Chapter 9: Camping

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

Reads: 148

Sam sat up in bed, rubbing his eyes. The light streaming in from the window behind him had woken him. The thick curtains had been closed when he had initially opened his eyes, so he hadn’t noticed it. As Sam yawned and stretched, he realized he was free of his restraints. Eagerly, he stood up and walked around the room, stretching his legs. He glanced at his watch, and his eyes widened in surprise.

He had been asleep for a total of two days! The date on his watch proved it. Sam hurried to the door and pulled it open, stepping out into the hall.

He almost crashed right into Jason.

It took both of them a couple seconds to register who they were looking at.

Finally, Jason broke the silence that had fallen over them, “Sam...” he said, a smile spreading over his face. After a half-second’s pause, he stepped forward and wrapped his son in a tight hug. Sam hugged him back, glad to see him. After a minute, they pulled away.

“How are you feeling?” Jason asked.

“Like crap,” Sam said truthfully. His head throbbed, his muscles ached, and his face still stung where Ian’s people had punched him.

Jason chuckled. “Good. That’s normal,” he said, “Your brain is adjusting to the new power.”

“Where’s Ali?” Sam asked, eager to know she was ok.

“She’s fine,” Jason said, reading his mind. “She woke up for the second time around midnight and started walking around. She and the other kids are down in Henry’s lair, playing videogames.” Jason looked at him curiously.

“What?” Sam asked finally.

“Nothing,” Jason said. “Just curious what you can do. We know what Ali can do-”

Sam interrupted him, “How?”

“She told us. When you wake up, you just kind of know. Anyway, she can dream walk, for one,” Jason began.

Just like Scarlett, Sam thought.

Jason continued, “She has enhanced agility, precognitive dreaming, adoptive muscle memory, which means once she sees any action, she can copy it perfectly, hyper awareness, which means she notices all the details we miss, can find patterns we couldn’t, reads and interoperates expressions and body language, and analyzes handwriting, and enhanced memory, or perfect recall, which means she can recall anything she heard, read, and saw instantly.”

“That will come in handy on tests...” Sam muttered. Jason chuckled. They were silent again.

“Well, I have a meeting to attend to,” Jason said. Sam nodded, and Jason started to walk away.

“Dad wait,” Sam stopped his father quickly.

“Yeah?” Jason asked.

Sam hesitated. He was going to tell him about what happened with Scarlett, but suddenly he decided not to. “Uh...thanks...for getting me out of there,” Sam said, recovering quickly.

Jason smiled, “No thanks necessary,” he said, and walked on down the hall.

Sam watched him disappear around the corner, then went in the opposite direction, walking down the stairs.

Sam jogged down the steps that led down the Henry’s lair and found the others sitting in beanbag chairs around a group of see-through monitors, controllers in hand, playing Call of Duty: Black Ops. When they heard Sam come down, they turned around. Once they registered who it was, they didn’t even bother pausing the game before they ran over to him.

Ali threw her arms around him. “Thank God,” she said, her voice muffled by Sam’s shirt.

“Good to see you, man,” Luke smiled.

“I’m glad you’re ok,” Megan said, sounding relieved.

“We thought we were too late,” the twins added in unison.

“How are you feeling?” Ali asked, pulling away.

“I’m fine,” Sam assured them. They were silent for a couple seconds.

“Well, if that’s the case,” Luke said, grabbing a controller from beside the screens, and extended it to him.

It was all he had to say. Sam was desperate to return to normal activities. He snatched the controller from his friend and jumped onto a beanbag chair. The others followed his lead, and soon they were all absorbed in the game.

**********

The next few days were a blur. Sam and Scarlett continued to have meetings in Sam’s dreams. She was becoming really helpful. She was feeding him some valuable information about how Ian’s clan worked, who the major players were, and stuff like that. He hated to admit it, but Sam found himself starting to trust her, even like her. Meanwhile, he and Ali worked with Megan, Luke, Amber, and Jason to try and learn to control their newfound powers.

It was not an easy task. Their powers kept making themselves known every chance they got. Sam’s enhanced hearing made it all extremely difficult, and became his main focus. His enhanced reflexes were really handy, but they didn’t work all the time. It was still possible to sneak up on him, he soon discovered after a small prank.

Ali on the other hand didn’t have such problems. Her powers didn’t interfere with her everyday life. She worked with Luke and Amber on perfecting her abilities rather than controlling them.

Sam and Megan were working in the backyard while Luke and Amber worked with Ali inside. Jason was in a meeting, so the two of them were alone.

Sam’s face was a look of pure concentration. And then suddenly, he flinched and grunted in pain, covering his ears.

“What is it?” Megan asked, worried.

“Roadwork a couple miles down the road,” Sam explained, his jaw clenched and ears covered. Finally, his hearing returned to normal, and he dropped his hands. “Someone was using a jackhammer.” Megan nodded in understanding and Sam groaned, sitting down on the bench behind him. “This is hopeless,” he grumbled.

“No it’s not. It gets better, trust me. It’s only been two days since you got these powers. Give it time. It took me about four days before I was able to stop hurting people whenever I got mad,” Megan assured him.

“I hate this,” Sam growled.

“I know,” Megan sighed.

“I really, really, really hate this.”

“I know, but it’s who you are now. You have to accept it.”

“I don’t want to.”

“I know you don’t, and I wish you didn’t have to, but you can’t change it.”

“Why did this have to happen?”

“Because you’re insanely powerful, and Ian’s a self-absorbed, power-hungry, heartless, sociopathic douchebag.”

“Yeah, that’s the understatement of the year.”

“I was trying to be nicer than I should be. Truth is he’s a blood thirsty monster.”

Sam looked at the girl next to him. “You sound like you have personal experience,” he said.

Megan was silent for a moment. “When I was thirteen, I went to stay at my aunt’s clan’s home base with my mom, dad, little sister, and big brother. While I was out with friends, Ian came and wiped out the whole clan because they refused to join him. Nobody survived,” she said softly. Sam could see she was fighting back tears.

“I’m so sorry...” Sam said, unsure what to say.

Megan nodded her thanks. She paused. “And the worst part is, even though we have a ton of people on our side, which you have only caught a glimpse of, by the way, all over the world, Ian and his people still outnumber us three-to-one.”

“So why did he want me and Ali in the first place?” Sam asked. “I mean, if he’s already got the numbers...”

“With you and Ali, we stand a chance. With you and Ali on his side, we’re dead. Without a doubt, we would all die. And Ian’s a power-hungry douchebag,” Megan reminded him.

Sam sighed, knowing she was right. “I want to go home.”

“I know. And I’m sorry, Sam, I really am. But there’s nothing you can do about it yet. If you go back there, your friends and family could die.”

“It’s been a week. John and Lucy are probably really worried. For no reason.”

“You’ll be going back soon. Now, let’s try this again. Focus and try to listen to Ali’s lesson inside,” Megan said.

Sam sighed, then closed his eyes and focused all his energy on the task at hand...

**********

Jake looked around the basketball court, his eyes vacant. He had just finished basketball practice, and, like the rest of the team, he was too distracted to be any good at any of the drills. It had been a week since Sam had disappeared, and nobody had their head in the game. All the same, he hated how bad he had played, so he came to the outdoor court near his house to take a few shots.

Jake sighed, squinting in the sun. Then he dribbled the ball a few times, took aim, and shot. The ball deflected off the rim and bounced out of reach. Jake groaned, frustrated, and started after it. Someone beat him to it.

A man in jeans, a red t-shirt, and a jacket caught the ball at the edge of the court, walking towards the eighteen-year-old.

“Jake Torrell?” he asked.

Jake nodded, a rock forming in his stomach. Something didn’t feel right, but he couldn’t tell what, exactly, it was. “Yeah. Who are you?” he questioned hesitantly.

“Come with me,” the man said, his voice mildly threatening.

“I don’t think so,” Jake laughed slightly.

The man turned to him, his eyes burning. “Listen to me. You are going to text your parents. You are going to tell them you’re going to spend the night at a friend’s house. You are going to make sure they can’t disprove that statement. And if all goes well, you are going to be home tomorrow morning like nothing happened,” the man’s voice dropped in volume. There was a threatening note in his voice that made Jake’s stomach flip-flop. “Now come with me, or you’ll be bleeding out on the concrete in about ten seconds.”

Jake’s heart skipped a beat. He saw something glint in the man’s hand and tensed when he identified it as the blade of a knife.

“So, Jake,” the man said, a grin on his face. “Are you going to cooperate?” Jake hesitated, trying to control his heart rate, then nodded. “Good,” the man said. “Now why don’t you text your mom so we can go?”

Jake gulped, then drew his phone out of his pocket. He opened a new text, struggling to keep his hands from shaking, and told his mom that he was going camping with his friends Drew and Evan and Drew’s uncle, and that he would be home the next morning. It was true that Drew and Evan were going camping with Drew’s uncle, and would be out of touch for the whole time. Before he sent it, he showed the screen to the man, just as he was told. Then, grabbing his stuff from the ground, Jake was led to a van and loaded inside. The man climbed in the back with him. Another man was waiting there for them, holding a gun aimed Jake’s ribs. Once they were all inside, the driver started the engine and took off...

**********

It was about six at night when the phone rang at the clan’s base house. Everyone was crowded around the TV, and the caller ID popped up on the screen.

“What in the hell...?” Sam muttered in disbelief.

“What?” Jason asked, noticing his son’s distress.

“That’s Jake’s number,” Sam said softly. Seeing Jason’s confusion, he explained, “My best friend, you met him at the house on Friday.”

“Answer it,” Jason said, handing him the phone.

Sam took it and pressed the TALK button, “Hello?”

“Sam, it’s so good to hear from you again,” the voice that came over the line made Sam’s breath catch in his throat and his heart skip a few beats.

Sam stood up and walked around the couch, into the kitchen. “Ian,” he said softly, his voice full of hatred. Everyone in the living room tensed up at the name. “How did you get this number?”

“You’re not the only one with a computer genius on your side. You may be unlisted, but you’re not unknown,” Sam could almost hear Ian smiling, like he had already won.

“And the phone?” Sam questioned, not sure he wanted to know the answer.

“It’s a loan,” Ian taunted.

Sam waited for a moment, then, seeing he was going to make him ask, he sighed, “From who?”

“A friend of yours, actually,” there was a pause.

“Hello?” Sam asked, nervous.

“Sam?” Sam’s anger level rose as he heard his friend’s confused and scared voice.

“Jake, hold on, ok? You’re going to—” Sam began. Ian interrupted.

“Listen closely, Sam,” Ian said smugly. “I’m going to give you an address, and you’re going to be there, tonight, alone, at eleven o’clock. If you don’t...Well, your friend Jake is going to make a big, nasty stain on my nice floor.”

Sam hesitated, glancing at the others. Jason, too, had enhanced hearing, and could hear the whole conversation. It was obvious he hated the idea, and since he was quietly telling everyone else what was happening, the others did too. But Sam knew he had no choice. He couldn’t let his best friend die because of him.

“What’s the address?” Sam said finally.

Ian smiled and rattled off the address. Sam didn’t have to remember; Jason told it to the others, and Ali and Henry would remember it. Then Sam hung up, anger and frustration making his heart beat faster...

**********


Submitted: April 20, 2012

© Copyright 2022 Alyssa Pryce. All rights reserved.

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