Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Chapter Thirty-Two - The Rising Darkness

September 14th, 2022. 
Six days to the Solar Eclipse

"I love you, Annabelle." 

 Annabelle stood on a rooftop wearing a gown. The sun was shining and Tom was standing in front of her, but she knew this wasn't real. This was a recurring dream she'd had since she was a teenager, with her and Tom, only the situation around them had changed as she grew up. Knowing it was a dream, and only a dream, she acted on that realization. 

"I don't know if I can keep doing this dream, Tom. I know I love you but I can't find the right way to say it in the real world. I've loved you all my life, I want to marry you, I want to have children and grow old but I can't say it."

"Sometimes you don't need to say it. Sometimes actions speak for themselves."

Annabelle smiled, and then...  

...she woke up with a ringing in her ear, a small but persistent one that took it's nice time going away. Perhaps it was the storm outside, which was still raging. She soon realized that it was a side effect from her nervous breakdown the night before, which left itself as a sad and persistent reminder of what happened. Annabelle didn't like showing signs of weakness, why would she? She was raised strong by her mother Maria and Kelly's parents Elliot and Mei helped increase this sense into her. To her, weakness was an exploitable trait in any living being, human or not.

When Annabelle's ear grew silent, finally, she got dressed and walked down the stairs into her living room, where Tom was sitting watching television. She smiled at him while he couldn't see, remembering the dream she had as well as the one she had a week before, wherein she did act on her feelings for him resulting in a whole world with a son she never had.

Tom heard her coming downstairs, and when she stopped walking he said "You're up early, for being such a night owl. It's like 7:00 AM. What woke you?"

Annabelle shrugged. She couldn't tell Tom why she woke up, really, concerning the dream she had. She internally, with a bit of a twisted sense of humor, laughed thinking that despite all the things the two had done together privately neither she or he could ever tell each other how they felt.  She constantly wondered if Tom felt the same way about her, though like the person she is never asked him that.

"I guess I am weak after all."

After standing for a few seconds, Annabelle said "Just woke up. No biggie. I, uh... I had this ringing in my ear. It could be from what happened last night with the storm and... that... but it could be a side effect from when my ears changed shape. I'm still not getting used to having pointy ears."

"Yeah." Tom said, and then chimed in "Well if you develop fangs or something then please don't bite my human skin. My wonderful skin. Actually this peach soap stuff makes it smell really good! Not edible, but good."

Annabelle laughed, then sat down next to him on the couch. "Don't worry, Tommy. There are many other human morsels I would bite first. You're the last on my list."

"Oh... well, at least I'm on the list!" Tom smiled again, causing Annabelle to smile back. "Hey Anne, I really wanted to tell you I enjoyed our dance last night. I haven't had that much fun in a while. "

"I did too, Tom. And.... And I apologize for what happened before it. I've rarely acted like that and I feel the need that I have to apologize."

"Don't." Tom replied. "Never apologize for things like that! You don't have to! And I'm not just saying this because you're so close to me, Annie. I don't feel the need for anyone to say 'sorry I just vented out everything that's happened to me since I was eleven years old because I've had enough happen to me to make three hundred and fifty-seven summer blockbuster movies.' I don't like seeing people do that. It's not a sign of weakness, Annabelle."

Annabelle smiled even brighter at Tom. Those were the words she needed to hear. Like she realized with him the night before, Annabelle knew that whenever she thought of Tom or whenever he was close, she was strong enough to do anything.

"Thank you."



The two sat in silence watching the television for a bit of time, ignoring everything else around them. Deacon, who had woken up a few minutes earlier, sat upstairs in the hallway and innocently eavesdropped on the conversation. Despite everything that he told himself, Deacon still cared a bit for Annabelle but after what happened in Bridgeport would never act on those feelings. Suddenly he heard footsteps walking up behind him. He didn't react to them, knowing that everyone in the house was at least someone decent to him. Finally the person sat down next to him, looking at the blank wall as he was.

"This is a very interesting film you're watching." Isobelle said, "Very unique. I've never watched... WALL... before. I heard a review of it though, they said it was well constructed but went nowhere."

"Ha ha." Deacon replied, actually half-laughing at her joke with a hint of sarcasm in his voice. "So apparently everyone in this house wakes up at the crack of dawn?"

"I dunno, I just woke up. What are you doing?"

Deacon sighed. "Just... sitting here, watching... Wall. Now that I've gotten into it it's actually fairly decent." Deacon smiled for what to him seemed like the first time in forever, with all the crazy things that had happened to him. "So what are you doing?"

"Sitting here, actually. A few seconds ago I was walking there. And a few seconds before I was walking... there." Isobelle chuckled, "...and a few seconds before that I was-"

"I mean what are you... I really can't win here can I?"

"Nope!" Isobelle stood up and started to leave. "See you around, Deacon. And you should smile more. Talk to you later."

"Wait... before you go." Deacon said, "I talked to Annabelle last night, after we were all settled, she said you seemed... different than you did when she knew you in Sunset Valley. What does she mean by that?"

Isobelle looked pained for a few seconds, and said "Well, everyone changes. Sometimes we need a little bit of help." With no more words, she half-smiled and walked away, leaving Deacon alone in the hallway, but with a better sense of himself than he ever had before.


"She worried me."

"Who? Keera?"

Mirabelle and Kelly were in their room, getting ready for the day. The former was still disturbed by what she saw on the street the night before. In the four years since Keera was dropped off at the house, she'd never seen the girl that angry, and never wanted to again.

"Yeah." Mirabelle replied, "I told you, last night when I got home, how she encountered the person who was responsible for her scar? She was so, so angry that I was worried she'd hurt the guy. But she didn't, she didn't even threaten him. Much better than I would do if I was in her situation."

"Are you sure about that Mira?" Kelly asked. "I've known you to get angry sometimes but I doubt you'd actually harm anyone. Much unlike someone we know who wears a lot of red and has a fuse so short that scientists are trying to create a new metric system to calculate it's distance." Kelly chuckled at her own joke, and so did Mirabelle, which broke her out of the tense feeling she had.

Despite the humorous comment, Mirabelle thought to herself afterwards: Would she harm someone who had harmed her in the past, whether it was an accident or not? Annabelle certainly felt like harming Deacon when they knew each other in Bridgeport, and definitely Jack. In fact, Annabelle was damn sure back then that if she "accidentally" tossed Jack off the top of the building he took her to when he kidnapped her, she wouldn't lose a wink of sleep.

Then again, that WAS Annabelle. As every member of the family has told her since her "birth", Mirabelle had grown into being her very own person... granted a bit sarcastic, but still her own.

"I don't know, really." Mirabelle said, bringing a sense of seriousness back to the two. "I'm just glad Keera confronted him before Annabelle or I did. And especially before Scarlett got her hands on him."

Kelly nodded, "Definitely..." she then added "...or I had."

Mirabelle was confused by this statement, but finished getting dressed without worrying about it.

She didn't know that Kelly had looked up information about Keera's "birth" in Bridgeport. No one in the house knew that Kelly found out that the other blood sample responsible for Keera was Kelly's own, making her a "mother" to the girl in a strange sense of the word.

Of course Keera, Annabelle, and no one else knew this, and Kelly realized it was better if they didn't know. Everything in the house was perfect as it was, barring a few super villains and monstrous alien unicorns, and she didn't want the news of Keera's heritage to make a mess of things. Kelly thought to herself that she would tell Keera and Annabelle, and Mirabelle for that matter, when they were ready to learn the truth.


"I would have left you alone on the street, except you left something alone yourself!" 

Keera opened her eye and sat up in bed, still fuming from the night before. As with every morning, she rubbed both of her eyes and, just like every morning, was disappointed to realize that she still had just one eye. Only this time she reveled in the fact that she finally saw, with her only eye, the person responsible for her injury the night before.

A short search on the internet revealed his name to be Collin Lyons, a former stagehand for the Alaskan division of Plumbob Pictures backlot. Keera's search on the internet revealed pictures of the explosion, the smoke and fire, and the paramedics carrying her out on a stretcher. This was a perspective from that horrid event that she'd never seen nor wished to have seen.

After the night before, Keera never wanted to see Collin again, but wondered if he could be forgiven for what he had done. She thought to herself that everyone makes mistakes. Keera herself had made one when she decided to tour the studio herself without Scarlett, and that mistake cost her her eye and half her face, She always wanted her eye back, but her scar that adorned the left side of her face was a reminder to never make any mistake again, and she would want to keep it that way.

Keera got dressed and walked outside, where Isobelle was walking around. Keera was still a bit sad that Izzy didn't talk to her much the night before, but got the anger out of her system when she encountered Collin. Ready to start fresh, Keera walked over to her and said "Hello."

"Hey there!" Isobelle said, sitting down at the same place she sat when talking with Deacon earlier that morning. "Look, I would like to apologize for what happened last night. I had built up this notion in my mind that everything was so perfect when I would return... turns out reality doesn't live up to our expectations.

Keera frowned, then sat down next to her. "I guess not. I thought I'd be a singer when I grew up, like Mom is. When I was caught in that explosion, I breathed in smoke and fire, the heat damaged my vocal cords. Hell, before that explosion I sounded more youthful than I do now."

"Being a singer was my expectation... now my reality is staring me in the face when I look in the mirror, literally."

"I am so sorry for what happened to you. And again for last night. I remember we talked all the time when I was younger, you were the last hope for humanity I had. Then when I left, I found a new hope. But that... I don't want to talk about it. In any case I know leaving you standing there for what amounted to no reason was wrong. I should have talked to you."

Keera nodded. "I suppose. But then again if you never walked away I'm sure I never would have gone to that bar and met the man who scarred my face, so all's well that ends well." she bitterly said, the stood up and walked away.

Scarlett was in the bathroom nearby, just after vomiting because of what she believed was morning sickness, either that or nerves from the upcoming wedding. She heard the conversation between Keera and Isobelle and felt sorry for the both of them, but especially the young teen she'd come to call Keeki. After flushing the toilet and walking into her bedroom, she saw John standing there having not yet gotten ready for the day.

"I'm worried about Keera." Red said to him, "Kelly told me, that Mirabelle told her, that Keera encountered the man who was responsible for her scar and loss of eye. It was just confirmed, when I heard her talking to Isobelle. Apparently Keera didn't harm him, didn't even threaten him, but she's still bitter. She's still angry. I want to talk to her about this!"

"No." John said, shaking his head. "You have your possible pregnancy to worry about, and the wedding, and everything else. I do too, but I can take a bit of time out of my day to talk to her. Besides I never get a chance to discuss things with her, this could give me that chance."

Scarlett smiled and kissed John. "Thank you my love." The two made out for a couple minutes after this, and Red was the first to break the kiss, saying "The day won't last forever."

"What's a day?" John replied, "We have forever.", and kissed her again, far more passionately than before. He then picked her up and they walked towards the bed.


 Kelly was using the computer to play chess when Annabelle walked in, sitting down on the other desk across from her own. Using the computer, she typed in a few addresses, the first to check the weather to see when the storm above them would end.

 Disappointingly, the radar was full of rain that looked like it would take a full day to pass, with the forecast confirming this. "Damn. I was going to go swimming this afternoon." She said. "I guess I still can at the gym. It's indoors."

"With your concussion from the explosion over a week ago I wouldn't recommend swimming." The two stayed silent, trying to think up small talk, before a realization hit Kelly. "What are you REALLY in here for, Annie? What do you need to talk about?"

Annabelle sighed. "I guess I couldn't hide it. I used to." She stuttered a bit, then said "You and Mirabelle wake up every morning next to each other. What's that like to wake up and look someone you love in the eyes before you even climb out of bed?"

Kelly thought this was a strange question, then realized Annabelle wasn't the most "normal" person she'd known. She stood up and walked over to her, and smiled brightly. "It's hard to explain, really. You wake up, you look into your lover's eyes, and you wonder if you in fact died in your sleep and woke up in heaven. Why do you ask?"

Annabelle sighed again. "I just wanted to know what it was like. I had a dream about a week ago, when I was unconscious from the blast. I dreamt that Tom and I were married, we had a son named Gabriel. I don't even know why that name popped into my head. I woke up in my dream and there he was, and as you described it, I felt like I was in heaven. I wonder if I'll ever have that feeling in real life, you know. Like you and Mirabelle do, like John and Scarlett... like everyone else but myself and Tom. I always wonder if I will wake up and be where I know I'm in heaven on Earth."

The two remained in silence for a bit of time, then both went back to their computers.


Some time later, Tom stood on the roof of his house in the rain where he looked out towards the ocean. He went up there often, mostly to think about the future and where his life was going to be when that future came, and always looked to the ocean because it gave him a sense of freedom that he rarely ever had. Tom wondered constantly if his life with the family he grew up with was going to be the life he remained to live, whether that was good or bad. Suddenly a woman's voice broke the silence in his mind. It was Deacon's sister Cassie, and he had to do a double take because of the outfit she was wearing, which was Annabelle's still.

"Do you mind if I stand here with you? Get some air?" Cassie asked. Tom nodded silently and she stood next to him. "I heard you were the one who literally kicked some sense into my brother. For that I must thank you!" She chuckled, then went silent when she remembered that that "kick" knocked her brother 40 feet off a house and broke his back in two places. Suddenly her joke didn't seem so funny anymore.

Even still, she had no malice or hatred towards Tom: he was merely protecting himself and his family from the twisted mind that Jack Toomes had instilled into her brother for five years. She thought to herself that if Tom hadn't pushed him off the building, maybe he'd still be the person Annabelle told her he was: a twisted, maniacal, snobby piece of sh-

"No problem." Tom said, interrupting her thoughts. Thanks to his own internal gears grinding, he didn't care to understand if she was joking or not, though he was sure she was. "I heard you lost your home. I am so sorry. Annabelle said you can stay here as long as you need."

"It's no problem. My uncle is going to send us money so we can get a new place in town. He lives in Bridgeport, in fact he's the mayor there. He says it's a great job, but he's getting old and will retire in three years. I hope whoever they get to replace him will be as great and loyal to the people as he is."

"Well don't look at me.", Tom replied, "I have enough trouble helping this family through it's own crises. You wouldn't believe all that's happened in our lives, from maniacal villains to evil alien witches, to someone close to me... in any case I don't think I'd be mayoral material."

"Well you're still strong and it seems mentally sound despite all these... crazy things." Cassie chuckled, then continued, "Maybe those are the kind of qualities that you can find in yourself."

"Well three years?" Tom replied, "We'll see. But don't hold me to it. It's a long ways away." Tom smiled a bit, something he found hard to do lately, and credited the smile to the blonde woman who was now walking away. "By the way, you know anyone else who needs a, quote, 'kick of sense' into them?"

Cassie laughed. "I'll have to think of that.", and went inside, leaving Tom alone, but feeling a bit better. He then wondered what life as mayor of a city would be like, if Annabelle would be at his side in Bridgeport despite all the things that happened to her there. Tom tossed the thought aside for a later date, thinking that the whole idea would never come back to him.

"Keera? Keera?!"

Some time later John was walking through the house, trying to find Keera. After searching her room, the living room, and one of the rec rooms, he finally he found her in the basement, looking at a picture of herself on the wall that Mirabelle had taken of her a couple days before. She was eyeing it intently, particularly the area around her scar.

"Do you think I look okay with the scar on my face, Uncle John?" Keera asked, somehow knowing who was beside her without actually turning her head to look.

"I don't think it looks too bad. You're still beautiful to me, and to everyone else you know, and knows you." Keera half-smiled, knowing he was telling the truth, and John looked at her, saying "Hey, how about the two of us go get some lunch? I could use for a bit of food right now."

"Yeah, I'm a bit hungry myself."


"How is the room coming along, Vu?" Jacob smiled with an evil look as he walked into the back chamber of the mausoleum, where Dr. Vu had set up a communications center with the help of his robotic companion Vazir. Just to the left of the chamber was a gray containment room lit up by orange lights, quickly constructed by the robot's nano-drones over the past week.

"It's done. Whenever you want to bring our guest to the chamber just go ahead. I still want Thomas Jameson."

"Yes, I know. You want Tom Jameson because of what his father did to yours. But I have a great, grand idea for that dear boy that you have no concept of. Trust me, he will get what's coming to him. Everyone will." Jacob turned around and vanished into a bright light. Vu walked up to where he was standing to make sure he wasn't merely invisible like he was last time he was in the tomb.

Tobias was worried about what Thompson had sad, about "everyone" getting what was coming to them. Vu didn't seem to be affected by it. "We need to increase security around this mausoleum." Tobias said as the pair walked into a different part of the tomb. "If you hadn't gotten rid of all those robots-"

"Those drones were useless. One of them got defeated by someone slamming their head on a coffin! Besides, Vazir has all we need to protect this place. And if we need more of him, we can get more." Vu turned around and smiled, pressing a button his lapel.

Suddenly a large nearby door opened, revealing numerous copies of the Vazir robot. A few seconds later, Thompson returned to the room and pointed at Tobias. "You, come with me. We're going to the art gallery."


After driving to the bistro, John and Keera got out and walked in the pouring rain to the building, and emerged a few seconds later with plates of food. Keera quickly scarfed hers down, but John took his time, placing Keera's plate back inside. They stood there, under the rain shield, and before John touched his food he looked over to his niece. "Hey, I'm sorry we haven't really talked much lately. I've had a lot of things going on. So have you, from what I heard."

"If you're talking about what happened last night, then yes. Apparently my exploits of yelling at a guy seem to have made their way across the household far and wide."

"Everyone's just worried about you, Keera. Scarlett especially. She was going to talk to you herself but I volunteered specifically because I haven't talked to you much. Which again I'm sorry for."

"Don't be sorry. True, I got mad last night. And yeah, I'm still mad today. Why the hell shouldn't I be? The person who I yelled at deserved to be yelled at! Or worse."

John nodded. "I think I agree, but you shouldn't be mad all the time. Anger is a devastating emotion to convey all the time. Scarlett told me that herself. She's constantly in fear that her anger will drive the people she loves away, despite knowing that everyone she loves, cares for her so much that they won't let her emotions control what they think of her."

"So why are you talking to me about this?! If that's the case, then my anger shouldn't drive anyone away either!"

John gave her a somber look. "Because anger is something that can destroy your life, it can do it subtly, quietly. You may wake up one morning with all the anger in the world directed at all the things you care about. and can't do a damn thing about it. It's like a reactive darkness in you, rising to the top with every action, with every word you speak. Scarlett told me this, and she asked me to tell you, because she doesn't want to see you go down the same path of life as her."

Keera thought this over for a few minutes. John had never told her anything like this before, and although normal fourteen year-olds would take an adult's advice with a grain of salt, being rebellious and moody as they are, she wasn't exactly a "normal" fourteen year-old.

"I understand." She said, finally. "I've just... always been angry since the accident. I don't know how to stop it. Last night I reached a boiling point."

"I do understand that. It's just that you need to focus on different emotions, like happiness. Scientific studies say if you make yourself feel an emotion, you'll start to feel it, so smile. Enjoy life! Don't let what happened to you bring you down, you should embrace it, become a great person because of it! I know you're already a great person, you need to see it yourself."

Keera smiled, something everyone in her household told her she needed to do more often. She nodded to John silently, realizing that his words helped her through the darkness she was feeling at the moment. Then out of the corner of her eye she saw someone, she turned her head and got a pretty fair look at the man she saw walking into the tomb the day before in the telescope. Kelly and Annabelle told her the man was named Jacob Thompson, and that they believed he was the new Benefactor after what Tom told them.

Keera's reaction to seeing him was to stand up and walk towards the museum silently, and when John turned he too noticed Jacob as well as Tobias, whom Scarlett had described to him the night before, before she told him she was probably pregnant. Keera and John silently walked back to their car and drove off before John even had a chance to eat.


Tom, Annabelle, Deacon, and Isobelle were all sitting in there talking about what was going on when John and Keera came running into the living room with surprised looks on their faces.  The four stood up and turned to look at the two, with Annabelle being the first to react. "What's going on?!"

"We saw Jacob Thompson!" Keera said, "The same guy who you met, Tom. We saw him at the restaurant and he was going into the museum. He was accompanied by that guy Scarlett described, that Tobias guy she punched! They're at the museum!"

"Then we should go there." Annabelle said. "I doubt they are able to get weapons past the metal detectors so they must be unarmed. We should go there, catch them off-guard, and if need be beat the information converning the Genie Lamp out of them.

"Eesh, that's a little dark for you Annie." John said, "But desperate times call for desperate measures. I was gonna say teleport him here, but after what happened with you and the teleporter we can't take the risk of two Benefactors running around."

"I understand. Tom and I will go to the museum. The rest of you-"

"NO!" Tom protested, "I'll go alone. I can't put you in any danger, Annie. I don't want you to come."

"Tom, I'm coming. I can handle myself." Tom was about to speak up, but Annabelle gave a pleading look to him. After pushing away all thoughts that this was a terrible idea, he relented and said as such. Annabelle smiled and stood by him.

"Then if the two of them are there." Deacon said, "then the mausoleum is only occupied by Dr. Vu! If someone comes with me, we can enter the mausoleum and force Vu to surrender that star stone to us, which would negate their entire evil plan!"

Isobelle stood next to him. "That sounds like a great idea. We can stop their efforts here, tonight, before any type of war begins. I'll go with Deacon to the graveyard, Tom and Annabelle will go to the museum."

Keera then said "Everyone else must stay here and hold down the fort, in case we're needed here."

Tom stood in the middle of the group and looked around. "Okay, John, lock every door in the house, bolt every window. If need be, learn to use the magic wand I gave you yesterday. It will help out." John acknowledged this and Tom walked to the end of the living room. "If we fail tonight, then who knows when we'll have another chance. Everyone, get ready."


"Wǒ ài nǐ"


Kelly and Mirabelle were sharing a quiet moment, one of the few they were going to get for the next week it seemed. After holding onto a necklace Mira had given her, Kelly walked over to her girlfriend and embraced her, whispering into her ear. "It's what my mom says to my dad all the time. Wanna take a guess as to what it means?"


Kelly held Mirabelle's head in her hands. "It means, I love you."

After embracing one another for a few minutes, looking into each other's eyes, they let go and kissed, with Mirabelle breaking the connection to say "Wǒ ài nǐ, too, Kel."

Kelly smiled and held onto the necklace that Mirabelle had given her the night before. It was black onyx for the most part, but a magenta-colored crystal that wasn't too far off from Mirabelle's own favorite color. Mirabelle had told her that she wanted to give her the necklace, saying she'll love her with all her heart. Kelly  was planning to buy a sapphire necklace for Mirabelle, as a way of replying.

"I was thinking over what you told me about Keera last night, I was wondering if she would have harmed that man if you weren't there. Maybe she would have, if she has Annabelle, or your, blood in her veins. I know you can be passionate... VERY passionate. Just look at what happened when you got back home... anyway, I constantly wonder what Keera could have done if you weren't there."


Mirabelle was listening to Kelly when suddenly she turned around and saw a white light approach her. She didn't know what it was, but seconds later she was gone. Kelly, who wasn't looking at her and still talking, turned around and was shocked to see her missing.

"Mirabelle? Mirabelle?!"

Seconds later Mirabelle came back, out of a different flash of light with a surprised look on her face. Her sudden appearance shocked Kelly, but what shocked her more was what Mirabelle said:

"Get John, Scarlett, and Keera: We need to get to the Library!"


Deacon and Isobelle walked down the street towards the graveyard from the north, making their way quietly and slightly running with each burst of thunder. The thunderstorm was raging overhead as the pair reached their destination, but to their shock the entire place was surrounded by hovering robotic spheres. Deacon held onto Isobelle's arm as he silently gestured for the two to walk around to the other side and jump the fence as to avoid being spotted. The two did so but Deacon accidentally stepped on a stick, causing one of the robotic drones to pick up the sound and turn towards them, silently watching their every move. As soon as Deacon turned the corner, the robotic drone and three of it's fellow units were waiting for him, having teleported there to get the drop on them.

"Son of a-" Deacon said, "They're smarter than we thought! Run!"

"I am NOT running!" Isobelle said, then ran towards the four drones. Unfortunately one of them flashed brightly red, shooting a small bolt of energy at Isobelle which hit her in the face. Isobelle screamed as she fell to the ground, her face singed from the heat.

Suddenly three more drones appeared out nowhere. Deacon lifted Isobelle off the ground, taking rain-water and splashing it on her to cool her injury, and the two ran off in the opposite direction to escape. The drones were still shooting at them, but within a few seconds the two were out of their firing range. Then they went back to their work guarding the graveyard.


Meanwhile, Annabelle and Tom walked through the rain to the museum, where Tom had encountered Jacob Thompson twice before. They had agreed to go there and hopefully confront him to find out what he knows about the lamp. As they walked, Annabelle looked around to the empty streets, wondering if they would remain empty for long, worried that they would soon be filled with people mentally controlled by the group of villains or if the world itself would be there. If they didn't stop the villains from reaching the genie lamp, who knew what could possibly happen.

They approached the museum and walked in, looking around the empty building. There were no night watchmen, no cops, no one guarding the place at all. Tom turned to Annabelle and said "Either they aren't worried about things getting taken from here or something bad happened. I met Jacob twice upstairs, the first time in a recreation of a tomb. If he is here, I am sure he will be in that room."

They ran upstairs and found themselves outside the exhibit. Tom readied his fists for a fight in case he needed to use them, and silently gestured to Annabelle to stay in the lobby until he needed her. She obliged, knowing that she asked him to stay behind when they went to meet Isobelle the night before.

Tom stormed into the exhibit and saw Jacob Thompson sitting in a chair at the end of the room. To his left was an end table and sitting on top of that was some strange golden bottle with an unearthly glow around it.

"Tom Jameson." Jacob smiled as Tom walked into the room. "I'm sooo surprised to see you here, especially in this room. I imagined you would be less than thrilled to come here again, especially considering what tomb this room is a recreation of, exactly."

"Cut the crap, Thompson!" Tom snarled, "What do you know about the Genie Lamp?!"

Jacob stood up and walked towards him. Tom stood his ground, ready to fight the man, but instead Jacob walked past him to a sarcophagus on the other side, admiring it. "Genie Lamp. Yes I know a lot about that. I know if I had it, I'd use it to make every single living organism under my command. Subjugation of humanity, that's what I would do. And I know one more thing: I will get it soon. Six days from now actually. Sure you can fight me, you can stop me, but guess what? It will all be useless."

Meanwhile, Tobias Corvan was walking around the museum when he saw Annabelle waiting for Tom's word. Using his self-proclaimed "expert sneaking" skills, he slowly crept up to her, ready to take her hostage in case Jacob needed leverage against Tom.

Right before he reached out, however, she turned around and looked him in the eye, angrily. "Hello there. You know I could hear you coming from a mile away."

"We will fight you, Thompson. And we will win."

Jacob laughed, and said "No dear boy, you won't. Anyway, while waiting for the day I control this world, let us admire some replicas of ancient pieces of art. This whole thing is a perfect representation of the Tomb of Vor'set, an ancient mummy. Well, near perfect. It's certainly missing something.... oh yes, blood. It's missing the blood of two idiot adventurers who were foolish enough to think they could fight a mummy in this very tomb. Of course I can cut you and, while there still wouldn't be the adventurers' blood, it would be close enough. Eh, Tommy JAMESON?"

Tom wondered what he meant by that, but then looked around the room again. Suddenly a realization kicked in: He had seen this tomb before, a picture of it. It was hidden in the bottom of the Egyptian Sphinx, where no one had seen it before. Tom's own parents found the room and two weeks later they died. Struck with an intense amount of anger, Tom stormed over to Jacob and punched him in the face so hard his fist felt like it hit a mold of gelatin.

Jacob fell to the ground, and Tom yelled at him, not caring if he was living or dead from the impact. "So you had this tomb replica built for this specific reason!? BAD IDEA YOU SICK, TWISTED JACKASS! HOW DARE YOU INSULT MY PARENTS?!"

Jacob opened his eyes and swiftly kicked Tom back, then stood up and drew out a weapon similar to the one Tobias had the day before. "I guess my plan to make you angry worked. And you know what else? I know what can make you angrier!" He then lifted his cuff, speaking into a device hidden into his cuff-link. "Tobias. Get in here immediately!"

Seconds later Tobias's screaming form came flying into the room, upside down, past Jacob, and hitting a display on the other side. He stood up in a very anguished fashion while looking over at the two, weakly saying "Okay. I'm in here." before passing out again. Annabelle stormed into the room and grabbed for Jacob, ready to take him down as well.

"YOU!" Annabelle angrily said, and tried to punch him as well. Unfortunately the villain turned his weapon against her, magically freezing her in place.

"NOOO!" Tom said, and ran towards Jacob, who turned the weapon against him but was surprised when it didn't work. He then waved it again and a metal cage formed around Tom, trapping him.

"So the rumors are true: you are immune to magic."

"Unfortunately, she isn't." Jacob walked over to the table beside his chair and grabbed the bottle, then happily strolled back to her. Along the way he had used what Tom had come to realize WAS a magic wand to heal his own injury as well as boost Tobias to wake him. When Jacob got back beside Annie, he used the potion on himself and smiled.

"As Robert Frost once wrote: Nature's first green is gold. So this works, considering she IS green." He turned to Annabelle and touched her forehead. She was able to move her face, and was visibly horrified as she instantly turned into a gold statue.

"NOOOOOO!!!!!" Tom yelled out in anger, and watched as Jacob pressed a device into her arm. Seconds later the statue, Annabelle, was gone in a beam of light, taken who knew where. Jacob turned around and looked at Tom.

"She's at the mausoleum by the way. If you wished to have rescued her, you would have went there. Wait, why am I speaking in past-tense? Oh yeah, because you're going to die here. You win some, you lose some, eh Tommy boy?" Jacob and Corvan left the room before Tom could respond.

Tom was in anguish. He was trapped, Annabelle was kidnapped... again... and now he had no way to escape. He then sat down on the ground, defeated.

"I lost."

Meanwhile, Jacob had walked outside the museum with Tobias, and the two looked at a group of containers filled with gasoline on the ground floor. Jacob took out his weapon and aimed it at them. "Give me a baton of death, and I shall conduct a chorus of souls as they sing their way to the underworld."

With a wave of the magic wand, the barrels exploded, he then continued to wave the weapon, with each area he pointed at violently exploding. Seconds passed and the entire museum was on fire, with the explosions creeping towards Tom.

"I lost." Tom said again, and closed his eyes waiting for the end, for the explosions to take him. When he opened them again, he was standing in a bright room, his father's ghost in front of him.

"I failed, dad." Tom said with the most depressed, somber tone he'd ever spoken with. "I lost."

"No, my son." Thomas Jameson said, "You did not. You just need to find your own way, and your destiny will find you. That is why I gave you my gift."

"You mean in Bridgeport, when I was injured? You gave me your hat and jacket. You left them to me!" 

"No. When I gave you the gift of being immune to harmful magic. When you first put on those items from that chest, you were given the ability to block curses, evil spells, but be aware that physical spells such as ice and fire can still harm you. This power I gave to you because I wanted you to live a long, fruitful life. One that I nor your mother could not when the mummy's curse killed us. So use the power well, and know I will always be there for you, watching over you. Now, go my son... fulfill the silent promise you made to yourself to save your friends, and to save the world."

The ghost of Thomas Jameson smiled and hugged Tom, then stepped backwards. Suddenly, he started to glow brighter, turning into a ethereal fog which covered Tom completely. In his heart he could feel the ghost of his father comforting him, and Tom felt a warm presence all around him, a presence that gave him a feeling that he was going to be alright. 

After a few seconds Tom opened his eyes again and found himself outside the museum, looking at the destruction from the front of the building across the street. He saw Tobias standing there alone, and walked up to him silently.


Jacob Thompson and Tobias Corvan stood where they were, watching the fire destroy the building. After a short time, Jacob turned to his henchman and said, "If you see Tom leave the building, kill him.", and vanished into a light. Despite wanting to go back to the base, Tobias stood where he was in the rain, waiting for a presence to show itself.

Suddenly he heard a noise. It sounded like footsteps but it was hard to pinpoint where they were coming from. He then felt a tap on his shoulder, and turned around to see Tom, wearing a completely different outfit than he wore inside the building and also seemed to have no scars or injury from the blast.

"Hello, my name is Thomas Caleb Jameson. And you two jackasses just made me very, very mad."

"That was a bad idea."