Gaze… Prompt answer

wow… this one took a little longer than the others… but I have reached the end of my short story… I may add a wrap up post/prompt … but here is the end of the short story using the prompt GAZE … if you missed the post containing the writing prompt GAZE and the corresponding pictures just click HERE

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“What the hell was that? Since when do women, rather short and hairy cinnamon colored women, live in bushes? And what kind of name is Karma? Is that supposed to mean- Hey… stop pushing.” Sam tried to resist as Nick shoved her into the passenger seat. But the man was tall and built of pure muscle. Even though he appeared lean, his effortless movements as he placed her in the car spoke of bulk and hours in the gym.

Sam found herself seated with the car door slamming into her face. She heard the click of the locks as she reached for the door handle. Nick crossed to the driver’s side, dangling the key fob. The taunting bastard. As his hand reached for the door, she remembered she could hear Karma as she slammed her staff into Nick’s shin. Vampire? Human? No one ran around refusing to talk in front of humans.

She lunged for his door lock, but it was too late. Slamming back against her own door, Sam frantically searched for the lock. A lock that refused to move. “Damn, damn, damn.”

“Oh, calm down, Sammykins. I’m not hungry.”

“That isn’t funny. You can’t be a vampire. You can’t.” Sam knew that her voice was rising and her hands were shaking, but some things couldn’t be helped. Her job lead her around in weird circles already. Did there really have to be vampires too?

Nick could see that Sam was ready to punch him in the face. She had started out frantic, eager to throw herself from the car. Now she wanted to beat him into changing his mind, into admitting that vampires didn’t exist. Sure. Technically he should have down just that, and then wiped the entire evening from her mind, but that wouldn’t be nearly as exciting. Nick wanted to see this case through, see what Sam would do with the information. He could always erase her mind later.

“Look. I am called a vampire sometimes, but prefer the term Shade. My genetics are shades of many different species of supernatural beings. Supes can be just as cruel as any other species.”

Nick feel silent as he started the car. Watching the tree fly by as he made his way out of the small forested area, he waited for Sam to make up her mind.

“Fine. Call yourself anything you want. If you can help me find this kid, we will just overlook your … life status.” Sam sat with her arms crossed, steadfastly looking out the window. Shaking her head, Sam demanded, “Where to know?”

“It needs to be somewhere that a human could contain magical children. They may not have control of their gifts, but that doesn’t mean that they’re helpless. Some kids get their gifts sooner than others, and all children are affected by intense emotion. If anything could bring on a power surge, surely being kidnaped would do it.”

“I’m going to overlook the fact that you are talking about true magic, not just heightened emotions or something small. Where exactly would you hold a lemur if you wanted complete control?”

Nick slammed his hands against the steering wheel. “That is the problem. The children that have been taken have all been out of the Earth Fae or Shifter clans. Both pull energy from the earth. The earth is everywhere.”

“Well… not everywhere.”

Nick glanced at Sam and then turned back to the road, preparing to get on the highway. She had a smirk on her lips. “Spill Sam. What is running through that beautiful mind of yours?”

“We happen to be on the coast. The way I see it, we are at the end of the earth, on the edge of the water.”

Nick slammed on the brakes, skidding to the side of the road. “Oh dear, Lac Mar. It’s like the Goddess sent me to this area just to find you.”

“Lac Mar?”

Nick pulled out his phone. “She is our Goddess, but that isn’t important now. You just found the biggest lead of all.”

Sam followed close as Nick snuck along the docks. They were wearing wet suits for craps sake, and creeping through the moonlight. The plan, one she was having more and more reservations about with each step, was to slip off the end of the dock and scuba dive down to the bottom of the shark infested waters. She wasn’t stupid. People spent the day fishing and throwing unwanted bait over the sides of the dock. Add in the fact that sharks follow the scent of blood, and you had an open buffet with only two idiotic scuba divers still moving.

“I-”

“Look, Sam, this is the only way. Do you want to save your victim or not?”

“Yes,” Sam hissed.

Nick stopped at the end of the dock, and without another word he put his air regulator in his mouth and slipped over the side, leaving Sam to follow or be left behind. “Bastard.” Popping her regulator in her mouth, she forced herself after the crazy man.

The water felt freeing, lifting all her weight. But the further they went out to sea and the deeper they got, the more pressure she could feel pressing alone her body. She followed Nick, and the light he, that is until the light disappeared. Sam was beginning to freak out when something touched her hand, causing her to scream. Losing her regulator and the air in her lungs. Nick’s mouth was suddenly on hers, somehow giving her oxygen. It was a good kiss, but so not the time. No more than a second or two had passed when Sam realized that the pressure had disappeared.

They were floating through the water, wrapped around each other, in an impossible air bubble. “Okay. Now this is impressive.”

Nick gave a masculine chuckle, his tone echoing around their small bubble. “There’s more where that came from.” He pulled her close and kissed her enough to cause her toes to curl. He had his defined body pressed close, impossibly close. When he pulled away, they were both breathing heavily. “Now let’s go save some kids. Just hold my hand and kick strongly with your legs. We’re going to follow that light.”

“What light? You’ve already turned it off.” Sam glanced around by all she saw was inky black water.

“Not to worry, Sammykins, my eye sight is a hundred times more enhanced than yours. A little further to the east, and you’ll be able to see the lights.”

Sam held tightly to Nick’s hand, but her legs began to slow as she spotted the underwater base. What type of kidnapper decided that hiding beneath the sea was the course of action. Nick tugged on her hand, reminding her to swim faster. The closer they got the weirder things go. Down near the bottom of the hideout, Sam spotted an opening; one that stood free of water as if a bubble similar to the one she was encased in had filled the doorway.

Nick took some kind of stone from the pouch at his side. He waved the stone through the water, and used his other hand to propel her through the opening.

Sam landed in a heap, the wind knocked from her lungs. Then Nick landed on her back, keeping her lung from inflating. Slamming her elbow backward, she got Nick’s attention. Either than or using her as a body pillow wasn’t comfortable to him any more than it was for her.

He opened his pouch and pulled out one of the print casts.

Sam punched his side, and hissed, “What the hell? That’s evidence.”

Nick slapped his free hand over her mouth and placed his mouth against her ears. “I need the DNA left in the print. With this stone, we should be able to be able to find the owner of the print. That’s if we’re in the right place. You have to be extremely close to use this spell.”

Sam took a step back, her arms crossed, but kept her mouth shut. He was right. They didn’t know where the bad guys were. If they were in the right place, the bad guys could be around any corner.

She watched as the rock started to glow. Then Nick had her hand in a death grip as he started creeping down the halls of the underwater prison. She had to assume that following the glowing rock meant that they were in the right place. They would either find a few missing kids, or they would die trying.

They crept from hallway to hallway, passing doorways and empty rooms. After about ten minute, Sam was starting to think that the entire place was empty. Large and empty. Then she saw something that had her jerking to a stop. When Nick glanced back, one eyebrow raised; she pointed into the room they were stopped beside. Pulling Nick along, she moved close to the security monitors lining the back wall.

The source of the empty halls was easy to pinpoint. Sam could see dozens of men and woman dressed in guard uniforms hooting and hollering at a big screen TV in a monitor labeled b-12. There were labs and bedrooms, restrooms and food areas… all with their own label. But no kids. That’s when Nick pointed to two black-screened monitors labeled research.

It was worth a shot, the guards were occupied for now. But… “Where do you think research is?” she hissed. Nick merely held up the rock and print cast combo. They were about to leave when they saw a man coming out of a bathroom stall, doing up his fly, and heading for the door. Sam barely had time to think, Euwww gross, wash your hands, when she found herself in Nick’s arms and flying out of the room. Her stomach was dropping and her heart was in her throat when they finally stopped moving. She glanced around their hiding area; she could hear the guard from the bathroom whistling as he came closer.

Nick quietly put her on her feet and pulled a packet of blue powder from his pouch. Leaning around the corner, he threw the pouch and an instant latter she heard a body hit the floor. She watched as Nick went and shoved the man into the control room, and quietly shut the door.

Nick stopped in front of two heavily locked doors. Dropping Sam’s hand he riffled through his pouch, but what he had on him wasn’t about to open those doors quietly. He glanced back the way they had come, back toward the control room showing armed guards having a good time. Armed being the key word.

A small scrapping noise brought his attention back to the locked doors, to find Sam kneeling with her hands up. Doing a quick three sixty, he checked for any enemies coming their way and found nothing. When he looked back, her hands were down but she was still just kneeling there. “What are you doing?” he hissed.

Without another word, she lifted thin metal rods and then started digging inside the locks with them. Nick knew what she was doing now, but he had never bothered to learn how to pick locks. Why bother when you had magic? Humans really were helpless. He was about to pull his explosion charm from his pouch when he heard the first lock give. Just three more to go on this door, and four on the other.

Sam was amazed at how quiet the children were as they made their way back to the opening at the bottom of the underwater base. They were watchful, quiet, and unhurried. They followed Nick’s signals and stuck to the wall, waiting in silence as Nick retrieved the unconscious guard from the control room.

The kids were better than a well oiled special ops squad. Sam was impressed; impressed and a little freaked out. Sam was about to ask what was going on when the kids formed a line and linked hands, the last one take hold of Sam’s hand. Nick laid one of his rocks on the floor, and then moved to the front of the line of kids. As he balanced the guard on one shoulder and leaned over to take the first kid’s hand, Sam felt the air bubble from earlier wrap around her body. She could see the wavering air bubble flowing over al the children and Nick.

Then she felt a tug and watched as Nick moved forward. She followed the tugs on her hand. They left they same way they had entered. Only this time, no one had fins to help swim. Somehow, Nick pulled them slowly upward and toward the shore. The water was just as black, just as frightening.

As they made it to the sand, Sam fell to her knees. She was thinking about actually kissing the sandy shore when an explosion went off in the water. Sam had just whipped around, searching the water, when a gun shot reverberated through the air.

She was starting to feel dizzy as she jerked back to Nick and the children, she saw the unconscious guard dressed in a wet suit falling to the sand, gun in hand and a gapping hole over his heart. “What did you do?” Unconscious men didn’t just decide to change clothes and start shot-outs.

Nick slipped his gun back into his pouch, the children followed his nod and calmly sat down on the sand, and Sam could only shake her head.

“Sam… let me explain.”

She glared into his eyes. She opened her mouth to rant, wanting to beat against his chest, demand answers. But she couldn’t scream, she could move. She could only stare into his eyes as they got closer and closer.

Nick bent close. Lightly smoothing Sam’s hair behind her ear, and whispered, “Don’t worry, Sammykins. You won’t remember a thing.” Focusing his hypnotic gaze, Nick erased everything from the last day and a half. “Sorry Sam.”

He needed a reason for Sam to have lost her memory. He didn’t have the magic to do this to do this the easy way. There was only one way to give Sam a concussion. He slammed his fist into her jaw, moving quickly to catch her before she could fall to the ground. Lying her crumpled on the sand, a clear sign that she had been attacked, Nick moved to sit in front of the children. They needed a plan, a story. They had to keep the humans and the Norms of the world in the dark. Keeping their secret was the number one Law. Queens Law. One way or another, Nick vowed to protect Sam and keep their secret at the same time.

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