Chapter 23: Don’t Worry About the Inevitable

Nickolas Parkingsons

Kaitlyn steps away from me and I hold myself back from following her. My heart is still beating fast from our confessions, all I want is for this to be over so we can go on that date.
“Crystal,” Kaitlyn calls out and I hold my breath. Crystal turns from watching her minions to face Kaitlyn, who is approaching her quickly. “Please don’t do this.”
Crystal’s eyebrows crease as she frowns, “You know why I have to.”
I cock my head in confusion, not having any idea what she’s talking about. Crystal begins to back away from Kaitlyn as Kaitlyn gets closer. Crystal walks backward out of the hangar as Kaitlyn is close in pursuit. The rest of us follow, intrigued by the conversation. I notice Frost out of the corner of my eye whispering something to Robin, but my curiosity about Crystal wins out.
I miss what Kaitlyn had said, but Crystal’s response is surprising.
“You have no idea what she would want.”
“Asim wanted to come here for a better life,” Kaitlyn argues back. I frown in confusion, who is Asim? “She wouldn’t want you to destroy the innocent people that had nothing to do with her death.”
Crystal snarls, “Not all of them are innocent. You haven’t seen enough of this world to understand.”
“Yes, I have,” Kaitlyn reaches a hand out to Crystal. “You saved me even though you could’ve used me as more leverage. If you can save one person, you can save them all.”
Crystal closes her eyes, and we see a tear slip from her left eye, “But I couldn’t save her.”
“Please, Crystal,” Kaitlyn steps forward again, and this time, Crystal stands still. “You can change. Change for the better.” Kaitlyn pauses and Crystal opens her eyes, “Asim would be so proud of you.”
Crystal and Kaitlyn have a silent exchange, Crystal slowly raises a shaky hand to meet Kaitlyn’s and when they connect, I breath a sigh of relief.
I shouldn’t have jinxed it.
“Well, well, well,” Frost claps his hands together, wiping away a fake tear. “That was touching.”
“It’s over, Frost,” Crystal’s voice has hardened. “We’re giving up.”
“Oh, are we now?” Frost looks around at the still-armed Nexis members. “It looks like the only one giving up, is you.”
Suddenly, guns are pointed at Crystal, Kaitlyn and I. Robin sidles up next to Frost, her hand wrapping around his arm. Crystal pulls the rocket controller from her back pocket and smashes it on the ground.
Frost and Robin laugh together, before Robin pulls an identical controller from her own pocket. “You didn’t think I handed you the real one, did you?” Robin taunts. “Kenny saw you turning soft and said you would try something like this.” She hands the device over to Frost who barks orders at the Nexis members. Kaitlyn and Crystal are brought over to me and tied up. Our hands and feet are in front of us as we’re sat on the black tarmac, awaiting the launch.
“Don’t even try to escape,” a man sneers. “We’re the ones with the guns.”
“Nice rhyme,” Kaitlyn rolls her eyes and the man spits on her. “Gross,” she mutters, wiping it off on her sleeve.
“Why aren’t you freaking out?” I hiss at her. “We’re about to witness the death of millions.”
Kaitlyn winks, “What are you talking about, cufflinks? No sense in worrying about the inevitable.”
I furrow my brows, before she gestures with her eyes to the corner of the hangar to the left of ours. I follow her line of sight and see the right side of Oscar’s face, peering out from the edge.
“Great,” I roll my eyes, lowering my voice, “what can one guy do?”
Just as the words leave my mouth, armored tanks, black SUV’s, helicopters, and police cars appear. The Nexis members frantically begin shooting at the military personal, but it’s soon clear Nexis is outnumbered and out-skilled.
“Ouch,” Kaitlyn’s voice brings me back to our situation. I look over to her to see blood pouring from her leg. She gives me a pained smile, “I can’t seem to get out of any situation unscathed, can I?” Crystal is working to untie Kaitlyn, as I work to untie my own legs. Another pained hiss from Kaitlyn spurs me to go faster.
“Stand up.”
I look up to see a gun pointed at Kaitlyn’s head. Frost has the controller in one hand and the gun in the other.
“She can’t stand, Frost,” I say. “Take me instead.”
He scoffs, “Your parents could care less about you. But little miss pretty here…” Frost trails off, his smile devious.
“Let her go!” General Wynn yells, her own gun pointed at Frost. “Let her go and give me the device.”
“Or what?” Frost taunts, pulling Kaitlyn to her feet. She yelps as she places weight on her bleeding leg. Frost grips her against his chest, the gun directly at her temple. “You have been a pain in my ass for too long,” Frost growls to Kaitlyn. I’m about to stand, when Crystal does it before me, rushing Frost. Frost is able to get off a shot at Crystal before she tackles him, taking the three of them to the ground.
“Hold your fire!” I hear General Wynn yell. The gun and controller slide away from Frost, and he and Crystal grapple for the controller. I push myself to a standing position and rush toward the gun, my hands still tied. Frost grabs my ankle as I pass, causing me to trip. I kick him off, skinning my elbows as I used them to stand and stumble toward the gun.
Kaitlyn’s yell makes me turn and I see Frost pressing the button to start the rocket. Crystal is lying on the ground with her head bleeding profusely. Kaitlyn crawls towards Crystal but is hauled up by Frost before she can reach her. A shot rings out and both Kaitlyn and Frost crumple to the ground.
I push myself off the ground and rush towards Kaitlyn. Frost fell on top of her, their blood mixing together. I try to push Frost off, but I’m too weak. I can taste salt in my mouth as I realize I’m crying.
Two other sets of hands join me in pushing Frost off, and we succeed. I collapse beside Kaitlyn, turning her over to see her eyes blinking rapidly.
“God that guy is heavy,” Kaitlyn coughs and I pull her to my chest, nuzzling her hair.
“Thank god you’re alright,” I mumble and she grips the back of my shirt as she hugs me back.
“It’s not over,” she says, pulling away. We look toward the sky to see a smoke trail from the rocket. Kaitlyn moves her eyes to Crystal and Kaitlyn crawls over to her.
I follow along behind, Kaitlyn holding Crystal’s head in her lap. Kaitlyn sniffs as she brushes some hair from Crystal’s face.
“Kaitlyn,” Crystal whispers, her eyes still closed. “Listen carefully.” Crystal whispers the formula for the antidote and I memorize it as I’m sure Kaitlyn does as well. I turn away to tell someone else the chemicals needed, and when I turn back, Kaitlyn is closing Crystal’s eyes.
“She’s dead?” I ask, a lump forming in my throat. Kaitlyn nods, tears streaming down her face. She reaches out for me and I once again pull her into a hug. I tuck her head under my chin and I rock her, wishing I could take away all her pain.
But a sorcerer, I am not.

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