Watchers Chaps. 15-18

You would think my life was more in order than it was, but not quite. Still a bit of a mess, and definitely thought today was Tuesday not Wednesday.

Also, haven’t talked much about the story since I started posting it. We’re getting close to the end of what I had written out , and actually this is the end of Part 1 entirely. The next scene I remember caused me the biggest headaches, and I think really highlights the issues I mentioned that cause this whole story to need rethought. Teenagers really wouldn’t get it together this fast I don’t think. Eventually? Sure, people are great at coming together and organizing I think, but things move too efficiently I think. Ah well, I’m older now than I was when I wrote it, older and better able to see how I mucked it all up.The scene after though I still greatly enjoy, some good stuff there.

Chapter 15

Luke stared at the faces around him, thirty-four teens arrayed before the gates to the city. He would have sworn that there were over one-hundred kids at the hill that night. Seventy-five almost seemed puny for that brawl, but right now all that mattered were the thirty-four in front of him. They all depended on him now; sleeping arrangements, food, water, training, and most importantly survival. Luke didn’t have to be a mind reader to know Jack would eventually attack there side of the city. Especially since most of his thirty-nine charges were Reapers, and the others would follow him whether they wanted to or no. So much to worry about, Luke thought I never liked being in charge.

At the front of the crowd Dawn, Amelia, and Robert stood waiting for him to speak up. He had to say something exceptional, then he had to start organizing teams to search out living quarters and utilities. He had to give them hope that they’d make it through this nightmare. He had to at least say hi. Amelia sighed dramatically and walked up next to her twin.

“You’re hopeless,” she muttered as she turned to face the crowd. “Okay everybody, we’re going to divide into three teams. Dawn, you take half the people here and start looking for somewhere to live in. Then start cleaning them-”

“Um,” Dawn interrupted “Are y-you sh-sure about th-that.”

“You will lead the cleaning team Dawn,” Amelia said firmly “and anyone who gives you trouble will answer to me. Got that?” the crowd mumbled a response. “Good. Now then, Robert I want you to take most of the others and scope out the perimeter. I don’t trust Jack or Gale, so see what you can do to secure us from any surprises.” He nodded, and they both started dividing the crowd. “I want four or five of you guys to go with my brother. You’ll help solve any problems encountered by the other two teams. Everybody got that?”

“And what are you going to be doing while we’re so busy?” Luke asked her.
“Me? I’m going to be assigning the living quarters. Besides, someone has to keep you guys in line.” Amelia said with a wink.

Chapter 16

Dawn wearily shut the door to her new room. Her team had spent the entire day cleaning out the two hotels, removing mold, belongs, and sand scattered through the austere buildings. They had almost chosen to move to the houses down the street, but too many were gutted and falling apart. Honestly, the day had been a terrifying trial for Dawn; she had been frightened of making a mistake or missing something they could use. She had been scared of her subordinates too, every time one of them came to report she had turned invisible. The first time it had happened the poor guy who had startled her had thought he had erased her and had to face Amelia; it had taken Dawn en minutes to explain that she wasn’t used to talking to so many people she didn’t know well. Despite her misgivings though, there had only been one problem all day. The magnetic locks had all been turned on, and without key cards (which they still couldn’t locate) no one could get into their rooms. However, Luke had quickly solved that problem. Dawn smiled unconsciously as she remembered him brooding over the master panel, trying to open the rooms without frying the system. Once they found the cards, he would have to come back and reset the system, which hopefully would take some time. Dawn didn’t know why she was attracted to Luke; maybe it was his goofy displays to cheer up the others, or his unwillingness to admit defeat. He was so much stronger than she was, she knew even as he joked and teased he was considering their situation and resources, trying to find a way to escape. Or maybe, Dawn thought wistfully as she leaned against the oak door It was his eyes. She could still see them, what they had looked like in the courtyard. Brilliant sapphires, full of compassion but with a storm behind them, a power that screamed for release with each dazzling strike. They were the most intense and most beautiful things she had ever seen.

Dawn shook herself out of her revere, blushing furiously, and forced her mind away from Luke. She headed over to the sink and tried to pour a glass of water. She interpreted the clanking and vague gurgling to mean that the plumbing was broken. How are we going to fix that? Dawn wondered as she laid down on her “new” bed. She missed her grandparents and even her little brother. She missed her room and how it smelled like sunflower seeds, instead of the dust and mold that assaulted her here. But even though she missed all of it, she wasn’t sad. She didn’t know how she felt. Somehow, though the world had suddenly grown smaller, it felt as though she was freer than ever before.

THRACK!

The sound of crunching and splintering wood filled the room. Dawn jumped off the bed, staring at the door. I was bowed out with a huge split running down the middle. She felt a tingling run through her body, a now familiar sensation, as her fear turned her invisible. Quickly she backed into the farthest corner, praying that whoever was at the door was going away. The second blow snuffed out that small hope. Dawn wondered why no one was coming to see what was happening. If only Luke were here she thought as she lay quivering in the corner He’d be ready to face whatever was coming; he wouldn’t be hiding, waiting for who or whatever it is to come to him. Why am I such a coward? With a final resounding crash, the door gave out.

“May we please come in?” a voice called from the doorway. Dawn gasped as Jack, followed by one of his lackeys, stepped into her room. Dawn watched in morbid fascination as what she had thought to be brass knuckles receded back into the lackey’s hands. “Pete, no one should bother us, but guard the door just in case.”

“I told you to call me Steel.” Pete rumbled.

“Whatever, just make sure we’re not disturbed.” Jack snapped. Steel turned back into the hallway, metal spikes growing on his arms. “Now then, Ms. Smith there is really no point in trying to hide from me. I can read your mind, so come out of that corner you’re cowering in.”
He’s bluffing Dawn thought Luke said he was drugged, he can’t do anything till morning, Gale said so.

“Good logic, except you’re forgetting I fought Luke hours ago while drugged. Turns out that sped up the process that nasty serum’s almost completely gone. Now if you aren’t going to come out, I’ll just have to drag you out.” Jack gestured towards the corner; Dawn felt her flesh tingle as her invisibility faded.

“How?” She breathed, staring at Jack with terrified eyes.

“Simple” Jack drawled, “You’re power, like almost everyone else’s, is controlled by your mind. All I had to was flip the right switch. Now are you going to come over here or not?” Dawn huddled deeper into her corner wishing for Luke to come and save her, or Amelia or anybody.

“Very well” Jack said disappointment tingeing his voice while his eyes lit up with excitement. He flicked his finger and Dawn flew through the air like a fish on a hook. She stopped in front of Jack, hanging in mid-air like a marionette.

“Now then, you’re wondering why I am here. You really shouldn’t be surprised; I’ve told you I can read your mind. It is actually for a couple of reasons. You see Luke needs to learn his place, he seems to think a small victory or two makes him better than me. Now, of course, we both know that’s not true; unfortunately, he is very stubborn from what I can gather. He’s sort of like Robert, defeating him myself would only make him try harder, and I really have no time to keep dealing with him. So obviously, I need to hurt those closest to him, within his inner circle so to speak. Now don’t deny that he hasn’t been treating you special, I mean I could probably attack anyone here and that softhearted fool would start to get the message, but you’re not like the others. Sure, I wanted to teach that blonde bitch Amelia a lesson as well, but discretion is needed. She has tapped deeply into her power; it might become dangerous if I somehow lost control. You, on the other hand, are much easier prey and, in your weakness, will cut much deeper into his spirit. I’m going to show him that he cannot protect you, that I rule you people and I’ll rule this city.”

“What are you going to do?” Dawn whispered, utter terror gripping her body tighter than Jack’s power.

“You haven’t guessed yet. Well, let me give you a hint.” With a single, swift movement he reached forward and tore her top off.

“No,” Dawn cried, “You can’t”

“Oh, but I can.” He replied as he removed her pants, letting his fingers caress her legs as he did so.

“Pleases, please don’t do this”

“You know, with my power I could make you enjoy it. If you asked me to.” Jack said as he caressed her breasts through her bra. Despairing tears fell from her hazel eyes as Dawn realized there was nothing she could do. With a violent jerk, Jack tore off her bra, exposing her breasts to the chilly, night air.

Dawn felt something inside her snap, a wall she had never noticed crumble away. She screamed as power blasted out of her, shoving Jack away and changing everything into a white void. She was at its center, curled up and crying from terror and relief. She knew something was different, she was floating in a sphere, and she should be safe. Nothing could touch her here.

Suddenly her bubble of light was swallowed in a seething ocean of shadows. It was Jack; he was trying to get into her mind again, to tear down her defenses. She mewled in fear; she could feel his rage. It was huge, dark and inhuman. There was nothing she could do to stop it; he was going to get her again and nothing would stop him.

You big coward a voice called. Dawn yelped in surprise and cast about for the speaker. She had been certain she was alone in this bubble. Back here, you big baby Dawn slowly turned around and felt her breath catch in her chest. Standing before her was…her.

The other Dawn had close-cropped black hair and seemed more fit, but it was unmistakably her. Even though this double exuded confidence and control. Dressed only in her panties she took control of the space around her, she demanded respect. You need to fight back she said.

I can’t. Dawn replied Can’t you feel him out there? I can’t stand up to his power; all I’d do is make him even angrier.

So you’re going to give up? You’re going to let him molest you? You do have the power to stop him. Look around, you did this, and he can’t break through. All you have to do is direct your power, fight back.

I told you Dawn said in a small voice I just can’t, I’m not strong enough to face him. I’ve never been strong enough. She finished breaking into tears. The alternate Dawn wrapped Dawn in a warm embrace and wiped the tears from her eyes.

Then I’ll fight for you until you are. She said I’ll be strong enough for you. Will put your faith in me?

Yes. Dawn whispered But can you tell me just one thing? The other Dawn nodded, resting her head in Dawn’s hair, Who or what are you?

The black-haired Dawn laughed, a sound so familiar and yet so different. Me? She said standing and striding to the edge of their bubble. You can call me Eve. As for what I am, that all depends on you. I could be your friend your sister, or your other half, or I could be just a figment of your imagination. With that Eve placed her hands on their sanctuary and shoved. The bubble’s light grew brighter and brighter as it expanded in all directions, pushing Jack’s shadowy consciousness farther and farther away. As the shadows were dispelled Dawn felt as much as heard Jack’s cry of pain and rage.

He won’t be bothering us again any time soon. Eve said with a laugh, ignoring the terrible promises in that final cry.

How did you do that? Dawn asked awed at Eve’s strength.

Our power is in creating and manipulating energy fields. Eve replied sitting down next to Dawn. That’s how you’re able to turn invisible; you create a skin-tight bubble that bends the light around you. We can do so much more than that though. This shield for example is a field of solid energy. All I did was create a pulse and expand it, let me show you. Eve opened her hand a ball appeared above her palm. It was midnight blue and Dawn could see the strings of energy that created it.

All you have to do is push it Eve said as the ball suddenly doubled in size. Catch she said tossing it to Dawn.

Wha… Dawn spluttered as it flew towards her. There was no way she could catch it, but it settled softly into her hands.

How did I do that? Dawn asked as she held the orb of energy. It was warm and felt like… She wasn’t sure; one moment it was like rubber, then as hard as steel. Next, it was light and fluffy like foam.

That orb is a product of our power you can manipulate it any way you want.

How? And how did you created this?

You know how, just think on it a bit. Do you hear that? Eve asked.

Is someone yelling? Dawn asked distractedly, transfixed by the orb. The sound was familiar, like an echo. It’s getting louder, Dawn said looking around Who is it?

You can’t tell? Eve asked with a smile Listen closer.

“Dawn!” the voice yelled, “Dawn snap out of it. Dawn it’s me, it’s Luke.”

Luke? Luke! Dawn cried. She ran to the edge of the barrier and placed her hands against it. Eve, how do I get out? What do I have to do

I’ve told you, you already know what to do. Eve huffed, like a parent talking to a dense child All you have to do is concentrate, focus on the barrier and tell it what to do. It’s easy.

I’ll try. Eve? She continued in a small, quiet voice After I leave, will you still be with me? I don’t want to be alone. Eve laughed and wrapped her arms around Dawn.

I’ll be with you, trust me.

Thank you. Dawn whispered and stepped outside the barrier.

Chapter 17

Luke didn’t know why he had woken up, or why he had been compelled to check on Dawn. But as soon as he saw the blinding light coming from her room, none of it concerned him anymore. He dashed to the room, only to be stopped by the light. He pounded on it, cursing his power for not recovering yet. Tomorrow he thought savagely I’m using the generator to charge up, I can’t afford to wait for it to happen naturally.

Suddenly, the light began to dim and recede. As soon as he was able, Luke rushed in to the trashed room. He only glanced at the broken furniture smashed against the walls, and he completely missed the fading sung that hung in the air, all he had eyes for was Dawn. She was lying in the middle of the room, completely still. Worry clenching his gut Luke hurried over and checked her pulse, only to heave a sigh of relief when she stirred at his touch.

“Luke” she mumbled.

“Yeah, what is it Dawn? Are you okay?”

“Can I borrow your shirt?” She asked. There was something different about her voice, and when she opened her eyes Luke thought he saw blue flashing in the hazel depths.

“Why?” he asked. She laughed weakly.

“You really haven’t noticed? She sure is lucky to have you, you’re so worried about her you can’t see anything else.”

“I haven’t noticed…” Luke’s eyes strayed from her face to her bare body “OH! I-I’m so sorry. I definitely did not mean… you know…” Luke threw her his new shirt, his face glowing in the dark room.

“Don’t worry,” she laughed pulling it over her head, she still sounded mostly asleep. “I won’t tell Dawn I let you see her like this.”

“Thank-wait, what do you mean?” Dawn smiled then collapsed back onto the floor. “Dawn? Dawn wake up.” Luke said shaking her gently.

“She’s gone, isn’t she?” Dawn asked as she woke up.

“Is who gone?” Luke asked confused, “I didn’t see anyone else nearby”

“Eve.” Dawn replied sitting up “She was in the sphere with me, she promised me she’d still be here when I left.” Dawn finished sobbing quietly

“Who is Eve? Is she one of the other kids?”
“No.” Dawn said hanging her head.” Hey, how did I get this shirt?” she asked plucking at the blue fabric.

“You put it on when you first woke up.” Luke said, wondering when things would start making sense again. “About that, you were acting sort of weird, are you sure you’re okay?”

“I don’t remember putting it on, I don’t even remember waking up.” Dawn said, her brow furrowed in contemplation “‘I could be your friend your sister, or your other half, or I could be just a figment of your imagination.’” She whispered to herself “That has to be it!”

“What has to be it?” Luke asked more confused than before.

“Eve isn’t gone. She’s inside me, a piece of me.” Dawn said wonderingly “I’ll never be alone again.”

“So you have a split personality now?” Luke summarized “Is that why you were lying unconscious and nearly naked in the middle of your room? And what was that light in here, I couldn’t get past it when I tried to get in.”

“No, it wasn’t Eve. Jack broke in.” Dawn whispered answering his first question.
“What?” Luke said quietly, his eyes flashing in the dim light, “Jack was responsible for this.”

“Don’t worry, he didn’t get a chance to do anything-“ Suddenly Dawn straightened up and a wicked smile spread across her lips.

“Yeah, Dawn stopped him without even knowing what she was doing. She’s capable of far more than she believes.”

“So I take it you’re Eve.” Luke said pushing away the rage and fury, he’d take care of Jack later.

“Yup,” Eve replied stretching “Dawn’ll tell you that I took out Jack, but I only finished what she started. See what happened was…”

“You are not going to tell him!” Dawn yelled her hazel eyes blazing

“Why not?” Eve asked innocently. An act completely ruined by the mischievous glint in her blue eyes.

“You know exactly why not!”

“Why? Are you afraid I’ll mention-“

“I said shut up!”

“You know you should tell him.

“I’m fine, there’s nothing he needs-“

“Yes there is and you-“

“No-“

“Yes”

“No”

“Enough!” Luke said, “You, both of you, are giving me a headache. Obviously you’re aware f each other’s presence. If you want to fight, please do so quietly, I can’t take this constant switching back and forth.”

“It doesn’t quite work that way.” Dawn said, “It’s mostly impressions and maybe a strong thought or two. Not really enough for a conversation.”

“We’ll work on it.” Eve added, “When we escape, it will be much easier to blend in if we aren’t arguing with ourselves.”

“Fine. Just please stop the back and forth for a while. Now back to Jack, you’re sure he left the area.”

“With the backlash I fed him,” Eve laughed, “Right now he’s probably suffering the worst migraine of his life. No way he’ll bother anyone for a couple of days.”

“Good,” Luke said helping them to their feet “That will give us time to set up our perimeter; I would have asked Robert to rush it if I knew Jack would move tonight. No one is going to get in here again without our knowing about it. I’ll make sure I protect you and everyone else.”

“The problem is,” Dawn replied trembling “If he gets much more powerful than he already is, it might not matter if we know he’s coming or not.

Chapter 18

Amelia sat on her bed, twining a stream of fire through her fingers. When she had first woken up and discovered her power, creating flames had left her exhausted and chilled. However, ever since the incident, she seemed to have an inexhaustible source of strength. I wonder if it’s like a muscle, the more I use it the stronger I get. A knock on the door disrupted her rhythm, and Amelia quickly quashed the flames before she caught her room on fire.
“Why couldn’t you have done this?” Dawn was muttering as Amelia opened the door. Dawn was dressed in Luke’s new shirt, Amelia was still angry that he hadn’t let her pick it out, and her panties. Thousands of questions flooded Amelia’s brain, only to be erased as she saw Dawn change before her eyes. It wasn’t a physical change; it was in her posture, her presence that changed.

“I told you,” she said, Amelia’s jaw dropped from how sassy the shy girl sounded, “I’m going to toughen you up. You may be scared of fighting, but I’ll at least get you socialized.” Amelia stared, as Dawn seemed to fold back into herself; returning back to herself, though an angry version of herself.

“And how is being half-naked going to help anything?” she demanded.

“Well, for one thing, you’re arguing with me instead of just giving in. If it takes you getting embarrassed to give you a backbone… well it will be interesting to say the least.”

“Um…What?” Amelia asked, wondering what kind of strange dream she was having, and if the room was on fire in reality.

“Sorry,” Luke said stepping in front of her “They’ve been like this for a while, and Dawn’s room is trashed, and I just didn’t know who else I could turn to, to take them in and keep her safe.”

“Wha-Who-when…” Amelia could feel her brain bogging down and becoming stupid; she wondered if not eating caused worse dreams than eating bad food.

“May we please come in?” asked normal Dawn. Amelia nodded dumbly and moved back to her bed.

“I really don’t know what to do, she needs a new room and what are we going to do about her clothing?” Luke started getting hysterical; He’s feeling out of his element Amelia thought Not like the rest of us aren’t in the same boat. “On top of that we need to figure out how to keep Jack and his cronies out and set up some back-up plans, do you think we should have people room with each other or-“

“Stop!” Amelia shouted holding up her hands, “Calm down and tell me what happened, slowly.”

“He’s been like this since he found us lying on the floor.” Said sassy Dawn

“Us?” Amelia asked looking around.

“Me and Dawn.” She said, “I’m Eve by the way. When Jack attacked Dawn, I…“ Eve got a distant look. “I don’t know, how do you describe your own birth? It felt like waking up, rising up out of the murky darkness and becoming aware.”

“I need to go, there’s something I need to do.” Luke said turning around, “You can handle all this, right sis?” his voice was cold and hard, a tone Amelia had heard before.

“Sure,” she said, “But you know he’s gone by now, probably back in his hideout surrounded by his people.”

“I know.” Luke said not turning around.

“They’ll tear you apart.” Amelia said calmly moving behind her brother. “Wait, plan, prepare; you know Jack is bent on vengeance. Now more than ever since Dawn kicked his butt. Sacrifice yourself and you put us in danger, not only from Jack but also from Gale. Gale sees you two as equals as well as being the most powerful. If that is all true, then we need you alive and fighting with us. Okay?” Amelia placed her hand on her brother’s back, feeling the static beneath his skin. Then she felt him relax beneath her touch, the storm inside lessening.

“Okay.” He said the edge gone from his voice “You’re right. I’ll go and talk to Robert about trying to keep Jack out. Next time will be different!” he swore as he left the room. Amelia let out a sigh as she leaned against the wall, her legs suddenly weak.

“That was too close.” She said.

“What was that all about?” Dawn asked

“Luke gets… he’s very protective of people important to him. When someone threatens those people, that’s part of the reason we got moved out here.” Amelia moved over to Dawn, her face a mix of worry and pride. “He tries really hard not to let his anger overcome his judgment; he made a promise once never to do it again, but he broke that promise and it cost someone very close to us his life.“

“I didn’t mean to cause-”

“Don’t worry, Jack was already on Luke’s radar for what he did to me. However, now Luke knows he won’t give up, he’ll constantly threaten those close to him, those he’s sworn he’ll protect from harm. Luke wants to confront him now and end it before anyone else gets hurt, but he won’t let immediate satisfaction overcome long-term needs. He’ll wait and end it when the time is right.”

“How?” Dawn asked, guessing the answer but fearing it as well.

“What do you think it will take to stop Jack?” Amelia asked mournfully. Then she shook herself out of her dark mood, there would be time later. “Well,” Amelia said cheerfully “We have some more immediate concerns don’t we. You may think my brother looks better without a shirt, but I’m going to be gouging my eyes out at this rate.” Dawn started blushing, but Eve just laughed.

“Don’t deny you were thinking it.” she said, “We all know better.”

“What are we going to do?” Dawn asked her blush returning brighter than before. “I don’t think anyone has any spare clothes for me, and I don’t particularly want to ask Gale for help.”

“You would rather us walk around half-naked?” Eve commented “A little kinkier than I expected, but whatever builds your confidence is good with me.”

“No-I didn’t- I just meant that- Of course whatever it takes to- just shut up!”

“Don’t worry,” Amelia chuckled “I think I know someone who can help. I’ll go grab her and your clothes, will you be okay by yourself for a while.”

“Yes” Dawn said, her blush fading.

“Unless you want us to go out with you.” Eve offered

“No!” Dawn squeaked as Amelia laughed and closed the door. “Why would you even suggest that?” Dawn whispered furiously.

“What?” Eve asked slyly “I was giving you another chance to meet up with Luke, you seemed very nervous the last time.”

“Weren’t you supposed to help me with our powers?” Dawn said quickly, changing the subject.

“Very well,” Eve said, “let’s start easy. You know how it feels when you turn invisible, like a sheet wrapping around you.”

“Well, yeah I guess that is what it feels like.”

“Okay, now take that sheet and puff it around you.”

Dawn closed her eyes and willed herself invisible. Now that Eve had mentioned it, the familiar tingle felt like a silk sheet wrapping around her, hiding her sight. Then she tried to push it out, but it was too soft. It spiked out in the direction she pushed, but it didn’t expand around her. Dawn stopped and considered her options. Then she had an idea; she spread her hands and imagined warm air pouring from them, filling the sheet like the hot air balloons she had seen years ago. It unfolded around her, like a flower blooming, until it hung in a dome over top of her.

“Good.” Eve said, breaking Dawn’s concentration and collapsing her dome.

“Why’d you do that?” Dawn demanded, “I had it.

“You had that part,” Eve responded, “though you could try and use that to make other people invisible as well as yourself. Now for the next part, you need to… harden the silk. Make it as strong as steel, then stronger.”

“Why?” Dawn asked as she invisible again “What am I… I’m making a shield aren’t I? Like the one I used against Jack.” Quickly Dawn expanded the field to her maximum limit, then realized she had no idea how to strengthen it. She held the field as she considered what she could do. I wonder if… Dawn focused on creating a new field, causing the first to wobble. With a mental shove, Dawn set the second field below the first and let go of the first. The second field supported the first, lying on top of each other like blankets on a bed. This might work she thought as she created a third layer. Each layer was more difficult than the one before, and by the tenth layer, she had started sweating. Fifteen, twenty layers and now Dawn was trembling with the effort to sustain the fields. One more, two more; Dawn moaned as the twenty-three layers settled, constricting her and crushing her down into the bed.

“Sorry it took so long Dawn,” called Amelia, “Dawn? Dawn what’s wrong?” her voice was muffled. Dawn tried to answer her, but the mental strain of holding the layers was too much. Then a warm hand grabbed her shoulder and her furious concentration shattered. The fields fell apart with a sigh of air that cooled her skin.

“Sorry about that,” Dawn said sitting up and squeezing Amelia’s hand “but how did you get through?”

“Get through? You were the one that made that… cobwebby space-thing.”

“Cobwebs,” Dawn repeated dejectedly, “It was supposed to be a shield, or at least solid.”

“It felt like thick cobwebs,” Amelia offered hopefully “That’s good, right?” Dawn moaned leaning her head against the wall.

“You were doing it wrong.” Eve said sitting up, “You’d crush yourself before you could make enough layers.”

“Then why didn’t you stop me?” Dawn asked forcefully; obviously, Eve was doing some good, she had never been this confrontational before.

“Three reasons. One, you weren’t in any danger yet. Two, It was good practice for you, great strength training in fact. Finally, you need to learn by yourself; otherwise, you’ll end up depending on me too much. I can’t think up everything, you’re going to need to contribute as well.”

“If you’re quite done” a new voice called “I want to get this over with and get back to bed.” Dawn looked up, standing in the doorway was Elizabeth Simmons. Even though she claimed to have just gotten up her brown hair was tightly bunned and her clothes were impeccable.

“I’m sorry-” Dawn started

“Yeah, we didn’t mean to disturb your royal sleep.” Eve interrupted “We’ll make sure the next emergency occurs when it’s convenient for you.” Elizabeth drew herself up to fire back, but just sighed instead.

“No, I am sorry” She said, “My parents were always so strict about a young lady needing her sleep, and ordering her life. I am afraid I have been a bit snappish as of late, what with all these strange going ons.”

“Well moping won’t get anything done, now will it?” Amelia said grabbing a pillowcase from the hall outside. From the improvised bag Amelia, removed Dawn’s destroyed clothes and laid them out on the floor. Dawn shivered as she saw the tattered remains of her top.

“I’m not sure if I can do this.” Elizabeth said, “I really do not have practice with this new skill of mine.”

“You’ll be fine Liz,” Amelia said guiding her to the torn clothes “If you can do this then we’ll never need to ask Gale for clothes.”

“And why would that be worse than me becoming a seamstress?” Elizabeth asked archedly as she studied Dawn’s green top.

“You haven’t spent any one-on-one time with him have you?” Eve asked dryly, “He’s not what you would call a “nice guy”, the less we depend on him the better.”

“Alright,” Elizabeth sighed, “I’ll see if I can, but like I said I’m not very good at this.”

“At what?” Dawn asked her, “What are you going to be doing?”

“Well,” Elizabeth said placing her hands over the fabric, “When I woke up in one of those awful cells I had no idea what had happened. Last thing I remembered was being on the hill with my friends; I wish I knew what has happened to them. You see when the commotion first started we had no idea what was happening, then as the Reapers and Robert’s friends charged up the hillside we were separated.” Elizabeth chuckled, “I stayed and searched for them, but they probably ran off and avoided the whole thing.”

“Why didn’t you come and help us?” Amelia asked scorching the wall beneath her hand. She quickly pulled it away as she continued, “You were right there, and obviously you don’t support Jack. Even Dawn helped the chucking rocks at them, why didn’t you do something?”

“I would not have been much help.” Elizabeth said sadly, “I’m not strong like you; I did whatever they demanded, but because I was so weak they just ignored me. It was the same for you right Dawn?”

“Yeah,” Dawn answered quietly reminiscing, “I was like that. Jack ignores the weak girls; he only goes after the ones that fight him. So we all started just doing whatever they said.”

“So what, you just let them molest you whenever they wanted? Just let it go?” Amelia said fuming.

“It wasn’t that bad,” Dawn said defensively, “Jack kept a really short leash on his guys. They weren’t allowed to have anything unless he’d okayed it. No girlfriends without permission, no drugs or hits, some of them weren’t even allowed to choose their lunch. He had them terrified; no one disobeyed him, the last guy who did… the rumors kept me up for weeks Amelia, and they probably weren’t half as bad as the real thing.”

“Well he can’t be that tough; Luke barely broke a sweat when he took him out, twice.” Elizabeth laughed bitterly.

“You know the last time somebody was dumb enough to take on Jack directly. It was three years ago. Three years since the last time he had to fight, since he had to do more than show up to end a fight. You guys have no idea how strong he really is. Your brother embarrassed him; now Jack is going to be training, relearning what he had allowed himself to forget. Add to that whatever strange new power Jack has now and Luke had better have made his peace with this world.”

“Enough doom and gloom,” Eve said, “There was a point to all of this. What can you do that is going to fix our clothes?”

“Of course,” Elizabeth said turning her attention back to the clothing in front of her. “Well, when those goons came to get my blood… I freaked out a little.” She started blushing, but the Lady of Night’s High School kept going “I don’t know exactly how I did it, but- well- I sort of… unraveled all of their clothes!”

“You-you what?!” Dawn shrieked blushing “All of their clothes?”

“I don’t know,” Elizabeth said her blush deepening “I closed my eyes when it started happening.”

“I was asking around about what people could do,” Amelia said, “need to know what our resources are. Anyways, I heard a rumor about what Liz did; I figured since she could unmake clothes, she might be able to remake them as well.”

“I don’t know if I can.” Elizabeth repeated, “Honestly I never tried it again after that time.”

“Why not?” Eve asked, “You could have stopped those goons every time they tried something, no one tries to do much while they’re naked.”

“No, besides I really don’t know what I did. If I tried it and nothing happened, things would have just gotten worse.”

“Coward,” Eve said softly “You’re a coward just like Dawn. You’re so used to doing nothing, to letting people walk all over you, that even when you have power you refuse to use it. I bet you weren’t really even looking for your friends on the hill; I bet you wanted to help, to show them you weren’t going to stand for it anymore. But you couldn’t move, you were too scared of the consequences to act!”

“That’s enough Eve.” Dawn said firmly, “You’re right about us, we’re scared; that’s the reason I didn’t warn anybody. I didn’t even start helping until Robert and Luke had Jack distracted. I was weak.” Dawn reached over and grabbed Elizabeth’s hands “But we can change Elizabeth, we need to change if we ever want to get home. Everyone else has found the courage to act, even before we woke up here. We have power now; it’s time we acted instead of being afraid.” Elizabeth stared at Dawn, old fear warring with newfound hope across her face.

“You are right,” she said waving her hand across all the clothes laid between them. The strings from the torn edges snaked out, questing for their other halves. “It is time to start doing something other than cower.”

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Watchers Chaps. 15-18

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