Sabotage, Chapter 12

“What did they do to you?” Seth peered at the scruffy recovery agent, who had googly eyes and, even though he sat in a chair, he swayed to music that no one could hear.

Lilith observed, “Here’s trying to speak!”

Seth, Lilith, Arius, and Elden all leaned in and listened carefully. The recovery agent indeed whispered something unintelligible. The more they listened, the more pins and needles of anticipation grew. Suddenly, he bolted up and sang, “Zephyr in the sky, at night I wonder/do my tears of morning sink beneath sun?”

The other four all deflated. Seth kicked a small table and exclaimed, “Damn it! They broke him!”

She did,” Lilith corrected him. “We taught her how too. Now she’s using it against us!”

Seth concluded, “It’s not safe for us to keep sending out recovery agents after her. They’re good for the entry level who escape. Their minds are weak, and they can get silenced easily. There’ll be no point in trying to get to get to her mind, she’s proven she’s too strong for that…”

“And obviously she’s proven she can outsmart the recovery agents too,” Elden added bitterly.

“Like a ray of light, she’s flying!” the recovery agent crooned enthusiastically.

Lilith sat him down and commented, “Too bad she had a change of heart; she could have been a great asset to Mirage!”

Seth responded, “That’s exactly why she’s so dangerous now! We only have one option-”

Arius stepped in and finished, “We’ll need to go after her ourselves! Since she’s in my region, I volunteer to get her! It’s my region, I have to protect it!”

Seth nodded in approval. Elden looked to his notes and informed him, “The Recovery Agent found her heading towards Provo. The rail heads to Salt Lake City, so, more than likely, she’s heading there.”

“More than likely!” Lilith reacted sourly. “How is it that we can’t get any video of her? They must pass by cameras sometimes!”

Seth and Elden shrugged at each other. Arius disregarded this, “It doesn’t matter! I’ll find her! I’ll go to Salt Lake City and turn every corner!” Everyone but the recovery agent laughed.

As Carmen, Garith, and Zartex walked down a bustling street in downtown Salt Lake City, Garith argued, “Oh come on! We could’ve gotten those tickets for free! It’s not like we have gotten a lot of chances to have fun!”

“Fun?” Carmen questioned. “How is Nightmare on Thirteenth fun? Haven’t we had enough scary people popping out of the corner brandishing weapons?”

“It’s almost Halloween!” Garith pleaded. “Let’s go back and find that guy before someone else grabs those tickets!”

“You really wanna make it easy for them to corner us?” Carmen said wryly.

“Why would they look for us there?” Garith retorted

Zartex opinionated, “I’ve yet to learn why humans enjoy getting scared. How does fear release endorphin?”

“See, we need to go there and find out the answer to his question!” Garith implored.

Carmen shook her head and smiled. She decided to change the subject, “Do you know anyone in San Francisco that’s hiring? You know, in case we make it back…”

“We will make it back!” Garith asserted. “I have no idea what’s happening in San Francisco right now. How can I? I had to ditch my cell phone in Colorado. It has been strange for me, as a reporter, to be so uninformed about what’s happening in the world.”

Zartex pointed out, “Except your involvement in a story that will get broadcast from coast to coast!”

“Thank Captain Obvious,” Garith responded. “I didn’t realize how glued I was to my cell phone until now. I used it all the time for work and communicate with people.”

Carmen inquired, “Is there someone waiting for you back home?”

“Oh no!” Garith replied. “I communicated with my family and friends via text. I hardly had time for them let alone a personal life. I spent so much time in the field interviewing people, but I spent more time doing research in the office. That’s how I ended up with my ex wife. And that’s also why we divorced. Well, one of the reasons.”

“What was the other reason?” Carmen felt compelled to learn more about him. After all this time they spent together, she didn’t know much about him. They had devoted their energy to surviving the journey and writing the article, and now she felt a twinge a guilt for not getting to know him.

Garith blushed a little. “I normally don’t talk about this in front of a lady.”

Whatever response Carmen was expecting, it wasn’t that. “Well…tell Zartex then!”

“Okay, Zartex!” Garith recalled, “She didn’t like having sex. Like, we hardly ever did it, and when we did, she would just lie there like a cold fish. When I love someone, I like to really get into it, like really make her moan and squirm, you know?”

“Do I?” Zartex looked to Carmen, who nodded. “Okay, yes, I know what you mean.”

“I wanted to please her,” Garith explained. “But, get this, she didn’t even like to orgasm!”

“What?” Carmen reacted vehemently. “If Teddy ever gave me a real one, maybe I wouldn’t have ran out on him!”

Garith had no idea she would be so comfortable about the subject, but since now he knew that she was, he abandoned all pretense. “A real one? You mean, you faked it?”

“It’s like we both did,” Carmen divulged. “We were both so convinced we were in love that we believed our lovemaking was passionate and pleasurable. I realize now that I brainwashed myself to loving him as much as I tricked myself into liking that job. I moaned deeply because I thought I was supposed to feel orgasmic. Teddy did too. But really, I felt nothing. I mean, how could I? We were lying perfectly still!” At this point, Garith burst into mirthful laughter. “It’s not funny!”

“Are you kidding me?” Garith howled. “You were both lying still like statues but still shouted in passion? Teddy must’ve looked like a beached whale!” Garith stood perfectly still and let out a huge moan.

“Stop that!” Carmen playfully hit him. Now that she heard, and saw, it out loud, she did realize how comical her relationship was. Everything about it was fake, just like Mirage. They made everything look flashy and prestigious, but it was just theatre. She got so lost in the act that she never realized that she was just playing a role. She had adopted a whole other identity! “We should probably stop talking about sex so loud. Isn’t this the Mormon capitol?”

Garith pointed to a sign in front of them. “There’s a bar! Look around, do these people look like religious fundamentalists? Plus, it’s not like Mormons don’t have sex. How do you think they make so many kids?”

Carmen laughed, “You have a point. Not that all Mormons have a particular ‘look,’ but these people staggering out of the bar definitely don’t look like Mormons!” She had referred to a group of young people dressed up to clubbing.

“That guy definitely isn’t.” Garith pointed to a rabbi that passed by them. The three of them laughed.

Zartex joined in, “Well, we know that guy isn’t Mormon! Not enough morals!” Zartex pointed to the distance and laughed.

Garith and Carmen stopped dead in their tracks. The man he pointed to was Arius! Garith and Carmen hid behind a building around the corner, and Zartex followed. “What is he doing here?” Carmen groaned. She was not mentally prepared to see him again. She was starting to move on with her life, and seeing a person from her past was like seeing a ghost. She figured she would run into nameless henchmen, but she didn’t think she would have to confront him or any of the Mirage executives unless they were in court. At that point, more time would have passed and they would have the barrier of police and legal teams to prevent them from hurting anyone. Now there would be very litte to stop him, especially since Mirage had the police convinced Carmen was a murderer.

Zartex remarked, “They know you can outfox their recovery agents, so they didn’t have a choice but to send their best and brightest.”

Carmen began to panic, so Garith snapped his fingers. “Don’t you give up on me now! Don’t let your fears cloud your mind! Now think…you’ve known him for several years, and you know these executives better than anyone. You know his strengths and his weaknesses, so tell me, what do we do?”

Carmen’s mind raced. Arius always reminded her of a wolf, and when he’s on the hunt, he chased his prey until the bitter end. He rarely made mistakes. Zartex suggested, “That bar is playing music, maybe we can do another song.”

Garith liked that suggested, and the two guys started to head out, but Carmen physically stopped them. Zartex’s suggestion triggered a memory for her. “A bar…he’s a booze hound! That’s how we’ll get him! Zartex, is there any music that won’t give you an emotional overload?”

“Country,” Zartex replied firmly.

“Let’s find a country bar!” Garith directed.

Arius walked down the streets with a determined look on his face. He scanned every person’s face and even read between the lines. His instincts told him she was close by. Suddenly, from across the street, he heard a small crash. He saw Carmen recovering from tripping. When she saw him, she suddenly grew a deer-in-the-headlights look and bolted into a nearby bar. Arius darted after her.

His heart pumped knowing that he was getting close to catching her. When he entered the bar, there was no sign of her. A couple of people in Western wear sat at the bar. The jukebox played a country song that reminded him of home, which made him feel at ease. At the opposite side of the bar stood a beer pong table. After he noticed that, a very tall man came up to him and jovially invited, “You up for a game? I’m losing terribly. You any good?”

“Are you kidding? I’m the best!” Arius boasted. “But I can’t right now. I’m looking for someone important.”

“You mean that girl?” Zartex said as casually as he could. “She got chased out by police.”

“Really?” Arius seemed pleased. “She’s not a very fast runner, so they probably got her. So, yes, I do have some time to play!”

Zartex and Arius played against a couple of strangers, and Arius had not lied aobut his prodigious skills at this game. He helped Zartex win easily. As the evening went on, the bar got different patrons, and since his adrenaline was up, he challenged more people each time they finished a game. After a few hours, Arius had less control of his body and slurred speech. He craned his head to the front door to welcome a new challenger. He saw Carmen, which prompted him to remember his mission. “Youuuu! Y’er supposed to be in ja-il!” Arius uttered.

Carmen ducked away, and Arius clumsily went after her. At that moment, Garith shouted, “Bartender! That man’s trying to run out on his bill!”

Arius stopped and swiveled around. “What bill?”

The bartender informed him, “You said you would cover the tabe from all these beer pong games!”

Arius got a confused expression on his face. “Wha….? No, I gotta go!” Arius ran out and ignored the anger from the people in the bar.

He went out on the street, but everything felt blurred. “Wherrre did you go?” He meandered down the road, glancing at everyone. People could tell he was drunk and felt uneasy by his appearance. He asked multiple people if they were Carmen, but they shook him off.

He came to a statue and saw her from across a plaza. He stumbled, and the next thing he knew, he was being awakened by a police officer poking him with a baton. “Wake up, buddy!”

Totally disoriented, he woke up to see himself on top of the statue buck naked. “It wasn’t me!” he slurred. “It wasss the wanted killller, Carmen!”

“Sure, you lush!” The police clearly didn’t believe him. “You’re wanted on multiple charges: larceny, drunk and disorderly conduct, public nudity…” Arius protested more, trying to get the police to look for Carmen. They ignored him and put him in their squad car.

Just outside of town, Zartex, Carmen, and Garith hiked along a railroad. Carmed buzzed, “Oh, I wish I could see the look on his face as he got arrested!”

Garith wondered, “We are safe from him for a few days. But, do you think he’ll go after us again once he’s released?”

“No,” Zartex stated. “They’ll try again with someone else to solve their problem faster. You know what’s ironic though? He got arrested for stealing, but technically, I’m the only thief here!” Garith and Carmen stared at him in disbelief. “I technically ran up that bar tab. I also stole that food from the dumpster. Oh, and I stole that boat at the lake on your wedding day!”

“That was you?” Carmen was shocked, but she felt a rush of gratitude for him. If Zartex hadn’t done that, she may not have been able to escape. Garith also played a huge role that day too. If weren’t for the two of them, who knows what would have happened to her? She may have escaped one day, she was certainly capable of it. But she realized that no one could do everything alone all the time. She now had powerful allies. She didn’t know if she would be successful, but, thanks to Garith and Zartex, she at least had a chance. She compulsively gave them both a hug. They were surprised by this gesture, but they accepted it and hugged back.

Advertisements

Sabotage, Chapter 7

“Come on!” Colt frantically flipped through a stack of paperwork, which sat on top a myriad of scattered files. When he didn’t find what he was looking for, he flung the file in frustration. He laid his hands on his temples and just sat there, trembling. He almost hit his head when Colt walked in with an intimidating man. This guy had dark skin, clean shaven hair, and cold, dark eyes. Seth greeted curtly, “Colt! You remember our head of security, Elden Gundulf?”

“Of, of course,” Colt replied shakily.

Elden, with a thick South African accent, asked Colt forcefully, “Did you find anything helpful?”

Colt groaned, “Carmen has been such a gypsy in the last five years! I have no clue where she went! She could be in Florida with her grandparents…”

“Bull!” Seth exclaimed. “Where did she say she wanted to open up a branch?”

“California,” he supplied unhelpfully.

Elden commented, “California is a very large place. Can you narrow it down?”

“No, I tried!” Colt said ruefully. “I never narrowed it down ’cause she wasn’t even close to getting promoted!”

“Where did she live before she moved to Grand Junction?” Seth asked swiftly.

“I don’t remember!” Colt wailed. “She lived near a beach. I know, I know, that doesn’t narrow it down much. I’m sorry! I wanna find Carmen as much as you do!”

Elden picked up a torn file and handed it to Seth. “Sir!”

Seth read the file, his face twisting into an angry confusion. “This is Carmen’s employee file. Her personal information is gone!”

“I know!” Colt showed him a couple more files which had similar tears. “I don’t know what happened!”

Elden eyed Colt suspiciously. He stepped up to just inches of his face and propped open his jaw. “Ink stains on the tongue!”

“You ate her personal info?” Seth shrieked. “You knew we needed it, and you purposely destroyed evidence!” He glared at all of the strewed documents. “You destroyed anything that may help us locate our fugitive!”

Colt abandoned all pretense. “Carmen is a good person and doesn’t deserve to go through this!”

“You know that this kind of defiance leads to termination?” Elden pointed out menacingly.

“I don’t care anymore!” Colt picked up a picture frame with his wife and son, staring at them forlornly. “I started with this company to make money, but I stayed ’cause I thought I was doing good for the world. I thought I could positively influence some of our erroneous policies. It’s clear that I’m doing more harm than good, so my time with Mirage is up. It’s time for me to go! I miss my family! It’s time to leave this place and join them!”

“Ohhh Colt!” Seth stood behind him and put his right hand on his shoulder. “You had so much potential! But I’m afraid that you’re officially terminated!” With his left hand, he shot Colt in the back of the head! Colt instantly died with head landing on top of the photo, his blood trickling down the desk. With a tissue wrapped around the barrel, Seth handed the gun to Elden. “You know what to do.” Elden nodded and left the room.

Hank came home late that night. He opened his front door with one hand while he held his cell phone with his head and while he cradled an armful of blueprints. “No, Mister Windshift! You misheard me! I didn’t say that I wouldn’t make your changes, I’m saying you’d put yourself in an impossible situation.” He took his keys out of the lock and used his leg to shut the door. He tossed everything but his phone onto a glass coffee table and sat on his sofa. He rubbed his forehead in frustration. “Listen, I’ve heard all of the reasons why you want to move the kitchen to the back. I know, I wouldn’t want to walk into my kitchen right when I got home either, but we can’t move it!” He turned on the light and rolled open one of the blueprints. “I’m looking at the floor plan now. The back of the house doesn’t have the equipment you need to function as a kitchen. There’s no pipes and no-” The man on the other end asked a question. “Yes, in theory, we can have them installed, but you’re already at the top of your budget for renovations. If you really want to move the kitchen, you’d have to finance it outside your home loan. If you come up with the money, I’d be happy to accommodate. But really, we toured the house before you purchased it…didn’t you have some idea of what you were getting into?” The man on the phone relented and said goodbye. “Alright, have a good night.” Hank chucked the phone and sighed.

A black cat hopped onto the back of the coach and meowed. Hank pet the cat, which reminded him, “Oh yeah, your mom got married today!” He picked up his cell phone and checked the time. “Well, it’s an hour ahead in Colorado, so the ceremony is definitely over. I’m sure the reception must be winding down too. Perfect, I can catch her before they take off for their honeymoon. You think she’ll answer?” Hank half expected the cat to answer, but it simply stared blankly. “Well, I don’t get a lot of chances to talk to my little girl, so I’ll always give it a shot, even if it’s a long shot.” He went to his contacts and dialed the number for someone named Mija. It came back as an operator saying the phone was out of service. “That’s weird! Well, I can always write to her online. I’m sure she’ll check it eventually.” He clicked onto the Facebook app, and his brow furrowed. He read aloud, “Traitor! How could you? Traitor! Traitor! You deserve what’s coming to you…”

A wave of fear washed over him, and his parental instincts kicked in. “Something is wrong!” He turned on the television, and it was at a commercial. “Come on, come on!” His nerves were completely on edge. Finally, a young anchor appeared on the screen. “Finally! Come on, give me a clue!”

The young anchor somewhat awkwardly informed the audience, “Breaking news from Colorado! A local businessman is dead, and the suspect is on the run. Carmen Alvaro ran out on her wedding, which is where she was last seen. The attendees searched frantically for her whereabouts only to find her former boss, Colt Duncan, dead at his desk. The police don’t have any leads as to where she’s fleeing to, but they believe that my colleague, Garith Kendric, may be connected to her. He, too, disappeared after attending the wedding ceremony. It is unclear whether he’s a hostage or an accomplice. Grand Junction detectives set up a hotline for anyone with information about her current location. Please, if you see them, call the number that is on your screen now.”

“Those bastards!” Hank fumed. He turned off the television and threw his phone across the room. The cat folded his ears, obviously alarmed. “She’s getting framed! I know my baby girl didn’t do this! She wouldn’t! I know it!” He stopped his pacing as he had a realization. “I’m an idiot! This place sounded fishy from the beginning, but Carmen always had an explanation for everything. I believed her! I thought she was happy! God, I could’ve prevented this! Now this cult is pinning a murder on her!” He slumped back onto the coach. “Well, she’s escaped. She might come here. We’ll have to prepare for it if she does.” He talked directly to the cat now. “They’ll come looking for her here, regardless if she’s coming here or not. We don’t know what they’re capable of, so we’ll have to prepare ourselves. Prepare for what? Well, clearly they’re capable of anything, so we gotta prepare for everything. We’ll keep our eyes and ears open, and if push comes to shove, we’ll be ready to shove!” The cat gazed at him blankly. The phone rang, and it made him jump. He picked it up and after he saw that it was one of his clients, he rejected the call and threw it again. He collapsed onto the coach in tears, and the cat curled up next to him to comfort him.

“Say cheese!” a man in a mid 1800’s outfit pointed a camera and tripod at a cardboard cutout of a train conductor, a man, and a woman at an old timey train station. Zartex, Garith, and Carmen stuck their heads in the cardboard cutouts, and while Garith and Carmen smiled awkwardly, Zartex beamed from ear to ear. After they took their heads out, the photographer informed them, “It’ll just be a few minutes while the picture prints.”

Zartex rejoiced, “This is great! I’ve never gotten to go on an adventure before! The other humans I observed were so dull. For the most part, they stick to the same routine every day. I literally don’t know what to expect next! What’s gonna happen tomorrow? No clue! How exciting!”

Garith responded less enthusiastically, “I’m glad you’re having fun. By the way, this will have to be it for souvenirs. I only had three hundred in cash in my wallet. This is so strange! We have to live like pioneers! No credit cards! No cell phones! No place to stay!”

“At least we won’t go hungry!” Carmen pointed out. “If we’re careful, we can use the last of our money on a bus so we don’t gotta walk the whole way. Jeez, after quitting my door to door job, I thought I would do less walking!”

They saw that the souvenir shop was still open, so they wandered inside. Zartex had fun playing with the various knickknacks that had the Greenriver, Utah logo on it. Garith looked at the clothing section while Carmen explored the small grocery area. “This souvenir shop is so small!” Garith observed.

“Well, Greenriver is a small town,” Carmen responded, “I think most just pass through it.”

Garith held up a pair of hiking sandals with a gawdy pattern. “What do you think of these?”

“They’d look great on you!” Carmen replied sarcastically.

Garith tossed them towards her. “Try them on.”

“What?” Carmen reacted, appalled. “I’m not wearing those things!”

“Well, they look like they’re the only shoes that will fit you.”

“Are you saying I have big feet?”

Garith held up a pair of children’s flip flops. “It’s either these or you can walk to California in your stilettos. I don’t care!”

Carmen refused to admit he was right, but she did try them on. “They fit.”

Garith took them from her. “You’re welcome!”

Before Carmen could argue, Zartex came over and said seriously, “Guys!”

He pointed to an old television set playing the news. The anchor informed the viewers, “The Runaway Bride was last seen at the train station in Grand Junction, Colorado with the missing San Francisco reporter and a very tall man. They could be anywhere tonight, so police are urging everyone to be vigilant. These people are considered to be armed and dangerous.”

Zartex whispered, “They’re accusing you of murdering Colt.”

Carmen felt her stomach drop. She knew Colt for almost two years now, and while they were never really as close as other coworkers at Mirage got to each other, but she liked Colt. He was always kind to her, and she just saw him at her wedding! She couldn’t believe that he was killed! “He’s dead?”

“And they think we had something to do with it?” Garith also appeared extremely troubled.

The cashier shouted, “You three!” Zartex, Garith, and Carmen all had their nerves shaken as they cautiously turned to the cashier. The cashier pleasantly told them, “Your picture is ready!”

They breathed a sigh of relief. Garith asked, “Can we buy it with some supplies here?”

Garith helped Carmen rinse her hair in a railroad bathroom sink. “Is it out yet?”

“Yeah, it’s out and I’m doing this out of sheer enjoyment,” Garith answered sardonically.

“This water is freezing!” Carmen complained.

“What did you expect? A four star hotel?” Garith finished washing her hair. “There’s an electric hand dryer over there.”

“I know that!” Carmen grumped. She squat under it but nothing came out. Zartex waved his hands below it periodically so it would dry her hair. When it was finished, she peeked at herself in the mirror. Her new hair color was extremely dark and clashed garishly with her pale skin. “I look like Snow White!”

“As long as you don’t look like Carmen Alvaro it’s perfect!” Garith handed her a tee shirt, and she begrudgingly took it inside a stall to change. Garith took off his suit jacket and put on a baseball cap with a picture of a train going up a mountain. “I’m sure ready to hit the road! We were seen in our old clothes and hair here, so we need to get out quickly! Which we will since now all that we’re waiting on is for you to get out of your wedding shirt thing.”

“It’s called a bodice,” Zartex put in.

“How do you know that?” Garith remarked.

Before Zartex could answer, Carmen awkwardly told them, “Uh, guys, we need to get one more thing…I need some, feminine items…”

Zartex inquired, “You mean like jewelry?”

“No!” Garith cringed. “Come on, man! Everyone on the planet knows that’s code for tampons.”

“I use pads,” Carmen stated.

Garith grumbled, “Are you serious? Why now? We’re about to go on a long journey and you get your period?”

“I didn’t do it on purpose!” Carmen disputed. “And believe me, I’m just thrilled about it!”

Garith moaned, “Ugh, my money is sure disappearing fast!” He left in a hurry.

Carmen asked Zartex, “You seriously don’t know about women’s menstration?”

“Is that a bathroom thing?” Zartex answered with another question. “I don’t observe humans in their private mode, remember?” Carmen laughed unexpectedly, so Zartex probed. “What’s so funny?”

She explained, “Tonight was supposed to be my honeymoon! I don’t know if you know the tradition, but it’s custom to have passionate sex on your wedding night. Teddy never did it with me during this time of the month, so he would’ve been so devastated!”

“And that’s comical now because you hate everyone associated with Mirage after what they did to you?” Zartex tried to understand.

Carmen had not thought about it before. “Yeah, I guess I do. It’s so strange to have these feelings come out when not that long ago I felt so much loyalty to them. How weird is it that I could fool myself like that?”

“You find that weirder than talking to an alien while you sit on the toilet?” Zartex asked curiously. Carmen cracked up, and Zartex even guffawed a little. “Is that a yes?”

Garith came back with a package of pads and slid it under Carmen’s stall. “I don’t know what kind you like, but the girl on the box looks happy, so…”

“Thank you!” Carmen told him sincerely. She came out wearing a purple shirt with a cat that had a train conductor hat on. She still had her tulle wedding skirt on, so that coupled with her outlandish sandals made her look a little goofy. “Wow!” she said while gazing into the mirror. “Well, I doubt anyone will associate me with murder! My only crime is against fashion!” She sighed, and then she declared, “Alright, I’m ready to go!”

Forgotten Society, Part 13

EXT. MORNING STAR APARTMENTS. MORNING.

The five arrive to a place of huge disarray. People are evacuating the building, and firemen are trying to put out the fire. Some of them go inside to rescue people. The police are there trying to get everyone to safety. Some of the civilians volunteer to help with the evacuation. The five spread out and do the same. Things seem chaotic enough when suddenly people look to the sky in horror as a second dragon appears and flies straight into the apartments. As it crashes, it blows fire and explodes on impact. The building is in really bad shape.

FIRE CHIEF:
All units, cease rescue efforts. Everyone,
immediately! Building looks ready to collapse!
(beat)
Why aren’t they responding?

CURTIS:
I’ll go get them!

FIRE CHIEF:
Here’s a gas mask. Don’t delay!

Curtis runs into the building. William is helping police against people who are reluctant to leave. Miguel is carrying people to places where they can get aid. Tiffany finds a camera and is taping both the scene and people’s reactions. Renee is showing people to safety. She sees Curtis enter the building and this bothers her. She sees a little Haitian girl crying.

GIRL:
Mama! Papa! Où-est vous?

Renee sees a piece of debris about to fall on her, so she runs to her, scoops her into her arms, and runs away just in time. More pieces of debris fall down. The rescuers make an urgent effort to get people out of the way.

EXT. REMONT HOTEL. MORNING.

The Remont Hotel, a fancy lodging, is a safe distance form the apartment. Renee sees a frantic man who looks like he could be the girl’s father. She gives the child to him, and he looks so relieved.

FATHER:
Vous la savez! Merci!

He kisses her cheeks and runs inside. Renee is taken aback from his gratitude.

EXT. MORNING STAR APARTMENTS.

Tiffany is still video taping everything. William and Miguel are evacuating everyone.

INT. STAIRWAY. MORNING.

Curtis finds the firemen.

CURTIS:
Your radios aren’t working! The chief
said to evacuate. The building is about to-

He hears some loud creaking, and the ground begins to shake.

EXT. MORNING STAR APARTMENTS. MORNING.

People are horrified as the building starts to fall. People run as fast as they can to escape the smoke and billowing ashes.

EXT. REMONT HOTEL. MORNING.

Everyone watches in horror as the apartments collapse. Renee lets a blood-curling scream. After it is finished collapsing, Renee searches the crowd. She finds an ash-covered William and Miguel. They find Tiffany too, who is still filming.

RENEE:
Did Curtis make it out of the building?

William and Miguel gesture that they do not think so. Renee, Miguel, William, and a bunch of others rush to go help any possible survivors.

EXT. APARTMENT REMAINS. MORNING.

People begin to dig through the rubble. They bring any body they can find out of the ruins. A lot of people are calling out for their missing loved ones.

RENEE:
Curtis! Curtis!

She gets no response. Suddenly, she hears some beeping. She starts digging.

INT. STAIRCASE RUBBLE. MORNING.

It is pitch black. Curtis and the firefighters hold each other’s hands so they know where they are.

CURTIS:
We’re still alive?

FIREMAN 1:
Yes, but we have about thirty floors above
us. Who knows how long it’ll take for them
to find us!

FIREMAN 2:
Do you hear that beeping? That’s activated
when a fireman’s body is still for too long.
At the very least, they’ll find our bodies.

After a long moment, Curtis notices some light.

CURTIS:
Look! There’s light!

FIREMAN 3:
Wait, that’s sunlight! We’re at the top now!
(shouts)
Hello?

RENEE (OS):
Hello?

CURTIS:
Renee?

RENEE (OS):
Curtis? Thank God!

CURTIS:
We’re gonna climb out! Keep digging!

EXT. REMONT HOTEL. NOON.

KENNETH (Tiffany’s father) stands outside directing people.

KENNETH:
Welcome to my hotel slash hospital slash
rescue shelter! Please, come in and find a
spot!
(beat)
Tiffany?

Tiffany runs to her father and they hug.

KENNETH:
My God, where have you been?

TIFFANY:
I got the attack on video!

KENNETH:
Of course you did! Well, tell me about
your adventure later. Help me organize
all this!

Curtis and Renee (covered in dust) come in sight.

TIFFANY:
You guys made it!

She gives them both hugs.

KENNETH:
You saved my daughter’s life, didn’t
you? Something didn’t seem right
about what they said in the news.
Tell me about it later. Get inside and
get some rest!

Curtis, Renee, and Tiffany go inside. A moment later, Daniel tries to enter with a couple of his guards. Kenneth blocks them.

KENNETH:
This is private property! You can’t
enter without a warrant!

Daniel looks surprised at his defiance.

DANIEL:
We believe you are harboring a fugitive.

KENNETH:
Come back with a warrant.

DANIEL:
Fine. Just a warning, you may want to
take caution with those you associate
with. It could determine your future
with me.

KENNETH:
I’ll that in mind if you get elected. Now, leave!

Daniel raises an eyebrow but leaves.

Forgotten Society, Part 7

INT./EXT. SCHOOL PARKING LOT. MORNING.

In front of a private school, a Cadillac is parked under some trees by the entrance. TIFFANY (a senior in high school with pulled up blonde hair, blue eyes, a skinny physique, and a prep school uniform) sits in the Cadillac talking on her car phone.

TIFFANY:
Yeah, this is Tiffany Cartwright. Yes,
that article I gave you is legitimate.
My housekeeper’s husband is in the
military, and she said he is busy
protecting the president from-

In mid sentence, Tiffany gets hit in the back of the head, which knocks her unconscious.

INT. CADILLAC CAR. MORNING.

Tiffany wakes up and finds herself in the backseat of her own car. She sees Daniel driving. Daniel sees her and points a gun at her.

DANIEL:
Don’t you dare try to escape!

TIFFANY:
If you need money, my father-!

DANIEL:
Shut up!

Tiffany stifles a sob. Daniel continues to drive. Tiffany pulls a pin off of her uniform and holds her hands behind her back. She pricks her finger until it bleeds. She then leans against the window. She uses her head to block what she is writing from Daniel’s view.

INT/EXT. RENEE’S MUSTANG. MORNING.

Renee is driving with Curtis and William. Curtis, who is in the backseat, leans over to ask Renee a question.

CURTIS:
Can I ask you a personal question?

RENEE:
(angry sigh)
Every guy wants to know if my
boobs are real, and yes they are.

CURTIS:
Oh. I was going to ask you how much
you made at the coffeehouse.

RENEE:
Really? That’s all? Five an hour.

CURTIS:
So, you’re a natural D cup?

Renee hits him playfully but still hard enough to send him into the window. William laughs. Curtis’s smile fades immediately as he sees something out the window.

CURTIS:
Hey guys, look over there.

They all look to the car next to them, which is Tiffany’s Cadillac. The backseat window has the words “help me” written in blood. They are at a red light. As soon as traffic moves again, Renee slams on the gas, and she slams her car into the trunk of the Cadillac. The Cadillac is wedged between Renee’s Mustang and the car in front of the Cadillac. Daniel gets out of the car as does Renee, Curtis, and William. Daniel points his gun at them and fires. They all duck out of the way. Curtis and William move to the girl while Renee pulls out her gun and fights Daniel. Curtis and William pull Tiffany out of the car and sit her in the Mustang. Renee runs out of bullets and reluctantly runs into the Mustang. They speed away just as police arrive.

EXT. CROSSGROVE HOLLOW. LATE MORNING.

Miguel and Abdul are outside when they see William, Renee, and Curtis rush over with Tiffany.

MIGUEL:
What happened?

TIFFANY:
I don’t know! One minute I’m talking to
the editor of the school paper on my
car phone, next thing I know I’m in
the backseat of my Cadillac with a
gun in my face!

MIGUEL:
Who was it?

RENEE:
Daniel. The prick got away again!

TIFFANY:
He had these weird, red, glossy eyes.
I don’t think he was human! Oh God-
he must’ve been a dragon! They
must’ve found out about my article!

WILLIAM:
Your article?

TIFFANY:
My housekeeper’s husband is in the
military, and her husband said his
role is to protect President Clinton
from dragons. I know it sounds crazy,
but people need to know the truth!

She starts to cry. Miguel puts his arm around her.

MIGUEL:
We know about the dragons. I’ll
explain everything you should
know about them inside. Warner,
I still would like you to take Stevens
to get weapons. Get some for her too.

Miguel takes Tiffany inside. Abdul and William follow them. Renee leaves and Curtis quickly follows her.

Forgotten Society, Part 2

EXT. MORNING STAR APARTMENTS. NOON.

Curtis looks at the piece of paper Miguel gave him and looks back at the apartments. It is a very tall building with a bland white paint job. The window trims are navy blue as well as the door. Curtis enters the the building.

INT. RENEE’S APARTMENT. AFTERNOON.

Curtis knocks on the door, and it opens on its own. He steps inside and is surprised to see the place is vibrantly decorated with modern-looking knick-knacks and glass sculptures. There is a big television on a black-wooden shelf, a glass coffee table, and two black leather couches. Curtis spots a glass butterfly that bleakly reflects the light coming from a rectangular window. He sees a figure sitting by the window wearing a black hood, which covers the face, sleek black pants, and black boots.

CURTIS:
Excuse me, Warner? Trebla said that
you could help me.

He sees the figure take a drag from a cigarette.

CURTIS:
He told me you were the best. I
want to fight against the dragons.

The figure dryly laughs.

CURTIS:
I’m doing this with or without your
help. I may not have your training,
but I’m willing to go the distance.

Curtis turns to leave.

RENEE:
Wait!

Curtis is surprised to hear a female’s voice. He turns back to see RENEE (who has a high, brunette ponytail, golden brown eyes, pale skin, and dark make up). Without her hood, her curvy figure is revealed. She takes another drag off of her cigarette.

RENEE:
You’re surprised I’m a woman,
aren’t you?

CURTIS:
Well, yes. When Trebla said you were
a weapons expert, I assumed you
were a tough, old man, kind of a
Harrison Ford type. But this is
much better!

Renee is surprised by that remark.

RENEE:
What?

CURTIS:
Never mind. I want to know whether
or not you’ll join me now in the
Rebellion.

RENEE:
Look, bud, I don’t do that anymore.

CURTIS:
Why not?

RENEE:
I’m tired of saving the world and getting
no recognition or even respect for what
I do. This is a dirty, thankless job! People
use you. After the job is done, I’m back
to being forgotten. It might even be
worth it if all my efforts made a
difference. They keep coming, no
matter how many of them I kill
off. So, forget it. I’m done being
a worthless superhero!

CURTIS:
So, you just gave up?

RENEE:
Yeah, I did.
(beat)
Look, I’m not about to be
convinced to go back only
to be let down again.

CURTIS:
What, you’re going to let them
take over?

RENEE:
What difference does it make who’s
in charge? It’s not like my life is
going to change. Even if we kill
every last one, I’ll still be
stuck here with my shitty apartment
and my crappy, go nowhere job.
I’ll probably die early, and my cat
will eat my remains before anyone
even notices that I’m gone.

CURTIS:
That’s the life you want?

RENEE:
I don’t have a choice.

CURTIS:
You do have a choice! You can
ditch your old lifestyle and rebel.
If you really think you’ll die
early, at least die like a hero!

RENEE:
I find it less tortuous to live a
mundane life, which promises nothing
than to be promised a better life only
to have it snatched away. Don’t
you dare get my hopes again!

CURTIS:
Fine, have it your way.

He turns to leave but stops.

CURTIS:
At least with us, you wouldn’t
be alone!

He starts to leave.

RENEE:
Fine!

Curtis turns to look at her.

CURTIS:
Fine what?

RENEE:
I guess I’ll give it one more try.

CURTIS:
Thank you! Oh, you won’t
regret this!

RENEE:
Wanna bet?

CURTIS:
Yes, I do.

Renee raises her eyebrows as she takes a drag.

CURTIS:
I bet by the end of this, you’ll lose
all your reasons for being bitter.
Watch, you will come out of this
wearing brighter colors! You’ll
get a happy ending with a castle,
a handsome prince, and you’ll
live happily ever after.

Renee smiles in a way that clearly says, “Yeah right!”

CURTIS:
I was partly kidding, but I got you
to smile, didn’t I? It’s already a
little better, isn’t it?

RENEE:
What are you, a Disney character?

CURTIS:
Sort of. I sold Lion King stuff at
the mall.

RENEE:
Yeah. Well I guess when you’re around
kids, it’s hard not to share their hope
and enthusiasm. At the end, you’ll
see what I’m talking about.
(beat)
What’s your name, anyways?

CURTIS:
Curtis Stevens.

RENEE:
Renee Warner. I’m going to pack
a couple of things. I’ll need you to
hold my luggage while I go take
care of something…

Temca Academy, Part 22

INT. JOSHUA’S ROOM. NIGHT.

Anielle arrives at this door and pounds on it. She listens and does not hear a sound. Toci and George watch as she uses her scepter to melt the hinges. She kicks the door open and sees Joshua passed out on the floor, surrounded by empty alcohol bottles. Toci gasps. Anielle checks his pulse.

ANIELLE:
There’s still a faint pulse.
George, call a rescue healer.
Toci, there’s not a lot of
time. You know which plants I
need.

 

INT. EMERGENCY HEALING ROOM. DAWN.

Just at the brink of dawn, Joshua wakes up to see himself in a healer’s bed. He looks to his right to see Anielle, who has sallow skin, heavy bags under her eyes, and a big smile. He is a little confused.

JOSHUA:
What happened?

HEALER:
You got a second chance! You
drank a lethal amount of alcohol.
Thank your lucky stars this
young lady brewed a toxin
banishment potion! If it weren’t
for her swift actions, we wouldn’t
have been able to save you.

JOSHUA:
Wow. Anielle, somehow thank you
doesn’t seem to be enough!

ANIELLE:
It’s not enough. I want you to
promise me you’ll never drink
that much again!

JOSHUA:
You have my word.

The healer smiles and leaves the room. George enters, and Toci flies onto Joshua’s bed to hug him. Joshua groans.

ANIELLE:
Careful, his stomach is really
sensitive!

GEORGE:
Dude, you scared us!

TOCI:
Next time you’re really upset…

JOSHUA:
I’m done using alcohol as an
escape.

ANIELLE:
Two things you should know.
Peter and I broke up. And
after rescuing you, I realized
what I wanted to do. I’m
switching my major to rescue
healing!

JOSHUA:
That’s really great!

TOCI:
The bad news is you have to
heal real fast ‘cause Babelsama
is sending henchmen to kill us.

JOSHUA:
Ah, so my life was saved only
to die more painfully!

GEORGE:
Look, we better get going. Toci
was already talking about seducing
the whole trauma ward!

TOCI:
What? It’s a form of healing!

George and Toci leave. Anielle smiles and waves to Joshua, who smiles and waves back.

 

BEGIN HENCHMEN MONTAGE:

INT. BOOKSTORE. AFTERNOON.

Toci and Anielle are buying things at the bookstore. Toci pulls out money from her bra and hands it to the cashier. Right as they are about to leave, a couple of henchmen burst into the shop. Other shoppers scream and run away. Toci and Anielle motion to a peace officer. The henchmen get scared and runaway.

EXT. MAGIC LACROSSE FIELD. AFTERNOON.

Joshua and George are playing magical lacrosse when a couple of henchmen appear. They start to fight, but a cat walks by the field. One of the henchmen is seriously allergic, so the henchmen run away.

INT. LOCKER ROOM. EVENING.

Anielle is talking with a couple of cheerleaders while George unsuccessfully flirts with a couple more. A few henchmen burst into the room. George and Anielle, along with all of the cheerleaders, yell and raise their scepters. The henchmen freak out and run away.

EXT. LETTER ROOM. MORNING.

Joshua and Toci are in a letter room, which is a huge roost for bats. A henchmen bursts in, thinking he has them cornered. Toci simply commands the bats to swarm the henchmen. The henchmen is forced to run away.

INT. ANIELLE AND TOCI’S ROOM .NIGHT.

Toci is nursing a big, red slap mark on George’s cheek when a couple of henchmen come in. Before George and Toci can react, Circe and Agatha walk by and eye the henchmen flirtatiously. The henchmen put away their scepters and follow the girls.

EXT. PARKING LOT. EVENING.

Anielle and Joshua are talking while they unhitch their brooms. In the sky, a couple of henchmen appear before them. They make some threats, but as Joshua and Anielle draw their scepters, a barrage of students on broomsticks run into them. The henchmen can no longer be found. Anielle and Joshua shrug and return to their prior task.

END HENCHMEN MONTAGE.

 

INT. JOSHUA’S ROOM. MORNING.

Anielle enters the room expecting to see Joshua but instead sees George.

GEORGE:
You don’t look happy to see
me! I know I’m not as exciting
as your secret crush!

ANIELLE:
Shut up! We’re just friends!

Toci enters.

TOCI:
I’m not gonna rush you, but
you gotta do what feels right.
I have never found a guy that
I wanna see again in the morning.
I’ve never had an opportunity
like you have with Joshua. You
gotta act before it’s too late.

Joshua enters.

JOSHUA:
Why are you all in my room?

GEORGE:
We wanted to discuss where
Babelsama’s lair must be. I’d
say it’s gotta be close to
campus.

ANIELLE:
Wait a minute! I think I know
where it is! On the fly over
here, my dad and I saw this
old office building. My dad
said there was a man dancing
on the front porch. I was used
to him making fun of the poor,
so I didn’t think much of it.
But that must’ve been him!

JOSHUA:
You had this clue all along and
never said anything?

TOCI:
Look, it doesn’t matter right
now. Let’s go get him!

Everyone stands up.

ALL:
Yeah!

TOCI:
Wait, we have finals today!

ALL:
We’ll get him later!

They all disperse to study.