Jen Air: Out There, Part Seven

Part OnePart TwoPart ThreePart FourPart Five Part Six

Well there will actually be one more part after this, a conclusion and epilogue.  But first, it’s time for Tom to get his comeuppance.

Jen Air: Out There, Part Seven

Lionel stalked through the chilly woods.  The light had gone, except for the silver blue of the moon outlining the black trees all around.  All his life he’d been hunting alien beings, ghosts, psychics, but he’d never gotten close.  Unverifiable accounts, fuzzy photos, the odd artefact that even he knew could have come from anywhere.  But tonight he had seen monsters and powers that were real, and he wasn’t going to let them get away.

Fallen twigs and leaves crunched under his heels, but then he froze.  There were times when even people without psychic powers could feel there were eyes on them.  In this case, a very dark pair of eyes that perfectly mirrored the night around them.  He looked up to see Tenley above, balancing on the end of a branch.

“Why are you following me?” She asked.

“Following you?” Lionel answered, raising an eyebrow incredulously.  “I have no idea what you mean… I was simply running…”

“You are lying.”

“Well… perhaps there’s no point in trying to deceive you,” Lionel said, resting himself on a fallen tree trunk.  “You’re… not entirely human, are you?”

Ten grimaced, screwed up her face in pain and confusion before answering, “I don’t know what that means.  I’m just a kid you know.”

“Right.  When I was a young journalist, just starting, I met a girl in India about your age.  One of the youngest people ever to achieve a black belt.  But, she couldn’t do half the things you can do I’d wager.”

Ten shrugged, “probably not.”

“So, exactly how strong are you?”

“I don’t know, exactly. Strong enough, I guess.”

A light shaft pierced the canopy, striking Lionel’s eyes.  As they adjusted he saw that the branch on which Tenley had stood was now vacant.

“Little girl?” He said quietly, standing and scanning around.  “Little girl, where did you go?”  He continued to circle, the white light orbiting somewhere overhead as he pulled down and wrung his cap.  “She’s been taken, by them… dammit, why do they never take me!”

“I’m here,” Tenley said, causing Lionel to jump.  The light started moving away as she peered and tilted her head curiously.  “Are you feeling okay?”

Lionel tripped over a fallen branch as he backed away, but nevertheless tried to maintain his composure.  “Yes… I-I’m fine.  Why wouldn’t I be?”

“You just seem kind of jittery.”

“Well it’s been a very stressful night…”

The girl silently stepped closer, her dark eyes shimmering and bright somehow as she lowered her head and said in a low voice, “You really need to stay still.  Very, very still.”

“You wouldn’t…” he stammered, but as he looked into her eyes he saw that she wasn’t looking back at him.  “The creature?” He asked, and she very slightly nodded.  “It’s behind me, isn’t it?  Oh god…”

He tightly shut as he eyes, as if he thought doing so would end the dream and when opened them again he’d be back home in his armchair and a glass of whiskey.  Instead when they opened he was still exactly where he was and Tenley had yet again vanished.  In a moment of panic he turned, straight into the bulbous head of the beast as it lurched out of the shadows.  Or so it seemed; he still had at least a few seconds before it made its way over.  Time to think about his life, the mistakes he’d made, the good times, bad, the legacy he would leave behind… or actually forget all of that.  As the creature began to charge, it’s head turned as a missile rammed into the monster’s side.

It tumbled several times, coming to rest on its feet and raising its mouth only to be knocked back by a piston like blow from Tenley’s left hand.  It lashed out its tongue which the girl avoided easily but the creature bought itself time to rear itself and attempt to swipe with its claws.  She avoided those as well, ducking and shoulder charging the beast to force it back against a thick trunk whereupon she drew back her other hand as far as she could and launched it forward and through the heart of the beast.

*****
Jennifer collapsed against a trunk, then forward with her hands on her knees as her chest heaved in and out.  “I think…” she said under her breath, “I think we lost them.”

“Yeah,” Kaya said, rather less worn out than the others, “but where’s Tom?”

Not far.  Sayuri screeched as she was suddenly struck and flung aside, the mercenary then jabbing Kaya in the face with a stick as he moved forward.  “You ladies wanted to speak to me?” He said, facing Jen.

The blonde looked a moment into his wild, hate filled eyes before pushing herself from the tree trunk and attempting to put some distance between them.  He quickly ran her down, then bunched up her hair in his hands and pulled her up.  Jennifer did all she could to fight back, scratching and clawing at any exposed flesh she could find, but the mercenary didn’t appear to even notice her efforts.  Soon he had his arm constricting around her throat.

“Shhh… go to sleep,” he cooed.  Jen felt the fog moving in, herself slipping away into it.  But then Tom’s head juddered and he let her go.  He stood, his hand going to the back of his skull as he turned into another swing from Kaya with the stick that he’d dropped.

Tom staggered back, obviously finding it hard to focus as Kay jumped at him with a fist.  He retaliated with a few jabs and a hook that sent her spinning, but she came back around and hit him back with a hook of her own.  She came forward with some body blows and then an uppercut which sent him down.

“Think you’re tough?” The punk spat.  “Did I tell you my dad was a fighter?  You should have met him about ten years ago.”

Tom groaned, slowly turning himself onto his belly and planting his hands on the ground beneath him while Kaya looked on bloodied and wild eyed.

“Come on,” she said gesturing as she readied to pounce, “get up.  That’s it, get up!  Up!”

He did, although likely not because she demanded.  It wasn’t clear he could really hear anything at this point.  But he groggily rose, only to have his nose busted and then Kaya fell on him, raising her fist and then letting it drop on him again and again and again, until…

“That’s enough,” Jen said.  Kay didn’t hear, until her friend was knelt beside her with arms gently over her shoulders.  “Kay… that’s enough.  He’s done.”

“Yeah…” Kaya leant her head toward her friend and let the adrenaline drain out.  She did punch him one more time before getting back up.

After she had her breath back as well, Jen found Tom’s backpack and retrieved her pad.  She couldn’t risk anyone else finding his computer and the information on it so she also borrowed some explosive and then put it back, live, making sure everyone was a safe distance away before setting them off.

“We’ll just leave him for the security force to find,” the blonde said.  The three of them set off to try and find their way back to the van and hopefully Tenley and Lionel.

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