Shadow Crawlers. Part 55

Pride is this weekend, which should be fun. I’m going into town with some friends to go to the parade and such.
I haven’t been up to much the last week, editing and such. Super fun! Got another chance to watch some more Orange is the New Black, only like seven episodes in though, I think my restraint should be applauded. I haven’t slipped once in the whole “lets all wait and watch them together!” agreement I made with my friends.

It’s been tough, I will admit that. So tempting to just watch one or two more. I’m enjoying it so far, but I don’t find it as compelling as the first season. Though that might be because I’m watching a few episodes in one go, separated by a week or two, rather than watching them all in a short time span.

Hope everyone has an awesome weekend!

On with the show!

Part 1, Part 54.

A group of armed men entered her room, Rose stayed sitting, she didn’t want to give them any reason to attack her.
Rose stood, she would do pretty much anything they asked without resistance, after all, there was nothing she could do. They herded her through the door and into a corridor, she would have expected it to be tiled, sterile, white, instead it was carpeted with wood panelling on the walls. Outside the room she felt a brief thrill of hope and discretely tried to use her powers, but there was still nothing. They brought her through seemingly endless corridors and into a meeting room, Frank was sitting at the head of the table. Beside him sat Grady. Grady looked at Rose,
“You will not attempt to escape. You will not use your powers without permission.”

Rose nodded.

“You will not attack anyone outside, you will not try to draw attention.”
Rose nodded again.
Frank smiled at Grady, then the men, “I think that covers everything. Ok, bring her to the holding room.”
The men left with Rose, Frank looked at Grady,
“Are you ready for this?”
“I don’t know. I feel sick looking at her, what she’s done. The people she’s killed, I mean she’s wearing a dead woman’s skin.”
Frank smiled at her, “it isn’t like that. You do not get angry at the fire when it gets out of control. She’s a tool. You blame the person controlling the tool.”
Grady looked at him sharply, “it was not my fault.”
“I know, you didn’t know what she was, what she was doing. But she can’t help herself. It’s her nature. It’s what she does. This is the final test, to prove that what I’m saying is true, if you don’t believe me after this then I don’t know what else we can do.”

Grady nodded. She took a deep breath and released it slowly, if Rose escaped, if Rose killed someone it wasn’t her fault, it was Franks for letting her out. Grady stood from the table,
“Lets get this over with.”
Rose took a deep breath of the fresh air, it was so good to be outside, in the sunlight. She kept flicking tiny flames from her hands, not enough to burn any one or anything. She felt relaxed, she could finally release all this pent up energy. They led her to some kind of green area, it was large and filled with grass and trees. The guards moved away from her, looking nervous, and positioned themselves around the area, creating a barrier. Grady and Frank stepped outside.
Grady walked towards Rose, Frank hung back slightly.
Grady’s heart thudded heavily, she didn’t know what was going to happen, if Frank was wrong, or if he was lying. No. She wouldn’t think about that.
“That pile of wood. Burn it. Disguise the smoke.”

Rose smiled and turned, to her left there was a small pit filled with wood. Rose closed her eyes and felt the power coursing through her. When she opened them again the pit was blazing, Grady took a step back from the heat. Thick black smoke started to rise into the air, lazily drifting upwards. A single short burst of it continued upwards, fading as it went, the rest began to change colour until there was no smoke.
“Make it stop.”
Instantly the blaze ended, Grady walked towards the fire pit, heat still radiated from it.

“can you make it cold again?”
“No. I can redirect the heat of active fire, but once something is hot, I cannot change it.”

Grady looked at Frank, he smiled at her, reassuring. Grady directed Rose to set more things on fire, trying to get the hang of what Rose could do. Grady had suggested asking her, but Frank had assured Grady that it would be better to see it in practise.

Three hours later they left the area, pockmarked and several degrees hotter than it had been. Grady felt strangely exhilarated, she felt free, excited. When she watched Rose use her powers it mesmerised her. The flames were so pretty, so controlled, they did Roses bidding and by extension, Grady’s. Grady left Frank and the men escorting Rose and returned to her room, she didn’t want to be around people. She felt antsy, jittery, she wanted to go out with Rose again, to continue doing it, to watch as the fire twisted and twirled through the air. She saw only a fraction of what Rose could do, her real power. What if she was given permission to do as she liked? If she let loose and allowed the fire to consume everything around her. Watch it licking the walls, swirling upwards, destroying as much as it could. Grady shuddered. Why was she thinking like this? It was wrong. Rose was dangerous, no matter what Frank had said, she might be a tool yes, but she was a conscious being, one that tried to find loopholes into whatever Grady said. Rose wanted freedom, Grady couldn’t grant that to her. She needed to be careful, not allow herself to be mesmerised. She wondered why Frank hadn’t warned her about that. Maybe he didn’t know, maybe it wasn’t supposed to happen like that, some kind of weird feedback due to Rose being locked up for so long. It didn’t matter what it was, Grady had to be careful.

Grady hadn’t visited any of the others. She avoided them all. Amy still went to see Joey but Grady couldn’t bring herself to do so, she knew Joey was a normal kid, it wasn’t his fault, but when she looked at him she could see a kind of monstrosity about him. He didn’t steal his body like the others, but what if he could? Would he do it? Was he just pretending to be normal, some kind of survival instinct or instructions given by Simon. The only option she seemed to have was to stay here. To work with Frank. Keep these things under control. And there were more of them out there, what could they do? Where they out in the world, under masters who used them for evil? Would Frank even allow her to leave? After all he told her there was no way to transfer the powers, so her death was what freed the things, would he kill her, take the ones she controlled for himself? She didn’t know what he would do with them, but she suspected it wouldn’t be anything as altruistic as he tried to make it sound. She didn’t think him inherently evil, but she didn’t trust him either. Why would she? Frank had been hunting them, even if it was for their own protection. He could have found a way to communicate with them, to benignly tell them of his intentions and of what was happening. What if he knew that using Rose would be intoxicating and he intended to use that as a control mechanism for her? Grady took a deep breath, she needed to be calm, in control. She stood from her bed and started pacing, trying to work out exactly what she should do.


About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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