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The Fall of Kruhl | Ch 13 Pt 1

06/27/2020

AEGIS Seal

Official Report
3412 Abby Ln
Tondzaosha, Idaho

A long soft sigh escaped Amelia’s lips. Birdsong wafted in from out of the darkness and she jerked upright, eyes wide and hands sliding over her belly. She panted, scanning the tiny room, before swallowing and pursing her lips.

Where was she?

Light spilled in from a small window adjacent to the bed atop which she rested and she peered through it. A large elm’s branches spread out into the sky, blocking her view of most of the street beyond.

“Oh thank god,” a voice said from the doorway and Amelia’s head jerked sideways to face the newcomer.

Amy blinked, watching the blond girl, unable to look away. “Ashley, what the hell are you doing here?”

“Well,” Ashley grinned leaning against the door frame one hand on her hip. “It’s nice to see you too.”

The agent released a lengthy breath and let out a low throaty chuckle with a slow shake of her head. “I mean, it is a relief to see a familiar face, I just didn’t expect you to be here.”

“How did I—” Amy stopped looking around the room.

“Get here?” Ashley finished folding her arms across her chest. “It’s a long story, but the short answer is I found you and brought you here.”

Amelia arched an eyebrow. “And the long answer?”

The younger woman pursed her lips, stepped into the room and closed the door behind her.

“Probably best if no one else heard this,” she winced and ran a hand through her shock of flaxen hair. She moved across the room, sat beside Amelia on the bed, placing a hand on the agent’s knee. Then with a long release of air she spoke. “I guess I should start by telling you that Sapphira’s in the hospital.”

That caught Amy’s attention, she regarded the other woman, eyes going wide. “What?”

“She collapsed a several days ago, after taking a call from an Idaho area code. And before you ask, I don’t know what’s wrong with her. Nobody does. I wish I had better news.”

Amelia pressed her lips together and bowed her head. A tear ran down her cheek, but she wiped it away before peering back up at her companion.

“Probably, the work of one of our friends,” the agent said with a slight quiver in her voice. “I have reason to suspect there’s a mole inside AEGIS, they were probably afraid Sapphira would come to my rescue when I disappeared.”

Or else raise hell if I turned up dead. Amelia added, but didn’t trust herself to voice that notion.

Her heart ached at the image of Sapphira sitting inert in a hospital bed somewhere. Throughout this entire ordeal she hadn’t once considered trying to contact her partner. Why was that? She swallowed reflecting back to Ashtar’s warning that she was being influenced and tasted bile in her throat. Maybe, Leoffa had influenced her in more ways than one.

“Shit,” Ashley cursed. “I was afraid it was something like that.”

“Tell me the rest,” Amelia said biting the inside of her cheek.

Ashley did, apprising her of her travels to Tondzaosha, witnessing the police taking her into custody and everything from there up to finding Brian van den Broeke trapped within his strange luminescent prison. She would have continued, but caught a gleam in Amelia’s eyes and paused, regarding her friend, eyebrows furrowed.

Amelia didn’t speak, instead thinking back to when she’d reached into Leoffa’s mind. There had been a brief flash and images very like those described by Ashley. There must be some connection.

“What happened after that?” Amelia asked, stroking her chin, her lips pressed in a thoughtful expression.

“Well, I tried for a good thirty minutes to reach him, and then… well, things got even stranger…

“Okay, that’s not working.”


Ashley threw a fist out in frustration. It impacted the space above Brian van den Broeke and a dull metallic thud sounded.


“Perhaps, you should hit it again, miss. I’m sure it will work better the fourth time.” Nabu’s voice intoned in her ear.


Ashley growled under her breath, but didn’t dignify him with a reply. Instead she turned away and clenched her eyes releasing a steady breath. “I don’t suppose you have any ideas, Nabu, do you?”


“No, miss, this is quite beyond my area of expertise.”


“I hate to say this, but if there’s nothing I can do here, it may be time to—”


“Miss, as loath as I am to interrupt, I am detecting a spike in energy readings.” Nabu spoke, his voice dripping with sarcasm. “Perhaps you may wish to give it another look.”


Ashley spun around as a high-pitched screech rang through the air. The lights above Brian‘s inert form pulsated and intensified and he sat bolt upright…


“Andy!” He screamed the name, repeating it over and over, hands clutching the side of his head.


The lights swirled faster and faster, growing so bright that Ashley winced and brought a hand up to shield her eyes. A whoosh of air blew into her and she braced herself as a surge of energy cascaded out in every direction. The illumination grew so intense that she closed her eyes and averted her gaze.


Once her vision cleared, she lowered her hands and moved toward Brian. He watched her approach with wide eyes.


“Impostor, betrayal… sword. Blood gushing.” He mumbled peering past Ashley’s armored form almost as if she were not even there.


He hugged his knees and rocked back and forth, several long sobs escaping his lips. “She will die.”


“Who?” She demanded, her voice coming out as a low guttural growl through the suit’s voice changer.


He didn’t answer, instead he threw his head back and a raw, wheezing manic laugh sounded from his mouth. “The one who was king… her blood everywhere,” he mumbled. “My brother who’s now my sister. Times ticking… ticking… out through the window…”


“Fuck.”


Ashley didn’t hesitate. She lurched forward, armored form shooting through the bedroom window, glass shattering and cascading across the front lawn in her wake. Heart hammering in her chest, her destination already in mind, she shot into the open sky above. She couldn’t say why, but she was certain that he’d been speaking of Amelia. It sounded like the ravings of a madman, but somehow she understood that the danger was real.

“You just left Brian there?” Amelia cut in her disbelief reflected in her emerald eyes.

“I freaked out…” Ashley grimaced one hand kneading the back of her neck. “I didn’t stop to reflect, I just acted.”

“If it makes you feel better, I came back for him after. He was still there, at least in the physical sense, but mentally… Well, let’s just say he’s a few bricks short of a load.”

Amelia’s lips trembled and a sob escaped her lips. “All because that woman was trying to get to me.”

She wiped the tears from her eyes and regarded her blond friend who was now shedding a few tears of her own.  When the agent spoke her voice trembled. “So? I guess you found me.”

Ashley nodded, swallowing hard. “Uh, yeah. I figured since the police had you, you’d probably be at the station, and sure enough that’s where you and the girl were, unconscious in a pool of blood. Shit, I thought you were dead. After I went back for your brother, I brought everyone here.”

“Kruhl?” Amy asked, but her friend just blinked. The agent sighed, closed her nice and massaged her temple. “The short blond woman.”

“Oh! She’s fine, I think. She hasn’t woken up yet. There was blood all over her when I happened upon you guys, but I couldn’t find any cuts or scrapes, I guess none of it was hers.”

“And Brian?” Amelia asked staring back at her swallowing hard.

“Asleep, last I checked.” Ashley brushed the hair away from her face. “And there’s something else…”

Amy gaze intensified her eyes boring holes into the other woman. “Um, I didn’t know any safe places… and who to trust. I didn’t even know what was wrong with you so I, uh…” she trailed off wincing under the scrutiny of her friend’s gaze.

“You what?” Amy asked a sinking feeling forming in the pit of her stomach.

“I worried you would need medical attention and since the files Malcolm gave me said your mother was a nurse…”

“Oh, god,” Amelia sighed glancing around. “Don’t tell me this is her place.”

“No! Actually,” Ashley jerked her head from side to side. “But she’s here. She said this place belonged to a friend.”

Amy sighed and gritted her teeth. Just when she thought things couldn’t get any worse, her mother gets thrown into the mix.

Oh hell.

 

The Fall of Kruhl | Ch 13 Pt 2

07/04/2020

AEGIS Seal

Official Report
3412 Abby Ln
Tondzaosha, Idaho

“Um.” Amy groaned, slipping a hand over her belly, as a slow gurgle rumbled its way through her abdomen. She’d had some minor queasiness over the past few days, but she’d been hoping the worst of her morning sickness was passed. It seemed she’d been wrong.

“Goddammit, not again….” she trailed off and closed her eyes. “I think I need the bathroom.”

“Uh, sure.” Ashley said, her brows furrowed and she gestured across the room. “It’s right across the hall.”

Amy lurched to her feet, hand still clasped over her stomach and sprinted toward the door. She swung it open and was through the one on the opposite side of the hallway in seconds. Without preamble, she fell to her knees in front of the toilet and hurled her guts out. When she finished, she collapsed atop the seat, panting and chest heaving for breath.

Ashley rushed into the bathroom after her at the sound of retching and stopped outside the door, arm resting on the frame peering in. “Amy, are you all right?”

Amelia collected loose hairs from her face, sighed and peered back at her friend. “I’m fine, it’s because… I’m pregnant.”

“Oh,” Ashley stared back, eyes widening. “I had no idea.”

“Sapphira and I were going to tell everyone after I got back. If you spill the beans…”

“Say no more,” Ashley mimed turning a key in her mouth. “Your secret’s safe with me.”

Amy stood and shook her head. “If Sapphira doesn’t wake up, I don’t know what I’ll do. I can’t raise a child by myself. I don’t have any idea what to do. Never once in a million years, did I ever let myself hope I’d get pregnant an—”

A dull thud sounded from the hallway and Ashley peered back. Amelia’s heart leapt into her throat on catching the blond’s wide-eyed grimace.

“Uh, Mrs. Van den Broeke, I didn’t see you there,” Ashley spun away from the doorway and Amelia’s mother appeared lugging a plastic storage container in her arms.

Serena van den Broeke turned, regarding her eldest child, eyes wide. “I-I wasn’t trying to eavesdrop I was just bring up some—”

“Oh hell.” Amelia groaned placing both palms on the vanity.

“There’s no way I heard that right. You can’t be pregnant, that’s not how it wor—”

Amelia glanced back at her, interrupting her elder. “No, it’s not, but regardless I am pregnant. Look, it’s hard to explain, but sometimes strange things happen to AEGIS personnel in the field. A while back something happened to me and well let’s say… it changed a lot of things.”

Serena stood there, mouth agape. “That’s… not—”

Amy gritted her teeth, a scathing reply on the tip of her tongue, but Ashley interjected. “It sounds unbelievable, but she’s telling the truth. I was there, and… she’s not the only one who experienced changes.”

Serena lowered her head and sighed. “I didn’t mean to, I mean I wasn’t say—”

“Forget it,” Amy waved her hand lips curled into a snarl. “We have bigger concerns, like trying to help my fucking brother.”

“Ashley dear, would you take these?” Serena asked holding the plastic container out to the younger woman. “You can take them down to the room at the end of the hall. Amelia and I need to speak alone.”

Ashley bit her lip, glanced at Amy, who nodded. She took the tote out of the elder Van den Broeke’s hands and disappeared down the corridor. Serena watched her depart before slipping inside the bathroom and closing the door behind her.

“Amelia, I…” She bowed her head and reached up cupping her daughter’s face. The agent flinched, but didn’t back away as her mother continued. “For years, I imagined what I would say to you if I ever had the chance to see you again and that day when you were in the hospital, I realized how unprepared I was. All those speeches, all the imagined conversations flew right out the window.”

Amelia brought both hands up and pulled her mother’s arm down. “This is hard for me.” Hot tears cascaded down her face. “I never thought I’d see any of you again. I’d put that part of my life behind me, but the wounds still cut deep and every time I look at your face… I’m so very angry.”

“You have every right to be. I was a terrible mother, if I could take back—”

“Can we not do this right now?” Amelia asked a sob racking her body. “We’re not out of the woods yet… not by a long shot.”

She slipped past her mother and slipped back into the hallway amidst a torrent of protestations from the other woman. Amelia didn’t glance back, but started down the hall. Stopping about mid-way she put her back to the wall, sank to her knees and wept.

A pair of arms enfolded her and when she looked up, peering into her mother’s eyes. She stiffened, gazing at her elder with wide eyes, then all her resistance crumbled away and she melted into Serena’s arms.

Amelia swallowed, forced back tears and looked Serena in the eyes. In the course of a few days a magical sword had thrown her across a room and landed her in the emergency room, she’d watched a good agent die for no good reason, was betrayed by someone she’d believe was her long-lost brother made over into a sister, learned that her actual brother may have been driven mad by the very same person, and discovered that the love of her life was unconscious in a hospital bed in a ‘not-coma’. Not to mention, she had to contend with her goddamned morning sickness.

“I can’t imagine what you’ve been through.” A sad smile touched Serena’s lips. “But judging from some of the things your friend said it couldn’t have been easy.”

“Damned hormones.” Amelia’s voice quivered. The excuse sounded hollow even to her ears, but her mother only smiled and nodded. “Um… I should probably apolo—”

“No.” Serena cut in shaking her head. “I wasn’t there for you when you needed me the most you have nothing to apologize for.”

“Maybe not then,” Amelia said fresh tears burning her eyes. “But you helped me today and that counts for something.”

Serena smile widened for a second, but then it slithered off her face replaced by a more somber expression. She climbed up and held her hand out. “Come on, let’s get you off the dirty floor. We wouldn’t want you to catch something. You’re expecting, you need to think of the baby.”

Amelia took her mother’s hand and stood with a grunt of effort. She didn’t speak, but pursed her lips tears streaking her cheeks.

“Uh… I should see if there’s something I can do for Brian,” the agent said at last.

Serena face looked stricken, but she nodded. “I tried talking to him, but he’s just not all there. I don’t know if anyone can help him.”

Amelia sighed and placed both hands on her hips. “I have a better chance than most. Remember how I said something strange happened to me in the field? Well, this body isn’t the only thing that was changed.”

Serena’s eyebrows shot up and she peered at her daughter, lips pursed. “What are you saying?”

Amelia flattened her lips together and sealed her eyes, reaching out with her mind. Serena, gasped and peered down at her feet as they rose from the ground. She threw her arms out windmilling them through the air. She remained suspended there for several long moments hovering just a few inches above the ground then Amelia’s eyes snapped back and her feet plopped back onto the hardwood floor with a light thud.

Serena peered at the other Van den Broeke eyes round and eyebrows disappearing into her bangs. “Good lord, how did you do that?”

“Telekinesis.” Amelia shrugged and folded her hands. “I can do a lot more, telepathy, mental projection, and some things I’m not sure have a name. Plus, I have an enhanced healing factor, faster reflexes and… I still have my psychometric retrocognizance.”

Truth be told, she hadn’t done a full test run, but she had a good idea what she was capable of if Sapphira’s power set was any indication. It seemed only logical that the agent would have the same abilities as the one from whom she’d inherited them, but it was not an assumption she had put to the test.

“So you’re going to, what, probe your brother’s mind?”

Amelia nodded. “It may be the only way I can reach him. Someone has done something unnatural to his mind,” she shuddered reflecting on Allison’s retelling of events and her own vision of her brother when she touched Leoffa’s mind. “I don’t believe he can come out of it without some drastic intervention.”

“Unnatural? Sounds like it could be dangerous.” Serena winced. “Are you sure this is something you want to do?”

“No,” Amy admitted. “But it’s something I have to do. Brian became involved in this because of me, I can’t just abandon my brother when he needs my help.”

“Okay,” Serena sighed. “Just be careful, okay? I’d hate for you to get hurt.”

Amelia smiled, tears sliding down her cheeks and lips trembling as she moved down the hallway. Whatever happened, it felt good hearing those words from her mother.