh sent her way.
Aaarrrgghh’s voice rumbled, “Heartstone.”
Ab must’ve looked like she was about to fire off a thousand questions because he said, “You see.”
Jim’s voice echoed, “‘Gumm-Gumms’?”
“Scary ones.” Aaarrrgghh answered.
They were reaching the bottom and Abigail decided that it was safe enough to look up.
“Okay, wait, wait. So, Bular can’t get in here, right?” Jim jumped in front of Blinky, “Into Heartstone Trollmarket?”
Blinky smiled before placing two arms on his shoulders, spinning him around he answered, “No, Master Jim.”
Ab walked around the bend to see what they were exactly looking at.
Jim’s face went slack with awe, “Whoa.”
There was a giant orange crystal towering over what looked to be an entire civilization carved into the cave walls. The giant stone pulsed with a warm light, washing over her like cool water. Each pulse was in time with the pounding she felt through the ground. The heartbeat came from it, she realized.
“Wow.” Toby said.
Abigail couldn’t agree more.
“This is the world you are bound to protect.” Blinky declared from behind them.
“This is Heartstone Trollmarket!”
Lights come on, the Narrator is in the middle of the stage, collecting the cards yet again. The lights startled her, but this time she managed to hold onto her cards. She cast a glare around the room as if she could spot the culprit.
She turns to the audience, “I suppose that there’s something the lights have against me.”
“Well,” She continues, snapping her fingers and making the note cards disappear in a flurry of sparks, “Abigail is very fond of knives. Sorry it took a few days to upload, ten thousand words is quite a lot. I wonder what that heartbeat was about, or the silver glow.” A mischievous smirk appeared on her face.
With a snap of her fingers the stage darkens until the whole scene turns black.