Saturday, December 30, 2017

The Burning of Effigy: Chapter Five

When Effigy and I arrive at our new time period, the first thing we see is a young woman using special powers to destroy our homes from long ago, and each time she does, it’s simply replaced by one of the others. It’s a cabin, but then it’s the cottage, and then it’s the farmhouse, and then the mobile home, and then the cottage once more, and then the tiny home. Effigy places her hand gently on the girl’s shoulder. “That’s enough, Jayde.”
Jayde tries to push her away without even touching her, theoretically by some telekinetic power she has, but Effigy is blocking her from using it. “Effigy,” she says with disgust. “I am here to close your damn portal, once and for all.
“And we are here to help you with that,” Effigy responds, presenting me like a prize on a daytime game show. “But you can’t keep taking power from the other mages. They won’t survive.”
“Hi, my name is Kallias...Kallias Bran,” I tell her. “We’ve already met in the future.”
“What do you think you’re going to be able to do?” Jayde asks of him.
“Oh, me? Very little.” I point to Effigy. “But she kind of has a soft spot for me, so I’m here to make sure she does what she promised, which was to finish this. Here and now. You need power? She’s got it. You don’t need to steal from anyone.”
“I don’t think you have enough, Eff,” Jayde claims.
“This is the problem with people who can steal time powers. They get so caught up in it that they forget they have their own abilities. With our energy combined, we can do this. We just have to work together..”
“Oh, I’ve not forgotten I have my own powers. I have powers that no one else does. I can move things with my mind, which is completely unheard of on Durus.”
Effigy smiles. “That’s not real telekinesis. You’re mimicking it, in a way that’s very destructive.”
“How so?”
“What you’re doing is teleporting objects at an extremely fast rate. You do it so fast that the object doesn’t have time to disappear from one location before it appears in another. And that second location is so close to the first—measured in micrometers—that it looks like it’s moving. Now, with practice, you could harness the gravity that’s constantly tugging on the object to impart forward momentum on it, but you’re a long ways away from that.”
“Still. It’s something I can do that no one else can. I don’t need you.”
“You’re not the only one, JK. You’re just the only one on this world. Now stop being stubborn and proud, and let me help.”
“I can’t trust you!” Jayde screams. “I can trust no one!”
“Jayde Ramsey Resnik, you will let me help you close the portal, and you will not complain about it! I’ve had about enough of your insolence.”
“Oh, you wanna help?” Jayde begins the questioning.
“You have the power to close the portal?”
“With you, definitely.”
“And I can steal powers from other people?”
“And if you’re just a people, then I can steal from you too?”
“I didn’t say that.”
Jayde aggressively takes Effigy’s arm.
“I did,” Jayde says, hungry for more. A faint glow appears where their bodies meet. They both start vibrating, a does the ground beneath them. There’s so much energy between them that it’s starting to form an earthquake—I mean, a durusquake. The farmhouse that was left after Jayde was finished playing around with the...uh, quantum superposition of their homes, or whatever, crumbles. Left in its place is nothing.
“Help me!” Effigy begs, in an agony only felt my her. Jayde seems to be feeling better and stronger with each passing second.
“I’m not sure what you think I’ll be able to do,” I say. “Besides, it looks like this is what has to happen.”
Effigy continues to scream as the glow begins to shine, and crawl up her skin. The heat intensifies until a spark lights a fire, which overtakes Effigy’s entire body, and she is consumed by it until there is nothing left; not even a pile of ash.
Standing there now is Jayde Kovac, literally pulsating with power. She turns forty-five degrees to face me. “It is too much to keep in. I can close the portal, but you can’t be here when I do. Run, Kallias, run.” She cradles her head. “RUN!”
I run. I move faster than I think I ever have before. Behind me I can hear Jayde’s cries as she’s desperately trying to hold her energy in before what I assume must be some kind of explosion. In front of me I see a sort of blackish haze, floating a couple meters off the ground. I look to my left, and then my right, to find that it appears to be a ring. The farmhouse sits at the center, but this is the portal itself. I have to get all the way past this ring before I’m clear of the blast radius, and even that might not be far enough. I never really get the chance to find out, though. I hear the crack of thunder behind me. A wave of energy comes up and reaches for the ring portal. Once it’s taken hold, it begins to snap back, pulling me with it. I’m hopelessly flying through the air, back to the center. It probably would have been safer if I had just stayed in place. It definitely would have been better for my knees. I can see the rest of the ring closing in on the eye of the portalcane. That’s the last thing I do before I die...make up a word. How lovely.
I’m apparently knocked unconscious, because I wake up on the ground, instinctively trying to massage an ache from my head. I can’t move the rest of my body. I’m actually not in all that much pain, but the ordeal exhausted nearly every ounce of energy from me. I’m not sleepy, but I’m too tired to do anything but turn my head and try to get my bearings. It feels like I’m on asphalt, or something very similar to it, because it almost gives off its own light. A crowd of people are standing around. No, they’re crouching. Most of them are, anyway. They look to be pretty worn out as well. I blink my eyes a few times, trying to get a better view as a few of them have rested enough to walk over to me. Once they’re near enough, I can see what they truly are. They’re not human, but Ezqava’s species. What did Effigy call them? The Maramon. I must be on the Maramon homeworld—more to the point, their home universe.
One of them bends down and lifts me up by the shoulders. He speaks a sort of garbled orcish at me, trying to get me to understand. He studies my eyes, then looks up at the others to tell them something. They nod their heads in agreement, or understanding. They could be talking about finding a way to teach me their tongue, or for all I know, they’re discussing what spices to put in the pot with me. Ezqava never gave me the impression that she would want to eat me—nor did Effigy, for that matter—but I don’t know who these people are. They did say the worst of the worst would be the ones chosen for the portal; not the peaceful, pleasant people.
The one who was investigating me leans forward and sniffs my neck. “Ezqava.” He stands back up and addresses the crowd. What I hear is him saying something like, “Jila tega ken Ezqava Eodurus!”
“Ezqava!” I say eagerly. “Yes. I knew Ezqava Eodurus.” Let’s see, who was that other one they mentioned. “Shoe....shua. Shuhana.”
“Shuhana?” he asks me. He addresses the crowd again, “Jila ufe henti Shuhana Shenare!” He looks back down at me. “Boros jida henti Shuhana?”
I just shake my head, realizing now that that’s an international gesture for no, or uncertainty, but that may not translate well to aliens. I know nothing of these people. Effigy always acted rather human, and Ezqava barely said anything to me before she was absorbed into Effigy’s body.
He lifts me all the way up and gets me to my feet, letting one of his people keep me from collapsing. “Dwesben ke Ansutah,” he declares proudly.
“Ansutah?” I ask.
He sweeps his arm away from him, like he’s trying to indicate the whole world. “Ansutah,” he repeats, apparently happy to welcome me to their world. He begins to laugh.
Everyone else laughs along with him, including the one who’s holding onto me, who’s also adjusting his position.
The leader continues to laugh. “Jika paol vin jila paom ken ke fo huarza!” He reaches back, and the last thing I see is his fist, heading for my face.

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