"Isobelle? You're Avalon?" Annabelle said, "You're Avalon?! But... you... I... what??!?"
"Yes I'm Avalon. Kinda hard to understand I know but it's a really a long story and it's getting late so I don't have too much of a feeling to explain it. Long story short- I... am.... me. And you are you. There really is no other way to explain it."
"That..." Annabelle said, confused, "That uh, that explain nothing. What's going on? What happened to you, Isobelle?! Last time I saw you, you were like you wanted wipe humanity off the face of this planet!"
Isobelle walked over to a window, looking out at a small drizzle that had formed outside. "I hated humans. But like I said, I embraced humanity. I built up a few funds, opened this casino, and one thing led to another. I do charities, now. Humanity may be imperfect, but it's all I have to work with. I've come to accept that. So. Why are you here? What brings you to Avalon?"
"I need your help. There's someone in this town who is looking for something, both of these are very dangerous. Dr. Xan Vu. He's, this close, to getting a genie lamp, and I have no idea what a man like that could do with it. And there's another thing: there is a man named Jacob Thompson... he's part of a group of villains who, in the past, have tried to take over the planet."
"The Benefactors. Yes I know."
"How?" Annabelle asked. "Unless... that makes perfect sense! At his trial, when Jack Toomes was ranting about an Alien attacking him, he wasn't talking about me! He was talking about YOU!"
"Yes. When you and Thomas defeated Jack Toomes, I visited him in his little, 'restoration chamber'. I basically told him to turn himself in or I would rip his heart out and shove it down his own throat. He turned himself in. And now there's another one." Isobelle then did something that surprised Annie. She gave out a sarcastic "...yay."
Annabelle had noticed something was different about her sister. For instance, her hair wasn't purely white anymore, nor were her eyes, they had started to develop a cyan tone to them. She thought that maybe whatever had turned them that blank value was starting to wear off. Another thing was her personality. She used joking terms, sarcasm, everything that the Isobelle she had known the four years before never used, at all. Perhaps she was telling the truth about embracing humanity. In any case, Annabelle trusted her sister, even though she knew she shouldn't have with the way she acted before, she still did.
"So, will you help me now?" Annabelle asked. "Please?"
"It was Isobelle, my sister!" Annabelle said, excitedly, but with a sad tone of voice. "She's Avalon. She didn't help."
"WHAT?!" Tom jumped up from the ground and gasped. "Your sister? The one who was all gung-ho about how 'humans are evil' and all that garbage?"
Annabelle and Tom started walking to the outside of the casino. Out there, that small drizzle had ballooned into a massive storm, one that caused nearby palm trees to sway violently. Annabelle, realizing she didn't bother to bring an umbrella because it wasn't rainy before, stood where she was for a few minutes, still upset by Isobelle's choice to not help."
"Is everything okay Anne?" Tom asked, calling her a name that she rarely heard.
"Ya. I just... wish she could have-"
"Isobelle?! What the-I thought you weren't going to help me until you 'changed'?" Annabelle said, sarcastically.
After a rather vocal "What the hell?!" from Kelly, she opened the door. The storm outside was beginning to pick up, forcing Deacon to speak a bit louder, but still with a saddened voice.
Deacon and Cassie walked into the house, and Kelly stood where she was for a few moments. "Wow did I really just say 'catch your death'? Damn, I read too many old books."
"Neither did I." Tom said as he walked into the house. "Neither did I. Things around here are getting a little off the wall."
Annabelle slumped her shoulders. "Damn. I'm glad they're okay. And yes, I'm sure them staying here won't be a problem. I'll get the guest room ready." As Annabelle walked away, Kelly couldn't help but notice a bit of a twitch in her eye, and a different gait as she stepped into the house.
Isobelle, still sad about Keera's scar, couldn't really convey the words. "Good. I gotta... I gotta go. Sorry. I need to talk to Annabelle, or Tom." She didn't want to leave but couldn't find any way to continue the conversation. The last time Isobelle saw Keera she was much younger, a mere child. She had the whole world in front of her! But now, everything changed. Isobelle wasn't prepared to see it.
Upset, Isobelle walked past the teen, who herself was a bit upset that her scar and eye patch messed up yet another possible conversation with someone. Keera looked over at Isobelle, having wanted to talk to her for a long time since she left. While she never really told Annabelle, Keera had developed a bit of a friendship with her aunt during her stay at the house. She didn't expect Isobelle to be so upset at her scar, but realized she should have. After hearing the commotion, Mirabelle came down the stairs and looked at her. "Keeki? Whats's wrong?"
"Ask your sister." Keera said, angrily. "The one in white."
"She's different apparently." Keera said, interrupting her. "In any case she didn't want to talk to me. Why would she? I mean it's not like I look normal, right? Huh?" Keera started to turn around and go back upstairs, but Mirabelle stopped her.
Keera nodded. "Okay. What about Isobelle? Don't you want to talk to her? You know, show yourself. She probably doesn't know about you."
Mira shook her head. "Nah, Annie can get her filled in on the details. I want to make sure you're alright." With that, the two walked to the garage, to Annabelle's car, and drove off.
"So... the guest room is upstairs." Annabelle and Cassie were in the former's room. Annabelle had donated some of her clothes to the woman after hearing about what happened. "The bathroom's right outside this room, and all that good stuff."
"Don't worry about it." Annabelle replied. "You can wear them as long as you want."
"Thank you. Deacon thinks that someone planted a bomb in our house, with the intention of killing us. I believe him as much as I don't want to. The notion that someone would want us dead is... unnerving to say the very least."
"Happens to me all the time. You get used to it after a while." Annie replied. She was talking about Jack, Nightmare, Andy's evil clone who ended up being Nightmare, and numerous others. "If it keeps happening to you, you might get used to it as well."
"Ya I bet. Did he mention how he was getting a little creepy around me sometimes?"
"Yes, and he was apologetic for it. I trust you know that that Deacon, the one you met in Bridgeport, it wasn't my brother. It was, but not."
Annabelle nodded. "Yes, I know that."
"Besides, he kind of realized that he would never be with you. You have someone else, a bit of a hat wearer."
Cassie backed off a bit. "Touchy subject, huh?"
Annabelle touched her face. "Ya it's just... allergies I guess. I think. But ya, Tom. I... don't know really. After what happened in Hidden Springs - long story - I've come to the conclusion that if Tom wanted to date anyone, he could. I would be jealous, but I would let him date her without interfering. Besides, I too would like to change the subject... the clothes!"
"Oh they fit grandly. Thank you again."
Annabelle smiled, and walked out of the room, her eye twitching yet again. Cassie didn't worry too much about it, and went to look at herself in a mirror.
"So I heard you punched someone today, Red. That did not surprise me. Then I heard it was a supervillain's evil henchman. That didn't surprise me either."
"Ya well, it felt good either way. Tom actually made me think he insulted me for wearing too much red. So I punched him. No one insults my color. Ever."
"I don't think of it. Deacon never messed with me in Bridgeport. He did hit you which made me want to rip his arms off but since Tom threw him off a building he achieved a proper amount of retribution. If he ever puts his hands on anyone in this family, I'll make sure his sister is notified AFTER what I do."
Tom was sitting in the living room while Annabelle was nervously pacing the floor and repeating herself constantly. Tom, worried about her, stood up and walked over to her, worried.
"I don't like this I don't like this I don't like this I don't like this..." Annabelle looked at Tom with a sad expression on her face but still repeated the same phrase in a mono-tonal voice.
"Annie, please, just calm down!"
"Why? Why why why? I mean, it's not like I CAN calm down. I can't go a single solitary day without hell happening! I mean Deacon's living here now! And his sister! She's-she's living here now too. EVERYONE! I mean, Isobelle's back, I mean, I mean she's just back like she was never gone and Keera's eye, and you and, John, and, and Scarlett's wedding coming up and-AND THE eclipse and the thought if we fail, the entire world could suffer the consequences, it's just a little too much to bear right now!"
"CALM... DOWN?!" Annabelle yelled out, "HOW?! How could I possibly keep myself calm?! I can't stay calm, Tom! I can't just meditate on things! Real, terrible things are happening right now! I can't fix them! I don't even know if I can stop what's GOING to happen! And it's not like this is a first-time thing for me! When I was eleven a meteor shower destroyed a city!"
da, snibby tami separoo,
da snibby too no whaa nah soo
Nebu taru, nozee,
When they were done singing, the two stepped off the platform and smiled. Suddenly Keera turned around and looked at the machine. "Do you have any idea what we just sang?"
"Nope." Mirabelle chuckled. "Must have been a foreign song."
Keera shrugged and walked over to a barstool, sitting on it. Mirabelle walked over with her. "So kid, how's school going?"
"I am starting to like someone his name is Michael Lee he has black hair amber eyes he's a foreign exchange student from China. I'm worried if I tell him I like him he wouldn't do the same."
"Keeki, I know. With Isobelle... You haven't talked much to anyone outside our little family circle since, you know, the accident. I'm so sorry for what happened."
"She was just probably shocked, Keeki."
Mirabelle and Keera sat there for a few minutes in silence. After a short while the door to the building opened, revealing a grungy-looking man wearing a knit cap.
"Waiting for my cab." The man said, "Say you don't happen to have an umbrella? It's storming something fierce out there!"
"No, you borrowed my umbrella last week! Why didn't you return it?"
"Oh, well... you know... the factory. It's distracting." Collin walked over to the barstool and sat down, chatting with the bartender. "I hate working there but it's the only job I could find after the accident."
Collin then said somberly. "I don't like to talk about it too much, but I guess I have to get it off my chest somehow. A couple months ago, I was a stagehand at a film studio in Hidden Springs. One day, early in the morning, I was moving a few props for a film when a couple friends of mine asked if I wanted to go to a noon basketball game at the stadium."
"They said that the line to see the game was already beginning to fill and I needed to go quickly if I wanted to get my ticket. So I left, I didn't see anyone to tell them to move the props, and... there was an explosion."
"I read about that!" The bartender said. "All over the news. That explosion up in Alaska? You caused that?"
"Yes but what about the teenager who got injured? Did you ever give an apology to her?"
"I THOUGHT you said this was a place people could spill their sorrows!"
"Ya, well.. I don't like your sorrows. Get out."
Keera stood up and watched Collin leave the bar, a serious glint of anger in her eye as she did so. Mirabelle, also standing, asked if she was alright.
"So you went to a basketball game? Did you have fun? Was it a joyful time?"
"That's good! I'm glad you had fun. I'm glad you went to the game! Hey, one person's fun is another person's nightmare. An endless, unstoppable nightmare. But hey, you were fired for incompetence, and that's good too in my book. But hey, just as long as you weren't hurt. Just as long as no one you care for... was hurt. But maybe someone you didn't know was hurt. Maybe, I dunno, someone who didn't even get a letter of apology from you... was hurt. But hey, you were busy... you were so busy going to a damn basketball game that you didn't even realize what could have happened."
"Please just... leave me alone. Please?" Collin tried to walk away quickly but slipped on the wet cement, giving Keera time to walk around and look down on him on the ground, where she believed he deserved to be.
"I would have left you alone on the street. Except you left something alone yourself! A special effects device that shoots fire, you left it next to a trio of compressed gasoline containers because you wanted tickets to a basketball game. Oh 'the next guy will get it, don't worry' you thought? Well, what if there was a shift change, and there was no 'next guy'. Hmm? What if there was a woman who hadn't spent that much time with someone she cared about, what if that woman took this friend of hers, this niece, and took her on a tour to the same set that you left behind because you wanted tickets to a basketball game, hmm? And what if your basketball game cost this young teenager her eye, and half her face, was it worth it? Was going to see your favorite team duke out with the other totally worth ruining someone's life?"
A bolt of lightning streaked across the sky, illuminating the entire area and giving Collin his first good look at the girl. Her rage-filled face and clenched fists highlighted and emphasized by the flash of energy. Collin couldn't tell if the rain was wetting her face or if she had tears streaming down, and whether the tears were of sorrow or rage. Considering everything she's said, it was pretty obvious it was the latter. Within seconds, he knew who she was.
Without saying another word Collin ran down the street, far away from Keera. Mirabelle, who was watching the drama unfold, lowered her head in sadness as Keera stood still, in the thunderstorm. After a few moments Mirabelle walked over to her, and the two silently walked back to the car.