I seem to have a lot of these, don’t I? 😀 Luckily this one seemed to fit with Cera, an existing MC, so at least it’s not an entirely new story! Rather more complicated than the small hints of Nyssa’s mystery with the Nigerian woman from the night before, I spent all of the Family Day holiday writing it out, and trying to figure out the reasons behind what was happening. My dreams are a little fuzzy on the ‘why’ haha.
Here is the original, followed by the story excerpts!
‘Girl is looking for a bathroom (a recurring theme in my dreams lol, I shudder to think of what Freud would say), she runs into bad guy with a captive holding a syringe with yellow liquid. She says she won’t tell anyone and he says he won’t kill her. She asks to go continue to find a bathroom and he permits her, giving her fifteen minutes.
After running around the complex aimlessly and having still not found a bathroom, she meets the bad guy in a hallway still with his unfortunate captive. They go outside where the bosses are gathered on the patio. One is climbing into a van with a number of children and his wife and the girl begs the bad guy to spare them. The boss is dragged out of the van by the bad guy’s partner while she helps the wife and kids run away. He says ‘you don’t want to see this’ as he holds up the menacing syringe.
Then we switch scenes and they are poking around an office and find a secret compartment in a desk with 2 funny shaped keys. They each have a different coloured heart on the top and a key ‘stamp’ in a shape, one is a purple moon, another a pink star.
The bad guy asks if there are more and figures they must be in the foreman’s office. He says ‘what if __ gets a hold of them?’ and the girl teleports to the office where a woman is emerging having found the keys, green and blue.
The girl takes them and puts them in the pockets of her big winter coat as the partner comes around the corner. He tells her to open her coat then peeks inside her bra. She beats him up and presses a knuckle to his throat saying she could kill him easily (this is a move I learned from Karate). She handcuffs him and they veer off left back to where the bad guy is waiting, across a metal walkway, just as what looks like a group of college tourists in blue coats is arriving. And she says ‘we are about to have visitors. Lots of them.’
End of dream!
It occurred to me that this would somehow fit Cera’s personality (since it is ‘me’ in the dream I don’t have a visual to draw from). Niol seemed a fitting name for the bad guy. His calm manner reminded me of Kuze from Ghost in The Shell Stand Alone Complex, so that is who I am modeling him after.
Another thing I had to address was what exactly women and children were doing at what seems to be a factory of some sort, so I decided that Cera should save a pregnant woman (who turns out to be the big bad, oops). The ‘Overwatch’ she calls is Cera’s criminal mastermind father Xan, which is a solid connection to her main story. I also had to change the tourists and thought a street gang ala Road Warrior would be fun, especially since Cera is a skateboarding/hoverboarding whiz.
Why the police didn’t intervene is a mystery, because the overload looked real? The place is considered a radiation danger, but why did the gang come along? And why are they looking for new territory, did they figure out the ruse? There are some gaps lol.
I’m trying to figure out how to involve some of the characters from her main story. Cera used a portal which her boyfriend is supposedly able to do, but he’s not around, so maybe he taught her? Or she has her own variety and just doesn’t have the same extent of ability. Her powers usually revolve around colours and light so I’m expanding on her portfolio a bit.
As for Ablutionism, Cera was mentored by a man who I have envisioned as being very Buddhist like, so when the topic of souls came up, the word ‘ablution’ immediately came to mind, the idea of ritual purification, I’ve always wanted to use it and it seemed perfect for a religious doctrine. Additionally, the notion of killing a pregnant woman introduced quite a moral quandary for me as a writer, so my current plan is to have her memory wiped at the end so she and her baby both survive.
So far Niol has avoided telling Cera what his motives and plans are, and how they involve her, because I still have no idea! 😛
Anyways, enjoy the excerpts! ^-^
Cera skidded around the corner and found herself face to face with a man with pale hair and grey eyes, holding a facility employee by the scruff of his neck, a pistol pressed to his temple.
Her breath caught in her throat as the stranger stared at her then lifted the pistol in her direction.
“Come here.” He said calmly, gesturing slightly with the muzzle.
She obeyed, stepping towards him tremulously.
“I’m not going to hurt you.” He added, his voice never altering its cool timbre. “I do not like to take innocent life.. unnecessarily.”
That last word told Cera all she needed to know, this was not a person to trifle with.
“Why are you doing this?” She inquired, summoning her courage. Red warning lights blinked from brackets on the wall, casting them both in ruby light. He had started a dangerous overload in the chamber which had turned on the evacuation protocols.
“I have my reasons.”
“There are innocent people here.” She pleaded.
“So there are.” He hummed. “Help them evacuate if you so wish, only the Board of Directors who are gathered here today are of any significance. But don’t go too far. I spared your life because you interest me, don’t make me rethink my decision.”
Cera nodded numbly.
Cera ran through the facility, directing all the workers to the exits and the buses which were waiting in the parking lot, summoned as per the evacuation protocols.
She turned a corner and there he was again, the same unfortunate staff member in his grasp.
“Ah, nice to see you are still here.” He commented lightly in his infuriatingly calm voice. “I thought you might be. I forgot to ask, what is your name?”
“Cera. Cera Skye.”
“You may call me Niol.” He replied. “Come, it’s time to see my plan come to fruition.”
Cera followed Niol and his captive to the board room where all the members had been sequestered by a rather mean looking man with spiky black hair
“Ruga.” Niol greeted. “Are they all present?”
“And accounted for. This is the stenographer.” Ruga added, indicating a woman handcuffed to a desk just outside the door.
“Good work.” Niol said as his associate stepped aside. “Oh and this is Cera, she won’t cause any trouble.”
Ruga glanced sideways at Cera as they passed and lifted an eyebrow in interest.
“Let’s meet the traitors then, shall we?” Niol declared, addressing the room.
The board members all started talking at once like a hive of angry bees.
“..What gives you the right?”
“..How dare you?!”
“..I don’t know why we are putting up with this!”
One rose and was smacked by the butt of Ruga’s submachine gun.
“Sit down, you dogs!” He bellowed and the angry outbursts dissolved into mutters.
Niol calmly placed a briefcase on the table and opened it, withdrawing a vial of milky pale yellow liquid.
“I assume you all recognize this?”
Hushed whispers erupted around the table.
“Don’t say a word..”
“I had nothing to do with that!” Another blurted out but desisted at Ruga’s murderous look.
“I’d keep your protests to a minimum, if I were you. My friend here has a hair trigger on his temper.”
Niol took one of the vials and readied a syringe. He flicked the barrel a few times and pumped out a spurt of liquid.
Cera had an extremely bad feeling about this. She didn’t know what the liquid was, though it seemed unnervingly familiar, but from the ashen faces in the room, she knew it couldn’t be good.
A woman huddled against the far end of the table as Niol paced the room, hunched over looking very awkward, and Cera suddenly realized why.
“Wait!” She exclaimed, racing across the room and standing between Niol and the woman. “You can’t do this, she’s pregnant!”
Niol lifted an eyebrow, expressionless.
“You said you wouldn’t kill an innocent, remember? To murder an unborn child would damn your soul.”
“Ah, so you’re an Ablutionist.”
Cera shook her head. “No, but I was raised by one.”
Niol’s grey eyes narrowed slightly. “If she has anything to do with this, then she does not deserve mercy..”
“I don’t, I swear!” The woman protested. “I’m just a secretary, I came in to deliver the coffee..”
She burst into shrill sobs and Cera glared at Niol who let out a resigned sigh.
“Very well. See she is evacuated with the others. You don’t want to see this anyways.”
He gave a dismissive wave of his hand and Cera helped the poor woman to her feet, supporting her arm as she lumbered out of the room.
Ruga’s disapproving glare followed her, then he slammed the door.
“Now, where were we?”
Cera blocked out the rest of his diatribe, and the screams that followed, as she escorted the pregnant secretary to the parking lot, grateful to Niol for the reprieve.
“Come with me!” The secretary pleaded, clasping her hands.
“I can’t.” Cera said mournfully, shaking her head.
“Do you work for him?”
“Not as such, but he spared my life when he didn’t have to. Besides, I want to find out what is really going on.”
She glanced up to see Niol watching from the board room window.
Cera released the woman into the charge of another employee who assisted her into a car, before returning to the building.
“Are you alright, Ma’am?” The driver inquired.
“Yes, by some miracle.” She huffed, rubbing her swollen stomach. “Get me Overwatch.”
“Mrs Barbara Valdis.” Came an indistinct voice on the comm.
“We have a problem. There has been a leak in our organization. The rest are dead.” Barbara said. “I’m coming in. I need to report what has happened here and prepare a contingency plan. Plus, I have some very interesting information that might be of interest.” She added with a suggestive lilt.
The muffled voice on the other end of the comm remained silent for a moment.
“Agreed. I will be waiting.”
Cera crossed the lot under Niol’s watchful gaze and returned to the board room foyer. The doors had been closed, mercifully hiding the carnage within, and Ruga and Niol waited outside for her along with the stenographer.
“She’s one of mine, no need to be concerned.” Niol said at Cera’s worried look. “This is Maeve.”
Maeve, now freed of her cuffs, smiled at Cera.
“It’s due to her that I found out about the true plot these miscreants were hatching.”
Cera opened her mouth to ask the question that was burning on the tip of her tongue, but Niol held up a hand.
“There will be time for explanations later. For now we have to ensure that the facility is empty before the next phase of my plan can be put in motion.”
“Wait. This wasn’t it?”
“Oh, goodness no.” Niol said with a mild chuckle while Ruga frowned darkly. “This is just the tip of the iceberg.”
“What about the overload?” Cera inquired as she struggled to match Niol’s brisk pace. He walked with an unhurried gait, yet she practically had to jog to keep up.
They were heading to the director’s office while Ruga and Maeve had gone to find the foreman’s.
“A computer program I devised.” He replied patiently. “It hacked into the system and tricked the sensors into thinking there was an overload. To all outward appearances it will appear as if this place is now a radiation cesspool. Nobody will interrupt us.”
“Well, that’s a relief at least.” Cera sighed, exasperation creeping into her voice.
Niol slowed and turned to her.
“I’m still not ready to trust you completely, but I assure you – you are just as affected by this as we are. I knew it the moment we met.”
Cera stared at him.
“Is that.. why you didn’t kill me?”
“Indeed. I didn’t lie, though, if that is what you are asking. I do dislike to waste life unnecessarily. However, anyone who interferes with my plans is expendable. Even you. Don’t forget that.” He waited for her nod. “Though I would prefer otherwise. I like your spunk.”
He paused and leaned closer, lowering his voice though they were completely alone in the corridor.
“I also know things about you, that even you don’t know. Perhaps that will be incentive enough to stay of your own free will.”
Cera swallowed, her throat dry.
“All in good time. But suffice it to say for now, I am aware of the special.. abilities you possess.”
A small smile tugged at the edge of his lips as he fixed her with his steel gray gaze and she knew he was telling the truth.
“Though I would advise you not to use them except in case of emergency.” He added with a slight note of warning. “Besides, I’m sure you would like to keep your secret from the others who might use it for their own ends.”
Leaving the statement hanging ominously, Niol turned and continued on his way, and Cera again hurried to catch up.
“You may even prove the tipping point.” He mused to himself, too quiet for her to hear.
“So, what are we looking for?” Cera ventured, as they rummaged around the office, rifling through endless stacks of paper. The director had not been a tidy man. Niol had so far steadfastly refused to confide in her but seemed to show a certain degree of trust.
“Anything of note.”
Cera sighed at the customarily vague answer.
“The Director would have had administrative access to the main boiler room. I need those codes.” Niol elaborated after a moment, not looking up.
She nodded, satisfied that she had at least a basis to work from.
“Why did you ask me to come here instead of Ruga? Surely, being involved, he would know more about your goals.”
“We all have our own reasons for our collusion.” Niol explained, turning to her. “But Ruga is.. dangerous. He needs to be kept on a short leash. I have a specific aim, and he follows me because I have promised him revenge, but he would easily destroy all of us if given the chance in his mad quest for vengeance. I have to keep him at arm’s length.”
Niol again fell silent and Cera resumed her search. She bumped into the desk and there was a sound somewhere between a clunk and a pop.
She leaned closer and noticed that there was now a small gap between the wooden panels. She slid her fingernail into the small groove and pried it open.
“By ‘anything of note’, does this count?”
Niol peered at her discovery. Two L-shaped keys rested on a bed of velvet within the hidden drawer.
“There should be four.” He declared, flipping through a small notebook.
Cera frowned slightly, he had known what he was looking for all along. She crept around the other side and felt around for a similar latch but there wasn’t one.
“Nothing.” She shrugged and Niol did the same, confirming her assertion.
“Hmm.. Then that means.. I wonder if he trusted his foreman enough to share the responsibility?” Niol murmured to himself.
“What do these keys control?” Cera inquired.
“That doesn’t matter right now.” He replied, his expression grim. “If Ruga gets a hold of them..”
Cera was shocked by the alarm on his face. She thought he had merely been pandering, but it seemed he was indeed quite distrustful of his compatriot’s motives.
“I’d say this counts as an emergency.”
He stared at her meaningfully and gave a slight nod.
Cera pursed her lips then vanished in a spark of light.
She reappeared in the foyer just outside the door of the Foreman’s office.
“What..?” Maeve inquired as she barged into the room unexpectedly, but Cera placed a finger to her lips, running her fingers along the edge of the identical desk. It gave a small pop and she quickly retrieved the keys, tucking them into the hidden pocket of her jacket, then quickly exited the office.
There was a sound of thumping down the hall, heavy, irritated footfalls.
“It’s Ruga..” Maeve whispered, apparently less than keen on her choice of companions as well.
Ruga stomped around the corner and scowled upon seeing Cera.
“So Niol sent you to spy on me, huh? What did you find in there?” He demanded, advancing threateningly.
“Nothing.” Cera said innocently and Maeve shook her head convincingly.
Ruga walked around Cera, looming over her shoulder like a vulture.
“Lift up your arms.”
“So I can pat you down, just in case you’re hiding something.”
Cera reluctantly did as ordered to allay his suspicion.
He started with her legs and moved up her hips, then his hands snaked around her front and along her stomach.
“Maybe up here?” He said with an audible sneer.
His hands wandered just a little too far and Cera spun, elbowing him in the face.
Maeve let out a gasp as Ruga staggered backwards.
“You bwoke by nose!”
Cera pressed her advantage and used his momentum, kicking him in the gut. He doubled up and collapsed at the foot of the wall.
She crouched over him and pressed the knuckle of her middle finger to his throat.
“I can kill you with a single twitch.” She hissed.
He gave a sort of lopsided smirk, blood streaming freely from his nose and shrugged, holding up his hands in surrender.
“We should get back.” Maeve said, a mixture of shock and admiration on her face.
Cera nodded and Ruga rose, holding a towel to his nose, giving her a wide berth as they returned – the long way in Cera’s case – to where Niol was waiting.
“What happened here?” Niol inquired, lifting a curious eyebrow.
“He tried to feel me up.” Cera replied tersely.
“Ah. Hence the nose, I see. A moment, please, Cera.”
She followed Niol into an ante-room.
“Did you find them?”
Cera unzipped the secret pocket and withdrew the keys, but she didn’t hand them over.
“I want to know what these are, Niol. I’ve used my powers once to serve your interests. For better or worse I’m now an accomplice to your crimes. I deserve to know what your motives are. What was that liquid you injected those people with? Was it manufactured here? What is it for? What are you trying to accomplish, and what does it have to do with me?” The words tumbled out in a rush and Cera creased her eyebrows at Niol’s stony silence. “No more of this, ‘all in time’, I need to know now.”
“I suppose you do. Very well, you hold onto the keys for the moment. I will do my best to explain, with Ruga and Maeve’s help.”
Cera’s shoulders tensed.
“Don’t worry, Ruga won’t try anything again. He may be boorish but he is no fool. You’ve proved you are not just a helpless little girl, he’ll respect that.”
“He’d better.” Cera muttered and followed Niol back into the office where they all gathered in the board room beyond. He unrolled some floorplans, weighting down the corners, one specifically of the boiler room.
“We’re about to expect some company.”
Ruga growled at the figures on the screen and reached for his submachine gun.
“Wait, let me handle this.” Cera declared, standing and looking to Niol for permission.
“I recognize them, they’re a street gang, probably just looking to expand their territory. They’re no threat.”
“Alright. You’ll have your chance. But if it doesn’t work, I will kill them.” Niol added, his toneless voice chilling.
Cera may be wrapped up in this enterprise of theirs now, but she was vividly reminded of how she had gotten herself involved in the first place.
She gave a determined nod, then made her way outside.
The gang approached, cobalt hair gleaming, matching their blue varsity jackets, the leader with a tall towering style, buzzed on the sides.
“Hoy there, lovely.” He greeted roguishly.
Cera’s own vivid orange hair reflected like fire in the sun and she strode confidently towards them.
“Fine day. But it seems like you must be lost. This is my territory, friend.”
The gangsters all chuckled as their leader gave a patronizing smile.
“Yours? All alone? A lady should not be queen of her own castle, it gets lonely.”
Cera recognized the telltale glint of a sniper rifle from the direction of the tower office, likely Niol behind the sight. Ruga lacked the patience. None of the gang had noticed.
She shrugged with a wink.
“Who says I’m alone, king?”
“What be your name?”
“Good name. I am Keeler. And leader of this ragtag crew.” He gestured to his gang all huddled about. “If this truly be your territory, prove it.”
“How do you suggest I do that?” Cera inquired.
“In a duel, of course. On boards like it’s meant to be.” A member of his gang tossed him a skateboard. “Will ya live up to your name, Skye?”
“You got it, Keeler.”
She picked out a board from among those offered by the gang, like a warrior picking out her weapon, finally settling on one with neon fractals.
“Good choice. Now let’s lay it down!”
Keeler was good, but Cera could beat anybody on a board, she didn’t have to tap into her powers even once.
“Oy, you wiped the floor with me, I admit!” Keeler laughed when it was all over. “I concede this territory belongs to Skye.”
“Thanks muchly.” Cera replied.
“But I still won’t give up on being your king, lovely! If you ever need assistance, call upon me. BT Ten will come to your aid.”
“Most grateful, Keeler.”
The gang departed then, and Cera waited until they were out of eyesight before going back inside.
“Good job.” Niol said, and even Ruga nodded grudging respect. “I’m surprised you know how to deal with those savages.”
He didn’t mean it as an insult, it was a common term for the rampant street gangs, those who didn’t answer to any authority or rules.
“I grew up on the streets like them, one picks up a thing or two. I knew they wouldn’t resort to violence without a prior disagreement, friendly rivalries are sorted by boarding. And I’m the best.”
“And the board?” Ruga inquired, indicating the skateboard patterned with fractals.
Cera shrugged. “Winner’s trophy, fair trade for the match. ‘Sides, I like it.”
“Barbara Valdis. CIO.” Ruga hissed. “That’s who you saved with that ridiculous stunt of yours.”
“Do you still think that killing her is a mistake?” Niol inquired. Now that Cera knew the full truth, he was judging her reaction.
“Yes.” Cera said firmly. “I may not be an Ablutionist, but killing an infant is still a stain upon my soul.”
Niol nodded slowly at her unrepentant words.
“Then I suppose we had best find another way.”
“You can’t be serious!” Ruga exclaimed.
Niol tipped his head to Cera.
“It’s Cera’s choice. And her responsibility, to bear the weight on her shoulders should we fail.”