This is a new story in the same universe as Defiance, so if you have not read that series I suggest you take the time to as it will explain a lot of what is going on in this one. Divided is a four part mini series introducing a few new characters that will be crucial in the next series I am working on.
This story is already fully written and I will be releasing a chapter either every day or every other day depending on how it is recieved.
As usual let me know what you think in the comments section or through a private message and don't forget to rate it.
Chapter One: Divided
Eric Douglas pulled his hood over his head and crossed the dark silent street, a single yellow light hanging high above him. It was late at night, sometime past one and there was not a single soul out on the street besides him in that moment; and that’s honestly the way Eric preferred it. On his late night walks he wanted to be alone and anything that disturbed his peace was an unwelcome diversion he couldn’t abide.
On this night though there seemed to be something sinister in the air, an almost palpable feeling that he breathed in and out. He couldn’t explain the odd feeling growing in the pit of his stomach but he knew not to question it, his gut feelings were heightened beyond what normal people experienced. Something was going to happen tonight; something big.
Eric crossed yet another street, his legs strong and sure as they propelled him forward towards an alley across from him. Normally he would avoid such a dark and nasty looking alley but tonight he knew he had to venture into its depth. As he neared the entrance he pulled his ear buds out of his ears and stashed his iPod in his jacket pocket, knowing he would need all his senses for where he was going.
It was amazing how quiet the night was for being in a major metropolis where close to seventeen million people lived. Eric could hear if someone a mile away dropped their keys on the ground, it was that quiet. It was an almost eerie sort of feeling and Eric had overheard older people talking about just how strange it was. Anyone over twenty years old were used to something entirely different than what the world was now. A place filled with hurt, sorrow, robbery, murder and rape. But those days had long since passed, giving way to a peaceful existence no matter where you lived anymore. Well that was mostly true at least. You still had the odd crime that happened in the major population centers, but it was rarely anything too terrible. Take that night for example, there was about to be a robbery.
Eric had heard the man before he saw him step out from behind a dumpster, a short thin blade in his hand and a nasty smile on his face showcasing a row of yellow teeth. The stench wafting off the sudden intruder was enough to make you gag, a mix somewhere between alcohol, vomit, and urine. Eric ignored the stench though and instead focused on his attacker as he stepped forward, flipping the knife dangerously in his hand as if he was trying to intimidate the poor sod who had walked down the wrong alley that night. Eric wasn’t intimidated though, in fact he was enticed.
‘Gimme your wallet, phone, and any other shiny things you gots on you!’ the man demanded after stopping Eric in the middle of the alley. ‘Do it now before I gut you!’
‘You’re going to need a bigger knife than that,’ Eric said through a devilish smile.
The lack of fear Eric was showing this man was starting to shake his confidence and the knife began to shake in his hand as he took a tentative step forward, trying to keep his tough stature. He wasn’t doing a very good job of it though and Eric could almost taste the fear that was starting to seep from him, overpowering the strong smell of piss and booze.
‘Gimme it now or I swear I will kill you!’ the attacker demanded but was suddenly silenced by a fit of giggles overtaking Eric, who just stood there pointing at the man as he struggled to breathe through his laughter. ‘What’s so funny you little puke?’
‘You are!’ Eric barked roughly and suddenly all his laughter stopped, ‘You really picked the wrong guy to mug, you pitiful little shit!’
Insulting a man’s intelligence when he was holding a weapon was usually never a great idea, but Eric knew that and secretly he had been hoping for a confrontation. So he was happy when the disgusting man let out a guttural roar of rage, forgetting the extremely severe punishment for assault with a deadly weapon or attempted murder, and rushed the young man standing in front of him laughing in his face. Eric knew the man had made a stupid mistake though and instead of running, or even raising a hand to defend himself he stood his ground and let the blade strike him in the stomach.
Something was wrong though. He realized that the second the cold metal ripped through his coat and hoodie and touched his skin. White hot blinding pain shot through Eric’s body as the knife cut quickly through his skin and burst forward, warm blood erupting from the wound like a geyser. With adrenaline coursing through his body, Eric slammed his fist into the man’s stomach and sent him flying back into the dumpster ten feet away with a crash and then doubled over. He ripped the blade out of his stomach and tossed it away in disgust and fear as his blood started to pour out of the gaping hole.
‘H… how?’ he groaned and it was now the drunken man who was laughing, the awful cracked noise ripping through the narrow alley.
‘I knew that demon metal knife would come in handy someday,’ the man laughed as he picked himself up from the ground, doubled over from the attack though. ‘Cost me a fortune but it was so worth it! You have no idea how sick I am of you freaks flying around all the time, acting all high and mighty!’
‘You’ll pay for that!’ Eric spat but the man only laughed again and slowly walked towards him, reaching down and picking up the discarded knife covered in dark golden blood.
‘Doubt it. I’ll just slit your throat and be done with it while you are still trying to heal.’
Like the angel of death the man slid through the shadows and showed up behind Eric, the knife held tightly in his hand ready to land the killing blow. Eric had had enough of this bullshit though, this man had proven to be smarter than he appeared, or smelled, but it would be Eric who had the last laugh that night. He had only planned on knocking the guy out at first, but they were beyond that now.
‘I see a flaw in your plan.’
‘Oh yeah? What’s that you freak?’
‘I’ve already healed!’
In less than a second Eric spun around and grabbed the man by the throat and arm, squeezing so hard the knife clattered to the ground harmlessly. The bum’s eyes bulged in their sockets as Eric applied a little more pressure to his throat and a gagging sound hissed out of his nasty looking mouth; probably his attempt at trying to surrender. Eric didn’t care about that man’s life anymore. He could feel his blood pumping under his fingers and it was an intoxicating sense, knowing the raw power he had that would say if this man lived or died.
Eric could feel his powerful anger surging through his body and he made no attempt at quelling it anymore. This man had tried killing him and the law was clear. An eye for an eye. With no hesitation or qualms about what he was doing Eric closed his fist around the man’s neck and he felt the bone snap under his strength with a sickening crunch. In less than a second the man was dead, his body falling limp in his grip and his eyes rolling into the back of his head as his mouth gaped open.
‘You ugly piece of shit!’ Eric growled and tossed the body over the dumpster before disappearing into the night like he had never been there in the first place.
Max rolled over in bed and let his hand gently fall over the beautiful naked blonde sleeping next to him, her soft skin tickling his senses as he felt his heart start to beat faster. Memories of the night flashed through his mind and he smiled to himself in the rising sun at the great time he had had. Having the kind of powers he had sure were a chick magnet and he loved that fact. No matter where in the world he was, all he had to do was show off a little and he could literally hear the women’s panties dropping around him.
He could never understand why his family members never took advantage of their gifts like he did. They were just that, gifts so why not use them for a little fun? You never had to pay for a drink in your life, or make a reservation at the hottest restaurants. Just teleport right in front of the doorman and you were given your pick of the tables, most of the meals comp’d no matter how big of a bill you racked up. Why in the world would anyone want to hide their powers from the mortals when they didn’t have to?
Not satisfied with the tree times he had sampled his companion’s body the previous night, Max began to draw little circles with his finger on her back until she began to stir with a soft sigh. She rolled over onto her back exposing her juicy looking tits and gazing up at him with happy eyes.
‘Good morning,’ he smiled.
‘Yes it is,’ she said softly and returned his smile with one of her own. ‘I haven’t slept that great in years.’
Max chuckled at her comment, knowing that he had ridden her hard the night before and she had pretty much passed out instead of just falling asleep. A mental image of her screaming face rocketed through his mind and he began to slowly draw small circles around her erect pink nipples.
‘You cannot seriously be ready to go again,’ she scolded playfully and swatted away his hand.
‘You bet your tight little ass I am.’
Max launched himself at her, pressing his strong lips to her supple ones as he hungrily kissed her. His hand began to drift from her breasts, across her flat stomach and over her pelvis until his fingertips finally touch the little cleft between her legs that were quickly becoming heated. The girl squirmed under his touch though and broke the kiss, trying to push him off her as she groaned in a mixture of pain and desire at the same time.
‘I would love nothing more than having a repeat of last night, but honestly sweetie I am raw down there right now. That’s what happens I guess when you fuck an insatiable immortal.’
A pang of annoyance flickered through Max as his companion rebuffed his advances and for the briefest of seconds, the thought that he could take what he wanted from her if he wanted crossed his mind. The thought shocked him though and he quickly kicked it out of his mind and tried to force an understanding smile on his face as he shifted most of his body back onto his side of her bed.
‘Maybe a shower would cure that up for you,’ he suggested and she looked thoughtful for a moment. His idea of a quickie in the shower was quickly dashed though as he heard a familiar pop break the silence in the room announcing the arrival of an annoying little fly in his life.
In a flurry of motion and noise, the naked girl in the bed screamed in terror at the sudden interruption and pushed Max off her body fully, pulling the bedspread over her chest. Before Max could even turn to confront his little cousin the girl jumped out of bed and ran out of the room, slamming the bathroom door shut behind her a second later.
‘Really Erin? Have you ever heard of knocking?’ he groaned and flipped onto his back to spy his cousin. Erin was only a few months younger than he was but he always reminded her of that every chance he got. She stood maybe five feet two inches tall, in pumps and had the figure of an Olympic gymnast with short cinnamon blonde hair and dazzling green eyes that seemed to run in her family.
‘You’re late for the sparring session,’ Erin said softly and averted her gaze from his naked form laying out on display, ‘again.’
‘Oh who cares about the damn sparring session? How the hell did you find me anyways? I’m in London for Christ sakes!’
‘Finding you was easy, all I had to do was check the morning tabloids,’ Erin answered and began to move around the room and pick up random things to inspect. Erin had a very inquisitive mind and that’s what leant to her middle name, Catherine after one of the first immortals. Well Catherine wasn’t really an immortal but that’s a pretty long story on its own. ‘Your dad is expecting you though so I wouldn’t keep him waiting any longer.’
Sighing in defeat Max pulled himself out of the bed and shifted into a pair of loose fitting jeans and a sports shirt displaying his favourite team. A second later the girl he had been caught with opened up the bathroom door and slowly came out, eyeing Erin with a grimace as she passed by her.
‘Are you leaving already?’ the girl asked and Max nodded his head, ‘When will I see you again? Did you want to go catch a movie tomorrow night or something?’
Erin chuckled softly at that and only made it harder for Max with what he was about to do. He turned to the now fully clothed girl and grabbed one of her small hands in hers, smiling softly. ‘I’m actually pretty busy for the next few weeks, but maybe after that,’ he said to leave her a little hope, ‘I’ll call you sometime.’
His usual way of letting the girl down easy obviously wasn’t sitting well with this one and she fixed him with an incredulous look, her eyebrows raised and a grimace on her face. ‘What’s my name?’
‘Umm… Brittany?’ he answered with a total shot in the dark.
‘Not even close you bastard!’ she spat and Erin burst out into a full on fit of giggles. ‘Get the hell out of my flat!’
Max didn’t need to be told twice and in an instant he pulled together some of his power and teleported the hell out of there, the sound of his cousin’s laughter ringing in his ears. A moment later he dropped out of his personal vortex in the middle of large clearing surrounded on all sides by the thick untamed wilds of Northern Canada, the sound of metal hitting metal ringing through the air.
Erin popped up beside him a second later and her laughter instantly hit his ears again as she had yet been able to get a grip. Max ignored her and instead moved towards the center of the clearing where a group of his family were gathered, sharpening their combat skills through fake combat, their gleaming golden armour shining brightly in the late day sun.
His father Francis stood off to one side of the clearing, his arms crossed over his armour clad chest as he watched the fight before him with interest, often yelling out suggestions. The two people fighting were Michelle and Anna, with Anna holding a strong edge as she easily parried every blow against her with ease. When it came to fighting, there were only two people that couldn’t be beaten among the family, Anna and Gabriella. Max always thought it would be impressive to watch those two go at each other but they refused to fight one another for the simple fact that they were in love, which was kind of a bummer if you asked him. The others that had gathered for the training session were his cousins Alexander, Gabriella, Samantha, Richard, Michelle, Frank, Roger, Lauren, and his mother Lucy and his father Francis.
Max’s father looked over and saw that he was there and quickly called a halt to the sparring session, which Michelle seemed thankful for as she was huffing and puffing from the exertion. Max saw the stern look in his father’s eyes and slowly walked towards him, ready for the lecture that was sure to come. Where the hell were you? You don’t take your powers seriously! Do something productive with your life like the rest of your family! Max had heard it all before.
‘Where did you find him this time?’ he asked Erin instead when he noticed her soft giggling that she was still struggling to get under control.
‘With some floozy, in London! He didn’t even know her name!’ she burst out and his father turned on him with such an angry look that Max had to take a step back out of fear.
‘I so can’t wait to read the papers tomorrow morning!’ his cousin Alexander laughed from the group of immortals. Alexander was the youngest of the immortals at only sixteen years old, the son of Samantha and her mortal husband Thomas. While most of the time Max liked Alexander’s sense of humour, this was not one of those times as he was getting a furious stare from his mother now too.
‘You better hope we don’t get paired up today,’ Max growled and the wiry Alexander took a few steps back and towards his mother.
‘Maximus!’ his father barked and instantly grabbed the younger man’s attention, ‘Go stand on the edge and wait for your turn! I’ll decide who your partner will be today, and the mood I’m in right now it might just be Gabriella!’
The crowd gathered in the clearing snickered at his impending misfortune as Max walked to the edge of the clearing with his head hung in shame. He hoped to the gods that his father wouldn’t put him up against Gabby; it was the worst kind of punishment he could imagine. The two of them had sparred only once before and it had not ended well for Max. Gabriella was easily the strongest of all of them being that she was actually not like them. While she was an immortal she had been born from two before it was possible and through a set of circumstances that could never be repeated she had been blessed with greater strength, speed, and power than anyone else. The time they had fought Max had ended up being kicked into the Arctic Circle.
As he leaned up against a massive spruce tree Alexander found his way over to him and sat down roughly on the ground next to the tree, his loose armour clattering under the effort. ‘My dad won’t really put me up against Gabby will he?’ Max asked.
‘I think he might,’ Alexander mused solemnly, picking up a fallen branch and crushing it in his hand. ‘He seems pissed enough.’
‘Great,’ Max sighed and smashed his head into the tree he was leaning against, sending a shower of splinters flying in all directions.
The next two to fight were Michelle and Samantha, but Max didn’t pay attention to it. They were both really great people and fun to be around but over the years of peace they had come to almost detest combat, so their fights were less than stellar. Instead Max turned to his younger cousin and asked him what had been going on around there lately. He hadn’t exactly been around much the last month, preferring to gallivant from pub to pub around the world so he really didn’t know what the others were up to.
‘Well let’s see, my dad got a new job in Los Angeles, writing for some new show. Lauren is supposedly dating this new guy but she keeps denying it so no one really knows. Umm what else, oh right Janice’s oldest son just got accepted to Harvard so there’s this big party tonight I think,’ Alexander explained as he counted off each item on his fingers.
‘Where are Amy and James?’
‘On their second honeymoon on some planet on the edge of the universe, Gabby says they won’t be back for another month so your dad is in charge of things while they are gone.’
Max was so wrapped up in his own misfortune that he didn’t even notice that Sam and Michelle had finished their match, Sam managing to pull out a winning blow at the last second. According to Alexander there were only a few people left who hadn’t fought so Max’s turn was probably coming up next. The news got even worse when he was told that Gabriella hadn’t fought yet so she might very well be his opponent.
‘Max, get over here!’ his father called out through the clearing and Max did as he was instructed, but his arms and legs felt like lead. It almost felt like he was walking to his own execution, which in reality it could very well end up like that if he was fighting Gabby and for even a nanosecond she forgot to control her strength.
‘Go easy on me?’ he asked Gabby as he walked past her.
‘Don’t worry little Maxy,’ she smiled at him and suddenly her silver armour melted into a long silver dress instead, ‘I’m not your opponent.’
‘That doesn’t mean you get off easy,’ his father grumbled from his other side, ‘You’ll be sparring with Erin today.’
The ones that had been gathered in the center of the clearing moved towards the edges now, leaving behind one short girl clad in spiky golden armour and wielding a short golden sword and large golden shield. Her reddish blonde hair sparkled in the waning light of the day and there was a hard look on her face. She always took these sparring sessions seriously.
Max took a step closer to her and shifted into his golden armour and felt the weight of his golden bastard sword materialize in his hand, spinning it around a few times for effect. This was actually going to be the first time they fought and Max was a little nervous. Normally they stuck to genders when sparring so most of the time Max was paired up against Richard or one of the others, so he didn’t know much about his new opponents fighting style. He knew she was strong though, that much was a given. Being Gabby’s younger sister she came from the same lineage as she did and as such was endowed with more power than the usual immortal. Her father James was one of the first immortals ever created and his power ran much deeper than anyone else, so Erin was born with a touch of that same power in her veins.
‘I won’t go easy on you,’ he told her and her only reply was smiling at him sweetly, her sword twisting through the air.
They circled each other in the middle of the clearing, neither one of them making the first move. Max wanted to see what she would come at him with but it seemed she was waiting for the same thing. Back and forth they moved, closing the space before jumping back at the last second and returning to their circling.
‘We’re not getting any younger here!’ Alexander called out loudly from the edge of the clearing and a few people laughed.
‘We’re not exactly getting any older though,’ Michelle giggled and now everyone was laughing. Everyone except Max and Erin that was.
Max had had enough of just walking around in circles, and against his better judgement he rushed in and brought his sword down on Erin with all the strength he had in him. She had anticipated his lack of patience though and quickly brought her shield up to intercept the strike, the clang of metal ringing off metal shattering through the quiet air. She shook his attack off and slashed out with her own smaller blade, cutting it through the air towards his chest so fast that Max barely had a chance to dive out of the way, tucking into a roll and leaping high into the air to create as much distance from her as he could.
He landed softly on the ground near the far edge of the clearing and immediately turned to see what had become of his opponent, only to find that she was nowhere to be seen. The spot she had been standing on was empty and once he did a full scan of the entire area he realized she had totally disappeared. Out of the corner of his eye he caught sight of Alexander trying to help him out, pointing to the sky repeatedly like he was having some kind of seizure. Max got the message though; Erin was above him.
He quickly dived out of the way at the last minute as Erin crashed down on him from above, a wave of dust and chunks of earth erupting out from the epicenter and sending him flying. He barely managed to get to his feet in time to block a follow up attack with the blade of his sword, a shower of sparks flying into the air.
‘Do that again Alex and I’ll go after you next!’ she barked out as Max fought with all his strength to hold her blade off.
‘Not a bad idea,’ Max’s father laughed and suddenly Alexander was flying through the air towards them, having just been pushed in by Francis. ‘Think you can handle two on one Erin?’
‘Let’s find out!’ she smiled and brought her shield up into Max’s chest hard enough to send him staggering back a few feet.
With Alexander in the fight now things were a little more even, but with her shield Erin still held a slim edge and was able to fight off all their attacks with ease. Max and Alexander didn’t exactly work well as a team, but what they lacked in form they made up for in eagerness and the pace of the fight skyrocketed as blows were exchanged with lightning quick reflexes. Erin was just too good though and every shot Max got at ending the fight were quickly swatted away before they even got close.
Erin seemed to be getting sick of the stalemate too because she soon focused on the weaker of the fighters facing her, Alexander, and came at him hard. Max tried to get in the way but her insane speed was just too much for the younger fighter to handle and he was soon kicked hard in the chest and sent flying through the clearing before smashing into a few trees somewhere in the distance. With one threat gone Erin quickly turned her attention back to Max who now found himself alone and overwhelmed.
He fought valiantly to keep her blade away from his chest but it was her shield that did most of the damage, smashing into his face countless times as he focused solely on her blade. He quickly made a mistake though trying to avoid the shield and found a dazzling sword slashing at his face as time seemed to slow down around him. He knew it was over, and what was worse Erin knew it was over, but at last second she slowed her attack and Max saw a brilliant opportunity. Showing no remorse he drove the hilt of his sword directly into his cousin’s abdomen with so much force the golden armour cracked under the pressure and she staggered back a few feet in shock.
Erin’s eyes were wide with shock as she stared at Max and her lips trembled a bit, making it look like she was about to cry like she did when they were children and he had been mean to her. A moment later she teleported away in a huff leaving Max standing there alone, his smug smirk fading from his face. The field was suddenly full of people as everyone teleported back to the center, a few of them eyeing Max like he was some spoiled brat who had just gotten his way.
‘What? What did I do?’ he asked bewildered and Anna shook her head sadly.
‘He doesn’t get it does he?’ Gabby asked Anna with a sad smile on her face.
‘Of course he doesn’t, he has a thick skull. Don’t you Maxy?’ Anna smiled and messed up his hair. Max ignored their comments and made his way through the crowd to find Alexander standing beside his mother, clutching the spot he had been hit at with his hands and a few tears of pain streaking his cheeks.
‘You okay?’ he asked him and Alexander nodded quickly before wiping his tears away.
‘Sorry about leaving you alone like that,’ he apologized, ‘but damn can Erin kick hard!’
‘Don’t worry about it man.’
‘You did great sweetie,’ Alexander’s mother, Samantha said and gave him a big hug that squeezed fresh tears from the youngsters face.
‘Aww jeez mom! You’re crushing me!’ Alexander cried out and his mother quickly let go of him.
Anna and Gabriella moved towards Max’s father and asked, ‘Are you still coming to the party tonight?’
‘You betcha, just tell Janice I will be there in a few minutes okay. I’d like to talk to my son for a second, alone.’
Even though Francis was only second in command, the others took his word as they would if it had been James speaking to them directly, so as one they all teleported out of the clearing leaving Max there alone with his father. He was suddenly feeling silly standing there in his armour with his sword clutched tightly in his hand so he quickly shifted back to his normal clothes and sent his sword away to wherever it was those damn things went.
‘Here comes the lecture,’ Max said under his breath, momentarily forgetting his father’s super hearing.
‘You’re damn right there’s going to be a lecture Max! You show up an hour late still smelling of beer and whatever cheap perfume the girl you picked up was wearing! When are you going to start taking things seriously? You were born with these magnificent powers not so you can pick up strange women all over the world, but so you can protect it from whoever or whatever wants to bring harm to humans! You need to take a long hard look in the mirror and decide what you want to do with your life because I am fed up with your shit! Do you understand me?’
‘Yes, dad,’ Max sighed and gave his automatic and usual response, looking at his designer shoes rather than his father’s face.
‘Good! Now go and find your cousin and apologise to her.’
‘Wait why do I have to apologise to her for winning?’
‘Think again Max, you weren’t even close to winning that.’ His father explained and a confused look melted over Max’s face. ‘She had the killing blow before you did but she held back so you wouldn’t get hurt. So go find her and tell her that you’re sorry for getting a cheap shot on her and then go home. You’re grounded for a week.’
‘What?’ Max exclaimed and stared his father dead in the eyes, ‘You can’t ground me! I’m not a child!’
‘Then stop acting like one! Now get going before I make it two weeks!’
It wasn’t very hard finding Erin as the only place Max had to check was the usual spot she went when she was upset, a little hidden cove in South America. It was surrounded on one side by dense and very lush jungle while on the other side the vast blue ocean reached out towards the horizon, dotted by a few small uninhabited islands. Max and Erin had found this place when they were children, an accidental jump through space that sent them crashing down into this little piece of heaven. Over the years it had become a nice little hide away for them when they wanted to get away from their parents, and Max knew this would be the one and only place she would be at now.
Erin sat on a small boulder on the sandy beach, facing out towards the dark ocean and gazing up at a crescent moon that hovered high above their little cove. Even though she had most likely heard Max appear she didn’t move or even look back to acknowledge him. So he really had hurt her feelings it seemed.
‘Erin?’ he called out softly but received no answer. He slowly made his way through the silky white sand towards her and placed a gentle hand on her shoulder, hoping to the gods that she wouldn’t punch him into next month. Thankfully she made no move to attack him so he moved around to in front of her and knelt down, looking out over the ocean just like she was.
They sat there in silence for the longest time, just admiring the beauty of their little spot and Max was almost too afraid to say anything. He knew they both treasured the peace and tranquility this place offered and he hated to be the one to break it, but the churning in his gut was straining to be released and he had to make up for what he had done earlier.
‘I’m sorry Erin, for being a dick and hitting you like that. You won the fight and I guess I just didn’t want to admit it.’
Still Erin refused to speak as she sat there, a warm and sweet breeze flittering in and tossing her short hair about. Her eyes were still glued on the pristine white moon above them and for a moment Max was almost tempted to reach into her mind and see what she was thinking about. He hated when she was quiet like this because it usually meant she was really upset. He just wanted to make everything between them okay again.
‘Can you say something please?’ he demanded loudly as his frustration got the better of him. Max had never been great at controlling his emotions and it was only compounded worse by the fact that they were extremely heightened by his immortal blood.
‘There’s a spider crawling up your leg,’ she answered a moment later and instantly Max began to feel his skin crawl at the very thought of something like that happening. Looking down at his legs he saw that there was indeed a very large, very hairy, and very angry spider crawling up the leg of his pants and he quickly kicked it into the ocean while he freaked out like a little girl.
‘Thanks,’ he said gratefully and then began to look in every nook and cranny he could for signs of anymore of those eight legged little bastards that might be trying to sneak up on him.
‘I guess that spider didn’t want you here either,’ Erin said whispered and shifted softly in her seat, ‘before you came he was pretty docile.’
‘I already said I was sorry Erin. I don’t know what else I can do to make it up to you!’
‘You can’t make it up to me in a single night,’ his cousin explained and turned to fix him with her sad green eyes. ‘Maybe if you stuck around longer than a few hours a month you could eventually make it better.’
‘That shouldn’t be hard,’ Max grumbled and plopped himself down on the sand beside Erin, ‘I’m grounded for a week thanks to my dad.’
Erin seemed thoughtful for a minute and then said, ‘That’s a start I guess.’
Max couldn’t help but laugh and soon Erin joined him with her infectious giggles, dragging them both down until neither of them could breathe anymore. Even though Max was told to go home once he said he was sorry to Erin he stayed on that beach with her for a few more hours as they both watched the moon rise even higher above them. He figured his father wouldn’t mind in the long wrong, he was still apologising to her after all just by being with her. That coupled with the fact that both his parents were at Janice’s house for that party, he didn’t think they would miss him at all.
Once both of them had had their fill of their little oasis they decided to head home and call it a night. They both lived in the same sleepy little town in Northern Canada, a few houses down from each other actually, so they teleported to the same spot on the street and then said goodnight before heading their separate ways.
It was a pretty boring night by Max’s standards and he fell asleep on the couch in the living room, watching some stupid movie about zombies and vampires that made no sense at all. When he finally woke up he could hear both his parents in the kitchen discussing something in hushed tones over a cup of early morning coffee. Soft grey light wafted in from the living room window telling Max that it was overcast today, probably threatening to rain. Normally this wouldn’t bother him because he could just teleport somewhere nicer, like Australia or California, but since he was grounded he was doomed to a rainy day.
‘Should we call James and Amy back?’ he heard his mother whisper from the kitchen. Her voice was a little strained and Max began to wonder what was going on that made her so nervous; she was the most calm and collected person he knew.
‘No let them have their fun. With two kids living at home with them they don’t get a chance very often to cut loose and let off a little pent up energy together. Besides, I think we can handle this on our own and the UN has given me the go ahead to open up a full investigation.’
Max entered the kitchen to find both his parents sitting at the table with a cup of coffee in their hands and suited up in their full armour, weapon and all. The only time he had seen the Immortals in their armour like this was during their practice sessions out in the woods so he immediately realized something big was going down.
‘What’s going on?’ he asked as he hovered by the door, not sure whether or not he should enter the room fully. Most of the time any of the older Immortals were discussing something pertaining to world security he was ushered out of the room saying it didn’t concern him.
‘It seems something is developing in Iran,’ his father told him and motioned for him to take a seat. Max didn’t need to be offered twice and he rushed to the chair across from his dad, an excited smile on his face as he thought he was finally going to be able to do something with the rest of them. He had dreamed many times of going out on some super-secret mission that involved saving the world and it looked like it was finally about to happen.
‘We have to go away for a while,’ his mother said gently and placed her soft hand over his as his heart began to sink as quickly as it had inflated.
‘You are still grounded so I expect you to stay in this house. You’ll also be watching over Alexander while we are gone so try to behave yourself okay?’ his father lectured.
‘Wait, all of you guys are going? Something really big is going on isn’t it?’
His father looked at his mother thoughtfully for a minute but then thought better of saying whatever had been on his tongue. ‘Not everyone. Gabriella and Anna are checking into something else right now but once they are done with that they will be coming to link up with us in Iran. Erin is staying behind as well so I’ve asked her to check up on you every once in a while to make sure you aren’t leaving the house. If I hear you have left the house the consequences will be big, do you understand?’
‘Yes dad, I understand,’ Max groaned and slammed his head into the wooden table with a loud thud. Why was he never allowed to go on the damn missions? He was one of the best sword fighters they had and it wasn’t like he was some kid anymore.
Both his parents continued to tell him things, most likely things he shouldn’t do while they are away but Max paid them no attention. He was too upset to listen to them and all he wanted to do in that moment was teleport away, maybe for good. He knew that wasn’t a good idea though, Alexander was supposed to be staying with him while their parents were away and Samantha would flay him alive if she found out that Max had just left her son alone the entire time. Not to mention Erin would be even more pissed at him than she already was.
Before he even realized it his parents were gone and a few minutes later Alexander popped into the living room with an overnight bag slung over his shoulder and a big goofy grin on his face. To him this was just an excuse to have some fun with no parents around, but Max hated playing babysitter like that. Why couldn’t Erin watch over him? She was easily the best candidate for the job by far, so why was Max stuck with the detail instead?
There wasn’t really much to do in the house so they sat down on the couch and threw on a movie, some action flick with about a million more explosions than was really necessary. That’s what happens though when you give the director a budget of fifty million dollars and he only spends half of it on production, what’s left over is spent on CG that isn’t needed. Alexander seemed to enjoy it though so that was a bonus.
With Alexander being half immortal he still had human needs, like sleeping and eating so Max ordered in a pizza for lunch for him to munch on. Max would never understand how Alexander could stand being half immortal, his powers weren’t as strong as the others, he tired easily, and he couldn’t even summon a suit of armour or weapon into existence just by thinking about it. It really had to suck to be him, especially since he was the first of his kind. While the Immortals knew it was possible to have a child with mortals none of them had really done it before Samantha fell in love with a writer. No one really knew what to expect when it came to Alexander and Max remembered his father telling him when Alexander was young, that he would either be a normal human boy, half of what the Immortals were, or something else entirely. It seemed the second option is what happened though.
It was early afternoon when Erin made her first appearance, knocking on the front door instead of barging in on him like she used to do when they were little. That had promptly stopped when she caught him having sex with one of her high school friends a few years back and it was decided that it would be better for both of them if they acted like normal humans when going over to each other’s place. Max actually hadn’t minded at the time but Erin had been so pissed at both him and her friend that she ended up throwing his bed though the wall and far into the forest where no one had been able to find it.
‘Welcome to the party!’ Alexander said brightly and patted the seat next to him, inviting Erin to sit down and watch a movie with them.
‘If this is a party then it’s the worst one I have ever been to,’ Max grumbled and Alexander punched him hard on the shoulder. ‘Anyways there’s some pizza if you want it. It’s probably gone cold by now though.’
Erin walked over to the coffee table in front of them and lifted the pizza box up, peering inside with a coy smile snaking across her face. She reached in and grabbed three slices before dropping the box back where it had been before, and then sat in the recliner on Max’s left side instead of where Alexander had offered.
‘I love cold pizza,’ she smiled happily and then devoured the slices she held like a hungry dog. In a matter of seconds she had finished the pizza off completely and sat back in the recliner sighing with a grin on her face. ‘So is this all you guys are going to do today? Sit on the couch and watch movies?’
‘I’m grounded, remember?’
Erin looked around the living room for a few minutes, eyeing everything carefully as she tried to locate something more interesting too do, but was quickly forced to concede that there was nothing better than what they were currently doing. So she leaned further back in her chair and pulled the lever that kicked out the foot rest, folding her hands on her stomach and focusing intently on the screen.
They watched the movie in silence for half an hour before there were two loud pops from the kitchen and Gabby and Anna walked in, dressed in their full battle regalia and grim looks on their faces. Max grabbed the remote and quickly paused the movie as they moved into the living room and looked towards Erin who had stood up from her chair now.
‘We need you to do something for us Erin,’ Gabby said quickly, ‘The Iranians are giving us some problems so Francis needs us to head over there and help out right now.’
‘What do you need me to do?’ Erin asked curiously and Max began to feel insanely jealous. Even someone who was younger than him was about to get to go on a mission while he was stuck babysitting Alexander.
‘Someone was killed last night in Chicago and there was a demon blade on the scene,’ Anna explained quickly, ‘We just need someone down there in case the police need any help. All you’d have to do is sit in the police station and if anyone tells you anything let one of us know immediately. Think you can handle it?’
A wide grin broke across Erin’s face and she nodded enthusiastically at the chance to do some real work. She had been looking forward to getting out in the world and upholding the peace as much as Max had so she was more than thrilled to be given this job; even if it was just sitting around waiting for something to happen. ‘You can count on me!’ she beamed and a moment later her sisters teleported away.
‘No fair!’ Max exclaimed and tossed the remote to the Blu-ray player across the room where it smashed against a wall, exploding into a million pieces. ‘Why do you get a mission? I’m older than you!’
‘Only in age,’ Erin laughed and Alexander chimed in on the fun as well. ‘I should probably get going though. You two have fun with your movies.’
Max jumped up from where he was sitting on the couch and grabbed Erin’s leg as she turned towards the door, effectively stopping her from leaving. Of course she probably could have just teleported away but instead she looked down at him with a curious expression on her face, intrigued as to what he was doing. All Max thought he was doing was losing whatever dignity he had left in her eyes.
‘Let me go with you! You’ll need me there!’ he pleaded and she began to laugh at him again.
‘I need you there to help me sit in a chair?’ she mused through her giggles and Max could see the flaw in his argument.
‘Please? I’ll do whatever you want if you take me with you!’
‘What about you being grounded?’ she asked but Max already had an answer ready for that question.
‘No one has to know. What if something happens and you need backup out there, and the rest of the family is preoccupied with something else? Better to play it smart isn’t it?’
‘And what about Alexander? You can’t just leave him here alone.’
Suddenly Alexander was grabbing Erin by the other leg and looking up at her with big puppy dog eyes that could melt the heart of a demon with their cuteness. ‘I can go too!’ he exclaimed, laying it on a little thick. ‘Besides my mom keeps saying that I need to see what they do first hand so I can be ready when I get old enough.’
‘Fine!’ Erin yelled but there was a hint of a smile at the edges of her lips, ‘Just stop whining you big babies!’
Both Max and Alexander leapt up from the ground immediately, Alexander rushing to his large overnight bag and pulling out his armour and short sword while Max was so overcome by joy he pulled his cousin into a big hug that lasted a lot longer than he had intended. It wasn’t entirely bad though, the soft smell of her conditioner mixed with the heat of her body made the hug pretty pleasant.
Only a few minutes later the three of them were standing in the center of a very crowded and noisy police station, men and women in uniforms running back and forth as the flash of camera’s dazzled Max momentarily. He hadn’t been expecting the media to be there and even though he had been hounded by them his entire life and gotten use to their presence, he should have realized they would be there for a murder. His picture was sure to be plastered on the front of every newspaper in the world come the next day and there would be no hiding from his father then.
Max pushed those thoughts away though as a man in a police uniform quickly rushed over to them, his face red from running back and forth and his breath coming in quick, short jabs. He welcomed them and then ushered them out of the main bullpen and towards the back of the office where they could have some peace away from the press, which they were all grateful for. They were offered cold coffee and stale pastries that only Alexander accepted and then told that someone would be with them soon to explain the situation.
‘This is so awesome!’ Alexander exclaimed, wiping some frosting off his hands and onto his loose fitting armour. His armour had been purposely made larger than he was so he could grow into it, but Max doubted he would ever be big enough to fit it properly. He was short and thin and his armour hung off him like a curtain, making him look almost like a cartoon character at times when he was running around.
‘Someone died, Alexander,’ Erin chided coldly and the smile on the youngsters face quickly drooped.
They sat there in silence for a few minutes before the station captain came to great them. He was a big rotund man with more hair in his ears than on his head and the burst blood vessels on his nose hinted at a bit of an alcohol problem. To top it all off he reeked of stale sweat and coffee, but Max held his breath and shook the man’s hand anyways, not wanting to appear like a snob.
‘Gabriella told us to expect some replacements,’ he said and his voice was rough, ‘I didn’t imagine you three though. No offence. I mean don’t get me wrong, I’m honoured to meet all of you but I was expecting someone more capable. We’re dealing with some weird crap right now.’
‘No offence taken, sir,’ Erin said with a smile. Max had to hand it to her, even though this man was openly insulting them she was able to brush it off and keep a smile on her face the whole time. Maybe she was closer to joining the rest of the family than he was. That thought pissed him off a little. ‘We understand someone was killed last night.’
‘Yes ma’am,’ the captain said and rubbed the large bald spot on his head, wiping away a fair amount of sweat in the process. ‘We found the body early this morning and immediately realized something was different. The man had his neck squeezed so hard it was pulverized in four different places and a demon metal knife was found not far from him.’
Max felt Alexander visibly shudder next to him and couldn’t blame the kid; what a way to go. Only question was who in the world could do such a thing and why had there been a demon blade so close by?
‘Do you have any suspects yet?’ Erin asked and the man’s face suddenly paled as the question left her lips.
‘We didn’t until a few minutes before you all arrived,’ he said slowly and it was easy to see something was scaring the man, ‘but some kid came in off the streets and confessed to the murder.’
‘Well that’s good news than isn’t it?’ Max asked and he felt a little let down that they had come all the way there for nothing. Looks like he was about to be back on his couch watching more movies for the rest of the day.
‘Not exactly. You see, first of all this kid scares the hell out of me and I can’t figure out why. But more importantly he says he wants to talk to one of your kind. He claims to be an Immortal.’
‘He says he’s an Immortal?’ Erin asked in disbelief, shaking her head from side to side slowly. ‘That’s not possible. There are only four children from the Immortals and you have seen all of them today.’
‘Look ma’am, I’m just telling you what he told me. If he’s telling the truth than as far as I am concerned this is an internal matter for you guys and I would like him out of my office by the end of the day. There’s something not right about this kid. He’s waiting for you in Interview Room One. Good luck.’
The captain seemed thoroughly freaked out and left immediately after relaying the information, leaving the three Immortals there alone. All of them were stunned into silence at what they had been just told; there was no way this kid was telling the truth. It was impossible. Erin was right, the only Immortal children were Gabby, Erin, Alexander, and him, and if one of the others had had one they would know about it. It wasn’t exactly something you could hide and why would they want to?
‘We should contact your dad,’ Erin suggested but Max shook his head.
‘This guy is lying; he can’t be one of us. Let’s just go in there and get the truth out of him.’
‘Max we can’t! Anna said I was supposed to tell them if something came up, and I’m pretty sure this fits under that category!’
‘She’s right Max,’ Alexander said gently, ‘What if this guy is one of us and he isn’t exactly friendly. He did kill someone you know.’
‘If he was one of us we would know about him, and we don’t so that proves he is just lying. We don’t need parents here for this. Come on, it will be quick,’ Max prodded and without even waiting for them he walked off in the direction the police chief pointed them in.
He hadn’t even made it four steps when he heard his cousins start to follow him, Alexander’s armour clanking loudly down the hallway. Max found the room he was looking for and quickly opened the door and walked in, finding a strong looking man around his age sitting in a cold metal chair on the opposite side of a black desk. There was a single long florescent light on the ceiling filling the room with harsh yellow light, the power humming through it noisily.
Erin and Alexander entered the room a minute later and closed the door behind them, eying the man in the room curiously. He had the good looks of an Immortal but only darker. Max couldn’t put his finger on it but he was beginning to see why this guy had unsettled the captain, there was a strange aura hanging around him. It almost felt foreboding and Max could feel the hair on his arms stand on end.
‘We were told you wanted to see us,’ he said and took the only available seat across from him.
The man, who hadn’t looked up when they had entered the room, finally turned his gaze towards Max, his cold black eyes catching hold of him like a harpoon. A small crooked smile crossed over his face and he began to chuckle softly to himself at this new development. ‘When I said I wanted to see one of you I didn’t mean the pretty playboy who’s in the tabloids every day.’
‘Well that’s who you got,’ Max replied coldly and he instantly didn’t like this idiot. Not only was he beyond creepy but he was an asshole to boot. ‘Now what did you want to see us for?’
‘Who’s your father?’ the man asked.
‘That’s kind of a weird question, buddy,’ Alexander said aloud and Max couldn’t help but agree. This guy had just admitted to killing some guy but here he was asking him who his father was. Whatever pills he was on, his doctors needed to up the dosage in a big way.
‘Who is your father?’ he repeated.
‘Francis,’ Max found himself answering and the man nodded knowingly.
‘Interesting,’ he sighed and leaned back in his uncomfortable chair, stretching his arms out behind him. ‘It must be nice to know who your father is. I wish I could say the same but I never met mine. He got my mom pregnant and then just disappeared.’
‘Yeah well mortals can be like that,’ Max said but once again this guy began to laugh to himself.
‘My father wasn’t a mortal!’ the man suddenly bellowed and fixed Max with a furious glare that sent a shiver down his spine.
‘I don’t suppose you have any proof of that fact, do you?’ Max asked. He could hear Erin shift nervously behind him but he ignored her staring daggers into the back of his skull and instead focused on the task at hand. Sure this kid was creepy as hell but he still hadn’t shown them anything to prove that he was telling the truth. As far as Max was concerned this was just some idiot looking for his five minutes of fame by claiming he was one of them. ‘What’s your name anyways?’
‘Eric,’ he answered through clenched teeth.
‘Okay listen up Eric, I don’t know what your deal is and frankly I don’t really care. You asked to see us and you have, and as far as we are concerned there is nothing special about you; besides your lack of medication. I don’t know if you committed the murder you said you did but the police will find out. So I think we will be leaving now.’
Max stood up out of his chair and turned back to the door to find Erin glaring at him angrily. She opened her mouth to say something but suddenly her eyes shifted off him to where the Eric was sitting behind him, her mouth gaping open a bit. Alexander was wearing a similar expression now and had even gripped his sword tighter and held it up, ready for an attack. Confused by this, Max turned around to find Eric standing up, his hands clenched into tight balls and power wafting off him in waves.
‘I see how it is,’ he growled and his power doubled as his anger built, ‘you come in here acting like bastards, shitting all over the little guy! I’m not some mortal you can sweep under the rug!’
‘Calm down Eric!’ Erin called out but she herself had summoned her shield and sword, holding them in front of her defensively.
Max could feel his own anger start to bubble up in his chest and he was quickly losing control of the situation. His massive bastard sword appeared in his hand and he summoned his own power, using it to push Eric’s back. ‘Enough of this! I don’t know who or what you are but I will kick your ass!’ he screamed and rushed at the guy with all the speed he had available.
Before he even realized it, Eric had ducked under his sword and thrust his fist into his face so hard that Max blacked out. He came to a moment later, buried in a pile of rubble back in the main bullpen as police officers were scattering around him, yelling and brandishing their firearms as all hell broke loose around them. A second later Erin suddenly landed beside him, a nasty bruise forming on her cheek from where she had been hit and her eyes swimming as she had literally been knocked senseless for a few seconds.
Max was on his feet a heartbeat later and running back to the interview room, his sword appearing back in his hand as he went. He burst through the shattered wall a second before Eric kicked Alexander in the stomach, sending the poor kid through the wall and into the traffic down below. A moment later a hail of gunfire shattered the silence and hundreds of bullets struck Eric where he stood, but they just ricocheted off him like it was nothing at all. Realizing things were worse than he could possibly imagine, Max rushed him and brought his sword down on the guy’s skull only to find he wasn’t there at the last moment.
Something hard struck him in the back of the knee and he fell to the ground, his sword digging into the cement to steady himself. Another blow smashed into the back of his head a second later and for the second time Max found his eyes rolling backwards as pain exploded through his body. Laying there on the ground Max was vaguely aware of what was going on around him. He could hear the building being ripped apart forcefully, police shooting at will now, and his cousins screaming in pain. He was unable to do anything about it though as he struggled to remain conscious.
What felt like an eternity later Max was finally able to get back to his feet, and it had been in the nick of time. Out in the now demolished bullpen he saw Eric standing among a dozen unmoving bodies holding Alexander by the throat, his feet kicking in mid-air as his eyes started to bulge in their sockets. Erin was slumped up against a half destroyed wall, golden blood trickling out of her open mouth and a vicious looking cut on her cheek that was slow to heal.
Max knew he had to act fast if she was going to save Alexander’s life, so he gathered his power around him like a blanket and jumped through the short space between them, appearing the next instant later behind Eric. Without waiting for Eric to realize he was there he drove his sword hilt deep into the man’s shoulder, thick golden-ish blood pouring out. Eric let out a guttural roar and dropped Alexander like a sack of bricks, turning on Max and punching him hard in the face.
Max could feel his nose snap under the attack and a moment later his head smashed into a cement wall behind him. His vision turned blurry around the edges and he could feel blood pouring out of his shattered nose as he tried to get back to his feet, finding it difficult to gather his strength. He could see Eric pulling the long sword out of his shoulder and a second later he dropped it onto the rubble strewn ground with a loud clatter, his dark blood pooling around him. Max wanted to rush the man again but he just didn’t have it in him, but thankfully he didn’t have to worry about it. After a quick survey of the destruction around him, clutching his torn up shoulder in his hand Eric disappeared into thin air with a loud pop.
Feeling a little woozy Max crawled on his hands over to where Alexander lay on the ground, checking to see if his friend was still alive. He was breathing but he was out cold, so he quickly moved back to Erin and brushed the hair out of her face. The nasty cut on her cheek was finally starting to heal but it would take a few more minutes for it to be completely gone. Max sighed in relief though; they had gotten very lucky.
Erin opened her eyes a moment later and looked up at him, a gentle smile pulling on her lips as she struggled to remain awake. ‘Next time,’ she coughed, ‘we do it my way!’
‘WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU TWO?’ Max’s father bellowed and the forest around them shook under his rage, ‘You could have gotten Alexander killed! Are you guys brain-dead?’
Max and Erin stood in the middle of the clearing surrounded on every side by their family. After the debacle at the police station in Chicago, everyone had been called back to decide what to do with them. In all, more than two million dollars in damage had been done to the police station and ten officers lost their lives in the fight against Eric. No one was impressed with the way things had been handled. Once Samantha had seen the large purple hand shaped bruise on her sons neck she had to be physically restrained as she tried to tear Max limb from limb, and even know she still glared at him; almost like she wanted to rip his heart from his chest and eat it while it still beat.
‘Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t call both of your parents back to earth right now, Erin!’
Tears were streaming down the poor girls cheeks and she opened her mouth several times to say something, but nothing came out besides strangled gasps that wracked her whole body. She couldn’t even lift her head to look up at his father and Max felt really bad for her. She had been so dead set on following in her family’s footsteps but now all her hard work had been ruined. And it wasn’t even her fault.
‘It wasn’t her fault…’ Max said softly and suddenly every eye in the clearing was on him. He could feel their weight on his soul and he had to struggle not to fall to his knees under such brutal scrutiny.
‘What was that?’ his father breathed, his voice barely louder than a whisper but everyone there heard it.
‘Erin had nothing to do with what happened,’ he explained, trying to make his voice loud. ‘She and Alexander tried to stop me, they both wanted to call you guys in but I wouldn’t listen. I led them in there. I instigated the fight. It was all my fault!’
Instead of turning to Erin to see if his son was telling the truth, Francis turned towards Samantha and Alexander and motioned them forward. With wide eyes and wobbly knees Alexander took three steps forward and looked up at Francis like he was about to be scolded as well.
‘Is this true?’ Max’s father asked and Alexander nodded slowly, never taking his eyes off the imposing man in glasses in front of him. Satisfied with the answer he motioned both mother and son back to their spot in the circle and looked now towards Erin with kinder eyes than before. ‘You can take your place among the circle Erin.’
Erin didn’t move right away. She looked over at Max with an odd expression on her face and opened her mouth to say something before thinking better of it and closing it. She wiped a few stray tears off of her face and then moved to an open spot in the circle that surrounded him and turned back to the center where Max was now the soul focus of the group.
‘I’m sorry dad,’ Max apologised weakly but he found no acceptance in his eyes.
‘Sorry isn’t going to cut it this time Maximus! People died because of your reckless actions! There hasn’t been this much tension since the last war! Do you have any idea what you have done? People are scared to leave their homes now because there is some renegade immortal out there killing people at random it seems!’
‘What else was I supposed to do? He was crazy…’
‘He gave himself to the authorities willingly Max!’ his father blasted and now Max felt like a child again, one who had just thrown a baseball so hard he injured one of the mortal kids at school. ‘All you had to do was let us know what you had been told and those deaths could have been avoided! Instead you went in there all half-cocked and provoked this Eric into a fight! We had no idea what he is or how strong he was! The three of you could have been killed!’
‘I really am sorry!’ Max cried and now his own tears were stinging his eyes as they flooded out. ‘I’ll understand if you ground me for a hundred years.’
‘We are way beyond a simple grounding Max,’ his father said and a sad glint shined in his eyes. ‘You leave us no other choice. Gabriella, if you would.’
Gabriella walked out of the circle and towards Max who was standing there completely stunned, no idea what was happening. He felt rooted on the spot and couldn’t move away as Gabriella reached him and placed her gentle hand on his chest, her face filled with sorrow.
‘Is this really the best thing to do?’ his mother suddenly said and walked towards his father, a pained expression on her face. ‘I’m not against the punishment Francis, just the length. Does it really need to be forever?’
His father looked from his wife to his son and then back again, a single tear rolling down his cheek as he considered his wife’s words. After a few agonizing minutes of silence he finally looked back towards Max again and said aloud, ‘When he is ready to have his powers back then they will be given, but not a moment sooner. I am truly sorry son but you have left me no other choice.’
Before Max could even ask about what was going on a very hot and painful light shot through his body and he felt himself falling to the soft ground at his feet. Gabriella kept her grip on him as he fell and as each second passed he could feel his power start to fade from his muscles and soul. It was an agonizing feeling but he was helpless to stop it as Gabriella quickly siphoned his power off, tears freely rolling down her cheeks at what she was forced to do. After what felt like a million years Max fell into unconsciousness as his entire family wept around him.