Side Story Three
Two Years Ago
The Trap Thirteen
Karen watched Julie carefully. The girl hadn’t said anything since they got her back to their rooms. Instead, she had sat on the floor and sipped at the tea Jason had brought her after they’d secured the other three in one of the side rooms. Karen could feel Alban seething. She reached out and squeezed his hand.
Are you okay? she asked mentally.
They killed my father, he said bitterly. And we’re just sending them home.
Ah. She squeezed his hand again. They’re just kids. They’ve been used.
She isn’t, he said. She’s old enough to know better.
“You’re planning a trap for the others aren’t you?” Julie said. “With Shell, Ali and Logan as bait. It might work – he’s not very bright.” She shook her head. “No, that’s not right – he’s intelligent enough. He just doesn’t use it much – too stubborn.”
“Why did you help him? He’s a dragon.” Karen asked.
“His species is incidental,” Julie said blandly. “He taught us about our powers and told us Earth was in danger. I think he’s right about that, but his methods…” she shuddered. “They’re too much. Even if they weren’t, I think they’re making things worse, not better as well.”
“What sort of danger?” Sean asked.
Julie opened her mouth as if to reply, then doubled over with a cry and clutched at her temples. Pain flared out from her. “I-I can’t tell you. It hurts.” She looked up and tears were streaming down her face.
“He put some sort of block in your mind?” Sean asked.
“No. It wasn’t him! It’s someone else. They don’t want me talking about it so-” She whimpered unhappily. “What the hell is this? Stop that! She’s never-” The cup fell from her hand and shattered as she passed out on the rug.
Karen knelt down by Julie and checked on her before frowning at the others. “What just happened?”
“I’m not sure,” Jason said. “But I’m going to call Sarah to come and have a look at her. That grey hair isn’t normal at her age and she always looks tired. I think she might be ill.”
“Quite likely,” Karen agreed. “But that’s not why she collapsed. Let’s get her into a bed.”
“She’s not exactly ill,” Sarah said later after she’d arrived and examined Julie. “Not at the moment anyway, but she’s had chemotherapy at some point. It looks like leukaemia but she’s in remission. I have no idea. And of course it’s got nothing to do with why she collapsed; I can’t find anything to cause that. The only similar thing I’ve seen is when something happens to one of our heart friends. But she’s still unconscious, so we can’t ask yet. I think she’ll come around soon.”
“Well she was screaming at whoever was behind it to leave someone alone,” Darya said. “Perhaps-” He broke off at the sound of breaking glass from the room where they’d left Julie. They raced into the room and found the window shattered and Julie gone. There was a note scribbled on a torn piece of notepaper lying on the bed. Karen picked it up.
“I’m sorry to run out on you after I surrendered, warriors,” she read. “But I have to save Marama. It’s going to kill her and I know you have to wait here to spring your trap. I will come back once I’m done. Julie.”
“She’s going to get herself killed running off to face who knows what on her own,” Darya said. “I’ll go after her. Tell Kyle I’ll be back once I’ve found her.” He leapt out of the broken window before anyone could stop him.