Cast (in alphabetical order):
"In New York City, fear was everywhere."
Albie Carter: Natalia Dyer
Aline Summers: Amanda Seyfried
Amber Gordon: Emilie de Ravin
Atiha Stacy: Naomi Scott
Ben Hardy: Ben Hardy
Cameron Allen: Cameron Monaghan
Celine Parker: Natalie Portman
Colin Murdock : Colin O'Donoghue
Damon Salvatore: Ian Somerhalder
Elle Danvers: Emma Watson
Elliot Alderson: Rami Malek
Erik Jordan: Michael B. Jordan
holly Dobrev: Nina Dobrev
Inès Moone: Emilia Clarke
James 'Bucky' Barnes: Sebastian Stan
Kiranne Kyle: Kaya Scodelario
Maria Potts: Stana Katic
Milo Pearson: Milo Ventimiglia
Negan: Jeffrey Dean Morgan
Nicolas Stark: Dylan O'Brien
Peter Parker: Tom Holland
Rachel Boynton: Lucy Boynton
Rana Alderson : Shay Mitchell
Sam Curry: Sam Claflin
Stefan Salvatore: Paul Wesley
Steve Rogers: Chris Evans Chapter 1 : The Starting Line
Things were not going according to plan, but it wasn't her own doing this time. She had been having a perfectly normal night of casual robbery when she had been interrupted kwa the noises. She leaned against the wall, listening in for the perfect moment to escape.
Crime was nothing new for Kiranne Kyle. She had been stealing recreationally for as long as she could remember. It had started as a way to get by, and now it was something she did to maintain the lifestyle she had worked hard to build. Living in New York City was no cheap thing, after all. And besides, it was only stealing, after all. It wasn't like she was hurting anyone.
Nothing like this usually happened. Kir was very good at picking her targets. The owners were either out partying, away on holiday, au sound asleep in their beds. She knew she could outrun anyone if she needed to, but there was so much less fuss and bother if she just avoided being seen altogether.
Tonight was different, though. Almost as soon as she'd entered the house of a very wealthy family, she'd heard the footsteps of a group of men, following close behind. She knew no one had followed her specifically, so it just seemed to be a freaky coincidence. She listened in, getting slightly bored as she heard the men rummaging through the possessions. They weren't being particularly quiet. The neighbors might hear them. Kir knew for a fact that the family wasn't home. The parents were at some fancy fundraiser, and the kids were away at their grandparents for the weekend. Kir always had a habit of checking up on her victims once au twice before actually committing the crime. Just to make sure there would be no surprises. She knew she would not do well behind bars, so getting caught was not an option.
Based on the sounds, Kir could tell there was a leader to the group, a man with a deep voice. She could tell from the sound of shattering glass that he was probably using some sort of a blunt weapon to break things. Probably a baseball bat.
If someone were to ask Kir how she was so sure about everything she was hearing, and how she could even identify the group of people as men based primarily on their footsteps, she would not know what to say. All she knew was that her hearing and reflexes were fantastic. Almost as if she'd been made to be a thief. Who wouldn't use that opportunity to their advantage?
"He's coming back," Kir stirred as she heard a male voice speak. It wasn't the leader. She could tell kwa the fear in his voice. He was likely speaking to the man in charge, then.
"About damn time," the voice of leader responded. Kir frowned. Wait… were they here to…? She straightened her back, looking around for an exit of some kind. But there wasn't any. She had locked herself in the nearest closet when she'd heard the others approaching. She was only so lucky that none of them had paid any interest to the closet. And now she knew why. They weren't here to steal. They were here to kill.
She was beginning to panic, which wasn't that unusual for her. The feeling of dread only grew as she could hear the sound of the front door opening, and the male and female voices dying down as they undoubtedly saw the terrifying sight in front of them. A group of men ready to hurt them.
Kir closed her eyes. For a moment she thought about interfering, au calling the police. But for one, she didn't have her phone with her. She couldn't risk anything being traced back to her. And two, she knew she couldn't fight the men if she tried. She was fast, but she wasn't a superhero. She was just a thief. And she really wanted to go home.
It only lasted for a few minutes. She heard the screams and the pleas, but she couldn't help. She was frozen still, with fear. She couldn't remember the last time she'd been truly afraid. Maybe she never had been, until now.
Another half an saa passed before she dared move. She'd heard the front door close ages ago. But still, she was too afraid to move.
Kir opened her eyes, taking a deep breath. If she didn't hurry and get out, they might come back and kill her, too. So without thinking about it anymore, she opened the door, her black gloves grazing the wood as she pushed the door open. And as soon as she was out, her eyes fell on the bodies on the floor, and the blood. The blood that was everywhere.
She took a breath, and placed her hand on her mouth as she just stared. She had been a criminal for most of her life, but never had she run into anything like this. She hated it. She hated it so much, and she wanted to get out.
Tearing her eyes away from the blood, she headed for the window through which she'd entered, and disappeared into the night.
In the mornings, she felt strong. Always too strong. So much so, that she always feared that she would hurt James and yet, he was always the one pushing her, daring her to use her powers.
"Come on, onyesha me what wewe got." James said, grabbing her arm and twisting it behind her back.
"Stop it. I don't want to hurt you..." Elle said, trying to wriggle free out of his grasp.
"As if wewe could." James said, tapping lightly on his left arm made of Vibranium, while twisting her arm even zaidi tightly.
"I alisema let go." Elle warned again, her eyes starting to get red and beaming. When she was getting annoyed au hurt, she could not control her powers and they always got the best of her.
Before James had time to taunt her once again, she turned around, took off in the air and punched him as hard as she could on his metallic arm.
He went flying across the room and crashed on a pile of mattresses. Calming down, she looked at what she had done. The ground where she had stood on was cracked and she could not come back down. Feeling her strength leaving her, she collapsed, her legs failing to hold her upright. She hated feeling the loss of her powers, like a battery suddenly powering down.
On the other side of the room, James got up and dusted off the plaster that fell on him when he had crashed.
"I thought that Supergirl never got tired." He alisema with a harsh tone. He was always so smug and implacable, it was infuriating to her. She didn't understood why he was so set on disproving her identity. That her powers were fake, that she wasn't Kara Zor-El, from the planet Krypton and destined to protect Earth.
"Well, I do." Elle said, panting and getting up to face him. It's true that she had never Lost her energy that early in the day, but that could be for a million reasons.
"Or maybe, it's because you're not her. Why would Lex Luthor help wewe if wewe were his enemy's cousin?"
"I already told you. He has changed after what happened to Superman. He realizes now what he has sacrificed, all of his wrongs. He wants to be better. He wants to help me get at my cousin's level, so I can protect Earth."
"And yet... He doesn't let wewe leave here." James said, cocking an eyebrow.
"My powers are dangerous if uncontrolled, wewe and I both know that. He only has my best interest at heart, he offers me a salama haven here, while I train."
"What about me huh? Why did he do what he did to me? Why doesn't he let me leave as well?"
Elle shrugged. It was true, James did not deserved what had happened to him, what he had been through... but she knew Lex had a reason for everything he did, he had brought them together for the greater good.
"You are zaidi valuable to the world alive than dead." She said, turning her back on James and heading for her room, already too tired to continue training.
"What do wewe think?" Aline Summers tore her eyes away from the screen to look at the newlyweds.
Wedding upigaji picha was definitely not Aline's dream job, but it paid the bills. And based on the look on the couple's face, she was good at her job.
"They're beautiful," the bride commented, staring at the picha on the computer screen. Aline looked back, giving her work a glance. It was a nice photo, she had to admit. The couple had decided to get married in their family estate, which happened to have a beautiful rose garden. An ideal place for a photogenic wedding.
"I'm happy wewe think so," Aline smiled politely. She closed the file, handing the USB drive over to the two. "If wewe want me to do zaidi editing on any of them, just drop me a line."
"We will. Thank you," the groom smiled, his arm wrapped around his wife. "Have a good one."
"Bye," Aline watched the two leave her apartment, shifting from one foot to the other. She didn't really like inviting strangers over to her nyumbani just to view photos, but some couples preferred that. Some were incredibly nitpicky about the picha she took. Luckily for her, Aline had a good poker face, and she found she was very good at dealing with their high demands. Probably because of her own attention to detail.
Just as she was about to do some zaidi editing, she heard a knock on her door. Aline looked at the time, frowning. She knew she was meeting her Marafiki for drinks that night. It was her 25th birthday, after all. But that wouldn't be for another five hours au so.
Despite that, she walked over to the door, smiling despite herself at the sight of her friend, Amber Gordon. The two had become fast Marafiki ever since Aline had moved into the building. "Hey," she said. "What's up?"
"I was just making sure wewe were still on for eight o'clock tonight," Amber smiled brightly, walking into the apartment, putting on the water for the chai without even asking. It had become a habit for the two of them, just hanging around the other's apartment drinking coffee au tea. They often invited their friend, Rachel, too, though she lived a bit further away.
"Yeah, of course," Aline chuckled, watching in amusement as Amber's cat, Dinah, followed the owner into the flat. The cat seemed to go wherever Amber did.
"Did they like the photos?" Amber asked curiously, grabbing two mugs from the cupboard, with Dinah at her feet, looking displeased with the lack of attention from her owner.
"I think so," Aline nodded absentmindedly. "I mean, I'm glad they like them, it's just-"
"Not what wewe want to be doing with your life," Amber nodded. "I get it." They both knew that what Aline wanted zaidi than anything was to be a picha reporter. It just wasn't happening. Not at the moment, anyway.
"I think things are gonna turn around for wewe soon, though," Amber smiled knowingly, handing one of the mugs to her friend. "You never know what's gonna happen tonight."
"You make that sound zaidi like a threat than an assumption," Aline teased good-naturedly, taking a sip of tea. Amber was always really good at making the best chai even with the most boring ingredients.
"Where's Rach, do wewe know?" Amber asked.
Aline looked at her calendar, reminding herself of the siku of the week. "It's her siku off, so we know exactly where she is."
Rachel Boynton had many interests. She loved to bake, she drew whenever she possibly could, and she thought that Queen was God's gift to humanity. And on her time off, she liked to tour the various museums around New York City for one specific reason: The Egyptian departments. If wewe were to ask her why, she could not give a proper answer. She simply found herself drawn to the history, the culture. It all felt familiar to her, in a way. But not in a way she could explain. She certainly had no Egyptian heritage, nor had she grown up surrounded kwa the country's culture. Despite this, there was a sense of familiarity in it, a sense of comfort.
She glanced up from her sketchbook, frowning as she tried to get the statue just right. Rachel was current in the Museum of Natural History, which was, for once, surprisingly quiet. Over the years she had spent hours upon hours in the museum - as well as many others all over the city. Her best friend, Ben Hardy, often made fun of her for it. She didn't mind it too much, as she herself could hardly explain her fixation.
The only reason Rachel tore her eyes from her project was the notification on her phone. It was Amber, asking about the cake for Aline's birthday surprise. Amber [3:20 pm]: Hey, are wewe still bringing the cake over to mine before we head to the restaurant?
Rachel closed her sketch book and typed a reply. Rachel [3:21 pm]: Yeah, I'll try to be there around 7-ish? That cool?
Amber [3:25 pm]: Sounds good!
Rachel stood up, putting on her headphones after giving the exhibit one last glance. She always felt like she was missing something, and that feeling only intensified when she came to the exhibits. She could never quite place it. At this point she'd stopped trying altogether.
She turned her back on the statue, and headed home.
Atiha Stacy's hands were shaking as she made her way to LuthorCorp. She knew that for an environmental student like her, being considered for an internship at one of the biggest companies in the world was a big honor. She knew she needed to do well in her interview.
She clutched onto her notes as she walked through the doors, gazing around. The building was enormous. The high, white walls, the reception desks with queues for miles, it was all very overwhelming. Atie frowned, wondering if she was making a mistake. Surely she wouldn't get the job. She wouldn't be that lucky.
As her eyes scanned the hall, she spotted a familiar face. Needless to say, it took her kwa surprise to find her classmate, Peter Parker, at LuthorCorp of all places.
Of course she knew he had to be intelligent. They were in the same classes, after all, and wewe wouldn't pursue something like science if wewe didn't find it interesting. But still, the way Peter acted in class, all goofy and carefree, she would never have assumed he would be pursuing an internship here.
To her surprise, she seemed to catch his eye. Peter smiled and waved. Atie didn't take it to mean anything. Peter was relatively friendly with everyone. The two of them had never really shared zaidi than a few words. Atie was sure he wouldn't actually be interested in talking to her.
Still, he was looking at her, and she knew it would be rude not to say hello. He was in one of the queues over to the reception, no doubt waiting to get his visitor's badge to go in for the interview.
"Heya," Peter smiled when Atie was within earshot. "We're in the same class, aren't we?"
"Yeah, hi," Atie alisema awkwardly. She was far too nervous and unsure of her abilities to nail the interview to really focus on Peter at the moment.
"Atiha, right?" Peter interrupted her thoughts once more, clearly in a chatty mood.
"I go kwa Atie most of the time," she corrected, though a part of her was pleasantly surprised he knew her name. "You're Peter."
"I am, yep," Peter smiled brightly. Atie had no idea how he wasn't nervous. Did he even have any notes with him? "Nervous?"
Atie glanced at him, surprised. "A little. Aren't you?"
"I'm terrified," Peter said, though he didn't look it. "But it's just the first interview. I'll freak out later."
Atie chuckled. Somehow, that was comforting, in a way. She wasn't the only one worried. But still, now a part of her was worried that the internship would go to Peter instead of her. She was sure they both needed it, but she had dreamed of working in a place like this for years. She had no idea what Peter's motivations were.
As she glanced up, she saw that the receptionist was talking to Peter, handing him a visitor's badge and explaining where to go. She would be next.
"I'll see wewe later," Peter turned back to her, waving the badge excitedly. "Good luck!"
"You, too," Atie said, her eyes following the boy as he headed through the gates.
Rana Alderson was not someone who stressed needlessly. If she could control it, she would only worry about things she knew really were important, like her job, money, family. Things like that. Unfortunately for her, one of those categories was a constant chanzo of stress for her. zaidi specifically, her older brother, Elliot.
She glanced across the room at him, not at all surprised to find him seemingly zoned out, placing a leash on his dog, Flipper, on his way out to take him for a walk.
"You're going now? I just got here," Rana sighed. She knew her brother would do anything he could to avoid emotional conversations. Sadly, he was in desperate need of one.
Rana and Elliot were adoptive siblings. Rana's parents had died when she had been very little, so Elliot's father, Edward, had taken her in when she had been only three years old, and with Elliot being four. Their childhood had been relatively normal, but after the death of their father a few years ago, Rana felt Elliot had taken a turn for the worse. He'd always been a little bit anti-social, and had always appeared depressed from time to time, but it was worse, now. So much so that often Rana felt she was no longer getting through to him.
Maybe to someone else, it wouldn't have mattered. But Rana was a therapist, and helping people was what she did. And if she couldn't help her brother, who could she help?
"Flipper needs a walk," Elliot alisema simply, shrugging. "And I promised I'd meet Ben in an saa anyway."
"Fine, I'll come with you, then," Rana rolled her eyes, following him out of the apartment. She glanced around the building with distaste. "I really wish wewe moved to a nicer neighborhood. Lord knows wewe can afford it." Elliot worked as a tech at LuthorCorp, and was paid handsomely for it. Rana knew Elliot hated the company, but he was good at his job.
Elliot glanced at her, chuckling dryly. "What, songesha somewhere closer so wewe can keep an eye on me?"
"I'm just worried about you."
"I'm fine," Elliot said, an obvious lie. But Rana just wasn't sure if Elliot was lying to her, au to himself.
"Are wewe still having nightmares?" For as long as she could remember, Elliot had been having nightmares about the strangest of things. But lately, it seemed like it had gotten worse. He looked a lot zaidi tired.
Elliot disregarded the question, so Rana took it as a yes.
"There wewe go, then," Rana shrugged. "I'm just trying to help."
"I appreciate that," Elliot said, his voice dry. He did not appreciate it. "But I'm not one of your patients. I'm your brother. wewe don't need to look after me." He looked away from her, focusing on his dog instead as they walked the busy streets of New York.
Rana wanted to argue, but she knew this was not the time. She wasn't going to get through to Elliot kwa forcing him into therapy. She was still hoping he'd come of his own accord
"I should head off, anyway," she murmured as they came to a stop in front of traffic lights. "I promised I'd meet up with Nic."
Elliot glanced at her, some remorse in his eyes. At least he felt bad about being so dismissive. "Have fun."
"I'll see ya," Rana murmured, giving Flipper a quick pet before heading off, no less worried than she'd been before arriving. She wasn't sure what she was gonna do about this.
Detective Colin Murdock was not having the best day. He was standing in the scene of a crime, two bodies in front of him. A middle-aged man who worked in ukuta Street, as well as his wife. The couple had two kids, who had luckily been away at their grandmother's at the time of their parents' deaths.
Bloody crimes were not uncommon in New York kwa any means, nor was Colin particularly shocked kwa them anymore. But there was something frustrating about this case. Maybe it was the fact that it seemed like the same culprit as the one who had been responsible for a variety of unsolved murders, au perhaps the fact that the forensic investigator, Cameron Allen, seemed to think that there had been a third party involved in the crime.
He watched with mild curiosity as Cameron inspected the nearby closet door, moving his gloved fingers on the surface before turning his attention to the floor.
"So, wewe think there is a witness?" Colin asked as he stepped closer, frowning slightly. He didn't doubt the young man's talent, but he also knew that even if there was a witness, they had no way of tracking them.
"Yeah," Cameron said, seemingly a little distracted. "This footprint," he alisema quietly, pointing at a footprint on the bloody floor. "It's much smaller than any of the others."
"Maybe it was the wife," Colin offered.
"The wife was wearing high heels," Cameron contradicted. "So no, it's not likely."
"Alright. Let me know when you're done. I'm gonna talk to the neighbors," Colin said, turning his back on the man and heading to the hallway. He didn't mind working with Cameron in particular, but silently he did think he worked much better alone. Less distractions, less chances of missing something vital.
Though, then again, if Cameron was right about the footprint, maybe having him around was a smart idea after all.
Inside the flat, Cameron was still preoccupied with the scene, his thoughts on the actual offenders of the crime forgotten for the moment. He wanted to make sure he was right about the witness. Because if they had one, they had a real chance of finally identifying the killers. Or, at least one of them. Even that would be a start.
Instinctively, he moved back towards the closet, grazing the floor with his hands. And then he spotted it. A single strand of dark hair. He grabbed it, staring at it in disbelief. Had he finally stumbled upon a clue that could actually help them catch these guys?
Rachel was running late, she knew that, but she had promised to drop kwa at Ben's before heading to Amber's. The two had always been close, almost like brother and sister really as Ben was only two years older than Rachel. They had similar interests, and saw eye-to-eye most of the time. He was even the only one she'd told about her secret. Though with what a big blabbermouth Ben tended to be when he was drunk, she sometimes doubted her decision to confide in him.
"I'm late, I know," she alisema as she stepped into the flat, the door unlocked as per usual.
"Yeah, shame on you," Ben called from over where he kept his drum kit, gently tapping the drumsticks against the cymbals. How he got away with having a drum set in a New York apartment building, Rachel would never understand. "Elliot's gonna be here soon."
Rachel raised her eyebrows. She had heard a great deal of this Elliot that Ben had befriended about eight months ago, but she had never actually met him. Which was peculiar enough on its own, since Ben was always quick to introduce her to his friends. "Am I finally going to meet him?"
"Eh," Ben shrugged. "I told you, he's not the most social type."
"And yet he hangs out with you," Rachel chuckled softly as she took her kiti, kiti cha on the couch, grabbing Ben's laptop to go through his Spotify playlist. Her upendo for Queen was shared kwa her best friend.
"I happen to think I'm delightful company," Ben argued, waving one of the drumsticks at her, as if intending to throw it at her face. "Seven seas of rhye
Rachel did as told, the song beginning to play in the background. She felt calmer instantly. "You sure wewe guys don't want to come to Aline's party tonight?"
"Absolutely sure. I'm taking Elliot out drinking. He looks like he needs a drink. au ten," Ben said. "But save me some cake!"
Rachel chuckled, shaking her head. She stayed silent for a moment, thinking.
She wondered how she could answer that question. How could she explain to him that the overwhelming feeling of missing something was growing stronger and stronger kwa the day? She had always felt it, but in the last eight months au so, it had gotten significantly worse. "You'd never tell anyone, would you? About me?"
Ben looked up, surprised. "Why the hell would wewe ask me that?"
Like with her fixation on Egypt, Rachel's abilities were something she couldn't quite understand. She was well aware that there were people with special abilities out there. A long time ago, they had been idolized. Batman, Superman, all of them, they had been idolized, seen as gods. But now, things were different. Less and less people admitted to having powers, and when once people with such gifts would've been regarded as magnificent, they were now seen as threats most of the time.
Despite superheroes being common enough, she never understood why she, of all people, would have any of these powers. It made no sense. And quite frankly, she didn't want it.
"Just… sorry," Rachel sighed. He didn't deserve her suspicions. "I'm sorry."
"It's fine, but I don't think it's anything to be ashamed about," Ben shrugged. "So what if you're freakishly strong and can shoot lighting out of your hands? No big deal," he smirked, bopping his head along with the music. "I'm just sorry I never inherited anything cool like that."
Rachel chuckled. She wished she had his carefree nature. It would make things a lot easier. In that moment, she thought about her friend, Celine Parker. She hadn't heard from her in weeks. Even if she was alright, why wasn't she responding to any of her texts? And if she wasn't okay, what had happened?
The sound of Ben hitting the drums brought her back to reality.
She glanced at the time. "Do wewe have any food?"
Rachel snorted. "If you're going out drinking, wewe need to eat first. How many times do I have to tell you?" Out of the two of them, Ben was definitely the bigger drinker, but even when Rachel went out drinking, she never ended up hungover the inayofuata siku like he did. He just had a special talent for it.
Ben groaned, shaking his head. "It's fine!"
"I'll just go to the store real quick and get wewe guys something, okay?" Rachel said, standing up. "Okay?"
"Okay," Ben reluctantly agreed, watching her go. "Thanks!"
"Don't mention it."
Celine's eyes were hurting. It was so hard to sleep in this place. It was never truly quiet, and the lack of a proper kitanda didn't help, either. As for the four metallic walls surrounding her tiny cell, making her feel like her entire world was closing in on her? Definitely the worst of it.
She sighed, closing her eyes, feeling a tear run down her cheek. It had been weeks since she'd been home. It had been weeks since she'd faced another human who wasn't just the guard bringing food. She hadn't talked to her brother au her Marafiki for ages. Were they looking for her? au had the company just come up with some clever excuse, a way to seem like she was just on a long holiday? It was possible. They might've even hacked her phone and barua pepe to make it believable.
She had no idea how it had come to this. One dakika she had been a successful scientist at the biggest corporation known to man, and the inayofuata had been abducted on her way to work, and brought back to the secret underground levels of the very company she worked for. And the experiments…
She opened her eyes, staring at her hands. She was still convinced she was imagining some of it. Of course she knew of superheroes. Everyone did. But to go to such lengths as this to create them? It was sickening. And why her of all people?
She sniffed, pressing her back against the wall. She missed her brother so much.
"Are wewe okay?" she heard the familiar voice of her next-door neighbor, so to speak. About two weeks ago, another person had been brought into the cell inayofuata to hers. He had told her that his name was Stefan Salvatore, and that they had done experiments on him, too. It didn't surprise Celine. She wondered how many people like them were trapped here. Perhaps dozens. Maybe hundreds.
"Yeah," she found herself saying, even though it was far from true. "I mean, no, but… I'm fine."
There was a silence for a moment, and Celine thought that perhaps that was all Stefan wanted to say. And then he continued:
"You were thinking about your brother, weren't you?"
Being cellmates for so long inevitably resulted in the two of them sharing much of their lives with each other. They had no one else to talk to, and as of now, they were allowed to communicate. She just wasn't sure how long that would continue.
"How do wewe know that?" Celine murmured, wiping her tears.
"Because you're crying," Stefan sounded sad.
"Oh." Celine didn't really know what to say. She felt so tired, and so lonely. She just wanted to go home.
"I miss my brother, too. He's a bit of a dick, but… he's my brother. I miss him."
Celine blinked. "I didn't know wewe had a brother."
"We're not close," Stefan alisema after another brief silence. It seemed like it was a difficult topic for him.
"Do wewe think he's worried about you?" Celine asked. She liked this. Getting to talk to Stefan meant she didn't have to think about her own pain. That was good.
"Probably not," Stefan chuckled dryly. "Not like your brother probably worries about you."
Celine shrugged. "You never really know how wewe feel about people until wewe lose them." She had always loved her family and friends, but now she felt like she would do anything to see any of them again.
Stefan alisema nothing else, but Celine could bet he was probably thinking about his family, too. She sighed deeply, closing her eyes once more. Maybe sleep would finally come.
Aline and Amber were walking down the street, the two of them just doing some shopping before the party. They were going to a restaurant, after which they would retire back to Aline's for some zaidi drinks and cake. It was a casual kind of birthday, and it was exactly what Aline wanted. Still, she felt a bit absent-minded as the two looked through a grocery store, trying to find some disposable cups.
"Hey, wewe okay there?" Amber asked, concern clear on her face. "You're not still on the whole job thing, right? Your birthday should be the one siku when wewe don't worry about that stuff."
Aline hummed. She knew that Amber meant well, but it wasn't exactly the same with her. Amber was the daughter of Bruce Wayne. She had inherited his estate, and all of his money. Even though she had been raised kwa a police officer called Jim Gordon, she was still a Wayne, and had all the money that came with that. Whereas Aline had to work for every penny she had. She wasn't uchungu, chungu au sad about it. She loved what she did. But it was still very different to what Amber had.
"Sorry," Amber seemed to read the expression on her face. "I don't mean to come across as rude au something."
"You're really not," Aline promised, and it was true. She gave her friend a faint smile. "I just feel kind of stuck in life, I guess?"
Amber nodded understandingly. "Makes sense. But it's not gonna last, wewe know. You're gonna do great things."
"What kind of great things would those be?" Aline smirked, a bit amused kwa her friend's persistent encouragements.
"I dunno," Amber shrugged. "That's for us to find out. I have a feeling it'll be soon." She glanced towards the frozen chakula section. "Should we get some frozen meals in case someone gets hungry?"
Aline nodded, pushing her worried thoughts away. It was her birthday, for crying out loud. "Sounds good."
As Ben feared, Elliot arrived at the apartment before Rachel did. That meant that his best friend was now inevitably going to meet the antisocial man. It wasn't that Ben worried they would hate each other. He just didn't want to make Elliot uncomfortable. It had taken a while to befriend the guy, and now Ben considered him to be one of his closest friends. He didn't want to ruin that.
"Your door's unlocked again," Elliot alisema as he walked inside, closing the door behind him. "That's kind of stupid."
"You've been here precisely two sekunde and you're already calling me stupid?" Ben snorted, hitting the cymbals again. Radio Ga Ga
was playing in the background.
"Sorry," Elliot seemed distracted. He sat down exactly where Rachel had been sitting not too long ago. "What's wrong?"
"You look worried," Elliot pointed out. "You're not gonna give me a lecture like my sister, are you?"
Ben shook his head. He had met Rana, and they both agreed that Elliot seemed depressed, and the fact that he was getting no sleep was a bad thing. But he wasn't going to try the mother tactic. No, instead he was going to be a good friend and make sure his friend had the best drunken night of his life. Elliot looked like he'd never had any fun in his life.
"Nah, I'm not about that," Ben said, clearing his throat. "It's just that my best friend will be here in a few minutes. She's getting us food."
"Oh." Elliot didn't seem particularly bothered kwa the information.
"Sorry, man," Ben said, knowing he sounded awkward.
"Why are wewe apologizing?" Elliot asked, sounding bewildered. "This is your flat, and she's allowed to be here."
He had a point. "I just know wewe don't like chit-chat."
"Then I won't chit-chat," Elliot said, still looking slightly amused. "Don't worry about it."
Ben relaxed, nodding. "Okay. Cool, cool, cool…" he turned his attention back to his drums for a second. "You really gonna go out clubbing dressed in a hoodie?"
Atie walked out of the interview feeling rather good about herself. Even though she had been terribly nervous, she still felt she'd done well. She'd answered all the questions, met all the qualifications, and even made the interviewer laugh a few times. Nothing could ruin the feeling she had at that moment.
Until the sekunde she saw a familiar face, and this time a much worse one than Peter Parker's.
"What are wewe doing here?" the words escaped her mouth before she could do anything to stop them. Her ex-boyfriend, Damon Salvatore, was standing in front of her right at the entrance to LuthorCorp. How on earth had he even known she'd be here?
"That's a nice way to say hello after a two-year separation," Damon said, the usual sly smirk on his lips. Atie's frown grew deeper. She instantly remembered why she'd broken up with this guy in the first place.
"How did wewe know I'd be here?" Atie ignored his comment.
"I went kwa your flat, your roommate alisema you'd be here. How did the interview go?"
"What do wewe want?" Atie was not in the mood.
Things had not ended well between her and Damon, and the last thing she wanted was to talk to him. The last thing she'd ever alisema to him was that she wished she would never have to see his face again. And she still meant it.
Damon's smile fell, and for a brief second, he looked serious. For once. "Have wewe heard from Stefan?"
Atie blinked. Damon's little brother, Stefan. She had been Marafiki with him, but not good enough Marafiki to remain in touch after she and Damon mgawanyiko, baidisha up. "No. Why?"
"He's missing," Damon alisema pointedly. "Has been for a few weeks."
"How… how do wewe know that?" Atie asked. Damon had a tendency to be a little bit melodramatic. Maybe Stefan just didn't want to see him.
"The only thing anyone's heard from him is the automatic barua pepe sent from his computer whenever his students try to contact him," Damon explained, crossing his arms. "Supposedly on a long holiday in South Africa. Now, I know for a fact Stefan could barely even afford a nice meal at the Gotham Bar and Grill, let alone a holiday halfway across the world."
Atie shifted. She remembered when Damon had taken her to the Gotham Bar and Grill. He had always been good at spoiling his girlfriend, but not so good at anything else.
"I'm sorry, Damon, I haven't heard anything," she said. She felt bad. She didn't like Damon, but she had never had any bad feelings towards Stefan. If he really was in trouble, she felt for him, and wanted to help. "I'll text wewe if he contacts me."
Damon nodded, a little relieved. "Thanks. And hey," the smirk was back on his face, and Atie hated him again. "You look great."
Atie just rolled her eyes and walked off. She had no time for guys like Damon anymore.
"Ben, I've bought chinese for tonight and some vegetables because you've got to eat zaidi healthy food..." Rachel said, as she returned from the grocery store, opening the door with her own set of keys.
She had not planned on returning after Ben's friend had arrived, and yet, there he was, seating in the spot she previously held on the couch. His face was calm and if he had not turned around to look at her, she would not have guessed he even noticed that she was here.
"Rach, huh... This is my friend, Elliot, that I told wewe would be here. Elliot, this is Rachel."
"Yes. Hi." Rachel said, dropping the bags of chakula on the counter and extending her hand as she came close to the couch.
"Hi." He said, taking her hand with his and shaking it slightly. At that moment, Rachel felt a jolt of electricity coursing through her veins and abruptly let go of his hand.
"What are wewe guys doing?" Rachel said, suddenly feeling awkward under Elliot's focused gaze. Somehow he felt familiar, yet she was positive she had never met him.
"Nothing much. We'll probably play some muziki before heading out." Ben replied, oblivious to her uneasiness.
"Great. wewe play too?" Rachel asks unnerved, turning slightly towards Elliot.
"Piano mostly." There was something a bit disquieting in his gaze, how he seemed to look at someone with such intensity and yet, the way he talked was calm and detached.
"Cool." Rachel alisema lamely. Ben was not even paying attention to the conversation anymore, too busy trying to come up with a beat. "Well, if wewe guys are eating chajio, chakula cha jioni here, there's some chinese food."
"Yes, wewe alisema so."
"Okay, well... I'm going to my friend's birthday so, I'll leave wewe guys alone." She said, waving at Ben and Elliot as she headed for the door. "It was nice to meet you."
And at that she was gone. As she was running down the stairs, she wondered at how awkward their exchange had been. She hoped she did not make a fool of herself and yet, she wondered why she was caring this much. He probably would not even remember it tomorrow and besides, she was already late for Aline's birthday dinner.
Coming to Runway
was always impressive. Her friend, Nicolas Stark had been working there for over a mwaka as a fashion critic. While he hated to admit it, he was in his element there. People could be annoying - and he would be the first one to complain about that - but he loved fashion and this was his dream job.
As it were, Nic was typing quickly on the keyboard, not even aware of all the noise around him. Rana knocked on one of the open space walls, making him look up from his computer, still in deep thought.
"Rana, hey. What are wewe doing here?" Nic said, cracking a smile as he recognized his friend.
"We talked about it yesterday. Is this a bad time?"
"No, it's cool. I just have to finish this real quick. It's for fashion week..." Nic added, already rolling his eyes.
"Isn't fashion week months from now? Maria mentioned something..."
"Exactly. Everyone is either way too excited au over it. I'd be the latter."
Rana chuckled a bit at that. "Okay. Well, I'm going to drop kwa Maria's desk. Come kwa when you're done."
"Sure" Nic replied absentmindedly, already typing away at his keyboard.
Maria Potts, Nic's best friend and roommate was just a few open spaces over, carefully folding the different cover samples so her boss could review them later. He was still going back and forth over which one to choose.
"Who's that? " Rana asked, reaching Maria's desk.
Maria looked down at the cover in front of her. A tall man with a huge smile on his face was posing with a self-assured manner.
"Oh, that's Erik Jordan, prince of Wakanda. He was voted Royal Hottie of the decade."
"Ugh, he looks like a douche." Rana alisema making a face and closing the folder. "What's up?"
"This job is going to kill me sooner than later but wewe know, the usual."
"What about your auditions?"
"No luck there, I'm afraid." Maria alisema with a shrug.
She put on a brave face when talking about it with others, but she was disappointed about where her career was headed - if it was heading anywhere at all. Since she was a child, she had dreamed about Broadway and becoming an actress. She had even moved to New York with Nic at the end of high school so she would have a chance, but so far she had not had a single callback. To make rent, Nic had called in a few favors to get her this assistant job at the magazine, but ultimately, that is not what she had came to the city to do. Still, working with her best friend was enough for now.
Still, she did not want to talk about it, especially at her job. "How's your brother?"
"Hum... Frankly, I don't know. I'd hoped he would let me help him. Right now, he is at a friend's house. That's good for him... To socialize and spend time out of his apartment."
"That's good. I know wewe worry about him, but maybe he needs to deal with it at his own pace. He seems to make progress."
Rana sighed a bit at that. "Maybe. I worry it won't be enough, but I guess there's nothing left for me to do but wait."
Maria gave a sympathetic smile and gently stroke her friend's arm for support.
"Girls, if this is going to be a pity party, I'm not sure we should go out for drinks." Nic interjected, coming up behind Rana.
"Oh, shut up. wewe looove us." Rana, alisema turning around to see her friend.
Nic winced "Ugh, hardly. I just don't have any other Marafiki that's all."
"Can we please leave before my boss asks me to do extra hours again?" Maria hissed, bringing her voice to a whisper so no one other than her Marafiki would hear.
"Yeah sure, let's go." And at that, the three friends, left the building.
The restaurant they had chosen for the birthday venue was perfect. It was casual, it wasn't too crowded, and it was the perfect place for Aline to take her mind off things, at least for a little while.
"To Aline," Amber lifted her glass, causing the girl to look up at all her friends. She blushed a bit, not too fond of the attention. "To the most kickass, talented photographer I've ever met," she smirked. "Happy Birthday! We upendo you."
"Happy Birthday," Rachel ruffled Aline's hair, smiling. Aline turned to her, noticing that she, too, seemed a little absent-minded.
"Thanks," Aline said, taking a sip of her drink. "Don't really wanna think about being 25, though."
"Oh, I'm sure it's not all bad," Rachel chuckled softly. Her birthday was in the summer. "You've got a lot to celebrate, right? I heard the couple from today really liked the photos."
Aline hummed. "Yeah," she admitted, but her enthusiasm didn't quite reach her voice. "That's awesome."
Rachel didn't push for zaidi information. The two of them both knew when the good time to chat was, and when wewe just needed to be quiet. They both drank in silence for a few dakika until Rachel spoke up once more, speaking loudly enough for everyone at the meza, jedwali to hear.
"Should we give her the present?"
"Yes," Amber agreed, smirking. She dug her hand under the meza, jedwali and came back with a box wrapped up in gift wrapping paper. Aline was slightly taken aback. She loved her friends, but she hadn't expected a present.
"For me? Are wewe sure?" Aline asked in hesitation, but took the gift anyway thanks to the encouragement from her friends. She opened the wrappers and gasped at what she saw inside. It was a brand new Nikon camera, to replace the one she'd been using for years, the one that was already getting a bit worn.
"I can't believe this. These cost a fortune," she said, glancing between all of her friends. Still, she couldn't hide the smile that was growing on her face.
"We all pitched in, so it's fine," Rachel alisema with a smile. "Do wewe like it?"
Aline held the camera in her hands, thinking that perhaps this was the motivation she needed to really pursue her dreams. "I upendo it."
Steve was seating in his room, twirling the envelope in his hand. Whatever name was on there, it was not the one he wanted to see.
A knock on the door took him out of his thoughts. Looking up, he saw Bee entering the room. She had been, with Bucky, his closest friend at the Academy. Of course she would be there, making sure he was okay, while the others were probably celebrating.
"Hey. How are wewe doing?" She asked, a concerned look over her face.
"I don't know yet." Steve replied, lifting the envelop to onyesha her it was still unopened. "Who did wewe get?"
"That's good. He is a good agent."
"Yeah..." She nodded and sat inayofuata to him. "I wanted her to be there today too, wewe know."
Steve sighed, not wanting to talk au even think about all of it.
"But Steve, she made her decision. Tomorrow, we will officially be A.R.G.U.S. agents, if she stands on the other side of-"
"Stop it, Albie." Bee knew that when he used her full name instead of her nickname, she should not push him. "I know what my duty is, wewe don't need to remind me of that."
She nodded. "Are wewe ever going to open that envelop?"
"Might as well do it while you're here." Taking a deep breath, he opened it and quickly read its content. He did not have to read it out loud, he knew Bee was kusoma over his shoulder. He quickly closed the envelop. "That's good. She'll do a fine job."
"Yeah, Alanna is a good agent. You'll do great with her."
"It's ironic isn't it? I can already imagine what the others would say. Steve Rogers, going from the Black Widow to the White Widow... and I'm just so mad at her." Steven said, getting up and just pacing around the room.
"After Bucky, I thought that she..."
"I know." Bee stood up and hugged him tight, the big brother she had never had but found at the Academy. "We will be alright."
Steve sighed once again. He pulled her back and rested his hands on her shoulders. "Yes, we will Agent Carter.”
"Agent Rogers." Bee replied with a little salute, making them both laugh, the pressure of all these years at the Academy, finally fading away.
Aline was happy, everyone at the meza, jedwali seemed to be having a good time, laughing, debating. It almost made her forget her troubles. Her Marafiki had thrown this party to distract her and it had worked. Each and everyone had taken turns during the night to give a special toast about her, and as midnight grew closer, Rachel was the only one left to say anything.
It would only be fitting since it was technically not her birthday yet, only a few dakika left of being 24. Aline did not usually celebrate her birthday. January in New York was basically a month-long of snow, so all she wanted to do really was cozying up with some chai and blankets while watching old movies. But this year, Amber decreeted that 25 was to be celebrated and arranged this surprise party with Rachel. Everyone in Aline's life had turned out. Except Lena, of course. And Celine...
Aline had gotten mad at her for working at LuthorCorp but in the end, she knew it was a good opportunity for her friend. Celine had loved to be working there it seemed, but she had surprised her Marafiki and brother when she left town so abruptly. She was supposed to be working at some confidential location, but it had seemed odd to Aline as Celine was not the adventurous type.
"So, we're here tonight to celebrate Aline's birthday. I'm really not one for speeches, but I'll make an exception, this one time..."
Aline had been so Lost in her thoughts that she had not realized that Rachel had gotten up and clinked her glass.
"We both met at chuo kikuu, chuo kikuu cha in a creative uandishi class. We were lucky enough to be paired together for an assignment and we've been Marafiki ever since. While neither of us went on to become the inayofuata Nobel Prize in literature, it brought us together, so I consider it a success." At that, a few chuckles were heard.
"You could still win the Nobel Prize" Amber interjected. Knowing Amber's optimism, she was probably half-joking.
"Anyway, we only have a few sekunde to midnight, so I wish wewe a very happy birthday Aline, and may wewe have the best mwaka yet." Rachel finished her speech, as the last sekunde of January 12th ended.
Everyone erupted in cheer and got up to hug the birthday girl. Suddenly, it felt too hot inside the restaurant. As everyone was laughing and talking, all that Aline could hear was a buzzing sound, getting louder and louder. Amber rushed kwa her side and gave her a big hug, wishing her yet again a happy birthday, but Aline could not hear it. Her vision started to blur and her hands began to shake, until she collapsed unto the ground, unconscious.
Colin was waiting, listening to the people below him. This morning's case was sure to become a complicated one. He had questioned the neighbors, anyone who had come close to that house in the last 48 hours but nobody knew a thing, they only feared. Feared that they would be next, fear that the nightmare would never end. In New York City, fear was everywhere, Colin could not escape it. He was well acquainted with it kwa now, other people's fears, his own... A couple of years ago, while on duty, he got shot in the left arm. As he was bleeding out, he thought it was the end and felt a sense of relief. Ultimately, he had pulled through but ended up with a shattered arm. Fear was everywhere, all the time and he knew how crippling that was.
After that, he thought he would never work again. While he had regained most of the control of his arm, the tremors never went away - and yet, the precinct couldn't let him go. After all, he was the best profiler the NYPD has ever had. If only they knew why.
But even being a detective was not enough, too many criminals went free. For lack of proof, for lack of witnesses, for lack of victims sometimes... Abusive husbands, petty criminals, serial killers, Colin had vowed to put an end to all of them, one way au another. That is why he put on the mask. Without fail, he knew if someone was innocent au guilty and if he could not find proof, he would kick the shit out of everyone it took to get a confession that stuck.
Right now, the city was buzzing with traffic. People going home, people going out, going to bars, clubs... It was never quiet, so Colin could never rest.
A scream pierced the air a few meters down. The feel of fear and panic was overwhelming. He quickly leaped on the moto escape of the building he was on and headed for the alley where a woman was being mugged.
"I just wanted your bag, but wewe do look pretty..." The mugger said, approaching his victim again.
The woman screamed once zaidi and closed her eyes. A few moments later, she opened them to find the man gone, before hearing a loud crash at the end of the alley.
There, was a man in a black outfit and mask, fighting off her attacker. He was quick and alert, managing to block every blow. It was not long before the mugger was lying unconscious on the ground. The woman got up as the masked man came closer to her.
"Are wewe alright?"
"Yes-yes. Thank wewe so much for helping me. How can I repay you?" She said, clumsily trying to open up her bag.
"I don't want your money. wewe should head to the closest precinct and file a report. So, they can at least lock him up."
She digged for her phone in her mfuko wa fedha, mfuko and when she looked up again, the man was gone. Only her attacker remained as a proof of what had just happened. As she dialed 911, she wondered about this vigilante that had just saved her. After everything that had happened to Superman and Batman, she never thought she would see the siku where Heroes would save the people of this city again.
Weeks, she had waited weeks to get her assignment and still nothing. She did not like to be kept waiting. She had walked away from her friends, her city for this mission, were they testing her? She was ready, she always was. Even back at the Academy, she only had to be shown a songesha once and she always had been at the juu of her class. Ever since she was a kid, she fought and she was damn good at it. There was no logical reason why they wasted her talent like this. She felt trapped in that tiny apartment they got her. She understood why she had to be undercover, but she still felt like an animal in a cage. Perhaps, she was starting to get a bit of cabin, kibanda fever, au really it was because she knew what siku it was. Today was the siku they got their envelopes, their partners and soon, they would be out on the field. She had been looking mbele to this day, already knowing in her moyo who she would get, but that was long zamani and things were irremediably different now.
Pacing around, she wondered about him once again. How he could never understand why she had done what she did, why she left. How could he? He was so… steadfast, seeing things in black and white. She lived in a world of gray, and she knew things were not always what they seemed. So, she chose. She chose the greater good and now there was no going back.
A thin envelope was slipped under the door and holly rushed outside. But there was no one there, her hallway was empty as usual. Retreating inside, she locked the door and picked up the envelope who was still on the ground.
On it, there was only one word: ‘Dobrev’. In the organization there were no first names, no friendships, no contact. Only the mission. She liked that, how everything was focused on a single purpose, no pain, no distractions. She quickly opened it, eager to find out what her first mission would be. At last, it had arrived and she finally could prove herself.
Inside the envelope, there was just a picture. Of a woman… No, a mark that holly had to get rid of. But she knew this woman, she had prayed and prayed that it would be someone else, everyone else. But that was how she would prove herself to them. This was not about inaonyesha off how strong, how skilled a spy she was. This was about loyalty and she was determined to do what was right. If Albie Carter’s life was the price to pay, she was willing pay it - even if it meant losing him.
"It's alright miss. Deep breaths...." A man's voice alisema above her.
"Is she going to be okay?" A panicked voice asked, to the right.
Aline blinked a few times, regaining consciousness. She was still at the restaurant, laid down on the floor. There was a man she didn't know checking her pulse and looking at Amber who was standing kwa her side.
"She should be alright. She just passed out a bit, nothing to worry about." He smiled gently, looking down again at Aline, a worried look creeping up on his face. Whatever had happened, he did not want to panic her Marafiki even more.
"I don't understand, she barely had anything to drink..." Rachel said, as she stood behind Amber. Her panic was kept in check but still present in her voice.
"I don't think that has anything to do with alcohol." The man replied, lifting Aline a bit so she could sit down.
At that, it felt like all the air in her lungs got out and she started shivering, feeling cold.
"Co-cold." She managed to say. She still felt dizzy and she had trouble to focus her mind.
Rachel put her kanzu, koti around her, but still it felt too cold.
"Perhaps, it's best to take her back to her place." The man added, helping Aline to get back on her feet.
"I'll do it. We live in the same building." Amber volunteered, feeling a bit zaidi relieved than a few dakika ago. "Thank wewe so much..."
"Milo. Milo Pearson."
"Thank wewe Milo. I don't know what we would have done if wewe weren't there." Amber smiled a little. She was starting to feel zaidi relaxed already.
"No worries, I'm a nurse. It's literally my job to take care of people."
Amber turned her head to the other guests, who looked as worried as she was. "Rachel, do wewe mind taking care of the tab and making sure everyone gets home? We'll take Aline back to her apartment."
Rachel nodded. "You text me as soon as wewe get there."
"Of course." Amber said, leading Aline to the exit as Milo was already outside, hailing a cab.
When they reached their destination, they rushed her straight to kitanda and covered her tightly as she was still shivering but quickly falling asleep.
Quietly, Amber walked Milo to the door.
"Well, thank wewe so much for your help tonight. It was reassuring to have someone who knows what to do in this situation."
" No problem. Like I said, it's my job to take care of people."
"Still, wewe didn't have to go all this way... You're sure she'll be alright?"
"Yeah. She was probably overwhelmed, that's all."
"Maybe." Amber replied, not totally convinced. "I'm gonna stay with her tonight, to make sure she's alright."
"Well, if wewe want, I can leave wewe my number so wewe can call me anytime if you're worried. I mean... my cell number... The one I use for work I mean. Not that I wouldn't give my other number..." Milo stopped talking, blushing at how it sounded.
Amber smiled a little at this. "That'd be great, if wewe don't mind."
"I don't mind at all. Call me if anything comes up. Even if it seems insignificant."
After uandishi his number of a piece of paper and handing it to her, they just stayed quiet for a few moments, not knowing what to say to each other.
"Well, I better go check on her... Thank wewe again for your help, and this." Amber said, lifting the small paper in her hand.
"It’s nothing. Well, good night." Milo said, just standing there.
"Good night." Amber turned around, opened the door and slipped inside.
After she was gone, Milo stood in the corridor for a few moments, wishing he had not been so awkward with her. He usually had no problem with women, but ever since his powers had appeared, he had kept away from everyone. Perhaps, it would not be so bad to get close to someone again.
Inès Moone had been dreaming of finding the cave for years. She couldn't believe that it was finally happening. All those years, she had worked so hard on this mission, endured the teasing and sometimes cruel jokes of her male peers who thought less of her because she was a woman. And yet, it was thanks to her that they got so far in the research. She had been the one to decipher that ancient Greek text they had found, and that gave them the location of the cave. She hoped to find a ritual ground au the remains of some sea monster that had died centuries ago, and in a few dakika she would finally know. While her co-workers were too worried on securing the cave entrance, she went ahead, rushing mbele to the back chamber she knew would contain all the proof she needed to complete her study. The cave in itself, looked like a maze but Inès was not one to hesitate au wait in the back, afraid. She had always been adventurous, that is why she became an archeologist in the first place. Finding little pieces of history and analyzing them, proving her theories kwa science. It was a feeling that she sought her whole life. Even as a kid, she used to dig in the sandbox to find some treasure left behind. The world was just a bigger playground.
As she made her way into the maze, she realized that she seemed somewhat lost. She could not hear her co-workers anymore and her lamp flickered sporadically. She felt a light breeze on her bare arms so she knew she had to keep moving forward, but what if she never made it back? There was no way the guys would risk their lives to find her. Suddenly, it felt suddenly too quiet, as if someone had put an invisible box over her and she couldn't feel the wind on her skin anymore.
"Inès..." A voice whispered in the dark.
Inès turned around on the spot, shining a light on the ukuta behind her, but there was nothing. Her lamp was still flickering, seemingly going out. Cursing under her breath, Inès ran forward, hoping to find the chamber before running out of battery.
"Inès..." The darkness whispered again, its voice echoing in the walls as she ran. "Come to me." Inès stopped dead in her tracks. This time, the voice seemed to come from inside her head, almost clouding her own thoughts.
"Come to me and you'll be zaidi powerful than wewe could ever imagine."
Inès was short of breath, the voice’s presence in her head was crushing her from the inside. She could not breathe. She could not think. She could not move. And as quickly as her lamp died, the voice was gone and Inès felt once again herself.
Trembling, she looked in her backpack to find some matches and a makeshift torch so she could light her way. Doing so, she tried to reason her mind, that the voice was just a figment of her imagination and that she must have had hallucinations because of dehydration au the lack of oxygen in the cave. Finding her lighter, she wondered if she should keep going mbele au find her way back to the group. But curiosity got the best of her, it always had and besides, she could not be that far from the chamber she sought. She lighted her torch and kept on going. The walls all looked the same, there was no way to tell which way to go, and yet, she knew. Like she had been there before.
Once again, she felt a presence around her, pushing her to songesha forward. The voice from before came back but this time it was singing, a melody that reminded Inès of sorrow and death. But she was no longer afraid, the muziki soothed her, Enchanted her. She did not even look where she was going anymore, her body was moving kwa its own, taking her where she needed to go. Suddenly her foot tripped over a rock and she stumbled forward, falling head first, her torch going out when it hit the ground.
And yet, Inès could see perfectly as she got up. Around her was a circular room, full of strange runes engraved on the walls and they were glowing. They were providing the light that she needed to see. They were the remains of a language who had died long zamani and yet, seemed familiar to her. In the middle of the room, there was some sort of altar made of stone and on it, was a little coin with one of the runes engraved at its center.
Inès felt compelled to touch it, hold it in her palm and as she did so, the metal piece burned into her skin, engraving the rune into her flesh. Screaming in agony, she fell onto the ground as the runes in the walls started floating all around her and colliding to form an entity made of air.
Inès heard a strange scream, echoing in the cave, in her head, everywhere, before it entered her body. As the entity disappeared into her, the lights were gone and the cave started to tremble. The last thing Inès felt was fear as she collapsed into the ground, unconscious.