Approaching footsteps made them jump.
“Friends, the prisoners are untied!” said a hissing, reptilian voice. They knew it belonged to one of the Celryn.
“They cannot escape now - is there any point in tying them?” another replied. “After all, we have already sent the film.”
“That is true. You do well to remind me.” There was a pause. Angie and Greg glanced at one another, their faces mirror images of the emotions they were both feeling. Terror. Blind, unfeeling panic.
“Humans, we have sent a message,” said the Celryn who appeared to be leading, walking around to face them. Angie looked up.
“A message?” she said, ignoring the churning of her stomach as her brain processed the images it was seeing.
“To your daughter. And her young friend, the Telcontar.” The Celryn spat out the word as though it dirtied his lips. Greg was wordlessly communicating with Angie.
“She’s alive!” he mimed and Angie nodded.
“Yes, your daughter has survived the fight.” The Celryn curled its black lip in distaste. “More than that, even. After the Telcontar arrived, our people were all but destroyed.” The two adults visibly relaxed. “Cursed fairy child,” muttered the Celryn. “She’s not supposed to be able to do that!”
There was a long silence.
“What have you told them?” said Angie at last, somewhat nervously.
“We have simply demanded of them some conditions. If they do not agree, we will kill you, unless they come to rescue you.”
“They will never agree,” said Greg, and the Celryn looked triumphant.
“We know, for these demands are not what they will be happy with. And all rescue attempts will fail - we have made sure of that.” They looked too happy about this. Greg wanted to strike them, to take out his anger and despair on these foul creatures, but Angie laid a hand on his arm.
“Keep calm,” she whispered. “Please, for me.” He forced his breathing slower.
“I’m sorry,” he said, knowing that his wife detested violence in all its forms. “I truly am.”
“Shh,” was her only reply. “Listen.” Because the Celryn was speaking again, its followers hissing with approval and nodding. It was a sickening sight.
“It may cheer you to know,” it said, “that your ‘daughter’ is receiving instruction from a ghost in how to use her powers. Certainly, it pleases us, for it will make it possible for us to … use her.” Angie looked up, worried by the phrasing.
“What … what do you mean?” she said with her anxiety clearly visible in her voice, which trembled and broke.
“We intend to make her join us, so that she will become a weapon of ours,” the Celryn told her.
“She’ll never join you!” Greg cried out, forgetting his promise to stay calm you. “Anna wouldn’t, she simply wouldn’t!”
“Oh, we weren’t thinking of giving her a choice.” The assembled Celryn laughed nastily, causing Angie to bury her face in her hands. She hated to think of her daughter being trapped into an alliance with these … things, especially since that would mean turning her against Matt, for although she thought that Anna was too young, Angie knew that Matt had feelings for her foster daughter, and Anna for him.
It was a conundrum she could not solve while being threatened by aliens, and Angie looked at Greg, and he at her.
“They’ll be okay, don’t worry,” he whispered.
Angie looked up at the Celryn, standing around them in a circle, and they recoiled from the new hope that shone from her eyes, because she had just heard the most amazing words whispered in her ear.
She’s going to let you go, because your little daughter is going to save the universe.