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December 05, 2022

Call of Destiny v3p6

By Josh Brown

Three as Three - Part Six

"Sorry I'm late. I didn't want to miss the farewell," said the mirrored reflection of Adara, with Adara's voice no less.

Brand watched in horror as this strange, identical copy of Adara held Megan at death's door. What was worse than watching? Maybe the fact that he was so out of his mind right now, he couldn't even remember how to breathe. Must do something. But what? Scream? He could scream, not that it would accomplish much. Then it hit him: She could really die. For real.

"One, two, three... hmm," The would-be killer said as she crinkled her nose in an all too cute way. In any other situation, Brand would actually be a little turned on. "I count three and a half people, and I know one and half of them so who's missing?"

"Wh-" Adara started to say.

"You keep it shut. I know your dirty little tricks." The assassin looked over Megan's shoulder toward Brand. "Where's the third from your group?"

Something about the sneer on her lips didn't sit too well with Brand. She knew. That had to be it. She knew where Buba was and she was playing some kind of sick, twisted game. Of course, the majority of Brand's view was filled with the image of a terrified Megan so he played right along. "Buba wandered off and now we can't find him." He refrained from adding, "as if you didn't know".

"A shame. Oh, where are my manners. I'm Zadara." Zadara flashed a sweet, convincingly innocent smile as she held the key to the afterlife at Megan's neck. "It sounds familiar, I'm sure." As she added that, she gave Adara a nasty look. "One can never be too sure what her siblings tell people about her."

"You're news to me, lady."

"What? Adara didn't even mention me? I'm hurt." Zadara paused, frowning. She rolled her eyes and shoved Megan at Brand, then rapidly shook her hands as if they were wet. "Too much fear in that one. I couldn't stand touching her anymore. Although, she would be perfect-"

"No," Adara said firmly, steadying her gaze on Zadara.

Brand rushed forward as Megan went staggering and grabbed her. He backed away far, or would have, had he not run into the edge of the canyon. He looked down at the vast hole in the earth then stumbled forward several steps.

"Are you all right?" Brand asked, searching her face then her eyes. He tried his hardest not to look at the small but noticeable cut in Megan's neck where a faint trickle of blood had escaped.

"Fine, Brand. Just fine."

One-eye came over as they settled to the ground. Too much was going on too fast for Brand to even think about processing half of it. Why had he embarrassed himself when he thought Adara was going to be the killer? It was almost as if he feared Adara, the seemingly harmless one, far more than he feared Zadara, the seemingly harmful one. He had thought they were one in the same, but now he knew otherwise. Still, that begged the question: Why did he grovel before Adara, but not Zadara?

Before he could answer it, harsh words started to get louder and louder. One-eye rested each of his hands on both Megan's and Brand's shoulder. "Try to ignore them. It will only get worse."

"What's going on here, One-eye? Siblings? Twins? Clones? What? What the hell is going on and why did I see what I saw? Was it just in my head? What the hell is going on One-eye?"

The graveness of the situation became more evident to Brand as more and more time was passing without so much as a half wink from One-eye. Those winks seemed to be endlessly out of control, but now he knew otherwise. While One-eye mulled over the questions and Brand tried to calm down somewhat, Megan took a tissue out of her pocket and dabbed up the blood on her neck. She was shaking, he realized, shaking badly. Her hands and arms were working double overtime. But when he reached out to take one of her hands, she flinched away and turned to look out over the canyon. The shouting between Adara and Zadara grew even louder. So much louder, in fact, he could hear what they were saying.

"You have no right!" Zadara screamed.

Then there was a lag in the conversation and it dawned on him that they weren't shouting at all. Zadara was shouting (and she sure had a fine set of lungs), Adara was no doubt being her meek, quiet self still.

"Get real, Adara! You know just as well as I do what will happen if you let this continue. Don't try and tell me it's for the best." A short pause before: "I don't believe it. You are out of your mind!"

"It's not polite to eavesdrop, Brand."

Blinking, Brand glanced toward One-eye. He was pissed at that comment, oh yes. How could it not be his business when those two were clearly talking about them? Something smelled fishy all right, but Brand was beginning to wonder if it was Zadara that might not actually be the one to talk to. Adara would, after all, be slanting whatever is going on in her favor. Wouldn't she? Perhaps just another look at the same situation from different eyes would help Brand to get a better grasp on everything. Apparently One-eye was psychic or Brand couldn't hide what he was thinking very well.

"You don't want to do that," One-eye said. "Zadara is major trouble. If you go to her, you won't be able to get free and you will most likely die."

"So says the man that wants to me to have clouded judgement and follow a one-sided story. How can I possibly know that what Adara and you are both telling me is the right information? How can I make up my own mind without hearing all the parties? It doesn't sound very wise to just take your word for everything."

"Indeed, it isn't wise but if you go to Zadara, you won't be able to return and your path will be gone. You will be written out of the call and someone else will take your place. I won't lie to you, Brand, if you go to Zadara you will become very rich and very powerful but you will also become miserable and you will die with so much regret that the final deathblow will most likely be from your own hand."

"How can someone take my place when it's already started? It sounds to me like-"

A loud explosion shoved all three of them away from the canyon. Brand grabbed his ears, screaming out but he couldn't seem to scream loud enough to hear over the deafening ringing in his head. His vision was blurred when he opened his eyes but he could feel someone against him. He shouted out for help, no longer certain he even had a voice. There was nothing left to do; he panicked.

Shadows moved about in front of Brand; blurring, dark figures were coming straight toward him. He started screaming and charged at them. If there was one thing he was sure of, it was that he didn't want to get captured. So he picked the nearest shadow and ran. A moment later he crashed into something and nearly cracked his skull open as he fell back. His head bounced against the ground, his vision fading, but for a moment of clarity he could see Adara's face looking at him. It was Adara's face all right, but was it Adara or Zadara that had found him. Then he passed out.

***

The fat, balding man that sat before Lisya was a disgusting sight from her point of view. His true-self had been so corrupted; she doubted anything short of a miracle could help him find his way to a better life. No, she'd seen his type before. He would die and it would be truly tragic, for him, and nobody else. Greed ruled this man, he sought for and had riches far beyond that of many of the richest people in the world but still he was in constant search of more. She could never understand such a thing. What did people with enough money to last them and their great-great-great-great-great-great-grandchildren for their whole lives need with more?

"What do you mean, you want out?" He barked at her.

His true-self pretty much matched how he surrounded himself as well. Piles of gold and silver coins were stacked in several columns on his desk. In front of him, a huge plate with a whole (or what was once whole, till he started eating) cooked chicken and nothing else. At the moment he was waving a half-eaten chicken leg around and spitting pieces of the meat as he shouted. She just watched and actually felt sorry for him.

"No! Out of the question. You're done when I say you're done. Until then, you keep working. You got it? You stop when I say you stop or I'll see to it you have a nice funeral. Sound fair?"

Not really, but she expected as much. She just smirked. "Listen. I'm not in the mood to play your games and I really am tired of looking at you so I'll make this as simple for you to understand as I can. I quit. I'm not working for you anymore. And, before you get all kill-the-bitch on me, you might like to know that I have a list of about a dozen people that work for you. Or should I say, a list of a dozen people that rip you off and are, as we speak, plotting to kill you."

He barked out a laugh so hideous that she could barely keep from cringing. "You have to be the stupidest woman alive."

She felt guilty, really she did, and as bad as he was and as much as she knew he'd probably never find peace, she couldn't help but feel responsible for what was about to happen to him. So, she gave him one last warning, even though she knew it was a waste of time. "Your bodyguard is going to kill you as soon as you call him in here to kill me. I just thought you'd like to know."

"Well, aren't you the sweetest? Been a pleasure." He shouted out and a large muscled man walked in. When the chicken-eater told him to kill Lisya, the bodyguard merely nodded and pulled out a dagger. A moment later, the dagger was sticking out of the bald man's neck. The bodyguard was definitely a good aim. He said nothing more and just walked away.

Lisya stood and watched as the man's true-self slowly faded into the air. This was the one unknown to her. What did happen when someone died? Did their true-self go somewhere else or did it just cease to exist. As far as she could actually see, it just faded away. She smiled sadly at the fat man as he sat there in his chair, staring in utter disbelief at Lisya. "I tried to warn you," she told him as she left.

She headed back to the square, where the traffic had been jamming up. Something was going down when she got there, all right. Something big. She pushed her way through the crowd until she managed to get to the front. At the fountain in the middle of the square, a woman, more of girl than a woman really, with the darkest true-self she'd ever seen, stood with the water of the fountain downstream forming a backdrop. How could someone that looked so young be so overly corrupted? Chicken man had nothing compared to what she was witnessing now. Just the though of the evilness that might be possessed within that soul sent a shiver down her spine. She then turned her attention up the street to see what had this evil young woman's attention. She was blinded, or so she thought, but then she saw through the brightness and realized she was looking at the young woman's total opposite. Where her true-self was massively dark, this large man that was surrounded by soldiers and being dragged toward her was massively light. She'd never seen a true-self like either of these before and now she sees two of them, moving toward each other, at the same time? There was nothing big about this, no. This was epic.

To be continued...
Article © Josh Brown. All rights reserved.
Published on 2002-09-28
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