Susan L Markloff
Torn Out Pages | Part I
The Team's Morning
The antique shop was quiet as Tyron stared at the coffee pot. The smell of coffee brewing had become one of his fondest Earth smells over the years, and he awarded himself the time to just enjoy the peaceful quiet and the pleasant smell.
His break from Jen’s training the night prior had been as much for him as it was for her. He didn’t sleep well during the day and found that the late nights were beginning to take a toll on his wellbeing.
The coffee pot announced its completion with three long beeps and Tyron let out a slow breath as he took the steaming pot and poured himself a cup. Walking to the fridge, he rifled through the different flavored creamers that Krelien basically flavored with coffee until he found the half and half.
Pouring into the mug, he stopped when the volume seemed about right and set it down on the counter for the next person, closing the door to the fridge with his foot. Opening the utensil drawer in search of a spoon, he found an empty spoon section with a few dirty knives and forks. A clear sign that Krelien had "done dishes" the night prior.
With a groan, he turned to the sink and saw a cup filled with water and basically all of their spoons.
His shoulders falling, he glanced around the room before his eyes landed on a pair of scissors that had broken in half. Snatching one of the scissor halves, he grabbed the sugar bag and did his best to only pour in what he needed. Setting it down, he swirled the hot coffee with the scissors and then promptly threw the scissors away.
As he turned to walk out of the room, Ar’on entered.
The elder hybrid went to open his mouth and Tyron said, “Krelien didn’t do dishes. We need spoons.”
Ar’on glared at the ceiling as though mentally strangling Krelien. “What’d you use?”
“Genius,” Ar’on mocked before he waved toward himself and walked to a corner cabinet, producing a box of plastic spoons.
Tyron cocked his head to the side with a smirk.
“We seem to always run out when he’s on cleaning duty.” As the elder hybrid put the box back and Tyron took a sip of coffee, Ar’on added, “We’re not barbarians.”
“No, we’re just sleep deprived. You and me for training purposes and Krelien because you let him buy that PlayStation,” Tyron said with a grin and another sip from his cup.
Going to the coffee pot, Ar’on gave Tyron an unamused look. “I didn’t let him do anything. You know how hard it is to keep an eye on him when he comes along shopping. How was I supposed to know that him being unattended for five minutes would lead to him buying a game thing and jumping it back here without me knowing?”
“Because he has a track record for doing stupid things,” Tyron said as he drained his mug.
Kaldok lumbered into the kitchen and the two gave the werewolf a look of concern before Ar’on asked, “Kal?”
“Coffee,” the werewolf mumbled, his eyes half closed and his fur all a mess.
Blaze walked in behind Kaldok, fresh and awake as anything. Her nose wrinkled and she said, “I have yet to understand how it is that you all seem to have lost the function of awakening without the use of some human concoction.”
“I think it’s ‘cause they need to get more sleep,” Archer said as he entered behind her.
“Well, not all of us can sleep all day,” Ar’on grumbled into his mug after handing Kaldok the largest mug they had.
Scratching his scalp and stretching, Tyron said, “I’m gonna go get a shower. Put on another pot before Kaldok takes it all.”
Ar’on saluted with his mug as Kaldok guzzled the coffee down, his ears perking a little.
As Tyron walked down the hallway on the second floor past the bedrooms, he banged three times against Krelien’s door without missing a beat and heard the Jumper fall out of bed and scream, “The floor’s on fire!”
“No, it isn’t, get up!” Tyron called with a smirk on his face.
“I smell coffee,” he heard Krelien’s muffled voice say before he walked into the bathroom at the end of the hall.
In a few minutes he was walking out of the shower and was ruffling his hair. He had just stepped into his room as Krelien walked by and said, “You didn’t have to bang on the door so loudly y’know.”
“That’s what you get for not doing cleanup last night like you said you would.” He pointed accusingly at the Jumper. "And for the last time, don't put dirty dishes back in the drawer."
“That’s a stupid reason to wake someone up by banging on their door,” Krelien shot back at him. Tyron was going to retort but when he turned around, Krelien swung the door shut in Tyron’s face, staring at him and sticking his tongue out like a two-year-old.
As he heard the water kick on, Tyron rolled his eyes and went into his room.
He had just pulled the door shut and was about to get changed when a klaxon blared, his muscles going rigid at the sound. Quickly throwing clothing on, he ran out the door and banged on the bathroom door and screamed, “Krelien, get moving!” but the Jumper didn’t respond. “Blast it all,” he swore as he leapt down the stairs.
Something in the case to the left of the stairwell broke, but Tyron was undeterred as he ran for the basement. Just as he reached the door, Ar’on opened it and said, “Portal activation.”
“Where,” Tyron demanded.
“Just outside the school,” Ar’on answered.
Tyron marched down the steps behind him and immediately went to the side room where their weapons were stored. Strapping two holsters to his legs, he then grabbed two pistols.
“Just wait a minute and we’ll head out,” Ar’on cautioned.
“I’m not waiting. She needs backup.” Tyron shot back as he reached for a third pistol.
“Tyron, we can’t just run out of here. This is daylight incursion, there are other factors we have—”
Turning to his mentor, Tyron cut in, “I’m going. Get everyone mobilized and out the door. Have Krelien await backup.”
“You shouldn’t go alone. That’s a dangerous situation if there’s too many of them,” Ar’on said with a shake of his head.
“Go,” Blaze interjected, her voice stern and commanding. “We will arrive as swiftly as we are able. Archer and I will leave immediately, but we cannot keep stride with your vehicle.”
Shoving a sniper rifle into Ar’on’s chest, Tyron said, “Get moving.” Running back up the stairs, he marched into the rear room and snatched his motorcycle keys off the hanger, sending the hook flying off the wall in the process.
“Blaze, c’mon we gotta go!” Archer called as Tyron hopped onto his motorcycle—ignoring his helmet—and sped off. He cut off a sedan as he tore through the alleyway.
He knew the most direct path would be to cut through side streets and in between buildings, preferably staying on walkways. While he would prefer to fly, he had no idea what was happening, and he would need his strength if a mass of Caligan forces were headed for the school.
His phone buzzed and he frantically snatched for his Bluetooth earpiece, jamming it into his ear and screaming above the roar of the wind, “Where is it?”
“If you hurry, you should be able to beat whatever it is to the school. It activated about twenty minutes north of the building,” Kaldok said. Tyron heard him sigh and the werewolf added, “Ty, the sensors are pinging like crazy. I think they’ve got a first wave coming.”
“Elders, don’t say that,” Tyron gritted his teeth and yanked up, causing the bike to fly over a chunk of brush, landing in the street a few feet away from a stopped car and then back up onto the sidewalk. A jogger frantically leapt out of the way. “What are the sensors detecting?”
“Hold on,” Kaldok said and Tyron heard the roll of wheels as Kaldok shifted to another monitor. In a breath, the werewolf cursed, “Geneto.”
“Don’t you say that Kaldok,” Tyron commanded, his grip on the handlebars tightening.
“Tyron, they’ve got everything except werewolves coming her way.”
Dodging around a biker and tearing at the grass along the sidewalk, Tyron said, “Tell me you’re moving.”
“Get to it. Backup?”
“There’s nothing here.” Tyron felt his heart constrict as Kaldok continued, “The portal’s still open by the school.”
Blinking a few times and then forcing the bike across the street, horns honking as he went, Tyron said, “Don’t think about that right now. Just get moving. Get to Jen as quickly as possible. I’ll make contact once I get to her.”
Unwilling to have further distraction, Tyron hit the earpiece to end the call and revved the bike faster up the hill. The tires didn’t seem happy about the fact that they were running across the frosty grass, but he kept it steady as he came to the crest of the hill.
The motorcycle roared as it went into the air, flying forward down the hill. He wasn’t far from the parking lot.
He saw the outline of a dead ferveos on the upper tier of the parking lot across the way. Two other ferveos were still alive. One flew down from the blanket of clouds and another was on the ground, his maw open at a small figure hurling a blue energy orb.
Just a few more seconds Jen, I’m almost there, he thought frantically.
Pulling the bike to the right and making a sharp turn, he veered into the lowest tier of the parking lot and leapt off the motorcycle. Tumbling forward, he stood in time to see the ferveos that had been in the air a second ago was on the ground and he heard a car crash. An alarm started to blare, and Tyron ran for the stairs.
Running up the stairs two at a time, he reached the second tier in time to see Jen lying on the hood of a smashed car and the dragon preparing to hurl fire at her.
Fear gripped his heart and Tyron took hold of the door frame of the car to his right. With a yell, he hurled it at the ferveos, the small yellow Corvette colliding with the beast’s head. The fire intended for Jen dripped from the monster’s mouth as it turned to see who its new attacker was as Tyron launched into the air and gripped one of the horns around the dragon’s brow.
As the monster thrashed under him, he summoned his knuckle spikes and began pummeling the dragon’s head.
He hadn’t felt rage like this in a long time.
“You shouldn’t have come here!” he screamed as he punched his suddenly gold cloaked hand into the dragon’s skull. Ripping his arm free, he leapt down as the dead beast fell.
Letting out a few heavy breaths, Tyron turned and ran for Jen. “Jen!” he called, but she didn’t respond.
Her arms were attempting to move, but it seemed like she had taken a good hit.
Coming up to the car, he reached for her arm to help her and nearly retched at the sight of her. He swallowed back the bile and pulled her up.
She looked at him and blinked a few times.
He forced a smirk to his face as he said, “Hi kid. Thanks for holding down the fort.”
Her small hands took hold of his forearms and he let out a breath of relief.
She was alive. Bruised and broken, but alive.
Now he just had to make sure they survived whatever happened next.