Remi just might be the last of her kind. The only problem is, she has no idea what her kind is. She has the power to manipulate her aura and use it as a sheild or a weapon. However, what started as a flight to Massachusetts in her search for some answers has turned into a race against time to save a group of young witches and possibly even herself.
The plane rumbled and shook violently. My knuckles turned white as I tightened my grip on the edge of my seat. I would have had a death grip on the arm rests had it not been for my neighbors infringing on my personal space. I was sandwiched between a very talkative older woman named Marcie and a nervous, plump man. The man had been mumbling incoherently to himself for the entire flight and when we hit the turbulence he began chanting "we're gonna die" under his breath. It was quite unnerving, especially considering that this was my first time flying. Not to mention the fact that his aura halo was a confusing mix of emotional colors which most likely meant that he was mentally unstable.
The woman beside me seemed to be doing fine though, her aura halo a nice happy, blue. She had fallen asleep about 15 minutes ago and had managed to sleep through all of the turbulence. Even though she had the window seat, she had chosen to lean towards me instead. Drool pooled on her shoulder and I grimaced. I was riding coach though, so what did I expect? Guess I should have worked my butt off even more and bought a first class ticket. Too late now.
I had made sure to take the first few moments after boarding the plane to look over the passengers on the plane. Judging by their auras most were just your normal run of the mill humans, or as most Preternatural's liked to call, Nulls. There were a handful of witches and some sort of half demon. You could tell by their auras. Every being has an aura and their auras consist of different colors and meanings. The base color that clings to the body indicates the type of being. Nulls and witches were a light blue, Demons were black, half-demons a dark blue, and mages were purple. If that being has a powers or abilities then they will have a second color representing it that outlines their base color. Nulls rarely had this second color and this was the big thing that set them apart aurally from witches. My favorite part of the aura, however, is the color that halos the head. The aura halo conveys their emotions like some big glowing mood ring. It worked great as a lie detector. The concept of aura reading really was very simple, even some Nulls could learn how to. I was born with my little affinity to auras. Not only am I an expert at reading them but I could also manipulate and solidify my own to do many things. I guess you could say that I was one of a kind. This was exactly why I was flying to New York. I hoped to meet with one of the oldest Sorcerers alive and maybe find out just what I was.
Another jolt of turbulence shook the plane roughly. The seat belt light came on and I tugged on my belt to assure myself that it was still secure. The PA system clicked and after a bit of fuzz, announced in a monotone voice, "We are experiencing some turbulence due to a storm that we are passing through, but we should be through it in a few minutes. Please stay in your seats until further notice". Well no shit... My stomach roiled, making me wish for those Dramamine that I had forgotten at home. I eyed the barf bag that was tucked into the seat pocket in front of me and prayed that I wouldn't need it.
Marcie let out a loud snore and I had to fight hard to suppress a giggle. Even in her sleep she couldn't keep quiet. At least she wasn't still talking about her 20 or so cats... She was real sweet, but a person can only take so much and 30 minutes of that was very close to that point.
The shade beside Marcie was closed but I could still slightly see out the window in the row in front of me. The sky was a dark bluish-black and would briefly light up every few seconds with the numerous flashes of lightning. Thunder rumbled sporadically adding to the rumble of the turbulence. Being in the middle of a thunderstorm didn't exactly make me feel very safe. Especially in a big hunk of metal... The plane made a slight abrupt dip in altitude and shook so violently that I swear I could feel my brain rattle.
"We're going to die, we're all going to die!" the pudgy man said, his voice getting louder and edging towards hysterical. His hands clawed frantically at his seatbelt. Oh damn... What do you say to calm a crazy man who is on the verge of a break down? No scratch that, who is having a breakdown. Especially when your own nerves are so close to becoming shot.
"Hey, it’s ok... We're all a little scared... You just have to take a moment and calm down.... Everything will be fine." I said in a low voice to the man and placed a hand tentatively on his shoulder. He completely ignored me and jumped up from his seat.
"They have high jacked the plane! We are all going to die! There is a bomb in the cargo bay!" The man shouted, his words quickly coming out in an almost incomprehensible stream. His chubby face was twisted in fear and confusion as he whipped his head from side to side as if searching the cabin.
"Sir," the female flight attendant in the rear of the plane called as she made her way up the aisle towards him, "Sir please calm down and take your seat..."
"No! Didn't you hear me? We are all going to die! We must jump, we must escape!" He screamed, his words becoming garbled towards the end of his rant. His eye locked onto the emergence exit door hatch and he began a wobble of a run towards it. The flight attendant ran after him, catching hold of his arm in an attempt to stop him.
"Sir please..." That was all she managed before the man gave her a shove and she fell. "Help! Someone I need help!" She called as she picked herself up off of the ground. Two nearby male passengers in their mid-thirties jumped up from their seats and they tackled the hysterical man to the floor just before he could reach the door.
"Noooo," the restrained man howled, "A bomb! A bomb! A bomb!" He continued to struggle and buck on the ground trying desperately to break free. Another flight attendant rushed over to the men with a handful of zip-strips and they quickly wrenched the man's arms behind his back and secured his hands together with the plastic strips. Hauling the man up to his feet, they practically dragged him towards the rear of the plane. The man's cries had turned to sobs and babbling. The group disappeared through the curtain that separated the rear of the plane from the cabin. An awkward silence hung in the air of the cabin for a moment until one of the flight attendants reemerged. Applause and cheers erupted from a majority of the passengers and she gave a quick nod before hurrying towards the front of the plane. The applause continued even after she had vanished through the curtain leading to first class. I didn’t feel that applause was really appropriate.
My eyes felt desert dry and I realized how wide my eyes were. I blinked them slowly several times in an attempt to relax them. What the hell? It happened so fast I was still trying to process it. A snort of a snore erupted from Marcie and she awoke with a jerk.
"What! What did I miss? What’s going on?" She asked in a startled voice. How could someone have slept through all that?
"You know, I'm really not sure..." I said, more to myself than anything. Before I could continue the PA system clicked on again. "Folks, I'm sorry for the inconvenience but due to the nature of our incident we are going to have to make an emergency touchdown in Cleveland, Ohio. We will be starting a rapid descent very shortly." A wave of complaints washed through the passengers. Seriously? Why couldn't they just leave the man tied up in the back? We were only a few hours away from our destination. Ok, that was mean, but I really didn't want to be in this death trap any longer than I had to... Were they really taking him serious about the bomb thing?
My stomach did a flip as we began to descend. It was like that feeling you get on the swings, but ten times stronger. I didn't like it... My ears began to hurt and I forced a yawn in an effort to relieve the pressure. I guess it helped. A little. My throat instantly tightened and my stomach churned. Oh no... Not now! I quickly snatched up the barf bag and opened it just as I began to retch. Clearly I wasn't the only one having issue due to the chorus of retching that followed mine all around the cabin. The smell of vomit made me retch even harder. This is it. After I get to where I'm headed I will never again ride a plane. There are plenty of other modes of transportation to take and they don’t involve being 20,000 some miles in the air.
The airport was just as cold and its air just as stale as the plane. I had been shut in one of the conference room, along with the rest of the 200 or so passengers, for the past hour. The security officers were searching the plane and everyone’s luggage for anything suspicious. Oh, and don't forget cleaning up the mess from those that didn't quite make it with the barf bags... I have got to admit though, that I was glad we didn't have to sit on the plane this whole time while they cleaned.
There was a large banner in the room that stated in bold letters "going places". Ha, I laughed silently to myself, I wish. No one was allowed to leave the room, with the exception of going to the restroom, and even then we had to have a security escort. They were taking this whole incident very serious. I was really starting to feel claustrophobic with all these people. The plane had been crammed enough but when you add in all the anxious and nervous emotions that everyone was unknowingly projecting, it got a whole lot worse. Also someone was watching me. I could feel their eyes on me even though I couldn't pick them out in the crowd.
I rose from my seat with the intention of pacing around the limited space of the room, when I noticed two security officers making their way through the crowd of people. The officers ignored the questions and complaints that the people sent their way. Their eyes were on me and there was a sense of determination in their walk. Oh crap, now what?
"Remi Jones?" The taller of the two asked.
"Yes..." I answered cautiously.
"You need to come with us." he said flatly. The shorter man remained quiet, just standing there in an attempt to look intimidating. Did they really need two men to retrieve me? Me and my glorious height of 5' 1". Yep they definitely should have brought a third. Now that would have been a riot... I held back a smile at the thought.
"Am I in trouble?" I asked, putting on my best innocent face. Neither of the men seemed the least bit fazed. So much for my womanly wiles...
"You need to come with us." The tall man repeated.
I nodded in compliance and walked towards the door with the men flanking me on both sides. I nearly jumped out of my skin when the silent man grabbed hold of my upper arm. He wasn't rough, but I really didn't like to be touched, especially by a stranger. I leaned towards the silent man and as quietly and nicely as possible told him, "I am cooperating so please remove your hand before I remove it for you." Red anger flashed through his aura halo although his face showed none. He did release my arm however, and we continued walking as if nothing had happened. After exiting the conference room we continued down the corridor until the men came to a stop in front of a door labeled "personnel only". The silent man briskly rapped on the door and was greeted with what I thought was a muffled "come in". He then opened it and ushered me inside.
A man with yellow blonde hair sat at a small table. He was dressed in a very official looking suit and his aura halo was a neutral green. His facial features were stern and he had more of a beak than a nose. He kinda looked like an angry Big Bird. I had to bite my lip to keep from smiling as the tune from "Sesame Street" began playing in my head.
"Have a seat Miss Jones." Bird man said as he motioned to the empty seat across from him. I eyed the chair suspiciously before lowering myself onto it slowly. Bird man nodded to the other two men and they nodded back before exiting the room. I stared at the door as it closed, my muscles tensing, as I watched my chance of escape disappear.
"Miss Jones," the man said, bringing my attention back to him, "My name is inspector Charles. Do you know why we have brought you here?" The was a sense of expectation in that question. As if I should know the answer.
"Apart from the fact that I sitting next to the man that went loopy? No. One of the security officers already questioned me about that though."
"Mr. Andrews, the man involved with the incident swears that you whispered to him that the plane was going down." He paused, his eyes searching me for a reaction. "We also have several witnesses that saw you whisper to him."
"What? All I did was tell him to calm down, that everything was going to be okay! For heaven's sake the man is mentally ill!" I exclaimed.
"Yes he is mentally ill. Is that why you did it? Did you think that it would be funny to get him to freak out? Or did you have some other motive?"
"I would NEVER do something like that!" I said as I clenched my fists. “This is ridiculous! Maybe the voices in his head told him that, but I sure as hell didn't!" I was getting frustrated and my nerves were wearing thin. Heck, now I was even starting to sound hysterical.
"Do you carry a cell phone, Miss Jones?" Ok, where did that question come from?
"May I see it?" He asked with his hand held out expectantly. I pulled it out of my pocket slowly and plopped it into his hand with a huff. He turned it about in his hand, examining it half-heartedly. "Any other electronic devices?"
I started to shake my head no, but Inspector Big Bird was looking at the phone and not me so a head shake wouldn’t do any good. "No." I said shortly.
"You do realize that I can have those men come back in here and search you." He said as he raised his beady eyes back up to me. His face may have held no expression other than his perpetual angry look, but his eyes certainly did. Arrogance. I wanted to poke them out...
"That’s all." I said through partially clenched teeth. The man shrugged slightly and then slide my phone into his coat pocket. "Hey!" I protested and jumped up from my seat.
"Sit down." He ordered. Grudgingly I sat. "This is a very serious matter. If we decide to charge you, then you could be facing jail time and sizable fines."
I was dumbfounded... Were they really being serious? What the hell was going on?! I stared stupidly at inspector Charles, halfway waiting for him to suddenly shout, "Gotcha!" All he did however was glance at his watch before returning his stare to me. I shifted uncomfortably in my seat as the silence and his eyes weighed in on me. Then finally he spoke again.
"I'm going to leave you in here for a while to think your statement over once more. When I come back I expect the truth." He rose from his seat and it was then that I realized just how tall he was. Well over 6 foot and it was almost all in his legs, thus reinforcing his Big Bird like appearance.
"But..." I began and was immediately cut off by him.
"And don't even think of trying to leave this room. There will be an officer outside the door at all times." With that he swiftly left the room.
I rested my head on the table and lightly banged it a few times. What the heck had I gotten myself into? Moreover, how the hell did I get myself into it? I sat like that for quite some time before my usual restlessness settled in. It began in my legs so I started to wiggle my feet and then moved into my butt and I began to shift in my seat. I felt trapped. It made me nervous and when I got nervous I tended to fidget...
After two more shifts in my seat I hopped up and began to pace around the room like a caged animal. I stopped to ponder the Ohio labor law sign that was posted on the wall momentarily before resuming my nervous pacing. About the third time around I flopped myself back down on my seat.
The silence was unbearable... There were no clocks in the room so I had no idea just what time it was. No idea how long I had been in here. It made me really wish that I owned a watch, I usually just used my cell for the time, and little good it was doing me now in the inspectors pocket... It’s not as if he was going to get anything off of it. It was prepaid and I only had like 2 contacts on the damned thing. I began to tap my feet to imaginary seconds that ticked away in my head. 1...2...3...4... I was up to 869 toe tapping seconds when the door opened swiftly. A gaunt looking man walked in and gave me a nervous smile.
"Miss Jones? You are free to go." I stared at him unbelieving for a long minute before hopping up from my seat.
"What do you mean I'm free to go? Who are you?"
"Oh! I am Peter," he motioned towards his name tag. Duhh.... "I am a member of the staff here. The inspector decided that you were innocent. He said to let you leave."
"Just like that?" I questioned, talking more to myself than him. He nodded his head quickly. "Ok... Oh No! What time is it?"
"5:42 pm" He said with a glance at his watch to confirm.
"Crap! My plane! Is it..."
"Gone. It left about five minutes ago." He replied matter of factly.
"Are you serious? You have got to be kidding me..." I said as I marched towards the man in the open doorway, "Wait, what about my bags?"
"Right here Miss,” he motioned beside him at the small suitcase and tote. Duhh again. "Oh and here is your cellular."
"Thanks..." I held the cell phone gingerly in my hand and briefly looked it over. Nothing looked wrong with it. It didn't look tampered with or switched. Still had the exact same gash on the left side due to the fact I had dropped it one to many times. Still maybe it was time for me to get a different number and phone...
"Sorry for the inconvenience but the earliest flight opening to your destination is in three days"
"Excuse me? You know what SCREW flying! I want my money back on my ticket. I will find another way there." The scrawny man cringed at my raised voice.
"Ohhh, I'm sorry mam, it is a very busy time for flights. I am only authorized to refund half of your ticket value though..."
"Well then you had better get the full amount authorized because I have had it with this bullshit!"
I sighed and sat down on the curb. The cab was late. It was supposed to have been here like 30 minutes ago... Maybe I could take the RTA in the airport and then walk the rest of the way... How far did the woman at the front desk say downtown was from the greyhound station? About a mile? I could do that. Yeah. I tugged my cell out of my pant pocket and glanced at the time. 5:45 pm. The next RTA left at six. I would give the cab five more minutes and that was it. Then I was going to head to the RTA. I continued to stare at my cell until the time changed to 5:46. You know what, screw five minutes! I stood and stooped to gather my bags when I heard the squeal of tires. I raised my head slightly only to behold a taxi cab coming at me head on and fast. In my attempt to scuttle backwards, I tripped on the curb and landed right on my ass on the sidewalk. The impact sent a jarring pain up my spine. Now I wouldn't really say that I was lacking in the butt department, I had one I swear. It’s just that most of my but consisted of bone so it did little to cushion my fall. I was almost completely sure that I would have a nasty bruise from this one. The cab whipped sideways and came to a screeching halt just inches in front of me. I stared wide eyed at the yellow panel of its door, forgetting momentarily the pain in my bum.
Clun-clunk. The sound of a car door opening echoed on the walls of the building. High heeled footsteps clicked their way around the car and came to a stop about two feet to my right.
"Whew! You would not believe the traffic! Construction can really mess up the flow of things you know? I got here as quick as I could though. Hey, are you alright? What are you doing sprawled out like that on the ground?" A bouncy feminine voice said. I slowly shifted my gaze from the cab to the woman towering over me on my right. She was tall, at least 5'8", auburn hair, olive skin, and very curvy. She appeared to be in her early thirties. She was smiling and concern showed through her eyes as well as her aura. I almost mistook her as a Null but then I caught a glimpse of the earthy brown that faintly outlined her aura. This woman was a witch.
"You... You could have killed me!" I exclaimed.
"Ohh nonsense! I was completely in control. Why is it everyone wiggs out so bad about my driving?" The woman then extended her hand down to me. I hesitated, my eyes shifting from her hand to her smile and then back again. She seemed nice and all but I still couldn’t help but feel that the worried gray in her aura was not for me but something else entirely. Well at least mostly for something else. Also she really didn’t strike me as the cab driver type. I mean come on who would want to wear stiletto heals and a pencil skirt while driving a cab? Oh, what the hell! I reached my hand up to meet hers and with her help hauled myself up. Her hand felt wet and it made mine tingle slightly. I had to plaster a smile on my face in an effort to avoid grimacing. She didn’t seem to notice my discomfort and quickly went to work grabbing my bags. Eyes still wide, I stood there just staring at the woman as she chattered incessantly about the traffic and set my luggage onto the rear passenger seat. Funny, I wonder why she didn’t put them into the trunk. I raised my hands, palm up to inspect the damage and was glad to see that they suffered only a few small scrapes. I guess my butt must have taken the brunt of the fall. Then I remembered the wetness from the woman’s hand. Eww... She wasn’t looking so I quickly wiped my hands off on my pants and then gingerly rubbed my battered bum a little.
"Well come on let’s get going." The woman said as she crawled backwards out of the back seat. How she was able to crawl in a pencil skirt, I wasn’t sure, but she did it quite gracefully. I nodded and slid into the back seat. She swung my door closed and I immediately grabbed the seat belt and I buckled in. This day was just getting better and better... My eyes followed the woman as she scurried around the car and climbed into the driver’s seat. She had barely closed the door when she put the car in gear and gunned the gas. The cushion of my seat seemed to engulf me as the car peeled out of the parking lot and gravity took hold.
"Oh yeah, my name's Aubrey." The woman said before taking her left hand off the steering wheel and twisting in her seat to face me. She leaned between the two seats and offered me a handshake through the small window in the plastic that separated us. I watched in horror as the car began to drift left of center.
"Nice to meet you." I practically squeaked as I shook her hand quickly and had to fight the urge to thrust it back at her. I know it’s rude not to look at someone when you are speaking to them but I just couldn’t help it. My eyes were glued to the road and they were staying there. Besides maybe Aubrey would get the hint.
"They said yours was Remi right?"
"Yep." I said only halfway paying attention to the conversation. My eyes spotted a semi that had just surfaced over the hill about 100 feet in front of us. We were fast approaching it head on and well, I freaked. "CAR!!!" I shouted, pointing ahead of us. Aubrey spun back around and whipped the car into our lane so fast that I swear I felt my brain rattle. The semi zoomed past us and I wasn’t sure what was louder it or my heart which was about to beat out of my chest.
"You shouldn't shout like that, you scared me!" She exclaimed, throwing a disapproving look over her shoulder at me before quickly, and thankfully returning her eyes to the road. I scared her? What about me. I nearly peed my pants. Nearly. I looked around the cab for something to divert my attention from the road and this crazy witch. Anything would do. My search happened upon the keys in the ignition. Or more specifically the key chain. A naked woman danced around with every bump and pothole we hit. Okay... I looked up at Aubrey, mouth open, just about to comment on the key chain when common sense and a road sign made me rethink. The sign said I-90 West, Sandusky, Ohio 42 miles. Umm, that’s not right... I knew enough from the map I had spent 20 minutes or so staring at the airport to know that we were going the complete opposite direction than what we should be going.
"Shouldn't we be going East on I-90 not West?"
"Yes... But if we want to get around all that construction then we gotta backtrack a little bit. I already told you this though. Haven't you been listening?" That made sense. I think. I bit my cheek and lowered my head. Guilty as charged, I hadn’t been listening, and I had gotten caught. I felt like I was back in grade school, the time I got caught daydreaming and didn’t know what page we were on.
Settling back in my seat, I fought the urge to fidget. I didn’t like this. Something felt wrong. That little nagging feeling inside me was practically shouting to be heard. I leaned slightly forward, my mouth opening to object once more when a loud thump sounded behind me. I would have jumped straight out of me seat had it not been for my seat belt tethering me to it.
"What the heck was that!?" I exclaimed as I pulled myself as far away from the back of the seat as the belt would allow.
"Oh nothing, probably just a pothole." Aubrey said nonchalantly. Her aura halo pulsed from an anxious yellow to a happy blue. She was having trouble with keeping her emotions in check. This was a good thing. Well, at least it was for me.
A muffled voice groaned and I realized that it had come from the trunk. Realization hit me and I pulled my aura in tight to form a shield. Holy crap I am riding with some psycho witch! I slowly reached for my seat belt buckle.
"You had better stop whatever your about to do. I placed a nice little sleeping spell on you earlier. All I have to do is invoke it and you're out like a light. So behave cause I would hate to have to nix you." Aubrey said, her voice steely, no longer soaked with the happy bubbliness that it had been. Maybe she was bluffing. My thoughts drifted back to the wet handshake that had tingled slightly. Oh crap...