3412 Abby Ln
Hands reaching out, Amelia clasped them over her brother’s temples, releasing a long breath. She peered back over her shoulder, where Kruhl lay unconscious. Her tiny form was wrapped in a nightgown which was at least two sizes too big. She looked so peaceful laying there on the twin bed. Amelia found it hard to believe, she’d been so close to death just hours before.
Serena Van den Broeke stood at the foot of the bed peering at the pair of siblings, concern etched all over her face and mirrored in her eyes.
The agent released a second breath and returned her attention to Brian. His eyes were glued to the ceiling and open so wide she almost expected them to pop out of his skull. A manic grin had spread across his face and he remained frozen in place unmoving but for the rising and falling of his chest.
A single sob escaped the agent’s lips and tears streamed down her cheeks. She clenched her eyes shut and furrowed her brows, sucking in her air. She reached out, feeling for her brother’s mind.
It felt… wrong.
Throbbing, pulsating light filled her vision and a piercing shriek rang out from Brian’s mouth just before everything went black.
“Shhh…” a voice hissed in her ear and Amelia’s eyes snapped open.
A boy, no older than eleven or twelve peered into her eyes, his left index-finger held up to his mouth. “She’ll hear you, Andy.”
Amy winced at the usage of her dead name, but did not speak. Instead she took in the boy’s features and sucked in a breath through her teeth.
It was Brian.
Boy-Brian scurried away and Amelia sat bolt upright throwing an arm out, but stopped when she caught sight of her hand. It seemed smaller than it should have been. She swallowed and peeked down at her chest a wave of nausea wash over her at what she found. Her chest was flat. She wore a pair of baggy black jeans, and a black t-shirt emblazoned with an Effervescence logo, a female-fronted band that had been very popular in her youth.
She reached up, hand snaking behind her neck. Her long tresses were done up in a pony tail. She forced herself to breathe and looked around. Her heart pounded in her chest as she eyed the familiar Kim Possible bedsheets and Star Wars and Linkin Park posters along the north wall. It was her childhood bedroom, her place of refuge from her father and his frequent fits of rage.
Here was where she could imagine herself being a girl, and where she hid what few feminine accouterments, she’d been able to obtain. She had been fond of the light blue summer dress, which she’d hid, along with everything else, inside the bottom of the old wooden chest inside her closet.
How many lawns had she mowed, and cars had she washed just to raise enough money to buy what little she had only to have her father throw it all out?
She groaned and closed her eyes, shuddering as a remembered wave of anguish and anger flooded through her. She grated her teeth and opened her eyelids, forcing thoughts of the subsequent beating out of her mind.
She resisted the urge to snoop around, she knew where she was or at least where she seemed to be and considering the decor and the outfit she’d been wearing, she gathered she was inhabiting the body of herself somewhere in her early teens before her father had outed her as trans.
A sharp pang of dysphoria, and overall sense of wrongness washed over her. She trembled, clenching her teeth. It was so wrong, this wasn’t her body. She’d spent years transitioning and undergoing Gender Confirmation Surgery. To find herself back where she started all those years ago, was so very disheartening.
It wasn’t real, she reminded herself with a firm shake of her head. This was all a facsimile, a recreation created by Brian’s mind. She would not allow it to get the best of her.
She wasted no time speculating on the how or why, but peered about the room one last time and slipped through the doorway. Blackness lay on the other side, a void so deep so abiding that it seemed to stretch on forever.
She sprinted across the void, wide eyes peering around, but if there was anyone or anything else inhabiting the emptiness, she caught neither sight nor sound of them. She glanced back, but the doorway leading into her old bedroom had disappeared.
When she turned back a figure stood within an old oak doorway out from which spilled a wafting violet mist. She fingered at long golden tresses with one hand and in the other she gripped a gnarled staff atop which an amethyst gemstone had been affixed. When Amelia first spotted her, she was looking away, but the moment her eyes fell on the woman, she jerked, turning to face her.
Amelia couldn’t say why, but there was a bit of Leoffa in her features. Perhaps it was the intensity of her gaze or the curve of her lips when she curled them into a sneer, but the agent knew she was looking upon the Sorceress, or at least some kind of representation of her.
“He is mine.” The girl shrieked and lifted her staff. A bolt of sizzling violet energy shot out from the gemstone, but Amelia threw both hands up in a warding gesture and brought up a protective shield around herself. Brilliant bright light cascaded against the barrier and grew so intense that it illuminated the darkness into pure white luminescence.
Amy gasped, her feet swept out from under her and her stomach lurched as it swept her away. When her vision cleared she was standing on a rocky outcropping overlooking a river. There had been no sense of landing or transition from falling. One moment, she was simply there.
She spun around, Brian stood a few feet away and he looked about eight or nine years old this time. His wide-eyed gaze focus on the canyon. She snatched a hand out, this time grabbing her brother by an arm.
“Brian,” Amy asked. “What’s going on here?”
He stared at her, child’s eyes wide, but otherwise expressionless.
Amy licked her lips and met her brother’s gaze. “Listen Brian, it’s me your older sis—brother Andy,” she paused stumbling over the use of the male term and her dead name and winced as if she’d dealt herself a physical blow. “I’m here to help, but you have to let me in.”
“She’s coming,” Brian said in a drawn out whine before tugging on her arm. His wrist slid way and he took off running disappearing into the treeline.
Amelia started after him, but she got only a dozen feet before realizing he was nowhere in sight.
“Dammit,” she cursed stomping back over to the outcropping. “What the hell is going on?!”
She stood there, jaw clenched breathing air in between her teeth. Finally with a lengthy sigh, she surveyed her surroundings. She recognized this place, she realized, it was Snake River Canyon. Her family had taken a weekend trip there about eighteen or nineteen years ago.
She again glanced at herself and sure enough her appearance had shifted again. Now, she was sporting camouflage pants and a shirt with the words “I have issues”.
The area was lush and vibrant with color and she took a moment to appreciate the beauty of her surroundings. Butterflies flittered all about her, and somewhere in the distance the sound of bird song wafted through the air.
She had hated the outdoors as a child, and though still not one for camping Amelia had developed an appreciation for the grandeur of nature as an adult.
Still, she sensed that she needed to hurry. She wasn’t quite sure what was going on, but her brother was hiding from Leoffa for a reason.
Moving into a copse of trees she paused, peering around. Had she heard something? The agent lingered, hoping to detect some signs of movement, but save for the occasional bird call or the crinkle of leaves on the wind, nothing seemed outof the ordinary. She continued on, but when she’d taken maybe a dozen steps, an old oak doorway appeared in her path and the sorceress rushed out, amethyst staff radiating light.
“Leoffa,” Amelia spoke a small thread of tension in her voice hoping that the woman would reveal herself, but she only smiled.
“What do you want with my brother?” Amelia demanded, but the other woman only laughed.
“ANSWER ME!” Amy screamed out.
A tight smile touched Leoffa’s lips, but she did not respond. Instead she raised her staff. Wicked emerald energy lanced out, and Amy brought her hands up forming a protective barrier with her mind. Brilliant illumination filled her vision, followed by a sensation of falling.
When the light cleared Amelia stood within a schoolyard encircled by a ring of children. This time, she barely glanced down at herself, but she noted she was even smaller than before.
Just like that, Brian was standing before her, he looked only about a year younger than the last time. He brought his finger up to his lips, but Amelia snatched a hand out and gripped his arm.
“For God’s sake Brian!” Amy scowled. “Tell me what’s going on!”
Brian blinked, but didn’t move or speak. Then, his head jerked sideways and his eyes widened. “She comes.”
One child drew closer fists balled at her side, a dozen more followed in her wake. It was Isabel Wilson, a cruel-tempered girl who had taken a liking to torturing the two Van den Broeke siblings. She was taller than most of the males in their class until puberty hit. She went from a plain Jane who bullied half of the children in the school to the object of every boy’s desires. It had always struck Amy as an odd turnaround, but one which Isabel quickly adapted to. She used her looks to manipulate others to get what she wanted and she did it well.
The Isabel that stood before them, had not yet been visited by the puberty fairy and she looked every bit as mean as Amelia remembered. Her old bully did not say a word, instead she rounded on the elder sibling and sucker punched her in the gut. Amy doubled over, gasping for breath and she felt a set of arms around her. She looked up, peering into her younger brother’s eyes. Anger burned in them, a wild untamed blaze.
“Leave Andy alone!” He screamed out as Isabel grabbed Amy by the back of her hair and grinned down at her eyes alight with malicious glee.
Isabel’s fist came down and Brian lurched forward attempting to break the bully’s hold, but she elbowed him in the ribs and the blow struck home.
Amelia fell onto her back, and Isabel lost her grip. The agent rolled away, and sprang to her feet, fists raised to counter, but before she could manage it, dozens of high-pitched shrieks of rage sounded from all around the playground. A throng of children surged forward and both brother and sister were buried under a writhing mass of bodies.
Pummeled by dozens of tiny fists, Amelia attempted to break free, but there were just too many of them. She curled up into a ball and gritted her teeth screaming out in rage and agony. She had almost given up hope when realization set in.
“This isn’t real,” Amy whispered eyes flying back open.
“This isn’t real!” She repeated, emitting a high-pitched shriek. She was a powerful exemplar it was about time she started acting like one. What more this was the domain of the mind, a place in which her powers were uniquely qualified to give her the upper hand.
She threw her hands out, tunneling them through the mass of tangled limbs and steadied her breath. Power crackled at her fingertips and a wave rippled out, sending their attacker’s bodies flying in every direction, sparing only herself and Brian.
Amelia’s form rose into the air and she peered down at her slight frame. She didn’t look particularly intimidating in her current form, but that was about to change.
The agent shook her head, long black tresses cascaded from her scalp and her body exploded upward and outward, breasts and posterior ballooning out into her more familiar feminine proportions. She barely paid it any mind, but focused her attention on a familiar form approaching from out of an oak doorway perhaps a dozen yards away.
Leoffa moved through the playground, paying no need to the bodies scattered about the blacktop.
“Brian.” Amelia’s eyes darted to her brother cowered on the ground in a fetal position. “This is your mind, she can only hurt you if you let her. I don’t know what she’s done to you, but you’ll never be free if you keep running.”
“It’s pointless agent,” the sorceress said slamming her staff down into the ground. Shards of concrete shot out spraying Amelia and her brother in their faces. “It’s all he knows now”
“I’m here now.” Amelia floated forward, imposing herself between the sorceress and her sibling and clenched both of her fists.
“If you want him, you’ll have to go through me,” Amelia said again raw power radiating out from her, arching into a barrier around the siblings.
A slow smile crept onto Leoffa’s face and a throaty chuckle escaped her lips. “That’s what I was hoping you’d say.”