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A Santa Maria Story
James M. Sullivan
Start from the beginning of the Santa Maria series
"Kyle, run!" Daphne screamed.
She then flew from the floor across the hall and into the living room as her unseen assailant attacked again. She yelped in pain as she crashed into the coffee table. She was trying to right herself wind the wind began to whip around the room, sending potted plants and picture frames tumbling off their purchases.
"Kyle, run! Get out of here!" she screamed at the young boy who just stood in the hall paralyzed with fear.
A strange, white light began to form in the center of the living room. Daphne pulled herself up to a standing position, her face twisted with agony. In the light a humanoid form began to take shape.
"No!" the boy shrieked and found his legs. He darted past the light and stood in front of Daphne, his arms extended as to protect her. "No, no, no!" he shouted at the glowing figure that was emerging in the blustery, chilly room.
"Kyle, I said run. Leave! Get out of here!" Daphne shouted at the boy as she tried to move around him to put herself between him and the apparition, but he struggled against her. "Kyle, you have to go. You're in danger!"
"No, you're in danger Mrs. Nolan!" he shouted back at her as she moved in front of him.
Just then the sound of shattering glass and splintering wood erupted across the wind swept living room.
Daphne and Kyle both looked over to see a gigantic wolf, with deep purple eyes that glowed faintly, snarling at what used to be the French doors to the patio.
The wolf snarled at them.
Daphne's eyes darted between the two threats while she tried to keep young Kyle behind her.
No, it's too soon, she thought. How can I abandon these boys when I promised their mother I would take care of them?
The large wolf took a step closer to the pair.
Suddenly, a bolt of bright gold energy shot from across to room towards to wolf, but the apparition darted out in front, taking the golden beam square to its chest. It wailed, it's blurred face twisting in pain.
"No!" Kyle screamed, "Stop it! No!" Daphne struggled to keep Kyle with her as he trying to run into the middle of everything.
Another shot came and the ghost took it again, but this time it turned to face the beast.
Daphne looked towards the source of the golden bolts and there was her son, Mac, with a glowing golden bow, the string a slim beam of golden light, and he fired again. Again, the spectral figure took the attack, though it was clear the arrows of light were quite harmful to it.
The beast turned and bounded out the door.
"Shit!" Mac exclaimed and quickly ran towards the patio and the ghost.
"No!" Kyle screamed again. "Don't hurt her! It's my mom!"
Daphne whirled Kyle around to face her. "Are you sure, Kyle?"
"Yes, yes. She spoke to me before you came home. She's said and very worried about Joel."
Mac had stopped, the ghost wavering between him the recently smashed doors to the patio. He looked over at Kyle and then to the spirit.
"Ms. Wilson," Mac addressed the spirit. "I know you love your sons and even death has not stopped you from taking care of them, but you know what Joel is. I can clearly see that. You must let me put him to rest. The only way to save him now is to kill him. I'm very sorry."
"What?" screamed Kyle? "You're going to murder my brother?" He twisted out of Daphne's hands and ran between the ghost and Mac.
"No, no!" Daphne insisted. She shot her son a narrowed eyed, tight lipped glance and then looked back to the boy. "Nobody is murdering anyone," she told Kyle. She turned back to her son. "Have you lost your mind?"
The wind in the room began to pick up.
Mac did not look away from the spirit. "I am truly sorry. Mom, the huge wolf that was just in here and ready to attack was Joel."
"What?" Daphne asked.
"Liar!" Kyle shouted at the same time.
"Mackenzie, that's absurd."
"As absurd as ghosts or vampires or witches? Why not werewolves, mom?"
"I don't mean that it's absurd that there are werewolves, just that Joel is one.
Kyle looked at Daphne agog; her casual manner in discussing the supernatural clearly shocked the boy.
"Then, it is true. All the weird stuff mom wrote about in her diary is true. I don't know what to think..." Kyle trailed off.
"Kyle, I know this is a lot and I'm sure you think that ghost is your mother and it may be. Right now we just need everyone to calm down so we can figure this out. Mackenzie isn?t going to be killing anyone." She glared at her son.
"Mom, I wish it was true, but the Chatu-mu say it is the only way to stop him. To save him."
"No!" Kyle shouted.
The spirit shouted just after, but her wail was much louder and shook the room violently. What had remained on the walls and shelves fell. Kyle and Daphne went tumbling down. Mac barely kept his balance. She stopped shrieking, but then the temperature dropped even more. Ice crystals began forming on every surface.
Mac ran to Kyle and his mother, helping them up. "Get Kyle out of here, mom," he urged.
"No! I'm not going anywhere!" he shouted.
"Please, Kyle. The ghost is quite upset and we just need to calm down and figure this out."
She shrieked again, even louder, and this time all three fell to the ground and plaster cracked and bits came showering down. It went longer this time.
"We have to go. My bow won't chase it off and I can't do much else without destroying her. We need a Ghost Lord," Mac said. He stood and scooped up Kyle. "Come on, mom. We've got to go." Daphne righted herself and started to run for the hall, followed by her son carrying Kyle.
The house shook again with the scream of the spectral mother. Daphne lost her footing once again.
"Keep going! Get him out of here!" she shouted at Mackenzie. He obeyed as she struggled to her feet. As he approached the front door it slammed shut and locked itself.
He stopped and stretched out his right arm. Golden light appeared around his fist, then shot out as a ball of energy and it exploded in light as it hit the front door. When the light cleared, the door was splintered into thousands of pieces. Daphne joined them.
"My door! Oh, never mind! Keep going!"
"You can't keep me from my mom!" Kyle shouted.
Mac, with as struggling Kyle in tow, and Daphne dashed out the house.
"Ant, do think there is anything different about Helen?" Rod asked his lover.
"What do you mean, different?" he asked, pushing a lock of his unnaturally red hair out of his eyes. "She's a baby and babies change everyday as they grow."
"No, I don't mean like that. I mean, well I?m not sure how I mean. Just something feels different. It is almost like she's become more magical somehow."
"Was she magical before? I mean, I know she's Bree's baby and Bree was only carrying it for the Chatu-mu shaman from the past and that the father was Ghost Lord, but you never mentioned sensing her having any power of her own specifically. In fact, you never mentioned you could sense powers before at all," Ant said with an accusatory look on his face.
"I think I always could before, but I never really understood it. And yes, whenever I hold Helen I could feel her potential power and it is quite strong, but this is different. Like it almost isn't hers. If only Rodena was still here, she would be able to figure this out."
"Well, there are people. The Chroniclers. And I know a bit. And maybe Everett has some spectrogram thingy that can measure types of magic. I miss her, too, but we have to keep going forward. There are too many odd things happening and we need to circle the wagons and figure out what is going on."
"Again," Rod said sharply.
"Yes, again. Rod, I know it is frustrating, but you can't just give up. You have too many wonderful things to fight for." Ant leaned in and kiss Rod gently on the lips.
He smiled. "I know, Ant. I know."
The electronic rendering of Blue Monday coming from Ant's cellular phone interrupted their intimate moment. "It's always something," Rod said with a slight huff.
Ant grabbed his phone and answered it.
"Ant here." He listened for a moment. "What? Where are you?" After another moment of silence he responded. "It isn't the best idea for me to be Skipping. For any of us. We can get the Ghost Lords there, I think."
"What's going on?" Rod asked, the concern evident in his voice.
Ant turned his head from the phone. "It's Mac. He, his mom, and that kid Kyle are being hunted down by a ghost, possibly the kid's mom."
Rod's face went from concern to fear and worry. Ant returned to the call.
"Okay, Mac, I get it. Where are you? Sure, I know where that is. You'll have to stop the car." I'll be there in a second." Ant hung up the cellular phone and returned it to his pocket.
"Okay, they are on the Sky Highway, just past Old Redwood Road. You need to get the Ghost Lords out there, hon."
Then Ant vanished from the room. Rodrigo fished his cellular phone out of his jeans pocket and began calling.
"Hi, it's the Steward. The Avatar needs some help with a rogue ghost. The ghost may be Miranda Wilson. She was murdered in a riot here in Santa Maria back in the spring of 2008. They are at the Sky Highway, just past Old Redwood Road. Yes, hurry please."
Ant reappeared in the room, with young Kyle clinging to him. He was white as a ghost and sobbing.
"What's going on?" Rodrigo asked as her ran towards them both.
"I'm not sure, Rod. Something tried to pull him away from me while we Skipped."
"So, it's getting worse."
"Yes, now I have to go back for Mac and Daphne."
"You can't, it's too dangerous," Rod pleaded.
"It's too dangerous for them. That spirit is enraged. We owe Daphne for getting us Helen and you've known Mac for ages. Even though he is the Avatar, he still needs our help. I'll be fine. Take Kyle, hurry."
Rod peeled Kyle from Ant and then the boy just grasped onto Rod for dear life, burying his head in Rod's shoulder.
"He's really scared," Rod said, but Ant had already Skipped away from the room.
Ant blinked into existence just where the car had been, but it was gone. He took a step forward, scanning the area for the car. He saw the lights shining on some tree branches. He jogged over the edge of the road and looked down the hill. There was car, upside down and smoking. He winked out and appeared down by the car.
He shuddered. His face was grimaced in pain. He fell to on knee, catching himself on the car. He turned his head around to try to look at his back. He could barely see the large scratch marks that ran the length of his back crossways, from right shoulder to left hip. He tried to brace himself against the car, but he fell over. He cried out once before he lost consciousness.
Story by James M. Sullivan, Copyright 2009
Image by Rory Clark, Stopped Motion Photography, Copyright 2009