PART SEVENTEEN: TO HAVE LOVED AND LOST
Two weeks had passed since the unthinkable had happened. Ada’s whole world had come crushing down and she, like the remnants of her family, were left to wallow in their grief and in the injustice of it all. During the two weeks following the events that led to the death of her maternal grandparents, Ada and the rest of her family had been apprehended by the Department of Defense in their homogeneous timeline and subjected to relentless questioning hoped at obtaining an answer to the bizarre events preceding their detention. It had become apparent that former Director Pheonix Port had succeeded in painting the family in a negative light and the world, as it had proven countless times prior, had happily adapted the narrative that Ada and her family were the villains who had tortured the former Director to death to achieve their wicked ends.
While they were in their holding cells, they did all they could not to fall apart which was made harder by Port himself assuming the identities of their most beloved family members, close friends and colleagues and visiting them there to taunt them that he had won. What broke Ada more was when Port presented himself as her husband, Charlton Rivers, whom she realized she had been falling deeper in love with each passing day. Grieving her deceased grandparents was a cakewalk as compared to mourning her living and yet lost husband. The family had exhausted every last resort even using their temporally bestowed gifts as Travelers to try and salvage the situation but had not yielded any fruitful results.
The DoD had appointed a new Director who was a decorated leader that had served both as an Army corporal and Protector before her appointment as Director. The new Director hailed from the illustrious Awaya witch clan that were renowned for their impartiality and strong moral compass. Director Zola Awaya had made the ruling that the Alisons were being detained illegally since it had not been substantially proven that they had indeed murdered the former Director in cold blood and not out of self-defense as the Alisons all held. However, she disclosed that the matter would be thoroughly investigated until the truth was uncovered and the case was closed.
Once they had been released, Ada had found the compulsion to return to her home too powerful to resist and had insisted on going there alone. Her parents offered to accompany her but she adamantly refused claiming it was something she needed to do alone. The very moment she had entered the home, she had collapsed to the floor and wept, overwhelmed by her powerlessness to defeat Port and get her old life back. As she wept, her adopted son came rushing to her side and clung to her, trying his best to comfort her. His distress caused Ada to stop weeping and she embraced him tightly.
“Where’s your sister, honey?” she asked terrified.
“She’s sleeping in her crib, mommy,”
“Listen to me, Edric, it’s not safe for us here anymore so we have to leave immediately. Please go pack your things away. You can use the packaging droids, okay?”
Edric nodded and rushed to do as his mother urged him to.
Ada steadied herself on the wall to get back on her feet and rushed upstairs to set commands to a variety of packing droids that efficiently packed everything up in the home. She rushed to her daughter’s side, picked her up and cradled the sleeping infant in her arms desperately fighting back tears. Once the drones in the house had finished packaging everything, Ada walked downstairs to reunite with her son. Just before she could explain where they were headed, the front-door suddenly swung open and Charlie walked right through the door. Edric rushed towards his father merrily shouting, “Daddy!”
Charlie smiled and picked his son up and spun him around and around as Ada looked on terrified.
“Hey buddy, nice to see you. Where are you guys going? I was going to make my world-famous smoked Portobello Mushrooms,”
Edric licked his lips anticipating the delicious feast his father was promising them if they hung around a while longer. Charlie set him down and instructed him to get cleaned up and rush into the kitchen to help him.
“Well you seem to be in a mad rush. Where are you headed, my love?” Charlie mockingly asked Ada.
“That’s none of your business. Edric, we’re leaving! We can eat on the way,”
“Aw, but mom-“
“Come on, Ada, one last meal together as a family can’t hurt, right?”
“I will not repeat myself, Edric. Hurry here, right this instant,” Ada stated sounding a lot harsher than she had wanted to. Edric did as he was told and stood by her side.
“I’m sorry, honey, please just come with me,”
“Is daddy coming with us, mommy?”
“No, sweetie, he is not,”
“But why mommy? Why can’t daddy come with us?”
Ada simply shook her head and smiled promising to explain all the details later.
Ada grabbed her son’s hand and walked past Charlie.
“I warned you, Ada. I warned you all that I would make your lives a living hell. You suffer needlessly. If you want to get rid of me and get Charlie back, then all you have to do is honor my requests. Grant me an audience with the Lord of Fire and obtain me a world seed. Surely that is not too much to ask,”
Ada walked out with her children as the droids brought out all their luggage.
“I’m never going to stop coming after you. I will take away everything and everyone you love, even the children,” Charlie pronounced to Ada’s retreating back. Ada instructed Edric to carry his sister and walk towards the gate, promising to join them shortly. She then turned to Charlie and threw him across the room with her telekinesis and he began to laugh hysterically, something highly uncharacteristic of Charlton that reminded Ada that her husband was truly gone from the world.
“You listen to me and you listen good. If you so much as breathe wrong in my children’s direction, I will end you. If you want to survive, I strongly suggest that you stop coming after me and my family,”
Charlie smiled and stood up with an ugly gash across his face bleeding profusely.
“You mean you would murder the man you love, Ada? I highly doubt that. Just give into my demands, it’s so easy,” he stated walking towards her. Ada conjured a line of fire to separate them which was almost immediately quelled by the home’s sprinkler system.
“Don’t underestimate the things I would do, Port or Rayan or whatever your name is. My husband is dead and gone. You are nothing to me and nothing to my family. I will not hesitate to cut you down if you dare threaten my family again,” she stated coldly before walking away from Charlie who continued to laugh at her and taunt her until she banged the door in his face. Once she left and reunited with her children, they went back to Ada’s parents’ home where her parents and uncle Dewey were gathered. Her mother took the children away to their room in the house before returning to her living room and reuniting with the rest of the family.
“Where’s Avery?” asked Ada upon realizing that her Aunt was not among the gathered.
“She’s off doing what she does best- saving the world,” her mother responded.
“Is she… okay?”
“My sister is remarkably strong. Even when we were detained, even though that rat-bastard kept assuming the persona of our closest friends and family and taunting us, she never flinched. It was like she was able to switch off her emotions at will and wasn’t phased. Compared to her, I feel so weak. I went back home today and she- my wife, I mean, Port, he was there. It broke me. If it weren’t for your parents, I don’t know what I would have done. I don’t know how Avery can do it. It’s almost like she isn’t even human… I don’t know how else to explain it,” Dewey stated despairingly. He shook his head vehemently as he spoke, as if he resisted every word coming out of mouth.
The family remained in silence until Ada broke it, feeling terrible for even bringing up the matter of the organizing her grandparents’ wake.
“Oh, Avery already made all the arrangements for that; the date, the Ministers, everything…” her mother trailed off in response, in deep contemplation.
“You mean to tell me that she was of the right mind to plan for all that? I mean, I know she’s strong and all but her parents died. How did she manage all of that?” Ada asked flabbergasted at her Aunt’s zeal.
“Well, since she’s my doppelganger, I can safely assume that it is her own unique way of honoring their memory. I was like that before… Whenever I met challenges that seemed insurmountable, my solution was to work harder than ever as a way of confronting them. It is what made me such a great Protector,”
The family pondered about Avery’s strength even as they tried their best to process through their grief.
TO BE CONTINUED…
In good times and in bad, the Alison family perseveres… Shall all go according to plan during the Wake? Stay tuned to find out! Links to related parts and to Ada’s ensuing saga are linked below.