Chapter 2: Family Matters

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 249

Sam Collins walked along the sidewalk, his little sister, Ali, by his side. It had been an agonizingly long Friday at their high school, where Sam was a senior and Ali was a sophomore, and he thanked God it was the weekend. His backpack was light, with very few books in it. He had almost no homework, a rarity he cherished. He laughed as Ali told him a story her friend had told her that day, and she laughed with him. It wouldn’t be long before they reached the home of John and Lucy Collins, their adoptive parents.

Three years earlier, their mother, Grace Weston, was killed in a hit and run accident on her way home from work. The siblings had nowhere to go after that, since their father, Jason Weston, disappeared when Ali was three. It was still an open case. The police never had any leads. Of course, Sam knew exactly where his father was. Well, not exactly, but he did know that he was alive, in hiding.

What Ali didn’t know was that she, like Sam, their father, and many others, belonged to a secret race of people, called the Riorti. The people that make up that race, after they go through a ritual called Denekawa, all have extraordinary gifts. Denekawa is what brings those dormant gifts to the surface. If the normal world knew about them, they’d either be locked up in an asylum, or taken to a lab for testing. So, since their existence, they have lived in secret. Within the Riorti race, there were clans, or groups of them that stuck together, usually with one leader, like a large family. They operated as one, with a central belief, though sometimes, those beliefs varied from clan to clan.

That was why their father was hiding. His clan, the Cahaya clan, wants to continue to live peacefully with the rest of the human race. Another clan, called the Culfire clan, believes that the Riorti race is far superior to the rest of mankind, and wants to take over. The Cahaya clan was one of the only clans left to oppose this, because Culfire, and more specifically their leader, Ian Holt, had taken out the leaders of the other opposing clans and forced the remaining members to join him. Since then the Cahaya clan has joined forces with the only other remaining good clan, the Iman clan, and their father was the unofficial leader of both clans. The Iman clan leader decided that he knew more about their enemy, considering that he had known him since they were kids, and would be better at finding ways to take him down.

Sam continued walking, now only half listening to his sister. Jason Weston. Sam had mixed feelings about him. On the one hand, he knew what his father was doing was for the best, but on the other, he had expected more from him after his mom died. He had expected him to step up, to not let them become wards of the state, get tossed into foster care and separated until Ali came to the Collins family, who had pulled some strings to reunite them.

Sam jolted back to reality when Ali grabbed his arm and pulled. Apparently, he had almost walked into the middle of the busy intersection.

“Are you ok, Sam?” she asked. “You seem distracted.”

“No, no, I’m fine. I promise,” Sam grinned.

Ali paused, then nodded. When the coast was clear, they walked across the street and continued home.

Just as Sam was about to head inside after his sister, he froze, feeling eyes on him. He turned, looking across the street. Sure enough, there was a man leaning against a tree, waiting. When he saw Sam looking, he nodded, a quick jerk of the head, beckoning him over.

Ali stopped, her hand on the door handle and turned around. “Sam?” she asked, growing worried. Sam turned to look at her. “You coming or what?”

“Yeah, of course, but um, I just forgot something I have to do. I’ll meet you inside, ok?” Sam smiled his reassuring smile. Ali wasn’t totally convinced, but eventually, she nodded and headed inside.

When she was gone, Sam sighed, looking down at the ground for a moment, then he looked back across the street. The man was still there. Sam hesitated, then jogged across the street to meet him. He stopped a couple feet away.

The man nodded at him, “Sam.”

Sam nodded in reply, the anger from their last conversation seven months earlier starting to come to the surface, “Dad.”

Jason noticed the anger in his eyes an sighed, “What now?”

“Oh nothing. Just wondering what made you crawl out from under your rock and come see me for the second time this year. By the way, that’s a new record for you. You should be proud.”

“Sam, please, don’t start this again!”

“No, Dad, really, I want to know! I want to know what made you take time out of your busy hiding schedule to come see your children, who always seem to come second in your life!”

Rage flashed in his father’s eyes, and for a moment, Sam was scared. But as soon as it had come, it was gone, replace with just average anger, which Sam could definitely handle. “Don’t you dare say that, Sam! You know exactly why I left, and you know exactly why I don’t come around, why you can never get a hold of me, why Ali thinks I either left you guys for someone else or died!”

“If you really cared, you would have found a way! Do you know what hell we went through in foster care? They separated us, put us in group homes with kids covered in piercings and tattoos that were probably criminals! My first day, I got my face pounded in by four huge guys because I asked for directions. They locked us in our rooms, even though we did nothing wrong! We were treated like criminals by the adults and like crap by the other kids, and that was on a good day. You could have prevented all of that if you had just stepped up for once!”

“And if I had? What would Ali have said? She doesn’t know about me! She doesn’t know about what I am, what I can do, who she is, who you are. She doesn’t know any of it! Can you imagine what explaining that to her would mean? She would’ve never been the way she is now. She wouldn’t be that happy, talented girl. She’d be scared, always on the run, always hiding, always looking over her shoulder, and so would you!”

Sam was about to shoot back a retort, but then they heard a door open. Sam turned his head to see Jake, his best friend, standing in the doorway of his house.

“Sam? Are you ok?” Jake asked, casting a questioning glance at Jason.

“Uh, yeah, Jake. I’m fine,” Sam smiled, instantly switching gears.

Jake hesitated. “Are you sure?” he asked.

“Yeah, man, I’m sure,” Sam chuckled.

Jake paused, then nodded. “Ok. See you at the game tomorrow?”

“Duh, dude, I’m the captain. And it’s a rivalry game. I wouldn’t miss it for anything,” Sam smiled. “I’d have to be dead.”

Jake laughed, then muttered a few parting words and disappeared behind his door.

Sam turned back to his father, once again angry. “So why are you here?”

Jason was silent for a while, not meeting Sam’s eyes. “I had to make sure you guys were ok...” he said softly.

“Of course we are. Why wouldn’t we be?” Sam asked, his anger beginning to fade, replaced with concern. When Jason didn’t answer, that concern grew. His expression softened, until there was no trace of the rage he had once felt. Now there was just worry. “Dad what’s wrong?”

The man remained quiet. Finally, he looked up and met Sam’s eyes, a forced smile on his face. “It’s nothing. Just do me a favor, stick close to your sister. If you need anything, anything at all, give me a call on my second cell phone...the first one got run over...you have the number right?” When Sam nodded, obviously not buying it still, Jason continued. “Good, then if you need anything, give me a call. I promise I’ll pick up. Bye, Sam,” Jason smiled, then turned and walked off, not giving Sam a chance to argue or object.

Sam sighed, knowing it was pointless to try and argue with him now. He paused for a moment, then turned and walked back to the house.

**********

Sam rested on his bed, his feet by the pillows, propped up on his elbows in front of his laptop at the foot of the bed. It was after eleven. The sun had long-since set. Thirty minutes ago, Ali had gotten home from a movie with her friends. The house was now silent.

Suddenly, Sam heard a floorboard creek. He jumped and looked up. Ali was standing in the doorway, wearing her favorite pair of sweatpants and an old softball t-shirt. Sam sighed, relaxing.

“I really wish you would stop doing that,” he said, returning his gaze to the computer screen.

“Who were you talking to today?” Ali asked, leaning against the doorframe with her arms folded over her chest, her striking, icy blue eyes alert, searching.

“When?” Sam asked, not looking up. Of course he knew what she meant, but he really did not want to talk about it.

“Um, right after we got home? Stop dodging and tell me.”

“It was nobody, Ali. Let it go.”

“Really? So do you always get in heated arguments with random nobodies? Because if you do, we should really talk about it.”

“Ali, I am begging you. Just back off.”

“Not until you tell me what’s going on!”

“Ali!” Sam shouted, impatient.

Ali took a step back, eyes wide with shock. Sam sighed and slid off the bed, walking over to her.

“Look, Ali, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to yell at you. I’m just really tired. I’ll explain everything tomorrow after the game, ok?” When Ali nodded, Sam smiled. “Good. Now we both need to get some sleep, ok?”

Ali nodded. “Good night,” she said softly.

“Goodnight,” Sam smiled. The he plopped down on his chest in front of his laptop screen once more and Ali disappeared up the stairs.

Around 11:45, Sam decided it was time to go to bed. He quickly posted a Facebook status about how psyched he was about the game the next day, and how he expected everyone to be there to cheer the team on, and logged off, closing his laptop and sliding it underneath his bed. Then he crawled under the covers and turned off the lights. Sleep claimed him within ten minutes.

**********

“Sam?” Vaguely, Sam heard a voice whisper his name. He clung to sleep, too tired to wake up, not wanting to leave the warmth of his bed, the joy of his dreams.

“Sam!” The whisper became more urgent, and he felt someone prodding him, trying to wake him up. He groaned and rolled over. Then, suddenly, his covers were gone, and the cold of his room attacked him from all sides. He bolted upright. He turned to the left. In the vague moonlight streaming in through the window, he could just make out the outline of a woman’s face leaning over him, her hair falling over her shoulders.

Sam scrambled away from her. “Who the hell are you?!” Sam shouted in a loud whisper.

“Shh!” The woman urged. Sam guessed her age to be about twenty-four. “Listen. My name’s Amber, Amber Donovan. I work with your dad. He sent me and my friend, Daniel Fair, to come get you and your sister. He’s waiting outside in the car. We have to go now, ok? Don’t bother packing, we have stuff there for you. Let’s go!”

“How do I know you’re telling the truth?” Sam growled. At that moment, his cell phone buzzed on the side table, the screen alight. Sam grabbed it off the table and opened the text from his dad.

TRUST HER. YOU AND ALI HAVE TO GO. WILL EXPLAIN EVERYTHING LATER.

Sam sighed and nodded at the woman. He slid out of bed and pulled on his tennis shoes, shoved his cell phone and wallet into his pocket, and stood up.

“I’ll get Ali and meet you downstairs,” Sam whispered.

“Hurry,” Amber hissed. “We don’t have a lot of time.”

Sam nodded and tiptoed upstairs, while Amber quickly and quietly went downstairs to wait for him. Sam slid into Ali’s room, and without even hesitating, he picked Ali up in his arms. He couldn’t waste time waking her up and trying to explain what was happening. He didn’t have to whole picture himself. So he would have to explain later.

Ali slept soundly, clutching her favorite toy dog in her hands. She had had it since the day she was born. Sam bent down carefully and picked up a pair of her tennis shoes, then he crept downstairs, silent and ninja-like. He met Amber near the front door and followed her outside, where a small 4-door sedan was waiting, the engine idle. Amber climbed into the passenger seat, and Sam slid into the back seat with Ali. Without a word, the man behind the wheel took off.


Submitted: April 15, 2012

© Copyright 2022 Alyssa Pryce. All rights reserved.

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