There are fates worse than death…
Hello, this is the tenth chapter of my serialisation of Accidental Immortal, on my blog. It will be published four times a week so the serialisation will be completed at (roughly) the same time as on Wattpad, if not a little sooner!
If you would like to start from the beginning, please head over to chapter one. There is also a contents list at the bottom of each post.
Chapter 10 – Kidnapped
“That looks beautiful on you.”
Illyara looked down at her dress. She puffed out her cheeks then let out her breath slowly. “You are spending too much money on me.”
‘It’s not my money. Easy come, easy go.” Lynsey picked up a glove from a pair from an adjacent counter. She drew the length of silk through her fingers and looked up at Illyara again.
“I found it all at the pyramids. I don’t really have anything else which anyone would find useful in this world. I would be destitute here if it wasn’t for that stuff.
“Besides we wouldn’t even be here if it wasn’t for you and your family. I probably would have died if I hadn’t found your tribe. I owe you.”
Across the room, she noticed Luna was trying on another hat. Lynsey grinned, that had to be the fifth creation that the shop girl had brought. She watched as the woman twirled in front of the mirror, delight splayed across her face in the reflection. Catching sight of Lynsey looking at her, she halted mid-pose. Lynsey nodded at her, giving her two thumbs up. Luna looked confused but smiled back, taking it as a compliment. She called for the next hat.
“Are you still going to try and get rid of the bracelet?” Illyara asked climbing back into the dress she had arrived in.
“I don’t know now. It is heavier than it looks which does make it uncomfortable but I am getting used to the feel of it.” She looked down at her wrist. “But now that I can’t see it, I almost forget I have it on.”
“There must be a reason you can’t take it off.”
“Pico says we need it to understand each other.”
“Who is Pico?”
“Pico…” Lynsey realised that she hadn’t mentioned him at all to anyone since she’d arrived. Pico become more alert, shooting blues and greens in her awareness. To her surprise, she suddenly felt protective towards him.
She felt his fear, the bright colours turned to murky browns and blacks, swirling slower than usual reminding her of mud or thick dark chocolate in the recesses of her mind. Yet she could tell he was interested in how she would answer.
Should she tell her? Illyara was her friend. The only person she could trust in this strange world. She didn’t – couldn’t, know the people here, what their agendas were or how things worked. But, if she was going to tell someone then Illyara was a good bet. She didn’t even know Arkan. His face popped into her mind. Why was she thinking about him again!
“Pico,” She started again. “he’s a creature that was put in me by the bracelet. He’s a voice inside my head.”
“You hear voices?” Illyara’s voice lowered in concern.
“He’s not just a voice, he’s real. He doesn’t talk a lot but says he can help me.”
“At least he is not a malevolent voice.” replied Illyara after a moment. She knelt down beside her friend. “Is he how you made the bracelet disappear?”
“It hasn’t disappeared. Here, feel it.” Lynsey pulled Illyara’s hand and placed it on her arm where she could feel the band. “See, hard metal.”
Illyara snatched her hand back, rocking on the balls of her feet as she regained her composure. She reached out her hand and touched Lynsey’s wrist again.
“Oh I see. It’s like when we hide. We are there but you can’t see us.”
“Sort of.” It was a strange metaphor but she could see where Illyara was going with it.
Luna’s voice drifted towards them as she approached. “Have you found everything you need?” Her perfume reached them first. The heady floral scent made Lynsey’s nose wrinkle. They had enough time to exchange warning looks before Luna was hovering over them.
“…then we need to get going. There is a feast tonight we need to get ready for.”
The journey back to the house was uneventful but Lynsey would have given anything for a mini-fan, or even a paper fan for that matter. Maybe she could invent one? She looked at Luna sitting opposite her with disbelief. She looked as cool and collected as when she first stepped into the carriage. How did she do that? Sweat dripped between her shoulder blades making her back tickle. Lynsey wriggled slightly, wishing she could scratch but she didn’t want to lose face in front of the woman.
The drawn-up blinds should have kept the carriage cooler but only served to keep the insects out. Strike that, an evil looking fly with spikes along his body landed on the slight ledge between the door and the blind covering the window. It seemed to glare at her from its perch. The spikes moved to an upright position. Was it poisonous? She couldn’t see a stinger but maybe the spikes had poison on them? A hand reached out and filled her vision, snapping the blind open and flicking the fly out of the window in the same movement.
“We don’t want that little thing in here do we?” Luna observed as she closed the blind again. She wasn’t wrong.
Within minutes, they arrived back at the house there was still several hours before they needed to leave to get to the banquet on time but as soon as they entered the hall, Luna asked their forgiveness and left them to go to her rooms.
They trudged up the stairs, followed by two servants carrying some boxes. The rest would be delivered over the next few days. The boys left the packages on a side table and left them alone, closing the door behind them. Illyara sat down first picking up some sewing that she’d started earlier while Lynsey paced the room examining the flowery wallpaper. Illyara ignored her, delicately unpicking the hem to lengthen the dress until Lynsey threw up her hands and perched on the end of a plush green chair beside her friend. She sat back in the chair and tapped her foot on the floor. Lynsey began to feel claustrophobic again. There was literally nothing to do. No television, no books, no phone or computer. What did the people here do?
“I’m bored, I need something to do!” she burst out, jumping up to pace the small room.
Illyara looked up at her with the end of the cotton in her mouth. She cut the length with her teeth and tied a knot in the end. “What do you want to do?”
“I heard Luna talk to the shop attendant about a park about five minutes’ walk away?”
“That does sound nice.” She put the garment down on a cushioned stool beside her. “Do you know how to get there?”
“I think so, she said it was left at the end of the driveway and only a couple of right turns away, to the woman. She mentioned there were some sort of rare flowers there that the girl might like. Mind you all the flowers here are exotic to me!”
“Well, that does not sound like it might be too far away. It will do us good to get some sunshine and fresh air. We have been indoors far too much in the last couple of days.”
They hurried out, grabbing cloaks hung on thin metal spikes near the side door as they exited. The air outside was getting cooler and the fur enveloped Lynsey like a hug. They would be warm enough for a short walk.
The further they went from the mansion, the more relaxed Lynsey felt. Maybe city life wasn’t as good as the desert after all. She felt like she was trapped in some twisted nineteenth century society. It wasn’t anything that Luna said, that made her nervous but she acted all vacuous when people were looking, and then there were times where there was a look that sent a chill down Lynsey’s spine when the woman thought no one was looking. The girly Luna had to be an act. But if women weren’t supposed to own anything, maybe that was the way you had to be to survive here. Pretend you are dumb to get along. She couldn’t judge. She’d been here, what? … five minutes? She didn’t know what life had been like for her. Could she live that way?
Illyara was looking at her as if she was expecting an answer. What had she asked? Lynsey blinked. Oh yes, something about gardens where she came from.
They were chatting freely along a straight bit of road when Lynsey noticed, Illyara taking constant fleeting glances behind them. Then she heard it too. The soft pad of footsteps on the dry muddy road.
“There is someone behind us.” said Illyara under her breath.
“I agree.” Pico interjected. “He has been following us for some time. There may also be another one across the street.”
Lynsey grew cold but refrained from looking back. This may not have been such a great idea. She should probably have told Luna where they were going. Why did she even think it was safe to go for a walk on their own? Sure, it felt like they were in a rich area. But did they even have police here? She hadn’t thought to ask. Everywhere has police. Right? She increased her steps pulling Illyara along beside her. Their shadows did the same, matching them step for step. The second right turning was coming up and Lynsey swerved into it hoping there would be someone in the park.
A dusty street lamp illuminated the dusk and she saw two more men striding towards them coming from a different direction. Lynsey began to panic. This was starting to look like a trap.
The women broke into a run, turning on to a path that branched off the main one to avoid the men closing in. Their breaths came in gasps and Lynsey felt her lungs scream as she pumped her legs on the uneven ground. She turned to look back at Illyara but she was gone. Lynsey shouted with heightened fear. She was alone. There was another shout as the men realized one of their quarry had got away. Lynsey started to run again but she was running out of breath – and time.
Pico voice saturated her ear making her grab her ear in pain. “Stop!” She came to a halt gasping. The men were coming from all directions. Their dirty stained clothing filled her with horror. What were they going to do?
Suddenly she felt as though she was jerked backwards but she could feel that she was still standing. She saw a gap between the men and wanted to dive between them but her body wouldn’t respond. She could still feel her body, the ache in her legs, and the pain of breathing hard on her lungs but she was now an observer. She had no control. Her body twisted around with no warning and her arm deflected the arm of the first attacker to reach her. Her foot kicked out and hit his knee. He went down as if in slow motion. The second man to his right in her vision was looking at the first and the look of surprise would have given her satisfaction if she knew what was happening. She rushed forward at him. Her right hand grabbed his hair simultaneously kicking him in the back of the knee with her hooked leg. He fell down hard like a sack of potatoes with a muffled grunt.
She inwardly cringed at the feel of soft tissue as her foot hit between the third man’s legs. The fourth and fifth man hesitated which gave her an opportunity to run. She swerved past another but yet another appeared from behind a tree to her right. She saw him swing a long branch towards her. Fascinated she tilted her head and watched as the wood swooped towards her in slow motion. Pico’s voice was saying sorry in the distance before she lost consciousness.
Lynsey woke to a headache that rivalled the pyramid PE.
“Of course, before you say anything, I can tell you are not happy. I would like to remind you that if I hadn’t done some extra healing while you were out, you would be feeling a lot worse off now.”
“Thanks” she thought back. “Now, can you get me out of here?”
“I’ve had a look around but they’ve got us in a cellar. There are no windows and the door is locked from the other side.”
Lynsey sat up using a large wooden barrel to prop up her back. The cellar was filthy but she was thankfully alone. The only light was from a light bulb high in the ceiling. They write in hieroglyphics but they have electricity? Strange.
She thought back to the men who caught her and her head shot up.
“You took over my body!” She said aloud.
“I had to.”
“How did you even know how to do that? Those were martial arts moves! ”
“I told you when we first met that I had full access to your memories. You took a few lessons of Jiu Jitsu while you were at university before you gave up and you’ve seen dozens of films with it in since then.”
Lynsey’s mind was racing. “Why didn’t you help me hunt? Why did you make me do all that practicing if you could just take over and do it for me?”
“It wouldn’t have been ethical. You wouldn’t have liked that. I had to take over. They might have killed us. I never want to take over. I don’t need to. I’m just a passenger who is happy to ride shotgun.”
“I’m not happy…”
“I can tell that.”
“You can’t just take over like that.”
“If you remember, I don’t.” Pico’s mental voice was imbued with purples. He was getting annoyed.
Lynsey’s fumed. “I just want some kind of warning OK?”
“Tell you what, next time our life is threatened, I’ll ask your permission as the sword is slicing our neck in two. You never know you might be able to grow another head.”
“Ha ha, Pico. Very funny, if you could, just let me know. It’s only polite. It is my body!”
Her vision saturated with colour, blinding her for a moment. She could feel Pico pulsating in her mind. It was her body, her mind. He had no right!
“I might have been able to get away before the fighting started.” She continued. “There was a gap, I could have got through. I might have got away.”
“There was less than 10% chance that you would have got away.” replied Pico.
“You can’t know that.”
“I can. You were tired, unfit and outnumbered. We didn’t even know how many men were involved. Need I go on?”
God, she wanted to hit him. He was so smug, so right. She laughed unexpectedly. If she hit him, she’d only be hurting herself, literally!
It was just hard. He wouldn’t, couldn’t go but she was just expected to accept someone sharing her body? It was impossible. And now, he could actually take over her body? Could she trust that he wouldn’t have a change of heart someday and just take over permanently?
“I would never do that you know.” Pico’s voice was quiet in her ear.
“How can I believe that?”
“You just have to trust me! Have I done anything to make you believe I would harm you?”
“No-o-o. “ Lynsey started to pick at a stray length of cotton that worked its way free from the seam of her skirt. “That doesn’t mean that you won’t though.”
“Granted but we are going to be together for a very long time, possibly centuries. Time will show you that I mean no harm, that I can’t do you any harm. I am part of you now. What you desire, I want. It is part of my core programming. It would have been different centuries ago. I would have had to support the aims of the Egyptians. They are dust now and my only loyalty is to you and will always be to you. Do you understand?
“I think so.”
“You will Lynsey, my life is yours now and always will be.