Well of Life

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Angy is a pretty normal girl. Until she finds the Well of Life which changes her forever after she is murdered. Have you ever wanted a perfect life? It may not be like what you thought it would be.

Angy thought she was dead when the knife came towards her face. It cut into her forehead and she fell back in extreme agony, her body reacting as she tried to reach up to hold her wounded head. Then she landed in the pool of muck and was sunk under all the algae and slime. She tried to move her arms and legs to swim but the pain in her head and side were so great that she just ended up curling into a ball in a spasm she couldn't control. She was losing consciousness but she fought to stay awake and swim.

She could feel herself sinking further in the disgusting water, with all the dirt and grime it was hard to see through. Funny, she had come all this way to find this stupid well and now she was going to die in it. 

‘No. I can’t die!’ I forced my arms to uncurl and move against the pain. I kicked my legs out and opened my mouth in a gasp of pain, then tried to spit out the disgusting taste. Kicking against death and never being found, I tried to swim. My sister would never know what had happened to me. I had to get out to save her, they might be coming for her next. My body was sluggish and slow because of the pain but I kept going. I swung my arms not caring that it hurt my side where another wound gaped open. I opened my eyes to try to see and realized that there was a light in the water. There were red billows surrounding me, my blood pouring out. But there was a blue-green light coming from the bottom of the well.

I paused for a second to look down, wondering if a creature was going to come up and eat me. That’s all I needed. The light got brighter, illuminating the sides of the well. I didn’t know what this was but figured I better keep swimming. I started trying to swim again, forcing myself past the pain and haze in my head. Then the light below seemed to explode upwards and I lost consciousness.

 

I woke up and couldn’t breathe. I opened my eyes and it was all blurry. I was still underwater! I coughed and moved, thrashing around. I came up out of the water and grabbed the side of the well. I kept gagging as more water kept coming out of my lungs and stomach. Pulling myself over the edge of the well and up onto the dirty stone floor, I kneeled and hacked up a lung until I took a sweet breath of air.

‘I will never take breathing for granted again!’ I coughed out, my voice rough.

 I looked around suddenly, worried that the guys were still there, but the place was empty. I collapsed and kept breathing the wonderful air and looked around. The well was still giving off a soft blue light and it lit the room. The old monastery was falling apart but this room was the only stable thing left. 

I didn’t understand how I was alive. I guess I had floated to the top when I stopped freaking out but I had been under the water for a while. I would think about it later. I slowly stood up and as I did my long hair fell forwards. My hair, which had been dark as a raven's wing, now was white. ‘What the?’ I got up and brought my hair around to look at it. A shiny opalescent white.’How did this happen? What was in that water?’ I was a bit more alarmed now. I looked down at myself and realized that my clothes no longer fit properly either. My pants were too short and big around the waist, they were drooping down to my hips. My shirt was stuck to me, showing a flat stomach that had not been there before. The shirt was a little too short and wide, the only place that fit was the, ahem, the chest area. My boots were gone and I only had one sock left, which I took off, I hate wearing wet socks. Yuck. I realized that I felt ok now, with no pain in my side or my head. I lifted my shirt to check my wound and made a little soundless gasp as I saw the smooth skin. No wound. Also, where did my muffin top go? I lifted my hand to check my head and couldn’t find anything there either. I walked back to the well and tried to see if there was a reflection in the water. There was and I almost screamed when I saw who was looking back at me. I looked totally different! Wait, not totally. I leaned closer, carefully, and saw that my face was pretty much the same. It was hard to tell in the water’s reflection. 

“I need to get out of here and get checked out. This is some crazy sh-…” There was a noise behind me and I whirled to see what it was. A vine was swinging by the doorway but nothing was there. This place was freaking me out. I looked around to see if the guys had left my bag behind and thank goodness they had. The contents were dumped out on the ground. “Probably were too lazy to cart if out of the jungle the lazy bunch of bast-”

Another noise from the doorway stopped my tirade and I hurried to grab my bag, put everything back in it, then carefully but quickly headed towards the door. I peeked out but nothing was moving. I listened for a few seconds then sprinted down the crumbling hallway. When I made it outside the light was fading. I wrinkled my brow in confusion. We had gone in the building when it was morning.’ I had been in there all day? How long had I been in the water? No. Don’t need to think about that right now, or the fact that I looked like Malibu Barbie now. Wasn’t going to worry about that right now. I was going to head back and find Kay and Luke. My sister and her husband were going to need me when the backstabbing team that hired me went back for them. Maybe they would make up a lie and say I had died or disappeared in the jungle but I doubted it. What I thought had been a team of archeologists that hired me to help them find an ancient ruin, had actually turned out to be an ex-military group of greedy murderous dic-’

A chitter from behind me made me turn to look behind me. I thought I saw some movement behind a few thick vines but then it was gone. Probably a monkey or rodent. I took a deep breath and headed out into the jungle. Barefoot, with a pack of clothes and two granola bars. Sure, this was easy. I could do this. 

I began walking in the direction I remembered we came from earlier. I stopped when I found a plant with big soft leaves and tried to wrap them around my feet and tie them with vines but I couldn’t get them to stay so I huffed in exasperation and kept going. Nature shows make this stuff look easy. Now that I thought about it though, my feet were okay. I had pretty tough feet from going barefoot a lot during the summer but there was a lot of crud on the jungle floor so who knows what I was getting on me. ‘Ah well, moving forward!’ I hiked back through the jungle on the trail we had come in, the idiots doing me a favor in hacking with their machete’s through the undergrowth made the trail very apparent. Normally, I get tired after a couple of hours and need to sit down to rest but today I was able to keep going. I walked until the light disappeared, the large trees blocking the setting sun. I looked for a tree to climb. Not too big so the jaguars would be interested hopefully, but not too small so I wouldn’t need to worry about my weight breaking any branches. I found one that looked promising and made my way up. I worried about being able to pull myself up but was pleasantly surprised when I easily climbed up several branches and wasn’t even winded. A niggling voice in the back of my mind tried to tell me it was not normal but I shoved her back down in the deep dark hole of my subconscious and happily settled down in the tree’s crown. I found a comfy spot after shoving some leaves under me and put my bag on my lap and got out my pocket knife in one hand and my lighter in the other then eased back until I could be comfortable enough to sleep. The dark seemed to creep in with a lot of noises that I didn't recognize. I stayed awake for a long time trying to keep a lookout but eventually, I sagged into sleep.

 

I woke up a few times during the night when something big passed beneath me and when some other creature got eaten but other than that it was an ok night for being stranded in a jungle. I was pretty pleased with myself. Usually, I would be so neurotic that I would freak myself out about situations like this but I was staying calm and I had a plan. I could handle this. I set out when it first started getting light and made good time apparently because that afternoon I almost caught up with my original party. The village we had first started out at, Cavonga, was burning. 

I hurried through the brush into the village and saw all the villagers trying to put out the flames or tend to the wounded. A burning roof started to collapse and a young woman trying to pull an old lady out of the house was under it. I ran to them and picked up the old woman and we ran out to the street, the roof collapsing soon after. Billows of smoke came pouring out and I coughed and my eyes teared up. I put the old woman down gently on the ground, the young woman hovering around me babbling at me in her language. I looked around and saw others struggling. The house across the way had a burning beam across the doorway, I could just see two little kids inside.  I grabbed a long branch and used it to lever the beam down onto the floor. The heat was intense so I jumped over it and ran to the two little boys crying in the middle of the room. Grabbing one under each arm I ran back outside all of us coughing. A frantic woman bleeding from her head met me in the road and took the boys from me. 

I heard screaming and turned to a group of people trying to pull at a man who was trying to break through the wooden boards of his wall to get out of the burning house. The boards were not giving way and the two people holding his arm were inhibiting him from using his hands to pull the boards away. Running over I yelled at them to let him go but they didn’t listen. I shoved their hands away, releasing him. I shoved his arm back in the wall and took a step back and kicked the board in the wall. A loud crack! The board splintered down the middle and I pulled it off the wall and the man came out of the hole, grabbing my hand for assistance.

I ran around the village getting other people out of their homes and the wounded to the middle of the village where everyone was. Several people helped me as we got everyone safely to the town center. Finally, it seemed like everyone was safe.

I stood to the side glancing around, coughing, and rubbing my eyes, when someone handed me a bamboo mug with water in it, I rinsed my mouth out with a nod of thanks and spit it out. Then drank, it tasted so good. I handed it back and found it was the old man we had originally met within the village, the only man who spoke English. San Te was one of the village elders. He smiled at me, several teeth missing but a handsome old face with wisdom written in his wrinkles. He clapped me on the back as I coughed once more. He spoke to me in his language and I shook my head and said, “I only speak English, remember?” His eyes squinted in confusion and I realized he didn’t recognize me. “You not Warrior of Tauhe?” he asked. I shook my head at him in confusion this time. “No, sorry.” I was about to tell him I came with the other guys earlier but I decided it may not be wise at this point to remind him I came with the people who set fire to his village.

“He tilted his head and I realized I was slightly taller than him now. I had been shorter than him when I first met him. My hands started to shake and I told myself it was just the adrenaline from running around a burning village. I looked around and saw several of the wounded and decided I needed to keep busy so I asked San Te for some clean rags and water and a sewing kit. He nodded and I got to work. Luckily, blood never bothered me. My father was a doctor and he had drilled medical knowledge into me since I was little. I was able to sew up and clean out wounds with the meager supplies they had. There were only a few that needed stitches, most of the wounds were burns. The elder ladies of the village were making a paste out of herbs for that which I helped to spread on people’s wounds. 

The villagers were lighting torches when I finished sewing up my last “patient”. I looked around and saw that they had put out all the fires and cleaned out a large gazebo-looking building to put the wounded in. San Te came up to me then with a young woman who was carrying a bundle of cloth. San Te motioned to her, “This is El’ra, she is ‘bout your size.” She held out the clothes to me and I looked down and realized my clothes were burned and bloodstained. I chuckled as I took the clothes, “Ah, thanks. That’s great.” She stepped forward and put her hand upon mine and bowed her forehead to touch my hand then said something in her language. My brows rose in surprise and I smiled as she looked up at me with a huge grin in place. San Te explained, “She says thank you for saving her grandma.” I nodded and smiled back at her. “I’m glad I could help,” I said and she hurried away shyly. San Te took me around to a well where several people were washing off. They were changing in front of each other, so I waited for a turn then took my nasty clothes off and washed off quickly, glad of the dark, and put on my new green skirt and red blouse, still damp. I bunked down with the villagers under the gazebo, checking an older man who had a nasty head wound. I checked on a few of the other wounded too during the night. Luckily the villagers had herbs that would help with infection and fevers. As I went to sleep that night, I thought about all that I had done. I would never have been able to do half of them before. Kicking that board. I had been shocked when it broke on the first try. I told myself to be grateful and stop thinking. I went to sleep.

 

The next morning they all shared breakfast from a huge pot, several people bringing out different food that had been saved from their homes. I got out my granola bars and shared them with a few of the kids whose eyes lit up when they tasted it and laughed. Several of the villagers came by and smiled at me and touched my head softly, saying something in their language. I didn’t know what to do so I just smiled back and nodded as they left. They all gathered as I prepared to head off, they kept trying to give me things but after the canteen and basket of food, I had to turn down the spear and rug and extra clothes and jewelry. Their village had just burned down and they were still so generous. I felt honored that I had found them and was glad that no one had died. I bowed to them and thanked them for everything, San Te interpreting for me. Several villagers called me ”Tua” as I waved goodbye. I got several hugs and pats on the shoulders before I headed off. I didn’t know what a Warrior of Tuahe was but I would research it when I got back. I would also make sure the local police knew what had happened. 

I hiked back to the road and made my way back to the city by sunset and went right to the police station. I spent an agonizing four hours there explaining what had happened to several people over and over again before I got so fed up I just stopped talking. The Captain thought I was lying! There were a few of the local police who looked like they believed me when I mentioned San Te and the village Cavonga but they were quickly silenced by the glare of their Captain. 

Luckily I still had my passport if not my phone, I always hide my wallet in a secret pocket of my bag when I travel (Even though I barely looked like my picture anymore), so the threat of calling the American Embassy got them off my back. I hadn’t done anything wrong so they weren’t able to arrest me. I tried to call Kay but was only able to leave a message. I made my way to the airport, I had a return ticket but it had already passed so I spent another two hours at the airport trying to finagle a free ticket. No such luck, and I had to buy my own new ticket to get home. The debt that these guys owed me was piling up higher and higher. 

I flew back into Portland and borrowed a phone to call Kay again, no answer. This was not a good sign. I hurried back home taking a cab, which I never do, and ran up to their front door and banged on it when I found it was locked. I kept calling her and knocking loudly, I was about to go see if there was a window open or jump the back fence when the door opened and a very mad Luke yelled at me. “What's wrong with you? Do you know what time it is? What do you want?” I was shocked, Luke never yelled at me. “I just wanted to make sure you guys were okay, didn’t Kay get my message?” Luke looked at me in confusion for a few seconds then recognition struck. My voice was the same no matter how different I looked. “Angy?” he asked softly. I nodded, “Is Kay here? My sister appeared at the door behind Luke and I sighed in relief. 

Kay let out a little gasp then a scream as she rushed to me. I opened my arms for a hug but she stopped and grabbed my hair. “How did you do this to your hair?!” She yelled at me. “Nice to see your priorities are straight Kay.” I deadpanned. She laughed then tried to hug me but her chin hit my shoulder. I was taller than her now. “This is so freaky!” she squeezed my cheeks until I knocked her hands away. “It’s really you but not! What happened?” She asked. They brought me inside and I told them the whole story over breakfast. Kay kept touching my hair as she listened. “This is crazy. I hope you brought a sample of that water so we can have it tested.” Kay said jokingly. I scrunched my nose at her and she laughed, “Well, that’s the same!” Luke was a doctor of biology, a professor at the local college so of course, he wanted to figure out what had changed. “For science,” he said. I chuckled and let him measure me. I was five inches taller. I had been 5’2” before, now I was 5’7”. All my excess fat was gone, my perpetual muffin top from too much chocolate and chips looked like it had never been there. That was nice but after I tried to eat a normal breakfast of pancakes and syrup I felt sick. I ate some spinach that was in the fridge and whole-wheat toast and felt better. Kay stared at me in shock as I stuffed the spinach in my mouth. “What the h-?” I turned and glared at her and she stopped. 

“We all know something weirdly amazing has happened. But I’m still me, so if you don’t want ice water poured on you next time you shower you will not tease me right now!” I shook my finger in her face. She turned red trying to hold in her laughter and put her hand over her mouth. I shook my head and waved for her to go ahead so she bust up laughing as Luke came over and took my pulse. “I’m sorry but the image of you stuffing spinach in your mouth is just!...” she snorted as she laughed.

“She’s probably self-regulating her methylation levels now. She ate the syrup and now needs to raise her methylation scale, thus the spinach.” Luke said.  Usually, I felt tired in my brain when Luke started to talk about science stuff but this time it all made sense and I wanted to learn more. I started asking him questions and we spent the rest of the morning talking about methylation levels and how they affected the brain. 

Luke took some of my hair to study. My sister kept touching my face commenting on how soft it was. No more acne. No more freckles. I drew the line when she opened my mouth to check out my teeth though. I was in perfect health. Luke talked about DNA and RNA. I actually understood what he was talking about after he explained it. That was weird. It’s like I was the same person but the best version possible. 

I finally got down to business and told them that they needed to get out of town for a few days while I dealt with the group who betrayed me. They balked at first saying they could help but I kindly and patiently told them that they didn’t have any training and if I couldn’t concentrate solely on taking down the bad guys because I was worried about them then I wouldn’t be able to be at my peak performance level. They sat there staring at me for a while and I hoped it had sunk in. Then Kay blinked and shook her head. “This is weird. You’re the same but different. It’s like you are really balanced all the time. And no offense but you were angry a lot of the time. One little thing would set you off, I expected to get yelled at, not talked to like ...like…” Luke cut in. “Like your mother, an ex-military special ops soldier.” She nodded at him and looked back at me. I thought about it and they were right. I had always been what Luke called an under-methylator. I got angry easily, I was touchy. I once yelled at a valet at a hotel who sneered at my car. 

Now I felt like everything was easily handled, I just had to think about it and a solution would come. No need to freak out. “I’m sorry I didn’t listen to you before about the methylation scale Luke. You were right.” he smiled at me and shrugged. They were good people. The only people I had left, and I would make sure they stayed safe.

Kay and Luke packed up and headed to a cottage out by Lake Vancouver to wait for my call then I headed to my local police station. That was a waste of time. The cop I was filing charges with obviously didn’t believe me and he reminded me that if I pressed charges against someone falsely they could press charges against me for slander!  I had no evidence they said, fine. I would get them evidence.

 

Okay, backstory, a little late, sorry. I own a small business selling people’s history. Ancient history. I am a historian and a genealogist. It was probably my parent’s fault since they named me after one of their oldest ancestors they could find, Angharad. Royalty on my Mothers side. But that’s why I just went by Angy. Nobody knew the name anymore and I got teased mercilessly for it in school and that’s when my mother went over the history with me and I became obsessed. She taught me military strategy from ancient warlords over the years. My father was a closet historian himself, he would tell me stories about ancient heroes and our ancestors.

I started a business and eventually got enough clients through a college seminar that was put on by a professor who was on tv. He happened to be good looking so a lot of female fans were eager to impress. They went through me to find ancestors they thought he might be interested in enough to get them on the show. I got so much work that I needed help so I offered to let my sister come in as a partner and she was sick of accounting so she agreed. We have been in business for over five years now and are doing okay but then a guy named Favre showed up a month ago with some bogus IOU from my father from ten years ago. I didn’t believe it but the guy had a lawyer, I checked him out and everything seemed legit. 

My parents had disappeared four years ago when they were on a humanitarian mission in Japan, after a terrible earthquake. They had shown up and helped out for a few days before they had just disappeared. Together. No one knew what had happened to them. We searched for a long time but eventually, we couldn’t afford to keep looking.

Favre wanted 50,000 dollars or my business! I wasn’t about to let that happen so I told him and his fancy-schmancy lawyer to go ahead and try.

The next day their boss, Edward Sherling, a smarmy middle-aged guy with dyed auburn hair, who walked with a fancy cane, came to my office. He walked in like he owned the place already so I ignored him. That ticked him off. 

He made me an offer. I could help him find an ancient ruin of the Well of Life and it would pay off the IOU or he would take me to court for months if not years. I knew I had been set up but I couldn’t find a legal way around it. I even asked another lawyer to look into it and he had said it would be really hard to fight it and it would be a long-drawn-out battle in court which would take lots of money so I figured I might as well go for it. I just figured he was a cheapskate who didn’t want to pay for my services. Little did I know that he was also a sadistic greedy conniver who just wanted to use me until he found what he wanted. The Well of Life had a ton of different stories about it from several different cultures. It had taken me over a month just to nail down which country it might be in. Edward Sherling had been breathing down my neck the entire time so I kept sending him boring emails of the different myths I had found. But he ate it up and asked for more.  After three months I was about ready to go insane but then I found it. I had gone to a small personal library of a wealthy eccentric who collected ancient papyrus. He had several pieces that were interesting. I found not only a story that fit but a map. So when I made copies and didn’t tell Sherling the source he was pretty upset with me but since he had the information he had to be happy with it. I claimed client confidentiality and he finally backed off.

Anyways, blah blah blah, a team of five guys who tricked me down into the jungle, gross flirting from a couple of meatheads, getting the heebie-jeebies from the leader of the group, Favre. He used to be in the French Foreign Legion which was in his favor but he smelled like nasty cigars and eyed me like a prize at a county fair. Ew. Like I would just forget how he tried to take my business and blackmailed me into going on a dangerous trip? Then jump in the sack with him? Yikes. The ego’s on these guys.

After hiking around the area for only a day, stopping off at a local village, we found the ruins and I was considered excess weight to carry out of the jungle. I think my not wanting to sleep with any of them had something to do with it.  I don’t think they planned on my fighting back or me falling into the well they were supposed to bring samples back from, but that’s the kind of idiots they were. I had given meathead number one a reason to never have kids again and meathead number two would only be able to see out of his right eye from now on. But five guys against one is still too much for me. And, I lost my favorite knife. Blast it all. Well, I think we are all caught up now. Let’s move forward.

 

Kay researched Sherling and his guys for me, not all completely legal so she was able to find them in their “secret bad guy base” in the middle of Portland. Can’t have our secret base too far from good food, can we? 

She also looked into the Warrior of Tuahe and didn’t find anything. She said she would keep looking though.

I bought a small security camera and set it up to watch outside the building from across the street. I went into the coffee shop on the ground floor and found a seat. I had been getting weird looks from people a lot and I figured it was the white hair. My clothes didn’t fit that well either so I shrugged it off as people thinking I was odd-looking.  But hey, this was Portland, over half the population here looked “weird” so I should fit right in. 

I went and ordered a hot cocoa and had to repeat cocoa three times before the guy understood I didn’t want coffee. Then I found a seat with a good view of the street and the building across it and pulled out my phone to make notes. A guy at the table next to me cleared his throat a few times and looked at me. I glanced at him and saw he didn’t have his drink yet so I got up and got a cup of free water and set it in front of him as I sat back down. “Here you go, see if this helps.” he took it with a smile as he nodded and turned red for some reason. Poor guy seemed embarrassed about coughing. He didn’t need to be.

Another guy on the right of me seemed to be chuckling over something but was trying to cover it with a cough as well. Maybe he wanted water too? But he stopped when I looked at him with concern so I went back to my notes. I sat in that coffee shop drinking my hot cocoa for a couple of hours, watching the building. Several of the patrons were very friendly, guys kept asking me if I wanted coffee, and I was polite but didn’t let them engage me in conversation, begging off that I was working. 

Then I finally hit paydirt. I woman came out of the building looking harassed and upset. She headed toward the coffee shop and came in then ordered seven different coffee’s in a stilted voice. If she didn’t work for the bad guys I would eat my shirt. That was a weird thought but oh well, go with it. I got up just as she was picking up her coffees and we almost collided. “I am so sorry!” I exclaimed as I reached out to gently touch her arm in concern.  A couple of the cups had gotten tilted so I helped her set them down on a table. “I am not in my right mind today. You would not believe what my boss has me doing! I swear, the men in my life are driving me nuts!” She perked right up, “I know just what you mean!”  she took over the conversation for the next two minutes. We sat there and drank and she vented to me about how horrible her boss was and having to put up with unprofessional jerks all the time. I nodded and agreed with her and asked if she got off at regular hours or if they had her working overtime. She lamented about having to work until 8 every night! I commiserated with her and told her how I had just lost a job after all the hard work I had done for them! Her name was Sandy and we became practical besties in those two minutes. We decided to meet for coffee the next day at the same time and she left. Well, that had gone pretty well, I just needed to find a new job for Sandy now. After I got her boss arrested she probably wouldn’t have one anymore.

 

Kay sent me the specs on the building that night and I memorized the layout. It was easy to do that now. As I headed to the coffee shop the next day I stopped by the building and “accidentally” knocked out the street light when no one was looking. I headed into the coffee shop, the smells nearly making my eyes water as I went inside, I ordered and settled down to wait at a table one away from the window. One of the waiters came and gave me my drink personally. That was so nice of him, I was shocked. I thanked him and wondered if I was supposed to give a tip or something as he stood there a bit longer. I was about to ask about a tip when he reddened and turned to go back. Huh. Weird. I realized that a couple of the guys in the shop were looking at me and I wondered what was going on. I looked down at myself to check if I had something wrong but other than my shirt being too short and my pants still not covering my ankles, I seemed alright. I needed to go shopping. I seemed to be attracting more attention than I wanted to. It must be the white hair. I should try to get it dyed or something. I never used to get this much attention.

I went to the bathroom and put a beanie on to cover my hair, stuffing it all up in it. Maybe that would help. I went and sat back down and tried to be invisible. 

I waited for Sandy with a newspaper and some printouts. I kept an eye out the front window and tried not to catch too much attention from the other customers. Finally, Sandy came out and headed over. She had a big frown on her face again. I got up and got in line then waved her over to me when she came in. Her eyes lit up and she hurried over. “Thank you for saving me a place in line! I’m on my lunch break but I only get 20 minutes!” 

We chatted about her horrible boss again. She ordered only one coffee this time and I looked at her in surprise. She wasn’t getting coffee for her boss until she was leaving, she explained, so it wouldn’t be cold. I shook my head in sympathy and she blew out a breath of frustration. I told her about some of the other jobs I had found online and she perked right up. We got back to our table and I helped her look through a few. As we were chatting I got a weird feeling. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up. I glanced around the room and though several of the guys were looking, they all looked away when I glanced at them with a sheepish expression on their faces. It wasn’t them. I stretched and pretended to stretch my neck as I looked around the room. There. A man sitting in the back. He didn’t look away right away when I caught his eye. He wasn’t smiling, he had the opposite on his face. He was wearing a suit and his hair cut said I’m a professional. But a professional what? I turned in my chair a bit to try to keep an eye on him if he moved. I could barely make him out in my peripheral. Sandy looked up at me turning to try to see what I was looking at and froze as she saw him. She whipped back around and looked down at the table. I grew more concerned. I leaned forward, “What’s wrong? Do you know that guy?” She nodded at me and whispered, “He came to the office a couple of days ago and asked to see my Boss, Mr. Sterling, after he left my boss told me if I ever talk to that guy then I would not only be fired but have charges brought against me!” 

I raised my eyebrows in shock. “What a colossal too-” A crash outside the shop made everyone turn and look and I took the opportunity to whisper to Sandy, “Get up, let’s go.” We left quickly, making our way through tables. I shoved my number at her with the papers and we were almost to the door when I noticed the man with the haircut get up quickly. I shoved her out the door and said “I’ve got you.” Then turned just as the Haircut came up to me, I “tried” to sidestep him but got in his way. I checked out his watch and shoes. Too nice for the military unless he was out and working security now. Government, I would guess, but which one? I apologized and kept trying to get out of his way while staying in his way. He was carrying, I glimpsed his holster as he kept moving, a Glock 911 it looked like. Hmm. A cop? FBI?

I picked his pocket as he went past, getting a business card. I tucked it away in my sleeve then watched as he ran out the door. Sandy had already gotten across the street to the building and made it inside before he got to her. Sheesh, take it easy will ya fella?  I didn’t want to wait for Haircut to get back and interrogate me. I needed to find out who he was first. With my luck, Sherling would press charges against me, if he found out I was alive, of course. Didn’t need that. 

I walked up to the nice waiter from before and asked if there was a back door I could use as I saw Haircut heading back to the coffee shop. The waiter, Tom, his name tag said, mumbled a yes, and pointed towards the back. I smiled and thanked him then headed out. Three guys suddenly got up from their tables as I went out the back door, all of them got in the way of Haircut. Huh, how nice. 

 

That night I checked all the footage from the camera and wrote down the schedule. There was never a time when someone wasn’t there so I would go in in the middle of the night when everyone was tired. 3:30 a.m. sounded good. Nobody wanted to be awake then. Only crazy people or doctors, so... crazy people. Sorry Dad, but you know it’s true. 

I got my stuff together and realized none of my black clothes fit that well anymore. A proper burglar doesn’t go around showing her tummy. So I had to go shopping to buy a burglar outfit. That was kind of funny. While I was out I also bought some new clothes that fit better. I had to try several things on because I couldn’t tell just by looking at them if they would fit me.

That night I sent Kay my plans just in case anything went wrong as well as a ridiculous picture of a sloth giving a turtle a hug. Slow love is still love, it said. She would get it.

I thought about bringing my grappling hook but thought of how loud it was when it hit so I decided against it. I had throwing knives, a blow gun, and a garrote, which I hoped I would never have to use. As a last precaution, I strapped my whip around my waist as a belt. I had an Indian Jones obsession when I was twelve. Don’t judge. 

 

My footsteps were silent as I snuck around the back of the building and waited until after three a.m. then started creeping closer. I would be able to climb up to the roof using the rocks that stuck out of the side of the building. Artistic rock is beautiful and useful. 

The building was only three stories tall, four floors total, including a basement. After looking around, I climbed up the first level and rested at a window ledge. My black gloves protected my fingers and aided in gripping so I was good to go. I made my way up to the roof barely breathing hard and checked for security cameras but there weren’t any. I looked down on the street and only saw one car a ways down the street, a black crown victoria? Haircut must be down there on a stakeout. I had looked up the name on the business card but it was a guy who looked totally different who sold insurance. Wrong card. Just my luck. I went to the door on the roof and rigged up my backup plan. Then I got out my new lock pick set and after mentally going over the video I had watched earlier I picked the lock in under 30 seconds. I air pumped my fist in victory then took a deep breath and snuck inside, easing the door closed behind me.

I carefully but quickly tiptoed my way down the stairs, keeping a lookout and ear out for anyone. I passed the third and second floor, all the lights were off, only glowing exit signs showed any light. I made my way to the first floor where the stairs stopped. The basement stairs and elevator were in another section of the building. I peeked out the door to the first-floor hallway and waited. I waited for a whole ten minutes but no one came out, nothing moved. I crept out into the hallway and tried to breathe silently as I made my way down the hallway, checking the offices to the side of me. They were all dark, no one was there. I got to the end of the hall where the main lobby was and I knelt down and stuck my head a centimeter out at a time, trying to catch a glimpse of the guard that was supposed to be there. I had on my black beanie to cover my hair and a black cloth mask over my mouth. There was a cute picture of a puppy on it but it was dark brown so I didn’t think it showed too much. The guard was watching tv on a little screen, sitting back in his chair, falling asleep. It was meathead number 2, the one-eyed wonder. Perfect.

I slid my blowgun out and carefully loaded it, being sure not to touch the end. I had dropped a potent drug on the tip and I didn’t want to fall asleep here. I eased around the corner keeping low and walked behind him. My heartbeat was regular and even, I crept closer slowly so my footsteps didn’t make a sound. He didn’t move, I glanced in the corner where the door to the basement was, it was forty feet away but his back was turned to it. Amateur or lazy? 

I kept going with my blowgun at the ready, but I didn’t even need it as he stayed glued to the tv the entire time. I walked behind him and got to the door and slowly, so slowly, turned the handle. It made a tiny mechanical noise as I finished turning it and I froze as I stared at meathead no. 2 but he didn’t move. I chuckled silently and opened the door as quietly as possible. I closed it so slowly that I broke out in a sweat. It barely made a noise and I waited but nothing happened.  I put away my blowgun and checked my watch as I slipped down the stairs. 3:30 exactly. Nice. 

The basement level was a lab with several different stations. Nobody was down here thank goodness so I looked through all the notes left out and took pictures but so far it didn’t make any sense. I turned on one of the computers and waited by the wall as it came on. There was a password to get in but I opened the drawer right underneath the computer and it was on a sticky note. Sloppy, but I was grateful. It looked like several people worked on this computer for different projects. There were documents saved all over the place on different subjects. I finally found one marked Well Water 5.6. 

I whispered, “Genius guys. I sure hope you’re not all douc-” I thought I heard a noise upstairs. I crept to the door to the lab and peeked out. Nothing. I got out my garrote and tied the door handles together. Then I was back opening up the file. 

Several pages of testing on what was in the water. I almost growled when I saw the DNA content. That was my DNA, those jerks. I still hadn’t let myself think about what had happened to me. It was like trauma that if I thought about too much my body would start to shake and I would have a psychotic dissociation episode. Nope. Not going there right now.

I took pictures of the file then went looking for evidence of the trip. I found several pictures and bonus! A lot of transaction receipts for guns and other fun toys, whatever Trinitrotoluene is. I took pictures of everything I could find. I even found a freaking selfie of the idiots in front of the village they tried to burn to the ground. These guys were unbelievable. Thank goodness I hadn’t told Sherling about the old guy's private library where I had found the map. Who knows what they would have done to him.

I couldn’t find anything else but there was a lot more information here that looked like it could be important. I didn’t want to have to go through every file though so I got out a USB and downloaded everything onto it, just in case. While that was downloading I went to the door and undid the garrote. I looked around the lab then back at the photo of the team that had tried to kill me, and the memory of the knife coming at my face popped in my head. I stiffened and marched toward the cabinet in the corner. I picked the lock and found a jackpot. The samples from the Well and all kinds of chemicals in airtight containers just waiting for me to play with! I looked under the metallurgy shelf and grinned. “Thank you Macgyver for enriching my childhood,” I whispered.

I got the USB out of the computer and deleted everything off the computer. I was mean like that. I did a total reset of the hardware then went and got my concoction and set it on the counter by the computer. I tucked the samples in my bag after replacing the vials. Then I set a capsule filled with sodium metal on a piece of paper over the top of a beaker filled with water. I set the edge of the paper on fire and ran for the door as it started to burn the paper, the capsule falling into the water. I ran out the doors but slowed down on the steps and made myself calm down before I reached the door. I didn’t want to alert the meathead before the fire was really going.

I turned the door handle softly and grinned when I heard the beaker break downstairs. My energy was high so I turned the door handle a little too quickly and had to stop and breathe a little before I could lookout. Everything was still the same. Had no one heard the explosion? It was small but still! I could barely see the back of the head of the guard so I crept out the door and slowly eased it shut. I could smell the smoke from the lab and I was glad for my mask. I slunk along the wall towards the hallway but froze as another guard got up from the desk. When had the other one come? I heard him ask meathead no. 2 if he had heard something. It was meathead no. 1. I wish I could say he was still limping but he seemed fine. He strutted out towards the hallway, heading towards the basement door, he was sure to see me once he got close enough. I reached for my blowgun. I warred within myself whether to stay in place and hope he wouldn’t see me or move backward and risk him seeing the movement. Just as I was about to back up there was a knock on the front door of the building. We all looked out front to see a man standing there waiting outside the double glass front doors. Meathead no. 1 changed course and went to the front door. I started breathing again, not realizing I had been holding my breath. I hurried and snuck into the hallway while the guard yelled at the guy out front that they were closed. As I got around the corner I glanced back and noticed it was Haircut. He was holding something trying to show meathead no. 1.  I didn’t have time to figure out what he was doing now. He didn’t know I was here or that I had just started a fire. No sense in borrowing trouble.

I concentrated on my surroundings as I kept going. The fire alarm should have gone off by now, I wasn’t sure what was going on. Maybe they didn’t have fire alarms? Everyone had to, didn’t they? I hurried up the stairs, going as fast as I could while being quiet. I didn’t want to alert anybody who may be on the second or third floors. I finally made it up to the roof and slid my pocket knife out to disarm my trap on the roof door. I slid my knife out through the side of the door and cut the wire. Easing the door open I went to go outside but jumped when I heard footsteps and a man shout out, “Hey! You, stop!”

I whipped around and kept a hold of the door handle as he charged up the stairs at me. He held out a Beretta and yelled, “Don’t move!” I dropped my pocket knife and held my hand up and waited for him to come up the rest of the stairs. “Come inside slowly,” he said. Favre didn’t recognize me so I let him get real close before I kicked his gun out of his hand then kicked him in the face. He went flailing back and I kicked him again in the chest to send him falling down the stairs. Oh, that felt sweet. The memory of him stabbing me in the side faded a bit as I watched him bounce down several steps. I rushed out the door and shut it quickly, putting my boobie trap back then took off across the roof running. I made it to the side of the building and swung my body over the side and from the little light coming from the street I was able to make out some footholds. I got down to a window ledge and waited, thankful that there were curtains blocking the window. I heard men coming up onto the roof and finally, the sweet sound of my smoke bomb going off and a lot of coughing and swearing. 

A fire alarm cut through the night. About time! I got out my tiny penlight and made sure to keep it down, checked my foothold then put it away, and headed down the building. I took my time, going down is harder than up in the dark. I also had to stop several times when people checked the roof again and the alley below me but no one thought to look up on the side of the building. I could hear people running around and yelling at each other. I had to stifle a chuckle when I heard two men talking about what had happened to Favre, they said he had been attacked by a ninja! I had to stop climbing, I was stifling my laughter so much. I wondered if that’s what Favre told them to cover his asininity. After the fire trucks showed up and the firemen made all the men leave the alley, I crept down to the bottom floor and went to the back of the building where I had stowed a small bundle. I put on a flannel shirt over my black one and mini skirt to make my black leggings look fashionable. I took off my mask and flipped my beanie inside out so it was blue instead of black. I walked out of the alley and into the street, looking at all the fuss as any passerby would. The firemen waved me away and I jogged to the opposite side of the street with a few other gawkers. Then after staring for a minute I put back on my face mask and walked to the black crown victoria down the street. Haircut was sitting in the car watching me. I smiled and motioned for him to put his window down. He rolled it down and leaned towards me. I threw the USB in the window at him and winked, not stopping. He called out, “Hey! You-” but I kept going, and by the time he got out of the car I had turned the corner and took off. I ran and I admit, giggled a little as I finally let my muscles have the freedom they wanted all night long. I ran for a couple of blocks, turning at every corner. I circled back around and went to the back door of the coffee shop. I had seen that they didn’t have an alarm when I went out the back last time, so I picked the lock and let myself in. I went and sat down in the dark and watched the building burn. I sent all the pictures I had gotten to Kay then watched Haircut come back to his car and look at the USB. He smiled and I was pleased to see that he was actually handsome when he didn’t look so serious. Maybe he was a good guy, I sure hoped so. It was a risk giving him the USB but it seemed like he wanted Sherling almost as badly as I did. He got in his car and drove off. I stayed till the firefighters put out the fire, then I locked up and went home. 

 

The next morning I went to the police station and found the same cop there who didn’t believe me last time. I glared at him as I said “I want to talk to a detective because I have proof of several crimes.” He scoffed at me and reached out to take my papers but I stepped back. “You don’t get to see a detective just because you want to missy! They have actual crimes to handle not-” I walked away from him and he sputtered and called after me. “You just wait right there, missy!” I rolled my eyes and kept going to the next desk that had an older police officer sitting at it. The young annoying cop came up behind me so I said quickly to the older one, “I would like to talk to a detective. Or someone else.” I said with a disdainful look at the younger one who was glaring back at me. I turned back to the older cop who looked up at me then to the other cop and smirked, then he got on his phone and made a call and told me to go wait in the hallway behind him and someone would be along shortly. I thanked him, glared at the younger cop, and made my way to a seat. I heard the older cop teasing the younger one and tried not to smile at him, that would be petty. Okay, I smiled a little bit. His face got really red! It was hilarious. 

As I waited, trying to be mature and not gloat, I thought maybe I should have brought Kay. She looks very official when she dresses up in her accounting suit. She had wanted to come back and go with me but I had warned her that the danger wasn’t over yet so I came by myself.

I only waited a couple of minutes and a middle-aged man in a dress shirt and jeans came out and found me. Detective Peters listened to my story (I left out the part about me changing in the well) and then I showed him all the pictures and documents I had. Unfortunately, I couldn’t show him any wounds or scars but I simply said they attacked me and left me there. I mentioned the head wound and since my hair covered it he didn’t ask to see it.

 I worked with him the rest of the morning then I left after he told me he would contact me when they needed me to press charges. I felt like celebrating and I needed to get Sandy out of there. So I went to the coffee shop and waited to see if she would come out. She hadn’t called me and I hadn’t gotten her number. I wasn’t sure if she would still come to work with the building all burnt but I thought I’d take the chance. 

That afternoon Sandy came running out of the building practically in tears. I got up and went outside the door and waved to her. She came running over and burst out crying. I got her a tissue from my bag and listened to her sob her story about how her boss and how he blamed her for the fire and a break-in! She hadn’t known what to say in her defense because it was so ridiculous. I felt bad about it but then she made me feel better when she told me she had quit. I was happy for her and I told her I was proud of her. And if she needed a job she could come work for me if she couldn’t find anything else. Sandy was shocked but happy when I told her that. I felt like I would need to come clean if she did want to work for me though. We went into the coffee shop and I bought her cocoa. 

I glanced up as police cars came to a stop in front of the building across the coffee shop. I sat there and happily drank my cocoa as Sherling and his goons were arrested. I took some pictures to send to Kay and Luke. Then Haircut came into the shop. He looked around, saw me, and came over. I patted Sandy’s hand as she gasped. “It’s alright, don’t worry about him. He’s a good guy, I think.” I eyed him as he sat down. “Agent Jack Hanlon, FBI.,” he said as he extended his hand. I took it and shook it nice and firmly. Agent Hanlon, that’s a good one for an FBI agent.” I said with a smirk and his brows dropped in curiosity. “The name Hanlon used to be Anluan which means light or warrior in the original Gaelic.” Both Sandy and Jack looked at me with surprise and I grinned back. “Sorry, that’s what you get when you talk to a genealogist.” Jack leaned forward with a funny expression on his face. “So that’s what you are...a genealogist? I was thinking maybe... something else.” I fought the urge to laugh but held it in as I asked him. “So you were interested in Sherling? Did you find anything useful to help with your investigation?” I blinked at him innocently. He grinned and leaned back. “Yes, I have definitely got something useful.”

Sandy looked back and forth between us, confusion plain on her face. Agent Hanlon gave her a card, “I would like to interview you, Ma’am, I’m sure you have a lot of information that would be helpful.” he smiled softly at her. She glanced at me as she took his card. I nodded at her, “It would be good to help Agent Hanlon send your old boss to jail, wouldn’t it?” At that, she straightened and nodded decisively. “Yes. You’re right. I’ll help however I can.” Sandy said firmly. 

We chatted for a bit longer, making plans, then Sandy was going to go with Jack so I stood up too. Jack gave me his card, his real one this time, I checked. Then he gave us a lift to the tram station. As Sandy was going to the ladies before they left I quietly asked Agent Hanlon, “Did you perhaps have the building under surveillance last night?” He looked at me with a poker face and didn’t answer. I went on. “If by chance, you happened to go up to the building at one point, may I ask why you may have gone at that particular moment?” I saw a hint of a smile but it disappeared as he leaned closer and whispered, “Night goggles.” I’m afraid my mouth dropped open a bit in surprise but I quickly recovered. Night goggles? Of course. He had seen me sneaking out. I wasn’t sure how to feel about him helping me, I felt like I owed him. But I had given him the USB so we were even. Right?

 

I set Sandy up at my office the next day, she was a wonder. I was glad I had found her, she liked doing all the menial little jobs that I found boring, like filing and ordering things. She also organized the office a bit so that was nice. I liked it clean too but hadn’t had the chance lately. Around noon I got a call from Detective Peters and he filled me in on everything and told me I would need to come in the next day for paperwork and to record an interview. I told him I had seen the arrest and was very relieved but then he told me not to get too comfortable because Sherling had lawyered up quickly and was probably going to get out on bail soon. 

I hated our legal system sometimes. Why would you make it easier for rich people to get out of jail? So wrong. I thanked him and messaged Kay that she and Luke could come back but they should probably stay on guard.

I spent the rest of the day trying to figure out how to change the height on my driver's license. I finally went with, had plastic surgery, to get the DMV guy to believe me. That night Kay and I celebrated with potato chips and a veggie lasagna. Luke was still doing tests in his lab so we left him to it. We then tried to dye my hair black again, we left it on for the right amount of time but when we washed my hair afterward it all rinsed out! No color would stay on my hair! I guess I would have to make an appointment to get a new picture at the DMV too.

 

The next day as I was heading into my office, going over tasks I needed to get done in my head I felt the prickles on the back of my neck again. Someone was watching me. I sped up but a white van pulled up and screeched to a stop beside me. I took off running for my office door, reaching into my bag for my baton. A couple of thugs came after me, one was skinny like a druggie and the other was a bald beefcake with tattoos everywhere. The druggie tried to grab my arm but I swung my baton around on his arm and I heard the crack as I broke his wrist. He screamed and went down. Beefcake came and grabbed my arm holding the baton so I kicked him in the crotch. He lost his grip as I wrenched my arm away and he fell to the ground and threw up. I turned to run to my office but Sherling was standing in front of the door with a gun. “Get in the van, and drop the baton.” I dropped my baton and put my hands up. Turning I walked towards the van slowly. Sherling came up behind me. “I don’t know who you are but you have caused me considerable problems. Are you Angy’s sister? How did you know so much about Cavongo?” The van door was open but I paused outside. If I got in there the chances of me coming out were minimal. I turned and faced him, glaring even with how scared I was. “You’re men left me to die, Sherling! You ordered them to kill me, didn’t you?” Sherling’s mouth dropped open in shock. “Angy? Is that you? But how…?” The gun drooped slightly while he was distracted and I stepped forward, “Surprised to see me? I bet.'' Then I stepped forward again and kicked his hand that was holding the gun. The gun went flying and I dove towards him tackling him around the knees. He cried out as we both went down. His knee caught me on the mouth and I could taste blood but I was too angry to care. He turned over trying to escape my grasp but I climbed up his body, screaming for help. He hit me on the head and I put a hand up to block him but he just kept hitting my arms and face. I swung my legs around and kneed him in the crotch and he stiffened and stopped hitting me. 

I pulled his jacket down around his arms and rolled him onto his stomach. He was still curled in a ball but I managed. The skinny druggie had taken off but the big tattooed man had recovered and was starting towards us.

Right then the cops pulled up. Sandy must have called the police! I owed her a raise. And probably the truth.

I had to tell my story a couple of times but the cops believed me since Sherling kept ranting about how I was alive but had pretended to be dead. Luckily, they believed me when I told them how they had attacked me since my face looked like I had gone a few rounds in a boxing match. The cops wanted to call an ambulance but I assured them I would be fine. Sherling was arrested, again, and Sandy came running out of the office and gave the policemen Agent Hanlon’s card and told them to call him for details. I tried to smile at her but my lip was bleeding and it hurt. Sandy ran back inside and brought out a first aid kit for me. She cleaned me up until Luke and Kay got there, then Luke took over and happily took some more blood samples. Kay hugged me gently, “How do you get yourself into these messes? I mean, I know it’s not your fault but good grief! I’m going to sue that stupid Sherling until he goes bankrupt!” I chuckled a little as she turned and glared at the police car he was sitting in the back of. They helped me to my office and I sat down on my cozy chair and Luke put an ice pack on my face. I heard Kay and Luke chatting with Sandy then Kay came and sat down on the arm of my chair. I peeked out from under my icepack at her. “Mom and Dad would be really proud of you, Ang.” she said softly, petting my hair. I gave her a half-smile, “Well, Mom would be scolding me for not protecting my face in a fight and giving me advice on how I should have fought better and Dad would be trying to shove meds down my throat and giving me advice on how to take care of my wounds, like I hadn’t heard it all a hundred times before, but, yes. I think they would be proud of me.” We both laughed in fond remembrance.

I got a call from Agent Hanlon later that afternoon and he came to my office to do my interview so I wouldn’t have to travel. He was turning out to be a really nice guy. Of course, he also seemed to be the smartest since he actually asked questions about what had happened down in Cavongo that I didn’t have an answer to. I hemmed like I was trying to remember and claimed a headache from my wounds and he let it pass, for the moment. I could see he had looked me up and was very interested in the changes I had gone through. I was thinking about telling him but then he got a phone call and stood up with a stoic look on his face. He got off the phone and grabbed all his things, “I’ve got to go, we can finish this later. When you feel better.” He shook my hand, I could feel his calluses and wondered what they were from. “Sure, just give me a call,” I said to him with a soft smile. He was still holding my hand. He gave me a half-smile back then left.  Looks like I still have some planning to do.

I sat back in my chair and tried to think of what I could tell Agent Hanlon about why my appearance had changed so much. I didn’t think he would buy the plastic surgery story. I brought my hand up to look at, I had changed so much yet, I still felt like me. As I stared at my hand I started feeling a small weird itch in the middle of my palm. I scratched at it but it didn’t help. I rubbed it on the edge of my desk and it felt slightly better. I heard a crack and jerked back in surprise as the edge of the desk where I had been rubbing broke off! A palm-sized indent was missing! I brought my hand up and looked at it. It still looked the same. “Well, that’s new.”



 

TO BE CONTINUED


Submitted: February 23, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Gail Blue. All rights reserved.

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Criss Sole

This was a great read. I'm so curious why the well changed Angy so much. And she was murdered?! So is this her soul coming back from the dead for some revenge? Hmmm i'm curious to find out.
Sandy seems like a great friend and co worker.
This was a great start!

Wed, February 24th, 2021 12:56pm

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